Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Study examines 2 ways children become seriously ill from COVID

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- There is new information about how COVID affects young people, after a large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the two different ways children can become seriously ill from the virus.

Slightly more than half of the more than 1,000 patients studied had acute COVID-19, while the rest had multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

Those with the inflammatory syndrome were more likely to be between the ages of 6 and 12, while more than 80% of those with acute COVID-19 fell outside that age range.

It appears both conditions are more common in Black and Hispanic children, reflecting the ways the virus has disproportionately affected these communities.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Lincoln Center to emerge from COVID pandemic with outdoor shows
Lincoln Center intends to emerge from the novel coronavirus pandemic by creating 10 outdoor stages for performances and rehearsals in New York City starting April 7. Venues announced Thursday as part of the Restart Stages initiative include a cabaret-style stage on Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza, areas for public school graduations, dedicated space for arts activities for young people and an outdoor reading room created with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

New York's new nursing home visitation guidelines still keep visitors out
The new New York State guidelines on nursing home visits go into effect on Friday, but most people will still not be able to visit their loved ones because of a long-standing COVID rule.

The new guidelines still incorporate a restriction by which if anyone in the nursing home - staff or resident - is diagnosed with the coronavirus, the nursing home cannot allow any visitors for 14 days. For most of the pandemic, it was 28 days, but the state relaxed the restriction in September to two weeks.

NYPD loses another member to COVID
On Thursday afternoon, School Safety Agent Ardette Arnold passed away from complications related to COVID-19. Ardette served with the NYPD for more than 12 years, keeping thousands of New York City students in the Bronx safe.

Nursing home directive didn't lead to COVID deaths, NY health commissioner testifies
The New York Department of Health commissioner testified before state lawmakers Thursday about COVID-19 in nursing homes, as criticism continues to mount over Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of data related to deaths at such facilities.

NYC expands hours, appointments at some sites
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that overnight shifts are being added to vaccine sites at Bathgate in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens. The city is also doubling appointments at Teacher's Prep and Martin Van Buren sites because the city's vaccine supply has increased. There are also pop-up sites opening at First Corinthians Baptist Church in East Harlem and Mill Basin.

Concern over new COVID variant found in NYC area
Another new COVID variant has been identified and this one is circulating in the New York City area, two studies have found. It is not yet known if the variant is more contagious, deadly, or if it impacts the vaccine, but more will be learned as scientists continue to study it. The new variant was identified separately by two research groups -- one at CalTech and another at Columbia. Both published their findings ahead of a formal scientific peer review process. So far, Columbia researchers say they have identified at least 80 cases of the new variant across the Tri-State area, indicating the variant isn't confined to a single outbreak.

NYC middle schools resume in-person learning
It was back to in-person learning Thursday for roughly 62,000 middle school students in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza were on hand at one of those schools - Leaders of Tomorrow Middle School in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx - to welcome students back. Some of them are going back five days a week, while others are using a hybrid schedule, dependent on available space and how many students have opted for in-person learning.

People with antibodies after COVID-19 may have short-term virus protection: Study
There's new evidence that connects testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies from a prior infection with a significantly lower risk of becoming infected again in the future. A study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Wednesday, found that people who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies were at a decreased risk of coronavirus infection compared with those who tested negative for antibodies.

"The results from the study are basically a 10-fold reduction, but I would have caveats around that," said Dr. Douglas Lowy, principal deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, who was an author of the study. "In other words, it could be an overestimate of the reduction. It could be an underestimate of the reduction."

Pfizer studying effects of 3rd COVID vaccine dose
Pfizer announced it has begun studying a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, part of a strategy to guard against mutated versions of the coronavirus. Health authorities say first-generation COVID-19 vaccines still protect against variants that are emerging in different parts of the world. But manufacturers are starting to prepare now in case a more vaccine-resistant mutation comes along. Pfizer said it will offer a third dose to 144 volunteers, drawing from people who participated in the vaccine's early-stage U.S. testing last year. It wants to determine if an additional booster shot given six to 12 months after the first two doses would rev up the immune system enough to ward off a mutated virus.

US unemployment claims fall to 730,000 with layoffs high
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week but remained high by historical standards. Applications for benefits declined 111,000 from the previous week to a seasonally adjusted 730,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It is the lowest figure since late November. Still, before the virus erupted in the United States last March, weekly applications for unemployment benefits had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The latest figures come as the job market has made scant progress in the past three months. Hiring averaged just 29,000 a month from November through January. Though the unemployment rate was 6.3% in January, a broader measure that includes people who have given up on their job searches is closer to 10%.

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You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.

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