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Here are the coronavirus stories Medscape’s editors around the globe think you need to know about today:
Testing Falling Short
The United States has more COVID-19 testing capacity than most other countries, yet laboratories have been overwhelmed and many patients report waiting a week or more for results. US labs now run about 800,000 diagnostic tests daily, according to the COVID Tracking Project, but, based on various estimates, the country needs 6-10 million tests per day. As infection rates spike nationwide, many labs aren’t running anywhere near capacity because of a core supply-chain problem.
At the heart of the crisis, Reuters reports, is a reliance by public and private labs on automated testing equipment that locks them in to using proprietary chemical kits and other tools made by a handful of manufacturers.
Med Residents Catch Virus at Party
The University of Florida Health system is refusing to confirm a cluster of COVID-19 infections in 17 residents, a fellow, and an administrative employee, all of whom reportedly contracted the virus at a private party, according to a report in Fresh Take Florida.
“The story illustrates the fact that everyone, no matter what their age or professional background, needs to be careful with COVID,” the Association of American Medical College’s chief scientific officer, Ross McKinney, MD, told Medscape Medical News. “Group gatherings where individuals are not wearing masks, particularly in close quarters with loud talking, are the ideal setting for a super-spreader event like this one.”
MD NFL Player Opts Out of Season
The only medical doctor on a current National Football League (NFL) roster, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD, has become the first player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, citing concerns over the risk for COVID-19.
“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” Duvernay-Tardif posted on Twitter. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”
Stronger Link to Diabetes, Hypertension
Further refinement of data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients worldwide indicate increased rates of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and mortality for patients with diabetes and hypertension, a new meta-analysis shows. The data, compiled from 15,794 hospitalized patients and 65 reports published between December and April, revealed a 12% prevalence rate of diabetes and a 17% prevalence rate of hypertension.
“Even with [some] limitations, we were able to show that the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes is elevated in patients with COVID-19, that patients with diabetes have increased risk for both death and ICU admissions and that there is the potential for reverse causality in the reporting of hypertension as a risk factor for COVID-19,” senior author Fady Hannah-Shmouni, MD, said in an interview.
COVID-19 Hospital Built From Scratch
Currently, North Carolina is reporting its highest daily rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations yet.
Critical care physician Douglas Brent McQuaid, MD, saw this surge coming and, alongside colleagues at Cone Health Medical Group, turned a recently closed hospital in Greensboro into an acute facility for the exclusive treatment of infected patients. McQuaid explained how he built his COVID-19 hospital from the ground up in a Medscape commentary.
Brazil “Facing Many Epidemics Right Now”
Four months after the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Brazil, on February 26, there are still more than 1000 deaths a day from the virus. The country, according to public health experts, is experiencing poor leadership, an inconsistent public health response, and a polarized electorate, making it the second most badly affected country in the world. The United States still holds first place.
Although there are signs of a trend toward stabilization of the epidemic in some Brazilian states — numbers suggest that COVID-19 deaths have neither dropped nor increased significantly in 11 of 27 states — the figures diverge elsewhere, continuing to rise in nine other states while falling in the remaining seven.
The disease is displaying different dynamics in each region and state and has moved to the countryside, says former health minister José Gomes Temporão, MD. “We are facing many epidemics right now,” he said.
As frontline healthcare workers care for patients with COVID-19, they commit themselves to difficult, draining work and also put themselves at risk for infection. Thousands throughout the world have died.
Medscape has published a memorial list to commemorate them. We will continue updating this list as, sadly, needed. Please help us ensure this list is complete by submitting names with an age, profession or specialty, and location through this form.
If you would like to share any other experiences, stories, or concerns related to the pandemic, please join the conversation here.
Victoria Giardina is Medscape’s editorial intern. She has previously written for The Dr. Oz Show and is currently a national lifestyle writer for Her Campus . She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @VickyRGiardina .