Blog posts

Weekly Rounds 5-3-20


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Doctors for America is joining with Migrant Clinicians Network, Refugee Health Alliance, and Human Impact Partners to demand that Robert R. Redfield, MD, the Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immediately rescind the recently extended order “suspending introduction of certain persons from countries where a communicable disease exists” to May 20, 2020.  The decision to halt asylum processes “to protect the public health” is not based on evidence or science. In fact, this order directly endangers tens of thousands of lives and threatens to amplify dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia. Sign the Petition Now.

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DOCTORS FOR AMERICA SPEAKING OUT & GETTING PUBLISHED:


DFA SPEAKING OUT: Kennedy & Jayapal Introduce Legislation to Guarantee Health Coverage During Covid-19 Pandemic - “Doctors for America and its 20,000 members nationwide have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and we commend Representatives Jayapal and Kennedy for including critical health and life-saving measures that aim to ensure increased availability and equitable distribution of PPE and other medical equipment for all frontline workers. We also know firsthand that COVID-19 has not merely caused – but rather, exposed – the deep and critical problems that our patients face in affordability, equity, and accessibility of their health care. We applaud this proposal for ensuring coverage, affordability, and access to health care for all of our patients during the COVID crisis, while illustrating one of several viable approaches for moving toward universal health care in the future. This crisis shows us that, as a nation, we are all in this together: We should all have access to PPE when caring for and serving others, and we should all have insurance coverage that does not disappear when you need it nor depend on your employment status during a pandemic,” said Drs. Justin Lowenthal and Meenakshi Bewtra, co-chairs of the COVID-19 response taskforce and members of the national board of directors of Doctors for America. 


DFA IN THE NEWS: Doctors Call for U.S. ‘Czar’ to Coordinate Equipment, Tests - U.S. doctors and other health-care workers dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic are urging a coordinated federal effort to make sure medical equipment, protective gear and tests get to where they’re needed…. Among the signers were Doctors for America, a group of more than 20,000 doctors and other health-care professionals; Get Us PPE, a grassroots movement founded by front-line physicians; and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which represents consumer advocates.  (Susan Decker, Bloomberg News)


Anonymous DFA Family Physician - N95 Masks are Disposable. Doctors are Not. - I never imagined that I would be the doctor who called out of work and then resigned during a pandemic. But, somehow in mid-April 2020, this is what happened. My emotions over the month leading to my resignation were overwhelming, and I want to share my experience with the hope that it helps others, particularly health care workers who are struggling with similar problems and organizations that need to change their practices. I’m publishing this anonymously to protect myself and my co-workers. (Anonymous Family Physician, Pandemic Diaries)


DFA Copello Fellow Doctor Rohit Abraham - Telemedicine in a Terrible Time: A Resident Physician’s Perspective - As I thought through Edward’s case, I decided I could not in good conscience call 911, as I would under normal circumstances, to send him to the ED. This could ultimately become a death sentence. (Rohit Abraham, MD, MPH, In House)


DFA Doctor Aakash Shah and DFA Medical Student Alex Pomerantz: The U.S. Should Make COVID-19 Testing, Prevention And Care Free To All - Coronavirus is a threat. To thoroughly contain it, we must thoroughly screen for it. And to thoroughly screen for and prevent it, the U.S. government must make all COVID-19 care free for patients. (Nicole Bustos, Alex Pomerantz and Aakash Shah, WBUR)


DFA Doctor Jay Bhatt - More Than a Disease, COVID-19 Exposes Health Risk of Food Insecurity: - As cases continue to surge and new hot spots emerge every week, we must take proactive measures to ensure that low-income, vulnerable individuals have access to healthy food options. Then, as soon as we win the battle against COVID-19, we must stop and rethink our aid strategy to ensure every American has equal access to health care and food. (Jay Bhatt, ABC News)


DFA Board Member  Dr. Krishnan Narasimhan: ‘South Asians for Biden’ Steps Up Efforts to Counter Rising Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic South Asians for Biden and the Biden for President Campaign is jointly hosting a virtual forum on the impact of Coronavirus and its impact on the community in early May. The event will feature Dr. Krishnan Narasimhan, board member of Doctors for America; and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)


DFA Doctor Mona Mangat:Here’s who is advising Mayor Rick Kriseman on reopening St. Petersburg, Florida - Mayor Rick Kriseman on Friday named the 17 advisers he will lean on to decide when and how to reopen the Sunshine City for business after the month-long shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. … • Dr. Mona Mangat, member/past board chair, Doctors for America, allergist and immunologist.


THE WEEK IN QUOTES:


GASLIGHTING: The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded one million. The American death toll surpassed that of the Vietnam War. And the economy was reported to have shrunk by nearly 5 percent. But the White House on Wednesday declared its response to the crisis “a great success story.Peter Baker, New York Times


MORE AMERICANS THAN THE VIETNAM WAR:In not even three months since the first known U.S. deaths from COVID-19, more lives have now been lost to the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. soil than the 58,220 Americans who died over nearly two decades in Vietnam.David Welna, National Public Radio


MORE GASLIGHTING:We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this, and I think we’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed, so the federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story, And I think that that’s what really needs to be told.” White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner 


BLAME THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The U.S. administration is very fixated on the reelection campaign and on who can get blamed for this catastrophic COVID-19 situation in the U.S., They are blaming WHO and China for it. Therefore it is very difficult to agree on a common language about the WHO.” - Senior European Official 


WE NEED THE REAL CDC BACK: This must be a painful time for the many extraordinary career scientists who continue to work at the agency. But it’s a painful moment for the American people, too, and with deadly consequences. Real CDC leadership — clear, science-based guidance, effective coordination of states, and public transparency of data — is absolutely essential for confronting and getting clear of this crisis. The CDC was once the world’s greatest public health agency. We need that CDC back, and we need it now.Ashish K. Jha, M.D., Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


THE TESTING MESS: The federal government needs to play a critical role here, It’s been extremely disappointing for people who know what the federal government is capable of doing to see the chaos that exists now.” - Joshua Sharfstein, a Former Food and Drug Administration Official and a Vice Dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


PRESIDENT DECLARES THE U.S. WILL BE ABLE TO CARRY OUT FIVE MILLION TEST PER DAY:   There is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day.” - Admiral Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary of Health Who Is in Charge of the Government’s Testing Response 


UNREAL: "When Vice President Mike Pence ignores the safety policy and refuses to wear a face mask, he insults the hard work and sacrifice of all healthcare workers. Worse, he puts them, their patients, and their families at risk," Jamie Gulley, President of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota


300 MILLION VIALS OF VACCINE: The Trump administration needs to prepare our domestic supply chain now for the delivery of an eventual vaccine that will need to be delivered to the entire country, It’s vital that federal agencies exercise better foresight so that we don’t see supply shortages like we continue to experience for testing and protective equipment.” U.S. Senator Shaheen (D-NH)


MEDIA COVERAGE: 


DOCTORS - MEDICINE & RESEARCH:


The Drugs and Treatments That Could Stop Covid-19 - There are now 72 registered clinical trials ongoing in the U.S. and abroad, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Here’s a rundown of how this process is taking shape, and the key results expected in the coming months. (Zachary Brennan, Politico)


DFA Doctor Jay Bhatt - To Study Coronavirus in the Air, All Eyes on a Chinese Restaurant

A new study of a COVID-19 outbreak tied to a restaurant in China is re-igniting questions about how far the novel coronavirus could spread in the air and how airflow through ventilators or air conditioners, and the air quality itself, could play a role. (Kaitlyn Folmer, Dr. L. Nedda Dastmalchi and Jay Bhatt, ABC News)


DFA IN THE NEWS: Frontline Medical Workers Organize May 2nd "Need Masks Today" Virtual March - Yale physicians and medical providers partner with GetUsPPE.org, Masks4America.org, Doctors for America, and the American Medical Student Association to discuss sustainable solutions for PPE and pharmaceuticals to be made in the USA.


9 Ways Coronavirus Changed Treating Patients - The precipitous climb of COVID-19 has led to substantial changes in both the art and the science of medicine. Amid a global pandemic, doctors and nurses are learning how to practice medicine differently -- adjusting the way they use resources, perform procedures, interact with patients and families, utilize technology, and work with public health and scientific communities for a common mission. (Dr. Delaram J. Taghipour, Dr. Vinayak Kumar, ABC News)


CDC Adds 6 Symptoms To Its COVID-19 List - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added several new symptoms to its existing list of symptoms for COVID-19. . .. It has now added six more conditions that may come with the disease: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. (Scott Neuman, National Public Radio)


WHO Says No Evidence Recovery Prevents Second Infection - The World Health Organization on Saturday said there was not enough evidence that a person who has recovered from covid-19 is immune from a second infection. (Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, Jesse Dougherty and Candace Buckner, Washington Post)


Nearly a Third of Americans Have Put Off Healthcare During COVID-19 - Around 1 in 3 Americans are delaying medical care as they cope with the financial losses and stress caused by COVID-19, new studies show. (Alex Kacik, Modern Healthcare)


Coronavirus Has Created a Crisis for Primary Care Doctors and Their Patients - The coronavirus pandemic is creating yet another kind of health care crisis: America’s primary care practices are struggling financially as patient visits plummet, and patients themselves are missing out on vital routine care. (Dylan Scott, Vox)


Find a Vaccine. Next: Produce 300 Million Vials of It. - Scaling up the manufacturing of syringes and other medical products required to deliver a vaccine to millions of Americans will be just as important as the vaccine itself. (Knvul Sheikh, New York Times)


Why One Breakthrough Drug Won't End the Pandemic - Five Reasons to Be Cautious About Remdesivir. - The nation’s top health officials say they’re rushing to make sure Americans can get widespread access to the experimental drug remdesivir after a study showed that it shortens the recovery time for some coronavirus patients. … But there are still major questions about how well Remdesivir works, when the government might make it available to the public, and whether drugmaker Gilead can keep pace with rising global demand for the drug. Here’s what to watch as more data is uncovered. (Zachary Brennan and Sarah Owermohle, Politico)


PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT:


Widely Used Surgical Masks Are Putting Health Care Workers At Serious Risk - With medical supplies in high demand, federal authorities say health workers can wear surgical masks for protection while treating COVID-19 patients — but growing evidence suggests the practice is putting workers in jeopardy. (Shefali Luthra and Christina Jewett, Kaiser Health News)


Trump Called PPE Shortages 'Fake News.' Health Care Workers Say They're Still a Real Problem - Doctors and nurses told POLITICO they're still recycling protective equipment and worry vulnerable areas are being overlooked. ….  hospitals, nursing homes and caregivers across the country tell POLITICO they are still struggling to obtain medical masks, gloves and gowns, undercutting Trump’s assertions. (Tucker Doherty and Brianna Ehley, Politico)


OSHA Complaints Flood in From COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers - Health-care workers and public employees in 10 states filed 40 complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday, claiming employers failed to protect them on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Olivia Messer, Daily Beast)


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RESPONSE:


Trump Expands Battle With WHO Far Beyond Aid Suspension - President Trump and his top aides are working behind the scenes to sideline the World Health Organization on several fronts as they seek to shift blame for the novel coronavirus pandemic to the world body, according to U.S. and foreign officials involved in the discussions. (John Hudson, Josh Dawsey and Souad Mekhennet, Washington Post)


President’s Intelligence Briefing Book Repeatedly Cited Virus Threat - U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. (Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)


'Dangerous & Disrespectful': Doctors Tear Into Pence's Mask-Less Hospital Visit - Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to wear a mask during his visit to the prestigious Mayo Clinic this week was potentially dangerous and sent the wrong message about the federal guidelines he regularly touts, doctors and health care officials said. (Jane C. Timm and Dareh Gregorian, NBC News)


Trump’s Response to Virus Reflects a Long Disregard for Science - A disregard for scientific advice has been a defining characteristic of Mr. Trump’s administration. (Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, New York Times)


Trump Administration Signals Support for Allies’ Fight Against Virus Orders - A network of conservative leaders, donors and organizations has launched a legal onslaught against state and local restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, pushing to allow churches to hold services, businesses to reopen and people to be able to visit with family and friends. They have been emboldened in recent days by increasing signs of support from a powerful ally: The Justice Department. (Lisa Lerer and Kenneth P. Vogel, New York Times)


COVID-19:


‘A Terrible Price’: The Deadly Racial Disparities of Covid-19 in America - On April 6, Louisiana became one of the first states to release Covid-19 data by race: While making up 33 percent of the population, African-Americans accounted for 70 percent of the dead at that point. Around the same time, other cities and states began to release racial data in the absence of even a whisper from the federal government — where health data of all kinds is routinely categorized by race.  (Linda Villarosa, New York Times)


Miscalculation at Every Level Left U.S. Unequipped to Fight Coronavirus

The swine flu, an outbreak of H1N1 flu, turned out to be a dry run for a major pandemic. But neither hospitals nor manufacturers nor the government made sweeping changes to be ready for one. Instead, each part of the medical-industrial equation acted in its own interest, and didn’t set aside resources that might have better prepared America for the coronavirus crisis. (Alexandra Berzon, Melanie Evans, Stephanie Armour and Austen Hufford, Wall Street Journal)


A Staggering Toll: 30 Million Have Filed for Unemployment - Another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. While that's down from the previous week's 4.4 million, a staggering 30.3 million have applied for unemployment in the six weeks since the coronavirus began taking a wrecking ball to the U.S. job market. That's roughly one out of five people who had a job in February. (Scott Horsley, National Public Radio)


COVID-19 TESTING:


Virus Test Shortages Undermine Drive to Restart U.S. Economy - With more states pushed toward reopening on Monday, experts warn that U.S. testing capacity, while improved, remains a fraction of what it should be. (Emma Court and Olivia Carville, Bloomberg News)


Unreliable Antibody Tests Flood the Market as FDA Waives Quality Reviews - The Food and Drug Administration is dealing with a flood of inaccurate coronavirus antibody tests after it allowed more than 120 manufacturers and labs to bring the tests to market without an agency review. (Zachary Brennan and David Lim, Politico)


COVID-19 & IMMIGRATION:


U.S. Borders to Remain Shut to Foreign Travelers as States Reopen - The Trump administration has no immediate plans to reopen the country’s borders after imposing a ban on foreign travelers from the European Union and the U.K. last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus…. Illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle at its southern border, where the U.S. has stopped processing asylum requests made after March 20. Last week, the administration also suspended green cards for prospective immigrants abroad for the next 60 days. (Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal)


GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION:


Prime Minister Trudeau Announces Canada Is Banning Assault-style Weapons

Canada has banned assault-style weapons following the murder of 22 people in the worst mass shooting in the country’s history, Justin Trudeau announced on Friday. “These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” said the prime minister. “Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.” (Leyland Cecco, The Guardian)


New Online Safe Firearm Storage Map Helps Marylanders Find Locations to Temporarily Store Guns - Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence (MPGV) has launched Maryland’s first-ever online map identifying locations for safe firearm storage outside homes to help community members who voluntarily seek local options to store their firearms. (Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, BayNet.com)

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