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Weekly Rounds 6-14-2020



At Doctors for America we share the deep concern of many Americans across the country who have decided to take action to protest, and to demand change. Issues of structural racism, inequality, unequal justice and economic disparities must be of concern to us all, and as physicians we recognize how these impact social determinants of health and have serious detrimental effects on the welfare of the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society.

DFA would like to better represent our concerns and add our respected voice to those who are demonstrating and urging for change. You can help us tell the story of these times by sharing with us any photos of healthcare providers and advocates who are engaging in these important efforts. Our mission is to place patients before politics, and images tell a powerful story.

Please share your photos with us through your social media accounts, or by sending directly as an email attachment. We will credit images with your name unless you request otherwise. Click on this link to easily share your images. 

Thank you for your continuing advocacy and your support of DFA and the work we must continue.

Please Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to Doctors for America.Donations are necessary for DFA, during the world pandemic, to illuminate through its physician and medical student network the many shortcomings and as well as necessary solutions to heal America during COVID-19 and after. Together we must work toward a better normal where health truly is for all; Please Click Here to Contribute.


Copello Fellowship Call: “Racial Inequities Experienced or Witnessed – What Can You Do?” with Armen Henderson, MD; Jennifer Edgoose, MD
Recording of the Call can be found HERE (Passcode: 4d?6#80!) 

Upcoming Event:  Doctors For America: “Addressing Police Brutality” webinar.
Date: Tuesday, June 16th
Time: 4 PM Eastern Time
To Attend: Register with Zoom by Clicking Here.
If Zoom webinar is at capacity, please watch via Facebook Live, by clicking on this link.  

DFA Dr. Margo D. Simon: We Are Protesting During a Pandemic: Local Authorities Should Act Like It - Passionate protesters, fueled by centuries of racism, are taking to the streets and trying to do so responsibly: wearing masks and physically distancing. Still, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, and local governments should start acting like it: health authorities should bring free, voluntary, curbside COVID testing and mask distribution to protesters; crowds should be given space and time to assemble, and crowding peaceful protesters into wagons and jails should cease. ..Beyond the obvious direct public health benefits, a public health presence at protests could also be symbolic of local government supporting civil rights (and against state-sponsored brutality) while still raising awareness of ongoing and severe health risks during the pandemic and doing something about it. Health workers' presence might even deescalate tensions between protesters and police, discouraging tear gas, rubber bullets, assaults, arrests, and other abuses of power. (Dr. Margo D. Simon, The Hill)

DFA Dr. Shetal Shah: As the Economy Shrank, Families Have Slipped Backward Into Poverty, Jeopardizing Health Care … As a pediatrician, I’ve had a front-row seat to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and our shelter-in-place policies on children. ...As the economy shrank 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, children have slipped backward into poverty, creating a social environment adverse to both their short and long-term health. Children are already the poorest members of our communities. ...Children can no longer be an afterthought as policymakers continue to debate all aspects of our shared medical and economic recovery.  (Dr. Shetal Shah, Columbus Dispatch)


THE DIRECT RESULT OF RACISM: “People of color right now are more likely to be infected, and we’re more likely to die. What we’re seeing here is the direct result of racism, That’s the thing that is slapping us in the face. Actually, it’s lashing us like whips.” - Camara Phyllis Jones, an epidemiologist who recently served as president of the American Public Health Association

BLACK COMMUNITY BRACES FOR NEXT THREAT: MASS EVICTIONS: “One knee to the neck just explode[d] a tinderbox of other injustices that we must address, and one of them is housing, Housing security is a matter of justice, as structural racism puts communities of color unfairly at risk of being rent-burdened or homeless.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

PUBLIC OPINION ON RACE RELATIONS: “In my 35 years of polling, I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply, We are a different country today than just 30 days ago. The consequences politically, economically, and socially are too great to fit into a tweet. This is big.”  - Frank Luntz, Republican Pollster

U.S. SURGEON GENERAL, JEROME ADAMS: “I look at him, (George Floyd) and I really do think that could have been me,” 

WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC: “Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the public,” Richard Stutt, Cambridge University

THE FORGOTTEN PLAGUE: “I have some good news and bad news. The good news: At last, there is some bipartisan agreement in America. The bad news: It’s a tacit agreement to pretend that the threat from the novel coronavirus has somehow gone away. Covid-19 has become the forgotten plague — and it’s nowhere near ending. - Max Boot - Washington Post Columnist 

STILL AT THE BEGINNING:  In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world. And it isn’t over yet.”....“Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it,Dr. Anthony Fauci

NOT GOING AWAY: “This virus is not going to go away. Period, We don’t have a vaccine and we don’t know we’re going to develop one … so we’ve all got to learn to live with this virus.” - David Nabarro, World Health Organization

YA THINK? With rapid escalation of transmission rates in several states this week, investors are beginning to recognize that their enthusiasm for a rapid return to normal is premature,” Wayne Wicker, Chief Investment Officer at Vantagepoint Investment Advisers 

CORONAVIRUS LIABILITY DISCLAIMER: By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury,”  - President Trump’s Campaign Invite

REACH OUT: If you get an opinion piece or letter to the editor published PLEASE email with a link to Pete Van Vranken - for publication in the next edition of the Physician Rounds. Your feedback is welcome.



White Coats and Black Lives: Health Care Workers Say 'Racism Is a Pandemic Too' - In the midst of staggering statistics, health care workers across the country are hitting the streets in solidarity to protest--some right after their shifts, still donned in their scrubs and personal protective equipment. (Terrance Smith, ABC News)

To Battle Racism, Experts Say Make Health Equity a Central Principle - “In the healthcare profession, we’re not making widgets; we’re saving lives. Prejudice and inequities and racism can kill people—and it does kill people.” … But experts say many health organizations have yet to really address the role structural racism and racial bias play as health determinants within their own institutions, as well as throughout their communities. (Steven Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare)

‘The Direct Result of Racism’: COVID-19 Lays Bare How Discrimination Drives Health Disparities Among Black People - The demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have prompted a reckoning over racism and police brutality. But, among those in the medical communities, there have also been calls for urgent action to address the role that systemic racism plays in health disparities among Black people. … The Covid-19 pandemic has only made those disparities — and the structural discrimination they are rooted in — all the more apparent. (Meghana Keshavan, STAT)

Black Community Braces for Next Threat: Mass Evictions - A Federal Moratorium on Evictions — Which Only Applies to the 1 in 4 Rental Units That Are Backed by the Government — Expires in a Matter of Weeks. - A new tremor is threatening to shake minority communities as protests over racial injustice sweep the country: A wave of evictions as a federal moratorium on kicking people out of their rental units expires. The ban on evictions — which applies to rentals that are backed by the government — expires in a matter of weeks. On top of that, the federal boost to unemployment benefits that many laid-off workers have used to pay their rent is set to end July 31. (Katy O'Donnell, Politico)

American Indian Tribes Thwarted in Efforts to Get Coronavirus Data - The CDC has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states.

Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. (Darius Tahir and Adam Cancryn, Politico)

Where Protesters Go, Street Medics Follow - Through Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets, Professional and Amateur Medical Volunteers Have Stepped Forward to Aid the Injured (Emma Grillo, New York Times)

Over 5,000 Scientists Stop Work in Protest Against Systemic Racism in STEM - Thousands of scientists pledged to halt research on Wednesday as part of a protest over systemic racism against black academics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals.  More than 5,000 academics from institutions across the globe signed an online pledge to strike posted by Particles for Justice. (Rebecca Klar, The Hill)


Widespread Mask-Wearing Could Prevent COVID-19 Second Waves: Study - Population-wide face mask use could push COVID-19 transmission down to controllable levels for national epidemics, and could prevent further waves of the pandemic disease when combined with lockdowns, according to a British study on Wednesday. (Kate Kelland, Reuters)

Alarming Rise in Virus Cases as States Roll Back Lockdowns - States are rolling back lockdowns, but the coronavirus isn’t done with the U.S. ... The analysis found that in 21 states as of Monday, the rolling seven-day average of new cases per capita was higher than the average seven days earlier. (Mike Stobbe, Associated Press)

Michigan Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Continue Downward Trajectory, Hit New Lows Since Outbreak's Peak - A seven-day rolling average of new cases has fallen by a third over the past week, to an average of 210 new cases per day. That figure stood at 378 new cases per day a week earlier, according to figures from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Deaths have also fallen. (Crain's Detroit Business)

Public Health Workers Fighting Virus Face Growing Threats - In the battle against COVID-19, public health workers spread across states, cities and small towns make up an invisible army on the front lines. But that army, which has suffered neglect for decades, is under assault when it’s needed most. ...Elected officials and members of the public who are frustrated with the lockdowns and safety restrictions have at times turned public health workers into politicized punching bags, battering them with countless angry calls and even physical threats. (Michelle R. Smith, Lauren Weber and Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Associated Press)


Health Workers Resort To Etsy, Learning Chinese, Shady Deals To Find Safety Gear - The global pandemic has ordinary health care workers going to extremes in a desperate hunt for medical supplies. Community clinics, nursing homes and independent doctors, in particular, find themselves on the fringe of the supply chain for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators. (Eli Cahan and Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News)

Internal Document Reveals Federal Plan to Ask Nurses to Reuse Masks - The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use.  (Emily Kopp, Roll Call)


A Detailed Timeline of All the Ways Trump Failed to Respond to the Coronavirus - Here’s what Trump and the federal government have — and have not — done to respond to the virus: (Cameron Peter, VOX)

Trump’s Decision to Leave W.H.O Came With Bluster, but No Action So Far - Nearly two weeks have passed since President Trump announced he was withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization. To date, none of the levers that would need to be pulled to follow through on that decision has been pulled. (Helen Branswell, STAT)


Immunity to the Coronavirus Remains a Mystery. Scientists Are Trying to Crack the Case - Scientists stress that just because someone has recovered from Covid-19 and produced antibodies to the coronavirus does not mean they are protected from contracting it a second time. No one’s yet proven that. That, then, leaves open the question: What does immunity look like? (Andrew Joseph, STAT)

U.S. Blood Reserves Are Critically Low - The U.S. blood supply is at critically low levels after Covid-19 shutdowns have emptied community centers, universities, places of worship and other venues where blood drives typically occur. The American Red Cross, which supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, said more than 30,000 planned blood drives have been canceled since mid-March. (Amy Dockser Marcus, Wall Street Journal)

A New Embryo-like Model Could Help Scientists Study the ‘Black Box’ of Early Human Development - Researchers have developed the first-ever embryo-like model from human embryonic stem cells, a workaround that will let them examine birth defects and diseases they couldn’t otherwise, given ethical and technical issues with studying a human embryo in the lab. The model resembles a human embryo around 18 to 21 days old — complete with the layers of the cells that will eventually form the nervous system, muscles, the gut, and other cells and structures in the human body. (Natalya Ortolano, STAT)


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: House Will Vote Soon on Bill to Improve ObamaCare - The House will vote the week of June 29 on a bill aimed at improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday.  (Peter Sullivan, The Hill)

Kentucky Governor Pledges Health Coverage to All Black Residents - Offering few specifics, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said his administration is committed to ensuring that 100% of the state’s black residents have health insurance. (Alex Ebert, Bloomberg News)

Millions at High Risk of Severe COVID-19 Outcomes Lack Coverage to Cover Costs - More than 18 million people who were most at risk of experiencing severe outcomes from COVID-19 at the start of the outbreak had the least access to healthcare because they were either uninsured or underinsured, according to a new study. (Steven Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare


U.S. States Accuse 26 Drugmakers of Generic Drug Price Fixing in Sweeping Lawsuit - Twenty-six drug manufacturers were sued on Wednesday by the attorneys general of most U.S. states and several territories, which accused them of conspiring to reduce competition and drive up generic drug prices. (Diane Bartz, Jonathan Stempel, Reuters)

Wholesale Drug Prices — and Net Prices — Keep Falling for Most Drugs - Amid continued political pressure on the pharmaceutical industry, a new analysis finds that brand-name drug makers increased their wholesale prices by 2.3% in the first quarter of this year, a much smaller boost than 3.2% hike that occurred during the same time a year ago. (Ed Silverman, STAT)


Trump Administration Moves to Solidify Restrictive Immigration Policies - Under the cloak of a pandemic and the convulsions of anti-racist protests, the Trump administration continues to advance its policies to restrict legal immigration, halting the flow of foreign workers and raising the bar for asylum seekers hoping for sanctuary. (Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Maggie Haberman, New York Times)

Advocates Sue Trump Administration Over Mass Border Expulsions - It’s the first challenge to the Trump administration’s policy of mass expulsions of border-crossers, under which nearly 45,000 migrants — including 2,000 children — have been pushed out of the U.S. (Dara Lind, ProPublica)

DeVos Issues Rule Barring Colleges from Granting Coronavirus Relief Funds to DACA Recipients - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a rule Thursday that would ban colleges from granting coronavirus relief funds to noncitizens, including those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. (J. Edward Moreno, The Hill)


Coronavirus Could Make America’s Gun Problem Even Deadlier - Stress and isolation combined with another feature of American life — easy access to firearms — could form a deadly brew. …On the other hand, evidence that guns may be misused and do serious harm — to owners and their family members, including children — is substantial and growing. It’s a lopsided balance sheet that should give pause to people who own guns or are considering buying their first gun. (David Studdert, Matthew Miller and Garen Wintemute, New York Times)


How Americans’ Drinking Habits Have Changed During the Pandemic - Stay-at-home orders posed a special challenge to Americans who struggle with addiction and rely on the support of in-person recovery meetings. Many others found their alcohol consumption patterns changed significantly during the pandemic. William Brangham reports on the impact COVID-19 has had on Americans’ substance use -- including consequences that could long outlast the virus. (William Brangham, Leah Nagy, PBS NewsHour).

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