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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

1 in 5 nursing homes had severe PPE and staffing shortages during the pandemic

Around 1 in 5 nursing homes in the U.S. have faced a severe shortage of personal protective equipment or staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research. Researchers looked at data from more than 15,000 nursing homes that submitted data spanning mid-May to mid-June, and separately, mid-June to mid-July. Across both time periods, around 20% of nursing homes reported shortages in PPE, including N95 masks and gowns, and said they had a supply that would last a week or less at the time of reporting data. Around 21% also reported shortages in staff, including nurses and nursing aides. For-profit institutions and those facilities that reported Covid-19 cases among staff and residents were more likely to report PPE shortages, while government-owned institutions and those with a higher proportion of residents on Medicare were likelier to be understaffed. 

In acceptance speech, Biden rips Trump for Covid-19 mismanagement

Joe Biden formally accepted the nomination for the Democratic candidate for president last night, and made the pandemic a focus of his speech. “Cases and deaths will remain far too high,” he warned about the re-election of President Donald Trump. “It didn’t have to be this bad,” Biden lamented about the current U.S. situation, pointing out that the country leads the world in confirmed cases and in deaths — 5.5 million cases and more than 174,000 deaths at last count. “[Trump] keeps waiting for a miracle,” Biden said, adding, “Well, I have news for him. No miracle is coming.” Instead, he shared his vision for a response. “On Day 1, we’ll implement the national strategy I’ve been laying out since March,” Biden said, including rapid testing with immediate results, taking “the muzzle off our experts,” and a national mask mandate. 

Uber Health launches prescription delivery service

Uber Health, the ride share company's medical transportation arm, just launched a prescription delivery service. Uber has partnered with NimbleRx, which says it has seen a spike in on-demand prescription-drug delivery requests as people have been unable to get to pharmacies during the pandemic. For now, the new service is being offered only in Seattle and Dallas, but Uber said that it has plans to expand in the coming months. Uber Health launched in 2018 and has primarily transported patients to and from appointments in hospitals and clinics. But during the pandemic, it began also offering first responders a way to get to work. 

Inside STAT: Wary hemophilia patients say they’re willing to wait longer for a safe gene therapy


The FDA's rejection earlier this week of a hemophilia A drug that many in the industry thought was going to get a green light came as a surprise to patients as well — but many say they're willing to wait if it means companies can get it right. The drug, called Roctavian and developed by BioMarin, seemed to fix the genetic hiccup that leads to hemophilia, but its effect on an important clotting factor waned over time in studies. While the news of the rejection made for a sad day, “[I]t’s also a good day because I think this community has fought long and hard for safety to be a priority,”  Michelle Rice, who has a mild case of the disease and has two sons with severe forms of hemophilia, tells STAT's Elizabeth Cooney. Read more here

U.S. missed out on more than 35,000 more Black physicians because of shuttered schools

There could have been more than 35,000 additional Black physicians had historically Black colleges and universities with a medical program at the beginning of the 20th century not shuttered. In 1910, a national review of medical education programs, called the Flexner report, recommended that the medical programs of only two HBCUs continue to operate. In a new study, researchers extrapolated how many more Black physicians would have graduated had the five other schools that were open at the time of the 1910 report not closed, and found that between 27,700 and 35,300 more doctors would have emerged from these schools in the years between their closure and 2019. Given the current underrepresentation of Black physicians, the authors of the study recommend that HBCUs could consider opening medical programs to repopulate the pipeline with Black students. 

Fewer than 1 in 10 sexually active high schoolers use recommended protection 

Fewer than 10% of high school students use the recommended protection when having sex, according to the latest survey of youth behaviors. Nearly 14,000 high schoolers across the U.S. were surveyed last year about a range of behaviors — including the use of tobacco products, mental health, and safe sex practices — and a quarter said they were sexually active. Of this group, only 9% said they used a condom along with an IUD or other contraceptive, which is the CDC's recommendation for protecting against STDs and unplanned pregnancy. Only about 1 in 2 said they used a condom, which was the most common method of contraception, the last time they had sex. Black and Hispanic students were less likely than their white peers to report using contraception. 

What to read around the web today

  • Long-haulers are redefining Covid-19. The Atlantic
  • 'Hurry, he's dying': A chaplain’s journal chronicles a pandemic's private wounds. The Louisville Courier-Journal
  • Grad students challenge university-mandated COVID-19 agreements. Science
  • China’s research-misconduct rules target ‘paper mills’ that churn out fake studies. Nature
  • Reckoning with our mistakes. Scientific American

Thanks for reading! See you next week, 


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Friday, August 21, 2020


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