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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

I'm back! Thanks to my colleagues who filled in for me. Now, on to today's news.

CDC advisory group holding emergency meeting today on Covid-19 vaccine allocation

The big thing we're watching today is this afternoon's emergency meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the group that recommends how and to whom vaccines in the U.S. are deployed. In recent days, both Pfizer and Moderna have requested emergency use authorization from the FDA for their Covid-19 vaccines, increasing the likelihood of a vaccine before the end of the year. With these developments also come questions on who will be first in line to get a vaccine, and the ACIP will consider a proposal on prioritizing health care providers and residents of long-term care facilities for a vaccine. The group of experts will also discuss how an available vaccine ought to be monitored for safety once it is distributed. CDC Director Robert Redfield will have to sign off on any ACIP recommendations before they can be enacted. 

Majorities of people across the U.S. support restrictive measures to curb Covid-19 spread

Six in 10 people across all 50 U.S. states support a combination of restrictive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to a new survey from the Covid States Project. Nearly 20,000 people were surveyed between Nov. 3-23 about their views on seven measures to help stop the spread of the pandemic, including restricting travel and large gatherings, and 60% or more supported all seven measures. Large majorities in every state supported five of the seven measures, the exceptions being prohibiting in-person K-12 instruction and closing nonessential businesses. Across the board — including across party lines — people were least supportive of closing businesses beyond pharmacies and grocery stores.

Those with Alzheimer's disease more likely to miss bill payments before diagnosis

New research underscores how financial distress could be a sign of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In a study of more than 81,000 Medicare beneficiaries living on their own, researchers found that those with Alzheimer's disease were more likely to miss bill payments in the six years prior to being diagnosed. These individuals' credit scores also started to dip in the 2.5 years before diagnosis, suggesting financial troubles. The study further found that this kind of financial distress sometimes persisted even after an Alzheimer's diagnosis. In the absence of treatment for Alzheimer's, early detection of the disease could not only prevent progression but also help protect people and their families from financial trouble, the authors suggest. 

Inside STAT: Across the U.S., grassroots supply networks are struggling to fill the PPE void


Personal protective equipment, or PPE, was scarce across the board at the start of the pandemic and large hospitals and smaller facilities alike were facing these shortages. But as the pandemic has worn on, large institutions have been able to shore up their supply of masks, gowns, gloves, and other protective gear, but smaller facilities such as homeless shelters and nurses' offices in schools are still struggling to get what they need. To help bridge the gap, grassroots organizations including Get Us PPE and 1M Masks to NYC HealthCare Workers have taken matters into their own hands, often by soliciting donations for PPE to distribute to places with few resources. STAT contributor Irena Hwang has more

How 'disabilities' are defined in children could mean differences in national estimates 

Different definitions for "disabilities" could mean vast discrepancies in how many children in the U.S. are classified as disabled, according to a new analysis. The analysis looked at five common definitions and found that the most restrictive definition — which emphasized functional limitations in a child — could mean only about 5% of U.S. children are classified as having disabilities. At the same time, a broader definition emphasizing the frequency at which children experience a limit on their physical or mental abilities found 14% of the U.S. pediatric population could have disabilities. The findings could have implications for disability research, the authors write, but also for decisions that could influence care and policies in this group.

And the word of the year is ...

"Pandemic," according to many leading dictionary companies. Covid-19 has utterly consumed our lives this year, and it's no surprise that "pandemic" has been chosen by both and Merriam-Webster as their word of the year for 2020. When the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, searches for the word that day on spiked nearly 14,000% compared to 2019, the website shared, while Merriam-Webster said that its website saw a nearly 116,000% spike in searches for "pandemic" on that same day. And although the Oxford English Dictionary didn't pick a single word, many of those it chose for the year are pandemic-related, including "Covid-19," "lockdown," and "bubbles."

What to read around the web today

  • The race to make vials for coronavirus vaccines. The New Yorker
  • “We don’t even know who is dead or alive”: Trapped inside an assisted living facility during the pandemic. ProPublica
  • Burr, in line to lead Senate Republicans’ health strategy, has a long history of antagonizing the FDA. STAT Plus
  • Scott Atlas resigns as Trump's coronavirus adviser. Politico
  • How a bidding war for Covid-19 nurses hurts the pandemic response. Undark

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Tuesday, December 1, 2020


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