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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

New Trump plan aims to offer 2 million coronavirus tests per week

The Trump administration just unveiled a new plan that looks to ramp up Covid-19 testing to up to 2 million tests per week. While the plan was short on specifics, a number of companies, including CVS and Walgreens, signed on to help the government by pledging to offer millions of tests per month. And while the new 2-million-tests-per-week initiative dramatically increases the rate of testing, it's still short of what experts say the U.S. will need before people can safely return to work.  STAT's Lev Facher has more here

Here's what else is new with Covid-19: 

  • The much-anticipated results from Gilead's trial testing its experimental drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19 will be released any day now, but experts are concerned that a lack of a control group in the trial will further muddy the waters on whether the medicine is effective. STAT's Matthew Herper and Adam Feuerstein have more here
  • Sixteen of some of the biggest figures in health care, including former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, sent a letter to Congress asking it to approve an additional $46.5 million in funding for expanded testing and tracing efforts. 
  • In a STAT First Opinion, physicians Jeffrey Flier and Vinay Prasad argue that even if some scientists' views on Covid-19 don't match up with the consensus, they deserve to be heard and not attacked. Consensus is important, they write, but "it isn’t uncommon when some of the most important voices turn out to be those of independent thinkers." Read more here
  • In case you missed yesterday's live chat on Covid-19 with STAT's Helen Branswell and former CDC acting director Rich Besser, you can watch their conversation here

1 in 7 adults would avoid seeking care because of an inability to pay, new poll says

One out of every seven, or 14%, U.S. adults would avoid seeking health care for a fever and a dry cough for themselves or a member of their household over concerns about their ability to pay. And 9% report that costs would still prompt them to avoid care even if they may have been infected by Covid-19, according to a new poll by Gallup and West Health, the research and policy organization. Those most likely to avoid seeking care are adults under 30 years old, non-white individuals, those with a high school education or less, and those in households with incomes under $40,000 per year. Among those avoiding care due to cost concerns, 6% of respondents reported they or a family member had been denied care due to heavy patient volume caused by the pandemic. However, this may have reflected state policies that canceled selective surgeries and related appointments. The survey queried 1,107 U.S. adults between April 1 and April 14.

Inside STAT: The pandemic is taking an outsized toll on Filipino American nurses

A tribute to nurses caring for coronavirus patients posted on the website of the Philippine Nurses Association of America. (PHILIPPINE NURSES ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA)

Debbie Accad of Detroit. Celia Yap-Banago from Kansas City. Araceli Buendia Ilagan from Miami. All three were Filipino American nurses, who also share a heartbreaking tie: All died from Covid-19. Recently published death notices show that the pandemic is hitting Filipino American nurses — who make up an estimated 4% of the 150,000 nurses in the U.S. — particularly hard. Now, some in this community are speaking out. “That Filipino American nurses should emerge as one of the key forces in fighting this pandemic is no surprise. It’s also no surprise that they are being exploited and not recognized,” Emil Guillermo, executive director of the Filipino American National Historical Society Museum in Stockton, Calif., tells STAT contributor Usha Lee McFarling. Read more here

People are most comfortable sharing health information for Covid-19 research with doctors

A new survey from PwC finds a majority of people are most comfortable sharing their health information with doctors so the data could be used to help Covid-19 efforts. Here's more from the survey, which looked at consumer behavior as a result of Covid-19: 

  • Sharing data: 59% are very willing to share data with doctors, compared to 31% who say the same for university research centers. Almost a third of people say they're unwilling to share information with pharma or other biomedical companies.  
  • Health information: Nearly 60% of respondents reported getting information about the pandemic from a local or national news source, while about a quarter said they got it from social media or other internet source. 
  • Telehealth: Around 5% of those surveyed they used telemedicine services for the first time. This was especially true for patients with chronic illnesses, 37% of whom reported doing so.

Involving families in sex ed could prevent risky sexual behavior among adolescents

Adding family conversations to preteens and teens’ sex education resulted in less risky sexual behavior among the youth, a new clinical trial finds. Researchers recruited 900 mother-adolescent pairs (kids were aged 11-14) to a trial, and 600 were assigned to receive the intervention. The intervention included providers talking to adolescents' moms in person about the same material that was separately being shared with kids; families receiving printed materials; and providers following up via phone with moms to reinforce the messages in the brochures. At a one-year follow-up, 5% of adolescents in the intervention group shared that they had had sex, compared to 18% of controls. Fewer of those in the intervention group also reported having their first sexual experience in the year prior. The study only included one community clinic, so future steps could include expanding the intervention to other locations, the authors conclude. 

Majority of households are prepared to deal with an emergency situation

A new analysis of household emergency preparedness finds that more than two-thirds of homes met the criteria for emergency preparedness — including having physical resources and some action plans. Looking at data from more than 16,700 households, researchers found that around 69% met at least half of nine actionable measures that the study defined as necessary to be considered prepared. Wealthy households and those whose household heads were at least 65 years old tended to have half or more of the resources considered necessary for emergencies, including a vehicle for transportation, a food stockpile, and the financial resources needed for evacuation. Fewer households had action-based preparedness plans: Only about a quarter had alternative communication plans, while 38% reported having an evacuation meeting point in case of an emergency. 

What to read around the web today

  • What the coronavirus crisis reveals about American medicine. The New Yorker
  • ‘GI tract outside the body’ tests how well oral drugs are absorbed. STAT Plus
  • CDC confirms six coronavirus symptoms showing up in patients over and over. The Washington Post
  • A mother, a pandemic and scorched rice. The New York Times
  • Supreme Court To government: Pay Obamacare insurers. NPR

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Tuesday, April 28, 2020


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