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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Good morning! STAT reporter Andrew Joseph here filling in for the day. 

Another problem with the Covid response? Denial

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(alex hogan/Stat)

There have been well-documented problems with the response in the U.S. and other countries to the coronavirus pandemic: a failure to prepare, testing debacles, and opposition to physical distancing. But as STAT’s Helen Branswell writes, “a subtler, less-recognized factor contributed to the wasting of precious weeks in January and February, when preparations to try to stop the virus should have kicked immediately into high gear." Read Helen’s piece on how the “magical thinking” — or, in another word, “denial” — that occurred as the outbreak was centered in China set the world behind.
 
Other pandemic news:

  • The Trump administration announced Sunday that nursing homes with Covid-19 cases would now be required to notify residents, their families, and the CDC. 
  • As the world debates if and how wet markets should operate, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said Friday that the markets — which sell meat and produce, but often also have wild game — “are an important source of affordable food and livelihood for millions of people.” But given that some 70% of new human viruses spill over from animals, he said that the markets should only operate “on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards.”
  • The NIH has started a public-private partnership with 16 drug companies to coordinate work on Covid-19 drugs and vaccines.
  • French doctors reported a rare case of "necrotizing pneumonia" in a patient with Covid-19.

Even amid a pandemic, hospitals are the safest place to give birth, pediatricians say

More women are giving birth at home, but in a policy statement this morning, the American Academy of Pediatrics stressed that hospitals and accredited birth centers are the safest places to give birth in the U.S. According to the statement, which updates recommendations from 2013, home births are associated with higher rates of infant mortality and complications. Still, home births have grown more common, with the biggest increase coming among white women, more than 2% of whom give birth at home. The policy statement does not address the coronavirus pandemic, but lead author Kristi Watterberg said that hospitals still remain the best place for a birth and noted that the pandemic could delay emergency transport to a hospital should complications arise during a home birth.

Study backs up early colorectal cancer screenings

The incidence of colorectal cancer has been on the rise in people under 50, so more than a decade ago, experts started recommending those with a family history of the disease — the second leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths — start being screened around age 40. Now, new research validates those recommendations. For the study, researchers looked at more than 2,400 people age 40 to 49 with colorectal cancer. They found that one-quarter of them should have been screened based on family history, meaning they could have been diagnosed sooner. More here. 

Inside STAT: Answers to all your questions about Covid immunity — and what can't be answered yet


A Covid-19 antibody test (Alex hogan/STAT)

Everyone is hoping that people who recover from Covid-19 are protected for some time from another infection. That's even the expectation, based on what scientists know about the immune system and other pathogens, including other coronaviruses. But as political leaders push to find ways to let people return to their lives, some experts are cautioning that there remain plenty of questions about this virus — which has only been on people's radars for four months — and if and how long people will be immune after recovery. Here, we outline what's known, what's assumed, and what scientists are still trying to find out. 

FDA notches victory over untested Covid treatment

Whether it’s tests or treatments or PPE, plenty of alleged hucksters are using the pandemic to try to make a buck with shoddy products. The FDA and FTC, for example, had warned the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing over its “Miracle Mineral Solution" that it was selling to treat Covid-19. According to the FDA, however, the solution in combination with an activator acts like bleach. Now, a federal court has stepped in and is requiring Genesis to stop distributing the solution. The government hopes to extend the injunction.

Mouse study explores exercise effect in pregnancy

A study has found that pregnant mice that exercised every day built up more stores of “good” brown fat — which promotes stronger metabolism — than pregnant mice kept away from treadmills, and that those differences were reflected in their litters. The mice that exercised during pregnancy and their offspring also had higher levels of apelin (a hormone produced during exercise). The study suggested that activity during pregnancy may lower the likelihood of obesity in children, though a mouse study cannot prove that. It also raised the idea of a therapeutic approach: pregnant mice injected with apelin had offspring with more brown fat, suggesting the hormone might mimic the effects of activity.

What to read around the web today

  • After a hard-won political fight, this state expanded access to insulin. Can others follow its lead? STAT Plus
  • This Harvard epidemiologist is very popular on Twitter. But does he know what he’s talking about? Chronicle of Higher Education
  • First Opinion: Doctors discover telehealth’s silver lining in the Covid-19 crisis. STAT
  • CDC labs were contaminated, delaying coronavirus testing, officials say. New York Times
  • After declining for years, anxiety and insomnia prescriptions start to climb. STAT Plus

Thanks for reading!

Shraddha

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Monday, April 20, 2020

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