Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

U.S. to send 100 million rapid Covid-19 tests to states and territories in effort to reopen schools

The U.S. just announced that it would be shipping millions of rapid Covid-19 tests to states across the country in an effort to get kids back in school. Around 6.5 million tests from Abbott Laboratories will be sent this week, with a total of 100 million to be shipped to states and U.S. territories in the coming weeks. In an event yesterday in the White House's Rose Garden, assistant health secretary Brett Giroir held up the credit card-sized rapid test and swabbed both his nostrils to demonstrate how it works, adding that results would be ready in 15 minutes (he tested negative). This rapid test, which does not need any specialized equipment, is intended to help teachers know quickly whether they or someone in their class is sick, and is also intended to help parents determine whether to keep their child at home or send them to school. 

In other Covid-19 testing news, the WHO and its partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a plan to roll out 120 million rapid Covid-19 tests as early as next month to help low- and middle-income countries ramp up their testing efforts over the next six months.  

Covid-19, the future of the ACA likely to be topics during tonight's presidential debate 

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will square off tonight at 9 p.m. ET in the first presidential debate of this election, and Covid-19 is one of six topics moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace picked for the event. Biden is likely to criticize the current administration's response to the pandemic and the more than 205,000 deaths in the U.S. Also on the list is the Supreme Court, which will likely mean discussion of Trump's SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett. In a speech over the weekend, for instance, Biden warned that Barrett's confirmation could jeopardize the Affordable Care Act, a law that he helped pass in 2010 and one that's going to be challenged in front of the Supreme Court a week after the election. "This is about people's health care in the middle of a pandemic," Biden said

'Manels' are still common at medical conferences

Despite recent calls to do away with all-male panels at conferences and other events — known as "manels" — women account for fewer than a third of speakers at conferences and invited lectures, according to new research. Researchers evaluated the makeup of nearly 100 medical conferences between March 2017 and November 2018 — featuring upward of 23,000 speakers — and found that women made up 30% of all speakers. And while nearly 37% of sessions were "manels," fewer than 7% of events featured only women. And overall, 96% of all the conferences had at least one all-male panel. Events that included women on planning and steering committees were more likely to also feature women speakers, the study found. 

Inside STAT: As insurers end pandemic-era virtual coverage, some may have to pay more for access


Oct. 1 will mark a significant change in coverage for telehealth — which became ultra-popular during the pandemic — when several private insurers will no longer fully pay for virtual visits under certain circumstances. UnitedHealthcare will terminate a benefit that fully covered patients' virtual visits with their in-network clinician for any non-Covid-19 issue. Anthem will stop waiving the cost of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for virtual visits not related to Covid-19. Many have become reliant on virtual visits during the pandemic, especially older individuals and those with disabilities that made traveling to and from appointments difficult. "For many patients, it’s their lifeline right now — it’s the only way that they’re feeling comfortable or safe receiving care,” one expert tells STAT's Rebecca Robbins and Erin Brodwin. Read more here

Resilience is lowest among young adults in the U.S., report finds

Resilience — the ability to quickly recover from challenges — is lowest among young adults, according to a new report from health care company Cigna. Here's more:

  • The study: Experts analyzed resilience in 16,500 people in the U.S. Low resilience meant trouble focusing on strengths, pessimism about the future, and little social support. Highly resilient individuals seemed able to respond flexibly to stressful situations and had social and institutional support.
  • The findings: Only 22% of those ages 18-23 were deemed highly resilient, compared to 42% of their parents. Full-time workers were more likely than furloughed or part-time employees to demonstrate resilience, but most were still deemed to have low or moderate levels of the quality.
  • Key qualities: Exposure to diversity — including people from different religions and socioeconomic backgrounds — family support, and good physical and mental health were among the determining factors for resilience. 

New health podcast will explore cracks in U.S. health care

Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio have teamed up to launch a new podcast — called "Where It Hurts" — to explore gaps in the U.S. health system, and the first episode was just released. This first season will take listeners to Fort Scott, Kan., to learn what happened after the town's only hospital shuttered in 2018. The seven-episode season explores what emergency care without a hospital now looks like in Fort Scott, how some patients now have to travel more than an hour to get chemotherapy, as well as how the major hospital's shuttering has only widened health disparities. Episodes will be released weekly through Nov. 10, and you can listen to them and learn more about the series here

Correction: Yesterday's item on antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 misstated the study's findings. Only about 10% of the general population had antibodies to Covid-19, but of this group, fewer than 10% had actually been diagnosed with Covid-19. Thanks to the readers who wrote in to help correct the record.

What to read around the web today

  • It's scarier than having a surgery': A year later, uncertainty around medical deferrals remains. WBUR
  • Behind the White House effort to pressure the CDC on school openings. The New York Times
  • An FDA safety program is failing to stem the opioid crisis — and manufacturers are mostly to blame. STAT Plus
  • Portrait of a parent with Alzheimer's. NPR
  • Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 million. Associated Press

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Tuesday, September 29, 2020


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