COVID-19 Daily: More Will Die, First Antibody Test Authorized

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APRIL 04, 2020 -- Here are the coronavirus stories Medscape's editors around the globe think you need to know about today: 

ID Experts: More Will Die Than Predicted 

Anticipate a higher death rate from COVID-19 than originally predicted. That's the message from leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), who spoke at a press briefing yesterday. 

The society highlights what it's going to take to mitigate and contain the virus, and it provides further insights on test accuracy, social distancing, and containment strategies.

FDA Authorizes Rapid Antibody Test

A newly available antibody test may help evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 20 minutes or less. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted Cellex an emergency use authorization to market the first rapid antibody test for COVID-19.

The test, which indicates the presence of IgM, IgG, or both antibodies against the virus, demonstrated a nearly 94% positive percent agreement with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) during premarket testing and a 96% negative percent agreement with RT-PCR.

MDedge explains how the test works and that negative test results do not rule out infection. 

Muzzling of Healthcare Workers Can Threaten Public Health

Hospitals who attempt to silence frontline workers about poor conditions, including lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, are putting clinicians and the public at risk, physician groups say. In recent weeks, healthcare professionals have reported being reprimanded or even terminated for publicly discussing PPE shortages or sharing safety concerns. Other clinicians say they can't share their experiences for fear of reprisal by their hospitals. 

COVID-19 and Skin Conditions   

A new study by dermatologists in Italy finds that a marked portion of COVID-19 patients may experience skin manifestations. Of 88 COVID-19 patients studied, about one fifth developed skin manifestations, according to an analysis conducted at the Alessandro Manzoni Hospital in Lecco, Italy. About 44% of those with skin manifestations experienced skin eruptions at symptom onset, while the rest occurred following hospitalization. 


MDedge reports what type of skin manifestations were identified in the analysis and whether the skin ailments correlated with disease severity. 

Mental Health Worsening

A perfect storm of negative effects from the pandemic is wreaking havoc on Americans' mental health. In a poll conducted March 25-30, 45% of Americans reported that stress from the health crisis was harming their mental health, up from 32% just 2 weeks earlier, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds.   

Women were more likely than men to report a major negative impact on their mental health as were blacks and Hispanics, compared with whites, according to the survey. MDedge details what type of worries are fueling the spike in negative feelings.  

Ventilators Arrive in New York

New York is set to receive much-needed ventilators thanks to the Chinese government. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) says 1000 donated ventilators are scheduled to arrive in New York by today.

During a press conference today, Cuomo said the donations were made by the Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation and facilitated by the Chinese government, the same foundation that donated 1 million surgical masks, 1 million KN95 masks, and more than 100,000 pairs of goggles to the state. The state is also set to receive ventilators from Oregon's stockpile. Cuomo said Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) volunteered to provide New York with 140 ventilators. 

The donations appeared to come just in time, as Cuomo said earlier in the week that the state had just 6 days left before running out of ventilators in the state's stockpile. 

In Memoriam

Medscape has published a memorial list to commemorate healthcare workers who have died of COVID-19. 

We will continue updating this list as needed. Please help us ensure this list is complete by submitting names with an age, profession or specialty, and location through this form

Alicia Gallegos is a Medscape and MDedge reporter who writes about health law and healthcare policy. She has previously written for American Medical NewsACP Internist, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. 


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