COVID-19 Daily: Hydroxychloroquine 'Concerns,' Financial Aid Request

Ellie Kincaid

April 08, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Here are the coronavirus stories Medscape's editors around the globe think you need to know about today: 

Hydroxychloroquine Study "Concerns"

The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC) has issued a statement expressing "concerns" about the paper that sparked hope that hydroxychloroquine may be a promising treatment for COVID-19, which an ISAC journal published in late March. 

"The ISAC Board believes the article does not meet the Society's expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety," the ISAC president wrote in the statement. 

Clinician Groups Seek Financial Help

The American Medical Association and scores of other specialty and state medical associations have written to the federal government to request payment of 1 month's worth of prepandemic revenue to every physician, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid to make up for their current financial losses. 

"We've heard from many physician practices that they have trouble making payroll," an official at the American College of Physicians told Medscape Medical News. "Many of them are not seeking any money out of the practices for themselves right now. They're just trying to keep their staff employed." 

Testing Viral Transmission Through Masks

In a simulation study, four COVID-19 patients in South Korea wore cotton or surgical masks and coughed into petri dishes so scientists could test how effectively the masks blocked viral spread through aerosols. Even when the patients wore masks, scientists still detected SARS-CoV-2 in the petri dishes in most cases, they reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine

However, the scientists acknowledged that their study, "does not reflect the actual transmission of infection from patients with COVID-19 wearing different types of masks."

New York and New Jersey 

The number of COVID-19 cases in New York and New Jersey may be starting to level off, the two state's governors said in separate briefings earlier this week. On Wednesday, the single-day death counts were the highest yet in both states — 779 in New York and 275 in New Jersey. 

Hero, or Outcast? 

As an emergency medicine physician, Amy Faith Ho, MD, has never seen her field more publicly lauded than during the current COVID-19 pandemic, she writes in Medscape. But despite the headlines calling healthcare workers "heroes," she also hears stories of doctors pushed away by family, friends, neighbors, and strangers out of fear of contagion. 

"We never wanted to choose between family and work, even though now more than ever it feels like we are," Ho writes. 

An Ethicist's View on Rationing Aid

As hospitals and health systems prepare policies on how to allocate resources such as critical care beds and ventilators, the head of New York University's medical ethics division explained in a video commentary the considerations that go into developing such a policy and the transparency necessary in implementing them. 

"We have to be prepared to make very tough decisions about ending support when we might not have under normal circumstances," he said. 

FEMA Seized Hospital Supply Orders

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has seized some orders of supplies such as personal protective equipment en route to states and hospitals and allocated them elsewhere, the New York Times reported. Federal officials said they are trying to expedite shipments and prioritize areas with more severe outbreaks. 

Airway Management Webinar

The European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) is offering a webinar on Thursday, April 6, at 4 PM Brussels time, 3 PM London time, and 10 AM New York time for clinicians involved in anesthesia, intensive care, and critical emergency medicine for COVID-19 patients.

In Memoriam

As front-line healthcare workers care for patients with COVID-19, they commit themselves to difficult, draining work and also put themselves at risk for infection. Hundreds throughout the world have died. 

Medscape has published a memorial list to commemorate them. We will continue updating this list as, sadly, needed. Please help us ensure this list is complete by submitting names with an age, profession or specialty, and location through this form

Ellie Kincaid is Medscape's associate managing editor. She has previously written about healthcare for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and Nature Medicine.

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