COVID-19 Daily: Curve Flattened, Earlier Community Spread

Ellie Kincaid

May 29, 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:

Social Distancing Flattened the Curve, Studies Say 

Two new modeling studies indicate that social distancing interventions flattened the curve of COVID-19 hospitalizations compared with projections. In one, the deviations between observed cases and worst-case projections in four states — Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, and Virginia ­­— began within 8-10 days of stay-at-home orders. 

Earlier US Community Spread 

New evidence suggests that sustained community spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States was likely happening earlier than thought, before detection of the first two nontravel-related cases in the country in late February. 

Taken together, syndromic surveillance, virus surveillance, phylogenetic analysis, and retrospectively identified cases indicate that US community transmission likely began in the latter half of January or early February after a single imported case from China, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Response Team. 

Active Cancer Increases Death Risk

Patients with COVID-19 and progressing cancer had a five-fold increase in the risk for 30-day mortality compared with COVID-19–positive cancer patients who were in remission or had no evidence of cancer, according to registry data

"This does confirm reports that have come out from other centers, including other parts of the world, where they have found that people who have cancer and COVID-19 have a worse outcome," said one expert who was not involved in the research.

APA Lobbies to Make Telehealth Waivers Permanent

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is calling on Congress to permanently lift restrictions that have allowed unfettered delivery of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, which experts say has been a boon to patients and physicians alike. The APA is also asking for the elimination of the rule that requires clinicians to have an initial face-to-face meeting with patients before they can prescribe controlled substances.

Trump Says US Is "Terminating" Relationship With WHO

US President Donald Trump said he is terminating the country's relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reports. In a Friday appearance in the White House Rose Garden where he made the announcement, Trump also said the WHO had essentially become a puppet organization of China and had failed to make reforms to the organization he had demanded earlier this month.

COVID-19 Symptoms

The general public and healthcare professionals are both acutely focused on recognizing any potential new symptoms associated with COVID-19, which explains why it was this week's trending clinical topic. Medscape's reference editors sum up the available information with an infographic. 

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. More than 1000 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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