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Future of Medicine #26

  • Surge after Labor Day?
  • Vaccine logistics
  • Asymptomatic testing
  • Virus mutating
Published every Wednesday


Covid-19 cases could explode after Labor Day: It’s up to us to stop it

Memorial Day came. We celebrated. We burst out of our suffocating homes with a damn-the-torpedoes surge, eager to see the places, family and friends we’d been yearning for during those smothering weeks of isolation.

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What Changing Death Rates Tell Us About COVID-19

From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, estimates of COVID-19’s death rate have been all over the map. They have ranged from less than 1% to as much as 25% in some countries.

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Kaiser Health News

The Overlooked Logistics of Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

In a four-page memo this summer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by October 1 “to coincide with the earliest possible release of Covid-19 vaccine.”

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The Wire

A Good Registry Means Accountable Clinical Trials. But Does India Have One?

Bengaluru: Before the COVID-19 epidemic took off in India, few people were interested in monitoring the goings-on at the Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI).

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The Conversation

Coronavirus: what researchers know about the risk of reopening schools – and how best to limit it

Across the world, over 1.5 billion children and young people were deprived of school during the first phase of the pandemic. We know this has had a negative effect on learning. And research carried out in England has shown that children in deprived areas have fallen furthest behind.

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The US Needs a Coherent Strategy for Asymptomatic Testing

Dr. Sara Cody, health officer of Santa Clara County, California, was tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. Her contact tracers were telling people exposed to COVID-19 that they needed to get tested, but when some went to testing sites, health care providers turned them away because they didn’t have any symptoms.

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High Country News

What sewage can tell us about the spread of COVID-19

Back in March, a colleague mentioned testing wastewater for evidence of COVID-19 in human waste. The next day, Wiedenheft drove down to Bozeman’s wastewater treatment plant to see if he could grab a sample. Given how few cases there were in the area at the time, and that 6 million gallons of water flow through the plant daily, he wasn’t sure if the virus would be detectable. But Wiedenheft immediately found evidence of it — and it kept appearing in the four samples he analyzed over the next 10 days. Wiedenheft worked with local officials to continue regular testing as Bozeman became one of the first cities in the world to look to sewage for answers. Now, cities across the Western United States are sampling wastewater for evidence of SARS-CoV-2 as a potential “early warning” system for outbreaks. Scientists estimate that up to 45% of people infected with the virus show no symptoms. Given that asymptomatic people are less likely to get tested, many cases may go undetected. With many areas experiencing substantial delays in swab test results, daily wastewater testing can give scientists an idea of community infection nearly immediately, Wiedenheft said.

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The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?

Different SARS-CoV-2 strains haven’t yet had a major impact on the course of the pandemic, but they might in future.

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Physician’s Weekly

Antibiotics At the End-of-Life: Helping or Harming?

The following was originally posted by Kelly Cawcutt, MD, to the University of Nebraska Medical Center Division of Infectious Diseases blog.

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Financial Times ($)

Mass testing offers hope of taming the pandemic

For months, the only silver bullets against the menace of the coronavirus pandemic have been seen to be a vaccine or effective treatment. But there is another way in which Covid-19 can be, if not shot through the heart, then at least subdued: mass testing. Government peregrinations over testing, especially in the two big economies with the weakest records on virus handling — Britain and the US — have given it a chequered image. As the northern winter looms, however, and with an increase in coronavirus cases in the UK and elsewhere, governments everywhere should be doing all they can not just to expand existing programmes but to embrace and develop new testing technologies.

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