Is It Safe for Me to Go to Work?

Just for fun —YouTube (~3 minute video): The Swish Machine: 70 Step Basketball Trickshot (Rube Goldberg Machine)


Full text —MR Larochelle. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2013413. NEJM: Is It Safe for Me to Go to Work?

An excerpt:

I believe that a strategy to protect at-risk workers needs at least three components: a framework for counseling patients about the risks posed by continuing to work, urgent policy changes to ensure financial protections for people who are kept out of work, and a data-driven plan for safe reentry into the workforce…

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published guidance and proposed a scheme for classifying the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection as high, medium, or low based on potential contact with persons who may or do have the virus (www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf. opens in new tab). Low-, medium-, and high-risk categories of individual risk of death from Covid-19 are based on age and the presence of high-risk chronic conditions identified by the CDC…

As states move to reopen their economies, millions of nonessential employees will join essential employees in putting themselves at risk for contracting SARS-CoV-2 at work. Physicians should engage patients in individualized risk assessments. Our society has the moral imperative and means to provide vulnerable employees a financial safety net until we can better ensure their workplace safety.

Related blog post: @Atul_Gawande: How to Reopen

“Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Pediatric Gastroenterologist”

Full Text: KF Murray, BD Gold, R Shamir et al. JPGN 2020; 70: 720-6. Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Pediatric Gastroenterologist. This article includes CME availability too!

Some excerpts:

  • The latest global count updates can be found at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/.
  • SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the genus Betacoronavirus, and phylogenetically related (88%–89% similarity) to the two bat-derived SARS-like coronaviruses, bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21….
  • Routine gastroenterology practice poses increased risk of exposure and potential viral transmission during ambulatory interaction, especially during endoscopic procedures…
  • The use of telemedicine is now a critical tool for the pediatric gastroenterologists and their patients, whether in the academic setting or private practice…The recently published AAP guideline, entitled Telehealth Payer Policy in Response to COVID-19 (https://downloads.aap.org/DOPA/Telehealth_2_rev.pdf and https://www.aap.org/en-us/professional-resources/practice-transformation/telehealth/Pages/compendium.aspx), which outlines policy changes aiming to alleviate barriers to telehealth care, along with a webinar on telehealth and guidance on structuring your practice during the pandemic are tools that can be employed in both the academic and private practice pediatric gastroenterologist office to facilitate ongoing quality care of their patients

My take: This article provides a concise update and numerous resources.  As the information about the coronavirus is rapidly changing, the recommendations will continue to evolve.

Also, JPGN has a large number of articles available on its COVID-19 page: Link: COVID-19 page This page includes articles related to endoscopy, PPE, telemedicine, and central line infections.  Also, based on a personal communication, there will be a link to a recently published article soon on “Pediatric Crohn’s Disease and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and COVID-19 Treated With Infliximab.”(Dolinger M T, Person H, Smith R, et al. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition 2020;  PMID: 32452979 DOI: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002809)

@AllergyKidsDoc: Deep Down the Rabbit Hole of Bias, Plus Two

NPR: From Camping To Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities

This article describes the potential risks for dining out, staying at hotels, getting a haircut (ask your stylist to focus on cutting and not talking), going to the beach/pool and other activities.


Moving NY Times Graphic on coronavirus toll in U.S. (May 24, 2020): An Incalculable Loss: Remembering the Nearly 100,000 Lives Lost to Coronavirus in America


A recent lecture by Dave Stukus: Deep Down the Rabbit Hole of Biases, Conspiracies, and Echo Chambers (50 minutes). Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference.

This lecture summarizes some of the challenges of misinformation and quackery.

Some interesting points:

  • Explains common biases which lead us to faulty conclusions
  • Illustrates some far-fetched claims for Himalayan Salt Lamp as a treatment for asthma as well as Dr. Oz’s unproven recommendations for the coronavirus
  • Provides several books for those interested in learning a lot more (see last slide)

Some slides:

 

 

Related blog posts:

 

Not Curing Obesity with Fecal Microbiota Transplantation & More on Remdesivir

A recent pilot (n=22) double-blind study (JR Allegrett et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 855-63) pours cold water on the idea that repopulating one’s microbiome would be helpful in treating obesity.

In this study, the authors examined obese patients without diabetes, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or metabolic syndrome.  In the treatment group, patients received FMT by capsules: 30 capsules at week 4 and then a maintenance dose of 12 capsules at week 8.  All FMT was derived from a single lean donor.

Key findings:

  • There were no significant changes in mean BMI at week 12 in either group.
  • Patients in the FMT group had sustained shifts in microbiomes associated with obesity toward those of the donor (P<.001).  In addition, bile acid profiles became more similar to the donor.

My take: Though this was a small study, it suggests that changing the microbiome by itself is likely insufficient to result in significant weight loss.

Related blog posts:

JH Beigel et al. NEJM DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2007764 (May 22, 2020): Full text: Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report

This was a a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous remdesivir in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 with evidence of lower respiratory tract involvement (n=1063).

Key findings:

  • Faster recovery for remdesivir recipients: 11 days vs 15 days
  • Lower mortality rate: 7.1% with remdesivir and 11.9% with placebo (hazard ratio for death, 0.70, 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.04) (mortality difference did not reach statistical significance)

 

 

Nationwide Coronavirus Data Skewed & More on Masks

The CDC, along with numerous states, are currently using aggregated viral testing that include assays for current infection along with antibody testing that detects prior infections.  This muddies the picture on actual current coronavirus cases and makes it more difficult to determine if we are heading in the right direction.

From The Atlantic: ‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?

An excerpt:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus…

The widespread use of the practice means that it remains difficult to know exactly how much the country’s ability to test people who are actively sick with COVID-19 has improved….

Georgia …has also seen its COVID-19 infections plateau amid a surge in testing. Like Texas, it reported more than 20,000 new results on Wednesday, the majority of them negative. But because, according to The Macon Telegraph, it is also blending its viral and antibody results together, its true percent-positive rate is impossible to know…

On a national scale, they call the strength of America’s response to the coronavirus into question…the portion of tests coming back positive has plummeted, from a seven-day average of 10 percent at the month’s start to 6 percent on Wednesday…The intermingling of viral and antibody tests suggests that some of those gains might be illusory.


Related blog posts: