COVID-19 Trending Stories for Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- LabCorp received the green light from the FDA to begin using its Pixel COVID-19 test as a self-service test people can do at their homes. But the kits are not yet available for wide use, according to the LabCorp website. As with other tests cleared based on emergency use regulations, the FDA did not fully evaluate the test's specificity or accuracy.
- Nurses - mostly through nursing unions - are ramping up their campaign for better safety precautions. In lawsuits filed against hospitals in New York and other states and a protest outside the White House, nurses sought both recognition for healthcare professionals who have died from COVID-19 and adherence to the safety standards that were relaxed by regulators due to the shortage of N95 masks and other protective equipment. Though exact numbers are uncertain, hundreds of physicians, nurses and other frontline healthcare professionals have died during the pandemic. As some hospitals prepare to re-start postponed surgeries, watch this issue get bigger.
- Nursing homes are finally getting the attention that should have been directed that way once the COVID-19 outbreak at a Kirkland, Wash., senior home was discovered in early February. Federal regulators stepped up infection control surveillance at nursing homes on March 23, when 147 nursing homes in 23 states had confirmed COVID-19 cases. Now, nursing homes must promptly report and disclose COVID-19 infections directly to CDC. Nursing homes, much like cruise ships and prisons, are perfect incubators for infectious disease. In New Jersey alone, more than 10,000 nursing home COVID-19 cases and more than 1,700 deaths have been reported.
- Those who are fortunate enough to survive COVID-19 appear to have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. In one recent study, 31% of COVID-19 patients had signs of blood clots after ICU treatment.
- We still don't know a lot about how long the COVID-19 virus remains infectious, but there's another study that suggests it remains virulent longer than other known coronaviruses. A small study from China found evidence of the virus in lung secretions an average of 18 days after symptoms started and in stool 22 days. The researchers say this preliminary data has implications for infection control measures, since the viral load was higher than expected and potentially could transmit disease.