An update from our Chief Medical Officer:
Summer is rolling on and many of us are transitioning to back-to-school preparations. Along with binders, pens and notebooks, please ensure you add cloth face masks, Kleenex and hand sanitizer to your shopping lists! It has become clear that young people and children are driving much of the recent surge in cases, so it remains critical to build and reinforce healthy habits into our families, especially if we want to keep our businesses, schools, churches and other venues open this fall. As always, I will provide some scientifically valid, evidence-based updates regarding the current COVID-19 situation.
- QDP continues to survey our patients regarding their perceptions of our safety measures and protocols and new results show very high satisfaction and reassurance. Thank you all for maintaining our very high standards for safety and quality care!!
- Wear your dang mask!!
- This map of how frequently random people wear a mask should be completely purple – let’s all be role models for 100% masking at home, at play, and at work!
- A study this week from UCSF in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that masks reduce viral particle counts, allowing the immune system to lessen the severity of infections and in some cases may prevent infection completely.
- A large study in the British Medical Journal regarding effects of mask wearing reports that mask wearing did not reduce hand hygiene and likely improves safety compliance
- A study published today in JAMA Open Network examined the COVID-19 prevalence among asymptomatic health care workers (HCW) and community residents in Houston.
- There was a 4.8% difference between COVID-19–facing (5.4%) and non–COVID-19–facing (0.6%) HCWs, potentially indicating transmission from patients or coworkers. All nonclinical HCWs and community residents had RT-PCR test results negative for SARS-CoV-2.
- This provides more reassurance that our non-clinical workers remain at very low risk and by screening and triage of patients to reduce COVID-19 exposure in our offices, our clinical team members also have a very low risk of infection
- US cases are plateauing, but our QDP markets mostly still remain on upward trajectory
- Federal report categorizes each state by cases per 100,000 population x last 7 d.
- Only Vermont = Green
- 28 states are Yellow = PA, OH, VA
- 21 states are Red = GA, TN, NC, SC
- As more young healthy people become infected and generally manifest mild symptoms, new evidence shows recovery period is often long, with symptoms like fatigue lasting weeks; mortality rate is very low but there are some tragic deaths in completely healthy young adults so C-19 infection is not always benign
- Even mild C-19 cases can cause long term damage. A study published Monday in JAMA Cardiology details the results of cardiac MRI exams of 100 recovered coronavirus patients. Twenty-eight of them required oxygen supplementation while fighting the virus, while just two were on ventilators. But 78 of them still had cardiovascular abnormalities after recovery, with 60 of them showing “ongoing myocardial inflammation.”
- Vaccine safety was further confirmed in a comprehensive study this week that reviewed all adverse event reporting for all 57 FDA-approved vaccines over the last 20 years and concluded that vaccines are remarkably safe
- Flu vaccine efficacy was further confirmed in a study published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine
- Hospitalized patients >50 yrs old who had flu vaccine had reduced risks for stroke and cardiovascular events AND 73% lower mortality
- Southern Hemisphere showing lowest flu season in decades, likely due to COVID isolation, hygiene and safety measures; may predict better flu season in North America this fall and winter (hopefully!)
- QDP flu vaccination program to be implemented in October for all teams
- COVID-19 vaccine development continues to show great promise; new primate studies show prevention of infection; may be widely available by early 2021
- The emotional toll and stress of this ongoing pandemic will eventually impact every one of us, if it has not already. This Mental Health Resource may be helpful for anyone feeling anxious or depressed. Please continue to support each other and utilize our HealthJoy App as needed for counseling assistance.
- I am also including an insightful essay about the loneliness of physical isolation to which we can all relate during these times; I definitely look forward to handshakes and hugs again sometime soon. Until then, here’s a virtual elbow bump!
Stay well and best wishes,
John Albertini, MD