Contact Tracing Is A Tried-And-True Way To Mitigate Outbreaks, But It’s Also Challenging And Labor-Intensive
Public health experts see contact tracing as an exit ramp from the shutdown, but it could cost billions of dollars to rapidly recruit, train and deploy a massive new work force to undertake the effort. In other public health news: people with disabilities worry pandemic will exacerbate long-held biases against them; scientists continue to research pregnancy and the virus; kids miss measles vaccines amid pandemic; and more.
Experts Call For New National Public Health Workforce To Trace Spread Of COVID-19 Cases
It starts with a phone call from a public health worker: You’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. How do you feel? If you’re feeling sick, you may be asked to self-isolate, get a coronavirus test, and share the contact information for everyone you’ve recently interacted with. (Shubailat, Hill and Siegel, 4/14)
Kaiser Health News:
Massachusetts Recruits 1,000 ‘Contact Tracers’ To Battle COVID-19
Massachusetts is launching an effort to reach everyone in the state who may have the coronavirus and get them tested and into isolation or treatment if needed. The ambitious goal is to stop — not just slow — the destructive power of COVID-19 through the tedious, yet powerful public health tool called contact tracing. Contact tracing starts with a call to someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, and then follow-up with everyone that person was in close contact with — family, friends, colleagues or others they got closer than 6 feet from for more than a brief encounter. (Bebinger, 4/14)
People With Disabilities Say Medical Biases Make Them Fear Pandemic Rationing
It's a moment that people with disabilities have long feared: there's a shortage of life-saving equipment, like ventilators, and doctors say they may be forced to decide who lives and who dies. People with disabilities worry those judgments will reflect a prejudice that their lives hold less value. State health officials have drafted rationing plans that exclude some people with significant disabilities from ventilators and other treatment. (Shapiro, 4/15)
Pressley Says ICU, Ventilator Guidelines Negatively Affect Minorities And Wants Baker To Rescind Them
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley asked Gov. Charlie Baker to rescind COVID-19 crisis care guidelines from the state, citing concerns the guidance around who receives certain medical resources amid any shortages would have a disproportionately negative impact on black and Latino patients and those with disabilities. (Atkins, 4/14)
New Research Makes The Case For Coronavirus Testing Of All Admitted Pregnant Patients
Most of the pregnant women in New York who tested positive for the novel coronavirus were asymptomatic when they delivered, according to a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine. More than one in eight of the asymptomatic patients admitted for delivery tested positive for coronavirus, the research conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital found, making a case for testing all admitted pregnant patients. (Christensen and Holcombe, 4/15)
Pregnant Woman Sick With COVID-19 Gives Birth While In Coma: 'I Was Very Confused'
A new mother from Washington state currently fighting off the novel coronavirus said she woke up “very confused” recently after giving birth while under an induced coma. Angela Primachenko told a local ABC station in an interview published on Tuesday that she had been hospitalized and placed on a ventilator recently after testing positive for the virus. At the time, Primachenko said she had been pregnant. (Folley, 4/14)
MLB Employees To Participate In 10,000-Person Coronavirus Antibody Study
Major League Baseball's players and team employees will participate in a widespread study that is looking to test more than 10,000 individuals for COVID-19 antibodies, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Stanford University, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory are conducting the study, which Passan notes, is unlikely to speed up the process of MLB ending its hiatus on team activities. (Schuster, 4/14)
COVID-19 Put Her Husband in the ICU. She Had to Be Hospitalized Next. The State Demanded to Know: Who Would Care for Their Children?
On the afternoon of March 24, as her symptoms from the coronavirus worsened, Laura Whalen found it difficult to talk. She would run out of breath before finishing a sentence. If she moved, even slightly, she coughed. Her friend Robin, a nurse, grew alarmed at the wispy sound of her voice and urged her to go to the hospital. “Laura,” she said on the phone, “you need to go.”“I’m not leaving my children,” Laura replied. “I’m not going anywhere.” (Sanders and Armstrong, 4/15)
117 Million Kids At Risk Of Missing Measles Vaccine During COVID-19 Pandemic
As countries around the world shut down to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, 117 million kids are at risk of missing the measles vaccine, top health organizations say. Measles immunization campaigns in 24 countries have already been postponed, and more are expected to be delayed, according to the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a health partnership that includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and United Nations Foundation. (Schumaker, 4/14)
COVID-19 Distancing Drives A Halt In Measles Vaccinations
As hospitals and clinics across the country limit "non-essential" healthcare services to stem the spread of the coronavirus, experts worry that the postponement of routine immunizations could lead to an outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases after social distancing practices begin to relax. Last month, the World Health Organization's issued guidance recommending countries temporarily suspend their mass preventive immunization campaigns, suggesting they design "strategies for catch-up vaccination" after the outbreak. (Johnson, 4/14)