The lack of availability of COVID-19 testing has interfered with the ability to contain the spread of disease. Omai Garner, PhD, laboratory director for Clinical Microbiology in the UCLA health system, explains how PCR testing for COVID-19 works and why testing is in short supply.
In 2003, Toronto was the North American center for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The disease spread through the city’s hospitals before anyone knew what was happening. Dr Allison McGeer was a clinician caring for SARS patients and ultimately was infected herself. She describes her experience as a patient and provider and reviews lessons learned that might help others manage their regional COVID-19 outbreaks.
As COVID-19 spreads, clinicians and health systems are struggling to prepare for a surge of patients. Richard Stone, MD, the US Veterans Health Administration's Executive in Charge, spoke with JAMA about how the VA health system is preparing for this public health emergency.
Chloroquine was shown in 2004 to be active in vitro against SARS coronavirus but is of unproven efficacy and safety in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The drug's potential benefits and risks for COVID-19 patients, without and with azithromycin, is discussed by Dr. David Juurlink, head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is becoming more frequent as the population becomes more obese. This is not a benign problem, and NASH can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. It is thought that NASH will ultimately become the most common cause for liver transplant. NASH is usually diagnosed as an incidental finding, but once found requires careful monitoring and patient counseling. Lisa N. Kransdorf, MD, MPH, from UCLA Health in California, discusses the diagnosis and management of NASH from a primary care clinician's perspective.
Hyperparathyroidism is a fairly common disease that causes elevated calcium levels and bone depletion, resulting in fractures and kidney problems. There are medications that can effectively manage hyperparathyroidism, and in some cases surgery is indicated. Michael Yeh, MD, professor and chief of endocrine surgery at UCLA, discusses the management of hyperparathyroidism.
Emerging information about how SARS-CoV-2 virus infects cells has led to speculation that NSAIDs and ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may worsen clinical disease. Infectious disease physician Carlos del Rio, MD, of Emory University explains the concerns and their clinical implications.
Nathan Pritikin was a college dropout who became an entrepreneur. While doing research for the government during World War II, he observed that populations that had extremely limited food availability because of the war had substantially reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease—something unexpected at a time when cardiovascular disease was thought to be due to stress. After the war when food became more available CVD death rates went back up, resulting in Pritikin concluding that CVD was related to diet. Pritikin devised his own very low-fat diet that bears his name and the diet is still in use 65 years later.
This podcast explains the Pritikin diet to patients. Nathan Pritikin was a college dropout who became an entrepreneur. While doing research for the government during World War II, he observed that populations that had extremely limited food availability because of the war had substantially reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease—something unexpected at a time when cardiovascular disease was thought to be due to stress. After the war when food became more available CVD death rates went back up, resulting in Pritikin concluding that CVD was related to diet. Pritikin devised his own very low-fat diet that bears his name and the diet is still in use 65 years later.
Seattle was one of the first US cities to have a COVID-19 outbreak, with a cluster of nursing home-related deaths. However, many people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus never became ill, and in some the clinical illness was indistinguishable from influenza. John Lynch, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician and medical director for infection prevention and control at the Harborview Medical Center, summarizes his hospital’s experience managing the patients and outbreak.
Seattle has been a focal point for the US in the coronavirus pandemic. Doug Paauw, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, in Seattle, describes the UW primary care clinic experience as this pandemic evolved. Major lessons learned included accommodating for significant numbers of staff not available to work in the clinic because of school closures, change in workflow because of shortages of personal protective equipment, physicians having to accommodate very large numbers of patient queries via telephone, email, or electronic health record, and the importance of the rapid development of local ability to test for SARS-CoV-2 independent of public health agencies.
Coronovirus (the virus SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread throughout the world. In recent weeks, there has been an increasing number of cases and deaths in the US. As concern about the virus increases, there is an increasing need for accurate information about the disease and how much concern we should have. Anthony Fauci, MD, is the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and has been the main spokesperson for the US government about coronavirus. Dr Fauci spoke with JAMA Editor in Chief Howard Bauchner, MD, about where we are as of today with the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.