Pandemic won't be contained until June, half of physicians say; FDA withholds emergency approval for plasma — 5 COVID-19 updates

Nearly half of physicians don't think the pandemic will be under control until after June 2021, according to The Physicians Foundation's 2020 Survey of America's Physicians. 

The foundation surveyed 3,513 physicians nationwide between July 15-26, about two-thirds of whom were in primary care specialties. The majority (86 percent) of physicians said COVID-19 won't be under control until at least January 2021. 

Five updates:

1. COVID-19 hospital death rates don't vary by race, according to a study published Aug. 18 in JAMA Network Open. Researchers examined data from 11,210 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between Feb. 19 and May 31, in 92 hospitals across 12 states. Though current reports suggest that Black patients represent a disproportionate share of COVID-19 infections and death nationwide, mortality for those able to access hospital care did not differ in this study.

2. The FDA paused plans to issue an emergency use authorization for blood plasma after top health officials said data on the experimental COVID-19 treatment was too weak, two senior White House officials told The New York Times. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, MD, and National National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, MD, were among the health officials urging FDA to hold off on the authorization. They argued that recent data on plasma from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic was not strong enough to warrant emergency approval, officials told the Times.

3. Eighty-five public health organizations launched a campaign Aug. 18 to promote routine vaccinations during the pandemic. The "Keep Up The Rates" initiative encourages Americans to receive recommended vaccines that may have been missed or postponed due to the pandemic.

4. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, is urging nations to join a global pact to prevent "vaccine nationalism," reports NPR. Dr. Tedros on Aug. 18 said he sent a letter to WHO's 194 member states, encouraging them to join the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility. Countries involved in the pact will purchase shares of various vaccines in development and strategically share them with one another. The WHO plans to finalize the pact's terms by Aug. 31.

5. Healthcare workers who develop severe COVID-19 illness or are immunocompromised should stay home from work for 10 to 20 days after symptom onset, according to an updated CDC guidance

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 5,482,823
Deaths: 171,833
Recovered: 1,898,159

Counts reflect data available as of 8:05 a.m. CDT Aug. 19.

More articles on public health:
States ranked by COVID-19 cases — Aug. 19
23 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Aug. 19
5 public health issues flaring up amid the pandemic 

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