Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Dec. 28, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021.

USA Today (12/23, Weintraub) reported, “The federal government is close to delivering 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the month of December, as promised, but states are taking longer than expected to get those doses into people’s arms, officials admitted Wednesday.” Approximately “15.5 million doses will be delivered by the end of the year, with the remaining 5 million arriving between Jan. 4-6, said Gen. Gus Perna, who co-leads Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.” However, “only about 1 million of the 9 million doses distributed so far have been reported administered, his co-lead Moncef Slaoui confirmed during a news conference.”

The AP (12/28) reports that research suggests “children are more at risk of contracting coronavirus at a social gathering than in a classroom or childcare setting.” This “study found that compared with children who tested negative, those who tested positive were more likely to have attended gatherings and have had visitors at home,” and “parents or guardians of children who were infected were less likely to report wearing masks at those gatherings.” The study “was featured in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dec. 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

The New York Times (12/29, Mandavilli) reports that “dozens of research papers published over the past few months found that people whose bodies were teeming with the coronavirus more often became seriously ill and more likely to die, compared with those who carried much less virus and were more likely to emerge relatively unscathed.” The results “suggest that knowing the so-called viral load – the amount of virus in the body – could help doctors predict a patient’s course, distinguishing those who may need an oxygen check just once a day, for example, from those who need to be monitored more closely, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University in New York.”

The Hill (12/30, Guzman) reports, “Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday said the new strain of” coronavirus “originally discovered in the United Kingdom and now reported in Colorado has likely been spreading undetected in the U.S.” According to CNN, during a Wednesday briefing, Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager with the CDC, said, “Public health authorities in Colorado detected a variant that was first identified in the UK, in a person who reported no travel history, the lack of reported travel history suggests this variant has been transmitting from person to person in the United States.”

The Washington Post (12/30, Sellers, Brulliard, Stanley-Becker, Achenbach) reports, “Colorado officials are investigating a second suspected infection with the mutation-laden variant of the coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom and is believed to be more transmissible.”

CNBC (12/30, Feuer) reports CDC officials said Wednesday that the new strain “now circulating in the U.S. could further stress hospitals that are already overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.”

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post (12/26), American Medical Association Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H.‎, past-president of the American Public Health Association Camara Phyllis Jones, Advancing Health Equity founder and CEO Uché Blackstock, and National Birth Equity Collaborative president Joia Crear Perry wrote about the treatment of Dr. Susan Moore, a Black family physician who died from COVID-19 after alleging she was mistreated by her health care provider due to her race. In a Facebook video about her treatment prior to her death, Dr. Moore said, “This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.” According to the opinion piece, “Moore’s video offers a glimpse...of the injustice at the intersection of being a health-care provider and being a person of color during [COVID-19], and what happens when the system does not work to adequately care for the very people who are there to uphold it.” The authors of the piece urge, “As a nation, we need to understand four key messages about racism: Racism exists. Racism is a system. Racism saps the strength of the whole society. We must act to dismantle racism.”

AMA Morning Rounds news coverage is developed in affiliation with Bulletin Healthcare LLC. Subscribe to Morning Rounds Daily.

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