Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of June 22, 2020 – June 26, 2020.

NPR (6/19, Stone) reported, “As much of the country presses forward with reopening, a growing number of cities and states are finding that the coronavirus outbreak now has a foothold in a younger slice of the population, with people in their 20s and 30s accounting for a larger share of new coronavirus infections.” According to “some public health experts...the increase is because some younger adults may perceive they are less at risk than their parents or grandparents and are more likely to venture back into society as it reopens – that could mean going to restaurants or social gatherings or returning to the workplace.”

The Hill (6/20, Wilson) reported, “The spikes suggest young adults are both more likely to hold frontline service jobs that put them at risk, and more likely to ignore some of the social distancing practices advised by health experts.” The hotspots that are most troubling “are now concentrated in Sun Belt states such as Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas,” as “all five of those states have reported more than 1,000 new cases per day this week, making them the only five states to break the four-digit barrier during that period.”

Reuters (6/22, Mishra) reports researchers at the CDC found “fewer Americans were admitted to emergency departments with life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.” According to the CDC report, when comparing ED visits 10 weeks after the national emergency declaration to 10 weeks before, ED visits for heart attacks decreased 23%, ED visits for strokes decreased 20%, and ED visits for hyperglycemic crisis decreased 10%.

The Hill (6/22, Hellmann) reports the CDC report said, “The substantial reduction in [emergency department] visits for these life-threatening conditions might be explained by many pandemic-related factors including fear of exposure to COVID-19, unintended consequences of public health recommendations to minimize non-urgent health care, stay-at-home orders, or other reasons.” The CDC report added, “The finding suggests that patients with these conditions either could not access care or were delaying or avoiding seeking care during the early pandemic period.”

NPR (6/23, Huang) reports researchers found many people with “asymptomatic” coronavirus infections “developed signs of minor lung inflammation – akin to walking pneumonia – while exhibiting no other symptoms of coronavirus.” The findings were published in Nature Medicine.

Newsweek (6/24, Gander) reports research indicates that “menopause could raise a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease due to hormonal changes.” The study, which used PET and MRI, revealed that “women scored worse than men in four biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.” For example, “they had 30% more beta amyloid plaques in the brain, on average, and their brains didn’t process sugar as well.” What’s more, “the abnormalities were strongest in those who had reached menopause, followed by those on hormone replacement therapy, those who had a hysterectomy, and women diagnosed with thyroid disease.”

MedPage Today (6/24, George) reports that “compared with their male counterparts, cognitively normal middle-age women showed higher beta-amyloid loads, lower glucose metabolism, and lower gray and white matter volumes,” the study found. The findings of the 121-participant study were published online in the journal Neurology.

The AP (6/25, Miller, Marchione) reports the CDC estimates “that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.” The AP adds the CDC’s “estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed.”

Reuters (6/25, Holland) reports the CDC’s estimate “is based on serology testing used to determine the presence of antibodies that show whether an individual has had the disease.” If the estimate is accurate it would suggest the fatality rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. “is lower than thought.”

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

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