Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Nov. 30, 2020 – Dec. 4, 2020.

NPR (11/26, Hamilton) reported “the actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers. The model “calculated that the true number of infections is about 8 times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test.” NPR added, “Preliminary estimates using the model found that by the end of September, 52.9 million people had been infected, while the number of laboratory-confirmed infections was just 6.9 million, the team reported in...Clinical Infectious Diseases.”

The Washington Post (11/27, Chiu) reports “research...suggests that adverse financial events associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias...can start happening years before people are clinically diagnosed.”

MedPage Today (11/30, George) reports that investigators “linked consumer credit report outcomes from 1999 to 2018 to claims data for 81,364 Medicare beneficiaries living in single-person households.” The study revealed that “as early as six years before they were diagnosed with dementia, people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias were more likely to miss credit account payments than their peers without dementia.” In addition, they “were more likely to develop subprime credit scores 2.5 years before their dementia diagnosis,” researchers concluded. The findings were published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The New York Times (12/1, Goodnough) reports that “an independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Tuesday to recommend that residents and employees of nursing homes and similar facilities be the first people in the United States to receive coronavirus vaccines, along with health care workers who are especially at risk of being exposed to the virus.”

The Washington Post (12/1, Sun, Stanley-Becker) reports, “These groups were deemed the highest priority by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, because the vaccine will initially be in extremely short supply after it is cleared by federal regulators.”

STAT (12/1, Branswell) reports, “The recommendation must still be accepted by CDC Director Robert Redfield.” According to STAT, “The agency will then issue its guidance on who should get priority access, though final decisions will rest with the states.”

Politico (12/1, Lim) reports, “Groups representing health care workers and long-term care facilities praised the panel’s recommendations.” For instance, Susan R. Bailey, M.D., president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement, “By first vaccinating our frontline health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities against COVID-19, we will help ensure patients continue to receive vital care during the pandemic and safeguard those who are most at risk for severe illness.”

The New York Times (12/2, Rabin) reports that on Wednesday, CDC officials “effectively shortened quarantine periods for those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, hoping to improve compliance among Americans and reduce the economic and psychological toll of long periods of seclusion.” The officials, “citing the spiraling number of infections nationwide,... also urged Americans again to avoid travel over the holiday season.”

The Washington Post (12/2, Achenbach) reports that according to the revised guidance, “the standard 14-day coronavirus quarantines potentially can be shortened to 10 days or even seven.” The decision “reflects the agency’s recognition that the two-week quarantine rule is onerous for many people and that most of the public health benefit from quarantining people exposed to the virus can be gained with a more flexible approach.”

Bloomberg Law (12/3, Brown, Subscription Publication) reports, “Health-care providers can provide telehealth services across state lines during the COVID-19 emergency regardless of state and local prohibitions, the HHS said Thursday.” This is the latest move by HHS “to ease access and expand the range of services Medicare pays for when delivered by telehealth.”

Modern Healthcare (12/3, Brady, Subscription Publication) reports that the department’s “new policy overrides any state law that bans, or effectively bans, out-of-state health care professionals from delivering coronavirus-related medical countermeasures.” HHS said, “Many states have already authorized out-of-state health care personnel to deliver telehealth services to in-state patients, either generally or in the context of COVID-19; this action will ensure that COVID-19 Covered Countermeasures can be provided via telehealth across state lines.”

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

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