Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Sept. 28, 2020 – Oct. 2, 2020.

The Washington Post (9/25, Guarino) reported researchers estimated that around 9% of “Americans showed signs of past infection with the novel coronavirus as of late July, suggesting that most of the country may still be vulnerable to infection.” The researchers’ estimate is “based on the percentage of dialysis patients whose immune systems produced coronavirus antibodies.” The findings were published in The Lancet.

USA Today (9/25, Weintraub) reported according to the study, “the infection rates varied from essentially zero in some states that avoided infection by mid-summer, to more than one-third of residents in parts of New York hard-hit in the spring.” The study’s authors said the results mean that the U.S. as a whole is far off from reaching “herd immunity.”

The New York Times (9/28, Wu) reports that on Monday, President Trump “announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests purchased by the federal government to states, tribes and other jurisdictions in the coming months.” The tests set “to be distributed by the federal government, a product called BinaxNOW manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, do not require specialized equipment and can yield results within 15 minutes, based on a quick and relatively painless swab that shallowly samples the nostrils.” The tests, which the FDA “gave an emergency greenlight in August, are cleared only for use in people with symptoms of COVID-19 and must be administered by, or in the presence of, a trained health care professional.”

The AP (9/28, Perrone, Freking) reports, “The tests will go out to states based on their population and can be used as governors see fit, but the administration encourages states to place a priority on schools.” Administration officials “said...that 6.5 million tests will go out this week and that a total of 100 million tests will be distributed to governors over the next several weeks.”

Reuters (9/29, Chander) reports COVID-19 “cases among young adults rose steadily across the United States in recent weeks as universities reopened, suggesting the need for this group to take more measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a U.S. health agency said.” Colleges “that want to reopen for in-person learning need to implement mitigation steps such as mask wearing and social distancing to curb the spread of the virus among young adults, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in the report.” From August 2 to September “5, weekly cases of COVID-19 among people aged 18 to 22 rose 55.1%.”

CNN (9/29, Lee-Johnson) reports “researchers found the greatest Increases in the Northeast at 144% and the Midwest at 123%.”

U.S. News & World Report (9/29, Smith-Schoenwalder) reports the CDC “documented a nearly 150% increase in weekly incidence among white young adults from August to September, while cases among other racial and ethnic minority groups remained stable or declined.” The study said, “To prevent cases on campuses and broader spread within communities, it is critically important for students, faculty, and staff members at colleges and universities to remain vigilant and take steps to reduce the risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in these settings.”

NBC News (9/30, Stenson) reports researchers found in a large Swedish study that “the HPV vaccine substantially reduces a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer, especially in women who were immunized at a younger age.” The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

MedPage Today (9/30, Bankhead) reports the researchers found in the study with almost 1.7 million girls and women that the HPV vaccine “reduced the chances of developing invasive cervical cancer by almost 90% over an 11-year period.”

CNN (10/1, Thomas) reports researchers found “loss of smell and taste are a strong sign that someone is infected with [SARS-CoV-2] – and in some cases it may occur without the other symptoms of cough or fever.” The investigators “wrote in their study that people who lose either smell or taste should consider self-isolating, even if they have no other symptoms.” The findings were published in PLOS Medicine.

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