Coronavirus

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Still Seeking A Federal Coronavirus Strategy

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The Trump administration sent its COVID-19 testing strategy plan to Congress, formalizing its policy that most testing responsibilities should remain with individual states. Democrats in Congress complained that the U.S. needs a national strategy, but so far none has emerged.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, noticing that his popularity among seniors has been falling since the pandemic began, unveiled a plan to lower the cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries. However, while diabetes is a major problem for seniors in general and for Medicare’s budget, only a small minority takes insulin.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Erin Mershon of STAT News.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The difficulties caused by the lack of a unified federal response to the pandemic can be
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My Mother Died Of The Coronavirus. It’s Time She Was Counted.

We recently received the death certificate for my mother, who died May 4 in an assisted living facility near New York City. “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome” was the primary cause. And the secondary — no surprise — was “suspected COVID-19.”

The White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the states are debating the proper theoretical (and politically beneficial) way to tally COVID-19 deaths. One group, led by President Donald Trump, feels the current tally is too high. The other, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, thinks it may be an underestimate.

Though my mother almost certainly died of COVID-19 (she met the clinical case definition), her death was, as far as I can tell, not counted — and certainly will not be counted if the White House gets its way. Unfortunately, counting COVID deaths and cases has been turned into a battle

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Coronavirus Tests The Value Of Artificial Intelligence In Medicine

Dr. Albert Hsiao and his colleagues at the University of California-San Diego health system had been working for 18 months on an artificial intelligence program designed to help doctors identify pneumonia on a chest X-ray. When the coronavirus hit the United States, they decided to see what it could do.

The researchers quickly deployed the application, which dots X-ray images with spots of color where there may be lung damage or other signs of pneumonia. It has now been applied to more than 6,000 chest X-rays, and it’s providing some value in diagnosis, said Hsiao, the director of UCSD’s augmented imaging and artificial intelligence data analytics laboratory.

His team is one of several around the country that has pushed AI programs developed in a calmer time into the COVID-19 crisis to perform tasks like deciding which patients face the greatest risk of complications and which can be safely channeled into

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Scientist Has ‘Invisible Enemy’ In Sights With Microscopic Portraits Of Coronavirus

From her laboratory in the far western reaches of Montana, Elizabeth Fischer is trying to help people see what they’re up against in COVID-19.

Over the past three decades, Fischer, 58, and her team at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have captured and created some of the more dramatic images of the world’s most dangerous pathogens.

“I like to get images out there to try to convey that this is an entity, to try to demystify it, so this is something more tangible for people,” said Fischer, one of the country’s leading electron microscopists.

Now, as her renderings of the coronavirus flash across screens worldwide, she said: “You often hear people call it the invisible enemy. It’s trying to put that face out there.” Working in one of the nation’s 13 “Biosafety Level 4” labs — those

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