Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28: Bonanza of COVID Testing Articles

On a normal day, it's impossible to keep track of the flood of COVID news, but maybe even less so today.

I'm providing a listing from the deluge that came just in my morning horizon scan.

  • President Releases COVID Testing Plan for Reopening America
    • See 11 page White House white paper here.
    • See MedPage Today here.
    • CNN here.
    • Re expanded testing: CVS press here, Walgreens allies with Labcorp, press here.\
    • Plan, like Gottlieb's (next), depends on "state based contact tracing" which suggests alot of replication of processes and knowledge across the 50 states.  See Johns Hopkins white paper on contact tracing (April 10) here.
    • Flaws of antibody testing highlighted in yet another article, Atlantic, here.
  • Separately a four-page "Bipartisan Letter" - from former FDA Republican Scott Gottlieb and former CMS Democrat Andrew Slavitt and a dozen co-authors - recommends a $45B testing and contact tracing plan.
    • See news coverage at Healthcare Dive here.
    • See original four page PDF letter to Hill, here.
    • Separately: STAT article urges public-private partnerships for contact tracing, here.
  • WSJ publishes 17 page report to White House from "a secret group of scientists" connected to among others, Goldman Sachs and Pence advisors.
    • WSJ here.
    • Similar coverage followed quickly at Business Insider, here.
    • Original PDF letter here.
  • Contact Tracing Technology: Next Big Thing...
    • Are apps effective?  Digital Health article here.
    • WaPo says apps may be effective, but raise privacy issues, here.
    • See a full length article by Kim and Paul at MedRxiv, here.  "Contact Tracing: A Game of Big Numbers in the Time of COVID."
    • See an April 24 update on the ongoing role of Apple/Google - here.
    • See an April 23 article in MobiHealthNews on an app from CarePredict - here.
    • Lawfare (new to me) runs article on April 17 Senate "virtual hearing" on contact tracing best practices and problems - hereExcellent article by Elliott Selzer.
    • NYT highlights the diversity of tracking apps, April 29, here.
    • Contact tracing in UK/NHS highlighted in Guardian, here.
    • See Park et al. in JAMA on contact tracing and digital deployment in South Korea, here.

  • NYT - Shoddy Testing!
    • NYT publishes a particularly hostile Op Ed on the "shoddy" state of US COVID testing. Here.    
    • See also LA Times April 28 on serology by Aleccia here, and LA Times same day on a novel but uncertain saliva PCR test by Lau, here
    • Flaws of antibody testing for public health needs and reopening, highlighted in yet another article, Atlantic, here.
    • BGI inks $260M contract for PCR COVID in Saudi Arabia, here.
  • LA Times - LA Reliant On Uncertain, VC-Backed Test.
  • Should we consider COVID sequencing rather than PCR?
    • Articles argue the point while showing tech approaches - at BioRxiv by Munnink here, by St Hilaire here.
    • Prof. Bert Ely (Univ South Carolina) at Discover argues that "the coronavirus genome is like a shipping label," with beautiful graphics, here.
    • WSJ has lead article on how coronavirus mutations map the global outbreak (April 30), here.
    • NYT has a similar lead article on the same thing (also April 30), here.
    • NYT has article that CDC will launch national effort to track COVID strains and mutations (also April 30), here.
    • See a global website for COVID SEQ data here.
    • (National Geographic had a very early article, in March already, here, quoting Phil Febbo, Chief Medical Officer at Illumina.  NYT reported NYC cases came from Europe on April 8, here.   NYT on spread of cases eastward from Seattle, April 22, here.)

  • MedCity News ran a report on "easy the bottlenecks of COVID testing" - here.
  • Retail executives promise to "ramp up testing" - here.

  • Healthcare Dive published an article on "reimbursement portal" for testing and treating the uninsured - here.
  • Scientific American publishes article, "How the Pandemic Might End," here.
    • With their own bonanza of articles, Sci Am also ran:
    • Beware of COVID immunity passports - here.
    • Will America allow COVID Tracking Apps? here.
  • WSJ ran an article on airlines and new mask requirements, here.
    • WSJ also ran an article (April 29) the whole spectrum of faults in US pre-pandemic status and supply chains, here.
    • WaPo ran an article on deadly contagions on airplanes, here.
    • Guardian ran a deep dive article on contagiousness of COVID in early April, still relevant, here(Highlights include Gangelt, Germany crisis).
    • WaPo says, further proof that COVID is 10X deadlier than flu, here.

Trio of Articles about Confusion:

Thomas Wilckens has an article on Linked In - What if much of what we know about COVID is wrong?  Here.
Peter Bach has a piece in NYT, science is messy, very messy, get used to it - here.
Ed Yong has an article in The Atlantic on why COVID is so confusing - here.
Another "big think" on COVID piece - lots of signs we are heading into a depression - Harvard Business Review on why we "are not" heading into a depression - here.


Separately, and on a more medical note, BMJ publishes a weekly medical news reoundup by the horizon-scanning Richard Lehman - always a good collection - here.

National Academy of Medicine / US, broadcasts two hour update on COVID, April 26, YouTube, here.

Tenner at Atlantic argues that lean hospitals with 95% occupancy and lean staff left us exposed to crisis - here.

And unrelated to COVID, Exponents published an interesting article by Chris Dobro, "Beyond Single Payer," here.

President Trump to sign order to keep meat plants open; potentially aids both consumers and farmers who are respectively late and early in the supply chain (here).  20 meat workers have died.  (In earlier news, a few weeks ago, already 50 NYC transit workers had died).  House will not return to session in DC next week (here).

NYT also profiles life in Sweden under light restrictions, here.


An early version of this post included "White House Reverses..." by error.  That was based on an April 9 article.   The article at Business Insider primarily tracked back to an NPR article here.
  • APRIL 9: Also from the White House:  "White House Reverses Decision re Federal Funding for Test Sites" - at Business Insider, here.