COVID-19: Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine estimates global infection fatality rate of 0.29%

The University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine offers an extensive assessment of COVID-19 mortality and infection data in its article on Global Covid-19 Case Fatality Rates, updated daily. “Comparison with Swine Flu The overall case fatality rate as of 16 July 2009 (10 weeks after the first international alert) with pandemic H1N1 influenza varied…

Worth reading: Opioid Prescribing in the Midst of Crisis – Myths and Realities

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1914257 Great perspective from Michael L. Barnett, M.D., in NEJM. Sadly, it’s paywalled, but I share a useful table from the article below. Barnett describes the current state of opioid prescribing as an over-correction, in which the terrible opioid overdose epidemic has led public health officials and providers to move too far in the opposite…

COVID-19: Did the Spanish Flu kill “an estimated 2 to 3 percent of those infected”?

Within the past few weeks, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, commenters in news media have propagated a meme that’s now firmly embedded in the public consciousness. It’s best summed up in an article in Vox that’s typical of the trend, “Did the coronavirus get more deadly? The death rate, explained.”1 The Vox…

Worth watching: Should You Opt Out of Patient Care That Offends Your Morals?

Art Caplan on regulations recently issued by President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that permit physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers to refuse to provide services to their patients if they have religious or personal reasons for a conscientious objection. Caplan’s take on this worrisome development is welcome and worthwhile, as…

COVID-19: Mathematical models in the face of uncertainty

A study recently released by Imperial College London has been heavily reported in the media; the authors estimate that in the absence of mitigation, COVID-19 could claim the lives of 510,000 people in Great Britain and 2.2 million people in the United States by the end of August.1 A collaborative study overseen by Columbia University…

Coronavirus in Italy – Report From The Front Lines

A JAMA livestream from March 13: Insights from Maurizio Cecconi, MD, of Humanitas University in Milan, at the epicenter of the pandemic where the overwhelming majority of Italy’s COVID-19 cases are being treated. Some important points: Despite reports from China, the Italian experience so far is that the clinical picture is like any other interstitial…

Worth reading: History in a Crisis — Lessons for Covid-19

Much needed perspective from David S. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., in NEJM. www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2004361 An especially worthwhile excerpt: “History suggests that we are actually at much greater risk of exaggerated fears and misplaced priorities. There are many historical examples of panic about epidemics that never materialized (e.g., H1N1 influenza in 1976, 2006, and 2009). There are countless…

Worth watching: Putting COVID-19 in Context

“During SCCM’s (Society of Critical Care Medicine) 49th Critical Care Congress, Amesh Adalja, MD, describes the history of coronavirus infections pre-SARS and post-SARS, describes members of the Coronavirus family and genus, and puts it into context around COVID-19 and how we can understand the clinical management of coronavirus infections.” The conference was held between February…

What I’m listening to: Hildegard von Bingen – Canticles Of Ecstasy

The medieval music ensemble Sequentia created what I think are the most enjoyable renditions of the music of Hildegard von Bingen. I’m currently listening to Canticles of Ecstasy, one of nine albums of von Bingen’s music recorded by Sequentia. I reviewed her book Scivias in a previous blog post. From Sequentia’s Hildegard von Bingen Project,…