15 October 2020
Caring for adults with chronic post-COVID symptoms
Welcome to The Medical Republic’s COVID Catch-Up.
It’s the day’s COVID-19 news in one convenient post. Email [email protected] with any tips, comments or feedback.
- RACGP guide to caring for adults with post-COVID-19 health conditions.
- Happy Global Handwashing Day – a day that has finally had its moment.
- Nature slams Trump and backs Biden.
- Pandemic linked to biggest drop ever in global carbon dioxide emissions.
- John Snow Memorandum hits back at open letter advocating herd immunity approach.
- Latest confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers from around Australia.
- As many as four out of five patients hospitalised with COVID-19 may experience chronic health consequences from the infection, which has prompted the RACGP to release a guide to caring for adult patients with post-COVID-19 health conditions.
Even among people who received outpatient or at-home care for COVID-19, up to one-third may still have symptoms and health concerns many months after the infection resolves.
The symptoms most likely to present in general practice include fatigue and breathlessness, cardiovascular complications such as venous thromboembolism and myocarditis, cognitive impairment and other neurological presentations, worse diabetic control, depression and anxiety, and post-intensive care syndrome.
- Happy Global Handwashing Day, brought to you by the Global Handwashing Partnership!
Talk about having your moment in the limelight.
And of course, soap and handwashing don’t just hit SARS-CoV-2’s Achilles heel; they can also reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by up to 48%, acute respiratory infections by 20%, and can reduce transmission of other pathogens including cholera, Ebola and hepatitis E.
- Yet another leading scientific journal has backed Joe Biden for US president. Nature has explicitly condemned Donald Trump’s leadership in an editorial that catalogues the many failings of Trump and his administration.
“No US president in recent history has so relentlessly attacked and undermined so many valuable institutions, from science agencies to the media, the courts, the Department of Justice — and even the electoral system,” the editors wrote. “The Trump administration’s disregard for rules, government, science, institutions of democracy and, ultimately, facts and the truth have been on full display in its disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Finally, some good pandemic/environmental news: the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with 8.8% drop in global CO2 emissions in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Emissions drops in various countries coincided with the introduction of pandemic lockdown measures, and most of the decreases in emissions were attributable to drops in ground and air travel.
“The longer-term effects of the pandemic on emissions remain uncertain, and depend upon factors such as the efficacy and stringency of public health policies, the recovery of economies and human activities, and persistent changes in human behaviour,” the authors wrote. However they noted significant rebounds in emissions in countries such as China, the United States, Brazil and India.
On a related note, the planet has just recorded its warmest September on record, so we’ve got a way to go.
- Game of Thrones fans might have done a double-take seeing the hashtag #JohnSnowMemorandum on Twitter in the past day or so.
The John Snow Memorandum, which was published in the Lancet on October 14 and co-signed by nearly 80 named scientific experts from around the world, specifically refutes the Great Barrington Declaration – published online and co-signed by 38 named experts – which advocates a strategy of herd immunity instead of lockdowns.
The Great Barrington Declaration attracted attention when a Sky news reporter discovered a host of fake names in the full signatories list, which included Johnny Bananas, Dr Harold Shipman, Dr. I.P. Freely and Dr. Person Fakename.
However, aside from doubts about the veracity of many of the unnamed individuals who are claimed to have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, the signatories to the John Snow Memorandum have criticised the herd immunity strategy as “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.”
While it would have been fun if the John Snow reference was casting subtle nerd-shade (“You know nothing, John Snow”), it’s actually a nod to the founding father of epidemiology, British physician John Snow who, in 1845, traced the origins of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, to one contaminated water pump. He removed the pump’s handle, and the local incidence of cholera dropped. No strategy of herd immunity there.
- The COVID-19 cluster associated with a general practice clinic in Lakemba in Sydney’s south-west has grown to 12 cases, nine of which are household or other contacts of known cases. The three new cases reported in South Australia yesterday are all returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Here are the latest confirmed COVID-19 infection numbers from around Australia, to 9pm Wednesday:
National – 27,341, with 904 deaths
ACT – 113 (0)
NSW – 4310 (14)
NT – 33 (0)
QLD – 1161 (0)
SA – 479 (3)
TAS – 230 (0)
VIC – 20,311 (7)
WA – 704 (1)