JAMA Editor-In-Chief says China gave the world the opportunity to prepare

From January 1 to April 1, JAMA received 500 research letters, 1,100 original research reports, opinion pieces and clinical reports, and 300 additional queries all related to Covid-19, Howard Bauchner, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific Publications at JAMA, told attendees at a virtual town hall conducted by the AMA.

Of the nearly 2,000 submissions, they have published 60 papers, online, ahead of print, which have garnered 15 million views.

Bauchner went on to discuss some of his personal observations about the pandemic so far:

  • China’s quarantine, that many people thought was draconian, worked. “They were able to limit the spread within a country of 1.4 billion to perhaps 100,000 to 200, 000 people infected.”
  • China gave the world 3-4 weeks to begin to understand what they would be facing and prepare. “The U.S. squandered that time.”
  • Lack of standard testing (rapid testing) in the U.S. fueled healthcare worker infections and increased the disease in patients.

Bauchner also spoke to several clinical issues that are in the news and underscored what AMA President Patrice Harris, MD, has been saying — “science and evidence, evidence and science” — and said that physicians face tremendous tension over the use of unapproved therapies. Without clinical trials, he noted, it remains unknown what the best courses of treatment are.

“Successful treatments, even a vaccine, does not represent a cure and we need to be sure we don’t mislead the public… a successful treatment will reduce mortality by 20%, perhaps 25%, perhaps 30%, but it will not cure the disease… Flu vaccine is often not that effective, so even if we have a vaccine it’s not very likely to protect 100% of the population,” Bauchner said.

He noted that as the nation comes out of the pandemic, we need to look to the fall — what does normalcy begin to look like? “How can we ensure a safe working environment so people can go back to work, back to school and back to college?” he asked.

AMA’s Adds More Covid-19 Physician Resources

The AMA also released new resources to help physicians during the pandemic — two documents address the financial and employment challenges facing physicians now, and another gives guidance to physician volunteers.

The Know Your Rights: Navigating Physician Employment during Covid-19, is designed to provide “strategic, legal, and contractual considerations for physicians dealing with issues such as the financial distress of their employer, changes in clinical service demand, and growing anxiety related to caring for patients diagnose with Covid-19,” the AMA wrote in its statement.

Earlier in the week, BreakingMED reported that the organization, along with more than 100 other physician organizations, sent a demand letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar asking for immediate financial assistance for healthcare personnel working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second document the AMA released, the Physician Practice Financial Relief Guide, addresses just this issue. It includes information about the various options set forth by the federal government during this time, such as information about the CARES ACT, Small Business Administration Loans (SBA), Medicare Advance Payments, and other resources physicians may need at this time.

Physician Volunteers

The Covid-19 epidemic is, as Harris noted during the town hall, “an all-hands-on-deck moment.” She noted that the AMA has set up a resource center that physicians may find useful during this time.

Volunteer work by medical students, retired physicians, and others exemplifies the spirit of this all-hands-on-deck moment, but guidance is needed in regard to opportunities and licensing.

The guide provides information on organizations that can match volunteers with opportunities, as well as emergency credentialing.

Regarding licensure, the guide states: “Many states have temporarily relaxed licensure requirements related to physicians who are licensed in another state, retired or clinically inactive. This includes waiving licensure requirements or offering a temporary expedited license for out-of-state or retired physicians. Many, but not all, of these measures apply to physicians providing telemedicine across state lines.”

Candace Hoffmann, Managing Editor, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 192

Topic ID: 86,192,287,500,503,504,791,932,125,520,926,192,927,151,589,590,925,934