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Black Mask Market; A Window into Unexplained Deaths

  • “While profiteers and crooks make their fortunes, medical workers across the United States are rationing masks, recycling them and treating infected patients without them,” writes Desmond Butler, Juliet Eilperin, and Tom Hamburger. The authors explore the seedy underworld of buying and selling medical masks during the pandemic ~ ‘No offense, but is this a joke?’ Inside the underground market for face masks. (The Washington Post)
  • As coronavirus testing begins to ramp up across the U.S., medical examiners and coroners may play a key role: Explaining how people died, writes Michelle Andrews ~ ‘Last Responders’ Seek To Expand Postmortem COVID Testing In Unexplained Deaths (Kaiser Health News/NPR)
  • Experts still do not know if people develop immunity to COVID-19 after being infected and if so, how robust it is and how long it lasts. Robert D. Kirkcaldy, MD, MPH, and colleagues discuss the evidence and unknowns to date ~ COVID-19 and Postinfection Immunity (JAMA)
  • Yuki Noguchi explores the fears cancer patients are experiencing because of delays and disruptions in their care ~ For Cancer Patients, Anguish Grows Over Deferred Surgery As Risk Rises (NPR)
  • Many states are deploying contact tracers to help contain the spread of coronavirus. But, as Suraj Kapa, MD, and colleagues point out, contact tracers must balance the need to safeguard people’s health and their privacy ~ Contact Tracing to Manage COVID19 Spread – Balancing Personal Privacy and Public Health (Mayo Clinic Proceedings)
  • Why has the U.S. response to COVID-19 been so ineffective? It boils down to lack of data. Eric C. Schneider, MD, examines the consequences of lack of testing ~ Failing the Test — The Tragic Data Gap Undermining the U.S. Pandemic Response (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Monica Webb Hooper, PhD, Anna María Nápoles, PhD, MPH, and Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, explore why racial minorities or poor communities may be more susceptible to COVID-19 infection and death ~ COVID-19 and Racial/Ethnic Disparities (JAMA)

Fred N. Pelzman, MD, of Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associates and weekly blogger for MedPage Today, follows what’s going on in the world of primary care medicine. Pelzman’s Picks is a compilation of links to blogs, articles, tweets, journal studies, opinion pieces, and news briefs related to primary care that caught his eye.