Health Alert:

See the latest Coronavirus Information including testing sites, visitation restrictions, appointments and scheduling, and more.

ABC News: Experts Express Concerns About Possible Coronavirus Transmission at Vice Presidential Debate

Overview: Two, five-foot tall plexiglass walls stood between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris at Wednesday night’s debate in an effort to prevent potential COVID-19 transmission following the White House outbreak. Ronald Collman, MD, a virologist and a professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, was quoted.

NBC News: CDC stumbles again, mistakenly posts 'draft' guidance about airborne Covid-19 spread

Overview: After the CDC changed guidance on their website, NBC Nightly News checked in with health experts to see what precautions people still need to take. Ron Collman, MD, a professor of Medicine, said wearing a mask, even indoors, “is going to be the most effective way to lessen the likelihood of person-to-person transmission.”

Prevention: What Are the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19?

Overview:  Prevention interviewed Robert M. Kotloff, MD, a professor in Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Harron Lung Center, about the impact of long-term COVID-19 cases and what people who have extended bouts may experience.

New York Times: How COVID-19 Sends Some Bodies to War with Themselves

Overview: Nuala J. Meyer, MD, an associate professor of Medicine in Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, spoke with the New York Times about cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients and the need to come up with ways to calm the immune system, comparing the problem to acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis.

New York Times: Medical Experts: Speech Does Not Mean You Can Breathe

Overview: While it would be right to believe a person who can’t talk also cannot breathe, the reverse is not true – speaking does not imply that someone is getting enough air to survive, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Gary Weissman, MD, MSHP, an assistant professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and one of the authors of the paper, explained that you only have to move a very small amount of air through the upper airways and vocal cords in order to speak. That does not mean that enough air is getting down into the lungs where it can supply the rest of the body with oxygen, he said.

South Jersey Business: Health Care Heroes Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overview: South Jersey Biz highlighted local health care heroes who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication’s list featured Mark Mikkelsen, MD, MSCE, chief of Medical Critical Care, and Jack Gutsche, MD, an associate professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and co-director of Penn Lung Rescue.

NBC News: Some COVID-19 Patients Aren’t Getting Better. Major Medical Centers Seek to Figure Out Why

Overview: Major medical centers nationwide are trying to understand why some COVID-19 patients continue to have symptoms months after contracting the disease. Jessica Dine, MD, MHSP, an associate professor of Pulmonary Medicine, explained how she first noticed a subset of COVID-19 patients whose symptoms lingered thanks to Penn’s automated text-based program called COVID Watch. The team is working with those patients to better understand their illness—first by ruling out obvious causes, such as secondary infection or side effects of treatments. Her team has two hypotheses for the long-term symptoms: either the virus is still somewhere in the body, undetectable through testing, or the virus is gone but patients are experiencing post-viral inflammatory syndrome. Other outlets:

NBC News: Doctors View Dexamethasone Results on COVID-19 with Excitement and Skepticism

Overview: Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients. George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Director of HUP’s Medical Critical Care Biopresonse Team, called the results intriguing but emphasized the need to see the full study before implementing any changes in practice. Coverage also in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Science: Blood Vessel Attack Could Trigger Coronavirus Fatal ‘Second Phase’

Overview: A new hypothesis suggests COVID-19 may cause direct and indirect damage to the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, particularly in the lungs. By attacking those cells, COVID-19 infection causes vessels to leak and blood to clot, changes that can spark inflammation throughout the body and fuel the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). “It’s a vicious cycle,” said Nilam Mangalmurti, MD, an assistant professor of Pulmonary Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

NBC News: Is the Coronavirus Airborne? Here’s What we Know

Overview: While scientists say it is possible that the coronavirus can drift through the air, many note there's no evidence these tiny bits of virus are enough to make people sick. To understand how the virus travels by air, it's important to know whether it's hitched a ride on a jumbo jet—or a paper airplane. "It's basically a size difference," said Ronald Collman, MD, PhD, a virologist and a professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, referring to the size of droplets that contain viral particles.

National Geographic: They Don’t Struggle to Breathe—But COVID-19 is Starving Them of Oxygen

Overview: Unlike many other respiratory diseases, COVID-19 can slowly starve the body of oxygen without initially causing much shortness of breath. By the time some patients have trouble breathing or feeling pressure in the chest, they are already in dire straits. Cameron Baston, MD, MSCE, a pulmonary and critical care physician and an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, discussed this presentation, called “silent hypoxia,” and the potential implications of prolonged hypoxia.

Wall Street Journal: The Tricky Math Behind Coronavirus Predictions

Overview: The many COVID-19 projection models are valuable to public health officials and policy makers, health experts say. The overall message, say epidemiologists: social distancing has been working, but the virus likely isn’t going away soon. Jason D. Christie, MD, MS, chief of the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the value of these models.

Good Morning America: GMA Thanks Health Care Workers

Overview: Good Morning America aired a photo of David DiBardino, MD, an assistant professor of Pulmonary Medicine, during a segment in which the hosts thanked health care workers nationwide for their work on the COVID-19 front lines.

NBC News: Diagnostic Tests and Contact Tracing Remain Key to Successful Reopening

Overview: Experts say the most important way to ensure a successful reopening is to have a vast quantity of accurate tests to diagnose COVID-19 cases. Ideally, that means testing everyone and properly identifying asymptomatic spreaders, said George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Director of the Medical Critical Care Bioresponse team. “It cannot be overstated how important diagnostic testing is,” Anesi said.

MSNBC: Why Social Distancing is Our Best Defense Right Now?

Overview: Jason D. Christie, MD, MS, chief of the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, was a guest on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak. Christie commented on the development of treatments and vaccines and emphasized that social distancing remains the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Healthy People are now making sure end-of-life wishes are known

Overview: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics & Health Policy, is quoted in a story about end-of-life decisions. Halpern, who directs the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center, advocates considering questions about quality of life, rather than specific medical interventions.

Philadelphia Inquirer: If you need a ventilator for COVID-19, odds are 50-50 you’ll survive. But doctors are learning more every day.

Overview: Physicians are learning more about the use of ventilators in caring for patients with COVID-19. Doctors are also making much greater use of proning—or facedown positioning—with COVID-19 patients, including those who do and do not need ventilators. Cameron Baston, MD, MSCE, a pulmonary and critical care physician and an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, explains how proning can help reduce inflammation and improve the coordination between air flow and blood flow.

Science Magazine: How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes

Overview: Clinicians and pathologists are learning more about how the novel coronavirus affects organs throughout the body, including the lungs, heart and kidneys. Nilam Mangalmurti, MD, an assistant professor of Pulmonary Medicine, comments on what we know so far, including suspected risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

WBUR (NPR’s “Here & Now): How Bacteria Could Affect Outcomes of COVID patients

Overview: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scientists are racing to unravel every aspect of how this novel virus behaves. Ronald Collman, MD, PhD, a virologist and professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, thinks that our microbiome — the bacteria and fungi that live in our bodies and on our skin — may be playing a role.

TODAY (Today Show’s website): How to Wear a Face Mask Correctly

Overview: Face masks are one way to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but they’re only effective when worn properly. George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Medical Critical Care Bioresponse team, shared best practices for wearing face masks, including how to make sure it fits properly and tips to safely remove it.

WHYY: How do quick coronavirus tests work?

Overview: There's wide agreement that more tests are needed for COVID-19, to track where the coronavirus is and how it is spreading — in particular, rapid tests that give results in minutes, not hours. Ronald Collman, MD, PhD, virologist and professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, said it is important to be cautious in developing and using new tests. The main priority should be to test a lot more people than is currently being done in the United States, he said.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Chase Utley Thanks Penn Medicine Doctor for Work on COVID Front Line

Overview: Mark Mikkelsen, MD, MSCE, chief of Medical Critical Care, joined the MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” to discuss what it is like battling the coronavirus pandemic in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Phillies legend Chase Utley made a surprise appearance during the interview to thank Mikkelsen, saying “I’d like to thank you for what you’re doing, and for what your staff and team are doing for the city of Philadelphia.” After the show, Mikkelsen shared his reaction to the surprise with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Today, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. In one 15-minute span, I was blessed to meet a Phillies and MLB great, Chase Utley … and convey my sincere gratitude to the passionate and compassionate team of all-stars that I have the pleasure of working with on the front lines at Penn Medicine,” he said. Other outlets:

New York Times/Associated Press: Doctor Gambles on Clot-Busting Drug to Save Virus Patients

Overview: Many hospitals are attempting preventive doses of blood thinners to keep clots from forming in patients with COVID-19. But there is debate over what kind to try, what dose is safe, and how soon to start. Steven C. Pugliese, MD, an assistant professor of Pulmonary Medicine, commented on the potential use of a clot-busting therapy, known as tPA. Given the potential bleeding risk, he said it has to be studied in carefully chosen patients — especially because there is no good way to tell in advance who really has these tiny clots.

Washington Post: Many patients on ventilators face long recovery

Overview: For people desperately ill with covid-19, getting hooked up to a mechanical ventilator can mean the difference between life and death. Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a critical care physician, explains how ventilators keep people alive and buy time for something else—often a therapy—to heal the lungs. However, with COVID-19, we don’t have a treatment for the underlying insult.

Boston Globe: Even in good health, all ages are vulnerable

Overview: Ronald Collman, MD, professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, comments on the varying effects of coronavirus in patients.

Prevention Magazine: 7 Hay Fever Symptoms & How to Find Relief Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Overview: This year’s early tree pollen season brings a new worry. How can allergy sufferers tell whether they have allergies or the coronavirus? S. Michael Phillips, MD, a professor of Allergy and Immunology, comments on the symptoms of hay fever, treatment approaches and the cause of seasonal allergies.

Washington Post: New York City Hospitals Struggle with life or death decisions

Overview: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a critical care physician, drafted model guidelines regarding resuscitation and COVID-19 that serve as the basis for many policies being considered by hospitals. He said clear protocols are needed to ensure fair treatment of patients and relieve the moral distress of providers.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Coronavirus poses extra risks for smokers. Will that make them quit?

Overview: Lung experts said there’s good reason to suspect that the novel coronavirus may be more dangerous to people who smoke or vape, but it’s too early to tell whether that will lead to an increase in the number of people who try to quit smoking. Frank T. Leone, MD, MS, director of Penn’s Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program, says the nature of cigarette addiction makes it hard to stop during a crisis. Nicotine works in the part of the brain that detects threat. Rather than sedating, “it’s giving the brain the sort of all-clear, safe signal.” Other outlets:

Newsweek: We Must Now Allocate Care to Those Who Will Benefit the Most

Overview: In an op-ed for Newsweek, Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a critical care physician, outlines four principles that, if broadly adopted in crisis, should help minimize the harms of COVID to the American population.

TIME Magazine: How Much Does COVID-19 Affect Millennials?

Overview: New data from the CDC suggests adults ages 20 to 44 have accounted for nearly 30 percent of COVID-19 cases and 20 percent of related hospitalizations in the U.S. George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Medical Critical Care Bioresponse team, said that while older adults need to be the most vigilant, adults of any age are at risk. “We need a full societal commitment to this,” he said. “Life is going to look different for a while, and that’s important to be able to turn the tide on this.”

USA Today: Coronavirus: What is ARDS?

Overview: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a rare, life-threatening condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen. Nuala J. Meyer, MD, an associate professor of Medicine in Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, comments on ARDS survivorship and early reports that show a high percentage of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19 may develop ARDS.

Philadelphia Inquirer: What are the first symptoms of coronavirus?

Overview: Public health officials have identified three main symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus: fever, cough and difficulty breathing. However, there are still gaps in our understanding of what symptoms may look like at the earliest stages. Nuala J. Meyer, MD, an associate professor of Medicine in Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, says she would add sore throat to the list of early symptoms. Although most patients will eventually have a fever, she notes that it may not be in the first five days.

Conversations from the World of Allergy (podcast): What Physicians Need to Know About COVID

Overview: George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Director of the Medical Critical Care Bioresponse team, joined the podcast Conversations from the World of Allergy to discuss preparedness and how this pandemic can specifically impact patients with asthma, allergies and immune deficiency.

Washington Post: Hospitals Consider Challenging Ethical Decisions

Overview: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a critical care physician, co-wrote and disseminated a policy to dozens of hospitals around the country, which provided specific guidelines for making critical medical decisions, should COVID-19 cases overwhelm hospitals. In an interview with the Washington Post, Halpern said a blanket stop to resuscitations may end up sacrificing a young person who is otherwise in good health. Other outlets:

Philadelphia Inquirer: When coronavirus kills, the lung condition ARDS can be the culprit. Here’s what you need to know.

Overview: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a rare, life-threatening condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen. Nuala J. Meyer, MD, an associate professor of Medicine in Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, comments on ARDS survivorship and early reports that show a high percentage of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19 may develop ARDS.

ABC News: Hospitals Trying to Figure Out How They Would Ration Ventilators

Overview: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, a critical care physician, commented on how hospitals will make medical decisions should growing cases of COVID-19 overwhelm the medical system.

Washington Post: Coronavirus will radically alter the US

Overview: Jason D. Christie, MD, MS, chief of the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, is quoted in a story about how experts are churning out models to try to predict the coming chaos unleashed by the novel coronavirus and to make preparations.

Men’s Health: Here’s What Medical Experts Mean By ‘Shortness of Breath’

Overview: Shortness of breath—known medically as dyspnea—is listed among the most common symptoms of people who have the novel coronavirus. In a Q&A with Men’s Health, Jason Fritz, MD, associate professor of Pulmonary Medicine at Penn and co-director the Dyspnea Program at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, comments on what shortness of breath means, what it feels like and what it could be a symptom of.

Washington Post: Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China

Overview: Medical experts say a spike in coronavirus cases in the United States could lead to the adoption of rationing protocols. George L. Anesi, MD, MSCE, an instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Medical Critical Care Bioresponse team, commented on the decision-making process. “These are really hard decisions,” he said. “In a public health emergency, you shift from a focus on individual patients to how society as a whole benefits and that’s a big change from usual care.”

Men’s Health: Here’s What Medical Experts Mean By a ‘Dry’ Cough

Overview: A dry cough is listed among the most common symptoms of people who have the novel coronavirus. Vivek Ahya, MD, an associate professor of Pulmonary Medicine and vice chief of Clinical Affairs in Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care, commented on the main differences between a dry cough and other types of coughs.

 

Philadelphia Inquirer: With viruses like flu and coronavirus, pneumonia often delivers the fatal blow

Overview: When people die of the flu — or the new coronavirus, now called COVID-19 — it’s often a lung infection or pneumonia that actually leads to the death. Ronald G. Collman, MD, a professor of Pulmonary Medicine, comments on the different types of pneumonia and what patients are at the highest risk for developing the infection.

Vox: Symptoms of COVID-19: The List Is Getting Longer, and Some Symptoms Are Longer-Term

Overview: Vox interviewed Nuala J. Meyer, MD, an associate professor of Medicine in Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, about how acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) presents differently in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 than in non-COVID-19 patients. It has been hard for doctors to predict which COVID-19 patients will fare worse and develop severe complications like ARDS. But recently, a study from Meyer and her colleagues added new evidence to what’s long been a theory: that it’s not the virus that’s causing the symptoms, but the patient’s immune system

Share This Page: