COVID-19 Daily: Reusing Masks, Imaging Guidance

What your doctor is reading on

APRIL 17, 2020 — Here are the coronavirus stories Medscape’s editors around the globe think you need to know about today: 

Data on Sanitizing N95s for Reuse

Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, Montana, tested four methods of decontaminating N95 respirators for reuse and found that vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet light appeared to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the material and preserve the integrity of the masks’ fit for up to three uses. 

The research has been published as a preprint and is not yet peer-reviewed, so it shouldn’t be used to guide clinical practice, according to a note on the webpage. 

Imaging Recommendations

A professional society’s consensus statement on the role of imaging during the acute workup of COVID-19 patients calls for liberal use in patients with moderate-to-severe clinical features indicative of infection, regardless of their COVID-19 test results, but limited use in patients who present with mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. 

For patients with moderate-to-severe clinical features of COVID-19 whose pretest probability is high, the specialists write that a diagnosis “may be presumed when imaging findings are strongly suggestive of COVID-19” — even if the patient’s test is negative. 

Infectious Disease Experts Advise on Reopening

The ability to conduct mass testing is critical to begin easing physical-distancing measures, according to new recommendations from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In order to fully lift physical-distancing restrictions, the recommendations call for effective treatments for COVID-19 and a protective vaccine that can be deployed to key at-risk populations.

Sleep in the Time of COVID-19

The current reality of most people’s lives during the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to induce or exacerbate sleep problems, though it may also present some with an opportunity to sleep better, according to experts. “In terms of sleep or other effects on worsening of psychiatric problems, it is still not clear what the overall effects [of the pandemic] are going to be,” said one.

Oxygen Targets in COVID-19 With ARDS

A few randomized clinical trials and a large retrospective study published in the past few years have yielded seemingly conflicting information about the optimal oxygen targets for patients in critical care units with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Aaron B. Holley, MD, program director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, synthesizes what the available research means for treating COVID-19 patients with ARDS. 

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