COVID-19 Update May 27, 2020


Please Join NYSDOH Update for Physicians Tomorrow 1-2 PM 

For audio only, please dial in: 844-512-2950
Please share with your healthcare provider members- 

Please join the NYS Department of Health 

Thursday May 28th at 1-2PM forCOVID-19 update for healthcare providers.

To accommodate the large number of participants, find our webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers:

For audio only, please dial in: 844-512-2950


48% of Americans Delayed Care in Pandemic; Tests May Be Wrong Half the Time
The U.S. has reported 1,681,418 COVID-19 cases and 98,929 related deaths as of 7:45 a.m. CDT May 27. Globally, there have been 5,614,458 reported cases and 350,958 deaths, while 2,307,510 have recovered.


Five COVID-19 Updates:

1. COVID-19 antibody tests are wrong nearly half the time, according to the CDC. Serologic tests meant to measure past COVID-19 exposure or infection are not accurate enough to use to make policy decisions, the CDC said. Healthcare providers should use the most accurate antibody test available and may need to test people twice. If only a small percent of people being tested have been exposed to the virus, even a small margin of error can be significant — if 5 percent of the population tested has the virus, a test with more than 90 percent accuracy could still fail to detect half the cases.

2. Forty-eight percent of Americans said they or someone in their household have postponed or skipped medical care due to the pandemic, according to a poll by Kaiser Family Foundation. The phone survey was conducted May 13-18 among 1,189 U.S. adults. As restrictions ease, many (68 percent of those who delayed care; 32 percent of all adults) expect to receive the care they delayed over the next three months.

3. New cases are increasing in about a dozen states, according to The New York Times, at least half of these states — including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee — started reopening in late April and early May. NYT said the new cases could reflect increased testing capacity in some areas. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted during an interview with CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” there is also “a small uptick” in hospitalizations that “is probably the result of reopening.”

“I’m concerned that there are people who think that this is the all-clear,” he said.

4. One-third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey cited by The Washington Post.The agency polled adults from more than 42,000 households between May 7-12. Twenty-four percent of Americans showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30 percent had symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. These figures demonstrate a large jump from depression and anxiety rates seen before the pandemic.

5. The CDC shared a new guidance on when confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients can end self-isolation practices. Patients can be around others if they have gone three days with no fever, their symptoms have improved, and it has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared. Asymptomatic patients who tested positive for COVID-19 can be around others after 10 days. (Becker’s Hospital Review, May 27)


WHO Warns Of ‘Second Peak’ Before Second Wave
The world could see a “second peak” of COVID-19 cases before a presumed second wave comes this fall, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, said during a May 25 media briefing.

Dr. Ryan said the world is still in the middle of the first wave, citing areas like Africa and South Asia where cases are steadily rising. He warned against making any assumptions about the pandemic’s trajectory just because cases are falling in some areas. Countries cannot assume they will have a few months to get ready for a second wave, Dr. Ryan said.

“We need to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time,” he said. “We may get a second peak in this wave… It is crucial for countries to implement a comprehensive strategy involving testing, surveillance, and other public health measures to “ensure we continue to have an immediate downward trajectory” in cases, Dr. Ryan concluded.

To view the full media briefing, click here. (Becker’s Hospital Review, May 26)


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Webinar: Re-Opening Your Medical Practice in COVID-19 Era
On June 4, MLMIC and HANYS will host “Emerging From COVID-19: Guidelines for Re-opening Healthcare.” This webinar will provide a strategic roadmap to help medical practices safely and efficiently return to normal operations. Read more at MLMIC.com


Zocdoc Concerns MSSNY Physicians, Again
Recently, the MSSNY leadership had a few meetings; whereby, many physician members expressed much dismay seeing their names on Zocdoc’s website/database.  MSSNY addressed a similar problem last year.  Many physicians who have no agreement with Zocdoc do NOT want to be listed on the Zocdoc website.

It is considered by many physicians to be inappropriate and misleading to the patient community.  MSSNY contacted Zocdoc to urge correction of this misleading information.  Physicians without a Zocdoc agreement should be removed from the website/database.  The statement that the physician has no online appointments available is misleading since the statement is used when a physician does not participate with Zocdoc.  Patients have no idea if a doctor has appointments outside of Zocdoc and may not take further steps to contact the physician.

Zocdoc has advised that they would remove individual pages at the applicable physician’s request.  Any physician who would prefer their page removed from Zocdoc’s website can contact Zocdoc, directly at service@zocdoc.com

Zocdoc will work directly with the physician to remove the physician’s page.

On a related note, MSSNY’s Task Force on Telemedicine is currently in the process of vetting vendors to partner with to offer a statewide telemedicine platform for our members.


Physicians, Do You Use Telemedicine?
CMS has asked MSSNY for a listing of physicians who do Telemedicine. They have heard from a numbers of community health care groups for seniors that some patients are hesitant about calling their physicians about needed appointments since they are fearful of having to go to the doctor’s office.

CMS is asking for MSSNY’s assistance for two reasons:

The first is to alert patients in communities which physicians can provide virtual care during this pandemic.

Second, regarding forward thinking, it would be helpful for CMS to know which and how many physicians can provide telemedicine. This information would be useful in making the argument of continuing the expanded telemedicine coverage in a post pandemic future.

If you are capable of providing telemedicine, please provide MSSNY with your name, address, specialty, phone and NPI number. This information will be added to MSSNY’s website and shared with your county societies.  CMS would also help in disseminating the information to the patient community.


New York Pharmacist Arrested in N95 Profiteering Scheme
Richard Schirripa, a licensed pharmacist in New York City, was charged May 26 with violating the Defense Production Act by allegedly hoarding and hiking the price of thousands of N95 masks.  Mr. Schirripa allegedly bought $200,000 worth of N95 masks from the black market between February and April and sold thousands of them at severely inflated prices.

He often sold them out of his car and charged up to $25 for a mask that cost about $1.27, the U.S. Justice Department alleged. When the Defense Production Act was invoked March 25, it made it a crime to hoard or price gouge N95 masks. In a separate charge, Mr. Schirripa was also accused of falsely billing Medicare and Medicaid for thousands of doses of controlled substances that he kept for himself before closing his pharmacy in New York City earlier this year.

Mr. Schirripa is charged with violating the Defense Production Act, committing healthcare fraud, aggravated identity theft and exploiting the personal information of his pharmacy’s customers to fill prescriptions. Read the Justice Department’s full news release here.


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COVID-19 IN CHILDREN:  They Have Lower Levels of ACE2 Gene Expression
Mount Sinai Health System said Friday that a group of its researchers have found that children have lower levels of ACE2 gene expression than adults, which may explain children’s lower risk of Covid-19 infection and mortality. The virus that causes Covid-19 uses ACE2, which is found on the surface of certain cells in the body, to enter victims, Mount Sinai said. A new study on the findings was published in JAMA. (Crain’s Pulse, May 27)