What We’re Reading: AMA Issues Antiracism Plan; Reporting Vaccinations at Nursing Homes; Few COVID-19 Patients Carry Community’s Virus

The American Medical Association announces an antiracism plan; CMS requires nursing homes to report vaccination rates; a minority of COVID-19 carriers are responsible for the bulk of a community's virus spread.

AMA Plans to Tackle Structural Racism

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest professional association of physicians, released a plan aimed at dismantling structural racism within the organization and the US medical establishment as a whole, The Associated Press reports. Although the plan has been in the works for over a year, health inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing cases of police brutality, and race-based crimes have added more urgency to its implementation. As US physicians are mainly White, AMA membership reflects this trend and most of the group’s 21 trustees are White. The plan calls for more diversification of the AMA’s staff and to implement antiracist activities and education throughout the organization.

CMS Requires Nursing Homes to Report Vaccination Data

Starting in 2 weeks, long-term care facilities must report residents’ and staffs’ COVID-19 vaccinations every week to the CDC, according to The Hill. CMS announced the vaccine reporting requirement and directed facilities to send the data to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety network. Officials hope to use the information to track vaccinations in congregate settings and determine which may need more resources. The current rule applies to long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and residential facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Once data is collected, details for specific facilities will be available for the public to see on CMS’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.

Few Responsible for Community's COVID-19 Transmission

New research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found just 2% of individuals infected with COVID-19 could carry 90% of the virions circulating within communities, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reports. The study compared presymptomatic and asymptomatic patients with hospitalized patients and included 1405 positive COVID-19 cases from the University of Colorado boulder’s fall 2020 semester. These cases were then compared with 404 data points from previous research on hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Researchers concluded viral supercarriers are likely superspreaders. Screening strategies that target asymptomatic and presymptomatic COVID-19 patients could help stem transmission.

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