What We're Reading: NEJM Criticizes COVID-19 Response; NCI Announces Antibody Testing Network; 39 States Report Rising Cases

October 8, 2020

An editorial criticizes the administration’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); the National Cancer Institute announces an antibody testing network; 39 states see rises in COVID-19 cases.

The New England Journal of Medicine Attacks Trump’s COVID-19 Response

In an editorial published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 34 editors called out the Trump administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, stating leaders have “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.” Although it is not an explicit endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden, the article marks the first time NEJM has supported or condemned a political candidate in its 208-year, largely nonpartisan history, The New York Times reports. The editorial comes as 2 other leading medical publications, The Lancet and Science Magazine, recently released similar articles critical of the president’s handling of the pandemic.

NCI Launches Antibody Testing Network

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced its new Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet), which aims to study the immune response to COVID-19. SeroNet will be the nation’s largest coordinated effort to combat the pandemic by improving the ability to test for infections and speed the development of treatments and vaccines, the announcement says. Twenty-five of the nation’s top biomedical research institutions will receive grants from the program. Using funds from an emergency appropriation of $306 million to NCI, the network aims to develop, validate, and improve serological testing.

As COVID-19 Cases Rise Wisconsin Sets Up Field Hospital

Nine months into the pandemic, 39 states report they are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases as the nation’s total cases surpassed 7.5 million on October 7. Nine states—Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming—have also recently set 7-day records for infections, USA Today reports. Wisconsin and Hawaii reported record numbers of deaths in their states in the last 7-day period. Wisconsin health officials announced that a field hospital is expected to open on October 14 to treat the surge in cases threatening to overwhelm hospitals.