What We’re Reading: Restaurants Spread COVID-19; Vaccine Trials Need Black Volunteers; HIV Care Interrupted

September 16, 2020

Wearing masks may not stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) via restaurants; COVID-19 trials need more Black participants; the pandemic has disproportionately disrupted HIV care services in the South.

CDC Reports on Spread of COVID-19 Via Restaurant Dining

Study results in the most recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC note that those who recently tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were 2.4 times more likely to have dined out, reports Medscape. This includes whether the patients sat inside or outside. The odds jumped to 3-fold higher if they had no recent contact with another person who had tested positive and almost 4-fold if the study participants had been to a bar or café. These results were seen despite 71% claiming to have worn masks in the 2 weeks before their diagnosis.

Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Seeking More Black Participants

Despite minorities being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, Kaiser Health News details that minority vaccine trial participation, especially by Black Americans, has only slightly improved. Researchers at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, note that the disparity in enrollment between Black and White Americans may be due to more of the latter enrolling online. Therefore, they are reaching out with personal invites to Black patients. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health says that minority participation in trials testing vaccines, especially for COVID-19, should be “double their percentage of the US population.”

COVID-19 Shifts Focus Away From HIV Care Services in Southern US

Testing for HIV and care for patients with the disease have become limited or stopped altogether in the Southern region of the United States in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Fox News. This is likely because the health professionals who typically focus on HIV testing and care services have been pulled away to instead concentrate on responding to the influx of COVID-19 cases. As recently as 2018, more than half of the United States’ new HIV cases were from the South, which is also where fewer people are aware of their positive status.