What We're Reading: Oncology Treatment Delays; 3M, Trump Reach Agreement; HHS Surveys Hospitals

April 7, 2020

Patients with cancer are reporting that they have faced treatment delays due to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); the Trump administration reached an agreement with 3M Co. to produce nearly 167 million face masks in the next 3 months; US hospitals cite lack of supplies, testing coordination as major obstacles during the pandemic, according to an HHS survey.

COVID-19 Causing Treatment Delays for Cancer Patients

Trump Administration Orders 167 Million Face Masks

Surveyed US Hospitals Report Need for More Supplies, Testing Coordination

As health centers have begun to delay nonessential surgeries to protect patients who may be vulnerable to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), patients with cancer have faced treatment delays as they are among those at high risk of complications if infected, Kaiser Health News reported. Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said that he has heard patients with cancer nationwide who are having their chemotherapy delayed or surgery canceled. While no national guidelines exist for which surgeries can be posponed, the American College of Surgeons has provided guidance, but the decision often comes down to local resources, he said. After invoking the Defense Production Act to boost production of gear for front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration said it reached an agreement with 3M Co. for the production of 55.5 million face masks each month for the next 3 months. Reported on CNN, the agreement comes after several back and forth retorts from both sides, with Mike Roman, chief executive officer of 3M, saying it was “absurd” to say that his company was not utilizing all its resources to assist the pandemic; Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser and Defense Production Act coordinator, called that “whining.” The masks will total nearly 167 million.In findings from a snapshot survey by HHS on how America’s hospitals are handling the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are reporting that due to the lack of resources, many are making their own disinfectants, running short on toilet paper and food, and are attempting to acquire face masks and other forms of personal protective equipments from autobody shops, nail salons, hardware stores, and paint stories. The survery was conducted between March 23-27, and the authors noted that since that time, some hospitals' situations may have improved, while others may have worsened.