What We're Reading: Organ Donations, Transplants Drop; Dispensing Addiction Medicine; Reopening Fitness Centers

May 13, 2020
AJMC Staff
AJMC Staff

Organ donations and transplants have seen precipitous decreases since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; access to medicines used to treat opioid dependence has improved in recent months in light of COVID-19; will gym goers feel safe working out when their gyms reopen?

Organ Donations and Transplants Decline During Pandemic

The United States and France have seen dramatic decreases in both organ donations and solid organ transplants, to the tune of 50% and 91%, respectively, since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, reports PennMedicine. These reductions primarily apply to solid organs: kidney, liver, heart, and lung. Researchers believe the dropoff may be linked to COVID-19 because as infection totals rose between March 6 and April 5, both countries instituted strict restrictions in the clinical setting.

Addiction Medicine Reforms Increase Access to Treatment

With streamlined procedures that now include text messages and video visits, according to STAT, many recovering addicts are able to continue their treatment for opioid dependence during the pandemic. With dire predictions that included at least 75,000 Americans succumbing to suicide and overdose—from such stressors as isolation and financial difficulties—advocates and addiction specialists hope the expanded-access measures can be made permanent, particularly for those newly on treatment. They note that the measures are especially important because so many clinics that offered such services as needle exchanges or walk-in appointments have closed.

What Can Gyms Do to Make Their Members Feel Safe When They Reopen?

More than 70% of waylaid fitness enthusiasts plan to return when their gyms reopen, says Morning Consult. And owners are just as eager to welcome them back, with suggestions to institute restrictions that include having less cardio equipment on the workout floor, not granting access to showers, redesigning fitness class spaces, reserving certain hours for high-risk groups, and holding outside classes. In contrast, just 24% of members said they would feel safe actually making a return. Many gym and fitness chains have put a hold on monthly membership dues while still providing free online access to workouts during the pandemic, and they say they will review guidance before deciding to reopen.