What We're Reading: Nurses Scramble for Masks; FDA Warning on At-Home Tests; Prisons Allow Inmate Releases

March 23, 2020

Nurses are voicing their concern about the lack of protective gear in caring patients with or suspected of having COVID-19; the FDA warned that new at-home tests in the marketplace for coronavirus disease, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, have not been approved; US jails and prison systems have begun to allow the release of inmates who have commited petty crimes and those potentially at-risk of severe COVID-19 infection.

Nurses Scramble for Masks to Protect Against COVID-19 Infection

FDA Warns Against New At-Home Coronavirus Tests

US Jails and Prisons Allowing Inmate Releases, Reduced Bail Requirements

In a piece published by Kaiser Health News, nurses nationwide highlighted the need to lock up critical equipment, such as masks and respirators, as shortages of these gear leave many healthcare workers without ample protection of potential coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Mary Mills, an intensive care nurse, noted the lack of communication during the pandemic as the guidance on when to use personal protective equipment keeps shifting daily. “What they decide I need, in terms of my safety, is being changed based on availability of product, rather than the science,” said Mills.With a number of at-home COVID-19 tests coming to the market, the FDA issued guidance to consumers that none of them has yet been approved for use and to be wary of fraudulent test kits, according to STAT. Experts indicated that the new tests may not meet the FDA’s high standards for traditional approval and that consumers risk not getting an accurate result if they don’t swab deep enough in their nose or throat. However, test manufacturers defended their at-home tests, insisting that they are permitted under government rules loosened to expand desperately needed testing for COVID-19.As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to infect potentially at-risk inmates in US jails and prisons, officials have allowed expedited inmate releases for low-level crimes, according to Reuters. In New York City, which has become the epicenter for COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday that 23 inmates would be released before day’s end and the city would decide within 24 hours whether to release up to 200 more.