News Release 

COVID-19 news from Annals of Internal Medicine

All coronavirus-related content published in Annals is free

American College of Physicians

Below please find a summary and link(s) of new coronavirus-related content published today in Annals of Internal Medicine. The summary below is not intended to substitute for the full article as a source of information. A collection of coronavirus-related content is free to the public at http://go.annals.org/coronavirus.

1. Initial weeks of pandemic saw a swift increase in virtual visits, sharp decrease in in-person visits at the VA

Compared to previous years, outpatient visits in 2020 decreased by 30 percent overall

Researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System analyzed data from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse to describe changes in the number of in-person, telephone, and video visits during the initial 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, both overall and stratified by VA clinic. They found that there were more than 10 million fewer in-person visits to VA outpatient facilities during the initial 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the preceding 10 weeks. They noted that the 56 percent decline in in-person visits was partly offset by a more than 2-fold increase in the number of telephone and video visits, but overall there was still a 30 percent decline in the number of outpatient visits. Read the full text: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-3026.

An accompanying editorial from the VA in Washington, DC says that these findings provide a starting point for understanding how to optimize the virtual visit experience. Optimizing telehealth visits is especially important for veterans, who are among the most at risk for COVID-19. Read the full text: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-5593.

Media contacts: A PDF for this article is not yet available. Please click the link to read full text. The lead author of the study, Aaron Baum, PhD, can be reached at aaron.baum@mssm.edu. The author of the editorial, Carolyn Clancy, MD can be reached at Carolyn.Clancy@va.gov.

2. Researchers report cases of myasthenia gravis associated with COVID-19 infection

Some patients with COVID-19 experience neurological symptoms. These symptoms could be caused by viral infection of nerve cells, but the possibility exists that these symptoms might be produced by autoimmune mechanisms. Researchers from Garibaldi Hospital; Catania, Italy describe three cases where patients without previous neurologic or autoimmune disorders were diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an serious autoimmune disease that may cause weakness in the arm and leg muscles, double vision, and difficulties with speech and chewing, after the onset of COVID-19. Read the full text: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/L20-0845.

Media contacts: A PDF for this article is not yet available. Please click the link to read full text. The lead author of the study, Domenico A. Restivo, MD, PhS, can be reached at darestivo@libero.it.

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