Today's Topline - 5/20/20

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Source: MedTech Association

Good Wednesday morning:

This morning’s The Daily podcast examines the question of why African Americans experience an extraordinarily higher death rate from COVID-19 than others.  Told through the compelling story of New Orleans native, Cornell “Dickey” Charles, the report identifies that African Americans exposed to the coronavirus are more likely to require hospitalization, have more serious case and die at significantly higher rates.  Those studying this situation have concluded that the following factors contribute to this disparity:

  • African Americans are far more likely than others to live and work in conditions that place them in proximity to the virus;
  • Embedded discrimination in the US healthcare system results in unequal, and often inferior, treatment for African Americans; and
  • African Americans are more likely to have pre-existing underlying conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.  These conditions are often the result of environmental exposure and the “weathering,” or accelerated aging, experienced by African Americans. 

The American healthcare system has long been bedeviled by higher morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans.  The experience with COVID-19 has shown, once again, that we must focus energy and resources on solving these disparities.

Meanwhile, in Utica, the Masonic Medical Research Institute has demonstrated a whole system approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.  In an open letter to the community, Dr. Maria Kontaridis, MMRI’s Director of Research, outlined the steps her institution has taken in response to COVID-19. These efforts include reaching out to officials to support efforts to “flatten the curve” and reduce the number of infected individuals in the Mohawk Valley; sewing masks and hair bonnets for medical and emergency personnel; and, most significantly, pursuing COVID-19 related research.  This research seeks to understand the mechanisms by which COVID-19 worsens both cardiac and pulmonary functions, to identify potential novel therapeutic targets while understanding the potential long-term consequences on lung and heart in patients who are recovering from this disease, and to unlock the cellular and inflammatory signaling responses associated with this disease 

We at MedTech applaud MMRI for their continuing efforts.

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