COVID-19 news from Annals of Internal Medicine

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

1. Modeling Study Suggests That Mitigation Efforts Can Prevent Most COVID-19 Cases on College Campuses

A modeling study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Case Western Reserve University suggests that mitigation efforts can prevent most COVID-19 cases on college campuses.
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Researchers used the Clinical and Economic Analysis of COVID-19 interventions (CEACOV) model to analyze mitigation strategies. They evaluated 24 mitigation strategies based on four approaches: social distancing, mask-wearing policies, isolation, and laboratory testing. The team compared results from a minimal social distancing program, in which only large gatherings such as sporting events or concerts were canceled, and an extensive social distancing program, where all large classes and 50 percent of smaller classes were delivered online. Laboratory testing ranged from no testing of asymptomatic students and faculty to routine testing at 14-, 7-, or 3-day intervals. Based on the model, combining a mandatory mask-wearing policy with extensive social distancing would prevent 87 percent of infections among students and faculty. Routine testing was also found to be highly effective at preventing infections in the model but may be cost-prohibitive for many colleges and universities.

The researchers caution that even if campuses remain closed, there would likely be infections among faculty acquired from the surrounding community, as well as infections among students who return to live off-campus in and around college towns.

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A PDF for this article is not yet available. Please click the link to read full text. The lead corresponding author, Elena Losina, PhD, can be reached through Eliza Powell at [email protected].

2. Patient-physician race concordance may modestly increase COVID-19 knowledge and information seeking

The paucity of public health messages that directly address communities of color might contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in knowledge and behavior related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Physicians have increasingly reached out to the community on social media. Whether or not these messages matter, and whether or not physician race/ethnicity affects information uptake is not clear.
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Researchers from MIT Department of Economics, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other top academic institutions, randomly assigned 14,267 self-identified Black or Latinx adults to either first view three video messages regarding COVID-19, delivered by physicians, that varied by physician race/ethnicity, acknowledgment of racism/inequality, and community perceptions of mask-wearing and then answer questions, or answer questions first and then watch the videos. The goal was to determine whether physician-delivered prevention messages affect knowledge and information-seeking behavior of Black and Latinx individuals and whether this differs according to the race/ethnicity of the physician and tailored content. The researchers found a small but statistically significant increase in COVID-19 knowledge when viewing the video first that did not differ by race concordance between the physician messenger and the viewer. However, information seeking (click through on links that offered further information on COVID-19) was higher among African American participants after they viewed messages from African American physicians.

The authors of an accompanying editorial from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity suggest that this study provides insight during a critical time. As new vaccines against COVID-19 become available, and when so many lives are at stake, mistrust of institutions and science remains high. This mistrust is especially high in U.S. communities of color, which have borne the greatest burden during the pandemic. They suggest further study focusing on whether COVID-19 information seeking is a predictor of actual behavior change.
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A PDF for this article is not yet available. Please click the link to read full text. The lead corresponding author, Esther Duflo, PhD, can be reached through Peter Dizikes at [email protected]. Click here for more information from the authors.

3. ACP, Annals of Internal Medicine host virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Forum II for physicians

Panel offers timely, evidence-based advice for promoting vaccine confidence and uptake

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available, physicians and other health care professionals must do the hard work of making sure sufficient numbers of people are vaccinated to end the pandemic. To help prepare them, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Annals of Internal Medicine hosted the COVID-19 Vaccine Forum II – Promoting COVID-19 Vaccination on Dec. 16 where a panel of infectious disease experts discussed strategies for gaining public trust and acceptance of the vaccine. This was the second in a series of vaccine forums hosted by ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine.

ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine invited four experts to offer their perspectives on the vaccine and the current barriers to optimal uptake. Panelists included Dr. Ada Adimora from University of North Carolina, Dr. Helen Gayle from the Chicago Community Trust, Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor University, and Dr. Heidi Larson from the London School of Tropical Medicine. Dr. Ryan Mire, a member of ACP’s Board of Regents and a practicing internist in Nashville, and Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University moderated the discussion. The full recording is available for replay here and is published in Annals of Internal Medicine along with commentary by Christine Laine, MD, MPH, ACP senior vice president and editor-in-chief, Annals of Internal Medicine; Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, deputy editor, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, Executive Vice President, and CEO, ACP.

During the forum, the panelists discussed the current vaccines, when and how they might be disseminated to patients, bearing fairness and equity in mind, and the challenges ahead related to influencing public opinion about the safety of the vaccine. Panelists stressed the need to build trust among disproportionally affected minority communities to ensure adequate uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines. Every member of the panel agreed that a comprehensive public health communications campaign would be needed to promote the vaccine and refute the glut of misinformation that has been circulating online.

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A PDF for this article is not yet available. Please click the link to read full text. To speak with someone from ACP, please contact Andrew Hachadorian at [email protected].