Some of the top scientists and doctors in the country are calling on leaders to do something different immediately to improve the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Association of Medical Colleges released a road map to reset the country's approach to the crisis. It includes evidence-based actions to improve outcomes and overall health.
Improvements include things the country still hasn't got a grip on, like critical supply and drug shortages, increasing testing, an setting national standards for face coverings.
“There is literally no risk to wearing a mask for the average person. You may be uncomfortable, you may be hot, you may break out, but it is nowhere as uncomfortable as it would be for having me or one of my colleagues intubate you and put you on a ventilator for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Atul Grover, Executive Director at the AAMC Research and Action Institute.
A recent study by Duke of various face masks found the N95 respirator with no valve is the most effective. But these should be reserved for health care workers.
A disposable surgical mask made from a plastic material called polypropylene was the next best option.
Third was a mask with two layers of cotton and one layer of synthetic material.
Masks made from cotton fabric alone, as well as knit t-shirts, performed about the same.
“So, you are also protecting yourself,” said Grover. “In fact, if we can get up to 80, 90% of us wearing masks in a community, you could start to reduce that transmission by 2 or 3% at a pretty steady rate.”
The AAMC roadmap to reset also mentions an immediate need for something we haven't seen yet, a vaccine distribution plan.
“But somebody needs to sit down and say within those high-risk groups of comorbidities, whether that’s diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart failure, who should be vaccinated first? Is it by age? Is it by condition? And even among first responders, do I start with police doctors, paramedics?”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not released a vaccine distribution plan. It has asked four states and one city to draft plans for how they would distribute and who would get priority. Those plans will be shared with other states.