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1.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 6(3): e19354, 2020 07 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-637869

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a novel viral illness that has rapidly spread worldwide. While the disease primarily presents as a respiratory illness, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea have been reported in up to one-third of confirmed cases, and patients may have mild symptoms that do not prompt them to seek medical attention. Internet-based infodemiology offers an approach to studying symptoms at a population level, even in individuals who do not seek medical care. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine if a correlation exists between internet searches for gastrointestinal symptoms and the confirmed case count of COVID-19 in the United States. METHODS: The search terms chosen for analysis in this study included common gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Furthermore, the search terms fever and cough were used as positive controls, and constipation was used as a negative control. Daily query shares for the selected symptoms were obtained from Google Trends between October 1, 2019 and June 15, 2020 for all US states. These shares were divided into two time periods: pre-COVID-19 (prior to March 1) and post-COVID-19 (March 1-June 15). Confirmed COVID-19 case numbers were obtained from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering data repository. Moving averages of the daily query shares (normalized to baseline pre-COVID-19) were then analyzed against the confirmed disease case count and daily new cases to establish a temporal relationship. RESULTS: The relative search query shares of many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation, remained near or below baseline throughout the time period studied; however, there were notable increases in searches for the positive control symptoms of fever and cough as well as for diarrhea. These increases in daily search queries for fever, cough, and diarrhea preceded the rapid rise in number of cases by approximately 10 to 14 days. The search volumes for these terms began declining after mid-March despite the continued rises in cumulative cases and daily new case counts. CONCLUSIONS: Google searches for symptoms may precede the actual rises in cases and hospitalizations during pandemics. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, this study demonstrates that internet search queries for fever, cough, and diarrhea increased prior to the increased confirmed case count by available testing during the early weeks of the pandemic in the United States. While the search volumes eventually decreased significantly as the number of cases continued to rise, internet query search data may still be a useful tool at a population level to identify areas of active disease transmission at the cusp of new outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Gastrointestinal Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Search Engine/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology
2.
Obesity (Silver Spring) ; 2020 May 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-437469

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has triggered a rapidly-expanding global pandemic in which patients exhibit a wide spectrum of disease severity. Given the high prevalence of obesity in the United States, we hypothesized that the presence of obesity may play a role in the clinical course of COVID-19 patients. METHODS: This is a retrospective review of adult patients admitted with confirmed SARS-CoV-2. Demographics, clinical characteristics, laboratory data, and clinical outcomes were abstracted. BMI (kg/m2 ) was analyzed with regard to a composite outcome of ICU admission or death, and intubation rate. RESULTS: 770 patients were included (61% male, mean age 63.5 yrs). Obese patients were more likely to present with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Obesity was also associated with a significantly higher rate of ICU admission or death (RR = 1.58, p = 0.002) even after adjusting for age, race and troponin level. CONCLUSIONS: Obese patients had an increased risk of critical illness leading to ICU admission or death compared to normal weight individuals. This study confirms that obesity is a major risk factor for COVID-19 disease severity, significantly impacting disease presentation and critical care requirements.

4.
World J Gastroenterol ; 26(14): 1546-1553, 2020 Apr 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-122463

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has caused an extreme burden for health care systems globally, and the number of cases is expected to continue to increase, at least in the immediate future. The virus is estimated to have infected more than 1.5 million individuals. The available reports suggest that gastrointestinal (GI) involvement in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is common and in some cases the GI symptoms may precede the respiratory symptoms. In addition to direct effects of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the infected patients remain at risk for the complications commonly managed by gastroenterology and hepatology consultants. The most commonly reported GI manifestation of COVID-19 is diarrhea, which is reported in a third to up to more than half of the patients. Mild to moderate elevation of the liver enzymes are also common, although no case of acute liver failure has been reported so far. Many of the medications used for treatment of COVID-19 can also be associated with GI symptoms or liver injury and can be included in the differential diagnosis in these patients. Although the diagnosis of the infection is currently based on RNA analysis in respiratory samples, the available literature on fecal shedding of this virus suggests that fecal RNA testing might prove to be a useful diagnostic test. It is reasonable to delay all non-urgent endoscopic procedures during the peak of the pandemic and use additional protective equipment such as N95 respirators during endoscopy while most patients can be considered high risk for having been exposed to the virus.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Gastrointestinal Diseases/etiology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Animals , Consultants , Diarrhea/etiology , Humans , Pandemics
5.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 18(8): 1673-1681, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-102150

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly is peaking now in New York City and has triggered significant changes to the standard management of gastrointestinal diseases. Priorities such as minimizing viral transmission, preserving personal protective equipment, and freeing hospital beds have driven unconventional approaches to managing gastroenterology (GI) patients. Conversion of endoscopy units to COVID units and redeployment of GI fellows and faculty has profoundly changed the profile of most GI services. Meanwhile, consult and procedural volumes have been reduced drastically. In this review, we share our collective experiences regarding how we have changed our practice of medicine in response to the COVID surge. Although we review our management of specific consults and conditions, the overarching theme focuses primarily on noninvasive measures and maximizing medical therapies. Endoscopic procedures have been reserved for those timely interventions that are most likely to be therapeutic. The role of multidisciplinary discussion, although always important, now has become critical. The support of our faculty and trainees remains essential. Local leadership can encourage well-being by frequent team check-ins and by fostering trainee development through remote learning. Advancing a clear vision and a transparent process for how to organize and triage care in the recovery phase will allow for a smooth transition to our new normal.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Disease Management , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Gastroenterology/methods , Gastroenterology/organization & administration , Infection Control/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics
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