The latest on the PPP.
In an update to last week’s story about the Small Business Administration’s rescue loan program being out of money, there’s some good news—and more bad news. The Senate has approved an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the House of Representatives is expected to follow suit (you should know for sure by the time you read this). The bad news? Experts predict this additional money could be gone as quickly as it becomes available, going to those who had applied but missed out on the first round. (via)
A helping hand.
In times like these, we can use all the help we can get. Novartis has implemented several measures to ensure that optometrists are well-equipped to provide care to patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Among them include: strengthening its online, self-service sample website, which allows registered US-based ECPs to request samples and literature items; providing patients with easier access to telemedicine services; encouraging those facing financial hardship or those with limited or no prescription coverage to connect with the Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation; and converting its entire field team to a virtual support platform that enables Novartis to continue partnering with optometrists by providing access to digital tools that are needed to serve patients. (via)
WHAT YOUR PATIENT MIGHT ASK YOU
How long can COVID-19 stay in your eye?
Based on the findings of a new research letter, up to 21 days.
A 65-year-old woman presented to an ER in Italy 1 day after onset of a cough, sore throat, and bilateral conjunctivitis. She tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was admitted to the hospital. Because her conjunctivitis persisted, on day 3, researchers began collecting ocular swabs that showed viral DNA. They continued to collect ocular samples with almost daily frequency, and the samples showed viral DNA up to day 21, with declining virus concentration. The patient’s conjunctivitis greatly improved at day 15 and had apparently resolved by day 20.
The take home:
The research team states that ocular fluids from SARS-CoV-2–infected patients may contain infectious virus, and hence may be a potential source of infection. These findings highlight the importance of control measures such as avoiding touching the nose, mouth, and eyes and frequent hand washing. (via)
IN OTHER NEWS...
Less than 2% of the US population has been tested for COVID-19.
As of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the novel coronavirus had infected 870,468 people in the United States—that we are aware of (only about 1.2% of the population has been tested).
If that doesn’t put things in perspective, a new study suggests that even if 20 million COVID-19 tests were conducted each day in the United States it might not be enough to protect us from the virus. (via)
The joys of telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a hot topic these days, with stay-at-home orders in place and medical offices only being open for emergency situations. Sure, it’s a great way to screen patients, and for many, it’s an essential way to keep a practice afloat, but it can be so much more—if you take a step back and don’t look at it so critically. Give this short article a read—you’ll see what I mean.
Many thanks to the Modern Optometry team for writing Glance while I'm away!