monthly archives: May 2020

Epidemiological studies show that smokers are underrepresented among the patients hospitalized for COVID-19. In fact, only 1 to 6% of hospitalized patients are smokers, but they represent 14 to 25% of the general population. 

Mathieu Morissette from the Laval University Medical department says that smokers are not just exposed to nicotine, but many other chemical compounds. If we suppose that nicotine is beneficial, it does not protect from the disease, but rather prevents severe symptoms. Other hypotheses are that nicotine could have an effect on the cytokine storm in COVID-19.

Jean-Benoit Legault, La nicotine contre le coronavirus? Pas si vite. La Presse. April 24, 2020.

Original article:

Pneumonia is a common complication of COVID-19 and has a characteristic pattern on chest CT scans. Dr. Adam Bernheim, a radiologist at Mount Sinai Health System, New York, and other doctors analyzed 121 CT scans from China and concluded that COVID-19 pneumonia presents itself as hazy patches, or “ground glass opacities”, that “tend to cluster on the outside edge of both lungs, by the ribs”.

Associated Press. COVID-19 lung patterns show few clues for treating pneumonia. La Times. March 20, 2020.

Original article:

Blood clots are life-threatening complications of COVID-19, and many doctors prescribe prophylactic anticoagulation drugs to prevent them. For some of his patients, Dr. Hooman Poor, pulmonologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, uses tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Dr. Poor prescribed an injection of tPA to a 55 year old patient in shock and observed a good response. However, her condition deteriorated soon after, probably because of new clots forming. That said, Dr. Poor tried a low dose drip of tPA for 24 hours in addition to an anticoagulant. Unfortunately, the woman died from other complications days later.

This experimental treatment shows that research must be done to prevent and treat patients with blood clots.

Lauran Neergaard. Doctor treating COVID-19 patients gambles on clot-busting drug. April 11, 2020.

Original article:

Contact tracing is an efficient strategy to prevent spread of a virus. In fact, Apple and Google are in the process of making an application that could potentially alert users when they have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.

To do so, smartphone owners must download the app, which will be available around mid-may, and voluntarily update their medical status. The phone will use Bluetooth to detect nearby devices equipped with the same application up to 30 feet away. When two people are in the same area for more than 5 minutes, their data will anonymously exchange on their phone and be stored for 14 days, the incubation period of the virus. If someone has been exposed to the virus, they will receive an alert with information on how to proceed.

George Petras and Jennifer Borresen. Apple and Google join forces on tech for app that could warn you of coronavirus exposure. USA Today. April 28, 2020.

Original article:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, children have been the least affected group, but doctors around the world are warning healthcare professionals that they can suffer from a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care. In fact, the clinical presentation can share similarities with toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease. Not all of the children in this state were confirmed to have COVID-19. Also, children can present with abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms that can lead to shock or heart problems according to Spain’s Association of Pediatrics.

Maria Cheng. European doctors warn rare kids’ syndrome may have coronavirus tie. USA Today. April 28, 2020.

Original article:

A team at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) developed a system to closely monitor patients remotely. Caregivers can communicate with and see the patient via a two-camera system with one pointing towards the individual and the other towards the vital signs monitor. If hypoxia is detected, the machine will send an alert. This system decreases workload, lowers risk of contracting COVID-19, optimizes PPE use and allows healthcare professionals to act rapidly in case of a deterioration.

Avis Favaro, Elizabeth St. Philip. Canadian-designed system a new way of keeping an eye on seriously ill COVID-19 patients. CTV News. April 29, 2020.

Original article:

Dr Sudhanshu Patwardhan, UK based licensed medical doctor, explained how smoking can affect outcomes of COVID-19 patients:

  • Smoking increases hypoxia and causes lung damage, thus leading to worse outcomes.
  • Many comorbidities frequently seen in smokers are risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection.
  • Transmission may be higher among smokers because of the frequent finger to mouth mouvements.

Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). Guest Blog: COVID-19 related stress and social isolation: Risk of millions relapsing back to smoking worldwide. April 8 2020.

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Homemade and non-medical masks have grown in popularity with the PPE shortage around the world. There is no proof that masks effectively protect the people wearing them, can but they can be worn as an additional measure to protect others around you.

“These types of masks may not be effective in blocking virus particles that may be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or certain medical procedures. They do not provide complete protection from virus particles because of a potential loose fit and the materials used.”
ーGovernment of Canada

Canada Health. Considerations in the use of homemade masks to protect against COVID-19; Notice to General Public and Healthcare Professionals. Last update April 19, 2020.

Original article:


The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) is warning doctors and parents that skin manifestations, looking like pernio, can be a common presentation among children, even without respiratory symptoms. These are blueish-red lesions that can be painful and warm. They affect mostly the top and the underside of the foot, the toes and can be accompanied by cracked or dry skin. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment in these cases.

Doctors should therefore suspect COVID-19 when these manifestations occur, and report all cases of COVID-19 positive children with skin lesions to the CPSP. 

Brooklyn Neustaeter. Pediatricians warned about ‘COVID toes’ in children infected with COVID-19. CTV News. April 27, 2020.

Original article:

The National Health Service (NHS) in England is warning doctors that the pediatric population testing positive for COVID-19 can have presentations similar to toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease. Manifestations such as abdominal pain, other gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac inflammation have been reported. A disproportionate inflammatory response could be responsible for these symptoms.

Amy Woodyatt and Jacqueline Howard. Coronavirus could be tied to a rare but serious illness in children: U.K. doctors. CTV News. April 27, 2020.

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