Covid the final

Carey Kriz • Naiyer Imam Sarah Zaidi


A Living Textbook Publication of First Medicine and Global Clinical Partners

Breaking Down COVID-19

Carey Kriz • Naiyer Imam • Sarah Zaidi



A Living Textbook

Publication of First Medicine and Global Clinical Partners


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Overview of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 1 Carey Kriz, Naiyer Imam M.D., and Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc.

. 1.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

. 1.2  COVID-19 Outbreak to Pandemic Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

. 1.3  Human Coronaviruses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

. 1.4  Cross-Species Transmission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

. 1.5  Past Pandemics and COVID-19 in the Context of History . . . 8

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19 � � � 13 Carey Kriz and Syed Imran Ahmad

. 2.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

. 2.2  SARS-CoV-2 Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

. 2.3  The Immune System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

. 2.3.1  Innate Immunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

. 2.3.2  Adaptive Immunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

.  Humoral immunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

.  Cell-mediated immunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

. 2.4  Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

. 2.4.1  Interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 . . . . . . 20

. 2.4.2  Pathogenesis and Biochemistry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

. 2.4.3  Pathophysiology of COVID-19-Related
Organ System Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors
of COVID-19
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 25 Naiyer Imam M.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc.,
and Arijit Robin Chakraborty 25

. 3.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

. 3.2  Viral Transmission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

. 3.3  Reproductive Rate and Dispersion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Chapter 3



Chapter 4

Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate
Symptoms of COVID-19
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 37 Naiyer Imam M.D., Nooshi Karim M.D.
and Abena Baah-Fordjour

. 4.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 4.2  COVID-19 Overview of Symptoms. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 4.3  Current Management Strategies for Mild Disease. . .

Chapter 5

Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 47 Syed Mehdi M.D., Nishat Mehdi M.D.,
and Sabbir Chowdhury

. 5.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

. 5.2  Origins, Transmission, and Pathogenesis of

. 3.4  Assessing Risk of Transmission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

. 3.5  Individual Disease Prevention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

. 3.6  Community Prevention: Nonpharmaceutical
Interventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

. 3.7  Risk Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

. 3.8  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

. 4.3.1  Management of Underlying Conditions with COVID-19 Infection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 4.3.2  Protective Health Measures. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4.4 Management by Telemedicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . 43 . . . . . . 44 . . . . . . 44 . . . . . . 46

COVID-19 Disease . . . .

. 5.3  Pathophysiology. . . . . . .

. 5.3.1  Symptoms . . . . .

. 5.3.2  Happy Hypoxics

. 5.3.3  Mechanism . . . .

. 5.4  Respiratory Failure. . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

. 5.5  COVID-19 and Pulmonary Embolisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

. 5.6  COVID-19 and COPD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

. 5.7  COVID-19 and Asthma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

. 5.8  COVID-19 and Lung Cancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

. 5.9  Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

. 5.9.1  Diagnostic Criteria . . . . .

. 5.9.2  Clinical Features . . . . . . .

. 5.9.3  Types of ARDS . . . . . . . .

. 5.10  Outcome with Ventilated Patients

. 5.11  Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 5.11.1  Interferon (IFN-λ) . . . . . .

. 5.11.2  Steroids . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 5.11.3  Tocilizumab. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58


. . . . . . 37 . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . 38


Chapter 6

. 5.11.4  Chloroquine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

. 5.11.5  Remdesivir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 63 Arshad Quadri M.D., Samer Kabbani M.D.,
Syed Raza M.D., and Urmila Bharathan

. 6.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

. 6.2  Epidemiology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

. 6.3  The Role of ACE2 in the Cardiovascular System
during COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

. 6.4  Cardiac In ammation due to SARS-CoV-2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

. 6.5  Heart Failure due to SARS-CoV-2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

. 6.6  Stress Cardiomyopathy due to SARS-CoV-2 . . . . . . . . . . . .66

. 6.7  Vascular Manifestations of COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

. 6.8  Possible Long-Term Cardiovascular Implications
Following COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

. 6.9  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations
of COVID-19
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 71 Intezam Khan M.D., Usman Mirza M.D.,
Riyaz Ahmad M.D., MRCP, Naiyer Imam M.D.,
and Eesha Imam

. 7.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

. 7.2  How SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect the Nervous System . . . . . . . 72

. 7.3  Cerebrovascular Disease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

. 7.4  Acute Encephalitis and Meningitis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

. 7.5  Headaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

. 7.6  Peripheral Nervous System Manifestations. . . . . . . . . . . . . .76

. 7.7  Skeletal Muscle Injury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

. 7.8  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 83 Lawrence Kogan M.D., Chung Sang Tse M.D.,
Farhan Qureshi, and Samir A. Shah M.D., FACG

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

. 8.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 8.2  Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 8.3  Endoscopy and Risk of Transmission

. 8.4  Liver Diseases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 8.5  In ammatory Bowel Disease . . . . . . .

. 8.6  Celiac Disease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 8.7  GI Cancers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88



Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �113 Saeed Jaffer M.D. and Ashley Slack

. 11.1  Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

. 11.2  Clinical Manifestations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

. 11.3  PPE Usage Impact on Patients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

. 11.4  PPE Usage Impact on Health-care Workers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

Ophthalmological Manifestations of COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � �125 Ejaz Hussein M.D. and Eesha Imam

. 12.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

. 12.2  Conjunctivitis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

. 12.3  Precautions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

. 10.1  Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 10.2  Mechanisms of Increased COVID-19 Severity in Diabetic Patients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 10.3  Managing Diabetes in COVID Patients . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . 103

. . . . . . . . . . 104 . . . . . . . . . . 105 . . . . . . . . . . 107 . . . . . . . . . . 107 . . . . . . . . . . 108 . . . . . . . . . . 108 . . . . . . . . . . 109 . . . . . . . . . . 109 . . . . . . . . . . 110

. 10.4  Other Endocrine Diseases . . . ..

. 10.4.1  Adrenal Insuf ciency ..

. 10.4.2  Subacute Thyroiditis . . .

. 10.5  Telemedicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

. 10.6  Tools for Health-Care Providers

. 10.7  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. ………. . ………. . . . . . . . . . . . . ………. . ………. . ………. . . . . . . . . . . .


Chapter 9

. 8.8  Telehealth in GI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

. 8.9  Proton Pump Inhibitors and COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

. 8.10  Tools for Health-care Providers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

Renal Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 95 Syed Muzaffar Ahsan M.D., Shariq Haider Hashmi M.D.,
and Sundus Nasim

. 9.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

. 9.2  Epidemiology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96

. 9.3  Pathophysiology of COVID-19 Renal Manifestations . . . . . 97

. 9.4  Monitoring COVID-19 Patients for AKI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

. 9.5  Early Management of AKI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

. 9.6  Note on Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
and Prophylaxis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

. 9.7  Note on ACE Inhibitor and ARB Usage in COVID-19 . . . . 101

. 9.8  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �103 Sudhir Bansal M.D. and Farhan Qureshi


Chapter 14

. 12.3.1  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). . . . . . . . . . . 126

. 12.3.2  Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine . . . . . . . . . . 126

. 12.4  Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

. 12.5  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128

Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �131 Syed Ashraf Imam Ph.D.,
Mehran Javeed MBChB, MRCPsych, PGCert,
and Joseph Kennedy

. 13.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

. 13.2  Pandemics in History and Psychological Impacts . . . . . . . . 131

. 13.3  Effects on Different Populations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

. 13.3.1  Mental Health in Patients with COVID-19 . . . . . . . 133

. 13.3.2  Psychological Health in Patients with
Mental Illness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

. 13.3.3  Psychological Health in Health-Care Workers . . . . 134

. 13.3.4  Psychological Health in the General Population. . . 135

. 13.4  Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

13.4.1 What you can do (Syed Ashraf Imam, PhD;

Clinical Psychologist) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �143 Ishrat Quadri M.D. and Nicholas Barresi M.D.

. 14.1  Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

. 14.2  Clinical Manifestations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

. 14.3  Newborn and Infant Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

. 14.3.1  Mother-to-Child (Vertical) Transmission . . . . . . . . 145

. 14.3.2  Breastfeeding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19 . . . . . . . 149 14.9 Update 2: July 1, 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152

Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �155 Vineet R. Jain M.D., Naiyer Imam M.D.,
Khursheed Imam M.D., Sanjay Saini M.D.,
Ruhani Doda Khera M.D., Lilah Sanduby, and Azwade Rahman

15.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155

. 14.4  Prevention . . . . . .

. 14.5  Diagnosis . . . . . . .

. 14.6  Management. . . . .
14.6.1 Outpatient

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148

14.6.2 Inpatient. .

. 14.7  Discussion . . . . . .

. 14.8  Update 1: Pediatric Multisystem In ammatory



Chapter 16

. 15.2  Radiological Manifestations of SARS and MERS . . . . . . 155

. 15.3  Radiological Findings of COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156

. 15.3.1  Chest X-Rays (CXR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156

. 15.3.2  Computed Tomography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159

. 15.3.3  CT Reports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

. 15.3.4  CT Screening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167

. 15.3.5  CT Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

. 15.4  Ultrasound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

. 15.5  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

Severe COVID-19 and ICU � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �171 Hasmeena Kathuria M.D.,
Syed E. Ahmad M.D., and Bethany Sullivan

. 16.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

. 16.2  Epidemiology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

. 16.3  Initial Testing and Imaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

. 16.4  Etiology of Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure
in COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174

. 16.5  Management of Hypoxemia in Nonintubated Patients . . . 174

Chapter 17

Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications � � � � � � � � � � � � � �187 Ejaz Ahmad M.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc.,
Gary Shmorgon, and Carmina Rogelio

. 17.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

. 17.2  SARS—Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications . . 187

. 16.6  Management of Intubated Patients. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.1  Lung Protective Ventilation . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.2  PEEP Titration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.3  Conservative Fluid Management . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.4  Prone Ventilation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.5  Inhaled Pulmonary Vasodilators . . . . . . . . .

. 16.6.6  Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane
Oxygenation (VV ECMO) . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.7  Sedation/Analgesics/Paralytics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.8  Weaning and Extubation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.9  Tracheostomy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

16.9.1 Tracheotomy Recommendations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.10  Cytokine Storm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.11  Shock Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.12  Anticoagulation in COVID-19 Patients . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.13  Corticosteroids in COVID-19 Patients. . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.14  Palliative Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 16.15  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . 175 . . . . . 175 . . . . . 175 . . . . . 176 . . . . . 176 . . . . . 177

. . . . . 177 . . . . . 178 . . . . . 179 . . . . . 179

. . . . . 180 . . . . . 180 . . . . . 181 . . . . . 181 . . . . . 182 . . . . . 182 . . . . . 182 . . . . . 183



Chapter 18

Chapter 19

. 17.3  MERS—Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications . . . 189

. 17.4  Post-Recovery Phase of COVID-19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �195 Ehsun Mirza M.D. and Arijit Robin Chakraborty

. 18.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

. 18.2  Personal Protective Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

. 18.3  Hospital Preparedness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203

Testing for COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �205 Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., and Naiyer Imam M.D.

. 19.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

. 19.2  Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

. 19.3  Types of Tests—NAAT, Antibody, and Antigen . . . . . . . . . 206

. 19.4  Sensitivity, Speci city, and Accuracy in Testing . . . . . . . . . 208

. 19.5  Interpretation of Tests: Understanding Predictive Values . . 209

. 19.6  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

Drugs for Treating COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �213 Syed E. Ahmad M.D., Nooshi Karim M.D.,
Kruti Shah M.D., Allen Jo, and Carmina Rogelio

Chapter 20

. 20.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.2  Convalescent Plasma . . . . . . .

. 20.3  Antiviral, Antiretroviral . . . . .

. 20.3.1  Remdesivir . . . . . . . .

. 20.3.2  Lopinavir/Ritonavir. .

. 20.3.3  Favipiravir . . . . . . . . .

. 20.3.4  Oseltamivir (Tami u)

. 20.3.5  SNG001. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

20.4 Antimalarial—Hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine . . . . . . . . 219

. 20.5  Antibiotics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……..

. 20.5.1  Azithromycin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.5.2  Clofazimine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.6  Monoclonal Antibodies . . . . . . . . . . ……..

20.6.1 Tocilizumab (Actemra) and Sarilumab

. . . . . . . . . . 220 . . . . . . . . . . 220 . . . . . . . . . . 221 . . . . . . . . . . 221

. . . . . . . . . . 221 . . . . . . . . . . 221 . . . . . . . . . . 222 . . . . . . . . . . 222 . . . . . . . . . . 222 . . . . . . . . . . 222 . . . . . . . . . . 223

(Kevzara) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.6.2  Canakinumab (Ilaris). . . . .

. 20.6.3  Leronlimab . . . . . . . . . . . .

20.7 Kinase Inhibitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.7.1  Acalabrutinib (Calquence)

. 20.7.2  Baricitinib (Olumiant). . . .

. 20.7.3  Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . …….. . …….. . …….. . …….. . …….. . ……..



Chapter 21

Vaccines for COVID-19 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �235 Syed E. Ahmad M.D. and Allen Jo

. 21.1  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

. 21.2  What Are Viral Vaccines? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

. 21.3  What Are the Risks Associated with Viral Vaccines? . . . . . 235

. 21.4  SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines in Development

Chapter 22

20.9 Nonspeci c Anti-in ammatory

. 20.9.1  Dexamethasone . . . . . . .

. 20.9.2  Methylprednisolone. . . .

. 20.9.3  Ciclesonide . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.9.4  Budesonide/Formoterol .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226

. 20.10  Anti-In ammatory Colchicine

. 20.11  Antiparasitic . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. 20.11.1  Nitazoxanide . . . . . . .

. 20.11.2  Ivermectin . . . . . . . . .

. 20.12  Radiation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . .

and WHO Database . . . . . . . . . .

. 21.4.1  Viral Vector Vaccines and Vector Vaccines . . . . . . . .

. 21.4.2  RNA Vaccines . . . . . . . . .

. 21.4.3  DNA Vaccines . . . . . . . . .

. 21.4.4  Live Attenuated Vaccines

. 21.4.5  Inactivated Vaccines . . . .

. 21.4.6  Subunit Vaccines and Viral-Like

Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations� � � � � � � �245 Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., Rohan Iyer,
and Azwade Rahman

. 22.1  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245

. 22.2  Social Determinants of Health Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . 245

. 22.3  Race and COVID-19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247

. 22.4  Caste and COVID-19 in India. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249

. 22.5  Incarceration and COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

Particle Vaccines . . . . . . . . . . . . 21.5 Who will Get the First Vaccines? . . . . .

…. . 21.6 Will these Vaccines Protect against a Mutated SARS-CoV-2 Virus? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . 240

. 21.7  Will These Vaccines Produce Long-Term Immunity? . . . . 240

. 21.8  Antivaxxers and Vaccine Ef cacy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241

. . . . . . . . . . Adenoviral

. . . . . …. . …. . …. . …. .

. . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . 236

. . . . . . . . . . 236 . . . . . . . . . . 238 . . . . . . . . . . 238 . . . . . . . . . . 238 . . . . . . . . . . 239

. . . . . . . . . . 239 . . . . . . . . . . 240

. . . . . …. . …. . …. . …. .


. 20.7.4  Ruxolitinib (Jaka ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223

. 20.7.5  Apilimod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223

20.8 Immunomodulator: Anakinra (Kineret) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


Chapter 23

. 22.6  Immigrants and COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251

. 22.7  Economic Inequalities and COVID-19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252

. 22.8  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

Health-Care Policy and COVID-19� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �257 Apurv Gupta M.D., Hemant Gupta M.D.,
Andrew Cooper J.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc.,
Azwade Rahman, Rohan Iyer, and Terran Cooper

. 23.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257

. 23.2  East and Southeast Asian Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

. 23.3  Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

. 23.4  Oceania—Australia and New Zealand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

. 23.5  The Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

. 23.6  Conclusion: Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269

Looking Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �275 Carey Kriz, Chirinjeev Kathuria M.D., MBA,
Gary Shmorgon, and Carmina Rogelio

. 24.1  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

. 24.2  How Might the Pandemic End? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

. 24.2.1  If Immunity is Permanent, then Covid-19 is a Relatively Brief and Intense Pandemic . . . . . . . . . . 276

. 24.2.2  If Immunity is Temporary and not Permanent, then Covid-19 Enters Regular Circulation of Other Respiratory Infections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276

. 24.3  The Future of COVID-19 and Dealing with the Years Ahead . . 277

. 24.3.1  Ongoing Mitigation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277

. 24.3.2  Dealing with the Aftermath. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

. 24.4  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280

Chapter 24

List of Contributors� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �283 Index � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �293


Introduction to COVID-19 Living Textbook

List of Abbreviations

COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019
HIV Human immunode ciency virus
MERS Middle East respiratory syndrome
SARS Severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

The world is amidst a pandemic that is presenting one of the greatest public health challenges of the twenty- rst century. A new coronavirus has jumped the interspe- cies barrier, and it possesses the capability of ef cient person-to-person transmis- sion and selectively kills older people and those with underlying chronic conditions. Since its emergence the new coronavirus has resulted in 43.7 million infections and over 1 million deaths as of October 25, 2020—20% of deaths are in the United States followed by Brazil (14%), India (10%), Mexico (7.8%), and the United Kingdom (4%).1

The new disease emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and the early cases appeared to be associated with a local wholesale sh and live animal market.2 The cluster of patients exhibited respiratory features of pneumonia and acute respi- ratory distress syndrome as seen in the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus of 2002–2003, leading the scientists to suspect a virus of zoonotic ori- gins. On December 31, the Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of the outbreak, putting the organization on emergency foot- ing.3 The WHO issued comprehensive technical guidance online with advise to all countries on how to detect, test, and manage emerging infections based on previous experience with SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak of 2012.4 In mid-January, Chinese authorities announced a novel coronavirus with genetic structure similar to SARS (80%), and with its origins in bats, it was the cause of the new disease.5 The virus was of cially named the severe acute respira- tory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it caused the Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19.6



Introduction to COVID-19 Living Textbook

Chinese authorities tried to contain the outbreak by imposing quarantines, social distancing, and testing, contact tracing, and isolating infected people. The entire Wuhan city of 11 million and Hubei Province of nearly 60 million, and later a quar- ter million people in other parts of China, were put under lockdown.7 But global transportation systems having morphed over a period of 100 years from slow trick- les of population from one place to another to instantaneous shifts between conti- nents made it dif cult to contain outbreaks of COVID-19. Forty years earlier, the spread of HIV in the world had established how quickly a virus could spread between continents through simple air travel by an infected person. In this century, SARS, MERS, Zika, and the Ebola virus outbreaks all demonstrated the ease with which travelers could spread emerging pathogens. SAR-CoV-2 is no different, and it is even more ef cient at transmission.8

In the rst 3–4 months of the outbreak, person-to-person transmission taking place before the infected person showed any symptoms of the disease, undetected cases of COVID-19 infection accounted for 79% of documented infections.9 In less than two months, SARS-CoV-2 went from a public health emergency to a disease of pandemic status, declared such on March 11, 2020, by WHO.10 At that time, there were 118,000 cases and 4291 deaths. Over 90% of cases were in just four countries: China (80,955 cases and 3162 deaths), Italy (10,149 cases and 631 deaths), Iran (8042 cases and 291 deaths), and South Korea (7755 cases and 60 deaths).11 But the number of cases in countries kept increasing rapidly.

As SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly encountering a population that hand no immu- nity and health-care systems that were unprepared, the virus claimed many lives. Although less deadlier than SARS, which had a case fatality rate of 10%, and the in uenza pandemic of 1917 that had a mortality risk of 2%, COVID-19 appeared to be more deadly than seasonal in uenza (0.1% mortality risk).12 Scientists estimated that the mortality risk for COVID-19 ranged from 0.2% to 1.0%, and was to increase substantially for people aged 60 years and older (6.38%) compared with those under 60 years (0.318%). The highest case fatality rates were seen in people in their 70s (8.61%) and 80s (13.4%) years of age.13 However, a number of other factors such as sex (males), chronic comorbidities such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and other social determinants were emerging as risk factors for COVID-19 infection and mortality.14, 15

As a new disease, COVID-19 required an effective response to slow down spread and prevent health systems from becoming overwhelmed. Countries implemented travel restrictions and full or partial lockdowns,16 which slowed down transmission but had devastating socioeconomic consequences and resulted in a global reces- sion.17 Nonetheless, it was evident that basic public health measures such as testing, tracing, isolating infected cases and quarantining others, wearing facemasks, and practicing good hand hygiene were important interventions for reducing transmis- sion and mortality.18 Over the past 10 months, promising new vaccines and a number of existing antiviral drugs and other treatments have emerged and are being used to manage the disease.19–21

Since its interspecies jump, the global public health and medical communities have learned a lot about the virus. An unprecedented amount of information has been

Introduction to COVID-19 Living Textbook

published on COVID-19, with tens of thousands of papers being made available for free.22 The sheer deluge of publications makes it dif cult to keep up with the scien- ti c literature and to assess the quality of publications given that many are in the form of preprints awaiting peer-review process. In the face of the ood of scholarly outputs, the impetus for putting together an online textbook is to make available, and easily accessible, information that has been carefully curated and reviewed from the public domain in one place, and to update it as new information comes forward.

The COVID-19 Living Textbook is prepared by 55 experts (medical doctors, social scientists, and medical students, who are experts in their eld and many of them have been working on the frontline of the COVID-19 response). It is aimed at a wide range of audiences, including clinicians, public health specialists, social sci- entists, and the general public. Twenty-four chapters cover a range of topics that are divided into four sections.

• Section 1: Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 introduce SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and include the timeline of events; the virology and immunopathology, transmis- sion, prevention; and risk factors for COVID-19; and outpatient management of mild to moderate infection.

• Section 2: Chapters 5–18, forming the bulk of the text, focus on the system responses by the body to COVID-19 and clinical management in hospitals, including in children and adolescents (Chapter 15). Chapter 17 discusses the management of severe cases of COVID-19, and Chapter 18, given the limited available data, examines postrecovery complications and long-term impacts, and compares it with the experience from SARS and MERS.

• Section 3: Chapters 19, 20, and 21 review the situation with personal protec- tive equipment, diagnostics, and treatments and vaccines.

• Section 4: The nal three chapters (Chapters 22–24) discuss the systemic dis- crimination and inequalities that put certain groups at greater risk for the dis- ease, public policy making and leadership, and planning for future epidemics and pandemics as new viruses that make the interspecies jump to humans and begin another evolutionary path in a new host family.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the global response to it, has demonstrated that emerging and reemerging zoonotic diseases represent a public health challenge. It further reminds the global community about the impact of inequality, the gap between the “haves” and “have-not,” and the importance of social determinants of health. Even in the largest economies of the world, including the United States of America, those groups with less opportunity including Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American have higher rates of mortality.23
The legacy of COVID-19 will have long-lasting effects on society, including on the delivery of medicine. COVID-19 has ushered in, and with great success, telemedicine (TM) services.24 TM is being used to triage and treat basic illnesses, monitor chronic diseases, and diagnose mild cases of COVID-19. While the pandemic is an unfortu- nate occurrence, it provides an opportunity to set up an infrastructure to deliver health care to everyone in an equitable, convenient, and cost-effective manner.



Introduction to COVID-19 Living Textbook


1. Johns Hopkins University. Coronavirus Resource Center. October 9, 2020. Johns Hopkins University. Accessed October 9, 2020.

2. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavi- rus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497–506. lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext.

3. World Health Organization. Novel Coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) Situation Report 1. World Health Organization. January 21, 2020. ruse/situation-reports/20200121-sitrep-1-2019-ncov.pdf.

4. World Health Organization. WHO Timeline—COVID-19. World Health Organization. April 27, 2020.

5. Zhou P, Yang XL, Wang XG, et al. Discovery of a novel coronavirus associated with recent pneumonia in human and its potential bat origin. Microbiology. 2020. https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.01.22.914952.

6. Center for Health Security. SARS-CoV-2 Genetics. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. April 16, 2020.

7. Wu Z, McGoogan JM. Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China: summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA. 2020;323(13):1239–1242. https://doi. org/10.1001/jama.2020.2648.

8. Contini C, Di Nuzzo M, Barp N, et al. The novel zoonotic COVID-19 pandemic: an expected global health concern. J Infect Dev Ctries. 2020;14(3):254–264. jidc.12671.

9. Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemi- nation of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Science. 2020;368(6490)489–493. https://doi. org/10.1126/science.abb3221.

10. World Health Organization. WHO Director-General’s Opening Remarks at the Media Brie ng on COVID-10. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020.

11. World Health Orgnization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report-51. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020.

12. Petersen E, Koopmans M, Go U, et al. Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and in u- enza pandemic. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(9):E238–E244. journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30484-9/fulltext.

13. Verity R, Okell LC, Dorigatti I, et al. Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20:669–677. S1473-3099(2)30243-7.

14. Zhou F, Yu T, Du R. et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020; 395(10229)1054– 1062.

15. Meo SA, Alhowikan AM, Al-Khlaiwi T, et al. Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: prevalence, bio- logical and clinical characteristics comparison with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2020;24(4):2012–2019.

16. Kaplan J, Frias L, McFall-Johnsen M. Our ongoing list of how countries are reopening, and which ones remain under lockdown. Business Insider. September 23, 2020. https://www.busi-

17. World Bank. COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II. World Bank. June 8, 2020. covid-19-to-plunge-global-economy-into-worst-recession-since-world-war-ii.

18. Han E, Tan MMJ, Tan E. Lesson learnt from easing COVID-19 restrictions: an analysis of countries and regions in Asia Paci c and Europe. Lancet. 2020;20:32007–32009. https://doi. org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32007-9.

Introduction to COVID-19 Living Textbook

19. Editorial. COVID-19 therapies and vaccines. Nature Materials. 2020;19:209. https://www.

20. McKeevar A. Dozens of COVID-19 Vaccines Are in Development. Here Are the Ones to Follow. National Geographic. October 8, 2020; Online publication. https:// coronavirus-vaccine-tracker-how-they-work-latest-developments-cvd/#close.

21. Tran J, The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline. GoodRx. Blog. September 18, 2020.

22. Center for Disease Control. Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library. COVID-19 Databases and Journal. Center for Disease Control. September 2, 2020.

23. Stokes EK, Zambrano LD, Anderson KN, et al. Coronavirus Disease 2019 Case Surveillance—
United States, January 22–May 30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:759–765.

24. Portnoy J, Waller M, Elliott T. Telemedicine in the era of COVID-19. J Allergy Clin Immunol
Pract. 2020;8(5):1489–1491.


Overview of COVID-19

Carey Kriz, Naiyer Imam M.D., and Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc.,

List of Abbreviations


Case fatality rate
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 Coronavirus disease 2019
World Health Organization

1.1 Introduction

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), at the beginning of the 21st century, signaled a warning of cross-species transmis- sions that had the potential to rapidly spread across the globe. After SARS, several other respiratory viruses—in uenza A strains of avian u H5N1, H1N1, and H7N9 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)— spilled over from animal populations into humans. Earlier, the zoonotic transmis- sion of viruses, particularly coronaviruses that existed within bat populations, was identi ed as a signi cant public health threat given the habitat loss, climate change, globalization, and the uneven public health structure.1 Therefore, it should not have been a big surprise when a third human coronavirus (CoV) causing COVID-19 emerged in December 2019. Although the virus emerged in China, and spread rapidly around the world its health and economic consequences were far more complex. The emergence of COVID-19 would turn into the greatest chal- lenge facing global leaders since World War II.2

This chapter provides a short overview of COVID-19, contextualizing it within the family of coronaviruses, cross-species transmission, and past pandemics.




Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19

1.2 COVID-19 Outbreak to Pandemic Status

The first cluster of patients presenting symptoms of fever, cough, myalgia and fatigue, shortness of breath, and pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan city, Hubei province, central China. The majority of cases were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where a variety of mammals were avail- able for sale.3 The presentation of symptoms and patients association to a wet market pointed to infection of zoonotic origins similar to the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003. The authorities informed the local offices of the World Health Organization (WHO) on New Year’s Eve, and moved to close the mar- ket the following day. Retrospective analysis of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology, as initially classified, identified a 55-year-old person with similar symptoms who had no links to the market with disease onset in mid- November.4 In the early cases, human-to-human transmission was speculated but not confirmed until two family clusters including one in which the hus- band transmitted the disease to his disabled wife were identified in mid-January.

Given the respiratory symptoms, Chinese doctors quickly ruled out other com- mon respiratory pathogens, as well as SARS and the Middle East respiratory syn- drome (MERS) coronaviruses, responsible for the outbreak. Samples of bronchoalveolar-lavage uid from seven patients with severe pneumonia (six were working at the market) were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for diagnosis of the causative pathogen. On January 7, 2020, it was con rmed that a novel coronavi- rus with 80% nucleotide sequence similarity to the SARS coronavirus and 96% similarity with bat coronavirus.5 Five days later, the full genome was globally shared, a step that helped to facilitate the rapid development of diagnostic tests for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) and launched a search for multiple vaccines.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) was renamed SARS-CoV-26 and the resulting illness as the Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19.7 As cases began to exponentially increase, it became evident that the virus was spreading quickly through human-to-human transmission probably since the middle of December, and that the R0 was approximately 2.2, meaning that on average each patient had been spreading the infection to more than two other people.8

Researchers soon discovered that infected individuals could transmit the virus without showing any symptoms either when they were presymptomatic or, in some cases, asymptomatic (never developing any symptoms of the disease).9 This posed a great challenge to containing COVID-19. In the case of SARS and MERS, people were most infectious when they had symptoms.

The outbreak of COVID-19 also coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays of the year when people return to their family homes. Massive transmission had taken place as ve million people (many of whom might have been incubating the virus) spread COVID-19 to other provinces in China and other countries. Chinese authorities tried to contain the outbreak by blocking

COVID-19 Outbreak to Pandemic Status

most travel into and out Wuhan, a city of 11 million, by establishing a cordon sani- taire on January 23, and later expanding it to other cities. But cases had already started to pop up in several Asian countries. Thailand reported its rst case on January 13; Japan on January 15; and Korea on January 20 same day as the United States reported its rst on the northwest coast; and Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan on January 24. The United States reported its rst case on January 20 on the northwest coast and on January 24, the rst two European cases were con rmed in France.10

Within weeks, a small cluster of cases from Wuhan had started to develop into a “public health emergency of international concern,” with nearly 10,000 cases and 213 deaths, at that time mostly in China.11 However, by the end of January, there were 106 cases in 19 countries. The WHO Emergency Committee advised all gov- ernments to put in place strong measures to test, detect, and isolate positive cases, trace contacts, ban large gatherings, and promote social distancing. Although SARS had a higher transmission rate, R0 of around 312 and no vaccine or treatment, the outbreak was successfully controlled by isolation of patients and infectious disease control measures.

But SARS-CoV-2 was proving harder to contain because of its insidious mode of transmission where presymptomatic or asymptomatic could inadvertently pass on the virus to others. The WHO advised countries to impose mitigation strategies and plan for health-care needs as the epidemic unfolded. Over the next 6 weeks, the world witnessed an exponential rise in cases from the initial cluster in Wuhan to 118,000 infections and 4000 deaths, even though largely in China but gradually spreading to 114 countries.

By March 11, COVID-19 cases would increase by 13-fold outside of China, forcing the WHO Director-General to of cially declare a pandemic, noting that “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”13 With no effective treatments or vaccines and increasing numbers of infections outside China, mathematical mod- els of COVID-19 spread started to predict millions of deaths.14,15 The most high pro les of models, the Imperial Model by Neil Ferguson from Imperial College, London, predicted 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 in the United Kingdom over the year if no actions were taken to slow down the outbreak. Countries scrambled to promote hand hygiene and put into place nonpharmaceuti- cal measures such as banning large gatherings, closing schools and businesses, and placing people under shelter-at-home orders, easing the burden on health-care systems by spreading out infected cases. The goal of “ attening the curve of COVID-19” became the de ning graphic (Figure 1.1) of the pandemic as it moved West.

As countries implemented lockdowns and near-lockdowns aiming to slow down COVID-19 transmission, adverse social, psychological, and economic conse- quences began to emerge and disproportionately affected the poor and marginal communities (see Chapter 22). The pandemic had massive scal consequences, forcing governments to announce scal measures to protect businesses and peoples’ livelihoods.


1 Delay outbreak peak
2 Decompress peak burden on hospitals\infrastructure 3 Diminish overall cases and health impacts


Figure 1.1 Flatten the curve: the goal is to reduce the incidence of cases. Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007.16

Goals of Community Mitigation

Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19




Pandemic outbreak: No intervention



1.3 Human Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses, named after their spikey projections on their surface (proteins), resembling prongs of a crown, or “corona” in Latin, are enveloped, nonsegmented, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses (Figure 1.2). The important structural proteins include spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N). They have a tendency for recombination and inherently high mutation rates com- pared with DNA viruses, which allows them to adapt to new hosts and ecological niches.17

There are four main subgroupings of coronaviruses—alpha, beta, delta, and gamma—that are broadly distributed in mammals and birds, and only alpha and beta are known to cause disease in humans. These viruses cause respiratory, enteric, cardiovascular, and neurological illnesses. Seven coronaviruses with zoonotic ori- gins from bats, mice, or domestic animals have been identi ed in humans (Table 1.1). Four of the known coronaviruses—229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1—cause symptoms of the common cold and other respiratory-related symptoms. Two, SARS and MERS coronaviruses, are deadly in humans, and the SARS-CoV-2 is respon- sible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

SARS was the rst human coronavirus to elicit a massive public health response and had a major economic impact in several countries in Asia. Emerging in Guangdong, southern China in November 2002, it spreads to 26 countries, infected 8096 persons, and caused 774 deaths (nearly 10% mortality rate).18 It was contained through strict quarantine of all infected people and their contacts, and in some areas community-level quarantine.19 By interrupting human-to-human transmission, SARS disappeared by July 2003 leaving behind an indelible impression on coun- tries in the region.

Ten years later, a second coronavirus, MERS CoV, jumped from bats through its intermediary host, dromedary camel, in Saudi Arabia. Although it remained limited to individuals from the Arabian peninsula or those who had recently returned from the Middle East.20 There was a major outbreak, lasting 2 months in 2015, in Korea

3 Days Since First Case

Pandemic outbreak: with intervention

Daily Cases

Human Coronaviruses


Membrane Protein (M)


Nucleocapsid Protein (N)

Structural Protein

Nucleocapsid Protein (N) Spike Protein (S)

Envelope Protein (E) Membrane Protein (M)

Function of Protein

x Bound to RNA genome to make up nucleocapsid

x Critical for binding of host cell receptors to facilitate entry of host cell

x Interacts with M to form viral envelope

x Central organizer of CoV assembly

x Determines shape of viral envelope

Envelope Protein (E) Main structure of coronaviruses

It has been noted that some CoVs do not need to have the full ensemble of structural proteins to make virions, highlighting that certain proteins may be dispensable or compensated by the function of non-structural proteins.

Spike Protein (S)

Figure 1.2 General structure of coronaviruses. Source: Seah I, Su X, Lingam G. Revisiting the dangers of the coronavirus in the ophthalmology practice. Eye 2020;34:1155–1157. https://doi. org/10.1038/s41433-020-0790-7.

Table 1.1 Comparison of Origins and Clinical Features of Human Coronaviruses


Year Identi ed

Natural Host/ Intermediate Host

Incubation Period

Clinical Symptoms

229E (alpha)


Bats/ camelids

2–5 days

Common cold—headache, sneezing, malaise and sore throat, fever and cough in 10–20%

OC43 (beta)


Rodents/ bovines

2–5 days

Common cold

NL63 (alpha)


Bats/ unidenti ed

2–4 days

Moderate upper respiratory infection, severe lower respiratory tract infection, croup, and bronchiolitis

HKU1 (beta)


Rodents/ unidenti ed

2–4 days

Common cold can advance to pneumonia and bronchiolitis

SARS (beta)


Bats/palm civets

2–11 days (median 5 days)

Fever, myalgia, headache, malaise, dry cough, dyspnea, diarrhea, respiratory distress

MERS (beta)


Bats/ dromedary camels

2–13 days

Fever, cough, chills, sore throat, myalgia, arthralgia, dyspnea, pneumonia, diarrhea and vomiting, acute renal impairment

SARS-CoV-2 (beta)


Bats/ pangolins?

3–6 days (5 days)

Fever, dry cough, dyspnea, myalgia, headache, loss of smell and taste, diarrhea



Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19

when an infectious traveler subsequently infected ve superspreaders.21 MERS had a very high mortality rate, 34% (857 deaths), and as of January 2020, the total num- ber of con rmed cases was 2519 across 27 countries but the 85% cases were limited to Saudi Arabia.

The most recent coronavirus to make the interspecies jump is SARS-CoV-2. Unlike SARS and MERS, it is a more stealthy virus and can be spread by people who do not display any outward symptoms of the disease but are infectious and expelling virus droplets. In some cases, infected cases are presymptomatic and go on to develop symptoms a few days after exposure. However, an unknown number of infected people never develop any symptoms, remaining asymptomatic who spread the virus (discussed in Chapter 3).22

The actual number of infected cases who are asymptomatic ranges widely for COVID-19. On the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17.9% of cases were asymptom- atic23; on the Mortimer (Antarctica cruise ship) 81%24; in Iceland 43%25; 50–75% in the Italian village of Vo26; and an estimated 30% in South Korea (based on a model),27 but 4% in an actual outbreak.28 The phenomenon of asymptomatic infections was observed in both SARS and MERS. During the SARS outbreak in Singapore in 2003, 7.5% of health-care workers and 13% of cases in the general population were asymptomatic.29 In a retrospective data analysis of MERS, an estimated 28.6% of cases were observed as asymptomatic bringing down the case fatality rate (CFR).30

Because of asymptomatic cases of infection, the CFR associated with COVID- 19 has been dif cult to measure and ranges widely from as high as 15.3% in France to as low as 0.1% in Singapore.31 It is suspected that COVID-19 mortality rate in the general population is greater than the common in uenza virus (0.1%), but far less than SARS and the death rate of 2.5% for the Spanish Flu of 1918. The risk of mor- tality is higher for the elderly (60 years and over) and increases with age, those with comorbidities (such as diabetes, heart disease, among others), those who are immu- nocompromised, and for males. SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2 exhibit a lot of common characteristics and demonstrate that they are not limited by geography, and far more dangerous in an interconnected and densely populated world (Table 1.2).

1.4 Cross-Species Transmission

SARS-CoV-2 and the other recent viruses (such as HIV and Ebola virus) that have jumped from nonhuman to human carriers are examples of species to species migra- tion, with the impact of a species virus on another species not well understood—and they also have the potential to introduce evolutionary changes—mutations—during the jump that could have far more devastating downstream impacts. A pathogen pyramid is useful for understanding successful interspecies virus transmission (host switching) and the emergence of new disease (Figure 1.2).33, 34

The framework has four levels that are crucial for understanding emerging infec- tious diseases in humans. The rst level is the exposure of humans to new patho- gens, which requires contact between people and the host reservoir that can happen because of the changes in human ecology and environment, patterns of agricultural

Cross-Species Transmission

Table 1.2 Comparison Between SARS, MERS, and COVID-19: Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics






November 2002–July 2003

September 2012 till present

December 2019 till present

Incubation period

2–10 (7) days

2–10 (5.5) days

2–14 (5.2) days

Infectious period

Displaying symptoms

Displaying symptoms

Presymptomatic/ asymptomatic

Median age of affected individuals (years)








Speed of transmission




Geographic impact

26 countries

27 countries

213 countries (two international conveyances)

Total infections


2,519 (Jan 2020)

10,008,027 (June 27, 2020)

Total deaths




Rate of transmission R0


8.1 in Korea outbreak32


production or domestication of animals, mining, and other such factors. After expo- sure to pathogens, the pathogen, in the second level, has to possess the ability to infect and cause disease in humans. At the third level, once the pathogen has estab- lished its ability to infect humans it has to prove its capacity to transmit the disease to other humans. The pathogens have to effectively exit the body through the upper respiratory tract, lower gut, urogenital tract, skin, or other uids and infect another human. In the nal level of the pathogen pyramid, the pathogen has adapted to the human host without the involvement of the original reservoir and can ef ciently transmit such that a single index case is able to generate more than one secondary infection (the R naught, basic reproductive rate, is greater than one). Pathogens that have worked through these four levels become suf ciently transmissible to cause major outbreaks or to become endemic in human populations.

SARS-CoV-2 has successfully gone through these four levels and exhibits a strong potential of becoming the fth coronavirus to become endemic in humans. What is notable about this coronavirus is that it has demonstrated successful host switching mechanisms along with effective human-to-human transmission through symptomless but infected cases (Figure 1.3). Thus far, mutations that might make the virus more or less lethal or contagious appear rare and the altered strains appear- ing in different regions appear to share similar genetic structures.35



Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19


x Host ecology/distribution x Host behavior/contact rates x Pathogen transmission route

x Virus–host compatibility x Pathogen host range x Species barrier

x Transmission potential in new host
x Tissue tropism (the ability of cells and tissues of a host to support

growth of pathogen)
x Pathogen is su ciently transmissible within the human population

x Recombination/reassortment

The pathogen pyramid or steps involved in the emergence of host-switching patho- gens. Source: Adapted from Refs.33, 34

1.5 Past Pandemics and COVID-19 in the Context of History

One of the most powerful examples of a global pandemic, the Spanish Flu, occurred in 1918 and is instructive on a number of levels.36 During its brief run, it infected 500 million people (one-third of the world’s population) and claimed an estimated 50 million lives. Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years and those above 65 years, and also among those between 20 and 40 years, which was a unique fea- ture of the pandemic. Although the Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain and the rst case was in the state of Kansas, United States, it was labeled such because Spain having remained neutral during the War had not imposed any censorship. Newspapers were, therefore, free to report on the H1N1 in uenza A virus with avian or swine origins.

The virus had multiple, closely spaced pandemic waves between February 1918 and April 1920.37 The rst wave, beginning in March 1918, spreads across the world facilitated by overcrowding, poor sanitation, travel of people to cities in support of the War and soldiers traveling to battle elds, and an immunologically naive popula- tion. In this rst wave, the disease was relatively mild with symptoms that included high fever and feeling tired lasting around 3 days, but it disrupted the war efforts by causing signi cant numbers of soldiers to fall sick.

In August 1918, the virus mutated, and the second wave of the disease left a far more deadly footprint. In the mutated version, death occurred within 24 h after disease onset. The disease found a perfect transmission environment among soldiers returning home to their countries and bringing back a more virulent




Epidemic spread


Figure 1.3

Past Pandemics and COVID-19 in the Context of History

version that caused, otherwise healthy, patients basically drowning, with their lungs saturated by pneumonia. Later analysis showed that the deaths were not the result of the mutated virus but the patient’s own immune reaction, the “cytokine explosion,” a protective measure by the body designed to promote healthy in ammation.

The In uenza Pandemic of 1918–1919 occurred at a time when the micro- scopes did not have the ability to see a virus and very little was known about the microbiology of diseases. It was understood that the human-to-human transmis- sion took place through respiratory droplets. There was no treatment—no anti- virals or antibiotics (penicillin would not be discovered until 1928)—and physicians used convalescent sera to reduce the risk of death. Community miti- gation strategies relied on nonpharmaceutical interventions including improved hygiene measures, school closures, bans on public gatherings, wearing of face masks, and isolation or quarantine orders.38 These measures helped to slow down the spread of the virus, and by 1920, the pandemic was over and became a historical event.

The precautionary tale of the 1918 In uenza Pandemic contains a few lessons for the current COVID-19 pandemic which include

• Understanding transmission pathways and implementing measures for slow- ing down and eliminating the virus.

• Knowing the etiology and physiology critical for treating the disease.

• Protecting the most-at-risk populations versus those that are relatively safe and recognizing that any measures described as exaggerated are probably
insuf cient.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is a sign of what the world can expect in the future. Even if this current pandemic is not as deadly as the u of 1918–1919, it will have long-term impacts on health, health services, global economies, social poli- cies, and politics. It has already affected people’s nancial and job security, and affected everyone at a deep sociological and psychological level. But for all its uniqueness, the pandemic is not likely to remain a one-off, and there may be next waves of pandemic diseases hitting the world. There have already been reports of a new G4 virus, genetically descended39 from the H1N1 swine u, with “all the essen- tial hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”
Given the immense variability of nature, the fascinating ability of evolution in genetics and nally the almost unlimited number of viral populations waiting to cross from species to species, one thing is clear: there will be other viral attacks and these others will have more dramatic impacts on our population and could lead to far more devastating impacts on society.
The challenge for the global community, and all of its health professionals, is to ensure that all elements of international surveillance systems are enlisted, and that health systems have the ability to quickly identify and classify the nature of the disease and to develop and enforce treatment and prevention models that protect the most vulnerable.



Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19


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37. Jester B, Uyeki T, Jernigan D. Readiness for responding to a severe pandemic 100 years after 1918. Am J Epidemiol. 2018;187(12):2596–2602.



Chapter 1: Overview of COVID-19

38. Markel H, Lipman HB, Navarro JA, et al. Nonpharmaceutical interventions implemented by US cities during the 1918-1919 in uenza pandemic. JAMA. 2007;298(19):2264. https://doi. org/10.1001/jama.298.6.644.

39. Sun H, Xiao Y, Liu J, et al. Prevalent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine in uenza virus with 2009 pandemic viral genes facilitating human infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020;117:17204– 17210.

Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19

Carey Kriz and Syed Imran Ahmad

List of Abbreviations

ACE2 Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome ORF Open reading frames
PRR Pattern recognition protein

PAMP Pathogen-associated molecular pattern
RBD Receptor binding domain
SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2

2.1 Introduction

In any disease, it is important to understand the structure of the invading patho- gen and the immune response of the host. In COVID-19, the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), other sys- tems, in addition to the respiratory system, can be affected. The disease is also unusual in that there is very low prevalence and almost no mortality in children, but the severity of the disease and the risk of mortality appear to increase with age (especially among those aged 70 years and older). Furthermore, the course of COVID-19 is in general more severe in those with underlying conditions or immunosuppressed.

This chapter addresses the immunopathology of SARS-CoV-2 infection. It discusses the structure of the virus, presents an overview of the innate and adap- tive immune system, and describes the changes occurring in the bodies of COVID-19 patients, particularly the dysregulation of the host immune system re ected by the cytokine storm. This chapter provides an understanding of the immune system mechanisms that can help with the clinical management of COVID-19 cases.




Figure 2.1

Structure of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19.

Envelope (E) protein

Spike (S) protein Membrane (M) protein

Nucleocapsid (N) protein and RNA genome

Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19


Lipid bilayer envelope

2.2 SARS-CoV-2 Structure

Coronaviruses have the largest genome of all RNA viruses and are classi ed within the order Nidovirales.1 The SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh identi ed coronavirus and in the same beta-coronavirus clade as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, sharing almost 80% of the genome with SARS-CoV.2 Similar to other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 contains a single-stranded RNA genome covered with a protein membrane and pro- tein spikes (S) on its surface (Figure 2.1). The S surface protein plays key roles in the viral life cycle and host defense response. The glycoprotein of these protein spikes has a unique way of binding with the cell membrane protein, angiotensin- converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), on the surface of host cells. ACE2 host receptor is required for the host cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, and their expression is not only restricted to the lungs but also to other systems in the human host.3

The entry of SARS-CoV-2 requires conformational changes to the S protein. The serine protease called furin cleaves the S protein and is essential for the fusion of the viral and host cell membranes and viral entry to the cell through endocytosis or nonendocytic cell surface entry.2,4 The S protein contains a S1 component, a surface subunit that binds to the host cellular membrane, and a S2 component, a transmem- brane subunit that allows for fusion. Cleavage at different sites on the S protein not just increase fusion, but also accelerate cell-to-cell spread. Due to its critical role in infection, furin is a possible target for therapeutic interventions.5 In the endocytic pathway (potential targets of drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine), the virion fuses with the vesicle and releases its single-segmented RNA genome into the cytosol for immediate replication.

SARS-CoV-2 infection activates innate and adaptive immune responses, which are described in the next section.

100 nm

The Immune System

2.3 The Immune System

The body’s response to SARS-COV-2 has foundations deeply rooted in our immune system, and thus, a brief review of the basics is essential. The immune system is complex and involves a network of players that interact with each other. An invad- ing pathogen triggers the innate immune response. While many infections can be dealt through this innate system, humans also have an additional layer of defense, the adaptive immune system that actually adapts to protect against speci c invaders. Both aspects of the immune system are described below.

2.3.1 Innate Immunity

The rst line of defense mechanism against foreign microorganisms in humans is mediated by the innate immune system. The key cells in the in ammatory process include neutrophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.6 These cells utilize mechanisms like cellular recognition proteins to identify foreign cells and remove them from the body (Figure 2.2).

Figure 2.2


Endocytic PRR

Dendritic cell

PAMP or Pathogen



CD80/86 MHC-II

T cell


Naive TCR

Basic function of innate immunity showcasing the interaction of antigens with toll- like receptors on macrophages. This gure also illustrates the interface between innate and adap- tive immune systems.6


IL-4 IL-5 IL-13 IL-10

Nature Reviews I Immunology



Accommodation C1q

Inhibition of C3 and C5 cleavage and inhibition of formation of membrane pores by C5b-C9

Figure 2.3

Function of complement response in innate immunity.


C3b or C4b

CD59 C9 CD55


Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19


C3 and C5 convertases

Pattern recognition proteins (PRRs) are the essential component of innate immu- nity. Neutrophils and macrophages have protein receptors on their cell membranes that recognize certain “patterns” on foreign cells and not only recognize them as foreign, but also differentiate them from host cells during elimination. Examples of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) are bacterial endotoxins in gram- negative bacteria, peptidoglycans, lipoteichoic acid, and viral double-stranded RNA (Figure 2.3). 5

One of the most important and well-st udied examples of PRRs is the comple- ment system, a series of circulating peptides that play a crucial role in innate host immunity. A major component of this system, the C1 protein, recognizes antibodies bound to microbial proteins and initiates a downstream event, known as the comple- ment cascade.7 The result of this event is the production of C3b that leads to chemo- taxis, opsonization, and phagocytosis of bacteria, and to the formation of membrane attack complex. Another type of PRR is the toll-like receptor, which is a transmem- brane protein found on neutrophils and macrophages that binds PAMPs and results in the transcription of in ammatory genes, leading to in ammation.

The key players of the innate immune system are the neutrophil, macrophage, and NK cells. Neutrophils are directed to the sites of in ammation or infection by cytokines such as IL-8 and C3b proteins. Macrophages serve a similar function, but they respond somewhat slower than neutrophils. NK cells contain similar protein receptors, which are used to differentiate between host and infected/injured cells. Once recognized, NK cells induce apoptosis. NK cells are especially important in protection from viruses and tumor cells. Other important components of the innate immune system are eosinophils, basophils, and mast cells.

An important point about the innate immunity system is that it does not contain memory cells or “learned responses” to a speci c antigen. The innate immune sys- tem is general and nonspeci c to in ammation. Unlike the adaptive immune system that ne-tunes and modi es itself to combat a speci c infection/injury over a longer period, innate immunity is designed to respond immediately. Innate immunity, how- ever, is the preliminary process that is needed to generate the adaptive immune system.

The Immune System
2�3�2 Adaptive Immunity

Unlike the innate immune system, the adaptive immunity system is a more re ned and calculated mechanism of host defense. The mounted response of the adaptive immunity takes place over a longer period of time compared to the more generalized instantaneous response of the innate immune system. This section will brie y dis- cuss two types of Adaptive immune responses: Humoral immunity and Cell- mediated Immunity. Humoral immunity

Humoral immunity is driven by B-cells that secrete antibodies to protect the body from immediate- and long-term foreign microorganisms. The cardinal event involves receptors on B-cells binding to an antigen.3 This binding promotes activa- tion and differentiation into more specialized cells. The B-cells consist of a B-cell receptor, which is made up of light and heavy immunoglobulin chains, and B-cell co-receptor, which is required for proper antigen binding. Binding of antigens on multiple B-cell receptors leads to a series of intracellular phosphorylation via the IP3 and diacylyglycerol (DAG) pathways, intracellular signaling, which results in the translocation of transcription factors to the nucleus and activation of B-cells.8

B-cells can now bind to thymus-dependent and thymus-independent antigens. The classic examples of thymus-independent antigens are the polysaccharides on capsular organisms such as H. in uenzae and S. pneumonia, which leads to our body mounting an antibody response. This mechanism is also the basis for the unconjugated polysaccharide vaccinations. These capsules contain sugar and are not suited for a more robust T-cell-mediated vaccine response. However, B-cells are the ideal candidates for responding to these foreign pathogens.

Thymus-dependent antigen leads to a specialization of B-cells into assuming more speci c roles. Binding of these antigens primes T-helper cells. These T-cells then activate B-cells into secreting speci c types of antibodies. For example, in the germinal centers of secondary lymphoid tissue, binding of antigen-carrying B-cells to a Th2 cell and its co-receptor leads to the release of IL-4 and IL-5, which signals B-cells to secrete IgE. IgE antibodies then protect against helminthic infections and mediated atopic diseases. This process is called class switching and facilitated by somatic mutations in the heavy chain regions of immunoglobulins. IgM antibody- secreting generalized B-cells differentiate into serving more speci c roles.

This is a brief summary of how B-cells work, and the process is an arduous one. Within the germinal centers of lymphoid tissue, each individual B-cell is faced with essential tasks for it to survive and proliferate. These tasks include competing with other B-cells for binding antigens, processing the antigens, and presenting them to T-helper cells on their MHC-II (proteins that present exogenous antigens), receiving stimulating signals from co-receptors, and then nally specializing. Highly special- ized and differentiated B-cells can also circulate in the plasma as memory B-cells where they “remember” the antigens they once interacted with and can class switch into secreting antibodies.



C3 and C5

C3a and C5a

Complement activation

Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19


Donor APC

TH1 cell activation IL-12


MHC Class II


C3aR and C5aR

Allogeneic peptide


C3aR or C5aR

TH1 cell

Figure 2.4 Activation of Th1 cells.

B-cells also play a crucial role in innate immunity. As we discussed above, the complement system is a key component of the innate immunity.7 Antigen bound to Fab regions of IgG antibodies get cross-linked to Fc regions of antibodies. Essentially, the antibody serves as a bridge for complement and antigen. Once the bridge is formed, complement can implement the recruitment of neutrophils and eventual phagocytosis of the microbe.

2�3�2�2 Cell-mediated immunity

Cell-mediated immunity is a vigorous system of host defense mechanisms that is designed to combat intracellular microbes such as viruses and mycobacteria along with tumor cells.The same system is also the culprit behind many autoimmune con- ditions. T-cells are the primary driver of cell-mediated immunity. Although there are several types of T-cells, CD4 and CD8 cells, expressed by the cytotoxic T lym- phocytes, are important in measuring immunity of the patients (Figure 2.4).6

CD8+ cells are cytotoxic cells that have cytotoxic mechanisms against infected cells by which after binding, it causes a fusion and release of granules that lead to cellular damage. CD8+ cells also express a Fas ligand that binds to CD-95 receptors on infected cells.6 The binding leads to apoptosis. CD8+ cells take things into their own hands and eliminate virally infected and tumor cells via apoptosis or involve- ment of NK cells. CD8+ cells must be activated via antigen presentation through the MHC-1 class of cells. Since all nucleated cells in the body express MHC-1, CD8+ cells are ideal for eliminating cells that may be infected by viruses since any cells can present antigens to CD8+ cells. However, before CD8+ cells can acquire this ability, they must be activated in lymphoid tissue with the help of CD4+ cells and antigen-presenting T-cells.

CD4+ cells are the helper T-cells and are activated in lymph nodes when den- dritic cells capture foreign antigens and present into T-cells. The binding of T-cell

Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2

receptors with these antigen-presenting cells must be accompanied with co-signal binding with the CD-40L on CD+4 cells for the effect to take place. It is also impor- tant to mention that these antigens tend to be peptide-based and also form the basis for peptide-based vaccines, like vaccines for diphtheria.

The interaction of CD+4 cells with antigen determines the fate of these T-cells. Cytokines or cellular messengers drive this differentiation. Through events in the innate immunity, IL-12 and interferon gamma are produced, which induce CD+4 T-cells conversion into Th1 cells.6 These cells then secrete more IL-12 and IFN gamma, which promotes class switching of B-cells into secreting IgG and also acti- vates macrophages. Macrophages are activated by the release of IL-12 and IFN gamma from Th-1 cells. In other words, it becomes a self-regulating cycle. Naive CD+4 cells get converted into Th-1 cells by certain cytokines. Th-1 cells then secrete cytokines of their own, which prepares a robust immune response, resulting in a proin ammatory condition that plays an essential role in eradication of the virus.

A classic example of this pathway is our body’s response to primary tuberculo- sis. As mentioned in the section for humoral immunity, if naive CD+4 cells are met with other stimuli, they can differentiate into Th-2 cells, which play a role in atopy and protection against parasitic infections. Other types of specialized helper T-cells are regulatory T-cells, Th-17 cells, and follicular helper T-cells.

Cell-mediated immunity also displays the phenomenon of memory cells. Interactions with antigens induce changes in surface molecules and intracellular mechanisms which allows T-cells to mount a more rapid and specialized response if exposed to the same antigen again. In other words, T-cells remember antigens they once battled again and know exactly how to defeat them if they return. This forms the basis of life-long immunity and is the reason behind how vaccines work.

Although this discussion is brief, a more detailed study of the immune system can be found in textbooks dedicated entirely to it. These sections are a quick frame- work review of how our body’s defense systems work that can be quickly accessed and referenced when trying to make sense of our body’s response to the SARS- CoV-2 pathologies.

2.4 Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2

The virulence of SARS-Cov-2 virus is attributed to its structural proteins that allow it to enter the human body and replicate. Hence, the genomic activity and replication are essential to its pathogenicity. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a posi- tive sense, single-stranded RNA virus with a 5′cap and 3′ polyA tail.9,10 Transcription of the virus occurs between open reading frames (ORFs) found on the RNA. Up to 6 ORFs can be present in a replication-transcription complex (RCT) .11 The result of this transcription is a set of structural proteins, envelope proteins, spike proteins, and nucleocapsids. Frameshift mutations between these ORFs can lead to new and different types of proteins, increasing the pathogenic- ity (Figure 2.5).



Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19



SP 1 13


SARS-CoV (a29.7kb) 3a ORF1b s

SARS-CoV S protein 3b S1 subunit


7a 8a
7a 8b 9b


318 424 429 510 679 770 788 892 1,013 1,145 1,215

MERS-CoV (a30.1kb) 4a
5’UTR ORF1a ORF1b s 3 5E M N 3’UTR

SP 1 18


S1 subunit RBD

MERS-CoV S protein

4b 8b

S2 subunit
1,295 1,353

367 484 567 606 751 943 982 984 1,104 1,246 1,318

Figure 2.5 Genomic structure of the SARS-COV and MERS-COV, depicting the ORF regions found in the SARS-COV Virus.9

2.4.1 Interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2

The interaction between surface glycoprotein or “spike protein” on virions and human ACE2 enzymes starts the in ammatory process. Of note is that the quantity of enzyme may be related to the extent of organ in ammation.8,12 For example, ACE2 is found in the pulmonary capillaries, and development of COVID-19- induced pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common cause of mortality.13 The enterocytes and epithelia of the gastrointestinal tract also contain ACE2 and can be attributed to the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of SARS- CoV-2.14 Though it is now known that the virion can cross the blood–brain barrier, neurological symptoms such as anosmia, nausea, and headaches are linked to the presence of ACE2 in the brain. Another crucial organ system that is host to ACE2 enzymes is the myocardium. High expression of the enzyme in the heart increases the chance of infection.12 It is possible that infection leads to thrombosis and vaso- constriction of the vasculature in the myocardium. Hence, the incidence of throm- bosis in intensive care unit (ICU) patients infected with COVID-19 is 31%.15

2�4�2 Pathogenesis and Biochemistry

SARS-CoV-2 is structurally similar to the original SARS virus responsible for the 2002–2003 outbreak. Studies have shown that both of these viruses share a similar spike glycoprotein structure in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) that is respon- sible for their af nity for the ACE2. Speci cally, the 3D structure of the spike pro- tein on both of these viruses is identical. Furthermore, the amino acids in the whole

E M 6 S2 subunit

1,195 1,255 HR2 TM CP

Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2

protein that comprise these RBDs are homologous in both of these viruses while also sharing 76–78% of the same amino acid sequences.10 explored this like- ness. The af nity between the RBD on viral cells to host ACE2 cells is crucial in pathogenicity. The virion infects the cell by attaching its glycoprotein into host cell receptors, leading to fusion and insertion of viral replication components into the host. Molecular analysis of crystal structures containing RBD–ACE2 complexes isolated from different hosts and identi ed certain amino acid residues on ACE2 that increased the af nity for binding with the viral glycoprotein.1 The RBD sequence on SARS-COV-2 that interacts with the ACE2 is very similar to the origi- nal SARS virus, showcasing why SARS-CoV-2 enters the human body through the ACE2 cells. Furthermore, the sequence also showed similar receptor binding motifs on the 2019 virus with high af nity for the amino acid residues on ACE2 cells. In other words, ACE2 is required for viral entry and further replication.

The surge of ICU cases and respiratory failure all over the country has demon- strated that lung-related mortality is a key feature of SARS-COV-2. This interaction between the virions and the ACE2 is strongly linked to the severe ARDS and pneu- monias. We will discuss a few studies in the following section to better analyze the relationship between how viral protein binding with ACE2 receptors affects the respiratory system (Figure 2.6).

2�4�3 Pathophysiology of COVID-19-Related Organ System Involvement

Understanding the role of ACE-2 and pathogenesis of SARS paves the way for explaining why SARS-CoV-2 is so destructive to the lungs. SARS-COV 1 was sug- gested to have an af nity for respiratory infection through ACE-2 in a 2005 study titled A crucial role of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) in SARS- coronavirus induced lung injur]. In their research, Kuba et al. infected two groups of mice with the SARS-CoV-2: the control group wild type expressing ACE2 and an experimental group with ACE2 knocked out. They later isolated a much smaller number of infectious viruses from the experimental group, indicating a decreased lung pathogenicity.15

The study titled Single-cell RNA expression pro ling of ACE2, the putative receptor of Wuhan COVID-19 further analyzed the connection between COVID-19 and lung pathogenicity. Zhao et al. studied healthy pulmonary parenchyma from eight donors and found that ACE2 is expressed in 83% of type II alveolar epithelial cells. Gene ontology analysis has revealed that these type II alveolar cells also con- tain genes that somehow promote viral replication and ensure its survival. Though evidence on this phenomenon is inconclusive.11

Introduction of viral particles and its life cycle in the large surface area of the lungs may be the reason behind cases of pneumonia, ARDS, and diffuse alveolar damage. Parenchymal involvement causes acute lung injury and the release of pro- in ammatory cytokines such as IL-8, TNF, and IL-6, activating the innate immune system, as discussed above, and leading to the recruitment of neutrophils and




Human coronavirus

Cellular receptor

Receptor binding, viral entry, and membrane fusion

RNA replication

Genomic RNA (- sense)

Subgenomic or genomic RNA (+ sense)

Receptor binding

Cell membrane Viral receptor


Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19


Viral RNA release

Genomic RNA (+ sense)

Virus release Mature virion formation

Viral polymerase protein translation

Assembly and budding

Viral RNA

RNA replication and package


Cell membrane


B a

E: Envelope

S: Spike

Membrane fusion



N: Nucleocapsid

M: Membrane


Viral structural proteins (S, M and E)







scFv HcAb Nb




Human coronavirus

S2 S protein

Figure 2.6 The life cycle of the human coronavirus, depicting cellular entry and subsequent replication.

macrophages to the site of infection at the pulmonary capillary epithelium.13 Neutrophil-mediated injury of the capillary epithelium leads to the leakage of uids and protein to the alveoli causing a state of pulmonary edema. Subsequent develop- ment of ARDS becomes imminent, causing an impairment of gas exchange and pulmonary compliance. Depending on the severity of the in ammation, oxygen- ation and worse intubation may become a necessity. This feared chain of events is often the culprit behind SARS-CoV-2-associated mortality.

Examining evidence, we can see that acute lung injury and ARDS progress rap- idly. One study examined 138 hospitalized patients for pneumonia, of which 20% developed ARDS within 8 median days and 12% required mechanical ventilation. A different study from Wuhan showed ARDS in 41% of hospitalized patients from pneumonia. 15What exactly is causing the rapidly worsening respiratory failure? One possible speculation can point towards the idea that the large surface area of


N protein



Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2

lungs with type II alveolar cells are invaded by the virus, leading to immune response and subsequent development of ARDS.

Systemic hyperin ammation is another culprit that plays a role in progressively worsening ARDS and may play a role in SARS-CoV-2-induced respiratory failure. Studies have shown that early increase in pro-in ammatory cytokines worsens the prognosis of ARDS and pneumonia.16,17,4 The lymphocytic in ltrates in the systemic in ammation deposit in the lungs and worsen the ARDS.

Historically, the original SARS-COV and MERS-COV both demonstrated increased concentration of pro-in ammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-12, and IFN-gamma.7 Not surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 has shown similar ndings. Furthermore, the quantity of these pro-in ammatory cytokines is higher in patients requiring intubation than in those who did not require mechanical ventilation. Could cytokine-induced in ammation be playing a role in this? The information is cur- rently still under scrutiny. To complicate the discussion even more, SARS-CoV-2 patients have also shown elevated levels of TH-2 helper T-cells which secrete IL-10, an anti-in ammatory cytokine. Therefore, the role of cell-mediated immunity is unclear in the pathophysiology of the infection. Nonetheless, an in-depth explora- tion of cytokine release syndrome is warranted.

Cytokine-release syndrome (CRS) is a dysregulated pro-in ammatory condition where a positive cycle of cytokine release is established leading to systemic shock and multisystem organ failure. As a response to bacterial and viral infections, the mecha- nisms discussed in the immunology section allow cell messengers of the innate immu- nity release cytokines that recruit monocytes and lymphocytes and reinforce the response to eradicate the infection. In most scenarios, especially SARS-CoV-2, this response is suf cient to ght the infection and the host makes recovery. However, failure to eradicate the infection leads to a sustained in ammatory state, where the cytokines exert a positive feedback on the immune cells, which further secrete cyto- kines, thus creating a cycle. The prolonged immune response then becomes detrimen- tal to the host as systemic vasodilation develops leading to shock and organ failure.

To further this discussion, we will include a hematologic perspective into under- standing how coagulation plays a role into SARS-CoV-2-related systemic in am- mation. It is well understood that in ammation can activate the coagulation cascade by several mechanics: down-regulation of antithrombin III and other anticoagulant mechanisms, tissue factor-mediated thrombin generation, and impaired brinolysis. Thrombin itself is known to induce IL-6 and IL-8 in endothelial cells, which plays a role in the sustenance of in ammation. Furthermore, the endothelial injury induced by pro-in ammatory cytokines worsens the coagulation balance.

This may be the possible basis for cases of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a condition in which blood clots form throughout the body, and thrombosis seen in severe COVID-19 patients. In the study titled Abnormal coagulation parameters are associated with poor prognosis in patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia, it was found that a large majority of non-survivors met signs of DIC and had signi cantly higher D-dimer levels, Fibrin degradation products, and elevated PT/PTT. It is thus essential to realize that systemic in ammation and the coagulation system in combina- tion can play a crucial role in overall mortality associated with SARS-COV-2.



Chapter 2: Virology and the Immune System Response to COVID-19


1. Masters PS. The molecular biology of coronaviruses. Adv Virus Res. 2006;66:193–292. https://

2. Zumla A, Chan J, Azhar E, et al. Coronaviruses—drug discovery and therapeutic options. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2016;15:327–347.

3. Kuba K, Imai Y, Rao S, et al. A crucial role of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in SARS coronavirus-induced lung injury. Nat Med. 2005;11(8):875–879. https://doi. org/10.1038/nm1267.

4. Jose RJ, Manuel A. COVID-19 cytokine storm: the interplay between in ammation and coag- ulation. Lancet Respir Med. 2020.

5. Liu, J., Cao, R., Xu, M. et al. Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, is effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. Cell Discov. 2020;6(16). https://doi. org/10.1038/s41421-020-0156-0.

6. Medzhitov, R. Toll-like receptors and innate immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2001;1:135–145.

7. Nile SH, Nile A, Qiu J, Li L, Jia X, Kai G. COVID-19: Pathogenesis, cytokine storm and thera- peutic potential of interferons. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2020. cytogfr.2020.05.002.

8. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th ed. New York: Garland Science; 2002.

9. Song Z, Xu Y, Bao L, et al. From SARS to MERS, thrusting coronaviruses into the spotlight. Viruses. 2019;11(1):59.

10. Wan Y, Shang J, Graham R, et al. Receptor recognition by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan: an analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS coronavirus. J Virol. 94. https://

11. Zhao Y, Zhao Z, Wang Y, Zhou Y, Ma Y, Zuo W. Single-cell RNA expression pro l- ing of ACE2, the putative receptor of Wuhan 2019-nCov. bioRxiv. 2020. https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.01.26.919985.

12. Zhang H, Penninger JM, Li Y, Zhong N, Slutsky AS. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor: molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic target. Intens Care Med. 2020;46(4):586–590.

13. Hudson LD, Milberg JA, Anardi D, Maunder RJ. Clinical risks for development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995;151:293.

14. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;10223:497–506. S0140-6736(20)30183-5.

15. Tang N, Li D, Wang X, Sun Z. Abnormal coagulation parameters are associated with poor prognosis in patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(4):844– 847.

16. Zhang C, Wu Z, Li J-W, Zhao H. Gui-Qiang Wang. Cytokine release syndrome in severe COVID-19: interleukin-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab may be the key to reduce mortality. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020;55(5).

17. Coperchini F, Chiovato L, Croce L, Magri F, Rotondi M. The cytokine storm in COVID-19: an overview of the involvement of the chemokine/chemokine-receptor system. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2020.

Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

Naiyer Imam M.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., and Arijit Robin Chakraborty

List of Abbreviations

BMI Body mass index
NPI Nonpharmaceutical public health intervention SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus


Super-spreader event Tuberculosis

3.1 Introduction

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a respiratory virus that spreads from person-to-person through close contact and causes COVID-19. It is highly contagious. Infected individuals who show no symptoms can transmit the virus without knowing they are infectious, making it dif cult to control community spread. Although all age groups can be infected, those over 60 years old, speci cally males, and those with underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes, pulmonary or heart disease, obesity, or in an immunocompromised state are at higher risk. Until there is a vaccine, COVID-19 prevention will depend on traditional epidemic con- trol measures. This chapter summarizes the latest information on what is known about COVID-19 transmission, prevention, and risk factors.

3.2 Viral Transmission

Previous studies of SARS-CoV indicated a signi cant role of airborne transmission with the virus remaining infectious in aerosol for hours and on surfaces for up to 2 days.1 Considering that the genome of SARS-CoV-2 is similar to SARS-CoV, the transmission behavior is also more similar. Studies have shown that infected indi- viduals can transmit SARS-CoV-2 through large droplets (>5–10 μm)2, and more




Chapter 3: Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

recently through aerosol (≤5 μm)3 exhaled during breathing, speaking, coughing, sneezing, or yelling. The case study of COVID-19 infections on the cruise ship Diamond Princess demonstrated that aerosol transmission contributed to disease progression. The virus is more easily spread in indoor or enclosed environments that have poor or inadequate ventilation.

Viral transmission can also occur through direct contact with an infected person or indirect contact through hand-mediated transfer from contaminated surfaces and objects to the mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus has been detected in various bodily uids and in feces, but so far there is no evidence of its transmission through these modalities has been found. It is recommended that strict precautions should be taken in hospital settings.4

Person-to-person transmission is also dependent on the infectiousness of cases, which is based on the viral load. The viral load is de ned as the concentration of viral particles in the biological medium of transmission. The higher the viral load, then it is more likely an infected person will transmit the virus to others. In the case of COVID-19, the viral load is related to the time course of the illness.5

The incubation period, which is the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset, for COVID-19 is 4–5 days, and in some cases, it can be up to 14 days. In Figure 3.1, the y-axis represents the viral load, and the x-axis represents the days after symptom onset with the rst day of symptoms designated as 0. During this time, the viral load gradually rises, peaking about 2–3 days prior to the onset of symptoms. In mild cases, the viral load sharply declines over the course of 7 days such that by the fourth to seventh day of symptomatic infection, the patient becomes much less likely to infect others.6 In more severe cases, the viral load begins to decline after the second week.7 But prolonged viral shedding has been reported for up to 63 days in nasopharyngeal swabs among adult patients.8

Figure 3.1 Viral load 30 density of COVID-19.5





–3 –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Days after symptom onset

Density (%)

Reproductive Rate and Dispersion

In terms of transmission, few concerns are the presymptomatic or asymptomatic cases, transmitting the disease few days before the onset of symptoms when the viral load is highest without being aware that they are infecting others.9 The role of asymptomatic cases in transmission, while reported, has been dif cult to quantify.10 But the risk of transmission from presymptomatic cases is high, and according to some reports contributed to 48% and 62% of transmissions in Singapore and China.11 It is safe to assume that a signi cant proportion of secondary transmission is occurring before the onset of illness and, in some instances, in the absence of symptoms.

A comparison of SARS-CoV-2 to SARS displays the immense power of trans- missibility of this virus since it can be spread by presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals through airborne transmission and requires greater individual and com- munity vigilance. In contrast, SARS differed in the sense that affected patients became symptomatic soon after infection and could be easily isolated. As a result, SARS was successfully contained using old-style public health measures such as isolation and quarantine.

3.3 Reproductive Rate and Dispersion

R-naught (R0) is an important epidemiological concept for understanding disease transmission, de ned as the average number of new cases generated by every infected case.12 It is not a xed value and depends on a variety of factors such as the host’s population susceptibility to infection, demographics, socioeconomic situa- tion, and seasonaility. R0 is a useful public health measure in terms of disease spread and its eventual containment. Typically the R0 value varies between less than 1 if the disease is controlled and greater than 1 if it is spreading. Throughout the course of an outbreak of disease, interventions aimed at controlling the spread can be described as attempts to lower the value of R0. The average R0 of COVID-19 is estimated at the range between 2.2 and 2.7 with a doubling time of cases in 6–7 days.13

Since R0 is an average value, its meaning can be obscured by a highly dispersed distribution where a handful of infected people are causing most of the secondary transmission. The dispersion factor, k, describes how much a disease clusters through super-spreader events (SSE). A small dispersion factor means that a rela- tively small number of cases are responsible for transmission, while a larger k indi- cates that transmission is more evenly spread.

In the case of COVID-19, a small fraction (10%) of infected individuals is esti- mated to be causing 80% of the secondary infections through SSE.14 In many instances, a single infected person transmits the virus to a large number of people while attending large gathering such as meetings, conferences, religious services, sporting events, or other social get-togethers. Large disease clusters have occurred in meetings, nursing homes, churches, prisons, food processing plants, and on


Low Volume

High Volume

Long time

Work place Cruise ship Shopping malls Amusement parks

Restaurants/bars Weddings/funerals/birthdays Concerts
Sports events
Meat packing plants
Assisted living housing

Short time

Supermarket Outdoors—jogging/ walking

Public toilets Choir practice Gyms


Chapter 3: Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

ships.15 Two other factors affecting clusters of disease outbreak are time and physi- cal space. The longer the period of exposure the group staying together, the likeli- hood of viral spread is greater. Indoor and poorly ventilated spaces are especially conducive to transmission. In one study from Japan, the odds of transmission in a closed environment were estimated to be 18.7 times greater compared to an open air environment.16

3.4 Assessing Risk of Transmission

Understanding the risk of infection is important for beating back the virus, and pro- fessor Erin Bromage17 from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has devel- oped an easy formula: Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus Volume × Exposure Time (Table 3.1). Some places of high risk usually will have high volumes of viral particles or low volumes of virus but require extended exposure. A massive out- break was reported in a German slaughterhouse where the virus spreads up to 8 m (26 ft) through the ventilation (air cooling) system infecting 1500 out of 7000 employees.18

The Texas Medical Association has also developed a risk chart for COVID-19 (Figure 3.2).19

3.5 Individual Disease Prevention

As an airborne virus, SARS-CoV-2 spreads very easily as demonstrated by a uid dynamic professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who showed that a turbulent gas cloud created by a cough could reach up to 7–8 m (23–27 ft).20 In combination with the improved hygiene measures such as regular handwashing and coughing into the elbows, it is also very important to wear facemasks and physically distance from other people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has de ned

Table 3.1 Risk of Transmission: Time and Volume of Virus

Individual Disease Prevention


Figure 3.2 Risk of COVID-19 infection in a variety of situations.

close contact as being within 1 m (3 ft) of a COVID-19 infected person for more than 15 min while not wearing a mask.21 In such instances, the recommendation is to quarantine for 14 days, regularly take temperature and monitor symptoms, and to keep a safe distance for other members of the household. The use of facemasks is



Chapter 3: Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

recommended during isolation procedures. Only after 14 days or 10 days after the onset of symptoms and two negative tests can a patient come out of quarantine once the symptoms have been cleared.22

In addition to preventative measures such as handwashing, coughing into the elbows, wearing a mask, keeping a distance of 6 ft apart from others outside the home, and avoiding large gatherings, there are other steps that should be taken to keep the immune system strong. These include the following:

• Eating a well-rounded and balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and legumes. Some studies have indicated that Vitamin D23 and zinc24 may reduce the risk of COVID-19, but these protec- tions are not de nitive.

• Exercising regularly as it confers a range of bene ts including reducing stress and improving cardiorespiratory tness.25 The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 30 min of moderate intensity aerobic exercise 5 days a week for adults, and 60 min of exercise daily for children and adolescents.26

• Refraining from smoking27 as it is associated with increased severity of dis- ease and deaths in hospitalized patients.

• Refraining from alcohol use as it has been shown to increase the likelihood of acute respiratory distress syndrome and liver damage.28 A study from Wuhan reported that 53% of patients with COVID-19 experienced liver damage as consequences of the infection.29

• Sleeping for at least 8 h, which is an essential component for stronger immunity.
The WHO publishes updated guidelines and posters for downloading on how to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 which is accessible at Cleaning hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitizers is the most effective way to kill the virus.

3.6 Community Prevention: Nonpharmaceutical Interventions

In situations where vaccines and antiviral agents are insuf cient or unavailable, the WHO recommended introducing nonpharmaceutical public health interventions (NPIs) to contain infection, delay spread, and reduce the impact of pandemic dis- eases.30, 31 The NPIs are considered outside of health-care settings and focus on measures that (1) limit international spread of the virus (e.g., travel screening and restrictions); (2) reduce spread within national and local populations (e.g., testing, isolation and treatment of positive cases, monitoring and quarantining of exposed persons, and introducing social distancing measures); (3) reduce an individual per- son’s risk of infection; and (4) communicate risk to the public.

Community Prevention: Nonpharmaceutical Interventions

In addition to testing and isolating positive cases, contact tracing, and quarantine measures, governments are recommended to introduce NPI measures to control the spread of infection. Nonpharmaceutical interventions include and are not limited to the following:

1. Universal masking mandate in public areas;

2. Maintaining safe distances between people in public spaces;

3. Banning public events and large gatherings that generate crowds, including
personal responsibility to limit social gatherings;

4. Closing schools and universities;

5. Closing nonessential businesses;

6. Stay at home orders.

For COVID-19, countries around the world implemented aggressive public health measures to control viral spread. Some countries were successful in bringing down the R0 including China where the coronavirus originated. A study32 of the outbreak in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, measured the attack rate without any interventions, and after public health interventions were imposed found that the viral attack rate dropped precipitously (Table 3.2). The interventions were estimated to prevent 94.5% of infections.

Although the outbreak started in early December, no strong interventions were implemented until January 20 when human-to-human transmission was con rmed. On January 23, the government imposed an unprecedented policy of cordon sani- taire effectively cutting off the city and Hubei province from the rest of the world, but new cases continued to overwhelm hospitals that faced shortages in supply and were understaffed. The rate of viral infection among health-care workers was high probably due to lower awareness of nosocomial infections. The authors observed that asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases could be a substantial challenge to epidemic control, and the use of traditional NPI measures and policies were neces- sary to control the COVID-19 outbreak.

Table 3.2 Rate of Viral Transmissibility in Wuhan Before and After Implementing NPI Measures32



Estimated R0 (95% CI)

January 1–10, 2020

None—children on school break

3.88 (3.77–3.99)

January 11–22 (Chunyun, Chinese New Year)

None—massive population movement

3.86 (3.74–3.97)

January 23–February 1

Drastic social distancing measures with no travel in and out of Hubei cordon sanitaire

1.26 (1.21–1.31)

February 2–18

NPIs with aggressive testing and isolation of positive cases, contact tracing, and quarantine
Stay at home orders

0.32 (0.27–0.38)



Chapter 3: Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

People who were residing in other countries in the regions such as Hong Kong and Taiwan had experienced and learned lessons from the SARS outbreak and moved quickly to test and quarantine suspected cases, trace potential cases, ban large gatherings, impose social distancing, and enforce universal masking measures and instruct people to stay 1.5 m apart.33, 34 They prepared hospitals and staff and communicated accurate up-to-date information to the public. As COVID-19 moved westwards with Europe becoming the next epicenter, countries implemented NPI measures. The NPI measures, for 11 countries, were introduced successively from March 2 to March 20 and had a substantial effect on reducing transmission (81% reduction in attack rate) and brought R0 below 1 (probability Rt < 1 is 99.9%).35

The blanket measures to contain a pandemic can come at very high social and economic costs, but they may be necessary to break the chain of disease transmis- sion. In the case of COVID-19, it was necessary to mitigate the worst effects of the disease such as the overwhelming surge in demand for hospital care, particularly intensive care, and the high levels of mortality.

3.7 Risk Factors

COVID-19 can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but the data suggest that some people are more likely than others to get sick if they are exposed to the virus. From the outset of the epidemic, the data from China showed more severe illness and higher rates of infection in older groups and those with preexisting comorbid conditions.36 Age is an independent risk factor for older people that had no underly- ing conditions and also being at increased risk of severe illness. For example, people in their 60s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s, and those in their 50s are at higher risk than those in their 40s. The greatest risk for severe illness is among those aged 80 years or older. Children under 10 are not at risk and less likely to spread the disease. However, children between ages 10 and 19 are at less risk of severe illness but just as likely as adults to spread the disease.37

The Lancet Global Health recently estimated that one in ve individuals world- wide are at increased risk of severe disease, should they become infected, due to an underlying comorbidity and that risk varies considerably with age.38 The prevalence of one or more comorbidities is approximately 10% by 25 years, 33% by 50 years, and 66% by 70 years. The case fatality rate among those with preexisting comorbid conditions was 10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory diseases, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer. Males were also at twice the risk compared with females. Obesity, classi ed as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, and severe obesity of BMI of 40, is emerging as an important risk factor in the United States where the prevalence is 40% compared with 24% in Spain, 20% in Italy, and 6.2% in China.39 Obese people with COVID- 19 are more likely to experience severe pneumonia and require ventilation.40, 41

People who are in an immunocompromised state because of organ transplants or chemotherapy for cancers are also vulnerable to COVID-19. One study that


considered COVID-19 in immunocompromised patients reported high case of fatal- ity rate which was estimated to be 21.4%.42 Such a situation presents a conundrum for doctors who need to balance the risk of delaying chemotherapy against the increased risk of infection during the pandemic.

It has been speculated that diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB), which lead to immunocompromised states, are also a risk factor for COVD-19 infection, but at this time there is no enough evidence for a de nitive association. In China, TB was the most common comorbidity in COVID-19 patients with 36% concurrently having a TB infection, compared to a general prevalence of 25% in the general population.43 Furthermore, patients with TB who contracted COVID-19 progressed to severe symptoms much more quickly than those without TB with the time from symptom onset to severe pneumonia averaging 3 days, compared to 7–8 days in cases without TB. For people living with HIV, the risk associated with COVID-19 is inconclusive, and most likely obscured by treatment with antiretrovirals.37 In Barcelona, 1% of COVID-19 patients who required hospitalization were HIV posi- tive, which is much higher than the HIV prevalence of 0.3% in the population.44

Smoking is associated with a high risk of severe symptoms for COVID-19, and a study published by the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases found that smokers infected with COVID-19 were 1.4 times more likely to experience severe symptoms and 2.4 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require intubation, or die compared to COVID-19 patients who were nonsmokers.45

Other groups who need extra precaution are people in closed settings such as prisons, homeless shelters, homes for people with disabilities and developmental or behavioral disorders, refugee camps, food processing plants, and other manufactur- ing settings.

3.8 Conclusion

In summary

• SARS-CoV-2 is highly transmissible and can be identi ed in droplets, aero- sols, and on surfaces before the onset of symptoms. A person can be infec- tious for up to 14 days or longer.

• Transmission from presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases makes it dif – cult to contain the spread of disease, and it is therefore recommended that individuals observe good hand hygiene, wear masks, and keep a physical dis- tance of 1.5 m (6 ft) from others.

• The risk of transmission varies by settings, but a closed environment with poor ventilation, large crowds, and prolonged contact with an infected person increase the likelihood of secondary infection.

• Child-to-adult transmission appears uncommon and children do not seem to be at risk for COVID-19 unless there are comorbidities.



Chapter 3: Transmission, Prevention, and Risk Factors of COVID-19

• Increasing age and underlying comorbidities increase the risk of severe illness and mortality.

• In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, the immune response should be strengthened through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and at least 8 hours of sleep.

1. Doremalen N, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:1564–1567. NEJMc2004973.

2. Zhang R, Li Y, Zhang AL, et al. Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. PNAS. 2020;26(117):14857–14863. pnas.2009637117.

3. Morawska L, Milton DK. It is time to address airborne transmission of COVID-19. Clin Infect Dis. ciaa939.

4. Mohseni AH, Taghinezhad SS, Xu Z, et al. Body uids may contribute to human-to-human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2: evidence and practical expe- rience. Chin Med. 2020;15:58.

5. He X, Lau EHY, Wu P, et al. Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19. Nat Med. 2020;26(5):672–675.

6. To KK-W, Tsang OT-Y, Leung W-S, et al. Temporal pro les of viral load in posterior oropha- ryngeal saliva samples and serum antibody responses during infection by SARS-CoV-2: an observational cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(5):565–574. s1473-3099(20)30196-1.

7. Liu Y, Yan LM, Wan L, et al. Viral dynamics in mild and severe cases of COVID-19. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(6):656-657.

8. Liu WD, Chang SY, Wang JT, et al. Prolonged virus shedding even after seroconversion in a patient with COVID-19. J Infect. 2020;S0163-4453(20)30190-0. jinf.2020.03.063.

9. Yang R, Gui X, Xiong Y. Comparison of clinical characteristics of patients with asymptomatic vs symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(5).

10. Aguilar JB, Faust JS, Westafer LM, Gutierrez JB. Investigating the impact of asymptomatic carriers on COVID-19 transmission. medRxiv. 2020. 7994.

11. Ganyani T, Kremer C, Chen D, et al. Estimating the generation interval for COVID-19 based on symptom onset data. medRxiv. 2020.

12. Delamater PL, Street EJ, Leslie TF, Yang YT, Jacobsen KH. Complexity of the basic reproduc- tion number (R0). Emerg Infect Dis. 2019;25(1):1–4.

13. Sanchez S, Lin Y, Xu C, et al. High contagiousness and rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(7):1470–1477.

14. Endo A, Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases COVID-19 Working
Group, Abbott S, et al. Estimating the overdispersion in COVID-19 transmission using outbreak sizes outside China. Wellcome Open Res. 2020;5:67. wellcomeopenres.15842.2.

15. Leclerc QJ, Fuller NM, Knight LE, et al. What settings have been linked to SARS- CoV-2 transmission clusters?. Wellcome Open Res. 2020:5:83. wellcomeopenres.15889.2.


16. Nishiura H, Oshitani H, Kobayash T, et al. Closed environments facilitate secondary transmis- sion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). medRxiv. 2020. 2.28.20029272.


18. Bloomberg, Coronavirus can travel 26 feet in rooms with cold, stale air-like meat plants. Fortune.
cold-stale-inside-travels-26-feet/. Accessed July 23, 2020.

19. Texas Medical Association. Be Informed: Know Your Risk during COVID-19. 2020. https://

20. Bourouiba L. Turbulent gas clouds and respiratory pathogen emissions. JAMA. 2020. https://

21. WHO. 2020.
contacts. Accessed 2020.

22. CDC. COVID-19: Quarantine vs. Isolation. 2020.

23. Grant WB, Lahore H, Mcdonnell SL, et al. Evidence that vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of in uenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths. 2020.

24. Skalny A, Rink L, Ajsuvakova O, et al. Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for
COVID-19. Int J Mol Med. 2020.

25. Simpson RJ, Katsanis E. The immunological case for staying active during the COVID-19
pandemic. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;87:6–7.

26. USDHHS. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. 2019. USDHHS.

27. World Health Organization. Smoking and COVID-19. WHO Global Team. 30 June 2020.

28. Sarkar D, Jung MK, Wang HJ. Alcohol and the immune system. Alcohol Res.

29. Ji D, Qin E, Xu J, et al. Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases in patients with COVID-19: a retro-
spective study. J Hepatol. 2020;73(2):451–453.

30. World Health Organization Writing Group. Nonpharmaceutical interventions for pan- demic in uenza, international measures. Emerg Infect Dis. 2006:12 (1):81–87. https://doi.

31. World Health Organization Writing Group. Nonpharmaceutical interventions for pan-
demic in uenza, international measures. Emerg Infect Dis. 2006;12(1):88–94. https://doi.

32. Pan A, Liu L, Wang C, et al. Association of public health interventions with the epidemiology
of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1915–1923. https://doi.

33. Gawande A, Chotiner I, Kormann C. Keeping the coronavirus from infecting health-care work-
ers. The New Yorker. March 21, 2020.
the-coronavirus-from-infecting-health-care-workers. Accessed March 21, 2020.

34. Wang CJ, Ng CY, Brook RH. Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan: big data analytics, new technology, and proactive testing. JAMA. 2020;323(14):1341–1342.

35. Flaxman, S., Mishra, S., Gandy, A, et al. Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical inter-
ventions on COVID-19 in Europe. Nature. 2020;584:257–261.

36. Wu Z, McGoogan JM. Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus dis-
ease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China: summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA. 2020;323(13):1239–1242. https://

37. Guenther T, Czech-Sioli M, Indenbirken D, et al. Investigation of a superspreading event pre- ceding the largest meat processing plant-related SARS-Coronavirus 2 outbreak in Germany. Accessed July 17, 2020.



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38. Clark A, Jit M, Warren-Gash C, et al. Global, regional and national estimates of the popu- lation at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions in 2020: a modeling study. Lancet Glob Health. 2020;8(8):E1003–E1017. S2214-109X(20)30264-3.

39. Kass D, Duggal P, Cingolani O. Obesity could shift severe COVID-19 disease to younger ages. Lancet. 2020:395(10236):1544–1545.

40. Stefan N, Birkenfeld AL, Schulze MB, Ludwig DS. Obesity and impaired metabolic health in patients with COVID-19. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2020;16(7):341–342. s41574-020-0364-6.

41. Cai Q, Chen F, Wang T, et al. Obesity and COVID-19 severity in a designated hospital in Shenzhen, China. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(7):1392–1398.

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transplant recipient: attening the curve. Am J Transpl. 2020;20(7):1765–1767. https://doi.

43. Liu Y, Bi L, Chen Y, et al. Active or latent tuberculosis increases susceptibility to COVID-19
and disease severity. 2020.

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Induc Dis. 2020:18–20.

Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19

Naiyer Imam M.D., Nooshi Karim M.D. and Abena Baah-Fordjour

List of Abbreviations



American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Angiotensin-converting enzyme II
Angiotensin II
Reactive oxygen species

World Health Organization


Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from an asymptomatic course to a myriad of manifestations. Most people will experience mild-to-moderate respiratory illness symptoms. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic; 15% of infections are severe, which require oxygen; and 5% of infections are critical, requiring ventilation.” For patients with a mild clinical course, the most common symptoms are u-like (ie, fever, dry cough, shortness of breath/dif culty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, chills, and muscle pain). A subset of patients with initially mild symptoms may experience a rapid worsening of their condition, requiring hospitalization. This chapter discusses the current management strategies for mild-to-moderate disease that doesn’t require hospitalization and can be handled at home.

4.2 COVID-19 Overview of Symptoms

The virus has an incubation period of 2–14 days; on average, patients report symp- toms within 3–5 days.1 The time from infection to symptom manifestation appears to be based on the immune system functioning of the individual. Older adults, aged




Chapter 4: Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19

>70 years, having shorter incubation periods and more severe disease courses. Those under 18 years of age are less likely to present with the hallmark symptoms of fever and cough compared to adults aged 18–64.2

CDC reports that 83–99% of COVID patients experience fever, 59–82% cough, 44–70% fatigue, 40–84% anorexia, 31–40% shortness of breath, 28–33% sputum production, and 11–35% myalgia.3 A study of 1099 patients across 552 hospitals in China found that over 75% of cases reported a fever ranging between 37.5°C and 39.0°C (99.5°F–102.2°F), 68.7% reported a cough, 38.1% fatigue, and 33.7% spu- tum production.4 The same study found that comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes could in uence the severity of disease progression. Table 4.1 also provides information for the ndings of other coexisting disorders.

4.3 Current Management Strategies for Mild Disease

It is currently recommended that those with mild symptoms (or previous exposure to the virus) stay home. For most patients, the disease is self-limited and does not require medical care. To manage symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends rest, staying hydrated, and the use of over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen.5

Infected persons living in a household with others should take extra precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. The most important prophylaxis is frequent hand- washing or the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if handwashing is not possi- ble. It is also recommended for all individuals to not touch their face, especially their nose, eyes, and mouth; this precautionary step decreases the risk of viral entry into the body. To protect others living in the household from becoming infected, CDC recommends a frequent sanitization of shared surfaces, isolation and social distancing of the infected person from the rest of the household (including pets), and the infected person wearing a mask when around others. If possible, the infected person should even have his or her own separate bathroom for the duration of ill- ness. Patients who use CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) machines and nebulized medications should not use them when other people are around as it can become aerosolized.

The WHO updated the criteria for discharge from isolation as part of the clinical care pathway of a COVID-19 patient. These criteria apply to all COVID-19 cases regardless of isolation location or disease severity.The criteria for discharging patients from isolation (i.e., discontinuing transmission-based precautions) without requiring retesting:

• For symptomatic patients: 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least three additional days without symptoms (including without fever and without respi- ratory symptoms) and

• For asymptomatic cases: 10 days after positive test for SARS-CoV-2.

Current Management Strategies for Mild Disease



Table 4.1 Clinical Characteristics of the Study Patients, According to Severity and the Presence or Absence of the Primary Composite End Pointa


All Patients (N = 1099)

Disease Severity Nonsevere (N = 926)

Presence of Primary Composite End Pointb

Median (IQR)—years

47.0 (35.0–58.0)

45.0 (34.0–57.0)

Severe N = 173 52.0 (40.0–65.0)

Yes (N = 67) 63.0 (53.0–71.0)

No (N = 1032) 46.0 (35.0–57)

Distribution—no./total no. (%) 0–14 years
15–49 years
50–64 years

9/1011 (0.9) 557/1011 (55.1) 292/1011 (28.9) 153/1011 (15.1) 459/1096 (42.9)

8/848 (0.9) 490/848 (57.8) 241/848 (28.4) 109/848 (12.9) 386/923 (41.8)

1/163 (0.6) 67/163 (41.1) 51/163 (31.3) 44/163 (27.0) 73/173 (42.2)

12/65 (18.5) 21/65 (32.3) 32/65 (49.2) 22/67 (32.8)

9/946 (1.0) 545/946 (57.6) 271/946 (28.6) 121/946 (12.8) 437/1029 (42.5)

>65 years
Female sex—no./total no. (%) Smoking history—no./total no. (%)

Never smoked Former smoker Current smoker

927/1085 (85.4) 21/1085 (1.9) 137/1085 (12.6)

793/913 (86.9) 12/913 (1.3) 108/913 (11.8)

134/172 (77.09) 9/172 (5.2) 29/172 (16.9)

44/66 (66.7) 5/66 (7.6) 17/66 (25.8)

883/1019 (86.7) 16/1019 (1.6) 120/1019 (11.8)

Exposure to source of transmission within past 14 days—no./total no. (%)

Living in Wuhan Contact with wildlife Recently visited Wuhanc

483/1099 (43.9) 13/687 (1.9) 193/616 (32.3)

400/926 (43.2) 10/559 (1.8) 366/526 (31.6)

83/173 (48.0) 3/128 (2.3) 27/90 (30.0)

39/67 (38.2) 1/41 (2.4) 10/28 (35.7)

444/1032 (43.0) 12/646 (1.9) 183/388 (31.1)




Chapter 4: Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19


Table 4.1 (continued) Characteristics

All Patients (N = 1099)

Disease Severity 376/522 (722.0) 4.0 (2.8–7.0)

Presence of Primary Composite End Pointb

Had contact with Wuhan residentsc

442/611 (72.3) 4.0 (2.0–7.0)

66/89 (74.2) 4.0 (2.0–7.0)

19/28 (67.9) 4.0 (1.0–7.5)

423/583 (72.6) 4.0 (2.0–7.0)

Medium incubation period (IQR)—daysd

Fever on admission
Patients—no./total no. (%)
Median temperature (IQR)—°C
Distribution of temperature—no./total no. (%)

391/910 (43.0) 37.3 (36.7–38.0)

82/171 (48.0) 37.4 (36.7–38.1)

24/66 (36.4) 36.8 (36.3–37.8)

449/1015 (44.2) 37.3 (36.7–38.0)

<37.5°C 37.05–38.0°C 38.1–39.0°C >39.0°C

608/1081 (56.2) 238/1081 (22.0) 197/1081 (28.2) 38/1081 (3.5)

519/910 (57.0) 201/910 (22.1) 160/910 (17.6) 30/910 (3.3)

89/171 (52.0) 37/171 (21.6) 37/171 (21.6) 8/171 (4.7)

42/66 (63.6) 10/66 (15.2) 11/66 (16.7) 3/66 (4.5)

566/1015 (55.8) 228/1015 (22.5) 186/1015 (18.3) 35/1015 (3.4)

Fever during hospitalization Patients—no./total no. (%)

975/1099 (88.7) 38.3 (37.8–38.9)

816/926 (88.1) 38.3 (37.8–38.9)

159/173 (91.9) 38.5 (38.0–39.0)

59/67 (88.1) 38.5 (38.0–39.0)

916/1032 (88.8) 38.3 (37.8–38.9)

Median highest temperature (IQR)—°C

<37.5°C 37.05–38.0°C 38.1–39.0°C >39.0°C

92/926 (10.9) 286/926 (30.9) 434/926 (46.9) 114/926 (12.3)

79/774 (10.2) 251/774 (32.4) 356/774 (46.0) 88/774 (11.4)

13/152 (8.6) 35/152 (23.0) 78/152 (51.3) 26/152 (17.1)

3/54 (5.6) 20/54 (37.0) 21/54 (38.9) 10/54 (18.5)

89/872 (10.2) 266/872 (30.5) 413/872 (47.4) 104/872 (11.9)

473/1081 (43.8) 37.3 (36.7–38.0)

Current Management Strategies for Mild Disease



Symptoms—no. (%) Conjunctival congestion Nasal congestion Headache

9 (0.8)
53 (4.8) 150 (13.6) 745 (67.8) 153 (13.9) 370 (33.7) 419 (38.1) 10 (0.9) 205 (18.7) 55 (5.0) 42 (3.8) 164 (14.9) 126 (11.5)

5 (0.5)
47 (5.1) 124 (13.4) 623 (67.3) 130 (14.0) 309 (33.4) 350 (37.8) 6 (0.6) 140 (15.1) 43 (4.6) 32 (3.5) 134 (14.5) 100 (10.8)

4 (2.3)
6 (3.5)
26 (15.0) 122 (70.5) 23 (13.3) 61 (35.3) 69 (39.9) 4 (2.3)
65 (37.6) 12 (6.9) 10 (5.8) 30 (17.3) 26 (15.0)

2 (3.0)
8 (11.9) 46 (68.7) 6 (9.0) 20 (29.9) 22 (32.8) 2 (3.0) 36 (53.7) 3 (4.5)
4 (6.0)
6 (9.0)
8 (11.9)

9 (0.9)
51 (4.9) 142 (13.8) 699 (67.7) 147 (14.2) 350 (33.9) 397 (38.5) 8 (0.8) 169 (16.4) 52 (5.0) 38 (3.7) 158 (15.3) 118 (11.4)

Sore throat
Sputum production Fatigue
Hemoptysis Shortness of breath Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea
Myalgia or arthralgia Chills

Signs of infection—no (%) Throat congestion
Tonsil swelling
Enlargement of lymph nodes Rash

19 (1.7) 23 (2.1) 2 (0.2) 2 (0.2)

17 (1.8) 17 (1.8) 1 (0.1) 0

2 (1.2) 6 (3.5) 1 (0.6) 2 (1.2)

1 (1.5) 1 (1.5) 0

19 (1.8) 22 (2.1) 1 (0.1) 2 (0.2)




Chapter 4: Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19


Table 4.1 (continued) Characteristics

All Patients (N = 1099)

Disease Severity

Presence of Primary Composite End Pointb

Coexisting disorders Any

261 (23.7) 12 (1.1)

194 (21.0) 6 (0.6)

67 (38.7) 6 (3.5)

39 (58.2) 7 (10.4)

222 (21.5) 5 (0.5)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Coronary heart disease Cerebrovascular disease Hepatitis B infectione Cancerf
Chronic renal disease Immunode ciency

81 (7.4) 165 (15.0) 27 (2.5) 15 (1.4) 23 (2.1) 10 (0.9)
8 (0.7)
2 (0.2)

53 (5.7) 124 (23.4) 17 (1.8) 11 (1.2) 22 (2.4)
7 (0.8)
5 (0.5)
2 (0.2)

28 (16.2) 41 (23.7) 10 (5.8) 4 (2.3)

18 (26.9) 24 (35.8) 6 (9.0)
4 (6.0)

63 (6.2) 141 (13.7) 21 (2.0) 11 (1.1) 22 (2.1)
9 (0.9)
6 (0.6)
2 (0.2)

included in the analysis are provided if they differed from the overall numbers in

the group. Percentages may not total

aThe denominators of patients who were
100 because of rounding. COVID-19 denotes coronavirus disease 2019, and IQR interquartile range.
bThe primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit, the use of mechanical ventilation, or death.
cThese patients were not residents of Wuhan.
dDate regarding the incubation period were missing for 808 patients (73.5%).
eThe presence of hepatitis B infection was de ned as a positive result testing for hepatitis B surface antigen with or without elevated levels of alanine or aspar- tate aminotransferase.
fIncluded in this category is any type of cancer.

1 (0.6) 3 (1.7) 3 (1.7) 0

1 (1.5) 1 (1.5) 2 (3.0) 0

Current Management Strategies for Mild Disease

4.3.1 Management of Underlying Conditions with COVID-19 Infection

In general, patients with comorbidities are not more likely to get infected with COVID-19 compared to the general population. People with the underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, HIV, other immunocompromised states, and hypertension are more likely to suffer from complications when infected with the virus. For patients with comorbidities, recommendations may vary and will be pro- vided by the health-care practitioner, but general guidance is as follows:

• Respiratory disease: Patients with asthma are advised to follow the general precautions listed above as well as to continue the established asthma action plan. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) issued a statement to encourage adherence to allergy and asthma maintenance regimens. According to the ACAAI, there is no evidence that intranasal or inhaled corticosteroids increase the risk of getting the COVID-19 infection or lead to a worse outcome if someone does get infected.6

• Cardiovascular conditions: Older patients with cardiovascular comorbidities may have an added protection against severe disease from the virus if on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) according to an observational study conducted by United Health Group and the Yale University School of Medicine.7 A meta-analysis also found that ACE inhibitors/ARBs do not increase the risk of infection nor developing severe disease.8

• Diabetes: Patients who have diabetes must maintain blood glucose level as infection with COVID-19 can lead to increased complications; this is because high blood glucose levels can suppress the immune system. These complica- tions can come in the form of kidney failure and diabetic ketoacidosis, which are both life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.4 Diabetic patients must continue to take prescribed medications in addition to avoiding the risk factors for the development of COVID-19.

• Immunocompromised: People that are immunocompromised are at an increased risk of developing infections because the immune system is the body’s defense against pathogens. Immunocompromised individuals include but are not lim- ited to, patients with cancer, transplants, and HIV. These patients should con- tinue with their normal treatment regimen for their underlying disease even if it involves immunosuppressants . If a patient develops a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, he/she must call their physician immediately.9

• Obesity: An often underestimated comorbidity that many Americans face is obesity. It is reported that 42% of adults are obese and 9% are severely obese.10 Obesity is associated with decreased expiratory reserve volume, functional capacity, and respiratory system compliance. It is also associated with increased in ammatory cytokines, which may contribute to the increased morbidity asso- ciated with obesity in COVID‐19 infections.5 For these reasons, patients suffer- ing from obesity should work with their health-care practitioner to develop a lifestyle plan that includes diet modi cation and frequent exercise.11



Chapter 4: Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19 4�3�2 Protective Health Measures

Quality sleep (preferably of 7–8 h in duration), exercise, and a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables help to bolster the innate immune system. The innate immune system is our body’s rst line of defense against a variety of pathogens before our adaptive immune system can offer additional and stronger protection. It takes about 4–7 days for the adaptive immune response to set in; therefore, in the initial stages of infection, the innate immune response is essential for ghting and clearing the virus (see Chapter 2).

Vitamins and supplements, such as zinc and Vitamin C, while not of cially rec- ognized as treatments for mild symptoms, can possibly be cheap, low-risk, and ef cacious prophylaxis because of their immune-modulating effects on the immune system. Studies have shown that zinc can inhibit the replication of some viruses such as the original coronavirus and arterivirus, thus decreasing the severity of dis- ease.1 Part of how COVID-19 causes disease is by blocking the angiotensin convert- ing-enzyme II (ACE II) receptor, resulting in increased levels of angiotensin II (ATII) and decreased levels of angiotensin 1, 7 (AT 1,7). Both of these changes lead to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) like superoxides, which cause endothelial cell dysfunction; this state predisposes the patient to thrombosis in organs like lungs, and as a result impairing oxygen delivery.12 Vitamin C is a well- known antioxidant and can potentially protect against the effect of ROS, thus decreasing the severity of disease and the chance of developing serious complica- tions from the virus. A 2017 study found that daily or weekly vitamin D supplemen- tation was protective against acute respiratory tract infection,5 which can make this a helpful prophylaxis against COVID-19.

Home oxygen therapy can be considered effective in patients with mild hypoxia with improvement in saturation with oxygen by nasal cannula who can reliably adhere with therapy and follow-up. Such patients will require daily televisits. Thromboprophylaxis at home can be considered in patients at high risk for thrombosis.

Fructose consumption, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle all contribute to chronic systemic in ammation,which results in poor immune function and can render a person more susceptible to developing disease and/or slow recovery/complications from the disease.13

4.4 Management by Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a method that allows health-care practitioners to provide care to patients through electronic means. It is preferable in most of the outpatient manage- ment of COVID-19 patients as it can prevent avoidable in-person medical visits to medical of ces/urgent care centers or emergency rooms (ERs), providing relief to a strained health-care system and preventing unnecessary use of personal protective equipment (PPE). For the general public, the advantage of this service is that patients

Management by Telemedicine

have an increased access to care in an environment that is most convenient and comfortable to them. In the long term, this can promote adherence to treatment plans and decrease loss-to-follow-up rates. For those that lack adequate health insurance, telemedicine is not only cheaper compared to in-person of ce visits, but can even be free in some cases.

In his Washington Post article, primary care physician Michael Barnett writes, “Much of the actual work of primary care happens when patients aren’t in the of ce, whether doctors are coordinating with three specialists to tweak a complex medication regimen or nding a hospice agency for an ailing patient. The only reason we deliver almost all primary care through of ce visits is because that is what insurers will pay for.”.14 For COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, telemedicine is a great option to provide care while reducing the risk of transmission to the vulnerable public who rely on in-person clinic visits. Patients who are considered stable enough to be managed at home are risk-strati ed into low, moderate, and high risk to determine the frequency of fol- low-up visits.

A large part of telemedicine is a conversation between the health-care provider and the patient. Most health-care practitioners prefer to conduct telemedicine ser- vices, such as physical examinations, physical therapy, and mental health services, through video chat or telephone conversation. This allows the health-care practitio- ner to observe the general appearance of the patient and their ability to perform tasks the provider guides them. Providers can take patient vitals by calculating respiratory rate based on observation and providing equipment for patients to moni- tor their own health such as electronic blood pressure machines and blood glucose monitors. During video televisits, clinicians can judge the level of dyspnea, oxygen saturation, and mental status by observation and can inquire about other symptoms such as orthostasis, dizziness, falls, changes in sensation of smell and taste, hypo- tension, and urine output. Based on the examination, the provider can then recom- mend tests or treatments that can be delivered to a patient from a pharmacy near them or if in-person evaluation is necessary. In a New York Times article, Dr. Emil Baccash, a geriatrician in Brooklyn, N.Y. said of telemedicine, “Telemedicine is not a substitute for seeing and physically examining a patient. But there are some patients, especially elderly patients, who can’t get out of the house. I can talk to them and look at their problem on my computer, take a snapshot, say, of a leg infec- tion and enter it directly into their medical record. If a blood test is needed, I can have a lab technician come to their house”.15 Patients who are less reliable to self- monitor and report may need more intense follow-up to continue the management at home.

Telemedicine also offers a health-care practitioner the opportunity to observe a patient’s living environment. Environment can exacerbate certain conditions or pre- dispose certain demographics, like the elderly, to injury. Rural communities can also bene t from telemedicine as many members of this community have trouble with accessing care due to the de cit of health-care centers and the distance to these sites.



Chapter 4: Outpatient Management: Mild and Moderate Symptoms of COVID-19


1. Symptoms of Coronavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020. https://www.

2. Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Children—United States, February 12–April 2, 2020. 2020.

3. Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Con rmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020. coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html.

4. Dietz W, Santos‐Burgoa C. Obesity and its Implications for COVID‐19 Mortality. Obesity. 2020;28(6):1005–1005.

5. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report—46. (2020). https://www. pdf?sfvrsn=96b04adf_4

6. Important information about COVID-19 for those with asthma. ACAAI Public Website; 2020.

7. Khera R, Clark C, Lu Y, et al. Association of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers with the risk of hospitalization and death in hypertensive patients with coronavirus disease-19. 2020.

8. Hughes S. ACE inhibitors and severe COVID-19: Protective in older patients?. The- ace-inhibitors-and-severe-covid-19-protective-older.

9. People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020. risk.html.

10. Hales K, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2017–2018. NCHS Data Brief, no. 360. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2020.

11. Treatment for Overweight & Obesity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2018. adult-overweight-obesity/treatment.

12. MedCram. Coronavirus Pandemic Update 59: Dr. Seheult’s Daily Regimen (Vitamin D, C, Zinc, Quercetin, NAC) [Video].; feature=emb_logo. Accessed June 19, 2020.

13. Pereira RM, Botezelli JD, da Cruz Rodrigues KC, et al. Fructose consumption in the devel- opment of obesity and the effects of different protocols of physical exercise on the hepatic metabolism. Nutrients. 2017;9(4):405.

14. BarnettM.Afterthepandemic,visitingthedoctorwillneverbethesame.Andthat’s ne.Washington Post. 2020. doctor-will-never-be-same-thats- ne/.

15. Brody J. A pandemic bene t: the expansion of telemedicine. 2020. https://www.

Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

Syed Mehdi M.D., Nishat Mehdi M.D., and Sabbir Chowdhury

List of Abbreviations

ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome BTS British Thoracic Society
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease HFNC High ow nasal cannula

ICU Intensive care unit
ICS inhaled corticosteroid
ISTH International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis NICE National Institute of Clinical Excellence
PE Pulmonary embolism
PEEP Positive end expiratory pressure
SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2


Severe respiratory failure Vascular thromboembolism

5.1 Introduction

The effect of COVID-19 on the respiratory system has become very well recog- nized since this novel coronavirus has been established. The rapid spread of COVID-19 along with its burden on the respiratory system has pressured health- care systems into managing the health status of patients. It is important to compre- hensively understand how COVID-19 manifests in order to overcome this pandemic in a globally resource-limited climate. This chapter summarizes the pathophysiol- ogy, symptoms, and associations with other respiratory diagnoses, as well as clini- cal management.




Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

5.2 Origins, Transmission, and Pathogenesis of COVID-19 Disease

In December 2019, there was an outbreak of an unknown virus at a seafood market in Wuhan, China; initially, it was referred to as pneumonia of unknown origin. It was thought that the transmission was zoonotic and only the people working in the seafood market were affected. However, human-to-human transmission was later established.1 World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emer- gency of international concern on January 30, 2020, and pandemic on March 30, 2020.2

The novel coronavirus was named as severe acute respiratory syndrome corona- virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) following on from SARS-CoV, which caused acute respira- tory distress syndrome (ARDS) and resulted in high mortality during 2002–2003. Coronaviruses are a family of enveloped, positive, single-stranded RNA viruses that are classi ed within the Coronavirus family and Nidovirales order.3

The predominant mode of transmission is from respiratory droplet spread by coughing, sneezing, and talking, which can easily contaminate surfaces and spread the virus within the households.4 There is an evidence for the spread by a direct contact with infected secretions or large and small aerosol droplets (Figure 5.1). Immunity develops soon after infection, but wanes gradually over time. It is unknown if reinfection is common.

High-risk populations include children, pregnant women, immunocompromised patients, health-care providers, and elderly people. Incubation period can extend up to 14 days from the onset of exposure. Some individuals can be asymptomatic or may have mild severity of fever, shortness of breath, and cough due to a good immune system.

Most COVID-19 patients had mild symptoms in the early onset of disease; how- ever, the condition of some patients declined in the latter half of the disease or dur- ing the recovery phase. The mortality of many patients is attributed to the rapid development of ARDS and multiorgan failure as a result of a cytokine storm. An effective suppression of the cytokine storm is a pivotal way to prevent the deteriora- tion of patients with COVID-19 infection and save the patients’ lives.

5.3 Pathophysiology

The complexity of a cytokine storm’s pathogenesis involves the loss of regulatory control of pro-in ammatory cytokine production, both locally and systemically, thereby causing excessive immune responses with potential immune damage to the human body.5 The cytokine storm is detailed in (Figure 5.2).

Increased serum levels of IL-2R and IL-6 in patients with COVID-19 are associ- ated with an increased severity of disease. Moreover, other studies have found patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) displaying increased serum levels of granu- locyte colony-stimulating factor, IP-10, MCP-1, macrophage in ammatory



Mucus within eyes, ears, nose, and mouth are in direct contact with respiratory droplets or indirect contact from live particles on contaminated inanimate objects called fomites (door knob, surface, clothing)

Entry of virus in respiratory tract, attacking type 2 pneumocyte in alveoli which affects production of surfactant and thus alveoli collapse.
Virus adheres to and mimics ACE2 receptor in alveoli, gaining access into cell.

+ssRNA disassemble and release viral RNA which attaches ribosomes use for translation of proteins into polyprotein in presence of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase virus allowing conversion of—ssRNA into +ssRNA.

Small viral proteins in endoplasmic reticulum are arranged and transported to golgi apparatus where virus is packaged out of the cells as new progeny of viral cells.

Through exocytosis virus progeny are released out of the cells.

In the process of replicating the virus, there is damage to the alveoli. Hence, signals are released in the form of in ammatory cytokines such as interferons, interleukin 6.

Alveolar macrophages detect the cell injury and release IL-6, IL-1, IL-8, TNF D, chemokines.
This in ammatory process in lung parenchyma stimulates the nerve bers and produces a cough re ex

TNF D, IL-6, IL-8 increase the vascular permeability and increase adhesion molecule which causes leakage of uid in interstitium, alveoli, and lung parenchyma causing interstitial edema and pulmonary edema.

Dyspnea and hypoxia

Neutrophils try to engulf the virus, and there is a release of toxins and chemokines, further damaging alveolar cells. Thus, the production of surfactant decreases, leading to alveolar collapse and eventually hypoxia.

Figure 5.1 Flowchart describing the pathogenesis of COVID-19.

protein-1A, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), compared to COVID-19 patients from general wards.6 Therefore, this suggests that the cytokine storm is positively correlated with disease severity. Given that cytokine storms involve hyperin ammation, immunosuppression is likely to be bene cial.5

The corresponding signs and symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, myalgia, fatigue, ARDS, arrhythmia, and shock. Laboratory results demonstrated altered liver function tests, azotemia, elevated troponin T, elevated d-dimer, and elevated IL-6 levels.




Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19


High levels of IL-1B, IFN-J, IP-10, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) have been detected in patients with COVID-19.

These in ammatory cytokines activate the T-helper type 1 (Th1) cell response. Th1 activation is a key event in the activation of speci c immunity.

However, unlike SARS, COVID-19 patients also have elevated levels of Th2 cell-secreted cytokines, such as IL-4 and IL-10, which inhibit the in ammatory response.

Very high level of IL-6.

Increased VEGF and coagulation factors which predispose microthrombi and thrombi formation.

Increased vascular permeability leading to interstitial edema, pulmonary edema, and multiorgan failure.

Figure 5.2 Flowchart describing the pathophysiology of a cytokine storm within COVID-19. 5.3.1 Symptoms

It is critical to understand how patients will present clinically for safe triage and risk assessment, especially considering signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are nonspe- ci c following an incubation period of 2–14 days.7 Moreover, presentations can range from patient’s being asymptomatic to death.

A comprehensive joint report produced by WHO and China on COVID-19 (n = 55,924) demonstrated COVID-19 patients commonly present with pyrexia (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), sputum production (33.4%), and dyspnea (18.6%). Other com- mon symptoms are myalgia/arthralgia, chills, headache, sore throat, nasal conges- tion, anosmia, and ageusia.7–9 Early reports from China also stated that a few patients experienced rhinorrhea and haemoptysis.10, 11

Anosmia and ageusia are more commonly found within COVID-19 patients who are younger and not hospital inpatients. The majority of patients with the loss of taste or smell noticed an improvement within 2 weeks.12

Similar ndings were present among pregnant patients who developed COVID- 19 pneumonia.13, 14 Interestingly, studies have shown that children may be less likely to be symptomatic or develop severe symptoms compared to adults; however, they are just as likely to be infected. Therefore, the risk of transmission from children is yet to be understood.15, 16


5�3�2 Happy Hypoxics

Among the many surprises of the novel coronavirus, some patients seem to defy the basic physiology of hypoxia as they can be well observed generally, and to describe themselves as comfortable with no signs of distress. For such patients, SpO2 and SaO2 have been reported as low as 62% and 69%, respectively. Clinicians call them happy hypoxics.17, 18

5�3�3 Mechanism

Swelling and in ammation in the lungs is likely to make oxygen perfusion dif cult (Figure 5.3). There is evidence that COVID-19 can cause blood clotting with the development of microthrombi, thus affecting the entire body. With a focus on the lungs, microthrombi can occlude the very distal vessels participating in gas exchange. Interestingly, reports have shown anticoagulation drastically improving bluish discoloration of toes and shortness of breath.18 Therefore, the severity of COVID-19 can be indicated by d-dimer levels as it re ects coagulation cascade activation, organ failure, and cytokine storm. A high level of d-dimer during admis- sion is associated with high mortality and morbidity. As such, anticoagulation will de nitely be a cornerstone in the management of COVID-19 patients.

Figure 5.3 Lung CT scan of a COVID-19-positive patient demonstrating a lack of distal perfusion.19




Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

5.4 Respiratory Failure

SARS-CoV causes acute pneumonia and is associated with a high mortality as rela- tively clinically stable patients can suddenly deteriorate to severe respiratory failure (SRF). The most characteristic symptom of patients with COVID-19 is respiratory distress, and most of the patients admitted to ICU cannot breathe spontaneously.20 This is supported by a study which found more than half of the patients admitted with dyspnea needed intensive care—of which 46–65% of the patients worsened in a short period of time and died due to respiratory failure.20

The sudden clinical deterioration 7–8 days after the onset of symptoms suggests that SRF in COVID-19 is driven by a unique pattern of immune dysfunction.21 All patients with SRF displayed either cytokine storm or depletion of CD4 lympho- cytes, CD19 lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. The production of TNF-α and IL-6 by circulating monocytes was observed to be sustained, unlike in bacterial sepsis or in uenza. This was partially restored by the IL-6 blocker tocilizumab.

Another study noticed that COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure present with severe hypercoagulability.22 Therefore, the treatment of respiratory failure should include anticoagulation along with an appropriate management of the cytokine storm and ARDS.

5.5 COVID-19 and Pulmonary Embolisms

Acute infections have been known to cause a transient increased chance for a con- current pulmonary embolism (PE) in the absence of other risk factors for vascular thromboembolisms (VTEs).23 This has been highlighted further in a case report of a COVID-19 patient.24 Nonetheless, many patients will have a lengthy hospitalized disease course with COVID-19 introducing immobilization as a risk factor for PEs too.

D-dimer levels are typically used as a crude indicator for the chance of a patient having a thrombus formation. However, elevated d-dimer levels may be misinter- preted due to its acute-phase reactant properties in light of the COVID-19 infection without appreciating a coexisting PE.

Considering a PE has a high risk of mortality if it is not managed, it is pivotal for a patient’s outcome to identify PEs as soon as possible. However, an autopsy study of a few COVID-19-positive patients revealed that in patients, which were not sus- pected to have VTE, the direct cause of death was from a PE and others experienced deep vein thrombosis.25 Although the study had a small sample size, it emphasizes the need to identify and manage the risk of developing VTE, and thereby improving mortality.

More speci cally with regard to management, the relationship between PEs and COVID-19 has not been extensively studied; the risk and bene t of prophylactic or therapeutic anticoagulation are to be determined. Currently, the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) encourages investigating patients who require admission into hospital with d-dimer level, prothrombin time, platelet


Table 5.1 Management of VTE Using LMWH for a Patient Weighing 70 kg and Has a CrCl >30 mL/min29

Standard risk patient

Weight adjusted prophylactic dose LMWH, eg, dalteparin 5000 units OD, enoxaparin 40 mg OD

High-risk patient

Intermediate dose LMWH, eg, dalteparin 5000 units BD, enoxaparin 40 mg BD

Proven or suspected acute VTE

Therapeutic dose LMWH (BD dosing may be preferred with critical care patients)

count, and brinogen level as markers of prognosis in COVID-19,26 particularly considering that increased d-dimer levels are associated with an increased mortality of COVID-19 patients.27 ISTH, supported by experts and physicians across China and Europe,28 also advises the use of prophylactic low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) in all patients requiring admission for COVID-19, in the absence of con- traindications, and with monitoring for patients who have severe renal impairment.26 The use of LMWH would reduce the risk of developing a PE, as well as decrease in ammation caused by COVID-19 and other comorbidities.26

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) has suggested possible dosages, using an example of a 70-kg patient with creatinine clearance (CrCl) > 30 Ml/min as outlined in Table 5.1. Patients at high risk of developing VTE following discharge can be considered for extended thromboprophylaxis.29 Nevertheless, BTS encourages liais- ing with hematologists to formulate local protocols.

Cases published thus far have generally shown patients being managed for coro- navirus and receiving prophylactic anticoagulation show an improvement before clinically deteriorating due to hypoxemia and increasing d-dimer levels, as well as require further anticoagulation to manage the PEs.30, 31 This further justi es d-dimer testing throughout an admission, coupled with using computed tomography pulmo- nary angiogram for patients with high d-dimer levels on admission or sudden clini- cal decline to quickly diagnose a PE.

5.6 COVID-19 and COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is known to increase the mortality rates among community-acquired pneumonias, whereby patients are admitted to ICUs more frequently.32 As COVID-19 can be rapidly transmitted within a popula- tion, it is important to prepare for COVID-19 presentations with a background of COPD. Especially since COPD patients may be more susceptible to COVID-19, a study has shown that patients with a history of COPD express increased levels of ACE2 receptors, the reported entry gate of the virus.33, 34 Meta-analysis showed over vefold increased risk for COPD patients to develop severe COVID-19 infections.35 The association between COPD and COVID-19 is important to understand to risk- stratify patients and optimize the allocation of resources.



Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

Guidelines set by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK advise patients with an existing COPD management plan, which involves inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), to continue adherence and for professionals to delay any plans to withdraw it.36 With regard to self-management, NICE advises patients to follow their tailored rescue pack if they believe they are experiencing an exacerba- tion, as opposed to patients who believe they are experiencing COVID-19 symp- toms who should not start oral corticosteroids and/or antibiotics.36 This poses a problem since management is dependent upon patients to identify the differences between typical exacerbation symptoms and those caused by COVID-19, especially for patients who have been diagnosed with COPD recently.

Contradictory meta-analysis studies have been published regarding the effect of smoking and COPD upon COVID-19 outcomes. Lippi et al.37 did not nd an asso- ciation between active smoking and COVID-19 in a sample study of 1399 patients. However, Zhao et al.38 demonstrated a twofold increase in developing severe COVID-19 for active smokers, which is also supported by Alqahtani et al.39 Despite con icting evidence, smoking cessation continues to be strongly encouraged for the management of COPD and COVID-19 by NICE.36

5.7 COVID-19 and Asthma

Asthma can be triggered generally by viral illness, poor adherence to medication, and allergens. Therefore, it is important to identify if COVID-19 speci cally has exacerbated symptoms and if management needs to be tapered differently to usual protocol.

A study found that the prevalence of asthma among COVID-19 patients was higher than the national average.40 However, once the age, gender, and comorbidi- ties were accounted for in the data, asthma was not found to increase the risk of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized.40 Similarly, ICS and/or systemic corticoste- roids were not found to increase the risk of hospitalization.40

Systemic steroid treatment may increase the viral load, thus increasing the bur- den of symptoms resulting in clinical decline. However, there is some early evi- dence from sputum suggesting that ICS can reduce ACE2 and TMPRSS2 gene expression.41 WHO has further con icting evidence to counter ICS potentially being helpful at early stages.42 Therefore, the use of ICS needs to be studied com- prehensively to understand its effect upon the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19.

Furthermore, the use of nebulizers is generally effective in managing asthmatic patients; however, it is an aerosol-generating treatment, which is best avoided within health-care environments. Instead, for such circumstances, it is recommended to use inhalers containing dry powder or metered dose inhalers accompanied by a valve- holding chamber.43

Biologic treatment is an interesting topic for the management of asthma. Sound evidence supports moderate to severe patients with clinical indications to have

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

therapies targeting IL-5, IL-4/IL-13, and IGE.44 The lack of evidence to suggest biologic treatment is possibly harmful, in the context of COVID-19, which implies it can be used with caution if the drug is effective and well tolerated.45

The main deterrent for a poor outcome with COVID-19 appears to be well-man- aged asthma, as well as adherence to general advice such as hand hygiene, shielding in certain groups of asthmatics, social distancing, effective inhaler technique, and avoiding known triggers.

5.8 COVID-19 and Lung Cancer

Oncology societies and national authorities have been quick to issue guidelines on cancer care during the pandemic offering guidance and training to manage patients with cancer while this pandemic goes on—especially considering individuals who are immunocompromised and over 60 years are at high risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.46 As a result, the UK, together with several other countries, has generally suspended elective procedures.

NHS England warned that certain groups are particularly vulnerable to serious illness if they become infected with SARS-CoV-2. These groups include individuals who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer, and patients with cancers of the blood or bone marrow.47 This is supported by a study done in China observing that non-small-cell cancer patients had higher inci- dence of COVID-19 especially when the age is more than 60 years. Patients with lung cancer have more severe COVID-19 than those without lung cancer.48 This has been further highlighted in Italy whereby 20% of COVID-19 deaths had a concur- rent active cancer.

5.9 Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS is the most common complication of severe COVID-19. It is a clinical syn- drome characterized by severe respiratory distress, hypoxemia, and noncardiogenic pulmonary edema.

5.9.1 Diagnostic Criteria

All four of the following criteria must be present:

1. Acute onset of illness

2. Chest X-ray showing bilateral in ltrates

3. Pulmonary capillary wedge pressure <18 mm Hg or a lack of congestive car-
diac failure

4. Refractory hypoxemia with pao2:Fio2 <200.49



Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

L – phenotype H – phenotype

Figure 5.4 Chest CT scans demonstrating the difference between L-type and H-type ARDS.51 5.9.2 Clinical Features

Symptoms: Fever, shortness of breath, inability to complete sentences, persistent nonproductive cough.

Signs: Tachypnea, tachycardia, low mean BP, hypoxia resistant to oxygen, rhon- chi, and egophony throughout lung elds.

5.9.3 Types of ARDS

L phenotype of ARDS typically has low elastance, ventilation/perfusion mismatch, low lung weight, and low recruitability (Figure 5.4).50

H phenotype of ARDS typically has high elastance, high right-to-left shunt, high lung weight, and high recruitability.50

Radiologically chest X-rays show bilateral diffuse pulmonary in ltrates, and CT scans show a bilateral ground glass appearance with consolidation compatible with viral pneumonia. Although severe COVID-19 follows all the criteria of ARDS, mor- tality was increasing when high positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) was given to all patients with SARS-CoV-2. In an independent study, atypical presentation of ARDS in COVID-19 patients was observed, thus stressing the importance to modify the management for ARDS to decrease mortality.52

A patient may also undergo a transition from L to H phenotype as the disease advances to more severe form. This transition may be determined by inspiratory pleural pressure and esophageal pressure swings. Considering esophageal pressure swings between 5 and 10 cmH20 is generally well tolerated, a swing above 15 cmH20 is indicative of a risk for lung injury and warranting intubation as soon as possible.53



5.10 Outcome with Ventilated Patients

Patients who are severely compromised will require ventilatory support. Although oxy- gen delivery may be increased with a non-rebreathe mask or by pronating the patient, additional, albeit limited, measures with non-invasive or invasive ventilation will need to be utilized.54 Multiple facets of challenges regarding ventilators are becoming more evident with the demand carried by this pandemic. For example, the use of ventilators requires training, maintenance, spare parts, and of course the equipment itself.

Hypoxemia is relatively well tolerated in patients without developing exhaustion or acute respiratory distress;18 therefore, the optimal time to ventilate patients is dif- cult to determine. Nonetheless, “happy hypoxic” patients only represent a propor- tion of COVID-19 cases.

High- ow nasal cannula (HFNC) as a means to support COVID-19 patients has been uncertain and appears to be generally avoided. HFNC has the ability to dis- perse aerosol, but with the addition of wearing a surgical mask over the nasal can- nula, the distance of dispersion is markedly reduced.55 Since surgical masks cannot be used over oxygen masks, the microbiological contamination of the surroundings is not increased for patients using a surgical mask over HFNC, compared to those supported by oxygen masks.55 This may be a possible method to manage hypoxemic COVID-19 patients, avoiding intubation.

The use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is debatable since it is aerosol generating, thus increasing the risk of further spreading COVID-19 among health-care profes- sionals. This has been countered by, rst, ensuring that there is a good interface tting and the use of PPE by staff will minimize the risk of transmission;56 second, aerosol generation, and thus risk to staff, was found to be higher with intubation.57 Therefore, using NIV allows for invasive measures to be reserved for more poorly patients.

Invasive ventilation demonstrated signi cantly poor outcomes. In the UK, 67% of patients with COVID-19 receiving mechanical ventilation died, as opposed to 22% with viral pneumonias in 3 years prior.58 Early studies from Wuhan highlighted that mortality rates increased from 52–62% for ICU patients to 86–97% when patients received mechanical invasive ventilation.59 This is partly explained by 40% of ventilated patients having ARDS, which is associated with high mortality rates in itself.60 Nonetheless, patients with ARDS and paO2:FiO2 <150 had a better survival rate with early intubation, as opposed to using NIV.

The majority of COVID-19 cases, however, are not associated with ARDS; as such, their lungs have near-normal function, which is not likely to be improved with high PEEP.61 Therefore, other options should be considered.

5.11 Treatment

High virus titer and the subsequent strong in ammatory cytokine and chemokine responses are related to the high morbidity and mortality. Generally, prophylactic dose of LMWH is recommended for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 to pre- vent VTE.62 Potential treatment with other medication has been discussed below.



Chapter 5: Pulmonary Manifestations of COVID-19

5.11.1 Interferon (IFN-λ)

IFN-λ primarily activates epithelial cells and reduces the mononuclear macro- phage-mediated pro-in ammatory activity of INFαβ.63 Early administration of interferons has certain bene ts in reducing viral load and improves the clinical symptoms of patients to a certain extent. However, it fails to reduce mortality rate.

5.11.2 Steroids

The timing of administration and the dosage of glucocorticoids are very important to the outcome of the severely ill patients. Administration of glucocorticoids too early inhibits the initiation of the body’s immune defense mechanism, thereby increasing the viral load and ultimately leading to aggravation of the disease; which has been reported in non-ICU patients.63 Timely administration of glucocorticoids in the early stage of in ammatory cytokine storm effectively prevents the occur- rence of ARDS and protects the functions of the patients’ organs. More speci cally regarding the dosage, short-term steroids (3–5 days) are appropriate, and the recom- mended dose is no more than the equivalent of methylprednisolone 1–2 mg/kg/day. Large doses of glucocorticoid may delay the clearance of coronavirus due to immunosuppression.

5.11.3 Tocilizumab

Tocilizumab is an IL-6 antagonist that suppresses the function of the immune sys- tem.63 Tocilizumab itself has a therapeutic effect on the infection-induced cytokine storm. Tocilizumab is effective in treating severely ill patients with extensive bilat- eral lung lesions, who have elevated IL-6 levels. The rst dose was 4–8 mg/kg. The recommended dosage was 400 mg with 0.9% saline diluted to 100 ml. The infusion time was more than 1 h. For patients with poor ef cacy of the rst dose, a repeat dose can be applied after 12 h, with a maximum of two cumulative doses. Tocilizumab reduces patient morbidity and the need for mechanical ventilation but may fail in very advanced disease.6

5.11.4 Chloroquine

Chloroquine inhibits the production and release of TNF and IL-6, which indicates that chloroquine may suppress the cytokine storm in patients infected with COVID-19. Chloroquine has an immune-modulating activity and antiviral activ- ity. Chloroquine is known to block virus infection by increasing endosomal pH required for virus/cell fusion, as well as interfering with the glycosylation of cel- lular receptors of SARS-CoV.63 Chloroquine is a cheap and safe drug that has been used for more than 70 years, and therefore, it is potentially clinically


applicable against the COVID-19. There are various dosing regimens available in the literature.

5.11.5 Remdesivir

Remdesivir is a nucleotide analogue prodrug that inhibits viral RNA polymerase activity against SARS-CoV-2. It also inhibits virus infection ef ciently in a human cell line and recently recognized as a promising antiviral drug.64 Compassionate use of remdesivir in case of severe COVID-19 patients demonstrated a clinical improve- ment in 68% of patients. Effectiveness of a shorter duration of therapy, that is, 5 days as opposed to 10 days, is to be investigated since it would allow the treatment of more patients during the pandemic.


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5. Mehta P, McAuley DF, Brown M, et al. COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1033–1034. S0140-6736(20)30628-0.

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17.Couzin-Frankel J. The mystery of the pandemic’s ‘happy hypoxia’. Science. 2020;368(6490):455–456.

18. Tobin MJ, Laghi F, Jubran A. Why COVID-19 silent hypoxemia is baf ing to physicians. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020;202(3):356–360.

19. Woodie A. On the radar: COVID-19, circonus, and fake fb accounts. datanami. https://www. Published
2020. Accessed July 10, 2020.

20. Li YC, Bai WZ, Hashikawa T. The neuroinvasive potential of SARS-CoV2 may play a role in
the respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients. J Med Virol. 2020;92(6):552–555. https://doi.

21. Giamarellos-Bourboulis EJ, Netea MG, Rovina N, et al. Complex immune dysregulation in
COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory failure. Cell Host Microbe. 2020;27(6):992–1000.

22. Spiezia L, Boscolo A, Poletto F, et al. COVID-19-related severe hypercoagulability in patients
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23. Grimnes G, Isaksen T, Tichelaar YIGV, Brækkan SK, Hansen JB. Acute infection as a trig-
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24. Danzi GB, Lof M, Galeazzi G, Gherbesi E. Acute pulmonary embolism and COVID-19 pneumonia: a random association?. Eur Heart J. 2020;41(19):1858.

25. Wichmann D, Sperhake JP, Lütgehetmann M, et al. Autopsy ndings and venous thrombo-
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26. Thachil J, Tang N, Gando S, et al. ISTH interim guidance on recognition and management
of coagulopathy in COVID-19. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(5):1023–1026. https://doi.

27. Tang N, Li D, Wang X, Sun Z. Abnormal coagulation parameters are associated with poor
prognosis in patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(4):844–

28. Zhai Z, Li C, Chen Y, et al. Prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism associated
with coronavirus disease 2019 infection: a consensus statement before guidelines. Thromb
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29. BTS Guidance on Venous Thromboembolic Disease in patients with COVID-19. Brit-thoracic. guidance-on-venous-thromboembolic-disease-in-patients-with-covid-19/. Published 2020.
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in patients with coronavirus disease. Emerging Infect Dis. 2020;26(8)1941–1943. https://doi. org/10.3201/eid2608.201477.


31. Tveita A, Hestenes S, Sporastøyl ER, et al. Pulmonary embolism in cases of COVID-19. Lungeembolisme ved covid-19. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2020;140(8). tidsskr.20.0366.

32. Restrepo MI, Mortensen EM, Pugh JA, Anzueto A. COPD is associated with increased mor- tality in patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Eur Respir J. 2006;28(2):346–351.

33. Wan Y, Shang J, Graham R, Baric RS, Li F. Receptor recognition by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan: an analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS coronavirus. J Virol. 2020;94(7):e00127-20.

34. Toru Ü, Ayada C, Genç O, Sahin S, Arik Ö, Bulut I. Serum levels of RAAS components in COPD. 52 Monitoring Airway Disease. 2015;46:PA3970. congress-2015.pa3970.

35. Lippi G, Henry BM. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with severe coro- navirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Respir Med. 2020;167:105941. rmed.2020.105941.

36. 2 Treatment and care planning | COVID-19 rapid guideline: community-based care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)|Guidance|NICE. https:// Published 2020. Accessed July 5, 2020.

37. Lippi G, Henry BM. Active smoking is not associated with severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Eur J Intern Med. 2020;75:107–108.

38. Zhao Q, Meng M, Kumar R, et al. The impact of COPD and smoking history on the severity of COVID-19: a systemic review and meta-analysis. J Med Virol. 2020.

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Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

Arshad Quadri M.D., Samer Kabbani M.D., Syed Raza M.D., and Urmila Bharathan

List of Abbreviations

ACE2 Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2
ECG Electrocardiogram
HfpEF Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction HFrEF Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction RAAS Renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

6.1 Introduction

There is an increased risk of cardiovascular involvement during respiratory viral infections. This has been studied in the context of in uenza. Notably, in most in u- enza epidemics, more patients died of cardiovascular causes compared to pneumo- nia.1 In the context of COVID-19, it has become apparent that cardiovascular complication is a major cause of death, particularly in individuals over 65 years of age who are likely to have various comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. These patients comprise the majority with cardiac involvement during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection.2 This chapter will discuss the various cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19, including cardiac in ammation, heart failure, stress cardiomyopathy, and hyperco- agulability. Additionally, the role of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) will be addressed, as well as possible long-term cardiovascular sequelae that may result from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

6.2 Epidemiology

In a study of 52 critically ill patients with COVID-19, it was found that 40% of patients had comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, chronic cardiac disease, and cerebrovascular disease.3 Speci cally, more non-survivors of COVID-19 in this




Chapter 6: Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

study had preexisting cardiovascular disease (53% vs. 20% in survivors) and preex- isting cerebrovascular disease (22% vs. 0% in survivors). Additionally, among the 52 critically ill patients, cardiac injury, indicated by increased levels of troponin I, was reported in 23% of cases.3 Non-survivors also showed higher rates of heart failure and acute cardiac injury, when compared to survivors of COVID-19.3 After taking all of these statistics into consideration, it is apparent that the cardiovascular system is signi cantly affected during SARS-CoV-2 infection, and it is clear that having preexisting cardiovascular conditions places individuals at a signi cant risk to poor outcomes in the face of COVID-19.

Another study found similar results, in which cardiovascular disease was more prevalent in patients who died due to COVID-19 than patients who survived.4 Additionally, patients who died had higher levels of troponin, myoglobin, C-reactive protein, serum ferritin, and interleukin-6. Such ndings are suggestive of a high in ammatory burden in COVID-19 patients and a possible rise in myocarditis- related cardiac events.4

While the mechanism of cardiac injury is not well established, there are a few factors that could be contributing to such injury. First, there is likely an increase in cardiac demand due to the respiratory failure and hypoxemia that commonly occur during COVID-19.5 Second, it is possible that a direct cardiac injury by SARS- CoV-2 occurs. Third, there could be an indirect cardiac injury from the systemic in ammatory response elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection.5 And lastly, the stress of COVID-19 may destabilize any preexisting cardiovascular pathologies.5 All four possible modalities of cardiac injury can result in arrhythmias, heart failure, or myocardial infarction (Figure 6.1).


Figure 6.1

Immunopathology, Hyperin ammation

Direct Myocardial Injury

Respiratory failure, Hypoxemia

COVID-19 cardiac effects

Biomarkers of injury


Acute Coronary Syndrome


Cardiac In ammation due to SARS-CoV-2

6.3 The Role of ACE2 in the Cardiovascular System during COVID-19

It is well known that SARS-CoV-2 infects cells via the ACE2 receptor. Thus, with the abundant ACE2 expression in heart, it seems to be at an increased risk of infec- tion.6 Notably, SARS-CoV-2 downregulates ACE2 expression, which contributes to myocardial dysfunction. This effect has been observed in ACE2-knockout mice exhibiting severe left ventricular dysfunction.7 Normally, ACE2 degrades angioten- sin II to generate angiotensin,1–7 which has vasodilatory and antiproliferative effects. Such effects along with anti-angiotensin II action prevent pathologic remodeling of the heart during heart failure and myocardial infarction.8

There is a signi cant controversy surrounding the use of renin–angiotensin–aldo- sterone system (RAAS) antagonists, strong in uencers on the cardiovascular system, during COVID-19. These medications have been found to increase ACE2 expression in many animal studies. While such an increase in humans is helpful in cardiovascu- lar disease, it can theoretically increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. However, the directionality of this effect is debated.9, 10 In a study of 8900 patients with COVID-19, there was no association with the use of RAAS antagonists and increased in-hospital mortality.11 Thus, it is currently not recommended that ACE inhibitor and ARB ther- apy, two different modalities of RAAS antagonism, be stopped.11

6.4 Cardiac Inflammation due to SARS-CoV-2

Viral infections are known to commonly cause myocarditis and pericarditis. In some cases, this can be due to viruses exhibiting molecular mimicry, a phenomenon where viral antigens share features with myocyte and/or pericardial cell antigens.12 It is possible that SARS-CoV-2 exhibits molecular mimicry. In fact, autopsies of patients who had con rmed COVID-19 show in ammatory in ltrates composed of macrophages and CD4 T cells. These mononuclear in ltrates were associated with regions of cardiomyocyte necrosis.13 While such indications of myocardial in am- mation are present, there has been no data to suggest the presence of SARS-CoV-2 within myocardial tissue itself. Such a nding would support the idea of SARS- CoV-2 exhibiting molecular mimicry.

The clinical presentation of myopericarditis in COVID-19 can be similar to that of myocardial infarction. Chest discomfort and fatigue have been primarily observed.14 In terms of diagnostic testing, ST elevation on electrocardiogram (ECG) is a key nd- ing, as well as increased levels of troponin T indicative of myocardial damage.14 Both of these ndings are also observed in myocardial infarction. In a case study from Italy, a 53-year-old patient with myopericarditis had no signs or symptoms of severe lung disease.14 The patient had only complained of a dry cough and fatigue in the week preceding her symptoms related to myopericarditis. So it is apparent that in amma- tion of the heart can occur even in seemingly less severe cases of COVID-19.



Chapter 6: Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

6.5 Heart Failure due to SARS-CoV-2

Heart failure is another signi cant cardiac manifestation of COVID-19.5 Speci cally, heart failure can occur in the setting of SARS-CoV-2-induced myocarditis. However, it is unclear whether SARS-CoV-2-induced myocarditis more commonly results in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) or heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Though, since most patients with uncomplicated lym- phocytic myocarditis present with normal heart function, this may indicate that HFpEF is more common.15 It is notable that since COVID-19 cases are highly con- tagious, an echocardiograph is risky to obtain so the status of left ventricular func- tion may not be fully established in these patients.

Heart failure can also occur in the setting of arrhythmia, which has been reported frequently in COVID-19 cases.16 Without an adequately functioning cardiac con- duction system, the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, thus resulting in heart failure. It is noteworthy that while arrhythmia can cause heart failure, it can also be a result of heart failure. Such a distinction is important when considering treatment options for the patient.

6.6 Stress Cardiomyopathy due to SARS-CoV-2

Stress, or takotsubo, cardiomyopathy is a condition that primarily affects women and can occur after a signi cant physical or emotional stressor.17, 18 Viral infection has been found to trigger stress cardiomyopathy in some cases.19 In COVID-19, high in ammatory burden is a plausible trigger for this cardiac condition, and there have been a few case reports of women exhibiting this illness.20, 21 Although this condition is rarer than those already discussed, it is worth noting some of its key ndings.

Patients with stress cardiomyopathy have cardiac wall motion abnormalities that are apparent during echocardiography. Additionally, a low left ventricular ejection fraction is observed in this condition—one much lower than that of acute coronary syndrome.17 It is important to differentiate stress cardiomyopathy from myocardial infarction, especially since the ECG ndings for both conditions can be very simi- lar.20 Treatment for stress cardiomyopathy is conservative, and many patients, including one of the COVID-19 patients with this condition, recover left ventricle function without invasive coronary procedures.20 A close monitoring is essential nonetheless, since a declining left ventricle function can result in heart failure.20

6.7 Vascular Manifestations of COVID-19

There are a few possible mechanisms through which the vascular system is damaged in the setting of COVID-19. These mechanisms are similar to those likely affecting the cardiac system. One possibility is that the damage caused by the virus in the lungs can result in hypoxia of the blood vessels and resulting vascular injury.22 Another pos- sibility is that many ACE2 receptors in the vascular systems are prone to an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.6 Lastly, since COVID-19 affects many different organ

Possible Long-Term Cardiovascular Implications Following COVID-19

systems and promotes an in ammatory state, the vasculature can get damaged as a direct consequence of this state.22 Damage to the vasculature caused by any of these three mechanisms can lead to abnormal activation of the coagulation cascade. Many COVID-19 patients have an increased D-dimer level, indicative of increased clot for- mation.16 These patients have an increased likelihood of death during infection.22 Additionally, it is notable that individuals with preexisting conditions that signi – cantly affect the blood vessels, such as hypertension and diabetes, tend to be at a greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and have poor outcomes during infection.22

A hypercoagulable state, indicated by an increased levels of D-dimer and brino- gen, is common during COVID-19.23 In such a state, patients are at an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and disseminated intravascu- lar coagulation. All of these conditions can be extremely debilitating and potentially fatal. In fact, many COVID-19 patients in their 30s or 40s have presented with a stroke due to this hypercoagulable state.24 This is particularly alarming since the median age for severe stroke is 74.24 Therefore, it is important for clinicians to moni- tor all patients regardless of age, for the conditions caused by hypercoagulability.

6.8 Possible Long-Term Cardiovascular Implications Following COVID-19

While the acute cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19 are clear in their clinical presentation as discussed above, it is important to keep in mind cardiovascular com- plications that are possible even after recovery from acute illness. Figure 6.2 depicts the concept that once the acute phase of the illness has resolved, the long-term com- plications may arise in the convalescent and chronic phases of disease, long after viral


Host response






ARDS Delayed myocarditis? Hyperlipidemia? Acute myocarditis Cardiac arrest? Pulmonary brosis?

Viral response

~ 21 days




TIME COURSE (after symptom onset)


Figure 6.2 Long-term sequelae of COVID-19



Key Learning Points

1. Around one-third of COVID-19 patients have been found to develop cardio- vascular complications.

2. The pathophysiology as to how the cardiovascular system is involved dur- ing SARS-CoV-2 infection is complex and multifactorial.

3. Older patients with comorbidities are likely to suffer from acute atheroscle- rotic complications.

4. Younger and healthy patients rarely may develop acute fulminant myocar- ditis leading to acute cardiac decompensation and malignant arrhythmia resulting in sudden death.

5. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way cardiology is routinely practiced.


Chapter 6: Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

clearance has been achieved. In some case reports from Italy, fulminant myocarditis has been described to persist even after the resolution of acute respiratory symptoms. While COVID-19 is a nascent pandemic, long-term sequelae are unknown, but we can learn from the SARS-CoV experience. In a study of 25 individuals who had recovered from SARS-CoV infection 12 years ago, 68% had hyperlipidemia and 44% had cardiovascular abnormalities in the 2017 study.25 Additionally, it was found that the lipid metabolisms of these individuals were signi cantly altered when compared to normal controls, resulting in increased levels of serum lipids and free fatty acids.25 Such a hyperlipidemic state places these recovered SARS-CoV patients at an increased risk for conditions such as atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Since SARS- CoV-2 is similar to SARS-CoV, it is possible that it will cause similar long-term car- diovascular effects. It will be important in the future for clinicians to keep such effects

in mind as more people get infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic.

6.9 Conclusion

It is clear that the cardiovascular system is not spared during SARS-CoV-2 infec- tion. In particular, individuals over 65 years of age with preexisting comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are at an increased risk of severe cardio- vascular complication.2 Common cardiovascular complications include myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiac in ammation, arrhythmia, and hypercoagulability. A less common cardiovascular complication is stress cardiomyopathy. In addition to the acute cardiovascular conditions that occur during COVID-19, it is important to also consider the long-term complications that may arise. After the SARS-CoV experience that occurred 12 years ago, many patients who survived infection had altered lipid metabolism resulting in hyperlipidemia, a state known to increase the risk of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction.25 Since SARS-CoV-2 shares char- acteristics with SARS-CoV, the long-term sequelae that affected SARS-CoV patients may also affect SARS-CoV-2 patients many years from now.


Summary of Cardiovascular Findings in COVID-19

Cardiovascular Complications



Possible molecular mimicry exhibited by SARS-CoV-2 results in in ammation of the heart

Heart failure

Preserved ejection fraction heart failure occurs due to myocarditis
Heart failure can also occur due to arrhythmia secondary to cardiac injury

Stress cardiomyopathy can result in heart failure as well


Arrhythmia can be due to heart failure, myocarditis, or the cardiac injury that occurs in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction can occur due to the cardiac injury caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection

Stress cardiomyopathy

Physiologic stress (high in ammatory burden, hypoxia, etc.) due to SARS-CoV-2 infection results in stress cardiomyopathy

Pulmonary embolism, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and disseminated intravascular coagulation

Vascular injury caused by SARS-CoV-2 results in a hypercoagulable state that has been found in many COVID-19 patients (indicated by elevated brinogen and D-dimer)


1. Madjid M and Casscells S. Of birds and men: cardiologists’ role in in uenza pandemics. Lancet. 2004;364(9442):1309.

2. COVID-19 Provisional Counts – Weekly Updates By Select Demographic And Geographic Characteristics. 2020. htm. Accessed June 30, 2020.

3. Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1054–1062.

4. Ruan Q, Yang K, Wang W, Jiang L and Song J. Correction to: clinical predictors of mortality due to COVID-19 based on an analysis of data of 150 patients from Wuhan, China. Intensive
Care Med. 2020;46(6):1294–1297.

5. Bonow R, Fonarow G, O’Gara P and Yancy C. Association of coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19) with myocardial injury and mortality. JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):751–753. https://

6. Hamming I, Timens W, Bulthuis M, Lely A, Navis G and van Goor H. Tissue distribution of
ACE2 protein, the functional receptor for SARS coronavirus. A rst step in understanding
SARS pathogenesis. J Pathol. 2004;203(2):631–637.

7. Crackower M, Sarao R, Oudit G, et al. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is an essential regula-
tor of heart function. Nature. 2002;417(6891):822–828.

8. Wang W, Bodiga S, Das S, Lo J, Patel V and Oudit G. Role of ACE2 in diastolic and systolic
heart failure. Heart Fail Rev. 2011;17(4–5):683–691.

9. Lubel J and Garg M. Renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system inhibitors in COVID-19. N Engl
J Med. 2020;382(24):e92.

10. Monteil V, Kwon H, Prado P, et al. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infections in engineered human
tissues using clinical-grade soluble human ACE2. Cell. 2020;181(4):905–913.e7. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.004.



Chapter 6: Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

11. Mehra M, Desai S, Kuy S, Henry T and Patel A. Cardiovascular disease, drug therapy, and mortality in Covid-19. NEngl J Med. 2020;382(25):e102.

12. Lasrado N, Yalaka B and Reddy J. Triggers of in ammatory heart disease. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020;8:192.

13. Yao XH, Li TY, He ZC, et al. Zhonghua Bing Li Xue Za Zhi. 2020;49(5):411–417. https://doi. org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112151-20200312-00193.

14. Inciardi R, Lupi L, Zaccone G, et al. Cardiac involvement in a patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):819–824. jamacardio.2020.1096.

15. Hu H, Ma F, Wei X and Fang Y. Coronavirus fulminant myocarditis treated with glucocorticoid and human immunoglobulin. Eur Heart J. 2020;ehaa190. ehaa190.

16. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus–infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061–1069.

17. Templin C, Ghadri JR, Diekmann J, et al. Clinical features and outcomes of Takotsubo (Stress) cardiomyopathy. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(10):929–938. NEJMoa1406761.

18. Minhas AS, Hughey AB, and Kolias TJ. Nationwide trends in reported incidence of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy from 2006 to 2012. Am J Cardiol. 2015;116(7):1128–1131. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.06.042.

19. Nef H, Möllmann H, Akashi Y and Hamm C. Mechanisms of stress (Takotsubo) cardiomyopa- thy. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2010;7(4):187–193.

20. Minhas A, Scheel P, Garibaldi B, et al. Takotsubo syndrome in the setting of COVID-19. JACC Case Rep. 2020.

21. Nguyen D, Nguyen T, De Bels D and Castro Rodriguez J. A case of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy with COVID 19. Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020;21(9):1052. ehjci/jeaa152.

22. Wadman M. How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes. Science. 2020.

23. Spiezia L, Boscolo A, Poletto F, et al. COVID-19-related severe hypercoagulability in patients admitted to intensive care unit for acute respiratory failure. Thromb Haemost. 2020;120(06):998–1000.

24. Divani A, Andalib S, Di Napoli M, et al. Coronavirus disease 2019 and stroke: clinical mani- festations and pathophysiological insights. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2020;29(8):104941.

25. Wu Q, Zhou L, Sun X, et al. Altered lipid metabolism in recovered SARS patients twelve years
after infection. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1).

Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

Intezam Khan M.D., Usman Mirza M.D., Riyaz Ahmad M.D., MRCP, Naiyer Imam M.D., and Eesha Imam

List of Abbreviations

ANE Acute necrotizing encephalitis
ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome
CNS Central nervous system
CSF Cerebrospinal uid
CT Computed tomography
EMG Electromyography
ER Emergency room
LVO Large vessel occlusion
MERS Middle East respiratory syndrome
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging
PNS Peripheral nervous system
RT-PCR Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

7.1 Introduction

There have been several reported cases that have demonstrated that infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can have neurologi- cal manifestations ranging from mild to severe symptoms and may also involve the central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS), and or skeletal muscle. Among the most common neurological manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 is the loss of sense of taste and/or smell typically by the third day.1 It is important to know that patients may present with neurological symptoms as the rst or only sign of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. This chapter discusses the common and rare neuro- logical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 that have been reported so far.



Summary of Key Neurological Findings

19/214 COVID-19 patients had PNS manifestations 12 had impaired taste
11 had impaired smell
3 had impaired vision

53/214 COVID-19 hospitalized patients had CNS manifestations 35 had dizziness
28 had headache
16 had impaired consciousness

6 had acute cerebrovascular disease 1 had ataxia
1 had seizure

23/214 COVID-19 hospitalized patients had skeletal muscle injury


Chapter 7: Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

7.2 How SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect the Nervous System

Although the exact manner with which SARS-CoV-2 acts on the nervous system has yet to be found, there are a few probable explanations. The ACE2 receptor has been identi ed as the primary receptor involved with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because this receptor is expressed in skeletal muscles and throughout the nervous system, they can be considered as capable of being infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus via either direct or indirect methods.2

Autopsies of COVID-19-positive patients demonstrated brain tissue that was hyperemicand edematous, and had degenerated neurons.2 It is also probable for SARS-CoV-2 to infect the CNS by dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 through the olfactory bulb and cribriform plate or due to hematogenous spread of the virus from systemic to cerebral circulation.3 Previous coronavirus infections, like SARS-CoV, have demonstrated neurological manifestations of the virus.4 Autopsies of patients infected with SARS-CoV detected the presence of SARS-CoV nucleic acid in the cerebrospinal uid (CSF) and brain tissue.2 Previous studies showed that SARS- CoV-infected patients had developed rhabdomyolysis, myopathy, and seizures.5 There were also reports of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) patients dur- ing the MERS outbreak developing neurological symptoms of confusion and seizures.5

The rst reported neurological study in Wuhan, China,2 examined 214 consecu- tive COVID-19-positive patients (mean age of 52.7 years)3 who were treated at three different hospitals from January 16 to February 19, and their illness was cat- egorized by severity based on the American Thoracic Society guidelines for com- munity-acquired pneumonia (Table 7.1). According to these guidelines, 41.1% (88) of patients had “severe infection” and 58.9%(126) of patients had “nonsevere infec- tion.” Neurological symptoms were categorized into four categories:

Table 7.1 Key Neurological Findings from the Study: Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China2

Cerebrovascular Disease

• CNS: headache, dizziness, altered consciousness

• PNS: nerve pain and loss of senses of smell, taste, and/or vision

• Cerebrovascular disease: seizure, stroke, ataxia

• Skeletal muscle symptoms.
Of the 214 patients, 36.4% had neurologic manifestations (ie, CNS, PNS, skel- etal muscle). Patients with severe infection were more likely to be older and have hypertension and had fewer typical COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever) compared to those with nonsevere infection, and patients with severe infection were more likely to develop neurologic manifestations compared to those with nonsevere infection.2 38.8% (83) had one or more comorbidity; hypertension, diabetes, cardiac or cerebrovascular disease, malignancy, or chronic kidney disease. Such neurologi- cal symptoms mostly manifested in the early period of the illness (the median time to hospital admission 1–2 days).2

7.3 Cerebrovascular Disease

There have been reports of strokes in patients who have tested positive for COVID- 19 and particularly in younger patients, patients younger than 50 years of age, when patients who typically get strokes are 74+ years.6 Based on the laboratory studies of COVID-19-positive patients done so far, it is known that COVID-19 is frequently associated with increased D-dimer levels. Increased D-dimer levels may be indicative of blood clots through detecting an irregularly high amount of brin degradation material.7 Blood clots have been seen as a very concerning symptom of COVID-19, and it is believed that the SARS-CoV-2 is infecting blood vessels8. One study demonstrated how SARS-CoV-2 had infected the endothelial cells lin- ing the inside of blood cells.8 Blood clotting is especially problematic in patients in critical condition, those who are immobilized, and those with preexisting condi- tions that already put strain on the involved systems such as diabetes and hypertension.

Some patients are presenting with stroke as the rst symptom of COVID-19 and these strokes are also appearing in COVID-19-positive patients with no known heart conditions or no other underlying illnesses such as hypertension or diabetes.9 In the Wuhan study, 14 strokes out of 214 COVID-19-positive patients.3

In a study of 10 COVID-19-positive patients with an age range of 25–75 years who had suffered from an ischemic stroke, 80% had preexisting conditions such as diabetes or hypertension but none had preexisting cerebrovascular disease, coronary disease, or atrial brillation.10 Patients showed increased laboratory values of D-dimer; 80% of these patients also presented to the emergency room (ER) initially with neurological symptoms rather than respiratory symptoms, two passed away from stroke, two passed away from the coronavirus attacking their lungs, and one was in critical condition due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).10 Patients had either branch emboli, small vessel, or large vessel occlusion (LVO).10 There were ve patients who had LVO, three of whom ended in mortality and one



Key Neurological Findings

Etiologic subtypes of ischemic stroke in SARS-COV-2 virus patients10


10 COVID-19 hospitalized patients with an age range of 25–75 had suffered ischemic stroke from four centers in New York city

All patients had increased values of D-dimer levels Seven had diabetes
Six had hypertension
One developed atrial brillation during their time in the hospital

Eight presented to the ER initially with neurological complaint
Four passed away
One was in critical condition because of ARDS

SARS2-CoV-2 and Stroke in a New York Health-Care System11


32 of 3556 hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients across three New York hospitals between 3/15/19 & 4/15/19 had imaging-con rmed ischemic strokes

Median age: 63 years 71.9% were men

Large artery ischemic stroke in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)12


5 of 206 COVID-19 hospitalized patients in Singapore had large vessel strokes

Four were in critical condition Three passed away

COVID-19 presenting as stroke13


Four PCR-con rmed COVID-19 patients had imaging- con rmed stroke in this retrospective study

All four presented stroke as the initial symptom
All four patients were in the age range of 73–88 years


Chapter 7: Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

of whom was the patient in critical condition due to ARDS.10 Patients with LVO were associated with either cardioembolism or hypercoagulable state.10

A retrospective cohort study published on May 13, 2020, in stroke examined all patients admitted for stroke between March 15, 2020, and April 19, 2020, across New York University Langone Hospital locations in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Manhattan.11 They were divided into three groups: patients who had ischemic stroke and were simultaneously COVID-19-positive, the contemporary controls who were patients who had ischemic stroke and did not have COVID-19, and the historical controls which were patients who had ischemic stroke and who were discharged from the hospital system between Match 15, 2019, and April 15, 2019.11 The results showed that only 32 (0.9%) of the 3556 hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients had imaging-con rmed ischemic strokes with 63 years of age being the median age of the 32 patients and 71.9% being men.11 More studies are needed to clarify if there is an association between SARS-CoV-2 and ischemic stroke (Table 7.2).

Table 7.2 Cases of Stroke Associated with SARS-CoV-2


7.4 Acute Encephalitis and Meningitis

Henry Ford Health System reported one case of a 58-year-old woman developing a rare form of encephalitis called acute necrotizing encephalitis, or (ANE), reported in the journal Radiology.14 She initially presented with fever, cough, and muscle aches, but then later she presented to the ER with confusion and altered mental status.14 A rapid COVID-19 test made in-house con rmed COVID-19 infection when the u test came out negative.14 CT (computed tomography) and MRI (mag- netic resonance imaging) scans con rmed the ANE diagnosis. Acute necrotizing encephalopathy, also known as acute necrotizing encephalopathy of childhood, is a rare type of encephalopathy characterized by multiple bilateral brain lesions.15 It was rst discovered in Eastern pediatric populations in 1995 but is rare in western countries and adult populations.16

Another report described a case of a 24-year-old man who was infected with SARS-CoV-2 and developed meningoencephalitis.17 He presented with a fatigue and fever on day 1, sought a doctor on day 2, and was prescribed laninamivir and antipyretic agents because of clinical symptoms; on day 5, his symptoms worsened with the addition of sore throat and headaches; and on day 9, he was found uncon- scious and rushed to the hospital by ambulance.17 He had generalized seizures for a minute and at the hospital tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 using the nasal swab test, but tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in his CSF.17 Brain MRIs were taken 20 hours after admission demonstrating right lateral ventriculitis and encephalitis on the right mesial lobe of the hippocampus with a differential diagnosis of hippocam- pal sclerosis.17

There has been one case so far of meningitis seen in a 5-year-old girl. She was complaining of a headache and had a fever for about a month and had tested positive for COVID-19. The child then developed meningitis and spent 2 weeks on a ventila- tor before passing away. She was taken off the ventilator after she was no longer improving and physicians believed she was brain dead.18

A study of HCV-OC42 examines whether a respiratory virus can infect the CNS and cause brain in ammation.3 Because there have not been many cases of SARS- CoV-2 being tied to meningitis and/or encephalitis, more studies need to be done in order to substantiate this relationship (Table 7.3).

7.5 Headaches

Patients who are positive for COVID-19 have presented with headaches as a symp- tom of the virus.3 In the meningitis case of the 5-year-old girl, she initially presented with headaches as the only symptom of COVID-19 for a month.18

However, this appears to be an isolated occurrence. Therefore, headaches may be a result of the systemic disease rather than a direct invasion of the CNS by the virus, and this is especially likely in patients who have no other neurological symptoms.3



Key Neurological Findings

COVID 19 linked to rare form of encephalitis14

Case report: Acute necrotizing encephalitis
Age: 58 years old
Sex: Female
3 days of fever, cough, muscles aches and altered

Altered mental status
Tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on a rapid COVID-19 test

A rst case of meningitis/ encephalitis associated with SARS-coronavirus-217

Case report: Meningoencephalitis
Age: 24 years old
Sex: Male
Tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) Analysis of CSF

Tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-PCR Analysis using nasopharyngeal swab test

5-year-old with rare complication becomes rst Michigan child to die of COVID-1918

Case report: Meningitis Age: 5 years old Sex: Female


Chapter 7: Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

Table 7.3 Cases of Encephalitis Tied to SARS-CoV-2

7.6 Peripheral Nervous System Manifestations

Some PNS manifestations of COVID-19 include impaired sense of taste, sense of smell, vision, and polyneuropathy. There have been reports that previous coronavi- ruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS, had PNS manifestations such as weakness and decreased deep tendon re exes.3

According to the Wuhan study, there were no signi cant differences in the labo- ratory studies between patients with and without PNS manifestations, and there were no signi cant differences between those patients with PNS systems and severe infection and those with PNS manifestations and without severe infection.2

There have been 12 reported cases of Guillain–Barrésyndrome in COVID-19- positive patients.3 Guillain–Barrésyndrome is a rare disorder where the body’s immune system attacks its nerves.19 It can cause muscle weakness and occasionally, paralysis.19 Of these 12 patients, 5 were from Northern Italy and they all developed Guillain–Barrésyndrome after the onset of COVID-19 and systemic manifestations of COVID-19.20 At the onset of their neurological symptoms, 4 out of these 5 patients tested positive on the SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab test and 1 tested negative.20 Four patients developed weakness in their lower extremities and facial diplegia, and one patient developed paresthesia and ataxia.20 Over a 3- to 4-day period, four of the patients also developed generalized, accid tetraparesis, or tet- raplegia, and three of whom received mechanical ventilation.20

These patients showed rst symptoms of Guillain–Barrésyndrome 5–10 days after rst onset of symptoms of COVID.20 Among the other 7 of the 12 patients,

Peripheral Nervous System Manifestations

there were instances of patients presenting with neurological manifestations prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. Several of these patients had also developed systemic mani- festations, such as fever and cough, and ground-glass lung opacities in either one or both lungs either before or after developing neurological manifestations. There have also been cases of patients who were infected with MERS-CoV and patients who have been infected with HCV-OC43 and who have also developed Guillain–Barré syndrome.17 These are only a few cases so more research needs to be done in order to substantiate that there is a relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and Guillain–Barré syndrome (Table 7.4).

Table 7.4 Cases of Guillain–BarréSyndrome Tied to SARS-CoV-2




Initial Presentation


Neurologic symptoms and COVID-19: What’s known, what isn’t21

61 y.o.


Autoimmune neuropathy

Day 8 of hospitalization

• Developed dry cough, fever, ground-glass lung opacities

Day 30 of hospitalization

• Discharged from hospital after recovering

COVID-19 may induce Guillain–Barré syndrome22

64 y.o.


Presented to hospital after falling & tearing rotator cuff

Day 1 of symptoms

• 2 days prior to hospital presentation

• Fever and cough

• Nasal swab test was positive for
Day 5 of symptoms

• Fever subsided

Day 10 of symptoms

• Developed paresthesias in feet and hands

Day 13 of symptoms

• Flaccid severe tetraparesia

Neurological evaluation

• MRC (power musclestrength) evaluation

• 2/5 in the legs

• 2/5 the arms

• 3/5 in the forearms

• 4/5 in the hands

Guillain– Barrésyndrome associated with COVID-19 infection: acase report23

65 y.o.


Presented to the ER with symptoms of acute progressive symmetric ascending quadriparesis

2 weeks prior to ER admission

• Fever, cough, and occasional dyspnea

• COVID-19 was diagnosed via oropharyngeal sampling and reverse transcription-polymerase test

• Treated with hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, andazithromycin






Initial Presentation


Past medical history
Type 2 diabetes mellitus

• Takes metformin

5 days prior to ER admission

• Acute progressive weakness of distal extremities, bilateral facial paresis

Neurological evaluation

• MRC strength evaluation

• 2/5 in the legs

• 1/5 in thighs

• 3/5 the arms

• 2/5 in the forearms

• Generally absent deep tendon
re exes

• Reduced ne touch sensation and
vibration distal to the ankle

• House-Brackmann grade 3 bifacial
nerve palsy

• No spine sensory level

Covid-19 and Guillain–Barré syndrome: more than a coincidence!24

70 y.o.


Bilateral weakness and tingling in all 4 extremities within a time period of 48 h

Past medical history Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for which she was taking 7.5 mg prednisone

3 days prior to neurological symptoms onset
• Dry cough resolving on its own

within 48h

Days 1 and 2 of neurological symptoms

• Bilateral weakness and tingling in
all four extremities

• Diagnosed with RA exacerbation
and given corticosteroids
Day 10 of neurological symptoms

• Tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on RT-PCR

• Oropharyngeal test

• Admitted to neurology department
of hospital
Neurology examination

• Quadriplegia

• Hypotonia

• Are exia

• Bilateral positive Lasègue sign

• Nerve conduction study showed all
fourlimbs had a signi cant reduction/absence of electrical potentials in both sensory and motor nerves

• Needle electromyography (EMG) showed a signi cant amount of brillation potentials at rest

• Chest CT: ground-glass appearance of left lung


Table 7.4 (continued)

Chapter 7: Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

Peripheral Nervous System Manifestations

Table 7.4 (continued)




Initial Presentation



• IV immunoglobulin (2g/kg for 5 days)

• Hydroxychloroquine (600 mg/day)

• Azithromycin (500 mg for the rst
day then 250 mg/day)
Day 20 of neurological symptoms

• No signi cant improvement in the condition

Guillain–Barré syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection: causality or coincidence?25

61 y.o.


Acute weakness in bilateral lower extremities and severe fatigue that progressed within 1 day

Day 1 of hospital admission

• Neurological examination

• MRC strength evaluation

• 4/5 in both legs and feet

• Are exia in both legs Day 3 of hospital admission

• MRC strength evaluation

• 3/5 in both legs and feet

• 4/5 in both arms and hands
Day 4 of hospital admission

• Thrombocytopenia, lymphocytope- nia, and increased protein levels

Day 5 of hospital admission

• Nerve conduction studies showed signs of demyelinating neuropathy

Day 8 of hospital admission

• Diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome

• Developed a fever and dry cough

• Chest CT showed ground-glass
opacities in both lungs

• Tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on

• Oropharyngeal test

• Treatment

• Given IV immunoglobulin and
Antiviral drugs (ritonavir, arbidol,
and lopinavir) for supportive care
Day 20 of hospital admission

• Patient’s condition improved with normal lymphocyte and thrombocyte levels were normal

Day 30 of hospital admission

• Discharged with normal muscle strength in all extremities, normal tendon re exes, no respiratory symptoms, and tested negative on SARS-CoV-2 oropharyngeal



Chapter 7: Central Nervous System (CNS) Manifestations of COVID-19

7.7 Skeletal Muscle Injury

According to the laboratory values from the Wuhan study, patients who had skeletal muscle injury had signi cantly higher levels of creatine kinase compared to those who had no skeletal muscle injury regardless of the disease severity.2 The laboratory values of patients with skeletal muscle injury showed an evidence of an increased in ammatory response through increased neutrophil counts, lower lymphocyte counts, and greater C-reactive protein levels, and also showed an evidence of possi- ble blood coagulation dysfunction through the increased D-dimer levels.2 The labo- ratory values of patients who had skeletal muscle injury also showed an evidence of damage to multiple organs: liver (increased lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate amino- transferase, and alanine aminotransferase where the levels in patients with severe infection were signi cantly higher than the levels of those with nonsevere infection) and kidney abnormalities (increased levels of blood urea nitrogen where the blood urea nitrogen levels were signi cantly higher in patients with severe infection than in those with nonsevere infection and increased levels of creatine).2

7.8 Conclusion

1. Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 can develop neurological manifestations that can affect the CNS or PNS or cause skeletal muscle injury.

2. Patients may present with neurological manifestation prior to COVID-19 diag- nosis and/or without displaying any of the symptoms typical to COVID-19 such as fever and cough.

3. Possible CNS manifestations seen so far include headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and cerebrovascular disease, and there have only been a few cases of encephalitis and meningitis.

4. Possible PNS manifestations seen so far include the loss of sense of taste, smell, and vision and rare manifestation seen in Guillain–Barré syndrome.

5. Patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus who had no comorbidities or risk factors for cerebrovascular disease have been shown to develop cerebrovascular disease as a neurological manifestation.


1. Smell diminishes by day 3 of COVID-19, study says. WebMD. 2020, 14 May. https://www.

2. Mao L, Jin H, Wang M, et al. Neurologic manifestations of hospitalized patients with coro- navirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Neurol. 2020;77(6):683–690. https://doi. org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1127.

3. Montalvan V, Lee J, Bueso T, De Toledo J, Rivas L. Neurological manifestations of COVID-19 and other coronavirus infections: asystematic review. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2020, Elsevier.

4. Pleasure SJ, Green AJ, Josephson SA. The spectrum of neurologic disease in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic infection: neurologists move to the frontlines. JAMA Neurol. 2020. Published online April 10.


5. Ng Kee Kwong KC,Mehta PR, Shukla G, Mehta AR. COVID-19, SARS and MERS: a neu- rological perspective. J Clin Neurosci.2020; 77;13–16. 5 May. jocn.2020.04.124.

6. Cha AE. Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with COVID-19, are dying of strokes. The Washington Post. 2020, WP Company, 25 Apr. health/2020/04/24/strokes-coronavirus-young-patients/.

7. D-Dimer. Understand the Test. tive%20D%2Ddimer%20result,tell%20the%20location%20or%20cause. Accessed June 25, 2020.

8. Smith DG. Coronavirus may be a blood vessel disease, which explains everything. Medium. 2020, Elemental, 31 May.

9. Rabin RC. Coronavirus may pose a new risk to younger patients: strokes. The New York Times. 14 May, 2020.

10. Berekashvili K, Dmytriw AA, Vulkanov V, et al. Etiologic subtypes of ischemic stroke in SARS-COV-2 virus patients. MedRxiv. 2020, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1 Jan.

11. Yaghi S, Ishida K, Torres J, et al. SARS2-CoV-2 and stroke in a New York healthcare system. Stroke.

12. Umapathi T. Large artery ischaemic stroke in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). J Neurol. 2004;251(10):1227–1231.

13. Avula A. COVID-19 presenting as stroke. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;87:115–119.

14. OlejarzD.COVID19linkedtorareformofencephalitis.HenryFordHEALTHSYSTEM®,1Apr. 2020.

15. Iqbal S, St-Amant M and Di Muzio B. Acute necrotizing encephalopathy: radiology refer- ence article. Radiopaedia Blog RSS.
encephalopathy?lang=us. Accessed June 25, 2020.

16. Pulakanti V and Holland N. A fatal case of adult-onset acute necrotizing encephalitis secondary
to in uenza A virus (P5.398). Neurology. 2018, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on Behalf of the American Academy of Neurology, 9 Apr. https:\\ P5.398.

17. Moriguchi T, Harii N, Goto J, et al. A rst case of meningitis/encephalitis associated with SARS-coronavirus-2. Int J Infect Dis. 2020. pii/S1201971220301958.

18. Barmore J. 5-year-old with rare complication becomes rst Michigan child to die of COVID-19. Detroit News. 20 Apr, 2020. detroit-city/2020/04/19/5-year-old- rst-michigan-child-dies-coronavirus/5163094002/.

19. Guillain-Barré syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.20 Dec, 2019. https://

20. Toscano G, Palmerini F, Ravaglia S, et al. Guillain–Barré syndrome associated with SARS- CoV-2. N Engl J Med. 2020.

21. McNamara D. Neurologic symptoms and COVID-19: what’s known, what isn’t. Hospitalist.1 May, 2020. neurologic-symptoms-and-covid-19-whats-known-what.

22. Camdessanche J-P, Morel J, Pozzetto B, Paul S, Tholance Y, Botelho-Nevers E. COVID-19 may induce Guillain-Barré syndrome. Rev Neurol. 2020, Elsevier Masson SAS. https://www.

23. Sedaghat Z and Karimi N. Guillain Barre syndrome associated with COVID-19 infection: a case report. J Clin Neurosci. 2020, Churchill Livingstone. science/article/pii/S0967586820308821.

24. El Otmani H, El Moutawakil B, Rafai M-A, et al. Covid-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome: more than a coincidence!. Rev Neurol. 2020;176(6):518–519. neurol.2020.04.007.

25. Zhao H, Shen D, Zhou H, Liu J, Chen S. Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with SARS- CoV-2 infection: causality or coincidence? Lancet Neurol. 2020, Elsevier. https://www.scien-


Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

Lawrence Kogan M.D., Chung Sang Tse M.D., Farhan Qureshi, and Samir A. Shah M.D., FACG

List of Abbreviations

ACG American College of Gastroenterology FIT Fecal immunohistochemistry test
GI Gastrointestinal
IBD In ammatory bowel disease

PPE Personal protective equipment
PPI Proton pump inhibitor
SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

8.1 Introduction

COVID-19 has many gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations, which can present even in the absence of respiratory symptoms, and also has an impact on many GI dis- eases. Gastroenterology utilizes minimally invasive endoscopic procedures to diag- nose, monitor, and treat pancreatic, GI, and hepatobiliary diseases, including GI bleeding, gastroesophageal re ux disease, pancreatitis, in ammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and colorectal cancer. Immunosuppressive agents, including biologic medications and steroids, are used to treat disorders such as IBD and autoimmune hepatitis. Many nonurgent endoscopies were temporarily put on hold from March 2020 through April 2020 due to concerns for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, particularly with aerosol-generating endoscopic procedures and fecal–oral route of viral spread, and to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) in the setting of widespread shortage. With adequate supplies of proper PPE and decrease in COVID-19 cases, elective outpatient endoscopic procedures resumed in most facilities by late May 2020. This chapter addresses the GI manifes- tations of COVID-19 and the virus’s impact on various GI diseases and access to endoscopy.




GI Events Symptoms

Anorexia 216

Nausea/ 210 vomiting

Diarrhea 326

Abdominal 52 pain/ discomfort

Any GI 537 symptom

830 26.8

2664 10.2 3536 12.5

751 9.2

4243 17.6

0 20 40 60 80 100

95% CI 16.2 – 40.8

6.6 –15.3 9.6 –16.0 5.7–14.5


Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

8.2 Presentation

Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 frequently develop, or present with, GI symp- toms, such as anorexia, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.1–3 A gure adapted from a meta-analysis of over 4000 patients positive for COVID-19 showing the distribution of GI symptoms is illustrated in Figure 8.1. Although the prevalence of GI symptoms was low in early studies, there was a large discrepancy between Chinese and non-Chinese studies.3 One possible explanation of the difference between studies is whether anorexia is included as a GI symptom, as it could be included in other organ systems, and was not reported in many early Chinese stud- ies. When reported, anorexia is often times the most frequently reported GI symp- tom and may be present in up to 60% of cases.1, 2, 4, 5 There is a small, but measurable number of cases presenting as acute pancreatitis, which affected Blacks and Hispanics at signi cantly higher rates, highlighting the racial disparities seen with this disease.6

Although respiratory symptoms are the primary presenting symptom of COVID- 19, many patients have co-occurring GI symptoms and some patients develop GI symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms. In one study of 206 patients with mild COVID, 23% had only digestive symptoms and 33% had a mixture of diges- tive and respiratory symptoms.7 Multiple studies have shown that patients with GI symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms take longer to present to the hospital, rendering the risk of propagating community viral spread for longer

Prevalence (%)


Figure 8.1

Cheung et al.1

Prevalence of GI symptoms in COVID-19-positive patients. Adapted from

Endoscopy and Risk of Transmission

periods of time.1, 7 Additionally, these patients may have a longer duration between symptom onset and viral clearance, taking up to an additional 7 days to clear the virus compared to patients with respiratory symptoms.7 This suggests that GI symp- toms should not be overlooked and should prompt a rapid consideration of addi- tional workup and monitoring.

The virus has been isolated from feces of infected persons, and can persist in the stool up to 10 days after resolution of symptoms after it clears the respiratory sys- tem, raising concern for possible fecal–oral transmission.8, 9 In fact, some case stud- ies have isolated intact virus in the stool, but direct transmission has not yet been observed.10

Patients with COVID-19 often have abnormal liver enzymes which may or may not be present on initial presentation. It has been hypothesized that the development of transaminitis could be related to biology of the virus, which enters cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 membrane protein receptor and is highly expressed in the colon, liver, and cholangiocytes11; however, there are various other possible etiologies which will be discussed later in this chapter.

8.3 Endoscopy and Risk of Transmission

Gastroenterologists routinely perform aerosol-generating procedures, including esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, small bowel enteros- copy, endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and esophageal manometry.12 The risk of viral transmission during upper endoscopies is of particular concern as viral particles may become aerosolized during the insertion of the endoscopy into the pharynx (triggering the gag re ex) and from the endo- scope’s working channel as instruments are inserted and removed.12 During the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, elective procedures (colon cancer screening, GI motility testing, variceal surveillance, etc.) were delayed due to the concern for SARS-CoV2 transmission. When urgent/emergent procedures were performed (symptomatic GI bleeding, dysphagia signi cantly impacting oral intake, cholangi- tis, GI obstruction), the following procedural precautions were recommended:12

• Use a tted N95 masks, N99, or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) instead of surgical masks or no masks.

• Double glove instead of single glove.

• If the patient is positive for SARS-CoV2 (or presumptive), use a negative
pressure room or, if unavailable in resource-limited settings, use portable industrial-grade high-ef ciency particulate air (HEPA) lters in a regular endoscopy room.

• Continue to utilize standard cleaning endoscopic disinfection and reprocess- ing protocols, which includes mechanical and detergent cleaning using US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved liquid chemical germicide solutions, followed by high-level disinfection (reduces the number of micro- organisms by 99.99%), rinsing, and sterile drying. The biocidal agents used in



Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

endoscopic disinfecting solutions have been shown to be effective in inacti- vating SARS-CoV.13

Guidance from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) for resuming elective endoscopy as the number of COVID-19 cases decreased includes the following:14

• Administer a COVID-19 screening questionnaire to patients within 72 hours prior to the endoscopic procedure to elicit whether the patient had any of the following symptoms within 14 days: fever (100.4 or higher); cough, shortness of breath, dif culty breathing; chest pain; sore throat; loss of sense of smell/ taste; new onset of fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, or other signi cant symptoms. Positive responses should prompt the removal of patients from clinical care areas, (repeat) SARS-CoV2 testing, self-quarantine, and reporting to the proper authorities (eg, Department of Health).

• All members of the endoscopy team should wear N95 respirators (or devices with equivalent or higher ltration rates) for all GI procedures.

• Standard bedside precleaning, followed by manual cleaning and high-level disinfection in the reprocessing facility; no changes are recommended to reprocessing procedures for endoscopes and accessories.
There is exibility in guidance from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) in resuming elective procedures depending on the prevalence of COVID-19, availability of testing, and availability of PPE with N95 or equivalent masks (Figure 8.2). The chart below from the ACG suggests a reasonable algorithm for elective outpatient endoscopic procedure performed in free standing endoscopy centers [15].


Low Prevalence Area/ Negative COVID-19 Test/Negative Symptom Screen

Low Prevalence Area/ No COVID-19 Test/Negative Symptom Screen

High Prevalence Area/ Negative or No COVID-19 Test/ Negative

Symptom Screen

High or Low Prevalence Area/ Positive COVID-19 Test or Negative Symptom Screen

Adapted from ACG roadmap for resuming endoscopy.15

Consider standard precautions (surgical masks, face shields, gloves, gowns

N95 or equivalent mask if available
Face shields, gloves, gowns

Delay procedure or perform in hospital setting with N95
or equivalent mask


GI ASC Patient


Figure 8.2

In ammatory Bowel Disease

8.4 Liver Diseases

Many patients with COVID-19 either present with liver enzyme abnormalities or develop them over the course of their illness. A meta-analysis showed serum amino- transferase levels–AST or ALT–above the upper limit of normal in roughly 15% of patients and elevated bilirubin in 17%.16 One study of 1099 patients in China showed that there were more than double the number of patients with an AST >40 with severe illness compared to those with nonsevere illness,17 and a retrospective study of 1087 patients showed an association between COVID-19 infection and an eleva- tion in baseline liver enzymes, peak liver enzymes, and severity of illness.18 Of note, there are several confounding factors, such as medications used to treat the infection that were also linked with elevated peak liver enzyme levels.18

The mechanism of action of liver injury is unclear but likely secondary to viral infection, in ammatory reaction, or toxin mediated from medications. It is usually transient, but there are case reports of COVID presenting as acute liver injury.19, 20 Upon autopsy, liver pathology revealed moderate microvesicular steatosis and mild lobular and portal activity.21 To our knowledge, there have not been reports of fulmi- nant hepatic failure as a result of COVID-19.

An international database has reported 1097 cases of COVID-19 in patients with chronic liver disease at the time of writing of this chapter. The cohort includes 88% hospitalized patients, but does report 18–29% probability of severe disease requir- ing intensive care admission.22 Patients with cirrhosis had the worst outcomes with a 32% chance of death. Additional prospective studies will be required to further evaluate the relative and overall risk compared to the general population.

8.5 Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In ammatory bowel disease, namely, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is esti- mated to have a prevalence of 6.8 million globally.23 An international database (SECURE–IBD) has reported 2,156 cases of con rmed COVID-19 in IBD patients from 57 countries (65 deaths, 3%) as of August 31, 2020.24 The website is available at and is continually updated. So far, the use of any of the biologics or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor is not associated with higher death rates or worse outcomes.

Patients with IBD are of special consideration during the COVID-19 pandemic as these patients are often treated with chronic immunosuppressive or immune-modify- ing therapies that include corticosteroids, biologics (including antitumor necrosis factor, anti-integrin, and anti-interleukin therapies), immunomodulators, and 5-ami- nosalicylic acids.25 Moreover, patients with IBD may continue to need frequent encounters at health-care facilities for medication administration (infusion of certain biologic therapies), endoscopy (assessment of disease severity in patients with active IBD symptoms), and emergency department visits or hospitalization for IBD ares.

In addition to the recommendations for the general population (social distancing, hand hygiene, work from home, avoid infected persons), IBD patients are recommended



Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

to continue their IBD medication regimens to avoid the risk of relapsing IBD, defer all nonessential endoscopic procedures during surge of COVID-19 cases (including colon cancer screening), and continue to receive medications at infusion centers with appro- priate safety protocols (fever checks at the door, chairs spaced at least 6 feet apart, disin- fect equipment and furniture after each use, utilize PPE, etc).25–27

For IBD patients with GI symptoms, rule out enteric infections, such as Clostridioides dif cile and other GI pathogens, and test for active in ammation with non-endoscopic approaches, such as biomarkers (serum C-reactive protein, fecal cal- protectin), cross-sectional imaging, and capsule endoscopy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, endoscopic procedures should only perform for urgent and emergent indications that “will urgently change management.” This may include scenarios where there is clinical suspicion for a new diagnosis of severe IBD (endoscopy needed for histological con- rmation) or stricturing disease causing GI obstruction that need urgent endoscopic decompression, stenting, and evaluation of cancer to guide surgical intervention.25, 26

The recommended management of IBD therapies in patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 is as follows: continue 5-ASA, budesonide, rectal therapies, and enteral nutrition; hold thiopurines, methotrexate, and tofacitinib; delay 2-week administration of monoclonal biologic therapies; and restart when COVID-19 symptoms resolve or if serological testing demonstrate convalescent stage of the disease.25 These guidelines will be updated as the SECURE-IBD Registry [24] and other studies provide more data/analysis.

8.6 Celiac Disease

A multinational collaboration was created to anonymously report cases of celiac disease and coronavirus.28 At the time of the writing of this chapter, only 62 cases have been reported, with 82% being treated in the outpatient setting, and 18% inpa- tient and 2% (1 patient) requiring the intensive care unit (ICU). These data follow the general trend seen with the coronavirus in the general population. In one Italian study, the majority of patients did not feel more vulnerable to the coronavirus given their celiac disease, and half of those surveyed did not worry about the availability of gluten-free food.29 Overall, it appears that COVID-19 does not impact patients with celiac disease more than the general population.

8.7 GI Cancers

In general, patients with comorbidities, including cancer of all types, have a higher risk for severe COVID-19.30 As such, various oncological and GI professional soci- eties have produced guidelines for which procedures, therapies, and screenings are appropriate.

Currently, there is no evidence which necessitates withholding systemic chemo- therapy or immunotherapy for cancer.31 However, the Infectious Disease Society of America recommends that patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy should be

GI Cancers

tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA even if asymptomatic.32 According to the Society of Surgical Oncology, in gastric and esophageal cancers, staging laparoscopy may be skipped in favor of beginning neoadjuvant therapy directly in a COVID-19-positive patient, in order to reduce transmission risk and use of PPE. Patients on neoadjuvant therapy for gastric and esophageal cancers may also continue chemotherapy if they are responding to treatment and there is not enough PPE to proceed with surgical resection. Physicians at Sloan Kettering have deemed resection of colon, stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers as “essential,” as patient outcomes will be worsened with delay.33 This approach was also validated by guidance from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the New York State Department of Health. Full guidelines provided by Oncological and Gastrointestinal Societies are provided in the “Cancer Screening Guidelines” section. On the other hand, others advocate that chemotherapy may also be used to delay surgery for hepato-pancreato-biliary can- cer, as long as the patient is responding to and tolerating treatment.34

Cancer screening guidelines have also been changed due to COVID-19. The American College of Physicians recommends a colonoscopy every 10 years or a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years between 50 and 75 years of age.35 However, due to the pandemic, these important screenings are being delayed. A study gathered from the EPIC electronic health records system involving 2.7 million patients across 39 health systems with 190 hospitals and spanning 23 states in the USA demonstrated screening appointments for breast, colon, and prostate cancer in March of 2020 decreased by 86% compared to mean volumes from January 1, 2017, to January 19, 2020 (Figure 8.3).36 The graphs of the drop in colon cancer screening are featured

Colon Cancer Screenings – 2020 5,000

4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000


Colon Cancer Screenings 5,000

4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000


Weekly Colon Cancer Screenings 5,000

4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000


Figure 8.3

2019 2018 2017

Mean Weekly Screening Volume 2017- Jan 19, 2020

Mean Weekly Screening Volume 2017- Jan 19, 2020

Forecast Trend

Uncertainty Bands

Observed Weekly Screening Volume Since Jan 20, 2020

Screening appointments for cancers between 2017 and March 2020.36



Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

below. The charity Cancer Research UK estimates a backlog of 2.1 million patients waiting for breast, colon, or cervical cancer screening. Normally, about 3800 can- cers would be diagnosed over this time period.37 In Hong Kong, screening endosco- pies and colonoscopies reached a turning point and began to decrease in January 2020. The mean weekly numbers of gastric and colon cancer diagnoses decreased by 46 and 37%, respectively.

• Cancer Research UK’s Dr. Charles Swanton warns that “delays to diagnosis and treatment could mean that some cancers will become inoperable” [37]. While the European Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Guidelines (ESGE) and other GI professional societies recommend noninvasive proce- dures such as the fecal immunohistochemistry (FIT) test in the meantime, there cannot be an inde nite delay—there is a signi cant increase in cancer risk with a >6-month delay in colonoscopy after positive FIT test.35 Already the effects of decreased screening are becoming apparent. As a result of the NHS suspending cancer screening, 3800 people in the UK whose cancer would have been picked up by screening have gone undiagnosed and another 20,300 cancers may also have been missed due to an estimated 290,000 patients with symptoms of possible cancer who were not urgently referred for evaluation.30 Statistical models of data from Hong Kong show that 4.6% of gastric cancers and 6.4% of colon cancers would have a more advanced stage of cancer at detection 6 months after the decrease in screenings.37 The data from these studies from Hong Kong, the UK, and the United States demon- strate the danger of prolonged deferment of screening—many treatable can- cers (not just colorectal cancer) will progress unnoticed until it may be too late for the patient. Gradually resuming elective endoscopic procedures may begin to mitigate some of these effects for colon cancer.38 Tracking patients whose elective procedures have been delayed and getting them rescheduled is an important part of this process. As such, it is of utmost importance for hos- pitals and endoscopy centers to safely resume screening endoscopies and colonoscopies, before there is a major increase in preventable GI cancers.

GI Cancer Treatment Guidelines: colorectal-cancer

• Modifying Practices in GI Oncology in the Face of COVID-19:
Recommendations From Expert Oncologists’ Recommendations on Minimizing Patient Risk ( COVID-19.pdf)

Proton Pump Inhibitors and COVID-19

8.8 Telehealth in GI

Telehealth in GI is an important tool to allow patients to access care without inter- ruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though only a minority of gastroenterolo- gists (private or academic) were offering telehealth services prior to COVID-19, the vast majority have rapidly adapted this technology for offering care and will likely continue this option as patients nd it convenient and cost/time-effective. Most elec- tronic health platforms have incorporated a telehealth option, and there are several inexpensive or free platforms such as or Doximity. This access to care is particularly important in optimally managing chronic conditions, including IBD and liver disease. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) assisted GI practices with their tran- sition to telehealth by partnering the following:

• Rx Health: a Virtual Care Hub and Telehealth platform for digital screening and triaging of patients before in-person appointments, accommodate virtual visits through a dedicated telehealth room, and patient access to GI education modules from the AGA patient education center.

• GI OnDEMAND, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant and cloud-based telehealth system where providers can get reimbursed for out-of-of ce patient support and patents can access an online support community and evidence-based health information.
For information on billing and coding of telehealth visits, please refer to the fol- lowing resources:

• •


HHS FAQs on telehealth and HIPAA: les/ telehealth-faqs-508.pdf
AMA 2021 E/M codes and guidelines: les/2019-06/cpt-of ce-prolonged-svs-code-changes.pdf

Proton Pump Inhibitors and COVID-19

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) suppress the production of gastric acid contents and are commonly used to treat esophageal and gastric diseases such as GERD, esopha- gitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and peptic ulcer disease. There is con icting data regard- ing an association or causation between PPI and COVID-19 infection rate as well as severity. One large survey-based study of more than 50,000 patients in the United States showed a dose–responsive relationship between PPIs and COVID infection; however, a larger retrospective study in Korea did not nd any signi cant difference in infection rate between PPI users and nonusers.39, 40 The latter study did nd that PPI use correlated with a more severe course of illness. To date, no randomized con- trol trials have been published regarding PPI use and development of COVID-19.



Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

Studies on SARS-CoV-1 suggested the virus was less infective at lower pH, pro- viding a potential mechanism for increased infectivity.41 Interestingly, with regard to the current studies on SARS-CoV-2, there was no similar association between SARS-CoV-2 and histamine-2 blocker use, which also lowers gastric pH, indicating that there may be other pathophysiologic mechanisms to infection. Famotidine was actually associated with a decreased risk of intubation or death, and is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for the virus.42, 43

An association between PPIs and COVID-19 is concerning, particularly given the prevalence of PPI use in modern society; however, it needs to be further evaluated with prospective studies and randomized controlled trials to determine causation. Until these studies are completed, we recommend that practitioners discuss this data with patients, using shared decision-making to determine whether to continue with PPIs or consider a transition to alternate therapies, such as H-2 blockers. The American Journal of Gastroenterology has also published an information sheet not- ing that the absolute risk of COVID-19 infection is low and that social distancing and masks will have a much greater impact on personal risk of acquiring COVID-19 than adjusting PPI dosing.44 As we await further trials, for now it is prudent to consider the potential increased risk for COVID-19 when discussing the use of PPIs with patients.

8.10 Tools for Health-care Providers

• American College of Gastroenterology—COVID and GI: media/covid-19-and-gi/

• AASLD COVID-19 resources les/2020- 06/AASLD-COVID19-ExpertPanelConsensusStatement-June42020-FINAL. pdf ACG COVID-19 resources:

• AGA COVID-19 resources: tice-updates/covid-19

• ASGE COVID-19 resources: tion-training/covid-19-asge-updates-for-members/

• Surveillance Epidemiology of Coronavirus Under Research Exclusion (SECURE-IBD)

1. Pan L, Mu M, Yang P, et al. Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symp- toms in Hubei, China: a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020;115(5):766–773.

2. Redd WD, Zhou JC, Hathorn KE, et al. Prevalence and characteristics of gastrointestinal symp- toms in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States: a multicenter cohort study. Gastroenterology. 2020. 159(2):765–767.e2.

3. Cheung KS, Hung IFN, Chan PPY, et al. Gastrointestinal manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus load in fecal samples from the Hong Kong cohort and systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastroenterology. 2020;159(1):81–95. gastro.2020.03.065.


4. Cholankeril G, Podboy A, Aivaliotis VI, et al. High prevalence of concurrent gastroin- testinal manifestations in patients with SARS-CoV-2: early experience from California. Gastroenterology. 2020;159(2):775–777.

5. Nobel YR, Phipps M, Zucker J, et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms and COVID-19: case-con- trol study from the United States. Gastroenterology. 2020;159(1):373–375.e2. https://doi. org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.04.017.

6. Inamdar S, Benias PC, Liu Y, et al. Prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 presenting as acute pancreatitis. Gastroenterology. 2020. https://doi. org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.044.

7. Han C, Duan C, Zhang S, et al. Digestive symptoms in COVID-19 patients with mild disease severity: clinical presentation, stool viral RNA testing, and outcomes. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020;115(6):916–923.

8. Wu Y, Guo C, Tang L, et al. Prolonged presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in faecal samples. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5(5):434–435.

9. Chen Y, et al. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the feces of COVID-19 patients. J Med Virol. 2020. 92(7):833–840.

10. Xiao F, Sun J, Xu Y, et al. Infectious SARS-CoV-2 in feces of patient with severe COVID-19. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(8):1920–1922.

11. Xu H, Zhong L, Deng J, et al., High expression of ACE2 receptor of 2019-nCoV on the epithe- lial cells of oral mucosa. Int J Oral Sci. 2020;12(1):8.

12. Sultan S, Lim JK, Altayar O, et al. AGA Institute rapid recommendations for gastrointestinal procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gastroenterology. 2020159(2);739–758.

13. Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, et al. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect. 2020;104(3):246–251.

14. Hennessy B. Vicari J, Bernstein B, et al. Guidance for resuming Gi endoscopy and practice operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. Gastrointest Endosc. 2020;92(3):743–747.e1.

15. American College of Gastroenterology Task Force on Endoscopic Resumption. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Roadmap for safely resuming or ramping-up endoscopy in the COVID-19 pandemic. https://web n-05122020.pdf. Published May 12, 2020. Accessed May 25, 2020.

16. Sultan S, Al Tayar O, Siddique SM, et al. AGA Institute rapid review of the gastrointestinal and liver manifestations of COVID-19, meta-analysis of international data, and recommendations for the consultative management of patients with COVID-19. Gastroenterology. 2020;159(1): 320–334.e27.

17. Guan WJ, Ni Z, Hu Y, et al. Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(18):1708–1720.

18. Hundt MA, Deng Y, Ciarleglio MM, et al. Abnormal liver tests in COVID-19: a retrospective observational cohort study of 1827 patients in a major U.S. Hospital Network. Hepatology. 2020; Rapid Communication.

19. Wander P, Epstein M, Bernstein D. COVID-19 presenting as acute hepatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020;115(6):941–942.

20. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet 2020;395(10223):507–513.

21. Xu Z, Shi L, Wang Y, et al. Pathological ndings of COVID-19 associated with acute respira- tory distress syndrome. Lancet Respir Med. 2020;8(4):420–422.

22. Moon A, James T, Barritt A, et al. SECURE Cirrhosis Registry. 2020. Covidcirrhosis.web.unc. edu. Accessed August 31, 2020.

23. GBD 2017 In ammatory Bowel Disease Collaborators. The global, regional, and national burden of in ammatory bowel disease in 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017: a system- atic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5(1):17–30.

24. Brenner EJ, Colombel UR, Kappelman JF. SECURE-IBD database public data update. 2020. Accessed Aug 31, 2020.



Chapter 8: Gastrointestinal Manifestations of COVID-19

25. Rubin DT, Feuerstein JD, Wang AY, et al. AGA clinical practice update on management of in ammatory bowel disease during the COVID-19 pandemic: expert commentary. Gastroenterology 2020;159(1):350–357.

26. Iacucci M, Cannatelli R, Labarille N, et al. Endoscopy in in ammatory bowel diseases dur- ing the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic period. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5(6):598–606.

27. NHIA home and specialty infusion industry recommendations. 2020. covid-19_guidance/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

28. Coronavirus and Celiac Disease Reporting Database 2020. Accessed June 7, 2020.

29. Siniscalchi M, Zingone F, Savarino EV, et al. COVID-19 pandemic perception in adults with celiac disease: an impulse to implement the use of telemedicine: COVID-19 and CeD. Dig Liver Dis. 2020;52(10):1071–1075.

30. Mao R, Liang J, Shen J, et al. Implications of COVID-19 for patients with pre-existing diges- tive diseases. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5(5):425–427.

31. Russell B, Moss C, George G, et al. Associations between immune-suppressive and stimulating drugs and novel COVID-19-a systematic review of current evidence. Ecancermedicalscience 2020;14:1022.

32. Kimberly E, Hanson AMC, Arias CA, et al. Infectious Diseases Society of America Guidelines on the Diagnosis of COVID-19. line-diagnostics/. Accessed June 6, 2020.

33. COVID19 Subcommittee of the O.R. Executive Committee at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Cancer Surgery and COVID19. Ann Surg Oncol. 2020;27(6):1713–1716. https://doi. org/10.1245/s10434-020-08462-1.

34. Society of Surgical Oncology. Resource for management options of GI and HPB cancers dur- ing COVID-19. April 2020. HPB-Resource-during-COVID-19-4.6.20.pdf. Accessed June 5, 2020.

35. Williams R. Colorectal cancer screening in a post-COVID world. American College of Gastroenterology. May 28, 2020; Virtual Grand Rounds. https://web dround/Week10_ACGVGR_Williams_CRC2.pdf. Accessed June 5, 2020.

36. Delays in preventative cancer screenings during COVID-19 pandemic. 2020. delays-in-preventive-cancer-screenings-during-covid-19-pandemic/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

37. Cancer Research U.K. Over 2 million people in backlog for cancer care. 2020. https://www. in-backlog-for-cancer-care. Accessed June 5, 2020.

38. Lui TK, Leung K, Guo CG, et al. Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on gastrointestinal endos- copy volume and diagnosis of gastric and colorectal cancers: a population-based study. Gastroenterology. 2020;159(3):1164–1166.e3.

39.Almario CV, Chey WD, Spiegel BM. Increased risk of COVID-19 among users of proton pump inhibitors. Am J Gastroenterol. Aug 2020;1–9.

40. Lee SW, Ha EK, Yeniova AO, et al. Severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19 associated with proton pump inhibitors: a nationwide cohort study with propensity score matching. Gut. 2020.

41. Darnell ME, Subbarao K, Feinstone SM, et al. Inactivation of the coronavirus that induces
severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS-CoV. J Virol Methods. 2004;121(1):85–91.

42. Mather JF, Seip RL, McKay RG. Impact of famotidine use on clinical outcomes of hospi- talized patients with COVID-19. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020;115(10):1617–1623. https://doi.

43. Freedberg DE, Conigliaro J, Wang TC, et al. Famotidine use is associated with improved clini-
cal outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients: a propensity Score Matched Retrospective
Cohort Study. Gastroenterology. 2020.

44. Information sheet and FAQs about proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and risk of COVID-19. Am J
Gastroenterol. 2020;159(3):1129–1131.e3.

Renal Manifestations of COVID-19

Syed Muzaffar Ahsan M.D.,
Shariq Haider Hashmi M.D., and Sundus Nasim

List of Abbreviations

ACE-2 Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2
ACEIs Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors AKI Acute kidney injury
ANP Atrial natriuretic peptide
ARBs Angiotensin receptor blockers
ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome
BNP Brain natriuretic peptide
BUN Blood urea nitrogen
CKD Chronic kidney disease
CVP Central venous pressure
GFR Glomerular ltration rate
KDIGO Kidney Disease Improving Global Guidelines ICU Intensive care unit
MAP Mean arterial pressure
PEEP Positive end-expiratory pressure
RRT Renal replacement therapy
VTE Venous thromboembolism

9.1 Introduction

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a major health concern as it often results in fatal com- plications following intensive care unit (ICU) admission. COVID-19 is a peculiar disease with a highly variable disease course, and it has been seen to have multiple renal manifestations. These can range from symptoms like hematuria to the devel- opment of acute kidney failure. The rapidly progressive kidney damage warrants early admission and a close clinical monitoring.

Multiple mechanisms leading to the development of renal manifestations have been proposed, including volume depletion effects, systemic in ammation, hemo- dynamic disturbances, direct viral invasion, and rhabdomyolysis, among others.




Chapter 9: Renal Manifestations of COVID-19

While maintenance of adequate uid balance is pivotal, parameters such as oxygen saturation, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, urine output, and arterial or venous pressures should be closely monitored. Early assessment of volume status through the combined use of physical examination and ultrasound imaging is essen- tial to avoid renal complications. Maintenance of euvolemia using appropriate hydration, uid-reducing medications, and other necessary measures is the single most important step.

Another more worrisome complication is the development of venous thrombo- embolism (VTE) in some patients. Heparin prophylaxis or other anticoagulation may be used in the hospital setting to prevent VTE in COVID-19 patients. Use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in COVID-19 patients is controversial due to the possibility of worsening of the disease course. Thus, we advise that clinicians exercise extreme precaution while using any of these medications.

9.2 Epidemiology

There is mounting evidence that COVID-19 can manifest as AKI. Though the pool of data collected on this subject is preliminary, it is clear that there is a trend of renal injury beyond simply the baseline level expected in similar populations. A recent study of 193 COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China, reported that many patients showed signs of kidney dysfunction upon admission to the hospital. More than half of these patients had proteinuria, about half had hematuria, and some had increased BUN and creatinine levels.1 The multinational Acute Kidney Injury-Epidemiologic Prospective Investigation (AKI-EPI) study estimated the baseline level of AKI inci- dence in all ICU admissions to be 57.3%, while 13.5% of all ICU admissions develop severe AKI requiring renal replacement therapy (RRT).2 This latter number is known to be higher in cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The American Society of Nephrology estimates from many preliminary studies that the incidence of AKI in COVID-19 admissions is likely similar to the baseline, but the percentage of COVID-19 ICU cases with severe AKI requiring RRT is increasing at an upward rate of 30%.3

Thus, the current research suggests that COVID-19 patients often end up with much more severe kidney injury. This is important as AKI can increase an already high mortality risk in these patients. A univariate Cox regression analysis showed that proteinuria; hematuria; and increased BUN, serum creatinine, and uric acid levels were all signi cantly associated with death in COVID-19 patients. This study also found that COVID-19 patients who developed AKI had an increased mortality risk compared to those without AKI by a factor of 5.3.1

Given the propensity of COVID-19 to damage the kidney, it poses an even greater danger to patients who already carry a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD). A recent meta-analysis preprint reported that patients with CKD have a six-fold increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection over the general population.4

Pathophysiology of COVID-19 Renal Manifestations

9.3 Pathophysiology of COVID-19 Renal Manifestations

There have been multiple suggested etiologies of AKI due to COVID-19.3 These etiologies likely work together to attack the kidney from several angles. These can be broadly categorized in the following.

Fluid Balance: Aggressive diuresis is often necessary in the management of COVID-19 patients. This can lead to hypovolemia, causing the body to decrease the glomerular ltration rate (GFR) to preserve uid.

ARDS Side Effects: The lung is one of the main sites of interest for the virus due to the abundance of ACE2 receptors on pneumocytes. The in ammatory process in the lung results in an increased cytokine activity throughout the body. Furthermore, this can lead to increases in neurohormonal pathway activation in the sympathetic nervous system and the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, while causing decreases in atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels. Altogether, these effects have a harmful effect on GFR and cause in ammatory damage to renal vessels and parenchyma.

Hemodynamic: The use of high positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) in patients on ventilators can increase pressure in the thoracic cavity. This can cause low-pressure venous vessels with large blood-carrying capacity to collapse under the pressure. With less available volume in the thoracic venous vessels, such as the superior and inferior vena cava, venous blood will back up and cause conges- tion in multiple organs, including the kidney. Furthermore, the lower venous return to the heart will lead to decreased preload and cardiac output, hence reduc- ing the pressure in the renal arteries. These two hemodynamic functions together cause a decrease in renal glomerular ltration pressure and can reduce GFR.

Hypoxemia and Hypercapnia: The inability to properly oxygenate blood and of oad carbon dioxide in the lungs can lead to chemical and acid–base anoma- lies, which are harmful to the renal regulatory systems. Hypoxemia on its own can reduce renal blood ow. Carbon dioxide retention acidi es the blood, forc- ing the kidney to work harder to reabsorb bicarbonate and maintain physiologic pH. This in turn increases the oxygen demand in the kidney. Thus, the kidney becomes particularly susceptible to hypoxic damage. In addition, hypercapnia has been known to cause a decrease in the renal autoregulatory system that maintains GFR and protects the kidney from hydrostatic pressure damage.

Rhabdomyolysis: While not common, there have been case reports and a few studies that have reported increases in myoglobin and creatine kinase levels in the blood of COVID-19 patients.

Direct Viral Infection: Though unclear, it has been suggested that the virus can directly infect the renal parenchyma. This may be due to renal expression of the ACE2 surface protein, which acts as a coreceptor for the viral entry of COVID-19 into the cell.



Chapter 9: Renal Manifestations of COVID-19

As can be seen, there are multiple possible etiologies for renal damage and AKI due to infection with COVID-19. There is evidence to support each of these etiolo- gies, so it is likely that they work in conjunction to unleash a multifaceted attack on the kidney.3

9.4 Monitoring COVID-19 Patients for AKI

Due to the numerous possible ways that the kidney can be damaged from this virus, it is important to keep a watchful eye on many parameters for patients with this diagnosis. Recognizing AKI in COVID-19 is no different from recognizing it in other situations; the American Society of Nephrology recommends using the well- known KDIGO (Kidney Disease Improving Global) Guidelines.5 This involves con- sistently monitoring parameters such as BUN, serum creatinine, and urine output.3

Beyond these direct parameters, it is also important to monitor multiple values that may indicate an impending AKI.3 As there are many different possible etiolo- gies of AKI as was explained earlier, the parameters to monitor can be broken down by each etiology.

Fluid Balance: It is recommended to assess the true volume status of each patient. This should involve a multifaceted approach involving physical examination, passive leg raise test, pulse wave analysis, point-of-care ultra- sound, and electrolyte levels. Simply estimating the volume status from a few parameters can lead to false assessments of the uid balance. Efforts should be made to maintain the patient at euvolemia with normal electrolytes for best renal protection.

ARDS Side Effects: High levels of cytokines and neurohormonal activity can cause damage to renal structure and function. Thus, it is important to monitor in ammatory markers and BNP to ensure early detection of abnormalities and swift response by the appropriate medical teams.

Hemodynamic: As explained previously, the hemodynamic effects of COVID-19 and its management can have deleterious effects on renal func- tion. It is therefore important to estimate or calculate the central venous pres- sure (CVP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), cardiac output, and renal perfusion pressure. Without appropriate pressure in the renal vessels, the kidneys will not be able to maintain the necessary GFR. Calculating the volume status of the patient will also play a key role in understanding the hemodynamic status in this patient. Furthermore, patients on ventilators should be monitored for appropriate PEEP, tidal volume, and peak inspiratory pressures. Concerns regarding these settings should be discussed with the appropriate teams to ensure the safest balance of ventilation and hemodynamics.

Hypoxemia and Hypercapnia: The blood oxygen saturation is important to monitor in COVID-19 patients not only for the integrity of the lungs, but also

Early Management of AKI

for the kidneys. Beyond just the saturation, imbalance in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels can have many serious effects on kidney function, so it is important to monitor parameters such as the arterial blood gases and the arte- rial pH to assess the acid–base status and gas-exchange function of the patient.

Rhabdomyolysis: Though this is a less common direct etiology of renal dam- age, the medical team can consider monitoring myoglobin and creatine kinase levels, especially when there is a high suspicion of rhabdomyolysis.

Direct Viral Infection: Evidence of direct viral infection of the kidney can occasionally be found on biopsy with immuno uorescence, but this is not recommended as a monitoring strategy.

As can be seen, the list of important parameters to monitor is quite vast. A summary of these parameters, as well as the corresponding pathophysiological importance, is given in Table 9.1. Fortunately, some of these parameters can be measured noninvasively, while many of the invasive tests may provide an expanded value due to their importance to other organ systems beyond the kid- ney. While it may be especially dif cult to nd suf cient time to fully assess the patients regularly due to high patient load in a pandemic setting, every effort should be made by all responsible teams to keep these etiologies in mind when considering each patient.3

9.5 Early Management of AKI

While suspicion of kidney injury should prompt a discussion with a nephrology team, it is important for all medical parties to understand the basic early manage- ment of AKI. The early management heavily depends on the adequate assessment of volume status, as discussed earlier. A combined approach using physical examina- tion (including assessment of edema, weight changes, and capillary re ll), passive leg raise test, pulse wave analysis, and point-of-care ultrasound is essential for assessing the true volume status beyond simple estimation from few parameters, which is prone to error. Once this is established, the initial management goal should be to ensure that the patient is euvolemic. Some evidence suggests the use of furo- semide stress test to predict the progression of AKI. However, the evidence is lim- ited and requires further study.3

It is important to stress here that the use, or lack thereof, of uid-reducing medi- cations is vital for multiple organ systems in COVID-19 patients. Therefore, it is important that all teams responsible for the patient come to an understanding of what steps be taken in managing the patients prior to adding or removing medica- tions. However, any member of the care team can carry out an assessment of the volume status, which is a crucial step in deciding management. Thus, the primary team should initially focus on assessing this in order to facilitate the conversations between the multiple responsible medical teams.




Monitoring Recommendation

Fluid balance

Aggressive diuresis during hospital management can cause iatrogenic hypovolemia

• Assess true volume status with physical examination, passive leg raise test, pulse wave analysis, point-of-care ultrasound, and electrolyte levels

• Maintain patient at euvolemia with normal electrolyte ranges

ARDS side effects

In ammation in the lung causes increased cytokine activity and activates the sympathetic nervous system and the renin–angiotensin– aldosterone system, while decreasing ANP and BNP

• Monitor in ammatory markers and BNP


High PEEP causes decreased venous return. This leads to backup of blood ow in the kidneys as well as lower perfusion due to decreased preload and cardiac output

• Estimate or calculate CVP, MAP, cardiac output, and renal perfusion pressure

• Carefully monitor PEEP, tidal volume, and peak inspiratory pressures

• Maintain good communication with all teams responsible for ventilator adjustments

Hypoxemia and hypercapnia

Decreased lung function causes hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and respiratory acidosis. This has harmful effects on the renal regulatory system, and it increases the energy demand of the kidney as it works to compensate for the acidosis

• Assess acid–base status and gas-exchange function with arterial blood gas, pH, and oxygen saturation


COVID-19 patients have been reported to have increased serum myoglobin and creatine kinase levels

• Consider monitoring myoglobin and creatine kinase levels, especially if there is high suspicion of rhabdomyolysis

Direct viral infection

Renal expression of ACE2 makes it theoretically possible for the virus to directly attack the kidney, though this has not been fully studied

• No current monitoring recommendations


Table 9.1 Etiologies of Kidney Damage in COVID-19 Patients, with Summarized Pathophysiology and Management Strategies

Chapter 9: Renal Manifestations of COVID-19

Note on ACE Inhibitor and ARB Usage in COVID-19

9.6 Note on Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) and Prophylaxis

One of the concerns raised in COVID-19 patients was the presence of VTE that proved fatal. However, the evidence for this seems to be mainly from case studies and prelimi- nary observational trials rather than robust, large-scale studies. A single-center cohort study from the University of Amsterdam was conducted with 198 hospitalized COVID patients, 75 of which were admitted to the ICU. The 21-day cumulative incidence of VTE was 42%. The 21-day cumulative incidence of VTE was higher in the ICU (59%) compared to the wards (9.2%).6 These results add to the growing pool of evidence associating COVID-19 infection with VTE, and different health-care institutions have responded to this by devising their own protocols to provide adequate VTE prophylaxis to the patients. Some of these protocols are based on D-dimers and require the admin- istration of heparin as a part of their prophylaxis guidelines. Thus, it is important to consider anticoagulation in COVID-19 patients, and the monitoring and administration practices should be deferred to hospital protocols and case-by-case analysis.3

A study in Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, retrospectively analyzed the 28-day mortality between heparin and nonheparin users among severe COVID-19 patients. It was concluded that anticoagulation with low molecular weight heparin was asso- ciated with a better prognosis in patients who met the sepsis-induced coagulopathy criteria with increased levels of D dimers.7 This study can be considered when devising an appropriate protocol for anticoagulation.

9.7 Note on ACE Inhibitor and ARB Usage in COVID-19

The use of medications such as ACEIs and ARBs has been shown in some animal trials to increase the expression of the ACE2 receptor. Given that the COVID-19 virus uses ACE2 as a coreceptor to enter the cells, there is a concern that the use of these medica- tions may increase susceptibility to the infection. ACE2 is present in various body viscera such as kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal system, and type II alveolar cells in the lungs.8 The role of ACE2 in the healthy body is to convert angiotensin II into angioten- sin (1–7), which has a vasodilatory effect that is protective in various lung injury mod- els. Evidence suggests that angiotensin (1–7) prevents oxidative stress and also plays a role in controlling in ammation and brosis in the renal tissues and beyond. In a trial involving rats, it was found that angiotensin (1–7) modulates the vascular responses to vasoconstrictors and prevents nitric oxide-induced oxidative stress.9 Thus, it is cur- rently unknown whether ACE inhibitors or ARBs are bene cial or harmful during COVID-19 infection. The current recommendation is for patients taking ACE inhibi- tors or ARBs to continue their regimen. However, the Randomized Elimination or ProLongation of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (REPLACE COVID) trial is currently underway at the University of Pennsylvania, which will investigate the effects of temporarily stopping these medications in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.10



Chapter 9: Renal Manifestations of COVID-19

9.8 Conclusion

• The development of AKI in COVID-19 patients increases the risk of mortality.

• Monitoring kidney function should be monitored with BUN, creatinine, and
urine output.

• Assessment of volume status and maintenance of euvolemia is an essential man-
agement step. Fluid-reducing medicines should be used with caution to avoid

• Measuring in ammatory markers and BNP can assess the level of systemic
in ammation.

• Adequate VTE prophylaxis either using heparin or using other anticoagulating
agent should be considered for hospitalized patients.

• ACEIs and ARBs should be used with care as the ef cacy of these medicines in
COVID-19 patients is poorly understood.

• RRT is recommended for patients who can no longer be managed on

1. Li Z, et al. Caution on kidney dysfunctions of COVID-19 patients. medRxiv, 2020; preprint.

2. Hoste EA, Bagshaw SM, Bellomo R, et al. Epidemiology of acute kidney injury in critically ill patients: the multinational AKI-EPI study. Intens Care Med. 2015;41(8):1411–1423.

3. American Society of Nephrology. COVID-19 associated AKI recognition and management. American Society of Nephrology; 2020.

4. Zhao X, Zhang B, Li P, et al. Incidence, clinical characteristics and prognostic factor of patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2020. 2020; preprint. 0.1101/2020.03.17.20037572.

5. Khwaja A. KDIGO clinical practice guidelines for acute kidney injury. Nephron Clin Pract. 2012;120(4):c179–c184.

6. Middeldorp S, Coppens M, van Haaps TF, et al. Incidence of venous thromboembolism in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(8):1995–2002. https://doi. org/10.1111/jth.14888.

7. Tang N, Bai H, Chen X, et al. Anticoagulant treatment is associated with decreased mor- tality in severe coronavirus disease 2019 patients with coagulopathy. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(5):1094–1099.

8. Patel AB, Verma A. COVID-19 and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angioten- sin receptor blockers: what is the evidence? JAMA. 2020;323(18):1769–1770. https://doi. org/10.1001/jama.2020.4812.

9. Simoes ESAC, Teixeira MM. ACE inhibition, ACE2 and angiotensin-(1-7) axis in kidney and cardiac in ammation and brosis. Pharmacol Res 2016;107:154–162.

10. University of Pennsylvania Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. 2020. REPLACE COVID-19 Study. covid-19-the-randomized-elimination-or-prolongation-of-angiotensin-converting-enzyme- inhibitors-and-angiotensin-receptor-blockers-in-coronavirus-disease-2019/?qd=1697425.

Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19

Sudhir Bansal M.D. and Farhan Qureshi

List of Abbreviations

ACE2 Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 ACTH Adrenocorticotrophic hormone ARB Angiotensin receptor blocker CRP C-reactive protein

DKA Diabetic ketoacidosis
DPP4 Dipeptidyl peptidase 4
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
GLP-1 Glucagon-like peptide-1
HPA Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal
MERS-CoV Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-CoV-1 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus


Sodium/glucose cotransporter-2 Type 2 diabetes

10.1 Overview

Worldwide, over 400 million are affected by diabetes, with over 1.6 million deaths attributable to diabetes alone in 2016.1 In the United States in 2018, 10.5% of the population had diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death.2 Diabetes is a multiorgan disease and leads to worse outcomes in many other diseases when it is a comorbid condition. Previous viral outbreaks have shown us that diabetes is a very important risk factor to consider. Diabetes was associated with poor outcomes dur- ing the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) outbreak in the early 2000s3 and the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, and was associated with more severe infection and a higher mortality rate during the Middle East respiratory syn- drome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in 2012.4

Currently, diabetes is the third most common comorbidity in COVID-19 patients,5 is associated with more severe disease,6 and increases patients’ risk of ICU




Chapter 10: Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19

admission.7, 8 Most notable, however, are diabetes and obesity that are both indepen- dently associated with a higher risk of death in COVID-19 patients.8 In light of these data, and by understanding the data from previous viral outbreaks, it is imperative to understand the interaction between this viral pandemic and the global epidemic of diabetes.

10.2 Mechanisms of Increased COVID-19 Severity in Diabetic Patients

In general, diabetic patients are more susceptible to infection due to dysfunctional immune responses such as decreased neutrophil chemotaxis and decreased phago- cytosis by the innate immune cells.9–11 Immune cell function, like killing via respira- tory burst, is also inhibited by hyperglycemia seen in diabetic patients.11 Diabetic patients have decreased proportions of CD4+,CD8+, and anti-in ammatory regula- tory T cells, and also have a higher proportion of pro-in ammatory immune cells (eg, Th17 cells).11 This altered immune landscape may allow in ammatory cascades to go unchecked in diabetic patients. There is also evidence that patients with hyper- tension and diabetes have a delayed clearance of viral load, prolonging infections.10 With respect to SARS-CoV-2 speci cally, it is theorized that diabetes increases the risk of infection due to up-regulation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which the virus uses to infect cells.9, 10

The effects of diabetes on ACE2 are twofold. While acute hyperglycemia has been shown to up-regulate ACE2, there is evidence that chronic hyperglycemia down-regulates ACE2 expression. This effect of ACE2 down-regulation may, how- ever, increase the in ammatory damage caused by COVID-19, as ACE2 is protec- tive against in ammation.9 Diabetic patients also have increased levels of plasmin and plasminogen, and protease enzymes thought to play a role in SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Plasmin(ogen) cleaves furin sites in SARS-CoV-2 S proteins, which increases infectivity by allowing easier entry, fusion, duplication, and release of viral particles in respiratory cells. Elevated plasmin(ogen) and furin levels are com- mon in COVID-19 diabetes and may also be an independent factor for risk strati – cation.11 Another way diabetes exacerbates COVID-19 symptoms is its effects on the respiratory system. Diabetes can cause altered lung capillary permeability and small airway collapse. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 can decrease the O2-carrying capacity of hemoglobin, which is exacerbated in the glycated hemoglobin in dia- betic patients.11

Not only does diabetes exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19, COVID-19 also exacerbates the symptoms of diabetes. A study of 658 patients in Wuhan, China, showed that 6.4% presented with ketosis, and these patients had worse outcomes and longer hospital stays. In a smaller proportion of patients, this ketosis precipi- tated into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious complication of diabetes. Interestingly, of the ve total DKA cases, two of the patients were nondiabetic.12 A

Managing Diabetes in COVID Patients

case study in Singapore also showed DKA precipitated by COVID-19.13 The mech- anism of COVID-19-induced DKA is unclear; however, it is postulated that direct damage to pancreatic beta cells due to infection causes an acute insulin de ciency that can precipitate DKA.9, 13

10.3 Managing Diabetes in COVID Patients

Management of glycemia is of utmost importance in COVID-19 patients. Data from an Italian study shows that diabetic patients with hyperglycemia are at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 and have persistently higher levels of in ammation (measured by IL-6 and D-dimer), than diabetic patients who are normoglycemic. Data from a retrospective study in Hubei Province, China, shows that maintenance of glycemia within 3.9–10 mmol/L in patients with preexisting type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with a signi cant reduction in morbidity and mortality.14

Glycemia in T2D patients may be managed by a plethora of medications, which may have implications for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because ACE2 is important for viral entry into cells, upregulation of ACE2 may be detrimental. Several classes of diabetes medications may be implicated in this: sodium/glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor antagonists, piogli- tazones, and possibly insulin.15 Most notable, however, are the ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB). Preclinical models indicate that ACE2 may be up-regulated by ACE inhibitors/ARBs, raising concerns for their use in COVID-19 patients. However, new clinical data indicates that their use is safe and effective in COVID-19 patients.16 An additional consideration when choosing medications is the involvement of in ammation in the COVID-19 disease process. Dipeptidyl pep- tidase 4 (DPP4), which is involved in in ammatory pathways, is the target of incre- tin-based therapies used for T2D. Preclinical studies show a decreased in ammation with DPP4 inhibition, and similar effects are seen with SGLT-2 inhibitors and pio- glitazone,15 raising the question whether these therapies would be more appropriate for use in diabetic COVID patients.

It must be noted that currently, there have been no changes in guidelines for managing diabetes in COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, there is no evidence of poor outcomes when treating diabetic patients with any of the abovementioned medications,17 which are summarized in Table 10.1 (adapted from Pal et al., 2020). In the inpatient setting, insulin infusion may be the best method for achieving gly- cemic targets and improving outcomes due to its safety and reliability.18 However, other factors must be considered when treating an infectious disease—namely, reduction of contact with COVID-positive patients. Therefore, physicians must choose a regimen that ts their primary target (glycemic control vs. contact fre- quency). For instance, if the physician wishes to reduce contact, they may use an NPH-regular regimen.19 Such pros and cons are listed in Table 10.2 (adapted from Hamdy et al.19).


Antidiabetic Drug

Data from Animal Studies

Data from Human Studies

Concerns for Use during COVID-19 Pandemic


Reduces renal ADAM-17 expression in diabetic mice, thereby reducing urinary ACE2 shedding and increasing intrarenal ACE2 expression

No human data to support poor outcome


No concern


No concern


Up-regulation of ACE2 in insulin-sensitive tissues of rats

Down-regulation of ADAM-17 in human skeletal muscles

Theoretical risk of poor outcome; however, no data on human pulmonary ACE2 expression


Up-regulates ACE2 in cardiac and pulmonary tissues of diabetic rats

Theoretical risk of poor outcome; however, no data on human pulmonary ACE2 expression

SGLT2 inhibitors

Promotion of renal ACE2 activity

Theoretical risk of poor outcome; however, no data on human pulmonary ACE2 expression

DPP4 inhibitors

DPP4 mice develops severe disease with MERS-CoV DPP4i; ACE2 activity is not altered in diabetic mice

DPP4 inhibitor might exert overall anti- in ammatory role

Theoretically, DPP4 modulation might help offset the cytokine-mediated acute respiratory complications of COVID-19


Reduction of viral load in COVID-19

Can be considered as a third-line add-on drug in patients with poor glycemic control


Chapter 10: Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19

Table 10.1 Commonly Prescribed Antidiabetic Drugs and Concerns Regarding Their Use during COVID-19

Abbreviations: COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019; ACE2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; ADAM-17, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase-17; SGLT-2, sodium/glucose transporter 2; DPP4, dipeptidyl peptidase 4; DPP4, transgenic diabetic mice expressing human DPP4; MERS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

Other Endocrine Diseases

Table 10.2 Pros and Cons of Several Insulin Regimens Used in the ICU for Patients with Diabetes and COVID-19 on Continuous Tube Feeding

Insulin Infusion, i.v.

Basal Insulin q12h + Regular Insulin q6h for Correction

NPH insulin q8h + Regular Insulin q8h for Correction

Regular Insulin q6h

Contact frequency/day





Glycemic control

++++ (best)




Glycemic variability

+ (lowest)




Risk of hypoglycemia upon TF interruption




Mitigation protocol

Relax the target blood glucose and test q2-4h

Reduce doses of basal insulin and add xed doses of regular insulin q6hr plus correction by regular insulin q6h

No mitigation is required

No mitigation is required

Infuse DI0W at the same rate if TF is interrupted for >2h

Infuse DI0W at the same rate if TF is interrupted for >2h

Abbreviations: DI0W, dextrose 10% in water; TF, continuous tube feeding.

10.4 Other Endocrine Diseases

10.4.1 Adrenal Insufficiency

SARS-CoV (coronavirus which caused the 2003 SARS epidemic) employs an immunoevasive technique wherein it knocks down the host cortisol stress response. It does so by mimicking amino acid sequences of host adrenocorticotrophic hor- mone (ACTH). Because SARS-CoV-2 is related to SARS-CoV, it is theorized that COVID-19 may affect the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. There are currently prospective studies underway to analyze this.20



Chapter 10: Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19

Independently of COVID-19’s effects on the HPA axis, glucocorticoids have been employed to treat the cytokine storm, which causes many of COVID-19’s worst symptoms. Those with adrenal insufficiency should be treated with dou- ble the dose of glucocorticoids, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.20, 21 For patients with adrenal insufficiency and COVID-19 presenting persistent fever or severe pneumonias, the preferred treatment is an initial bolus of 50–100 mg hydrocortisone followed by a con- tinuous IV replacement. This regimen reduces the immunosuppressive effects of high peaks of hydrocortisone and has been shown to reduce time in the ICU.21, 22

10.4.2 Subacute Thyroiditis

Subacute thyroiditis is an in ammatory thyroid disease, which is generally pre- cipitated by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The rst reported case of subacute thyroiditis after SARS-CoV-2 infection has been con rmed in Italy. Fifteen days after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 via oropharyngeal swab, the patient presented with tachycardia and an in amed and painful thy- roid. FT4 and FT3 were high in this patient, with an undetectable TSH, and negative TPOAb and TRAb. High FT4 and FT3 indicate hyperthyroidism, while negative thyroid antibodies indicate a non-autoimmune etiology. In ammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were high along with white blood cell count. After treatment with pred- nisone for over one month, the symptoms resolved and both in ammatory mark- ers and thyroid tests were normal.23 This case represents another clinical manifestation of COVID-19 that should not be overlooked, especially by endocrinologists.

10.5 Telemedicine

Diabetes is a disease which requires a careful management and communication between patients and providers. During a pandemic, this communication is dif- cult, highlighting a need to turn towards telemedicine in order to manage patients. Two cases of new-onset type 1 diabetes in Colorado, one adult and one pediatric, highlight the effectiveness of telemedicine.24 The adult patient used multiple daily insulin injections, and the pediatric patient used a continuous insulin pump. Both patients used continuous glucose monitoring software (Dexcom Clarity and Glooko). By following up with the patient’s glucose moni- toring online, and checking in with them via e-mail, Zoom video conferencing, and telephone calls, both patients have been effectively managed during the pandemic.24


In India, a review of telemedicine guidelines suggests that it is an important tool to use in managing chronic conditions like diabetes.25 However, more research should be done on the long-term impact of telemedicine on health outcomes. The authors caution that because telemedicine cannot replace the physical examination, at least the rst consult should be in-person.25

10.6 Tools for Health-Care Providers

1. Algorithms based on emerging guidelines: (website and app available)


• UK National diabetes inpatient COVID response group

• Simple, safe, diabetes guidelines for specialists and nonspecialists

• First set of guidelines—for specialists outlines key requirements vital to
maintaining patient safety

• Second set—for EM physicians/acute admitting teams. Provides algorithm
for acute admitting and management of diabetes at the “front door”

3. telemedicine-practice?&utm_source=BulletinHealthCare&utm_medium= email&utm_term=031820&utm_content=NON-MEMBER&utm_ campaign=article_alert-morning_rounds_daily&utm_uid=2539335&utm_
• AMA Guide to Telemedicine

10.7 Conclusion

1. Diabetes is the third most common comorbidity in COVID-19 patients, and is associated with more severe disease, increased ICU admission, and a higher risk of death.

2. Diabetes is a multiorgan disease, and there are numerous mechanisms which may make COVID-19 more severe in diabetic patients:

• Immunocompromised state

• ACE2 upregulation

• Precipitation of DKA by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

3. There are no changes to diabetes management guidelines for COVID-19

4. Glycemic regulation is a major factor in reducing morbidity and mortality.

5. Adrenal insuf ciency and subacute thyroiditis are other endocrine manifesta-
tions of COVID-19, which should not be overlooked.

6. Telemedicine is key to managing new-onset and chronic diabetes during a



Chapter 10: Endocrine Manifestations of COVID-19


1. Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved July 09, 2020, from detail/diabetes.

2. Fast Facts – Data and Statistics About Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved July 09, 2020, from https://

3. Booth CM, Matukas LM, Tomlinson GA, et al. Clinical features and short-term outcomes of 144 patients with SARS in the greater Toronto area [published correction appears in JAMA. 2003 Jul 16;290(3):334]. JAMA. 2003;289(21):2801–2809. jama.289.21.JOC30885.

4. Singh AK, Gupta R, Ghosh A, Misra A. Diabetes in COVID-19: prevalence, pathophysiology, prognosis and practical considerations [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 9]. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020;14(4):303–310.

5. Richardson S, Hirsch JS, Narasimhan M, et al. Presenting characteristics, comorbidities, and outcomes among 5700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the New York City area [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 22] [published correction appears in https://doi. org/10.1001/jama.2020.7681]. JAMA. 2020;323(20):2052–2059. jama.2020.6775.

6. Guan WJ, Ni ZY, Hu Y, et al. Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(18):1708–1720.

7. Roncon L, Zuin M, Rigatelli G, Zuliani G. Diabetic patients with COVID-19 infection are at higher risk of ICU admission and poor short-term outcome. J Clin Virol. 2020;127:104354.

8. Cariou B, Hadjadj S, Wargny M, et al. Phenotypic characteristics and prognosis of inpatients with COVID-19 and diabetes: the CORONADO study [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 29] [published correction appears in Diabetologia. 2020 Jul 2]. Diabetologia. 2020;1–16.

9. Bornstein SR, Rubino F, Khunti K, et al. Practical recommendations for the management of diabetes in patients with COVID-19. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020;8(6):546–550. https://

10. Angelidi AM, Belanger MJ, Mantzoros CS. Commentary: COVID-19 and diabetes melli- tus: what we know, how our patients should be treated now, and what should happen next. Metabolism. 2020;107:154245.

11. Means C. Letter to the Editor: Mechanisms of increased morbidity and mortality of SARS- CoV-2 infection in individuals with diabetes: what this means for an effective management strategy. Metabolism. 2020;108:154254.

12. Li J, Wang X, Chen J, Zuo X, Zhang H, Deng A. COVID-19 infection may cause ketosis and ketoacidosis [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 20]. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2020.

13. Chee YJ, Ng SJH, Yeoh E. Diabetic ketoacidosis precipitated by Covid-19 in a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2020;164:108166. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.diabres.2020.108166.

14. Zhu L, She ZG, Cheng X, et al. Association of blood glucose control and outcomes in patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes. Cell Metab. 2020;31(6):1068–1077.e3.

15. Ceriello A, Stoian AP, Rizzo M. COVID-19 and diabetes management: What should be considered? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2020;163:108151. diabres.2020.108151.

16. Herman, AO. (2020, May 3). Three studies nd no harm from ACE inhibitors or ARBs in COVID-19. Retrieved July 09, 2020, from three-studies- nd-no-harm-ace-inhibitors-or-arbs-covid.


17. Pal R, Bhadada SK. Should anti-diabetic medications be reconsidered amid COVID- 19 pandemic? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2020;163:108146. diabres.2020.108146.

18. Sardu C, D’Onofrio N, Balestrieri ML, et al. Outcomes in patients with hyperglycemia affected by COVID-19: can we do more on glycemic control?. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(7):1408–1415.

19. Hamdy O, Gabbay RA. Early observation and mitigation of challenges in diabetes manage- ment of COVID-19 patients in critical care units. Diabetes Care. 2020 May. 10.2337/dc20-0944.

20. Pal R. COVID-19, hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and clinical implications. Endocrine. 2020;68(2):251–252.

21. Isidori AM, Po R, Hasenmajer V, Lenzi A, Pivonello R. Use of glucocorticoids in patients with adrenal insuf ciency and COVID-19 infection. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020;8(6):472– 473.

22. Arlt W, Baldeweg SE, Pearce SHS, Simpson HL. Endocrinology in the time of COVID-19: management of adrenal insuf ciency. Eur J Endocrinol. 2020;183(1):G25–G32. https://doi. org/10.1530/EJE-20-0361.

23. Brancatella A, Ricci D, Viola N, Sgrò D, Santini F, Latrofa F. Subacute thyroiditis after Sars- COV-2 infection. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020;105(7):dgaa276. clinem/dgaa276.

24. Garg SK, Rodbard D, Hirsch IB, Forlenza GP. Managing new-onset type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic: challenges and opportunities. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2020;22(6):431– 439.

25. Ghosh A, Gupta R, Misra A. Telemedicine for diabetes care in India during COVID19 pan- demic and national lockdown period: Guidelines for physicians [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 4]. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020;14(4):273–276. dsx.2020.04.001.


Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

Saeed Jaffer M.D. and Ashley Slack

List of Abbreviations

EBV Epstein–Barr virus
PPE Personal protective equipment
RT-PCR Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction

As COVID-19 continues to change our daily lives in unimaginable ways, it also continues to pose challenges to all physicians alike, including dermatologists. Many dermatologists have discovered eruptions and lesions associated with COVID-19 infection and its treatment. This chapter summarizes the latest evidence on dermatological manifestations associated with COVID-19, including the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE)-induced skin injuries in patients and health-care providers. Table 11.1 summarizes the dermatological manifestations of COVID-19.

11.1 Overview

The dermatological manifestations associated with COVID-19 infection are lesions characterized as erythematous rash, urticaria, chickenpox-like vesicles, livedo retic- ularis-like eruptions, chilblain-like lesions, digitate papulosquamous eruptions, and petechiae. One dermatological manifestation that was discovered to be associated with COVID-19 treatment is exanthematous drug eruption characterized by ery- thematous macules or papules possibly due to antiviral medications given to posi- tively diagnosed COVID-19 patients. Health-care workers and patients have also seen the dermatological impacts from PPE usage such as skin lesions, increased acne, dermatitis, and facial itching.





Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19


Table 11.1 Dermatological COVID-19 Case Table

Dermatological Symptoms

Biological Sex



Symptom Location

Symptom Characteristics

Diagnostic Test

Patient/s COVID-19 Diagnosis (Positive or Negative)

Treatment of Dermatological Symptoms

Chilblain lesions


All ranges, but mainly median age of 13 and 31 years


Mainly on toes, soles, ngers, extremities, and/or heel

Purpuric, attened, painful upon palpitation


Positive; asymptomatic


Livedo Reticularis





Lacy, purple, no associated itching



Resolved without intervention within 24 h

Exanthematous drug eruption/ morbiliform drug eruption


35-year-old in one case


Initially and mainly seen on the trunk; spread to extremities within 24 h

Itchy red/ purple rash seen 10 days after antiviral treatment; possibly due to antiviral medications used to combat COVID-19



Systemic corticosteroids; corticosteroid topical treatment; systemic antihistamines




Digitate papulosquamous eruption

Unavailable Unavailable


Laterally on the trunk and thighs, upper arms, shoulders, back, periumbilical

Squamous and erythematous patch, scaly thin plaques, popular lesions could be due to secondary result of immune response against coronavirus



Unavailable; patient expired


Male 48-year-old in one case


Systemic distribution on the buttocks, lower abdomen, proximal anterior thighs, popliteal fossae

Pruritic skin lesions

Nasopharyngeal swab RT-PCR




Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

11.2 Clinical Manifestations

There are a few signi cant dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19. Some of the manifestations that have been reported are chilblain lesions, erythematous rashes, skin lesions due to the hypercoagulable state of COVID-19, livedo reticularis-like eruptions, exanthematous drug eruptions or maculopapular rashes, digitate papulo- squamous eruptions, and petechiae.

There have been a series of cases where suspected COVID-19 patients presented with reddish and papular lesions that seemingly resemble chilblains (Figures 11.1– 11.4).1 These lesions were seen in all age ranges, but mainly in children with a

Figure 11.1 Chilblain lesions on toes and heel.1 a


Figure 11.2 (a) Papular lesions on heel. (b) Same lesions a week later.1

Clinical Manifestations

Figure 11.3 Acral lesion with crust.1

Figure 11.4

Erythematous lesions.1

median age of 13 years, and young adults with a median age of 31. After 1 week, these lesions were found to become more purpuric and attened. They eventually disappeared without intervention. Some patients reported the lesions to be painful when palpated; however, they were not very symptomatic. These lesions were dis- covered to be mainly located on the toes, soles, ngers, extremities, and/or heel but are commonly referred to as “COVID toes” (Figure 11.5).1




Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

Figure 11.5

Erythematous-violaceous lesions in the toe.1

The patients were asymptomatic, but some reported contact with suspected or infected COVID-19 patients.1 Two of the patients had a positive diagnosis of coro- navirus. The chilblain-like lesions could possibly be a late manifestation of COVID- 19. In order to verify if the lesions are related to COVID-19, it is recommended to do a biopsy of them and to possibly perform a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, along with an IgM-IgG serological test on patients. These lesions can also help to diagnose COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic.1

In a study of 88 COVID-19 patients in Italy, 20.4% of patients had skin involve- ment during the viral infection. The lesions were characterized as an erythematous rash in 14 patients, widespread urticaria in three patients, and chickenpox-like ves- icles in one patient. The eruptions were primarily located on patients’ trunks, and there was little to no associated itching with the lesions. The eruptions were present only for a few days before resolving spontaneously.2 These types of exanthems are commonly seen in many other viral infections such as measles and mononucleosis.

In addition to these viral infection-associated exanthems, there have been some reports of skin lesions that are likely due to the hypercoagulable state that many COVID-19 patients are in.3

A few cases of a livedo reticularis-like rash have been reported. The patients’ lesions are described as lacy and purple, with no associated itching. These eruptions resolved within 24 h in most patients.4 Livedo reticularis normally occurs due to the interruption of blood ow that leads to deoxygenated blood pooling in the cutane- ous venous plexus.5 If such a livedo reticularis-like rash is occurring in COVID-19 patients, this raises concern for the interruption of blood ow to other organs in addition to the skin. In fact, one of the COVID-19 patients who was reported to have the livedo reticularis-like rash also had hematuria. This may have been due to the

Clinical Manifestations

interruption of the kidney’s blood supply resulting in glomerulonephritis or cysti- tis.5 Thus, it is important for clinicians treating patients with this kind of skin erup- tion to be wary of other possible symptoms of hypercoagulability.

Another possible viral manifestation of COVID-19 is exanthematous drug erup- tion, or morbilliform drug eruption (Figure 11.6).6 This immune reaction is charac- terized by erythematous macules and/or papules that are usually seen in patients with bacterial and viral infections, and about 5 days to 3 weeks after the administra- tion of certain drugs, such as antivirals, anti-hypertensives, anti-in ammatory medi- cations, and antibiotics. However, this condition is mostly seen after administering antiviral medications. Due to the use of lopinavir/ritonavir drug combinations in combating the coronavirus, there have been reports of an increase in maculopapular drug eruptions.

In one example, a 35-year-old, positively infected coronavirus patient was diagnosed with optic neuritis a week before he was admitted to the hospital. He did not present with any symptoms, and reported no history of international travel or exposure to infected COVID-19 patients or patients suspected of having COVID-19.6 The patient was isolated in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit and treated with oral lopinavir/ritonavir 400/100 BID for 10 days. Subsequently, the patient presented with an itchy, maculopapular eruption during his hospitalization. These were initially, and mainly, seen on the skin of the trunk and eventually spread to upper extremities after 24 h. The patient reported to have had no history of contact dermatitis, drug reactions, or other hypersensitivity reactions.6 In order to treat the morbilliform eruption, dermatologists administered an increased dose of systemic corticosteroids and began corticosteroid topical treatment along with systemic antihistamines. At the 10-day follow-up, there was no evidence of the patient’s skin lesions.


Figure 11.6 (a, b) Morbilliform eruption observed on the trunk and neck. These manifestations are primarily seen on the skin of the trunk.6



Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

There is some speculation that there could be a direct association between mor- billiform eruptions and COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, an example showing this link was observed in the data collected by dermatologists analyzing skin lesions in 88 Italian COVID-19 patients. This data re ected that about one- fth of patients developed maculopapular eruptions (Figure 11.7).6 There was also no correlation between the COVID-19 infection severity and the cutaneous ndings. Although there are some reports of morbilliform eruptions seen in COVID-19 patients who were taking antiviral medications such as lopinavir and ritonavir, there is no cer- tainty that this type of presentation is only caused by medications.6 There is suspi- cion that COVID-19 may be another factor for the morbilliform eruptions that were observed. But the association needs to be examined through further research.6



Figure 11.7 (a) Erythematous squamous lesions with periumbilical patch and lesions on the abdomen and thighs. (b) Skin lesions on the left upper arm and ank.7 (c) Spongiosis in the epider- mis and spongiotic vesicles with aggregates of lymphocytes and Langerhans cells.7


Clinical Manifestations

A case of digitate papulosquamous eruption was reported during a SARS- CoV-2 infection (Figure 11.8).7 The patient was admitted to the intensive care unit for acute respiratory distress. The patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 through a nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR. The patient developed a squamous and erythematous periumbilical patch and was later seen to have a rapid progression of other similar digitate scaly thin plaques laterally on the trunk and thighs. Papular lesions were found on the upper arms, shoulders, and back. A skin biopsy of the left shoulder showed spongiotic vesicles with aggregates of lymphocytes and Langerhans cells. RT-PCR was performed on the skin biopsy and was nega- tive for SARS-CoV-2. The patient tested positive for Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) through a blood test. The eruption resolved spontaneously within 1 week; how- ever, the patient eventually died of COVID-19-related illness. It was concluded that the cutaneous rash could be a secondary result of the immune response against the coronavirus, as there was no evidence of a cutaneous drug reaction to cefpo- doxime. EBV was not suspected to have caused the cutaneous ndings although EBV was found to be reactivated.7

A case of petechiae was reported during the COVID-19 outbreak in Madrid, Spain. A 48-year-old man with hypertension presented to the emergency department, where he reported a fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath sev- eral days before hospital admission. Three days after the onset of fever, he noticed the appearance of pruritic skin lesions. Petechiae was seen in a sym- metric distribution on the buttocks, popliteal fossae, proximal anterior thighs, and lower abdomen (Figure 11.8).8 A nasopharyngeal swab RT-PCR was per- formed and resulted in a positive diagnosis for SARS-CoV-2 for this patient. Serologic test results were negative for HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and parvovirus B19.8


Figure 11.8 Erythematous macules, papules, and petechiae affecting the popliteal fossa, but- tocks, and anterior thighs (a) Posteroinferior view, (b) Close-up view of the buttocks, (c) Anterior view.8



Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

11.3 PPE Usage Impact on Patients

Although not a direct pathophysiologic effect of the virus, many COVID-19 patients have developed dermatologic issues simply due to increased PPE usage and exten- sive personal hygiene measures.9 The resultant friction due to consistent PPE utili- zation along with the hyper-hydration effects of PPE can result in notable skin lesions. Erythema and scaling have been observed, along with burning, stinging, and itching. Lesions are primarily found on the face due to face masks, with some lesions on the hands due to glove use. Many individuals have ampli ed personal hygiene measures by washing their hands several times a day, which can result in hand dermatitis (Figure 11.9).9 In one extreme case, a woman washed her face with 60% ethanol ve times per day and wore a face mask for 6 h per day, two measures which resulted in facial redness and papules (Figure 11.10).9

Figure 11.9 Hand dermatitis from excessive hand washing.9


Figure 11.10 Facial erythema and papules in a 42-year-old female patient who disinfected her face with 60% ethanol and used a protective facial mask for 6 h per day.9



11.4 PPE Usage Impact on Health-care Workers

Health-care workers in particular are uniquely susceptible to PPE-related skin lesions due to the amount of time during which they must wear face masks, gloves, etc. With N95 masks, in particular, many health-care workers report increased acne, dermatitis, and facial itching.10 Recurrent use of lipid-emulsifying detergents that diminish lipids in the stratum corneum layer of the skin can cause skin dryness. Hand sanitizers can also compromise the stratum corneum layer of the skin due to the lipid-dissolving alcohols.10

In order to combat dermatologic reactions to PPE usage and personal hygiene, it is recommended to moisturize the skin and avoid allergens found in disinfectant products containing quaternary ammonium.10 The most ef cient method to combat adverse cutaneous reactions from hygiene practices is to regularly utilize oil-con- taining emollients after handwashing. In a randomized, double-blind trial of health- care workers who all presented with severe hand irritation, it was seen that the scheduled use of oil-containing lotion was better than creams for improving skin scaling, cracking, and pain in the hands.10

It would be bene cial for dermatologists to promote protective methods during the pandemic, such as proper hand-washing procedures, avoiding washing hands with hot water to reduce the possibility of having skin damage, avoiding antibac- terial soaps due to them not being superior to non-antibacterial soaps in prevent- ing infections, avoiding chemicals in soaps to reduce the possibility of having allergic reactions, utilizing a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer on hands for 20 s if soap and water are unavailable, avoiding sanitizers containing fragrances to reduce allergic skin reactions, and avoiding a direct skin contact with EPA- registered disinfectant products by wearing gloves and cleaning hands afterward to prevent allergic skin reactions.10 Furthermore, oil-emollient moisturizers to the hands after handwashing can be regularly applied to combat skin damage induced by allergens.10


1. Landa N, Mendieta-Eckert M, Fonda-Pascual P, Aguirre T. Chilblain-like lesions on feet and hands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Dermatol. 2020;59(6):739–743. https://doi. org/10.1111/ijd.14937.

2. Recalcati S. Cutaneous manifestations in COVID-19: a rst perspective. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2020;34(5):e212–e213.

3. Magro C, Mulvey JJ, Berlin D, et al. Complement associated microvascular injury and throm- bosis in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 infection: a report of ve cases. Transl Res. 2020;220:1–13.

4. Manalo IF, Smith MK, Cheeley J, Jacobs R. A dermatologic manifestation of COVID-19: transient livedo reticularis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020;83(2):700. jaad.2020.04.018.

5. Olin J. 80—other peripheral arterial diseases. In: Goldman’s Cecil Medicine (24th ed.). New York: Elsevier Inc; 2012:493.



Chapter 11: Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19

6. Mazan P, Lesiak A, Skibińska M, et al. Maculopapular rash in COVID-19 patient treated with lopinavir/ritonavir. Adv Dermatol Allergol. 2020;37(3):435–437. ada.2020.95029.

7. Sanchez A, Sohier P, Benghanem S, et al. Digitate papulosquamous eruption associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(7):819– 820.

8. Diaz-Guimaraens B, Dominguez-Santas M, Suarez-Valle A, et al. Petechial skin rash asso- ciated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(7):820–822.

9. Darlenski R, Tsankov N. COVID-19 pandemic and the skin – what should dermatologists know? Clin Dermatol. 2020.

10. Macgibeny MA, Wassef C. Preventing adverse cutaneous reactions from ampli ed hygiene practices during the COVID-19 pandemic: how dermatologists can help through anticipatory guidance. Arch Dermatol Res. 2020;1–3.

Ophthalmological Manifestations of COVID-19

Ejaz Hussein M.D. and Eesha Imam

List of Abbreviations


Coronavirus disease 2019
Personal protective equipment
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

12.1 Introduction

COVID-19 has changed how ophthalmologists are running their practices and treat- ing their patients. This chapter shares the latest information on the ophthalmological manifestation of COVID-19, and its impact on patients and health-care providers.

12.2 Conjunctivitis

The most common, and only, ophthalmic manifestation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reported is conjunctivitis.1 Conjunctivitis can present as a rst, or only, sign of infection from SARS-CoV-2. All the reports of conjunctivitis associated with SARS-CoV-2 have been “bilateral, mild, follicular conjunctivitis without corneal involvement” with some exceptions.1 Although initially believed to be a rare mani- festation, conjunctivitis is now being believed to be a primary symptom of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.2 According to an AAAS study, “The estimated proportion of those with ocular symptoms, some consistent with conjunctivitis, ranges widely, from <1% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus 2019-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network) to more than 30%, sug- gesting that conjunctivitis could be a disease feature and potentially a useful diag- nostic sign.”3




Chapter 12: Ophthalmological Manifestations of COVID-19

12.3 Precautions

12.3.1 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

To protect against SARS-CoV-2 during regular of ce visits, ophthalmologists are recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to continue using the proper disinfecting practices of instruments and of ces using bleach- and alcohol- based disinfectants before and after every patient encounter.1

Although there is no documented evidence that SAR-CoV-2 can be transmitted via ocular secretions, it may be possible to contract COVID-19 from a COVID-19 patient who has conjunctivitis.1 Precautions should still be taken such as having one’s eyes, mouth, and nose protected using goggles or N95 mask as well as slit- lamp breath shields1

12.3.2 Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine

Regarding the usage of the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns against the potential of developing irreversible maculopathy if these drugs are taken in high doses over short periods of time.1

12.4 Testing

Several of the reports of such patients also demonstrated that these patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by detecting its mRNA on RT-PCR on conjunctival swabs.1 One patient tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by culturing the virus from an eye swab.1 Expression of mRNA for ACE has been seen in conjunctival epithelial cells as demonstrated in studies by Zou et al.4 and Sungnak et al.5 “One study pur- ported to show that SARS-CoV-2 could infect human conjunctival explants”; how- ever, “its presence in conjunctival epithelium remains controversial” (Table 12.1).1

12.5 Conclusion

The key takeaways from an ophthalmological point are as follows:

• Patients presenting with conjunctivitis should be tested for COVID-19.

• Patients with COVID-19 may present with conjunctivitis as the only manifes-
tation of COVID-19.

• Those performing eye examinations should use appropriate PPE such as
masks, gloves, and gowns.


Table12.1 MajorStudiesandFindingsontheRelationshipofOphthalmologicalwithSARS-CoV-21



Journal of Medical Virology study6

Findings: 1/30 hospitalized COVID-19 patients had conjunctivitis and had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in ocular secretions1
Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 and conjunctivitis can have infectious viral particles in their tears (veri ed by case report from China and another from Italy)

Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China published in the New England Journal of Medicine7

Findings: 9/1,099 hospitalized COVID-19 patients had conjunctival congestion from 30 hospitals across China None of the patients were seen by ophthalmologists, and tears were not sampled

Ocular Manifestations of Hospitalized Patient with Con rmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease8

Findings: 30-year-old COVID-19 man developed acute follicular conjunctivitis in both eyes 13 days after onset.

SARS-CoV-2 Isolation from Ocular Secretions of a Patient with COVID-19 in Italy With Prolonged Viral RNA Detection9

Findings: A 65-year-old woman demonstrated bilateral conjunctivitis 1 day after onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Ocular swabs on day 3 had a presence of viral RNA, and ocular samples were taken every day for 21 total days. Each day ocular swabs were positive for viral RNA. By day 15, the conjunctivitis was improving and it was gone by day 20.

Neurological Manifestions of Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China10

Findings: Among the 214 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 3 had impaired vision, 2 of which had severe disease and 1 had nonsevere disease.f

Characteristics of Ocular Findings of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hubei Province, China, published March 31 in JAMA Ophthalmology11

Findings: 12/38 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Hubei, China, had “ocular ‘abnormalities’, characterized most commonly as chemosis and/or secretions”

2 of these patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from conjunctival swabs, 1 of whom had signs of conjunctival hyperemia

The Infection Evidence of SARS-COV-2 in Ocular Surface: A Single-Center Cross-Sectional Study, a study by Zhang et al.12

Findings: 2/72 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Tongji Medical College had conjunctivitis

Ophthalmologic Evidence Against the Interpersonal Transmission of 2019 Novel Coronavirus through

Conjunctiva, a paper by Zhou et al.13

Findings: 1/63 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Wuhan had conjunctivitis
One patient had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 using the conjunctival swab test, 2 showed “probable” results, and 1 other patient without conjunctivitis tested positive.





SARS-CoV-2 Isolation From Ocular Secretions of a Patient With COVID-19 in Italy With Prolonged Viral RNA Detection14

Findings: A COVID-19 patient in Italy also had conjunctivitis1
This patient also had respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, and fever.

This patient also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-PCR on conjunctival swab test from the 3rd to 21st day of hospitalization & also on the 27th day when the nasal swabs were negative.

Care Home Nurse Tells of Terrifying and Sudden Ways Coronavirus Struck Her Patients, a story from CNN15

Findings: Red eye was reported as one of the rst symptoms frequently seen among residents in a nursing home in Washington state during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Keratoconjunctivitis As The Initial Medical Presentation of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)16

Findings: A patient with unilateral conjunctivitis and a coarse epithelial keratitis tested positive for SARS- CoV-2 using RT-PCR on a conjunctival swab

COVID-19 Emergency In The Cruise’s Ship: A Case Report of Conjunctivitis17

Findings: One patient had bilateral pseudomembranous conjunctivitis when they got COVID-19 while on a cruise ship

Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis with Pseudomembranous Related to SARS-CoV-218

Findings: One hospitalized COVID-19 patient in France had bilateral hemorrhagic, pseudomembranous conjunctivitis


Chapter 12: Ophthalmological Manifestations of COVID-19

Table12.1 (continued)


1. Chodosh J, COVID-19 background primer for ophthalmologists. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 27 May 2020. ophthalmologists. Accessed October 14, 2020.

2. Hutton D. Researchers identify pink eye as possible primary symptom of COVID-19. Ophthalmology Times. Accessed June 9, 2020. coronavirus-pink-eye-symptoms.

3. Deiner MS, Seitzman GD, McLeod SD, et al. Ocular signs of COVID-19 suggested by internet search term patterns worldwide. Ophthalmology. June 17, 2020. article/S0161-6420(20)30569-8/fulltext.

4. Zou X, Chen K, Zou J, Han P, Hao J, Han Z. Single-cell RNA-seq data analysis on the receptor ACE2 expression reveals the potential risk of different human organs vulnerable to 2019-nCoV infection. Front Med. 2020;14(2):185–192.

5. Sungnak W, Huang N, Bécavin C. et al. SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes. Nat Med. 2020;26:681–687. https://

6. Xia J, Tong J, Liu M, Shen Y, Guo D. Evaluation of coronavirus in tears and conjunctival secre- tions of patients with SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. J Med Virol. 2020;92(6):589–594. https://doi. org/10.1002/jmv.25725.

7. Guan W, Ni Z, Hu Y, et al. Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China: NEJM. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:1708–1720. NEJMoa2002032.


8. Chen L, Liu M, Zhang Z, et al. Ocular manifestations of a hospitalised patient with con rmed 2019 novel coronavirus disease. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020;104:748–751. bjophthalmol-2020-316304.

9. Colavita, F, Lapa D, Carletti F, et al. SARS-CoV-2 isolation from ocular secretions of a patient with COVID-19 in Italy with prolonged viral RNA detection. Ann Intern Med. 2020;173(3):242–243.

10. Mao L, Jin H, Wang M, et al. Neurologic manifestations of hospitalized patients with coro- navirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Neurol. 2020;77(6):683–690. https://doi. org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1127.

11. Wu P, Duan F, Luo C, et al. Characteristics of ocular ndings of patients with coronavirus dis- ease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hubei Province, China. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(5):575–578.

12. Sun X, Zhang X, Chen X, et al. The infection evidence of SARS-COV-2 in ocular surface: a single-center cross-sectional study. medRxiv. 2020.02.26.20027938. preprint. 0.1101/2020.02.26.20027938.

13. Zhou Y, Zeng Y, Tong T, et al. Ophthalmologic evidence against the interpersonal transmission of 2019 novel coronavirus through conjunctiva. medRxiv. 2020.02.11.20021956. https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.02.11.20021956.

14. Colavita F, Lapa D, Carletti F, et al. SARS-CoV-2 isolation from ocular secretions of a patient with COVID-19 in Italy with prolonged viral RNA detection. Ann Intern Med. 2020;173(3):242–243.

15. Sidner S, Inside the First Coronavirus Outbreak in the US. CNN, Cable News Network, March 24, 2020. care-home/index.html. Accessed June 13, 2020.

16. Cheema M, Aghazadeh H, Nazarali S, et al. Keratoconjunctivitis as the initial medical presenta- tion of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Can J Ophthalmol. 2020;55(4):e125– e129.

17. Salducci M, La Torre G. COVID-19 emergency in the cruise’s ship: a case report of conjuncti- vitis. Clin Ter. 2020;171(3):e189–e191.

18. Navel V, Chiambaretta F, Dutheil F. Haemorrhagic conjunctivitis with pseudomembranous related to SARS-CoV-2 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 6]. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2020;19:100735.


Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19

Syed Ashraf Imam Ph.D.,
Mehran Javeed MBChB, MRCPsych, PGCert, and Joseph Kennedy

List of Abbreviations


Central nervous system Coronavirus disease 2019 Electrocardiogram
Intensive care unit
Post-traumatic stress disorder Severe acute respiratory syndrome

13.1 Introduction

One unexplored visible impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is on the mental health of people—patients, their loved ones, and the general public under nationwide lockdowns. Everyone is affected, whether directly or indirectly, high- lighting the massive impact the pandemic has had socially, economically, and psy- chologically. The focus of this chapter is on the psychological crisis facing people and speci c populations, such as health-care workers, patients with underlying mental health disturbances, and patients with COVID-19. This chapter will close with the recommended next steps in addressing current and new issues that may arise.

13.2 Pandemics in History and Psychological Impacts

As noted earlier (see Chapter 7), COVID-19 can potentially have multiple effects on the central nervous system (CNS). But the impact and the full scope of effects are not yet well known, including how long they may last. Recently, more evidence is coming out calling for greater mental health impacts and interventions to address the new gaps in care. This section reviews the history of pandemics and psychologi- cal impacts.




Chapter 13: Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19

Over the course of human history, human beings have dealt with many mass disastrous events, including natural disasters, famine, disease, and war, just to men- tion a few. These have had innumerable effects on the societies it affected, all the way from the individual to the population level. Epidemics and pandemics, in par- ticular, have played signi cant roles in human history, as evidenced by the Bubonic plague of the Middle Ages and the Spanish u outbreak of the early 1900s. Within this century, we have already had four major disease outbreaks that have signi – cantly affected the human populace: the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2003, the H1N1 epidemic of 2009, the Ebola epidemic in 2014, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a signi cant body of research that has come out from prior epidem- ics in this century on the signi cant effects the epidemics had on mental health at many levels, including those who became sick, the health-care workers caring for them, and the population at large. Published literature after the SARS epi- demic, which affected more than 8000 people, resulted in 774 deaths world- wide, and spread to over 30 countries, showed an increased prevalence of persistent psychological symptoms, even months to years after the epidemic had ceased.1–5 During the SARS epidemic, higher rates of completed suicide by older adult were reported and attributed to possibly social isolation and increased stress and anxiety among the elderly in Hong Kong.6–8 In addition, high rates of psychosocial disturbances, such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and post-trau- matic stress disorder (PTSD), were reported among those who had survived but also in their family members.9 Several studies documented substantial psycho- logical distress in health-care workers caring for SARS patients even years after the event.1, 10, 11 These results are re ected not only in the literature seen after the other epidemics of this century, but also after signi cant trauma and disasters.12

There are two important psychosocial distinctions from general disasters and disease epidemics: the consequences of social isolation and the fear of spreading the contagion if exposed.10 Quarantines, while a necessary part of disease prevention and mitigation, have serious and long-lasting effects on the mental health of those affected. This was the case when entire cities and villages were quarantined and public health measures were put in place in China and Canada and West Africa dur- ing the SARS and Ebola outbreaks, respectively.13 Furthermore, the absence of social support offering protection during times of stress exacerbates psychological trauma.

Fear, complicated by mistrust, misinformation and the policies that impacted on the regions’ cultural and religious beliefs, has been a strong motivator. This can lead to an exponential rise in certain fear-related behaviors that were intended to be that of survival but instead led to increased risk. During the Ebola outbreak, for example, the health-care system highlighted frailties and led to perceived low quality care and lack of trust, leading to harbor and manage loved ones in their own homes.14

E ects on Di erent Populations

13.3 Effects on Different Populations

A variety of mental health and psychological factors, similar to those that have been seen historically, are expected to occur during, and after, the current COVID-19 pandemic.15–19 However, unlike in those disease outbreaks, COVID-19 has strained the entire world and has put a lot of stress on many countries. The mental health exacerbations that may be seen now, and after, are not only due to the similar fears and anxieties evoked by the pandemic itself, but also due to the overwhelming stress this pandemic has placed on the health-care system as a whole. Countries such as China, USA, Italy, Iran, and several others that were hit the hardest are nding their populations experiencing psychological distress, including health-care workers, immigrant populations, the elderly, those with underlying mental illness, and many more groups. Thus, it is crucial to understand now who may be at risk for psycho- logical distress and where mental health services need to be directed.

13.3.1 Mental Health in Patients with COVID-19

One population at risk for mental health distress is the patient, who contracts COVID-19. As mentioned before, the fears of spreading the disease and the subse- quent social isolation places those who are exposed and who contract COVID-19 under tremendous emotional strain. In some instances, COVID-19 patients need intensive care unit (ICU)-level care, which creates psychological distress. One study from New York found that of those requiring hospitalization, 14.2% were treated in the ICU and 12.2% received invasive mechanical ventilation.20 ICU-level care, on its own, can create psychological distress. For example, nearly 20% of patients leav- ing an adult critical care exhibited PTSD, which in turn was related to a higher likelihood of persistent sleep disturbances.21,22 A non-COVID-19 study reported that patients admitted to intensive care with acute respiratory distress syndrome, anxiety, depression, and PTSD occurred at high levels during the 2-year follow-up period with relatively low rate of remission of symptoms.23

Subsequently, those who had been exposed to disease or who may have gotten sick from it have been subject to ostracization and xenophobia if geographical link- ages have been placed to the epidemic, leading to increased fear and anxiety among survivors about reintegrating back into society.24 Thus, it is important to take a mul- tidisciplinary approach to treating patients with COVID-19 to ensure the best-qual- ity care that addresses the mental health needs of the patient as well.

13.3.2 Psychological Health in Patients with Mental Illness

Patients with mental illness are one of the most vulnerable groups due to a degree of stigmatization they receive and the degree of deprivation they encounter; this encompasses other factors such as poverty, poor lifestyle factors, environment, and



Chapter 13: Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19

unemployment. A number of stressors that include quarantine, isolation, hardship, and the lack of psychosocial approaches to alleviate and optimize their mental health can have negative effects on their mental health. Inpatient psychiatric care and management can be complicated by the lack of movement, liberty, and possible bereavement for patients. Community-based care is likely to have very limited face- to-face consultations, and reduced care contact is likely to negatively impact a patient’s mental health and their concordance.

The challenge to pharmacological management becomes increasingly impor- tant during coronavirus. The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom has set out clear channels of support for patients and their carers as well as approaches clinicians should consider.25 The rates of electroconvulsive therapy, for example, a very effective approach to manage certain severe mental illnesses, has fallen in some parts of the world.26 The presence of psychiatric medications in a patient who becomes positive for COVID-19 requires specialist attention to ensure their respiratory and cardiovascular health is not compro- mised. Sedation, respiratory depression, electrocardiogram (ECG) changes, and delirium are some of considerations that will need to be taken into account. People with dementia are at greater risk of suffering from delirium and their aftercare needs, as well as of those with other mental illnesses, are paramount for their rehabilitation. Those that are hospitalized and those that require intensive care will need an approach that covers physical, social, and psychological needs to optimize their well-being.

13.3.3 Psychological Health in Health-Care Workers

Another high-risk population for psychological distress is the health-care workers themselves. The very nature of health-care work and the high pressure and stress situations health-care workers nd themselves in have been known to be psycho- logically taxing with deleterious consequences to their mental health for quite some time now. In disease outbreaks, the psychological stress and toll it takes is ampli- ed. Health-care workers are already a high-risk group for suicide and mental health disorders, in particular female physicians and physicians in the United States being found to be at higher risk in a review.27, 28 One study had found that emergency phy- sicians in the United States were found to have higher rates of PTSD.29

Other health-care workers, like nurses, are also found to be at higher risk of sui- cide and mental health disturbances.30–32 There is evidence within the nursing pro- fession in the United Kingdom, for example, that rates among female nurses are much higher and female health professionals in general are 24% more likely than the national average female.33

During the SARS outbreak, for example, multiple investigations were released on the prevalence of mental health disorders in health-care workers, and they found signi cantly higher rates of post-traumatic stress and psychological disturbances, even years after the epidemic was declared over.10, 11 Similar ndings were reported in health-care workers who had worked though the Ebola epidemic.18

Next Steps

Many have come out warning of the coming psychological impact this pandemic will have on health-care workers, and it is important to remember this group as already a high-risk group for mental disturbances, and so appropriate measures should be taken to address the mental health needs of the health-care working com- munity.34, 35 Two health-care workers in New York City committed suicide from COVID-19-related stress.36

13.3.4 Psychological Health in the General Population

The wide-ranging impact of this pandemic will affect almost everyone, be it directly or indirectly, in ways we may not yet have anticipated. Those with preexisting men- tal health issues, who are themselves at risk for poorer physical health outcomes and may be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and faring worse than the general population, are themselves at high risk for psychological distress and at risk for exacerbating their underlying mental health issues, be it due to limited access to medications and providers or due to the effects of social isolation from quarantine.37, 38 Mental health resources before the pandemic were already limited in many coun- tries, and now as more people become affected and are affected on a psychosocial level, those mental health resources will be stretched thin further.

On top of all that, the massive economic impact of this outbreak by itself can lead to massive psychological trauma, as many citizens have lost their jobs, are unable to buy supplies, and are unable to pay their bills, affecting individuals in all age groups on many levels. There is a great risk of increased alcohol and substance misuse dur- ing such times of economic strain, which in turn can lead to increased prevalence of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse.39, 40 Another study on alcoholism was conducted at USC showed the spurt in alcohol sales up to 55% in late March,41 which, in turn, can affect childhood psychological well-being, and is associated with long-term psychiatric distress.42 (Holt 2008). In areas of the world with recent histories of disasters, there is already a higher rate of PTSD, anxiety, and more psy- chological disturbance than can and will be exacerbated by this pandemic.43, 44 With already a high prevalence of mental health disorders around the world, this pan- demic will further worsen the mental health crises that already exist unless we prop- erly anticipate and tackle these issues now.

13.4 Next Steps

Considering the severe impact this pandemic has had and will have on the mental health of so many, it is important to create next steps on how to tackle the “parallel epidemic” of mental health illnesses. We have already seen a great response that comes from the expedited implementation and use of virtual technologies, speci – cally telemedicine, to continue to provide physical and mental health-care ser- vices.45–47 However, these technologies have their limitations, especially when it comes to access to smartphone or broadband technology services, as is seen in the



Chapter 13: Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19

United States.48 Often the populations who need these services the most have the lowest amount of access to these technologies and services, so special attention needs to be paid in making these resources available to our most vulnerable popula- tions during such a strenuous time.49

In addition, the role of research cannot be underestimated as we try to move past this pandemic and learn from it.45 Many areas for potential research exist, such as assessing the access to and examining the effectiveness of virtual technology services for providing mental health services, evaluating the psychological impact this pan- demic has had on survivors, health-care workers, and the general population at large, and many more possibilities. The important thing is to have learned as much as we can from this pandemic to be able to best respond to the next crisis, whatever that may be.

13.4.1 What you can do (Syed Ashraf Imam, PhD; Clinical Psychologist)

The adverse condition of social isolation and loneliness amid this pandemic around the globe is causing people to live under constant fear, stress, and anxiety, which may lead to hypertension, sugar imbalance, dysfunctional metabolism, chronic medical condition, reduced immunity, and other psycho-physical state of being in a vulnera- ble condition. Simply put, we can experience increased blood pressure, abnormal glucose levels, insomnia, restlessness, skin disease, depression, hopelessness, irrita- bility, aggression, reduced stress tolerance, and onset of other psycho-medical condi- tions detrimental to our well-being and quality of life. The good news is that we may practice simple things to protect and prevent sickness simultaneously boosting our immune strength with some fresh tools to increase stress tolerance and resiliency.

By now, most of us are pretty well educated about the basic preventive measures such as hand-washing, social distancing, sanitization, social group avoidance, and cleaning. But changing and adapting to small activities mentioned below and plan- ning to adhere to them can make positive change.

1. Sleep: Good sleep rejuvenates our mind and body, boosts our immune system, reduces anxiety/fatigue, and improves our capacity to stay healthy and t on a daily basis. Practice good sleep hygiene, and sleep your regular hours to satisfaction as you did prior to this crisis.

2. Breathing Exercise: Relax yourself; sit or lay down comfortably, close your eyes, listen to your breath while you breathe in and out, and feel the bodily changes as you breathe. Diaphragmatic or belly breathing is better than the chest breathing. Inhale from your nose to the count of 5 sec, hold it for 4 sec, and exhale to the count of 7 sec. Repeat 5 cycles to feel the fresh oxygen in your system.

3. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is as simple as being aware of yourself and your being in your surroundings. It can be any act of mind and body exercise that brings us back to consciousness and self-realization. Any religious prayer, meditation, devotional ritual, and focused spiritual exercises accompanying

Next Steps

meditation could be practiced as mindfulness exercise. It enhances our sym- pathetic nerve response by strengthening our brain pathways that strengthen our coping mechanism in case of adverse situations. Practice mindfulness 3–5 times a day.

4. Physical Exercise: It is vital for life: stretches, walking, treadmill, gardening, or other physical activities that suits your taste. Spend at least 30–60 min every day to nurture your strength and resiliency.

5. Nutrition: Balanced diet/food, natural supplements, and vitamins improve health and immune system.

6. Hydration: Drink 3-4 L of plain water at room temperature every day. Water is life and the best drink. Please consult your physician if you have certain medical conditions that restrict/limit the water intake.

7. Healthy Habits: It costs nothing and keeps you strong. Stay away from drugs/ abusive substances, and limit your caffeine. This is an opportune time to get rid of any addiction.

8. Positive Relationship: This is a high time that we focus on building our posi- tive relationship within and beyond our family system. Resolving con icts by amicable means and appropriate discussion; exploring mutual strength and respect; and building bridges of love, cohesion, and bonding.

9. Acceptance and Forgiveness: Acceptance of others as they are and forgive others and/or seeking forgiveness from others brings a reservoir of positive space and energy into our mind. Cleaning up the clutters and debris from the societal bruise such as grudge, hate, shame, and guilt lls the mind with immense positive energy.

10. Unconditional Love: Love is potent and powerful; it has the power to melt the mountain. Love yourself, nature, the creator, your family, your signi cant others, and anything you could imagine. It changes the perspective on how we perceive self and others. Remember, “What goes around comes around.”

11. Mental Health Care: “Media distancing” is the key; limit your time up to 20 min a day to remain updated with the current news. Stay away from tracking mortality and infection spread on an hourly basis. Find out the appropriate app, YouTube videos/programs per your taste that makes you feel better. Share your feelings and emotions with others, and offer them the space where they can do the same; sharing is caring. Be kind to yourself; no crisis stays forever; the days are longer than the nights. Sun comes out every day to spread the sunshine, and embrace it. Ask for and seek professional help; it is not worth suffering in isolation.

12. Kindness: “An act of kindness a day, keep the sickness away.” Make a plan to do at least one act of kindness each day; this could be as simple as making a phone call to your friend, relatives, and neighbors to check on them. Lend them your ear that they can whisper in. Be generous in providing them com- fort, support, and assurance; even verbal support goes a long way.

13. Reading/Journaling/Hobbies: Read the book(s) that you always wanted to but had no time. Reading keeps you up, engaged, and lls your mind with wisdom and intellect. Journaling is very cathartic and healing; relieves one from trauma



Chapter 13: Mental Health Manifestations of COVID-19

of the past and soothes your brain. Put down your thoughts and feelings, your daily experience on the piece of paper and feel the refreshing effect it has. Brush your skill and bring your nostalgia back; get involved in the activities and hobbies you loved in the past or continue to nurture the one that you do.

Last but not the least, set your routine and customize your day based upon the aforementioned tips, track your progress, and make change as needed in conso- nance with your daily activities and responsibilities. Adhere to the discipline and schedule that you set; keep ne tuning it and enjoy. Start your day with a smile and positive attitude; be grateful for what you have and be kind and compassionate to yourself, others, and the world.

At the end, we would like to close with this small recipe to maintain and get along well with our existential “New Normal” called “Sanity Hymn”;

Sanity Hymn
By Syed Ashraf Imam, PhD
Stay away from TV News
Listen to the Radio instead
Do not track Corona religiously
Keep yourself busy; each day is a new day
Set your goal each day & stay focused
We have plenty to do & achieve
Love & protect yourself; you mean a lot
Love your family; they are yours forever
Adore your Parents; they are most precious
Have solid Faith; it matters
Pray as much as is feasible
Check on your relatives and friends
Give charity if you have cushion
Be grateful to God for what you have
Count on Blessings not on misery
Start your day and continue with Smile;
It releases feel-good Neurotransmitters— Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, the Stress Busters Smile optimizes Blood Pressure & Heart Rate
Eat & Drink healthy Walk/Stretch/Exercise daily
Watch funny, humorous movies
Listen to what soothes your ears
Stay with the Nature, breath fresh
Look at animals/birds and observe their behavior Trust yourself and the destiny
Take life as it comes, keep it simple & easy
Live for today, tomorrow is gonna be ne
Do whatever lightens & brightens the mood Cheers!



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27. Sienaert P, Lambrichts S, Popleu L, Van Gerven E, Buggenhout S, Bouckaert F. Electroconvulsive therapy during COVID-19-times: our patients cannot wait. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020;28(7):772–775.

28. Schernhammer ES, Colditz GA. Suicide rates among physicians: a quantitative and gender assessment (meta-analysis). Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161(12):2295–2302.

29. Dutheil F, Aubert C, Pereira B, et al. Suicide among physicians and health-care workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2019;14(12):e0226361.

30. Hawton K, Simkin S, Rue J, et al. Suicide in female nurses in England and Wales. Psychol Med. 2002;32(2):239–250.

31. Katz RM. Causes of death among registered nurses. J Occup Med. 1983;25(10):760–762.

32. Agerbo E, Gunnell D, Bonde JP, Mortensen PB, Nordentoft M. Suicide and occupation: the impact of socio-economic, demographic and psychiatric differences. Psychol Med.

33. DeLucia JA, Bitter C, Fitzgerald J, Greenberg M, Dalwari P, Buchanan P. Prevalence of post-
traumatic stress disorder in emergency physicians in the United States. West J Emerg Med.

34. Dean W. Suicides of two health care workers hint at the COVID-19 mental health crisis to
come. STAT.
at-covid-19-mental-health-crisis-to-come/. April 30, 2020.

35. Windsor-Shellard B, Gunnell D. Occupation-speci c suicide risk in England: 2011-2015. Br J
Psychiatry. 2019;1–6.

36. Kisely S, Warren N, McMahon L, et al. Occurrence, prevention, and management of the psy-
chological effects of emerging virus outbreaks on healthcare workers: rapid review and meta-
analysis. BMJ. 2020;369:m1642.

37. Choi KR, Heilemann MV, Fauer A, Mead M. A second pandemic: mental health spillover
from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2020;26(4):340–343.

38. Holmes EA, O’Connor RC, Perry VH, et al. Multidisciplinary research priorities for the
COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science [published online ahead of
print April 15, 2020]. Lancet Psychiatry.

39. Holt S, Buckley H, Whelan S. The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and
young people: a review of the literature. Child Abuse Negl. 2008;32(8):797–810.

40. Yahya AS, Khawaja S, Chukwuma J. Association of COVID-19 with intimate partner violence.
Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2020;22(3).

41. Clay JM, Parker MO. Alcohol use and misuse during the COVID-19 pandemic: a poten- tial public health crisis. Lancet Public Health. 2020;5(5):E259.

42. Ćosić K, Popović S, Šarlija M, Kesedžić I. Impact of human disasters and COVID-19 pan-
demic on mental health: potential of digital psychiatry. Psychiatr Danub. 2020;32(1):25–31.


43. Jalloh MF, Li W, Bunnell RE, et al. Impact of Ebola experience and risk perceptions on mental health in Sierra Leone, July 2015. BMJ Glob Health. 2018;3(2):e000471.

44. Valentino LA, Skinner MW, Pipe S. The role of telemedicine in the delivery of healthcare in the COVID-19 pandemic [published online ahead of print May 12, 2020]. Haemophilia.

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46. Pew Research Center. Mobile technology and home broadband 2019. Published June 13, 2019. broadband-2019/.

47. Fang ML, Canham SL, Battersby L, et al. Exploring privilege in the digital divide: implica- tions for theory, policy, and practice. Gerontologist. 2019;59(1):e1–e15.

48. Rajasekaran K. Access to telemedicine—are we doing all that we can during the COVID-19 pandemic [published online ahead of print May 5, 2020]. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. https://

49. Polakovic G. Pandemic drives alcohol sales—and raises concerns about substance abuse. USC News. Published April 14, 2020. Accessed June 14, 2020.


Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19

Ishrat Quadri M.D. and Nicholas Barresi M.D.

List of Abbreviations

AAP American Academy of Pediatrics
ACE2 Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019
CRP C-reactive protein
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
GI Gastrointestinal infection
IBI Invasive bacterial infection
ICU Intensive care unit
IL-10 Interleukin 10
IgM Immunoglobulin M
PCR Polymerase chain reaction
PIMS-TS Pediatric In ammatory Multisystem Syndrome temporally

SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

14.1 Overview

The data available at this time demonstrates clear and important differences in coro- navirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection in children versus adults. It has been shown that COVID-19 affects pediatric patients less frequently than the adult popu- lation and, when infection takes place, the disease is milder and the prognosis is better. In the United States, from February 12 to April 2, 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-gathered data reports that only 1.7% of COVID- positive patients were children aged <18 years.1 This is reassuring to pediatricians because, in fact, 22% of the US population is <18 years old.2 Additionally, of the COVID-positive children in the United States, about half (49%) were in the age




Chapter 14: Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19

range of 10–17, the median age was 11 years, and 15% of positive children were infants <1 year.1 Also of note, 91% of these pediatric patients had exposure to a COVID-19 patient in the household or community.1

14.2 Clinical Manifestations

Just as the infectivity differs in the pediatric community, so too do the clinical mani- festations. The most common presenting symptoms in children were cough and fever, but at a less frequent rate than in adults. In the aforementioned CDC report, 73% of COVID pediatric patients had symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath—which is less than the 93% of adults aged 18–64 years who presented with these symptoms during the same period.1 This goes to show that children may be COVID-positive and shedding the virus, but only display mild cold symptoms (con- gestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing) without cough and fever. In fact, available data from China suggests that pediatric patients may have more upper respiratory tract mani- festations and nasopharyngeal carriage, as opposed to lower respiratory tract involvement.3 Therefore, it may be even more important for children to social dis- tance during this pandemic because of the insidious and mild nature of COVID-19 illness in this age group—especially when coupled with the fact that children typi- cally have undeveloped personal hygiene habits.

Other symptoms that providers should be aware of in children include pharyn- geal erythema (which was present in 46% of pediatric cases in Wuhan Children’s Hospital4) as well as fatigue, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and vomiting. In fact, some children presented only with gastrointestinal symptoms.5 The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal reports that children have been shown to have gastrointestinal infection (GI) complaints in up to 57% of human coronavirus infections (including COVID-19), which is more common than in adults.6

As mentioned, the prognosis also seems to differ for children. Available data in the United States shows that 5.7–20% of COVID-positive children were hospital- ized.1 Ostensibly, this is a lower rate than adults aged 18–64 years, of whom 10–33% of COVID-positive patients were hospitalized.1 Intensive care unit (ICU) admis- sions were also less in the pediatric world: 0.58–2.0% (children) versus 1.4–4.5% (adults).1 This is all to say that infected children seem to have a more mild presenta- tion and clinical course. In fact, most children will recover within 1–2 weeks from symptom onset.4

This being said, the age of the child potentially has an impact on the prognosis. Initial Chinese data shows somewhat of a trend between severity of disease with younger age. The widely referenced study from Dong et al., a series of over 2000 children with suspected or con rmed COVID-19, reported that the proportion of severe and critical cases was 10.6 %, 7.3%, 4.2%, 4.1%, and 3.0% for the age group of <1, 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, and ≥16 years, respectively.5 Therefore, closer follow-up and management is warranted of younger children—with particular attention to infants <1 year.

Newborn and Infant Considerations

Likewise, special attention is necessary for children with underlying medical conditions. The CDC details that among 345 children with con rmed COVID-19 and data on underlying conditions, 23% had at least one comorbidity—most com- monly moderate-to-severe asthma, cardiovascular disease, immunosuppression, diabetes, and severe obesity with BMI ≥40 kg/m2.1 This CDC report also states: “Among the 295 pediatric cases for which information on both hospitalization sta- tus and underlying medical conditions was available, 28 of 37 (77%) hospitalized patients, including all six patients admitted to an ICU, had one or more underlying medical condition.”1 Lastly, there were three pediatric deaths in this report, but investigation is still necessary to con rm COVID-19 as the cause.1

14.3 Newborn and Infant Considerations

14.3.1 Mother-to-Child (Vertical) Transmission

At this point, COVID-19 has not been detected in cord blood, amniotic uid, or placenta. A study in China has shown maternal viremia levels to be only 1%.7 With low levels of the virus in maternal blood, placental seeding and vertical transmis- sion are unlikely.8 In a review of 51 pregnant women with COVID-19, there were no cases of intrauterine transmission documented.8 However, there have been reports of infants having positive nasopharyngeal cultures on days 1 or 2 of life, as well as an increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) level.8 Nevertheless, IgM studies are known to be a challenging and unreliable way to diagnose many congenital infections. According to a study by Kimberlin et al., “IgM assays can be prone to false-positive and false-negative results, along with cross-reactivity and testing challenges.”9 Moreover, these early infant infections could have been due to postnatal contact with infected caregivers.8 In sum, more de nitive evidence is needed regarding COVID-19 and vertical transmission.

In terms of delivery outcomes of pregnant women with COVID-19 pneumonia, a study of nine such livebirths provides some valuable information. Reassuringly, these 9 newborns all had 1-min Apgar scores of 8–9 and a 5-min Apgar score of 9–10.10 Also, the amniotic uid, cord blood, neonatal throat swab, and breast milk samples from six of these patients were tested for the virus, and all samples were negative.10

14.3.2 Breastfeeding

The previously mentioned study also has implications for breastfeeding. To reiter- ate, none of the six COVID-positive mothers had the virus detected in their breast milk. Nevertheless, clearly droplet transmission could occur through the close con- tact of breast- or bottle-feeding. Therefore, it is currently advised that mothers with con rmed or suspected infection take precautions to prevent transmission during



Chapter 14: Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19

feeds: hand hygiene and use of a facemask.11 The other option is to feed the infant expressed breast milk or formula by another healthy caregiver until the mother has recovered.11 If the mother chooses to pump breast milk, she should wash her hands beforehand and wear a mask during breastfeeding. Optimally, the pumping equip- ment should be thoroughly cleaned by a healthy person.11

14.4 Prevention

It is well known that children play a key role in community-based viral transmission, and this may be further augmented in the case of COVID-19 because they have more mild disease that is likely to go undetected, as well as more nasopharyngeal carriage and upper respiratory involvement. Children also have more gastrointestinal symptoms from COVID-19 compared with adults,6 and there has even been evidence of fecal shedding in the stool for several weeks after diagnosis.12 From a public health stand- point, the potential fecal–oral transmission of the virus (and its replication in the GI tract) is especially concerning for infants and children who are not toilet-trained.13

In terms of disease prevention during this pandemic, many pediatricians are being asked the same questions—which we will address here. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is safe for children when used according to the information on the Drug Facts label: “there is no cause for concern if children eat or lick their hands after the hand sanitizer has fully dried.”14 However, it should be kept out of reach of small children and those <6 years of age should be supervised when using the sanitizer.14 In terms of masks, the CDC recommends cloth face coverings in public places, but they are not recom- mended for children <2 years of age because of concerns about suffocation.

14.5 Diagnosis

The requirements for COVID-19 testing in the pediatric ambulatory setting vary geographically, but generally do not differ from the adult guidelines. Therefore, in the United States, pediatric testing should follow the CDC’s “Priority 1-3” schema: Of note, asymptomatic children, regardless of high-risk medical conditions or household contacts, should not be tested. There are many clinical pathways for screening of children during the pandemic, but we will include the algorithms posted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

• Ambulatory Setting: coronavirus-ambulatory-clinical-pathway.

• Inpatient Setting: sars-cov-2-testing-clinical-pathway.

Children with fever and no other symptoms are not a high-priority group for COVID testing according to the CDC. However, infants with isolated fever admitted


to rule out invasive bacterial infection (IBI) could also be tested for COVID-19 because young infants have been COVID-positive with fever as their only manifesta- tion.15 Testing this group would also stop potential spread of the virus in the hospital.

In regard to auxiliary testing, laboratory ndings are often normal in pediatric COVID-positive patients, but may include leukopenia, lymphocytopenia, and increased level of procalcitonin or C-reactive protein (CRP).16 In terms of imaging, pediatric chest radiographs vary from unremarkable to bilateral consolidation,17 and imaging ndings may even be present before symptom onset.18

14.6 Management

14.6.1 Outpatient

If the child has suspected or con rmed COVID-19 infection, has mild symptoms, and does not have any of the aforementioned comorbidities, he or she should be managed at home.16 The recommended at-home supportive care is similar for any other viral respiratory illness with a heightened focus on prevention of transmission to others. There should be close follow-up with these patients. Monitor for any signs of clinical deterioration, which in infants could manifest itself as central cyanosis, grunting, or dif culty with breast-/bottle-feeding.

Below are some useful links from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to provide to families during the pandemic:

• “Simple Ways to Entertain & Boost Your Baby’s Development at Home”: lungs/Pages/Simple-Ways-to-Entertain-and-Boost-Your-Babys- Development-at-Home.aspx

• “Social Distancing: Why Keeping Your Distance Helps Keep Others Safe”: lungs/Pages/Social-Distancing-Why-Keeping-Your-Distance-Helps-Keep- Others-Safe.aspx

• “Breastfeeding During COVID-19 Pandemic”: https://www.healthychildren. org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Breastfeeding-During- COVID-19.aspx

• “Getting Children Outside While Social Distancing for COVID-19”: https:// Pages/Getting-Children-Outside.aspx

• “Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home”: https://www. discipline/Pages/Positive-Parenting-and-COVID-19_10-Tips.aspx

• “COVID-19: Information for Families of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs”: conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/COVID-19-Information-for-Families-of- Children-and-Youth-with-Special-Health-Care-Needs.aspx



Chapter 14: Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19

14.6.2 Inpatient

“Severe” COVID-19 infection, according to Chiotos et al., is de ned as “a new signi cant requirement for supplemental oxygen (or an increased requirement from baseline) without the need for new or increased non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation.”19 It has been described that this group tends to recover with supportive care alone—which is generally considered the mainstay of treatment for COVID-19 in children.16

Chiotos et al. de ne “critical” disease in a child with “new or increased require- ment for invasive or non-invasive mechanical ventilation, sepsis, or multi-organ failure; or rapidly worsening clinical trajectory that does not yet meet these crite- ria.”19 This group generally has failed supportive therapy to some extent and, there- fore, could bene t from antiviral medication.19 The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society has endorsed the Chiotos et al.’s report, which has a nal recommendation of the following: “A decision-making framework for antiviral therapy that weighs risks and bene ts based on disease severity as indicated by respiratory support needs, with consideration on a case-by-case basis of potential pediatric risk factors for disease progression.”19 If antiviral is indicated, then remdesivir is the preferred agent.19 Hydroxychloroquine could also be considered if remdesivir is contraindi- cated or unavailable.19

There are many clinical pathways regarding the inpatient treatment of children during the pandemic, but we will include the algorithms posted by the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital:

• Link #1: clinical-pathways.aspx

• Link #2: (navigate to the “Pharmacologic Treatment” tab) https://www.lucid-

14.7 Discussion

From a pathophysiologic perspective, why do children have lower frequency of infection and more mild disease from COVID-19? This very important clinical question can and should propel our research forward in order to help us to understand more about this virus and its infectivity. Current theories include a less intense immune/cytokine response from children toward the virus as opposed to adults,20 an interference in respiratory epithelium of young children that causes a lower viral load,16 or perhaps that the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor is expressed differently in the respiratory tract of children versus adults.21

From a public health standpoint, we would like to address school and daycare openings. These decisions are clearly very dif cult, but those responsible ought to be informed of the differences of this virus in children versus adults. A

Update 1: Pediatric Multisystem In ammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19

decision based on general population data alone would discount the impact that children have as vectors for this virus and could potentially risk another rise of this pandemic. Children have a more insidious nature of active disease, because it is milder, tends to have more upper-respiratory and gastrointestinal involve- ment, and is less likely to present with fever and cough than in adults. The risk of transmission in the community is compounded by children who are not toilet- trained or have underdeveloped personal hygiene habits. Therefore, children are both more likely to be unknowingly sent out of the home while shedding the virus and more likely to spread it while away. Of course, decisions of this mag- nitude must be weighed against the economic burden on families and nations. Moreover, it is self-evident that schools are fundamental to child development and well-being, which also must be considered when planning the timing for school re-entry.

Lastly, we must qualify the data presented in this chapter by stating that all of the referenced studies and reports have their limitations given the newness and acuteness of this crisis. Our knowledge of this virus is limited and evolving daily. We hope this summary acts as a springboard for future research and investigation.

14.8 Update 1: Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19

There is a rising concern in the pediatric community regarding a potential multi- system in ammatory disease that is related to COVID-19. On April 27, 2020, the Paediatric Intensive Care Society of the UK released a statement about a “small rise in the number of cases of critically ill children presenting with an unusual clinical picture.”22 This alert described pediatric patients presenting with clinical manifestations similar to toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease “with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children.”22 These parameters appear to be high CRP, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and high ferritin.22 The report continued: “Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms have been a common feature as has cardiac in ammation.”22 The latter may present as myocarditis with increased levels of troponin and pro-BNP, and may even “have an appearance of their coronary arteries in keeping with Kawasaki disease.”22

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health later provided the following case de nition for this multisystem in ammatory syndrome:23

1. “A child presenting with persistent fever, in ammation (neutrophilia, elevated CRP and lymphopenia) and evidence of single or multiorgan dysfunction (shock, cardiac, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, or neurological disorder) with additional features. This may include children ful lling full or partial criteria for Kawasaki disease.”23



Chapter 14: Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19

2. “Exclusion of any other microbial cause, including bacterial sepsis, staphylo- coccal or streptococcal shock syndromes, infections associated with myocar- ditis such as enterovirus (waiting for results of these investigations should not delay seeking expert advice).”23

3. “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing may be positive or negative.”23

On May 4, 2020, the New York City Health Department released a similar state- ment describing 15 pediatric cases (aged 2–15 years) compatible with this same disease in New York City hospitals. According to this report, “All patients had sub- jective or measured fever and more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomit- ing, or diarrhea.” Of note, respiratory symptoms were reported in less than half of these patients. In these cases, PCR results for SARS-CoV-2 also varied. Therefore, the International PICU-COVID-19 Collaboration now refers to this emerging syn- drome as “Pediatric Multi-System In ammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19,”24 and they have laid out some key takehome points:24

• “The disease is rare.”24

• “Clinicians who suspect a case should consult promptly with pediatric infec-
tious disease, rheumatology, or critical care specialists.”24

• “Because some children get sicker rapidly, they should be cared for in hospi-
tals with tertiary pediatric/cardiac intensive care units.”24

• “Laboratory evaluation should include the measurement of sequential in am-
matory markers, including complete blood count/differential, CRP, ESR; coagulation parameters, including D-dimer and ferritin; liver function mark- ers; and a cytokine panel. Children should have antibody testing in addition to PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2, since many children are antibody-positive even when PCR-negative.”24

• “Children with this syndrome should have serial echocardiograms, including a detailed assessment of the coronary arteries. Many to date have been found to have low heart function, and some have enlargement of the coronary arter- ies. Children with serious cardiac complications should be followed longer term.”24
Why this is occurring is largely unexplained. There is speculation that this syndrome is due to an acquired immune response to COVID-19, but it is still a mystery at this point. In regard to an etiology, cardiologist and international expert on Kawasaki disease Jane Newburger, MD, MPH states: “If you look at the curves, COVID-19 has plateaued, but there’s an exponential rise in this sec- ondary type of shock syndrome…It is even possible that the antibodies that chil- dren are making to SARS-CoV2 are creating an immune reaction in the body. Nobody knows.”24
More research on this topic is both necessary and forthcoming. For now, it is important that health-care providers be aware of the existence of this disease in children—particularly during this time of pandemic.

Update 2: July 1, 2020

14.9 Update 2: July 1, 2020

Here, we will provide the key pediatric updates to this ever-evolving pandemic cri- sis. We will list the updates in bullet-point form and provide links to important websites and articles.

Last updated on 6/25/2020, the AAP has issued the following statement regarding guidance for school re-entry: “…the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of hav- ing students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.”25 The full AAP docu- ment outlines social distancing and mask use at schools, testing and temperature checks at schools, as well as bussing, cafeteria/mealtime, and playground recom- mendations. The full statement can be found here: pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/ covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/).

Published June 8, 2020, the investigation by Whittaker et al outlines the clinical characteristics of children with Pediatric In ammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS). This was a case series of 58 children admitted to eight different hospitals in England. Brie y, the major results were as follows: “Of these children, all had fever and non-speci c symptoms, such as abdominal pain (31[53%]), rash (30[52%]), and conjunctival injection (26[45%]); 29(50%) developed shock and required inotropic support or uid resuscitation; 13(22%) met diagnostic criteria for Kawasaki Disease; and 8(14%) had coronary artery dilatation or aneurysms.”26 Thus, the key takeaways here are that children with this disease have a wide range of signs, symptoms, and severity and that, when you compare PIMS-TS to Kawasaki disease and Kawasaki disease shock syndrome, you nd that this disorder is unique from other pediatric in ammatory entities. For more information on how, visit the full JAMA article here: https://jamanetwork. com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2767209.

Published in JAMA on June 3, 2020, the case series investigation by Wu et al provides our newest data from Wuhan—with particular attention given to the immu- nologic features of pediatric patients with COVID-19. The full text can be found here:

In brief sum, they examined 157 pediatric patients with COVID-19 and found that systemic inflammation rarely occurred, which importantly is differ- ent from the aggravated inflammatory responses often seen in adults with COVID-19.27 They also found that moderate dis- ease had higher interleukin 10 (IL-10) levels and lower neutrophil levels than patients with more mild disease. They concluded: “The results of this study suggest that dysregulation of immune response may be involved in the patho- logic process of COVID-19; gaining a deeper understanding of the role of neu- trophils, CD4+ T cells, and B cells in the pathogenesis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection could be important for the clini- cal management of COVID-19.”27



Chapter 14: Pediatric Manifestations of COVID-19


1. CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Coronavirus disease 2019 in children – United States, February 12-April 2, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69:422.

2. The 2019 United States Census. Populatation estimate. July 1, 2019. quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219. Accessed April 23, 2020.

3. Cruz A, Zeichner S. COVID-19 in children: initial characterization of the pediatric disease. Pediatrics. 2020.

4. Lu X, Zhang L, Du H, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. N Engl J Med. 2020.

5. Dong Y, Mo X, Hu Y, et al. Epidemiology of COVID-19 among children in China. Pediatrics.

6. Zimmermann P, Curtis N. Coronavirus infections in children including COVID-19. Pediatr
Infect Dis J: May 2020;39(5):355–368.

7. Wang W, Xu Y, Gao R, et al. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in different types of clinical speci-
mens. JAMA. 2020.

8. Berghella, V, Lockwood, C, Barss, V. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): pregnancy
issues. In: UpToDate. April 22, 2020.

9. Kimberlin DW, Stagno S. Can SARS-CoV-2 infection be acquired in utero?: more de nitive
evidence is needed. JAMA. 2020.

10. Chen H, Guo J, Wang C, et al. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission
potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical
records. Lancet. 2020;395:809.

11. Academy of Breastfeeding. ABM Statement on Coronavirus 2019. March 10, 2020. https:// Accessed April 23, 2020.

12. Cai J, Xu J, Lin D, et al. A case series of children with 2019 novel coronavirus infection: clini- cal and epidemiological features [published online ahead of print February 28, 2020]. Clin
Infect Dis. 2020.

13. Xiao F, Tang M, Zheng X, Liu Y, Li X, Shan H. Evidence for gastrointestinal infection of SARS-
CoV-2 [published online ahead of print March 3, 2020]. Gastroenterology. 2020;158(6):1831–

14. US Food and Drug Administration. Q & A for consumers: hand sanitizers and COVID-19.
Available at:
ers-and-covid-19. Accessed April 14, 2020.

15. Paret M, Lighter J, Pellett Madan R, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) in febrile
infants without respiratory distress. Clin Infect Dis. 2020.

16. Edwards M, Kaplan S, Torchia M. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): considerations in
children. In: UpToDate. April 24, 2020.

17. Guan WJ, Ni ZY, Hu Y, et al. Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China.
N Engl J Med. 2020;382:1708–1720.

18. Hu Z, Song C, Xu C, et al. Clinical characteristics of 24 asymptomatic infections with COVID-
19 screened among close contacts in Nanjing, China. Sci China Life Sci. 2020;63(5):706–711.

19. Chiotos K, Hayes M, Kimberlin DE, et al. Multicenter initial guidance on use of antivirals for children with COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2020. Available at:
Accessed April 22, 2020.

20. Mehta P, McAuley DF, Brown M, et al. COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and
immunosuppression. Lancet. 2020;395:1033.

21. Ludvigsson JF. Systematic review of COVID-19 in children shows milder cases and a better
prognosis than adults. Acta Paediatr. 2020;109(6):1088–1095.

22. Pediatrics Critical Care Society. Statement on Critical Care of Children with COVID-19. note: link is not working. Accessed May 20, 2020.


23. Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health. Guidance Pediatric Multisystem In ammatory Syndrome Temporally Associated with COVID-19. default/files/2020-05/COVID-19-Paediatric-multisystem-%20inflammatory%20syn- drome-20200501.pdf. Accessed May 20, 2020.

24. Fleise N. COVID-19 and a Serious In ammatory Syndrome in Children: Unpacking Recent Warnings. Boston Children’s Hospital. May 8, 2020. Boston, MA. Accessed May 20, 2020.

25. American Academy of Pediatrics. COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry. ical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools. Accessed June 27, 2020.

26. Whittaker E, Bamford A, Kenny J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 58 children with a pedi- atric in ammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2. JAMA. Published online June 08, 2020.

27. Wu H, Zhu H, Yuan C, et al. Clinical and immune features of hospitalized pediatric patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(6):e2010895.


Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

Vineet R. Jain M.D., Naiyer Imam M.D.,
Khursheed Imam M.D., Sanjay Saini M.D.,
Ruhani Doda Khera M.D., Lilah Sanduby, and Azwade Rahman

List of Abbreviations



Acute respiratory distress syndrome Cardiovascular magnetic resonance Coronavirus disease 2019 Computed tomography

Chest X-rays
Middle East respiratory syndrome
Magnetic resonance imaging
Radiological Society of North America
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction Severe acute respiratory syndrome
World Health Organization

15.1 Introduction

The rst two decades of the 21st century have been marked by the emergence of three novel coronal viral illnesses with an unique set of systemic clinical and radio- logical manifestations: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this chapter, we brie y touch on the radiological ndings of SARS and MERS, and discuss the common radiological manifestations of COVID-19.

15.2 Radiological Manifestations of SARS and MERS

SARS and MERS are known to have an abnormal initial chest screening in at least 80% of infected patients. In SARS, early ndings include ground-glass opaci ca- tion or consolidations, which are predominantly ill-de ned, unilateral, peripherally distributed with a propensity for the lower lung zones. The abnormalities are focal




Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

in 50% of cases, multifocal in 40%, and diffuse in 10%. As SARS progresses, the ndings become progressively multifocal and spread bilaterally over the course of 2 weeks. In one-fourth of patients, ndings can remain focal or unilateral. Computed tomographic scan (CT) ndings typically demonstrate interstitial ground-glass opacity early in the course of disease.2

In MERS, initial radiographic ndings include ground-glass opaci cation or consolidations, which are predominantly ill-de ned, multifocal, and within the lower lung zones. The opacities may extend to perihilar and upper lobes as the dis- ease continues. As in SARS, CT for MERS also typically demonstrates ground- glass opacities in the basilar and peripheral lung zones, interlobular septal thickening, air-space consolidation, and rarely, pleural effusions. After recovery, patients with disease can suffer from instances of brosis.1, 2, 3

Studies comparing SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 have found signi cant simi- larities with some differences. All three diseases upon initial presentation to hospi- tals are found to have abnormal initial lung chest X-ray ndings in at least 69%–85% of patients. Common radiographic and CT ndings include ill-de ned ground-glass opaci cation or consolidation with a propensity of the disease to be peripheral and basilar. Pneumothorax, cavitation, and pleural effusions are rare. Similarities also include a disease progression toward multifocal airspace consolidation and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with worsening of pulmonary disease. Notable differences between SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 include the greater likelihood of bilateral and multifocal lung involvement earlier with MERS and COVID-19 as compared with SARS. Table 15.1 summarizes some clinical and ini- tial hospital radiological presentations of these diseases.2 We will discuss the radio- graphic and computed tomographic ndings of COVID-19 in greater detail in subsequent sections.

15.3 Radiological Findings of COVID-19

15.3.1 Chest X-Rays (CXR)

Chest radiographs may show no abnormality with mild or early infection with SARS-CoV-2. With progression of pulmonary infection, hazy interstitial opacities often with ground-glass appearance develop. These tend to be of bilateral, periph- eral, and basilar predominance. This distribution of this opacity is similar to that demonstrated on CT but is more dif cult to detect, requiring careful scrutinization. Airspace consolidation may also develop and present as denser areas of opacity. Worsening of lung disease may lead to an ARDS. The presence of a signi cant pleural effusion is uncommon.

One study from Hong Kong evaluated the radiographs of 64 COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital. This study showed that baseline chest radiography was posi- tive in 69% of patients as compared to 91% for initial reverse transcription

Radiological Findings of COVID-19

Table 15.1 Brief Summary of Clinical & Radiological Presentations of Novel Coronaviruses. Radiology Perspectives of COV 19, Lessons Learned, AJR May 20202


Clinical Sign or Symptom

Fever or chills Yes Yes Yes

Dyspnea Yes Yes Yes

Malaise Yes Yes Yes

Myalgia Yes Yes Yes

Headache Yes Yes Yes

Cough Dry Dry or productive Dry

Diarrhea Yes Yes Uncommon

Nausea or Yes Yes Uncommon vomiting

Sore throat Yes Uncommon Uncommon

Arthralgia Yes Uncommon

Imaging nding

Acute phase

Initial imaging

Normal 15–20% of patients 17% of patients 15–20% of patients



Peripheral multifocal airspace opacities (GGO, consolidation, or both) on chest radiography and CT

Peripheral multifocal airspace opacities (GGO, consolidation, or both) on chest radiography and CT

Peripheral multifocal airspace opacities (GGO, consolidation, or both) on chest radiography and CT

Rare Pneumothorax Pneumothorax Pneumothorax

Not seen Cavitation or Cavitation or Cavitation or lymphadenopathy lymphadenopathy lymphadenopathy

Appearance Unilateral, focal (50%); multifocal (40%); diffuse


Bilateral, multifocal basal airspace on chest radiography or CT (80%); isolated unilateral (20%)

Bilateral, multifocal, basal airspace; normal chest radiography ndings (15%)








Follow-up imaging appearance

Unilateral, focal (25%); progressive (most common, can be unilateral and multifocal or bilateral with multifocal consolidation)

Extension into upper lobes or perihilar areas, pleural effusion (33%), interlobular septal thickening (26%)

Persistent or progressive airspace opacities

Indications of poor prognosis

Bilateral (like ARDS), four or more lung zones, progressive involvement after 12d

Greater involvement of the lungs, pleural effusion, pneumothorax

Consolidation (vs. GG0)

Chronic phase

Unknown, but pleural effusion and interlobar septal thickening have not yet been reported

Transient reticular opacitiesa




Common (usually persistent)



One-third of patients

Not yet reported


Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

Table 15.1 (continued)

ARD, acute respiratory distress syndrome; COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019; GG0, ground-glass opacity; MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome; SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome.
aOver a period of weeks or months.

polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19 and that chest radiographic abnormalities preceded a positive RT-PCR test in only 9% of patients. Additionally, the study demonstrated that the worst interstitial opacity on CXR occurred 10–12 days after the onset of respiratory symptoms.4

Another study evaluated the initial chest radiographs of 636 COVID-19 patients at urgent care centers in New York City and New Jersey. This study demonstrated that 42% of the initial chest radiographs on these patients were positive. As may be expected, patients presenting to urgent care centers are less sick than patients pre- senting to hospitals, and a higher percentage of chest radiographs may be normal in outpatient settings.5

Another study performed in New York City evaluated 338 young and middle- aged adults (between ages 21 and 50 years) who presented to the emergency room with a positive test for COVID-19 on RT-PCR. The authors focused on correlating initial radiographic ndings with hospitalization and intubation.6 They divided the lungs into 6 zones: a lower zone, middle zone, and upper zone on each side. Each lung zone was given a binary score with airspace opacity present equaling 1 and absence of airspace opacity equaling 0. The maximum score possible was therefore 6. They found that a chest radiograph severity score greater than or equal to 2 was

Radiological Findings of COVID-19

Figure 15.1 Middle-aged female presented with nausea, vomiting, and cough, and diagnosed by RT-PCR with COVID-19. Top image shows an initial chest radiograph with mild bilateral ground-glass airspace opacity. Bottom image shows the follow-up chest radiograph 3 days later. There is now worse denser more consolidative airspace opacity within the bilateral lungs.

associated with hospital admission and that among these patients, a chest radio- graph severity score greater than or equal to 3 was an independent predictor of the patient becoming intubated (Figure 15.1).6

15.3.2 Computed Tomography

The Fleischner Society is an international multidisciplinary medical society for tho- racic radiology and has made a glossary of terms for thoracic imaging. According to their glossary, the term “ground-glass opacity” is an area of hazy increased lung opacity within which margins of pulmonary vessels may be indistinct.7 On CT, it appears as hazy increased opacity of the lung with preservation of bronchial and vascular margins. Ground-glass opacity is less opaque than consolidation, in which bronchovascular margins are obscured.



Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

On CT, early COVID-19 pneumonia characteristically presents as interstitial, ground-glass opacity most often rounded with bilateral, peripheral, and basilar pre- dominance. A crazy-paving pattern has also been described. According to the Fleischner Society glossary, a crazy-paving pattern appears as thickened interlobu- lar septa and intralobular lines superimposed on a background of ground-glass opacity resembling irregularly shaped paving stones.7 Additionally, a reversed halo sign may be present. A reversed halo sign is a focal rounded area of ground-glass opacity surrounded by a ring of consolidation.7 There may represent areas of micro- vascular dilatation within areas of ground-glass opacity.8 With progression of lung disease, airspace consolidations may develop. Finally, in later stages, ARDS may develop, often leading to intubation. Imaging ndings not typical of COVID-19 pneumonia include isolated lobar or segmental consolidation, numerous small nod- ules, pulmonary parenchymal cavitation, a signi cant pleural effusion, and promi- nent mediastinal lymphadenopathy.

It is important to keep in mind that very early in the course of disease, CT chest may be normal. One retrospective study evaluated 121 symptomatic patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 based on RT-PCR from four centers in China during the months of January and February 2020.9 This study evaluated common CT ndings in relation- ship to the time between onset of patient symptoms, typically fever and/or cough, and time of initial CT. Early phase was de ned as a CT performed within the rst 2 days of onset of symptoms, intermediate phase was de ned as a CT performed between 3 and 5 days of onset of symptoms, and late phase was de ned as a CT performed between 6 and 12 days of onset of symptoms. 56% of patients who were imaged with CT in the early phase had a normal chest CT. With a longer time period between the onset of symptoms and the initial CT, typical CT ndings of COVID-19 pneumonia were more often present. Bilateral lung disease was demonstrated in 28% of patients imaged during the early phase of disease, 76% of patients imaged during the interme- diate phase of disease, and 88% of patients imaged during the late phase of disease.

On the other hand, it is also known that CT ndings may be present preceding symptom onset. One study evaluated chest CT ndings of 104 people who tested positive for COVID-19 with RT-PCR who were on board the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” which had docked in Japan.10 73% (76/104) of infected persons were asymptomatic, and 54% (41/76) of these people had opacities in the lungs on CT. There was more ground-glass opacity than consolidation in these people and milder extent of lung opacities compared with those who had symptomatic infection.

Salehi et al reported on the CT ndings of COVID-19 pneumonia utilizing an extensive literature search of PubMed, Embase (Elsevier), Google Scholar, and World Health Organization databases.11 919 patients with COVID-19 were included in the nal review. The most common nding on initial CT was bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacity which had a peripheral or posterior distribution and was most prevalent in the lower lobes. Follow-up CT demonstrated an increase in ground-glass opacity lesions in both number and size and ground-glass opacity progressively turn- ing into consolidation, septal thickening, and crazy-paving pattern with the worst disease on CT seen approximately 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Disease either regressed or progressed to ARDS, which was the most common reason for transfer of patients to the ICU and the major cause of death. Imaging corresponding

Radiological Findings of COVID-19

to the improvement of patient symptoms most often occurred after 2 weeks of dis- ease and included gradual improvement and resolution of consolidation and decreased number of pulmonary lesions and number of pulmonary lobes involved.

Another study evaluated the temporal changes of pneumonia as seen on CT in 90 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia who were admitted to the hospital.12 70 patients were discharged from the hospital at the end of the study with criteria being signi cant improvement in respiratory symptoms, afebrile for at least 3 days, imaging improve- ment of disease, and 2 consecutive negative RT-PCR laboratory results at least 24 hours apart. 94% (66/70) of patients discharged had residual disease on CT with ground-glass opacity (60%, 42/70) being the most common nding and pure ground- glass opacity without consolidation (74%, 31/42) being the most common subtype.

Acute pulmonary embolism is not unusual in patients with COVID-19 pneumo- nia. One study demonstrated 23% of patients who had severe clinical COVID-19 pneumonia and had undergone CT pulmonary angiography, had acute pulmonary embolism in addition to pneumonia (Figures 15.2–15.7).13

Figure 15.2 Middle-aged female presented with cough and diagnosed by RT-PCR with COVID-19. Top image shows initial chest radiograph with bilateral mild interstitial opacities, worst in the left upper lobe. Bottom image shows same day CT with typical ndings of COVID-19 pneumonia with bilateral peripheral ground-glass airspace opacities and an area of denser consolidation in the left lower lobe.



Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

Figure 15.3 Elderly female presented with fever and diarrhea, and diagnosed with COVID-19 by RT-PCR. Top image shows an initial chest radiograph with mild ground-glass opacity in the left lung. Bottom image shows same day CT chest with corresponding opacity in the lingula.

Figure 15.4 Same patient as in Figure 15.2. Chest radiograph taken 9 days later on day of death. There are support lines and tubes. There is very signi cantly worse denser more consolidative airspace opacity within the bilateral lungs.

Radiological Findings of COVID-19

Figure 15.5 Elderly male with newly diagnosed heart failure and positive for COVID-19 by RT-PCR. Top image shows CT with lling defects within bilateral segmental pulmonary artery branches compatible with pulmonary emboli. There are also bilateral pleural effusions due to congestive heart failure. Bottom image shows the same CT (lung windows) with bilateral lower lobe airspace opacity. In the left lower lobe, a reversed halo lesion is beginning to form with a focal rounded area of ground-glass opacity surrounded by a ring of denser consolidation. Even though this nding is typical of COVID-19 pneumonia, a pulmonary infarct due to pulmonary embolism can have the same appearance.



Figure 15.6 Elderly male presented with fever, myalgia, cough, and shortness of breath and positive for COVID-19 by RT-PCR. Top image shows an initial chest radiograph with minimal ground-glass opacity in the retrocardiac left lower lobe. Middle image shows the follow-up chest radiograph performed 5 days later. There is signi cantly worse diffuse ground-glass opacity within the bilateral lungs. Bottom image shows a follow-up chest radiograph performed 10 days later on the day of discharge from hospital. There is still ground-glass opacity within the bilateral lungs but it is improved.

Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19


Radiological Findings of COVID-19

Figure 15.7 Same patient as in Figure 15.5. CT chest performed at time of peak lung disease. There is a crazy-paving pattern of lung disease with thickened interlobular septa and intralobular lines superimposed on a background of ground- glass opacity. This nding is a commonly reported imaging feature of COVID-19 pneumonia.

15.3.3 CT Reports

Some organizations have put forth consensus statements to standardize reporting language or CT scoring systems regarding the possibility of COVID-19 pulmonary infection. The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) proposes dividing reporting language into four classi cations for cases where COVID-19 pneumonia is a clinical possibility according to Table 15.2.

Proposed reporting language for CT ndings related to COVID-19 includes rationale, CT ndings, and suggested reporting language for each category. Suggested reporting language includes coding of CT ndings for data mining. Associated CT ndings for each category are based upon available literature at the time of writing in March 2020, noting the retrospective nature of many reports, including biases related to patient selection in cohort studies, examination timing, and other potential confounders.

1. Inclusion in a report of items noted in parentheses in the Suggested Reporting Language column may depend upon clinical suspicion, local prevalence, patient status as a UI, and local procedures regarding reporting.

2. CT is not a substitute for RT-PCR; consider testing according to local recom- mendations and procedures for and availability of RT-PCR.

These classi cations are categorized as typical appearance, indeterminate appear- ance, atypical appearance, and negative for pneumonia. A typical appearance would be peripheral bilateral ground-glass opacity with or without denser consolidation or crazy-paving, multiple rounded ground-glass opacities, or reverse halo sign lesions. An indeterminate appearance would be diffuse, perihilar, or unilateral ground-glass opacity, which is not rounded in appearance and not peripheral in distribution. An atypical appearance would be isolated lobar or segmental consolidation without


Routine screening CT for diagnosis or exclusion of COVID-19 is currently not recommended by most professional organizations or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Pneumonia Imaging Classi cation


CT Findings

Suggested Reporting Language

Typical appearance

Commonly reported imaging features of greater speci city for COVID-19 pneumonia.

Peripheral, bilateral “GGO” with or without consolidation or visible intralobular lines (“crazy-paving”)

Multifocal GGO of rounded morphology with or without consolidation or visible intralobular lines (crazy-paving)

Reverse halo sign or other ndings of organizing pneumonia (seen later in the disease)

“Commonly reported imaging features of (COVID-19) pneumonia are present. Other processes such as in uenza pneumonia and organizing pneumonia, as can be seen with drug toxicity and connective tissue disease, can cause a similar imaging pattern.” [Cov19Typ]a

Indeterminate appearance

Nonspeci c imaging features of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Absence of typical features AND
Presence of:
Multifocal, diffuse, perihilar, or unilateral GGO with or without consolidation lacking a speci c distribution and are nonrounded or nonperipheral.

Few very small GGO with a nonrounded and nonperipheral distribution

“Imaging features can be seen with (COVID-19) pneumonia, though are nonspeci c and can occur with a variety of infectious and noninfectious processes.” [Cov19Ind]a


Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

ground-glass opacity, numerous small discrete nodules, cavitation, or smooth inter- lobular septal thickening and pleural effusion. Negative for pneumonia would be no CT ndings of pneumonia. Keep in mind that other infectious or noninfectious dis- eases can have the same appearance as a CT classi cation of typical appearance for COVID-19 pneumonia and a negative for pneumonia CT does not completely exclude the possibility of COVID-19 pulmonary infection. This leads us to the next topic of the utility of CT chest for diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Table 15.2 Reporting Language Proposed for CT Findings Related to COVID-19

Radiological Findings of COVID-19

Table 15.2 (continued)

Routine screening CT for diagnosis or exclusion of COVID-19 is currently not recommended by most professional organizations or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Pneumonia Imaging Classi cation


CT Findings

Suggested Reporting Language

Atypical appearance

Uncommonly or not reported features of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Absence of typical or indeterminate features AND
Presence of:
Isolated lobar or segmental consolidation without GGO

Discrete small nodules (centrilobular, “tree-in-bud”)
Lung cavitation Smooth interlobular septal thickening with pleural effusion

“Imaging features are atypical or uncommonly reported for (COVID-19) pneumonia. Alternative diagnoses should be considered.” [Cov19Aty]a

Negative for pneumonia

No features of pneumonia

No CT features to suggest pneumonia.

“No CT ndings present to indicate pneumonia. (Note: CT may be negative in the early stages of COVID-19).” [Cov19Neg]a

Source: Adapted from:14Published online March 25, 2020 © Radiological Society of North America. GGO, ground-glass opacity.
aSuggested coding for future data mining.

15.3.4 CT Screening

Should CT be used for screening patients for COVID-19 pneumonia? Most radiol- ogy organizations do not recommend CT screening routinely to diagnose COVID- 19 pneumonia. The Fleischner Society came out with a multinational consensus statement addressing this question.15 In it, they stated that imaging with CXR or CT is not indicated in patients suspected of having COVID-19 with mild symptoms unless they are at risk for worsening disease, imaging is indicated in patients who have COVID-19 pneumonia and worsening respiratory status, and in a resource- constrained environment, imaging is indicated to triage patients with moderate to severe clinical features who have a high pretest probability of COVID-19 pneumo- nia. In their statement, the Fleischner Society did not specify in these recommenda- tions whether the imaging modality to be used should be CXR or CT as this would



Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

be based upon local resources and expertise. Although CT is better for detecting early or mild pneumonia and alternative diagnoses, it is signi cantly more expen- sive, more time-consuming, and involves a greater radiation dose.

15.3.5 CT Protocol

Chest CT volume reconstructions at 0.625–1.5 mm slice thickness ideally evaluate interstitial lung disease. Intravenous contrast is not required except in cases where the vasculature needs to be evaluated such as CT pulmonary angiography for the evaluation of pulmonary embolism.

15.4 Ultrasound

Lung ultrasound has advantages in that it is low cost, does not use ionizing radia- tion, and can be done portably at the bedside which is particularly helpful in the emergency department or intensive care unit setting. Findings seen on lung ultra- sound in COVID-19 pneumonia include B-lines, consolidative pattern, thickened pleural lines, and A lines during the recovery phase.16, 17

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a guide on imaging in COVID-19 in which they stated that although lung ultrasound has very low- certainty evidence supporting its diagnostic accuracy, it might be helpful with the appropriate expertise as a supplemental or alternative imaging modality particu- larly in pregnant women, children, and patients who are mechanically ventilated.18

15.5 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

While CT utilizes X-rays, MRI uses strong magnetic elds and radio waves to produce its images, utilizing the signal obtained from the relaxation of protons within the body. While CT is more available, less expensive, and is a much quicker examination to perform, MRI can provide greater sensitivity for pathology in many cases depending on the organ and what disease is being evaluated for. The strong magnetic elds used in MRI may preclude imaging of patients who have certain ferromagnetic medical devices such as pacemakers although more and more medical devices, including some pacemakers, are becoming MRI compatible.

The clinical utility of MRI for evaluating the lungs is limited. Because the lungs are full of air, and are therefore relatively proton-de cient, MRI has a limited sensi- tivity for pulmonary pathology. Air additionally results in bulk susceptibility arti- facts on MRI, limiting visualization of anatomy in and around structures that contain air. One of the clinical roles for MRI in evaluating the chest is evaluating for cardiac myocarditis.


The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) scienti c expert panel has updated consensus recommendations for cardiovascular magnetic reso- nance (CMR) diagnosis of myocardial in ammation in patients suspected of having acute or active myocardial in ammation in 2018.19 These updated criteria, referred to as the updated Lake Louise Criteria II, are evaluating for myocardial edema and in ammation, and require abnormality on both T2-based and T1-based magnetic resonance imaging with supportive criteria, including the presence of a pericardial effusion or signs of pericarditis and cardiac left ventricular systolic wall motion abnormality. The administration of MRI gadolinium-based intravenous contrast during the examination, to evaluate for late enhancement of the myocardium in a nonischemic pattern, is helpful to make the diagnosis but is not absolutely necessary.

One study from Germany evaluated the presence of myocardial injury on CMR in 100 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 infection.20 This study showed that there was cardiac involvement in 78% of patients with ongoing myocardial in ammation in 60% of patients independent of preexisting conditions, severity and length of acute illness, time from original diagnosis, or the presence of cardiac symptoms.


1. Radiology lessons for coronavirus from the SARS and MERS epidemics. https://www.itnon- Published May 4, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020.

2. Hosseiny M, Kooraki S, Gholamrezanezhdad A. Radiology perspective of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): lessons from severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respi- ratory syndrome. Am J Roentgenol. 2020;214(5):1078–1082. full/10.2214/AJR.20.22969. Published May 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020.

3. Murphy A. Severe acute respiratory syndrome: radiology reference article. Radiopaedia Blog RSS. Accessed July 8, 2020.

4. Wong H, Lam H, Fong A, et al. Frequency and distribution of chest radiographic ndings in COVID-19 positive patients. Radiology. 2019.

5. Weinstock MB, Echenique A, Russell JW, et al. Chest x-ray ndings in 636 ambulatory
patients with COVID-19 presenting to an urgent care center: a normal chest x-ray is no guar-
antee. J Urgent Care Med. 2020;14(7):13–18.

6. Toussie D, Voutsinas N, Finkelstein M, et al. Clinical and chest radiography features determine
patient outcomes in young and middle age adults with COVID-19. Radiology. 2020. https://

7. Hansell D, Bankier A, MacMahon H, McLoud T, Müller N, Remy J. Fleischner Society: glos-
sary of terms for thoracic imaging. Radiology. 2008;246(3):697–722.

8. Zhou S, Wang Y, Zhu T, Xia L. CT features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumo-
nia in 62 patients in Wuhan, China. Am J Roentgenol. 2020;214(6):1287–1294.

9. Bernheim A, Mei X, Huang M, et al. Chest CT ndings in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-
19): relationship to duration of infection. Radiology. 2020;295(3):685–691.

10. Inui S, Fujikawa A, Jitsu M, et al. Chest CT ndings in cases from the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Radiol Cardiothorac Imaging.



Chapter 15: Radiology of Chest Imaging in COVID-19

11. Salehi S, Abedi A, Balakrishnan S, Gholamrezanezhad A. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a systematic review of imaging ndings in 919 patients. Am J Roentgenol. 2020;215(1):87–93.

12. Wang Y, Dong C, Hu Y, et al. Temporal changes of CT ndings in 90 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia: a longitudinal study. Radiology. 2020.

13. Grillet F, Behr J, Calame P, Aubry S, Delabrousse E. Acute pulmonary embolism associated with COVID-19 pneumonia detected by pulmonary CT angiography. Radiology. 2020. https://

14. Simpson S, Kay F, Abbara S, et al. Radiological Society of North America expert consensus
statement on reporting chest CT ndings related to COVID-19. Endorsed by the Society of Thoracic Radiology, the American College of Radiology, and RSNA. Radiol Cardiothorac Imaging. 2020;2(2).

15. Rubin G, Ryerson C, Haramati L, et al. The role of chest imaging in patient management during the COVID-19 pandemic: a multinational consensus statement from the Fleischner Society. Radiology. 2020;296(1):172–180.

16. Zhang Y, Xue H, Wang M, He N, Lv Z, Cui L. Lung ultrasound ndings in patients with coro- navirus disease (COVID-19). Am J Roentgenol. 2020.

17. Peng Q, Wang X, Zhang L. Findings of lung ultrasonography of novel corona virus pneumonia during the 2019–2020 epidemic. Intensive Care Med. 2020;46(5):849–850.

18. Akl E, Blazic I, Yaacoub S, et al. Use of chest imaging in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19: a WHO rapid advice guide. Radiology. 2020. radiol.2020203173.

19. Ferreira V, Schulz-Menger J, Holmvang G, et al. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance in nonischemic myocardial in ammation: expert recommendations. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;72(24):3158–3176.

20. Puntmann V, Carerj ML, Wieters I, et al. Outcomes of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in patients recently recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020.

Severe COVID-19 and ICU

Hasmeena Kathuria M.D.,
Syed E. Ahmad M.D., and Bethany Sullivan

List of Abbreviations


Acute respiratory distress syndrome Complete blood count
Creatine phosphokinase
C-reactive protein

Chest X-ray
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
High-altitude pulmonary edema
High- ow nasal cannula
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis
Intensive care unit
Liver function test
Low tidal volume ventilation
Mean arterial pressure
Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation
Predicted body weight
Positive end-expiratory pressure
Personal protective equipment
Veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

16.1 Introduction

The epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis, and management of severe COVID-19 patients will be discussed in this chapter. The main focus of this chapter is on the management of hypoxemic respiratory failure in the intubated and nonintubated patient. Special considerations in management, including the role of anticoagula- tion and corticosteroids in COVID-19 patients, will also be discussed.




Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

16.2 Epidemiology

In 20% of cases, COVID-19 can become severe very quickly and some patients rapidly deteriorate 1 week after the start of symptoms. Severe COVID-19 is charac- terized by worsening dyspnea, hypoxia, or greater than 50% lung involvement on imaging within 24–48 h of presenting symptoms.

Wu et al. reported that 14% of COVID-19 patients have severe disease (hypox- emia or greater than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and approximately 5% have critical disease (respiratory failure, multiorgan failure, and/or shock).1 Among those with critical disease, case fatality rate was reported to be 49%. Among patients who develop severe disease, the mean duration to develop dyspnea was 5–8 days; acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) was 8–12 days; and intensive care unit (ICU) admission was 10–12 days.2, 3

Hypoxemic respiratory failure is the most common reason patients with COVID- 19 are admitted to the ICU.4 Mortality among patients admitted to the ICU has been reported to be between 39 and 72%. Of critically ill patients, 71% need mechanical ventilation, often requiring extended mechanical ventilation with a median time to extubation of 11–17 days.5 About 70% eventually require vasopressors and 33% will develop cardiomyopathy.6 Increased age, comorbidities (diabetes, hyperten- sion, coronary artery disease, malignancy, and chronic lung disease), and laboratory abnormalities have been associated with disease severity.

In addition to provider concern, high nursing requirements, and risk of decom- pensation from severe comorbid illness, consideration for transfer or admission to the ICU includes signs of respiratory distress (rapid increase in oxygen require- ment, high work of breathing, oxygen need greater than 6 liters per minute (LPM)), hemodynamic instability, acidosis (pH <7.3), and high levels of lactate (>2). If the decision is made to transfer to the ICU, hospital policy for transfer and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be followed to minimize the risk of transmission to health-care workers.

16.3 Initial Testing and Imaging

For most ICU patients, the COVID-19 nasal swab and comprehensive respiratory panel testing would have already been collected in the emergency department. If not, this will need to be done once admitted to the ICU. Additional laboratory test- ing that will need to be drawn on patients with severe COVID-19 includes chemistry panel and liver function tests (LFTs), including albumin, complete blood count (CBC) with differential, procalcitonin, ferritin, triglycerides, brinogen, C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), troponin, lactate dehydroge- nase (LDH), creatine phosphokinase (CPK), D-dimer, and prothrombin time (PT).7 Most of these laboratories are regularly repeated throughout the patient’s ICU stay because they have been found to be markers that may track the disease severity and prognosis (Table 16.1). Troponin as well as an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is used to assess for cardiomyopathy and conduction disturbances in a deteriorating

Initial Testing and Imaging

Table 16.1 Laboratory Markers Associated with Severe COVID-19 Diagnosis

Laboratories associated with severe disease



>10 K/uL


<1.00 K/uL


<150 K/uL


>185 U/L


>1.5 mg/dL


>1000 ng/mL


>300 ug/L

High-sensitive cardiac troponin-T

>~20 ng/L


>10 pg/mL


>245 U/L



❤ g/dL


>40 U/L


>0.5 ng/mL

patient. Higher-than-expected cardiovascular deaths (VT/VF, asystole) have been seen in COVID-19 patients. A small subgroup of severe ICU patients develop sec- ondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)8 and acute pulmonary embolism.9

As for imaging, portable chest X-rays (CXRs) are suf cient in most cases for assessing the patient’s lung parenchyma.10 The most common CXR nding is bilat- eral patchy in ltrates which may evolve rapidly.11 Routine chest CT increases the risk of viral transmission to health-care workers and has a low speci city as a screen- ing tool.12, 13 It is generally not recommended by the American College of Radiology.14 On CT scan, COVID-19 pneumonia was similar to a viral pneumonia, but was more likely to have ground-glass opaci cations, vascular thickening, and ne reticular opacities.15 However, early in the course of the disease, a normal chest CT does not exclude COVID-19 and an abnormal CT scan cannot diagnose COVID-19. Therefore, CT scanning is limited to patients who clinically show symptoms of a complication such as an empyema or abscess or concern of pulmonary embolism.

Additionally, bronchoscopy is not recommended or necessary for the purpose of ruling COVID-19 in or out and should be avoided to minimize aerosolization and increasing transmission. Bronchoscopy should only be done if it will change clini- cal management and should be completed in a negative pressure room, if at all possible.


Berlin Criteria for ARDS16

Acute onset of 1 week or less

Bilateral opacities on chest CT or CXR

Must not be fully explained by cardiac failure or failure overload



PaO2/FiO2 > 200 mmHg but ≤ 300 mmHg PEEP or CPAP ≥5 cm H2O


PaO2/FiO2 > 100 mmHg but ≤ 200 mmHg PEEP ≥5 cm H2O


PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 100 mmHg PEEP ≥5 cm H2O


Table 16.2 The Berlin Criteria for ARDS

Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

16.4 Etiology of Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure in COVID-19

In the media, there has been discussion about whether hypoxemic respiratory failure from COVID-19 is ARDS, another process similar to high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or some other novel syndrome. Since ARDS is not a speci c dis- ease, but rather a clinical syndrome with varying disease severity, COVID-19 ts the spectrum of ARDS as de ned by the Berlin criteria (Table 16.2).7

The noncardiogenic pulmonary edema (edema that develops in the setting of normal left atrial pressures) resulting from HAPE, ARDS from COVID-19, and many other causes is due to an imbalance in Starling forces. The reasons for the imbalance are markedly different between ARDS and HAPE. In ARDS from COVID-19 or other causes, in ammation and the innate immune response leads to damage of the alveolar epithelium and endothelium and increased capillary perme- ability, leading to uid accumulation in both alveolar spaces and interstitium. Proin ammatory cytokines, secreted by alveolar macrophages, sustain in amma- tion and lung injury leading to ventilation–perfusion mismatch and hypoxemia. On the other hand, the noncardiogenic pulmonary edema that results from HAPE is due to excessive hypoxemic pulmonary vasoconstriction, and not an in ammatory pro- cess. Therefore, treating COVID-19 with medications used to manage HAPE is unlikely to be bene cial and may be harmful.

16.5 Management of Hypoxemia in Nonintubated Patients

Case series from Seattle, China, and Italy suggest a range of disease severity, gas exchange impairments, and respiratory compliance.2, 3, 17, 18 For the management of hypoxemia in nonintubated individuals, nasal cannula up to 6 LPM should be the rst-line treatment to meet oxygenation goals (eg, oxygen saturation 90–96%). If not suf cient, a nasal pendant can be used up to 12 L or a non-rebreather up to 15 L should be used to titrate SpO2 saturation to greater than 90%.

Management of Intubated Patients

Self-proning (spending as much time as is feasible and safe in the prone position while receiving oxygen) may improve the recruitment of alveoli in dependent areas of the lung and may improve perfusion to ventilated areas, thus improving V/Q mismatching in nonintubated patients.19 Proning is used in ventilated patients, and while low tidal volumes cannot be guaranteed in spontaneously breathing patients, self-proning in nonintubated patients is likely safe and is being used at some institu- tions.20, 21

There are con icting opinions about using noninvasive ventilation and high- ow nasal cannulas (HFNCs) to extend the time before a patient becomes intubated. In patients who are suffering from ARDS, studies show a frequent need for mechanical ventilation despite the use of these measures. Another signi cant consideration is that both interventions aerosolize the virus, risking infecting the staff and further increasing transmission. Both the WHO and SCCM guidelines make weak recom- mendations for HFNC in select patients.22

16.6 Management of Intubated Patients

Early controlled elective intubation is recommended if there is (1) a rapid pro- gression over hours; (2) persistent or worsening hypoxemia despite nasal pen- dant or non-rebreather; (3) hypercapnia, accessory muscle use, and altered mental status; and/or (4) hemodynamic stability or multiorgan failure. Since intubation is a high-risk procedure for droplet dispersion, airborne PPE should be used and the procedures should be performed in an airborne infection isola- tion room if possible.

Since COVID-19-associated respiratory failure ts the spectrum of ARDS, evi- dence-based management of ARDS should be applied to COVID-19-associated respiratory failure. The principles of ARDS management include lung protective ventilation (low tidal volume ventilation, LTVV),23 positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) titration, conservative uid management, and prone ventilation.

16.6.1 Lung Protective Ventilation

The initial ventilator settings should use the volume-assisted control to achieve LTVV [4–8 cc/kg of predicted body weight (PBW), targeting a plateau pressure (Pplat) ≤30 cm H2O]. LTTV, adjusted by PBW and thereby lung size, can minimize volutrauma (overdistension of already-open alveoli)]. This approach is based on several RCTs showing an improved mortality from LTVV in patients with ARDS.24

16.6.2 PEEP Titration

Titrating PEEP can prevent decruitment, thereby increasing functional lung size and decreasing the risk of volutrauma. PEEP and FiO2 are titrated to target oxygenation (goal: SpO2 92–96%) per the ARDS net low PEEP (Table 16.3).7 Patients are


Low PEEP ARDS Net Table




















Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

Table 16.3 PEEP and FiO2 Levels and ARDS

sometimes started on higher-than-usual levels of PEEP (10–15 cm H2O) since reports suggest that some COVID-19 ARDS patients are responsive to high PEEP and have high lung compliance such that Pplat ≤30 cm H2O is not dif cult to achieve.

16.6.3 Conservative Fluid Management

A conservative uid approach is one of the mainstays of ARDS management.25 ARDS is a form of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema due to increased capillary permeability,26 which can be worsened by an increase in hydrostatic forces. The Fluid and Catheter Treatment trial showed that conservative uid management can improve oxygenation, ventilation-free days, and lung injury.27 Reducing intravascu- lar volume to reduce pulmonary edema needs to be balanced with the need for adequate perfusion to nonpulmonary organs. In practical terms, this translated to avoiding a positive uid balance (sometimes requiring the administration of diuret- ics) in patients post-resuscitation and without ongoing shock.

16.6.4 Prone Ventilation

Prone ventilation is the delivery of mechanical ventilation with the patient in the prone position and is a key component of management of patients with severe ARDS who are intubated. Studies have demonstrated improved oxygenation, and one study showed a mortality bene t with ventilation in the prone position in those with severe ARDS.28–30 Prone positioning is recommended for patients with severe ARDS whose P/F remains less than 150 mmHg for 12 h despite ventilator optimiza- tion with LTVV in the supine position. Prone positioning is usually implemented early in the course of ARDS (within 36 h), and patients are usually maintained in the prone position for 16–18 consecutive hours per 24 h. For patients who have a

Management of Intubated Patients

sustained improvement in gas exchange, prone positioning is usually stopped when improvement in oxygenation (P/F ≥150 mmHg, FiO2 ≤0.6, PEEP ≤10 cm H2O, Ppl < 30, pH > 7.25) is maintained for at least 4 h after the end of the last prone session. If prone ventilation fails, the patient should be returned to the supine position.

Absolute contraindications to prone positioning include spinal instability or at risk for spinal instability, unstable fractures, shock, anterior burns and open wounds, recent tracheal surgery, pregnancy, and raised intracranial pressure. Other contraindi- cations include abdominal surgery, hemodynamic instability, and life-sustaining car- diac hardware. Common complications include transient desaturations, facial and ocular edema, decubitus ulcers, and dislodgement of catheters and endotracheal tubes.

16.6.5 Inhaled Pulmonary Vasodilators

Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO), a rapid acting vasodilator, selectively vasodilates the already well-ventilated areas, improving V/Q mismatch.31 A systematic review showed an improvement in P/F ratios at 24 h, but not at 48 or 72 h with iNO. There were no differences in duration of mechanical ventilation and length of ICU stay, but a signi cant increase in renal failure in the iNO group.32 There has been one small study in Beijing during the SARS epidemic, showing that iNO improved oxy- genation and decreased the amount of days on the ventilator.33 iNO may also have direct antiviral effects.34–36 iNO or other pulmonary vasodilators like nebulized epo- prostenol (a synthetic analogue of prostacyclin) may therefore have a role as rescue therapy in some patients with COVID-19 who have persistent hypoxemia that is unresponsive to PEEP titration and prone ventilation.

16.6.6 Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (VV ECMO)

VV ECMO is a type of pulmonary bypass allowing oxygenation to occur via an external membrane. Studies suggest that in severe ARDS, ECMO could be used after the failure of optimized ARDS management. Speci cally, ECMO can be con- sidered when there are no reversible causes and P/F is persistently <75 mmHG despite optimized PEEP, neuromuscular blockade, proning, and inhaled vasodilator; PPl >30 cm H2O despite lung protective ventilation; and pH < 7.2. Some studies suggest that referral to ECMO centers should be made early (within 7 days of severe ARDS).37 Absolute and relative contraindications to ECMO include advanced age, active malignancy, severe shock, multiorgan failure, severe neurologic injury, poor functional status, inability to anticoagulate, high body mass index (>40), thrombo- cytopenia (platelets less than 50), and neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <500). In the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization algorithm, there are no absolute contraindications except for end-stage respiratory failure when lung trans- plantation is not an option. Thromboembolism and bleeding are the major compli- cations from ECMO.



Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

16.7 Sedation/Analgesics/Paralytics

Prior studies show that lower levels of sedation and nonbenzodiazepine regimens decrease ICU days and duration of mechanical ventilation.38 To achieve appropri- ate sedation and analgesia, the lowest dose of any medication should be used to achieve the desired effect. Ventilation synchrony is very important to help reduce ventilator-induced lung injury, and this is achieved by appropriately balancing the sedative, analgesic, and neuromuscular blockade agents.7 The Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale, a validated 10-point scale (−5 to +4) to assess a patient’s level of sedation in the ICU, can be used to help describe the level of alertness or agitation in mechanically ventilated patients to prevent over- or under-sedation.39 The target score is 0 to −1 to maintain synchrony, without agitation (2–4), or over- sedation (−3 to −5).

The preferred therapy for sedation in many centers is propofol so as to avoid the use of benzodiazepines, particularly for patients with ARDS who have renal and/or liver dysfunction. Several cases of propofol-associated triglycerides and pancreati- tis have been reported.40 Although reported in less than 1% of patients, propofol infusion syndrome should be considered in patients receiving either high dose (>5 mg/kg/h) or longer duration (>48 h) who have unexplained metabolic acidosis, rhabdomyolysis, and EKG changes, with or without acute kidney injury, cardiac failure, or higher levels of liver enzymes, lactate, lipids, or potassium. Midazolam is often the second-line therapy for sedation.41 Obese patients are at an increased risk for prolonged sedation given the accumulation of drug and metabolite in excess adipose tissue. A slow and steady decrease in the rate of infusion can facilitate weaning without precipitating a withdrawal syndrome. Since dexmedetomidine is unlikely to provide deep levels of sedation, in the current climate it is often used as an adjunct to other sedatives, or as a 24- to 48-h bridge to wean benzodiazepines to facilitate extubation.

For analgesia in intubated patients, the rst-line therapy is fentanyl or hydromor- phone because these agents are fast-acting and titratable.7 Fentanyl is typically given as a continuous infusion. Since fentanyl is highly lipophilic, accumulation in fat and other tissues can result in prolonged sedation even after discontinuation. Hydromorphone is an alternative to fentanyl with dosing adjusted for hepatic or renal insuf ciency.7 Because of its longer duration of action, hydromorphone is pre- ferred if patients only require intermittent bolus dosing.

A subset of patients with severe ARDS (PaO2:FiO2 < 150 after at least 12 h of mechanical ventilation using FiO2 > 0.6 and PEEP > 5 cm H2O) and ventila- tor dys-synchrony causing high plateau pressures (>30cm H2O) or injurious tidal volumes (TV >8 cc/kg IBW) or hypoxemia may bene t from neuromuscu- lar blockade. Since neuromuscular blockade therapies do not have any analgesic or sedative properties, deep sedation is necessary before neuromuscular block- ade is initiated. Cisatracurium is often used as a rst-line treatment and pre- ferred in patients who have renal and liver dysfunction as well as hemodynamically unstable patients. Alternative agents include vecuronium, rocuronium, and atracurium.7


16.8 Weaning and Extubation

There is extensive literature on liberation from mechanical ventilation.42 Guidelines for consideration of a weaning trial include (1) ability to initiate own breaths, (2) reso- lution of the underlying disease process, (3) improved gas exchange (eg, O2 satura- tion >90% on 40% oxygen or less, or PaO2/FiO2 >150), (4) minute ventilation requirements not excessive (eg, less than 12 L/minute; RR < 30), (5) preserved mental status, (6) lack of excessive pulmonary secretions, and (7) hemodynamic stability.

Once these criteria have been met, daily spontaneous breathing trials (SBT) remain the most effective method to wean from mechanical ventilation.43–45 An SBT consists of a trial on minimal PEEP (5 cm H2O) and pressure support (usually 0–5 cm H2O) for a set period of time (30–120 min). The patient should be assessed for the following respiratory parameters: SpO2 >90 and/or PaO2 > 60 mmHg, sponta- neous tidal volume 4–6 ml/kg PBW, respiratory rate less than 35 per min, pH > 7.3, and no signs of respiratory distress. Once the patient can tolerate the SBT for 30–120 min while remaining hemodynamically stable with noncopious secretions and suf cient mental status, extubation can be considered.46

Prior to extubation, glucocorticoids should be considered due to evidence of pre- venting stridor, laryngeal edema, and reducing the incidence of reintubation.47–49 Therefore, 40 mg of methylprednisolone IV should be given 4–6 h prior to planned extubation, with a maximum dose of 80 mg if extubation is delayed. Patients who have passed an SBT and are considered at high risk for postextubation respiratory failure (age >65, CHF, COPD, hypercapnia during SBT) had improved outcomes with noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) or HFNC in the immediate postextubation period.50–52 Alternatively for patients who develop respiratory failure within 48 h of extubation, NIPPV as a rescue therapy for respiratory failure has been shown in some studies to increase all-cause mortality.53

Since intubation, reintubation, NIPPV, and HFNC are considered aerosol-gener- ating procedures, the following modi cations should be considered in COVID19 patients:

• Consider extending SBT trials to 2 h to ensure higher likelihood of postextu- bation failure.

• Consider an SBT trial with no additional PEEP to ensure patients can tolerate no PEEP postextubation.

• Carefully consider the risk to health-care workers and review hospital policy prior to using NIPPV and HFNC postextubation in COVID-19 patients that have passed an SBT trial but are at high risk for postextubation failure.

16.9 Tracheostomy

Since tracheostomy is an aerosol-generating procedure and increases potential viral exposure to the health-care team, decision-making in tracheostomy should take into account the surgical team and hospital policy. The American Academy of



Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has issued guidelines on tracheostomy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

16.9.1 Tracheotomy Recommendations during the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the time of this writing, there is no data on the role of tracheostomy in COVID- 19 patients. Tracheostomy can be considered in patients with stable respiratory sta- tus but not sooner than 2–3 from intubation. Overall, early tracheostomy placement (earlier than 10 days) is not recommended due to previous studies showing no improvement in survival, ventilator-associated pneumonia rate, or duration of mechanical ventilation for patients with respiratory failure.54 It is important to note that the average duration of ventilation in COVID-19 patients is about 8 days and the average ICU stay is around 10 days. Therefore, there is minimal evidence to support early tracheostomy placements in COVID-19 patients, even if early trache- ostomies were to reduce health-care resources. Patients who have a tracheostomy placed need long-term care, and this needs to also be considered when thinking of placing early tracheostomies in patients who might be able to be extubated prior to needing a tracheostomy.55

16.10 Cytokine Storm

It has been postulated that a subgroup of patients with severe COVID-19 exhibit a dysregulated immune response, or “cytokine storm” that leads to progressive dis- ease.56 The “cytokine storm” appears to be similar to the hyperin ammation seen in other virally triggered secondary HLH. In HLH, aggressive immune activation of macrophages leads to an excessive cytokine response with both laboratory and clin- ical evidence of severe in ammation.57 This immune activation increases ferritin, ESR, and CRP; decreases platelets; and can lead to worsening respiratory failure and multiorgan failure.

It is unclear if immunosuppression in this subset of patients with severe in am- mation can improve mortality. IL-6 activates T cells and macrophages, and increased levels of IL-6 may be associated with COVID-19 disease severity,58, 59 but it is unclear if blocking this cytokine could lead to improved clinical outcomes. IL-1 is a proin ammatory cytokine elevated in critical illness. Modulation of cytokines with monoclonal antibodies such as tocilizumab and sarilumab (monoclonal anti- bodies against the IL-6 receptor) and anakinra (recombinant antagonist of the IL-1 receptor) is being studied in clinical trials. Trials are additionally underway to test whether treatment with etoposide (by eliminating the cells that are causing the excessive cytokine response) improves clinical outcomes.7 The Hscore may be use- ful in identifying patients with HLH who should be considered for clinical trials.60 This score calculates the probability of HLH by assessing characteristics such as underlying immunosuppression, temperature, hepatomegaly or splenomegaly,

Anticoagulation in COVID-19 Patients

number of cytopenias, ferritin levels, triglyceride and brinogen levels, AST as well as if there are hemophagocytosis features on bone marrow aspirate.61

16.11 Shock Management

While patients rarely present with shock (MAP <65 or SBP< 90 with signs of hypo- perfusion requiring IVF or vasopressors to maintain adequate blood pressure), vaso- pressors are eventually used in about 70% of critically ill patients. The reason for shock in patients with COVID-19 is most often secondary to bacterial infection, cardiac dysfunction, or cytokine storm.7 The workup for shock should include assessing for end-organ damage (altered mental status; decreased urine output; abnormal electrolytes; and high levels of lactate, LFTs, and BUN/creatinine) and obtaining an infectious and cardiac workup. One study reported that 20% of COVID-19 nonsurvivors had a secondary bacterial infection and that 52% of non- survivors had heart failure or cardiogenic shock, usually presenting later in the dis- ease course.62

Management of septic shock should include early antibiotics and maintaining MAP above 65 mmHg. Since the majority of ICU patients with COVID-19 have ARDS, a more conservative uid strategy is preferred over the conventional uid strategy of 30 cc/kg to avoid exacerbating ARDS. Therefore, 250–500 cc of uid should be given and the patient assessed for an increase in MAP or decrease in pres- sor requirements in 15–30 min. 250–500 cc of uid can be repeated. If pressors are needed, norepinephrine is the initial vasopressor of choice (1–30 mcg/min).7 If a second vasopressor is needed, vasopressin of 0.4 units can be used. Cardiogenic shock should be comanaged with the cardiology team. Routine monitoring should include troponin, lactate, LFTs, SCvO2 or MvO2, and daily EKGs. Achieving a mean arterial pressure (MAP) of greater than 65 may require a combination of vaso- pressors (norepinephrine), diuretics, and inotropic support (dobutamine).

16.12 Anticoagulation in COVID-19 Patients

D-dimer, a marker associated with thrombosis, is often increased in patients with severe COVID-19, and several studies have shown high rates of thrombotic events in patients with severe COVID-19.63–66 In addition, ARDS of itself is known to be associated with coagulopathy and both macrovascular and microvascular thrombo- sis. Yet no clinical trials have demonstrated a bene t from therapeutic anticoagula- tion in patients with ARDS.67 Although ARDS and COVID-19 are associated with hypercoagulable states, there is a limited evidence that therapeutic anticoagulation improves outcomes.

Since critically ill patients with COVID-19 have a high rate of thrombosis (23– 43% in ICU patients), prophylactic anticoagulation is imperative for critically ill patients, unless contraindicated. Low molecular weight heparin is preferred, but unfractionated heparin is used if kidney function is impaired (creatinine clearance



Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

<30 ml/min). Some institutions use more aggressive anticoagulation with interme- diate-dose anticoagulation for prophylaxis in patients with very high D-dimer lev- els. Therapeutic dose anticoagulation is used to treat deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, unless contraindicated.

16.13 Corticosteroids in COVID-19 Patients

Preliminary data from the RECOVERY trial, a randomized trial of >6000 hospital- ized patients with COVID-19, demonstrates that dexamethasone has a mortality bene t in patients with COVID-19 who require oxygen or are mechanically venti- lated.68 Patients who did not require oxygen did not bene t from dexamethasone. Therefore, for patients with COVID-19 on supplemental oxygen (whether sponta- neously breathing or mechanically ventilated), dexamethasone 6 mg either intrave- nously or by mouth for 10 days (the equivalent of 40 mg prednisone daily) should strongly be considered if not contraindicated.

16.14 Palliative Care

In the ICU setting, palliative care consult services have an increasingly important role in helping medical teams with goals of care and advanced care planning discussions with patients and health-care proxies. For patients who are end-of-life, palliative care services also provide support and guidance in symptom management, particularly with opioids and benzodiazepines to help control pain and anxiety. Some hospitals, like the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, implemented COVID-19 Intensive Palliative Care Units during the pandemic to help provide support and comfort-focused care to COVID-19 patients with organ failure and an estimated prognosis of less than 1 week.7

Consultations with palliative care should happen early so that a plan is set in place that is in accordance with patients’ wishes. These discussions are particularly important since cardiopulmonary resuscitation may not offer a bene t in some patients with COVID-19, particularly those with advanced age (>80 years old) and/ or comorbid cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory disease and increase transmission to health-care workers. Several resources are available to help providers initiate and respond to often very dif cult conversations.

• Center to advance palliative care

• VITAL talk.
16.15 Conclusion

• COVID-19 can become severe very quickly, and transfer or admission to ICU should be considered with any of the following: provider concern, high nursing requirements, risk of decompensation from severe comorbid illness, signs of


respiratory distress, hemodynamic instability, acidosis, and increased levels of

lactate (>2).

• Evidence-based management of ARDS, including lung protective ventilation
(LTVV), PEEP titration, conservative uid management, and prone ventilation,
should be applied to COVID-19-associated respiratory failure.

• Prophylactic anticoagulation is imperative for critically ill patients, unless con- traindicated, with some institutions using more aggressive anticoagulation with intermediate-dose anticoagulation for prophylaxis in patients with very high
D-dimer levels.

• If not contraindicated, patients with COVID-19 should be considered for cortico-
steroids if they require supplemental oxygen (whether spontaneously breathing or mechanically ventilated).

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35. Stuehr DJ, Gross SS, Sakuma I, Levi R, Nathan CF. Activated murine macrophages secrete a metabolite of arginine with the bioactivity of endothelium-derived relaxing factor and the chemical reactivity of nitric oxide. J Exp Med. 1989;169:1011–1020.

36. Uehara EU, Shida B de S, de Brito CA. Role of nitric oxide in immune responses against viruses: beyond microbicidal activity. In amm Res. 2015;64:845–852.

37. Combes A, Hajage D, Capellier G, et al. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. N Engl J Med 2018;378:1965.

38. Shehabi Y, Lucy C, Suhaini K, et al. Sedation depth and long-term mortality in mechanically ventilated critically ill adults: a prospective longitudinal multicentre cohort study. Intens Care Med. 2013;39:910–918.

39. Sessler CN, Gosnell MS, Grap MJ, et al. The Richmond Agitation–Sedation Scale. Am J Respir Critic Care Med. 2002;166(10):1338–1344.

40. Devlin JW, Lau AK, Tanios MA. Propofol-associated hypertriglyceridemia and pancreatitis
in the intensive care unit: an analysis of frequency and risk factors. Pharmacotherapy. 2005.

41. Hemphill S, McMenamin L, Bellamy MC, Hopkins PM. Propofol infusion syndrome:
a structured literature review and analysis of published case reports. Br J Anaesth.

42. MacIntyre NR, Cook DJ, Ely EW, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for weaning and discon-
tinuing ventilatory support: a collective task force facilitated by the American College of Chest Physicians; the American Association for Respiratory Care; and the American College of Critical Care Medicine. Chest 2001;120(6 Suppl):375S–95S.

43. Ely EW, Baker AM, Dunagan DP, et al. Effect on the duration of mechanical ventilation of identi- fying patients capable of breathing spontaneously. New Engl J Med. 1996;335(25):1864–1869.

44. Esteban A, Alía I, Tobin MJ, et al. 1999. Effect of spontaneous breathing trial duration on out- come of attempts to discontinue mechanical ventilation. Spanish Lung Failure Collaborative
Group. Am J Respir Critic Care Med. 159(2):512–518.

45. Esteban A, Frutos F, Tobin MJ, et al. A comparison of four methods of weaning patients from
mechanical ventilation. New Engl J Med. 1995;332(6):345–350.

46. ARDSNET. NIH NHLBI ARDS clinical network mechanical ventilation protocol summary. les/ventilator_protocol_2008-07.pdf. Accessed May 20, 2020.

47. François B, Bellissant E, Gissot V, et al. 12-h pretreatment with methylprednisolone versus placebo for prevention of postextubation laryngeal oedema: a randomised double-blind trial.
Lancet 2007;369:1083–1089.

48. Cheng K-C, Hou C-C, Huang H-C, Lin S-C, Zhang H. Intravenous injection of methylpred-
nisolone reduces the incidence of postextubation stridor in intensive care unit patients. Crit
Care Med. 2006;34:1345–1350.

49. Lee C-H, Peng M-J, Wu C-L. Dexamethasone to prevent postextubation airway obstruc-
tion in adults: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Crit Care.

50. Fan E, Zakhary B, Amaral A, et al. 2017. Liberation from mechanical ventilation in criti-
cally ill adults. An of cial ATS/ACCP clinical practice guideline. Ann Am Thoracic Soc.

51. Ferrer M, Valencia M, Nicolas JM, Bernadich O, Badia JR, Torres A. Early noninvasive venti-
lation averts extubation failure in patients at risk: a randomized trial. Am J Respir Critic Care Med. 2006;173(2):164–170.



Chapter 16: Severe COVID-19 and ICU

52. Maggiore, Salvatore Maurizio, Francesco Antonio Idone, Rosanna Vaschetto, Rossano Festa, Andrea Cataldo, Federica Antonicelli, Luca Montini, Andrea De Gaetano, Paolo Navalesi, and Massimo Antonelli. Nasal high- ow versus venturi mask oxygen therapy after extuba- tion. Effects on oxygenation, comfort, and clinical outcome. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014;190(3):282–288.

53. Esteban A, Frutos-Vivar F, Ferguson ND, et al. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation for respiratory failure after extubation. New Engl J Med. 2004;350(24):2452–2460.

54. Young D, Harrison DA, Cuthbertson BH, Rowan K, TracMan Collaborators. Effect of early vs late tracheostomy placement on survival in patients receiving mechanical ventilation: the TracMan randomized trial. JAMA. 2013;309(20):2121–2129.

55. Terragni PP, Antonelli M, Fumagalli R, et al. Early vs late tracheotomy for prevention of pneu- monia in mechanically ventilated adult ICU patients: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1483–1489.

56. Mehta P, McAuley DF, Brown M, et al. COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syn- dromes and immunosuppression. Lancet 2020;395:e30–e31. S0140-6736(20)30628-0.

57. Ramos-Casals M, Brito-Zeron P, López-Guillermo A, Khamashta MA, Bosch X. Adult hae- mophagocytic syndrome. Lancet 2014;383:1503–1516.

58. Kleiner G, Marcuzzi A, Zanin V, Monasta L, Zauli G. Cytokine levels in the serum of healthy subjects. Mediators In amm. 2013;2013:1–6.

59. Ruan Q, Yang K, Wang W, Jiang L, Song J. Clinical predictors of mortality due to COVID- 19 based on an analysis of data of 150 patients from Wuhan, China. Intens Care Med. 2020;46(5):846–848.

60. MD+Calc. HScore for Reactive Hemophagocytic Syndrome. reactive-hemophagocytic-syndrome. Accessed May 20, 2020.

61. Fardet L, Galicier L, Lambotte O, et al. Development and validation of the hscore, a score for the diagnosis of reactive hemophagocytic syndrome. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014;66(9):2613–2620.

62. Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020;28;395(10229):

63. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases
of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet.

64. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavi-
rus in Wuhan China. Lancet. 2020;295(10223):497–506.

65. Tang N, Li D, Wang X, et al Coagulation parameters are associated with poor prognosis in
patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18(4):844–847.

66. Wu C, Chen X, Cai Y, et al. Risk factors associated with acute respiratory distress syn- drome and death in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia in China. JAMA.

67. Camprubi-Rimblas M, Tantinya N, Bringue J, et al. Anticoagulation therapy in acute respira-
tory distress syndrome. Ann Transl Med. 2018;6(2):36.

68. Horby P, Lim WS, Emberson J, et al. 2020. Effect of dexamethasone in hospitalized patients
with COVID-19: preliminary report. Infect Dis.

Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

Ejaz Ahmad M.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., Gary Shmorgon, and Carmina Rogelio

List of Abbreviations


Acute respiratory distress syndrome Central nervous system
Coronavirus disease
Carbon monoxide diffusion capacity Forced vital capacity

Health-related quality of life Middle East respiratory syndrome Peripheral nervous system
Severe acute respiratory syndrome Total lung capacity

17.1 Introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new disease, with the rst positive cases emerging in December 2019; there are no studies about its long-term impact on health, especially in people with severe symptoms. The evidence from earlier chap- ters suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can attach to, and penetrate, human cells in many parts of the body, including many major organs such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, brains, and even blood vessels. Although it may be too early to know of longer-term complications of COVID-19, this chapter will discuss what has been learned about the pathophysiologies and long-term complications seen in the cases of the other two coronaviruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respira- tory syndrome (SARS), and compare potential similarities with COVID-19.1

17.2 SARS—Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

The literature assessing long-term complications of SARS is now available given the long follow-up time (18 years), and allows for more complete analysis and under- standing of the aftermath associated with this rst 2003 coronavirus epidemic.




Chapter 17: Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

In order to better discuss the health results from SARS, post-recovery will be de ned as symptomology and complications associated with SARS within a 1-year span of disease recovery. Long-term complications will be de ned as any disease symptomology or complications that persist or emerge 1 year following recovery.

In regard to the post-recovery phase of SARS, respiratory complications were seen to persist in people over 60 years who experienced severe symptoms.2 In 15 out of the 24 patients (62%), who underwent computerized tomography (CT) of the thorax 5 weeks post-hospitalization, showed changes associated with pulmonary brosis in 62% of patients but a mild decrease in total lung capacity (TLC) 81% of predicted and forced vital capacity (FVC). In these patients, the residual volume was at 65% of predicted. In the post-recovery phase, 6–20% of SARS patients were found to have a mild to moderate muscle weakness.2

Another data series in the same study evaluated the health impact that SARS had on 258 patients from Xiaotangshan Hospital in Beijing. It was reported that 2 months post-hospitalization, 21% (54 individuals) had impaired carbon monoxide diffusion, while 6% (16) had a restrictive ventilatory defect FVC.2 After an addi- tional month, the carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO) improved in 80.3% of those 54 patients and 81.3% of those 16 patients had an improved FVC. The authors concluded that while most patients affected by SARS made a complete recovery after 3 months post-discharge, there were a small percentage of people that continued to have persisting respiratory problems.

The long-lasting effects of SARS in some patients were con rmed by another study from Hong Kong that evaluated SARS patients at 6 months and 1 year after infection.3 At 6 months, the researchers found that 33 (30%) of patients presented with abnormal chest radiographs, and 4, 7, and 16% of patients had FVC, TLC, and DLCO below 80% predicted, respectively. At 1-year follow-up, 27 (28%) had abnormal chest radiographs. 4, 5, and 23% of patients had FVC, TLC, and DLCO below 80% predicted, respectively. The study shows that while active recovery takes place within the rst couple months post-hospitalization, the overall number of indi- viduals who make a complete recovery from the SARS infection tapers off with a small subset of patients continuing to experience respiratory dif culties.

SARS studies of longer-term lung function at 12 and 15 years post-infection further reveal that while most patients did make a full recovery, a small subset con- tinued to experience permanent lung-related damage.4, 5 It is important to note that all subjects were normal on the basis of a clinical evaluation at the 12-year mark, and only a more in-depth examination revealed persistent lung injury.

Outside of respiratory concerns, additional long-term complications included muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, depression, nonrestorative sleep, and bone prob- lems prominently among patients. A study of 22 SARS patients in Toronto who were followed for 3 years (mean 19.8 months) found that the group had symptoms similar to bromyalgia, depression, and sleep disturbance.6 In a study of 369 SARS survivors, 40.3% experienced chronic fatigue syndrome 3.5 years after being diag- nosed.7 Viral infections like Epstein–Barr have been linked to chronic fatigue.

MERS—Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

Avascular necrosis of the hip was commonly reported as a side effect due to the high-dose steroid treatment.2 A 15-year follow-up study demonstrated that in the rst year, 21% (17) of patients had some form of avascular necrosis on the femoral head of the hip joint. Over time, the clinical stage of femoral head necrosis actually progressed in some of these patients from 2003 to 2007. After 2007, the clinical stage of the femoral head necrosis stabilized in all patients.5

The last two common complications that were associated with post-hospitaliza- tion due to SARS were a reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and poor mental health. At the 1-year follow-up time, the HRQoL was continually lower in the SARS survivor group compared to that of the normal control group assessed by utilizing a standardized 6-minute walk and a 36-item Short-Form General Health Survey.3 In regard to SARS-associated poor mental health, a study reporting on a 5-week follow-up of 101 patients found that 25% experienced anxiety and 14% reported symptoms of depression.2 In the same study, 5% of patients reported expe- riencing severe anxiety or depression 2 months after discharge. Finally, in a 15-year follow-up period, 42.5% (77) of patients experienced at least one active psychiatric illness.5 While many of these individuals with poor mental health do eventually recover, it is alarming that so many experienced poor mental health is a result of SARS infection.

17.3 MERS—Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

Ten years after the SARS epidemic in Asia, another deadly coronavirus appeared in the Middle East.8 MERS emerged in Saudi Arabia and was largely contained to the Arabian Peninsula, but in 2015, there was an outbreak in South Korea.9 Mortality analysis of MERS-CoV revealed a 29.8% overall mortality rate, but a 45.2% mor- tality rate for those above the age of 60.10 Similar to SARS, respiratory illness was the largest complication in MERS.

In a study that looked at 73 patients who had MERS, 25% (18) of patients did not have pneumonia, while the remaining 75% of patients experienced varying severi- ties of pneumonia.11 After adjusting for multiple variables, the study found that DLCO and FVC were signi cantly reduced among patients who presented with pneumonia 1 year after, and that it was a dose-dependent relationship—those with more severe pneumonia having lower DLCO and FVC values.11,12 A substantial number of patients recovering from MERS develop lung brosis on imaging stud- ies.9 As in the case of SARS, reduced lung function and pulmonary brosis were the primary results in patients who recovered from MERS.

Aside from respiratory complications, the MERS-CoV infection also resulted in neurological complications and chronic fatigue syndrome. In a case report pub- lished by Algahani, Subahi, and Shirah, the authors present two cases of individuals developing a neurological complication as a result of acquiring MERS. In one case, the patient developed an intracerebral hemorrhage due to platelet dysfunction,



Chapter 17: Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

disseminated intravascular coagulation, and thrombocytopenia.12 In the second case, the patient developed critical illness polyneuropathy. In regard to the develop- ment of chronic fatigue syndrome, around 54% of patients who have survived the MERS-CoV infection ended up developing the syndrome within a 2-year time span after being discharged from the hospital.12

The nal major complication should be discussed in the reduction of quality of life in survivors of the MERS-CoV virus. Among those with different disease sever- ities, patients with greater disease severity had a signi cant (p < 0.05) reduction in the quality of life compared to those who experienced a lesser disease severity.13

Overall, the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV caused a plethora of different compli- cations that provide a framework to better understand what pathologies to expect from SARS-CoV-2. Respiratory, neurological, chronic fatigue syndrome, reduced quality of life, bone-related issues, muscle weakness, and poor mental health are complications that needed to be considered for COVID-19.

17.4 Post-Recovery Phase of COVID-19

The rst wave of COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping across the world, and much of the initial research was focused solely on understanding its health-related impacts, including respiratory issues, coagulopathy and cardiovascular-associated problems, and pediatric in ammatory syndrome found to be associated with the virus.14–16 As the pandemic evolves with some countries managing to control and reduce trans- mission, and others struggling to bring it under control, there is more research dis- cussing post-recovery complications of COVID-19 and eventually, long-term complications associated with it. As more information becomes available, this sec- tion will adapt and expand.

The rst, and most pressing, question that arises after recovering from COVID- 19 is whether an individual develops a robust immune response to the virus that prevents reinfection. The recent literature indicates that detectable levels of IgM and IgG antibodies develop and can be tested for a few days after most individuals are infected with SARS-CoV-2,17 but it is not de nitive whether these are protective. There have been cases in which patients who are discharged return a few days later with positive viral RT-PCR levels, even after having been undetectable during dis- charge.18 It has not been established whether this is a new infection, reinfection, or reactivation. There is evidence to demonstrate the presence of neutralizing antibod- ies and a cellular immune response in macaques, but nothing yet has been estab- lished in live humans.18

The follow-up question then attempts to determine if these antibodies aid in the clinical outcome of patients. While it has been demonstrated in a small nine person study that more antibodies are produced in a more severe case of COVID-19, the relationship between antibody levels and clinical outcome has not been established. This is further complicated by the idea that patients with less severe presentations of COVID-19 recover before seroconversion occurs.17

Post-Recovery Phase of COVID-19

As part of the coronavirus family, SARS-CoV-2 affects lung function in post- recovery especially in severe cases where patients develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In one study where 22 (16%) patients developed ARDS, the long-term complications were not yet established but experts postulated the poten- tial for the virus to develop pulmonary brosis.19 A radiology study of 21 patients demonstrated that maximum lung involvement occurs at day 10 post-infection, which can be easily seen as ground-glass opacities with crazy-paving patterns on lung CT.20 Additional scans post day 14 have shown a gradual resolution of consoli- dation and a decrease in lung involvement, hence indicating full recovery. On the other hand, in another radiology study of 70 patients, 66 (94%) of patients had residual lung disease at hospital discharge with 60% showing ground-glass opaci- ties on lung CT and 74% showing pure ground-glass opacity on lung CT.21

While there is not any clear evidence on post-recovery clinical lung outcomes, on a more anecdotal basis, Dr. Owen Tsang Tak-yin, Medical Director of the authori- ty’s Infectious Disease Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung, has noted that some patients experience a 20–30% decrease in lung function post-recov- ery.22 Given this commentary, it is essential that further studies be done both via radiology and via clinically in order to determine the effect of COVID-19 on respi- ratory outcomes.

The next complication that has been found in COVID-19 patients is the develop- ment of cardiac complications. In a case report of 138 patients, 16 (7%) of patients developed arrhythmia, while 7.2% developed some form of acute cardiac injury.23 Other studies have shown that COVID-19 patients present with higher cardiac tro- ponin I and BNP levels indicating myocardial involvement.24,25 Additionally, anec- dotal evidence has shown a higher incidence of cardiac cases such as acute-onset heart failure, myocardial infarction, and myocarditis in COVID-19 patients.23 Given the nature of SARS-CoV-2 affecting the heart and cardiovascular system, cardiac injury is highly probable and needs to be accounted for in the future COVID-19 treatment.

There are also neuropsychiatric and central nervous system (CNS) complications that arise in COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 CNS disease has been linked with encephalopathy, encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, meningitis, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, venous sinus thrombosis, and endothelialitis.26 In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), COVID-19 PNS disease has been associated with dysfunction of smell and taste, muscle injury, and the Guillain–Barre syn- drome.26,27 These ndings and associations suggest that it is important to consider these complications during the post-recovery phase and longer-term follow-up of COVID-19 survivors.

The nal complications that have yet to be studied but need to be addressed in the post-recovery phase of COVID-19 are its effect on mental health and quality of life and the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. Given the similar ndings found between SARS and MERS, it is essential to look at these complications in the post- recovery phase of COVID-19. Previous epidemics have set the groundwork on what to investigate in months and years after the initial outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.



Chapter 17: Post-Recovery and Long-Term Complications

While the data is quite limited in regard to COVID-19, the similarities and differ- ences can be easily seen between the previous two epidemics and the current pan- demic. This chapter provides an in-depth overview of what was found in the SARS and MERS outbreaks that allows for a potential framework that can be used to study the current COVID-19 outbreak. This chapter has then identi ed complications that have been studied and need additional investigation in the current COVID-19 out- break. As time progresses and further data becomes available, it is essential to con- tinually build on the foundation that has been set in this chapter.


1. Petrosillo N, Viceconte G, Ergonul O, Ippolito G, Petersen E. COVID-19, SARS and MERS: are they closely related? Clin Microbiol Infect. 2020;26(6):729–734.

2. Chan KS, Zheng JP, Mok YW, et al. SARS: prognosis, outcome and sequelae. Respirology. 2003;8:36–40.

3. Hui DSC, Tong M, Chan DP, Sung JJY, Wong KT, Antonio G. Long-term sequelae of SARS: physical, neuropsychiatric, and quality-of-life assessment. Hong Kong Med J. 2009;15(suppl. 8):21–23.

4. Guo L, Han Y, Li J, et al. Long-term outcomes in patients with severe acute respira- tory syndrome treated with oseltamivir: a 12-year longitudinal study. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2019;12(10):12464–12471.

5. Zhang P, Li J, Liu H, et al. Long-term bone and lung consequences associated with hospital- acquired severe acute respiratory syndrome: a 15-year follow-up from a prospective cohort study. Bone Res. 2020;8(1):84–85.

6. Moldofsky H, Patcai J. Chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, depression and disordered sleep in chronic post-SARS syndrome; a case-controlled study. BMC Neurol. 2011;11:37.

7. Lam MHB, Wing YK, Yu MWM, et al. Mental morbidities and chronic fatigue in severe acute respiratory syndrome survivors long-term follow-up. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(22):2142–2147.

8. Memish ZA, Perlman S, Van Kerkhove MD, Zumla A. Middle East respiratory syndrome. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1063–1077.

9. Park WB, Jun K Il, Kim G, et al. Correlation between pneumonia severity and pulmonary complications in Middle East respiratory syndrome. J Korean Med Sci. 2018;33(24):1–5.

10. Ahmed AE. The predictors of 3- and 30-day mortality in 660 MERS-CoV patients. BMC Infect Dis. 2017;17(1):1–8.

11. Algahtani H, Subahi A, Shirah B. Neurological complications of middle east respiratory syn- drome coronavirus: a report of two cases and review of the literature. Case Rep Neurol Med. 2016;2016:1–6.

12. Soo-youn S. MERS victims suffer traumas 2 years after its outbreak. Korea Biomedical Review. Published 2017. Accessed June 13, 2020.

13. Batawi S, Tarazan N, Al-Raddadi R, et al. Quality of life reported by survivors after hos- pitalization for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2019;17(1):1–7.

14. Horn A. More than 1 million people have recovered from COVID-19 worldwide. NPR. https:// people-have-recovered-from-covid-19-worldwide. Accessed June 16, 2020.

15. Balachandar V, Mahalaxmi I, Subramaniam M, et al. Follow-up studies in COVID-19 recov- ered patients—is it mandatory? Sci Total Environ. 2020;729:139021.


16. Zaim S, Chong JH, Sankaranarayanan V, Harky A. COVID-19 and multiorgan response. Curr Probl Cardiol. 2020;21(1):1–9.

17. Kirkcaldy RD, King BA, Brooks JT. COVID-19 and postinfection immunity: limited evidence, many remaining questions. JAMA. 2020;323(22):2245–2246.

18. WHO. Coronavirus disease. World Heal Organ. 2020;2019:2633.

19. Spagnolo P, Balestro E, Aliberti S, et al. Pulmonary brosis secondary to COVID-19: a call to
arms? Lancet Respir Med. 2020;2019(20):2019–2020.

20. Pan F, Ye T, Sun P, et al. Time course of lung changes at chest CT during recovery from coro-
navirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Radiology. 2020;295(3):715–721.

21. Wang Y, Dong C, Hu Y, et al. Temporal changes of CT ndings in 90 patients with COVID-19
pneumonia: a longitudinal study. Radiology. 2020;2020:200843.

22. Cheung E. Coronavirus: some recovered patients may have reduced lung function and are left
gasping for air while walking briskly, Hong Kong doctors nd. South China Morning Post. some-recovered-patients-may-have. Accessed June 16, 2020.

23. American College of Cardiology. COVID-19 clinical guidance for the cardiovascular care team. Am Coll Cardiol. 2020:1–4.

24. Akhmerov A, Marbán E. COVID-19 and the heart. Circ Res. 2020:1443–1455.

25. Shi S, Qin M, Shen B, et al. Association of cardiac injury with mortality in hospitalized
patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Cardiol.

26. Koralnik IJ, Tyler KL. COVID-19: a global threat to the nervous system. Ann Neurol.

27. Troyer EA, Kohn JN, Hong S. Are we facing a crashing wave of neuropsychiatric sequelae
of COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric symptoms and potential immunologic mechanisms. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;87.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19

Ehsun Mirza M.D. and Arijit Robin Chakraborty

List of Abbreviations


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus disease 2019
Doing It’s Best
Emergency medical services

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Pandemic Preparedness Committee
World Health Organization

18.1 Introduction

The focus of this chapter is to describe a hospital’s response to a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in their area—including the ideal personal protective equipment (PPE) and the protocol necessary for preparation.

18.2 Personal Protective Equipment

All hospital personnel should have donned PPE prior to entering the room of a patient with COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of eye protec- tion, gowns, face masks, respirators, and gloves.1

Eye protection: Eye protection is necessary to reduce the potential for droplet transmission between the air and the eyes. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that the use of eye protection is associated with a decreased risk of infec- tion.2 It is often not considered, but eye protection can be an effective way to reduce the spread of infection in both the community and the hospital setting. In the context of a widespread shortage of PPE, it is prudent to limit the use of medically appropri- ate goggles to health-care workers. Protection from droplet transmission is only effective if the peripheral areas of the eyes are covered along with the front, so




Chapter 18: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19

protection in the form of splash-proof safety goggles or a face shield reaching the front of both ears is recommended. Other forms of eye protection, such as swim- ming goggles or face shield glasses, can be used in the community without fear of depleting medical resources. In the event of limited supply, hospitals may cancel elective procedures that would require the use of eye protection.

Gowns: Since COVID-19 can be spread through fomite transmission, it is neces- sary for health-care personnel to don gowns while treating infected patients. Proper disposal of gowns will prevent the virus from being spread by the health-care per- sonnel’s clothing after contact with a patient. For this reason, ideal gowning should include full-length gowns with shoe covers, leaving no civilian clothing exposed to the environment of the patient’s room. This protocol may need to be adjusted depending on availability at individual hospitals. The use of polyester or polyester- cotton gowns, which can be safely washed and reused, can help mitigate issues with limited supply.

Face masks: Ideally, covering of the mouth should be accomplished through the use of a respirator. If respirators are not available or are in short supply, a face mask can be used. Face masks provide two-way protection, preventing contact with the health-care personnel wearing the mask and preventing the spread by the potentially exposed person wearing the mask. Face masks have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of infection. A review by the WHO found that a person wearing a face mask is half as likely to become infected than a person not wearing a face mask.2 A recent study on the rate of transmission before and after mask mandates (April 8 to May 15) in 15 US states and the District of Columbia found that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate.3 After 5 days, the daily growth rate was 0.9 percentage-points lower compared to the 5 days prior. After 3 weeks, the daily growth rate had slowed down by 2 percentage-points. The authors note that by May 22, as many as 230,000–450,000 cases had been averted.8

The reduction in transmission in a health-care setting is even more dramatic with the use of face masks, largely due to proper tting and consistent use (Figure 18.1). Despite the increased risk of exposure in a hospital, health-care workers are 0.30 times as likely to contract the virus as opposed to only half as likely.1 Proper use of face masks can counteract the increased risk of infection. In the event of limited supply, it is admissible to use face masks past their shelf life. If a box of face masks has lasted past its shelf life with no visible degradation of the material, it can be used in situations of crisis capacity.

In the context of COVID-19, the main difference between protecting the airway with a surgical mask and protecting the airway through use of a respirator is related to the size of the coarse particles released from a patient’s breath. Breath particles are designated either as “droplets” or as “aerosol.” Droplets are de ned as particles greater than 5 μm, and aerosol consists of particles smaller than 5 μm. Face masks and respirators provide protection from COVID-19 transmission from both droplets and aerosol, but respirators provide a higher degree of protection from aerosol.4 This is particularly important in contexts such as the intubation of an affected COVID-19 patient, where the person performing the intubation is more likely to come into contact with aerosolized particles that have a high viral load.

Personal Protective Equipment





10 11 12

13 14

Figure 18.1 The 14 masks used in the test.7

In the United States, there are seven types of particulate ltering face-piece res- pirators that are approved for use by NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).4 They are classi ed based on two parameters: their resistance to oil and the percentage of airborne particles they can lter. Those that are not resis- tant to oil are classi ed N, those that are somewhat resistant to oil are classi ed R, and those that are strongly resistant to oil are classi ed P. They can lter, either at least 95% of airborne particles, at least 99%, or at least 99.97%, designating them by the numbers 95, 99, or 100. The seven available types are the N95, the N99, the N100, the R95, the P95, the P99, and the P100. Of these, the most widely available and widely used is the N95.

The N95 respirator is the standard in the United States for personal airway pro- tection, and is also approved by the WHO for the purpose of preventing COVID-19 transmission to health-care workers. The N95 has been shown to be more effective at preventing infection than face masks, including single-layer, 12-layer, or 16-layer



Chapter 18: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19

cotton masks.5 The N95 is comparable to the FFP2 which is certi ed for use in Europe, the KN95 in China, the P2 in Australia and New Zealand, the Korea 1st class respirator in Korea, and the DS2 in Japan.6 Due to availability, it is not recom- mended for the general public to use them in the event of a pandemic. They should be limited to use by health-care professionals who need to treat af icted patients. Ideally, patients with COVID-19 in hospitals should be placed in rooms with air- borne isolation, so only the personnel directly in contact with the patients should require the use of respirators. This is the most effective way to maximize a limited supply.

Surgical-grade masks are next most protective, but they can be costly and con- tribute to land ll waste. The evidence on homemade cotton masks is still emerging, but researchers from Duke University cobbled together a low-cost laser device and conducted a study comparing 14 different types of face coverings.7 The results showed that tted N95 masks followed by surgical masks blocked the greatest amount of droplets. N95 masks with valves were less effective. Masks made in three layers or more with vacuum cleaner bags or heavy weight quilter’s cotton were effective, but bandanas and neck eeces were among the least effective. Wearing a neck eece was actually worse than not wearing anything because the neck eece actually makes droplets proliferate in the air.

In COVID-19, viral load peaks in the days before onset of symptoms, speaking is enough to dispel virus-carrying droplets, and asymptomatic people can transmit disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO guidance recommends that everyone wear masks to slow down the rate of transmission. If 80% of people wear masks, it could reduce transmission more than lockdowns, and according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation if 95% of Americans wear masks, then 30,000 deaths can be prevented by October.8

Potential Impact of PPE on Patients: PPE such as face masks, eye protection, and respirators have all been shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and protect health-care workers. The major downside to the use of such strict PPE pro- tocol is the perception of reduced empathy among the patients who are being cared for. Some studies have shown that the use of face masks and face shields can lead to less effective communication between care providers and patients, and feelings of discomfort among patients. Patients experiencing isolation in a hospital are at risk for post-intensive care syndrome, which can be exacerbated by the lack of exposure to live human faces over an extended period of time.7 Fortunately, there are steps we can take to mitigate these issues, as well.

There are many steps health-care workers can take to humanize themselves and mitigate the psychological effects of prolonged isolation in patients with COVID-19. Some hospitals have added virtual visits between health-care personnel and their patients, allowing them an opportunity to interact without PPE. Another simple solu- tion is the PPE portrait project, where health-care workers keep disposable pictures of themselves attached to their PPE after donning them so that the patients can asso- ciate faces with their caretakers. This was started during the Ebola project in Africa, and has been implemented in some hospitals in the United States during the COVID- 19 project. Anecdotally, both patients and health-care workers have reported feeling a stronger sense of connection due to the introduction of PPE portraits.

Hospital Preparedness

Figure 18.2 The WHO’s hospital preparedness schematic for COVID-19.


Continuity of essential health services and patient care

Surge capacity

Human resources

Logistics and management of supplies, including pharmaceuticals

Essential support services

Infection prevention and control

Case management

Surveillance: early warning and monitoring

Laboratory services

18.3 Hospital Preparedness

In the event of an emerging pandemic, how should a hospital respond? What steps need to be taken to ensure preparedness for a potential pandemic? What infrastruc- ture needs to be in place in order to make sure that a hospital can do its part in miti- gating the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak? To answer these questions, let’s look at the response by the ctional Doing It’s Best (DIB) hospital.

At DIB, the Pandemic Preparedness Committee (PPC) stays in constant contact with the WHO and the CDC as well as global news sources to stay informed of outbreaks everywhere in the world. They establish a speci c location in the hospital to be the center of coordination in the event of a pandemic. This location is equipped with the ability to communicate throughout the hospital as well as the local news, government, and even the WHO. The PPC is organized according to the WHO’s hospital preparedness schematic9, shown below (Figure 18.2).


Incident management system


Chapter 18: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19

The PPC consists of 11 members, one person at the head of the committee and 10 members who are each responsible for one of the key components of the incident response delineated by the above schematic.

1. The PPC Communication coordinator is responsible for gathering accurate information and communicating this information to the hospital staff and local community to ensure communal, coordinated, and evidence-based decision-making.

2. The Continuity coordinator maintains hospital services that must be contin- ued and diverts resources away from hospital services that must be postponed in the event of a pandemic.

3. The Surge capacity coordinator keeps inventory of the hospital’s resources and develops contingency plans for an acute increase in the demand for such resources.

4. The HR coordinator ensures adequate staff will be available to respond to a pandemic.

5. The Logistics coordinator communicates with DIB’s suppliers, works in con- junction with the Surge capacity coordinator to be aware of inventory, and maintains an in ux of necessary supplies in the event of an acute increase in need.

6. The Essential Support Services coordinator focuses on maintaining the conti- nuity of laundry services, waste management, cleaning, and other support services at DIB.

7. The Infection Prevention coordinator is responsible for ensuring compliance with infection prevention protocol.

8. The Case Management coordinator is responsible for triage of patients.

9. The Surveillance coordinator is a trained epidemiologist who maintains con-
tact with the WHO and CDC’s surveillance programs.

10. The Laboratory Services coordinator is responsible for ensuring the availabil-
ity of testing as well as the proper implementation or abstention from the use of tests.

The head of the PPC oversees all ten areas to ensure a coordinated response. Each member trains a prospective replacement who could potentially replace them in the event of an emergency. This ensures continuity of decision-making if any of the members of the PPC are incapacitated during a pandemic.

When the Surveillance coordinator identi es an outbreak that may affect their community, the Communication coordinator immediately launches an awareness program that informs the hospital personnel about the potential outbreak as well as the key symptoms and history that would lead to the identi cation of infected patients. This is a process that the PPC and the employees would have already been accustomed to, because it was set in motion in the event of SARS, MERS, H1N1, Ebola, and other potential outbreaks that never made it to the news cycle.

The PPC becomes aware of COVID-19 in the early stages of the outbreak through the CDC, which is in close contact with the WHO’s Global In uenza Programme

Hospital Preparedness

that facilitates the identi cation and surveillance of u-like viruses across the world. As a result, the health-care workers at DIB are primed to be on the lookout for any patients with fever, malaise, and dry cough. Any patient presenting with these symp- toms can be recognized upon admission and regarded as potentially infected with COVID-19.

Prior to the outbreak, the Case management coordinator would have already assembled a team of trained hospital personnel who were speci cally assigned the task of handling triage in the event of a pandemic. As soon as they receive word of an outbreak involving an airborne upper respiratory infection, they work with the Surge Capacity and Logistics coordinators to take inventory of face masks, and make sure there will be enough available so they can be given to any patients being admitted with symptoms suggesting COVID-19. They in turn train the admission staff to recognize the symptoms of fever, malaise, and dry cough to maximize the number of people on the lookout for patients that should be offered face masks.

The waiting areas are reorganized in order to keep patients 6 ft apart as well as direct patients with COVID-19 symptoms to a designated area. Simultaneously, the PPC contacts local news sources and advertisers who help them spread the aware- ness of COVID-19 in their community and encourage patients to utilize phone and Telemedicine consultations in order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. The team also develops a written set of instructions about which patients would require admission, testing, and potentially be put on a ventilator, incorporating consider- ations such as age, comorbidities, and upcoming nonelective surgeries. The team is also in constant contact with the local emergency medical services (EMS) agencies that service DIB in order to identify potential COVID-19 patients being brought via ambulance so that the triage process for them can be done ahead of time. Every staff member in the hospital is informed to report potential cases to the PPC, and the PPC immediately reports any con rmed case to the local health department and the CDC.

DIB is prepared to use the proper PPE and to isolate potentially infected patients. As soon as a potential COVID-19 patient is identi ed, a systematic communication method relays the information between the front desk admissions and hospital per- sonnel responsible for setting up an isolation room, complete with an air ltration system to minimize the presence of airborne virions. Personnel donned with proper PPE escort the patients to their rooms.

Potentially infected patients are tested depending on the type of care the patients may need. If the patients are young, otherwise healthy, presenting with mild symp- toms, not scheduled for an upcoming nonelective surgery, or free of any comorbidi- ties, they are not tested. Whether they are positive or negative for the virus, these patients are sent home and advised to self-quarantine. If patients are older, function- ally limited, presenting with severe symptoms, scheduled for an upcoming nonelec- tive surgery, or positive for comorbidities, they are tested. A positive test means that their hospital stay will continue with isolation protocol.

The staff at DIB are diligent about preventing spread of the virus within the hos- pital from infected patients. Every hospital employee who needs to enter an isola- tion room does so with proper attire, complete with gloves, eye protection, respirator,



Chapter 18: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hospital Preparedness for COVID-19

gown, and shoe covers. After time spent inside of an isolation room, no employee makes contact with the nonisolated section of the hospital without a changing and washing protocol. Outside the isolation setting, the employees wash their hands regularly, practice physical distancing, wear surgical masks at all times, and are regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Let’s examine each part of their infec- tion prevention plan other than isolation.

Hygiene: Alcohol-based foam hand sanitizer dispensers are installed in conve- nient locations throughout the hospital, and the staff are accustomed to a “foam-in, foam-out” rule where hands are sanitized before and after every patient encounter. Sanitizer is used at least every two hours even without patient encounters.

Physical Distancing: Staff at DIB maintain 6 ft of distance between each other and with patients unless closer contact is necessary for proper medical care. Elevator capacities are adjusted to allow passengers to maintain the distance. Physical Plexiglas barriers are incorporated at nurse’s stations and reception desks.

Masks: The PPC takes inventory of masks and nds that their supply cannot sup- port a worsening pandemic. So, they mandate masks be worn by all health-care work- ers and all symptomatic patients. Once their mask supply is replenished and ready to handle the pandemic, all individuals in the hospital are required to wear masks, including non-health-care staff and all patients regardless of symptoms or diagnosis.

Screening: No staff member is allowed in a DIB hospital building if they are posi- tive for any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past three days, including fever, dry cough, sore throat, or a loss of taste sensation. If a staff member has had such symptoms, they must have two negative COVID-19 tests before being considered for return to work.

Over time, these infection prevention protocols become a normal part of DIB’s culture and are not seen as an inconvenience or imposition on the people who are in the hospital. DIB hospital manages to help patients, prevent spread of the virus, and minimize the death toll of the pandemic until time and new information brought the virus under control.

What were some key steps that DIB took in order to accomplish this? Some key points are below:

1. Appoint a committee for the express purpose of pandemic preparedness.

2. Maintain a constant communication with the WHO, CDC, and local health

3. Write down a speci c plan that describes triage policy changes in the event of
a pandemic, as well as plans on how to train personnel about recognizing
potentially infected patients.

4. Train and rehearse the plan.

5. Implement the plan before a pandemic arrives in the local area.

6. Communicate with local news sources, and spread information about the pan-
demic to the local community.

7. Maintain a strict protocol to prevent nosocomial infections, involving a com-
prehensive plan incorporating strict hygiene protocol, physical distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, and regular screening for COVID-19 symptoms.


Dr. Atul Gawande recommends four pillars to effectively stem the spread of COVID-19—hygiene, distancing, screening, and masks.10 The fth pillar, in Dr. Gawande’s strategy, is culture, in hospitals and general community settings, that requires people to care about their own safety as well as the safety of others.11 It means following rules and noting when such rules are lapsing, and being comfort- able in pointing out when standards are slipping.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using personal protective equipment (PPE). Published April 3, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2020.

2. Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, et al. Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2020;395(10242):1973–1987. s0140-6736(20)31142-9.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approved particulate ltering facepiece respi- rators. Published April 9, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2020.

4. Lyu W, Wheby GL, Community use of face masks and COVID-19: evidence from a natural experiment of State mandates in the U.S. Health Aff. 2020:39(8):1–7. hlthaff.2020.00818.

5. Leung NH, Chu DK, Shiu EY, et al. Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and ef cacy of face masks. Nat Med. 2020;26(5): 676–680.

6. 3M. Comparison of FFP2, KN95, and N95 and other ltering facepiece respirator classes. Revision 4. 2020.

7. Fisher EP, Fisher MC, Grass D, et al. Low-cost measurement of facemask ef cacy for lter- ing expelled droplets during speech. Sci Adv. Published online 07 August 2020. https://doi. org/10.1126/sciadv.abd3083.

8. IMHE.NewIHMECOVID-19modelprojectsnearly180,000USdeaths.June24,2020.IMHE. http://

9.World Health Organization 2020.

le/0010/430210/Hospital-Readiness-Checklist.pdf. Accessed July 8, 2020.

10. Gawande A. Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reëntry. https://www.newyorker. com/science/medical-dispatch/amid-the-coronavirus-crisis-a-regimen-for-reentry. Published
May 13, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2020.

11. Brown-Johnson C, Vilendrer S, Heffernan MB, et al. PPE Portraits—a way to humanize personal
protective equipment. J Gen Intern Med. 2020.


Testing for COVID-19

Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., and Naiyer Imam M.D.

List of Abbreviations

BAL Bronchoalveolar lavage
CDC Center for Disease Control
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid
FIA Fluorescent immunoassay
FIND Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics GISAID Global Initiative on Sharing all In uenza Data IgG Immunoglobulin G
NAAT Nucleic acid ampli cation test
RNA Ribonucleic acid
RT-PCR Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2


World Health Organization

19.1 Introduction

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged as an unprecedented public health threat. As an airborne virus, it is largely transmitted via respiratory droplets with the rst symptoms appearing around 5 days after infection (ranging from 2 to 14 days).1 However, unlike other coronaviruses, a sizable portion of person-to-per- son transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs before infected individuals develop symp- toms (presymptomatic) or never develop any symptoms (asymptomatic).2

A country’s ability to contain COVID-19 outbreaks depends on identifying and isolating positive cases, and quarantining their contacts. Large-scale diagnostic test- ing is essential since it allows countries to track viral spread within communities, to safely reopen economies and return life to the new normal, and to better manage clinical progression of illness. Early detection of COVID-19 can aid in the




Chapter 19: Testing for COVID-19

management of patients and prevent deaths. This chapter focuses on diagnostic test- ing currently available for COVID-19, and assesses their effectiveness in accurately detecting positive cases.

19.2 Background

The genomic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 was released on January 10, 2020,3 and it was soon followed by four other genomes deposited two days later in the viral sequence database curated by the Global Initiative on Sharing all In uenza Data (GISAID).4 As a result of this early sharing of the genome, companies and research groups across the world quickly worked toward developing diagnostic test kits. Researchers from Germany at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)5 at Charité in Berlin developed the rst laboratory assay to detect the virus that served as the basis for the rst diagnostic kits shipped by the World Health Organization (WHO) to its regional of ces on February 2 along with guidance on their use.6 Aggressive testing in Hong Kong, Republic of South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan helped to contain transmission (discussed in Chapter 23). Even European countries relied on scaling up testing to contain outbreaks, isolate infected individuals, and quarantine their contacts. The WHO recommended that governments test as many people as possible and that the rate of positivity in testing should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days before reopening and lifting stay at home orders and lockdowns.7

19.3 Types of Tests—NAAT, Antibody, and Antigen

Two types of diagnostic tests were being used to detect COVID-19. First, the real- time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a nucleic acid ampli cation test (NAAT), and second, serological tests that rely on host immuno- globulin G (IgG) or IgM, interleukins, and other host components. The RT-PCR, considered the gold standard, was usually done by swabbing the nose or mouth for the virus. From the swab sample, a speci c section of the viral genome reverse- transcribes the viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ampli es it through PCR to detectable amounts of the virus. The test requires a laboratory and can also be carried out on automated platforms known as point-of- care diagnostic testing like the Abbott ID NOW. The results can take several hours to complete, and RT-PCR testing requires test kits and materials from nose swabs to chemical reagents, as well as trained health-care professionals to administer.8

RT-PCR testing is nearly 100% accurate, but its accuracy depends on the amount of viral RNA present in the sample, which can depend on a variety of factors such as the timing of the test and the start of infection and/or onset of symptoms, the swabbing technique, and the location of the samples. The viral load samples based on location from within patients can vary. In COVID-19-positive patients, test results, determined by RT-PCR, report the following levels from samples: 93% from

Types of Tests—NAAT, Antibody, and Antigen

the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), 72% from sputum, 63% from nasal swab, 32% from pharyngeal swab, 29% from feces, 1% in blood, and 0% in urine.9 Scaling up RT-PCR can be expensive. However, recently, a saliva test, SalivaDirect, instead of respiratory swabs is under consideration by the FDA for approval. The test is inex- pensive ($1.29–$4.37) and doesn’t require as many material inputs.

The other test for COVID-19 also under use are the serological tests that detect viral-speci c antibodies, IgM or IgG. The presence of antibodies (seroconversion) takes time, depending on severity of the illness and the individual’s immune sys- tem.10 Antibodies are typically uniformly distributed in the blood, and therefore, there is less variation. Virus-speci c antibody, IgM, rises 3 days after the onset of symptoms and begins to disappear as the patient recovers. IgG, which typically rises 10 to 11 days after the onset of symptoms, remains in circulation long after the infection. Serological tests are useful in determining if an individual ever had COVID-19, and should not be used to diagnose current infection because of the slow pace of the antibody response or cross-reactivity with other infections, includ- ing those caused by other human coronaviruses. Tests administered too soon when the immune response is evolving can result in inaccuracies (discussed next).

At the population level, antibody tests offer a few advantages over RT-PCR test- ing. Serological tests are easier to administer requiring a small amount of blood, and tend to be less sensitive to spoilage during collection, transport, storage and analy- sis. Antibody testing is also important for understanding the overall prevalence of COVID-19 in a community or for purposes of population-level studies.

Together, these two types of tests can be helpful in determining clinical signi – cance of a patient exposed to COVID-19 infection (Table 19.1).11 A note of caution, in the absence of longitudinal data, it is not clear if the presence of antibodies con- fers long-term immunity (see Chapter 2) and it would be well advised to maintain protective measures.

Table 19.1 Diagnostic Testing and Clinical Outcome at the Individual Level

Test Results

Clinical Outcome





Patient is in incubation period of infection



Patient is in early stages of infection




Patient is in active disease



Patient is in late stage of infection


Patient could be in early stage of infection; RT-PCR result may be false negative


Patient may have had COVID-19 and has recovered



Patient may be in the recovery stage; RT-PCR result may be false negative



Chapter 19: Testing for COVID-19

The currently available, as well as emerging, diagnostic tests are conveniently summarized at the Mass General website: https//

Antigen tests for COVID-19 can reveal if a person is currently infected with SARS-CoV-2. Almost as accurate as RT-PCR (but with much less sensitivity), anti- gen tests detect proteins or glycans, like the spike proteins on the surface. These tests take longer to develop than molecular and antibody tests because suitable anti- bodies for use in the assays must rst be identi ed and produced. But antigen tests are rapid and relatively cheap, and more amenable to point-of-care technology. The FDA has approved one antigen test from Quidel, So a SARS Antigen Fluorescent Immunoassay (FIA) [ a- sars-antigen- a], which takes 15 min.

COVID-19 has triggered innovation in diagnostic thinking. For example, the use of genome-editing technology CRISPR developed for cancer treatment is being used for detecting COVID-19. CRISPR-based tests rely on nucleic acid extraction and ampli cation and can detect as few as 100 coronavirus particles in a swab or saliva sample, and they don’t require many specialty reagents or materials.12 The tests are administered through cartridge-like devices and provide results within an hour, which makes them attractive to use in a variety of settings. Although CRISPR tests are based on RT-PCR, they tend to produce slightly more false negatives in compari- son. Nonetheless, CRISPR-based diagnostics could be an important step toward safely reopening society. The FDA, on May 7, approved the rst CRISPR-based diagnostic product, Sherlock Biosciences’ 1-h test for SARS-CoV-2.13 Mammoth Biosciences and GlaxoSmithKline are working on a 20-min CRISPR-based test.

There are other radical ideas using nanobiotechnology, biophotonics, and nano u- ids.14 For example, researchers are working on facemasks embedded with biosensors that could detect the presence of virus or other devices that could display the virus on piece of silicone or paper. It is likely that the next wave of diagnostics could emerge from the intersection of physical and engineering sciences and biology. The US Congress has doubled the annual budget of the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) by an additional $500 million, and at the same time, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding two CRISPR projects that could deliver low-cost, high-volume point-of-care tests.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a new laboratory test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 and in uenza A and B viruses at the same time.15 The CDC In uenza SARS-CoV-2 (Flu SC2) Multiplex Assay allows laboratories to con- tinue in uenza surveillance while testing for COVID-19, and conserves important testing materials that are in short supply. The Flu SC2 Multiplex Assay was issued an Emergency Use Authorization on July 2, 2020.

19.4 Sensitivity, Specificity, and Accuracy in Testing

In COVID-19 diagnostic testing, accuracy matters and interpreting test results can be challenging.16 Validity of a test is measured in terms of its sensitivity and speci c- ity (Table 19.2). Sensitivity is the test’s ability to identify those with infection and

Interpretation of Tests: Understanding Predictive Values

Table 19.2 Determining Sensitivity, Speci city, and Accuracy

Sensitivity = TP/TP + FN
Speci city = TN/FP + TN
Accuracy = (TP + TN)/(TP + FP + TN + FN)

antibodies, true positives—positive test in a patient with disease. Sensitivity levels of tests are very important because patients who are infected but diagnosed as not having COVID-19 can continue to infect others and spread the disease. Speci city is the test’s ability to identify those without infection, true negatives—negative test in a healthy individual. In the case of individuals who are not infected, but deter- mined to be disease-positive, there are not as many concerns in terms of transmis- sion but people could erroneously assume immunity when that is not the case.

Accuracy is the proportion of correct predictions (true positives and true nega- tives) among the total number of cases examined. Accuracy is based upon the inher- ent value of the test, and a higher accuracy of a test re ects a combination of higher sensitivity and speci city (note: the term accuracy in layman’s term differs and is more vague from the term as de ned here as used in statistics).

The NAATs typically have high sensitivity and speci city under ideal condi- tions, but in clinical reality, these measures can vary and depend on the quality of specimen collection, the viral load, and duration of illness. RT-PCR is a good con- rmatory test, but according to researchers, false-negative results (people who are positive for COVID-19 but test negative) are more common than initially thought. In one study from Johns Hopkins, 1 in 5 persons was found to have a false-negative result.17 A systematic review reported false-negative rates between 2% and 29% (equating sensitivity to 71–98%).18

Antibody tests are increasingly available but tend to be less accurate. The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a global nonpro t organization, conducted an independent evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antibody diagnostic tests (https://www. and observed that range was between 25% and 75% for sensitivity. In the United States, the FDA had initially loosened its standards allowing companies to sell antibody tests without submitting clinical evi- dence on the accuracy of the test but it has recently tightened regulations.19

19.5 Interpretation of Tests: Understanding Predictive Values

Negative and positive predictive values must be considered in interpretations of a COVID-19 test. A negative predictive value is the proportion of true-negative results with total negative results. A positive predictive value, also known as precision, is the proportion of true-positive results with the total number of positive results.

Disease Yes

Disease No

Test positive

True positive (TP)

False positive (FP)

Test negative

False negative (FN)

True negative (TN)


Test Result

People with Disease

People without Disease














Test Result

People with Disease

People without Disease















Chapter 19: Testing for COVID-19

Table 19.3 Predictive Powers of a Test with 90% Sensitivity and Speci city (5% Prevalence)20

Predictive value of a positive test: 4500/14,000 = 32.1%. Predictive value of a negative test: 85,500/86,000 = 99.4%. Accuracy of test: (4500 + 85,500)/100,000 = 90.0%.

Table 19.4 Predictive Powers of a Test with 90% Sensitivity and Speci city (25% Prevalence)

Predictive value of a positive test: 22,500/30,000 = 75%. Predictive value of a negative test: 67,500/70,000 = 96.4%. Accuracy of test: (22,500 + 67,500)/100,000 = 90.0%.

It is important to understand that the predictive value of tests changes along with the prevalence of disease,20 while accuracy remains xed. Consider a hypothetical situation with a test with 90% sensitivity, speci city, and accuracy. In a community of 100,000 people with 5% prevalence of disease (5000 positive cases) and 90% sensitivity and speci city, there would still be 500 false negatives and 9500 false positives (Table 19.3), and the predictive value of a positive test would only be 32%, meaning 68% would receive incorrect information. In contrast, in a similar com- munity of 100,000 people with 25% prevalence of disease (25,000 positive cases) and 90% sensitivity and speci city, there would be 2,500 false negatives and 7500 false positives (Table 19.4) with a predictive value of a positive test of 75%, mean- ing 25% would receive incorrect information.

Sensitivity, speci city, and accuracy vary among antibody tests, and their inter- pretation based upon predictive values must also take into account the prevalence of COVID-19 in a community or country.

For a more visual depiction of this concept, please see

19.6 Conclusion

In conclusion, testing for COVID-19 is critical for containing the disease and safely opening countries. Countries need to put in place testing strategies and use tests that are validated for realistic conditions. It is important to start testing asymptomatic


people who can unknowingly spread COVID-19. Given the uncertainty regarding immunity, all those testing positive for COVID-19 should still maintain protective measures such as wearing masks, practicing hand hygiene, and refraining from large gatherings.

Diagnostic tests should be affordable and easy to use, especially those for screen- ing and for determining prevalence. Serological surveys should be performed regu- larly in high-risk communities and situations. Diagnostic interpretation of tests must take into consideration not only the inherent accuracy of the tests but also the preva- lence of COVID-19 in the community or country. As new diagnostic methods come forward, all people should have equal access to these emerging technological tools.


1. Lauer SA, Grantz KH, Bi Q, et al. The incubation period of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) from publicly reported con rmed cases: estimation and application. Ann Intern Med. 2020;172(9):577–582.

2. Huff HV, Singh A. Asymptomatic transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic and implica- tions for public health strategies [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 28]. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;ciaa654.

3. GenBank: MN908947.3 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 isolate Wuhan-Hu-1, completing genome. Available at:

4. GISAID, Genomic epidemiology of hCoV-19. u-applications/ next-hcov-19-app/.

5. Corman VM, Landt O, Kaiser M, et al. Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR. Eurosurveillance. 2020;25(2):23–30.

6. World Health Organization. Timeline of WHO’s response to COVID-19. 29 June 2020. WHO.

7. World Health Organization. Public health criteria to adjust public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19. 12 May 2020. WHO. public-health-criteria-to-adjust-public-health-and-social-measures-in-the-context-of-covid-19.

8. Yan Y, Chang L, Wang L. Laboratory testing of SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS- CoV-2 (2019-nCoV): current status, challenges, and countermeasures. Rev Med Virol. 2020;30(3):e2106.

9. Wang W, Xu Y, Gao R, et al. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in different types of clinical speci- mens. JAMA. 2020;323(18):1843–1844.

10. AMA. Serological testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. 13 May 2020. https://www.ama-assn. org/delivering-care/public-health/serological-testing-sars-cov-2-antibodies.

11. Weissleder R, Lee H, Ko J, Pittet MJ. COVID-19 diagnostics in context. Sci Transl Med. 2020;12(546):eabc1931.

12. Interdisciplinary group of scientists at MIT, the McGovern Institute and the Broad Institute. STOPCOVID.

13. FDA. Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 Kit. 6 May 2020. download.

14. Sheridan, C. COVID-19 spurs wave of innovative diagnostics. Nat Biotechnol. 2020;38:769– 772.

15. CDC. CDC Diagnostic Tests for COVID-19. 5 August 2020. coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/testing.html.

16. Watson, J. Interpreting a covid-19 test result. BMJ. 2020;369:m1818. bmj.m1808.



Chapter 19: Testing for COVID-19

17. Kucirka LM, Lauer SA, Laeyendecker O, et al. Variations in false-negative rate of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction—based SARS-CoV-2 tests by time since exposure. Ann Intern Med. 13 May 2020.

18. Arevalo-Rodriguez I, Buitrago-Garcia D, Simancas-Racines D, et al. False-negative results of initial rt-PCR assays for COVID-19: a systematic review. medRxiv. 2020.014.15.20066787.

19. FDA. Policy for diagnostic tests for coronavirus disease during the Public Health Emergency. 2020. Docket number: FDA-2020-D-0987. fda-guidance-documents/policy-coronavirus-disease-2019-tests-during-public-health- emergency-revised.

20. Kumleben N, Bhopal R, Czypionka T, et al. Test, test, test for COVID-19 antibodies: the importance of sensitivity, speci city and predictive powers [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 11]. Public Health. 2020;185:88–90.

Drugs for Treating COVID-19

Syed E. Ahmad M.D., Nooshi Karim M.D.,
Kruti Shah M.D., Allen Jo, and Carmina Rogelio

List of Abbreviations


Bruton’s tyrosine kinase Coronavirus disease 2019 Chloroquine Deoxyribonucleic acid Emergency use authorization Food and Drug Administration Favipiravir Hydroxychloroquine

Human immunode ciency virus Janus kinase
Post-exposure prophylaxis Remdesivir

Ribonucleic acid

20.1 Introduction

The treatments for COVID-19 can be split up into different categories. It should be noted that there are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. However, all treatments right now are experimental. There have been no clinical data that demonstrates bene ts with any of these drugs, but the information on drug treatment is rapidly evolving. Many of these drugs were developed prior to the pan- demic and have been repurposed from their intended use to treat COVID-19 patients while some are new compounds (Table 20.1).



Classi cation


Treatment Strategy

Clinical Trials



Induce premature termination in RNA replication using an adenosine analogue

NCT04401579 (NIH-sponsored)


May target proteases that cleave polypeptides essential for SARS-CoV2 replication


Targets RNA-dependent RNA polymerase preventing SARS-CoV2 replication



Neuraminidase enzyme inhibitor, which may prevent virion progeny to be released


Hydroxychloroquine/ chloroquine

Reduce in ammatory response
Possibly prevent viral entry May interfere with viral assembly

NCT04358068 (NIH-sponsored)



Mitigate in ammation Could reduce viral replication in RNA viruses

NCT04358068 (NIH-sponsored) NCT04332107 (Phase 3, 2271 participants)


Monoclonal antibodies


Antibodies that block IL-6 receptor to diminish cytokine storm effects

NCT04320615 (Tocilizumab, U.S BARDA-funded)


Antibody against pro-in ammatory cytokine IL-1β

NCT04362813 (phase 3, 450 participants)

Kinase inhibitors


Suppresses immune response reducing cytokine storm effects

NCT04380688 (phase 2, 60 participants) NCT0434619 (phase 2, 140 participants)

Both trials are being sponsored by AstraZeneca


Inhibits JAK1/JAK2 to reduce in ammatory response
May also reduce viral entry

NCT04421027 (phase 3, 400 participants) NCT04401579 (NIH- sponsored, baricitinib with Remdesivir)


Inhibits JAK1/JAK3 lessening in ammatory response

NCT04412252 (phase 2, 240 participants, P zer led)
NCT04415151 (phase 2, 60 participants, Yale University led)


JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor to mitigate in ammation

NCT04362137 (phase 3, 402 participants, led by Novartis) NCT04377620 (phase 3, 500 participants)


Prevents SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication

·NCT04446377 (phase 2, 142 participants)


Table 20.1 Summary of New and Repurposed Existing Compounds for COVID-19 Treatment

Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

Convalescent Plasma

Table 20.1 (continued)

Classi cation


Treatment Strategy

Clinical Trials



Antagonist for IL-1 receptor reducing in ammatory response

Nonspeci c anti-in ammatory


Glucocorticoid agonist which aids in immune suppression

NCT04381936 (2104 received dexamethasone vs. 4321 received usual care)


Prednisolone-based glucocorticoid that reduces in ammatory response

NCT03852537 (phase 2 study, Mayo clinic led) NCT04374071 (completed with 250 participants)


Glucocorticoid that is commonly inhaled to suppress immune response

NCT04377711 (phase 3, 400 non-hospitalized patients) NCT04435795(phase 3, 454 outpatient participants)

Budesonide and formoterol

Budesonide is an inhaled glucocorticoid steroid to suppress immune response Formoterol is a bronchodilator

NCT04193878 (phase 3, 600 participants, NIH-funded)

Anti-in ammatory


Reduces the secretion of pro-in ammatory cytokines

NCT04322682 (phase 3, 6000 participants)



Prevents viral replication in RNA viruses

NCT04359680 (phase 3, 800 health-care workers receiving prophylaxis treatment) NCT04343248 (phase 3, 800 elderly residents receiving prophylaxis treatment)


Prevents SARS-CoV2 replication



Induces anti-in ammation


20.2 Convalescent Plasma

Convalescent plasma is another experimental therapy that has been postulated. This is when blood is donated from patients who have previously recovered from the virus and the antibodies are then administered to a person who hasn’t recovered. This is potentially a pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis treatment, rather than the treatment of acute illness. This procedure has been researched for many years with different viruses, but there is very limited data showing its ef cacy for COVID-19. Please see the following chart from MGH summarizing the signi cant trials and results:






Primary Result

Soo 2004(7)


Nonrandomized, retrospective, convalescent plasma vs. methylprednisolone

Txt = 19 Comparison = 21

↓ mortality, ↓ hospital stay in convalescent plasma group

Hung 2011 (8)

H1N1 in uenza

Prospective cohort, convalescent plasma vs. standard of care

Txt 20 Control = 73

Convalescent plasma associated with ↓mortality and ↓viral load

Hung 2013 (9)

H1N1 in uenza

RCT of hyperimmune IVIG (concentrated and fractionated convalescent plasma) vs. normal IVIG

Txt = 17 Control = 18

H-IVIG was associated with ↓mortality and ↓ viral load

Beigel 2019(10)

In uenza A

RCT, high-titer anti-in uenza plasma vs. low-titer plasma

Txt = 92 Control = 48

High-titer anti- in uenza plasma showed no bene t over low-titer plasma; 34% had adverse events

Van Griensven 2016 (11)


Nonrandomized, convalescent plasma vs. standard of care

Txt 99 Control = 418

No signi cant difference in survival between groups


Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

Recently, there was one trial that showed out of the ve patients that received a transfusion, the viral load decreased and the patients clinically improved. However, there are aws in this treatment because it takes a lot of resources and is expensive. Therefore, as for any of the treatments, additional research needs to be done to weigh the pros and cons.

20.3 Antiviral, Antiretroviral

20.3.1 Remdesivir

Remdesivir (RDV) is a broad-spectrum antiviral which inhibits viral RNA polymer- ases by incorporating an adenosine analogue into nascent RNA chains, causing pre- mature termination.1 Gordon, Tchesnokov, Woolner, et al. (2020) recently proved that the triphosphate form of RDV effectively inserts into the RNA polymerase of MERS-CoV.2 This mechanism was shown to occur even more ef ciently than natu- ral nucleotide pools, making RDV an attractive candidate for further research for targeting SARS-CoV-2. An in vitro study by Wang et al. (2020) corroborates this mechanism against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells, at a stage post-virus entry.3 Researchers suggested RDV to be effective in nonhuman primates at its working concentration.

Antiviral, Antiretroviral

Much investigation is underway to determine the ef cacy of RDV for treating COVID-19.4 Published studies show promising results showing shorter recovery times and clinical improvement, yet one study found no signi cant clinical bene ts.5

• In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial, it was found that the drug was not associated with statistically signi cant clinical bene ts. However, there was a reduction in time to clinical improvement that warrants further con rmation. This was the rst study of its kind assessing the effect of intravenous RDV for COVID-19, published in late April.6

• Another study was published in late May, which was also double-blind, ran- domized, and placebo-controlled. Researchers conducted trials of intravenous RDV in adults hospitalized with COVID-19. It was found that RDV led to shorter times to recovery than placebo.7

• A study published in the NEJM investigated the compassionate use of RDV on patients hospitalized with COVID-19.8 Patients were intravenously given a 10-day course of RDV. Clinical improvement was de ned as live discharge from the hospital, a decrease of at least 2 points from baseline on a modi ed ordinal scale (as recommended by the WHO R&D Blueprint Group)8, or both. It was concluded that RDV led to a clinical improvement of 36 of 53 patients (68%).
RDV is one of the few drugs to show bene t in COVID-19. Importantly, RDV is an investigational drug and is not FDA approved for any indication at the present time. It was only given to hospitalized patients on a compassionate use basis in late January and in clinical trials since February. Initially, the US Department of Health and Human Services was the sole allocator of the drug during a ve-month period. As of October 1, 2020, its distribution responsibilities have been returned to the hands of Gilead Sciences, Inc.
On May 1, 2020, the FDA issued Veklury (remdesivir) for treatment of hospital- ized patients with severe COVID-19. Patients with severe disease were de ned as patients with oxygen saturation (SpO2) ≤94% on room air or requiring supplemental oxygen or requiring mechanical ventilation or requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). On August 28, 2020, the FDA reissued the May 1st letter and expanded the authorized use of the drug. Now, its use is no longer limited to patients with severe coronavirus disease.
20.3.2 Lopinavir/Ritonavir
Lopinavir and ritonavir are two structurally related protease inhibitors that are coad- ministered or coformulated. Lopinavir is a selective inhibitor of the human immu- node ciency virus (HIV)-1 protease, arresting its maturation and decreasing further infectivity. Ritonavir has a similar activity, however not as effective due to the initial hepatic metabolism. The purpose of coadministration is for low-dose ritonavir to



Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

inhibit metabolic inactivation of lopinavir, acting mainly as an enhancer in an enzy- matic kinetics context.9 This drug combination is widely used for treating HIV-1 infections, ultimately by suppressing plasma viral load.

Pre-pandemic literature shows evidence of lopinavir/ritonavir leading to better clinical outcomes for treating SARS.10 As of June 24, 2020, there are 28 active trials that include the usage of lopinavir/ritonavir as a primary or control treatment for COVID-19 (, 2020).

There is evidence of some effectiveness with use of lopinavir/ritonavir as part of a combination with other drugs; however, further con rmation is required. A nota- ble study found a triple combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir/ritonavir, and ribavirin to alleviate symptoms and shorten hospital stay for COVID-19 patients.11 In another study, however, Cao et al. (2020) found no bene t to a lopinavir/ritonavir treatment compared to standard care. Researchers conducted a randomized, con- trolled, open-label trial in 199 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 with points of comparison: time to clinical improvement, mortality, and detectable viral RNA. NIH guidelines also advise against lopinavir/ritonavir and other HIV protease inhibitors for COVID-19 due to pharmacodynamic evidence of insuf cient drug levels when taken orally.12, 13 The NIH also cited the previously mentioned trial by Cao et al. (2020) in their justi cation.

20.3.3 Favipiravir

Favipiravir (FPV) targets viral replication and transcription by acting as a pseudo- purine nucleic acid, thereby selectively inhibiting RNA-dependent RNA poly- merase. It is potent against strains of in uenza virus, arena-, bunya-, and aviviruses, as well as members of the alphavirus, paramyxovirus, and norovirus families. It is also useful for viruses that are resistant to neuraminidase inhibitors.14 There are cur- rently a few clinical trials assessing the ef cacy of FPV for treating COVID-19. A study comparing FPV to the control group administered lopinavir/ritonavir found signi cant clinical differences in median viral clearance time (4 vs. 11 days), as well as in the improvement of chest imaging.15 Meanwhile, another study found no signi cant bene ts to FPV in comparison with umifenovir.16

20.3.4 Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

Oseltamivir, once converted to oseltamivir carboxylate after ingestion, is a neur- aminidase enzyme inhibitor.17 By binding to the active site of neuraminidase enzyme, progeny virions may not be released from the infected cell, greatly reduc- ing the spread of the virus.18 However, the use of oseltamivir as a potential drug for SARS-CoV-1 was also explored prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with unpromis- ing results.19 Despite this, there are currently multiple phase III trials involving osel- tamivir, some of which are in combination with other drugs such as FPV and hydroxychloroquine (HC).20

Antimalarial—Hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine 20.3.5 SNG001

SNG001 is an inhaled medication that delivers interferon-𝛽 to a patient’s lungs.21 Interferon-𝛽 is released by the body in response to an infection and possesses mul- tiple antiviral properties.19 A recent trial of 101 participants suggests that adminis- tering SNG001 reduced patients’ chances of progressing to a more severe state by 79%.21 The drug is thought to boost inherent antiviral processes in patients, espe- cially those that have reduced interferon-𝛽 production due to age or other condi- tions.22 A larger double-blinded, controlled phase II trial with 400 participants is currently being conducted.23

20.4 Antimalarial—Hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine

Chloroquine (CQ) and HC are antimalarial agents. CQ is used mainly for treating malaria and amebiasis, while HC is used mainly to treat rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.24 They function as antima- larials by down-regulation of the immune response against autoantigens. This occurs by disrupting the normal formation of peptide–MHC protein complexes which acti- vate T cells, as a consequence of interference with endolysosomal function and thus, the processing of antigens, in macrophages and other antigen-presenting cells.25

There has been much hype and controversy surrounding the use of HC to prevent or treat COVID-19. Also something to note are its well-publicized endorsements by the US president and billionaire Elon Musk. An early French study26 evaluating HC and HC with azithromycin seemed promising, but has since been widely scrutinized for validity27, even by the president of the journal that published it.28 Another early study which was done in China was initially touted as evidence for the ef cacy of HC29, but was later questioned due to its lack of peer review. These factors may have partly led to an increase in research trials, as well as an uptick in the public actively seeking out these drugs in late April and May this year30. As of late June, there are more than 200 clinical trials studying the ef cacy of CQ, HC, and HC in combina- tion with azithromycin (, 2020).

More evidence is surfacing that CQ and HC are not effective for treating COVID-19.

• The FDA previously cautioned against their use for SARS-CoV-2 due to risk of heart rhythm problems (QT interval prolongation31, ventricular tachycar- dia). Their latest stance, given on June 15th, is that of strong opposition as the FDA has revoked its emergency use authorization (EUA). They cite a large, randomized clinical trial which showed no evidence of reducing likelihood of death or increasing recovery time—as well as more recent data showing that the recommended dose did not kill or inhibit the virus.32

• Published in late May, a meta-analysis of 23 studies concludes that the evi- dence for use of HC or CQ to treat COVID-19 is “weak and con icting.”33 The studies included did not evaluate its use as a prophylactic.



• A paper was published in the Lancet which suggested that the use of HC for COVID-19 patients “increased hazard” for heart problems and death.34 Its ndings led to alarm in the health and medical research community that caused some clinical trials to stop.35 The article has since been retracted after researchers were unable to allow an independent peer review due to con den- tiality agreements.34

• In June, researchers announced conclusions of the large randomized trial Recovery (Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 thERapY) stating that they found no clinical bene t of the use of HC in treating the disease. 1542 patients were given HC and compared to 3132 patients who received usual care. No signi cant difference was observed in patient mortality or hospital stay duration.36

• In mid-May, an observational study of 1376 patients was conducted in a large hospital in New York City. Clinical outcomes were compared between patients who were given HC and those who were not. Results showed no signi cant bene ts of HC use in decreasing or increasing risk of intubation or death.37
Prophylaxis with HC has also been investigated, and no bene ts were identi ed.


A randomized and controlled study with 2250 participants was done in Barcelona, Spain. Researchers evaluated the use of HC as a tool for post-expo- sure prophylaxis (PEP).38 It was found that there was no signi cant difference between the treatment and control groups in developing COVID-19.35 Another study published in early June by researchers in Minnesota conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine PEP ef – cacy of HC. The study enrolled 821 participants who had had high-risk expo- sure to COVID-19 patients. Researchers found no statistically signi cant difference in incidence of COVID-19 between the HC and placebo groups, when taken 4 days after exposure.39


20.5.1 Azithromycin

Azithromycin’s antibacterial activity comes from its ability to interfere with bacte- rial protein synthesis by binding to the 50s ribosome subunit.40 Although it is pre- scribed for bacterial infections and not viral, it does have anti-in ammatory and antiviral properties, which may be bene cial in treating COVID-19 patients.41–43 The NIH is currently funding a study that is determining whether azithromycin administered with HC results in a better outcome.44 This trial is in its second phase of clinical trials.45 There are also numerous trials looking into other possible

Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

Monoclonal Antibodies

bene cial uses such as proactive care in ambulances, outpatient treatment, and whether azithromycin alone can improve outcomes in COVID-19 patients.46–48

20.5.2 Clofazimine

Clofazimine is an antibiotic that has been traditionally used to treat tuberculosis and leprosy, which also possess anti-in ammatory properties. An in vitro study, clofazi- mine appears to have reduced the viral load. There is a phase II study further explor- ing clofazimine’s possible role in treating SARS-CoV-2 infections, including a possible combination therapy with interferon β-1b.

20.6 Monoclonal Antibodies

20.6.1 Tocilizumab (Actemra) and Sarilumab (Kevzara)

Tocilizumab (Actemra) and sarilumab (Kevzara) are both antibodies that target the human receptor for IL-6, which has been known to be produced at in ammatory sites and to play a key role in chronic in ammation.49, 50 A large release of IL-6 has also been observed in cytokine storms, and it was speculated that an IL-6 blocker could be used to treat them.50

Initial reports of tocilizumab seemed as a promising compound in alleviating effects of cytokine storms and improving clinical outcomes among COVID-19 patients.51, 52 This has led to numerous studies on tocilizumab in the treatment of COVID-19.53 Tocilizumab’s promising results have also led the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to invest 25 million dollars in phase III trials.54 There are also two clinical trials looking into tocilizumab’s therapeutic effects in conjunction with RDV and HC.55, 56 Despite sarilumab’s similarity with tocilizumab, initial results reported by Regeneron and Sano (the manufacturers and developers of sarilumab) were not as promising and only those deemed “critically” will advance to phase III studies.57

20.6.2 Canakinumab (Ilaris)

Canakinumab is a monoclonal antibody against human IL-1β, a pro-in ammatory cytokine.58, 59 This drug has traditionally been used to treat mainly immune and in ammatory disorders, such as cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome and Muckle-Wells syndrome.58, 60

This drug has been used to treat patients suffering from hyperin ammation due to COVID-19; however, without a study with larger samples and controls, its true ef cacy is not well known.61 There are currently phase III trials being conducted by Novartis, the developer of canakinumab, exploring the ef cacy of canakinumab in patients with COVID-19-induced pneumonia that is experiencing cytokine release syndrome (CRS).62, 63



Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

20.6.3 Leronlimab

Leronlimab is a humanized antibody for chemokine receptor CCR5 and was ini- tially developed for HIV treatment.64 The company, CytoDyn, that developed this drug has been also exploring other applications such as COVID-19 treatment.65 Researchers are hoping that by binding antibodies to CCR5, cytokine production can be reduced, which can then alleviate the adverse effects of cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients.65 Initial results reported by the company showed signs of clinical improvement and relative safety.65 As of July 29, 2020, there is a phase II, double-blind, controlled study with 390 participants being sponsored by CytoDyn.66

20.7 Kinase Inhibitor

20.7.1 Acalabrutinib (Calquence)

Acalabrutinib is an irreversible second-generation Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor.67 BTK is an important player in B cell maturation, dendritic cell regula- tion, cytokine production, and phagocytosis.68 Therefore, it has been used to treat malignancies that are B cell in origin.69 This also makes acalabrutinib an immuno- suppressive, so it is being investigated for treating COVID-19.68 There are currently two clinical trials that are in phase II seeing if the drug can reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.70

20.7.2 Baricitinib (Olumiant)

Baricitinib is a selective inhibitor for JAK1/JAK2 that has been commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.71 These Janus kinase (JAK) proteins initiate an activation cascade that eventually alters cellular transcription, and have been associated with in ammation.72 This connection is thought to be caused by the activation of JAK proteins via cytokine receptors.72 This drug may also provide antiviral properties.73 Baricitinib also binds to AP2-associated protein kinase 1, which may affect endocy- tosis and reduce viral entry.73 However, some have stated that to see this effect requires doses that are much higher than therapeutic doses.74

There are currently multiple clinical trials for COVID-19 taking place in mul- tiple countries, some of which are looking to see the effects of combining barici- tinib with other medications such as with lopinavir/ritonavir and RDV.75, 76 Although an initial report suggests promising outcomes when using the barici- tinib, the same report recognizes that the study had a small sample size and no randomization.73

There are a couple of features that make baricitinib different from ruxolitinib despite both being rst generation of JAK inhibitors.77 Baricitinib is not

Immunomodulator: Anakinra (Kineret)

metabolized by cytochrome P450 and can be excreted by the kidney, while the opposite is true for ruxolitinib.77

20.7.3 Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

Tofacitinib is a JAK inhibitor that speci cally targets JAK1, JAK3, and to a lesser extent JAK2.77 Tofacitinib has been used to treat a wide array of in ammatory and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, in ammatory bowel disease, and other dermatological disorders.77

There are currently at least four clinical trials looking into tofacitinib as a form of treatment in patients with COVID-19, one of which is comparing the drug effects to using HC alone.78, 79

20.7.4 Ruxolitinib (Jakafi)

Ruxolitinib is a kinase inhibitor that targets JAK1/JAK2.80 This JAK inhibitor has been mainly used to treat myelo brosis, a form of cancer affecting the bone mar- row.78 Due to its anti-in ammatory properties, there are currently phase III trials and other studies looking into ruxolitinib in treating cytokine storms associated with COVID-19.81, 82

20.7.5 Apilimod

Apilimod is phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate 5-kinase (PIKfyve) inhibitor and seems to in uence the maturation and function of endosomes. Its possible roles in treating B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lysosomal dysfunction-related disorders, and viral infections have been explored prior to SARS-CoV-2. A study published in July 2020 suggests that the drug may also be useful in preventing the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells as well as replication. There is currently a phase II clinical trial involving COVID-19 outpatients with mild symptoms.

20.8 Immunomodulator: Anakinra (Kineret)

Anakinra acts as an IL-1 receptor antagonist.83 It has been mainly prescribed for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoin ammatory conditions.84 There have been reports where the drug has been reported to reduce systemic in amma- tion and alleviate pulmonary symptoms in some COVID-19 patients.85, 86 There are currently multiple clinical trials exploring the drug’s ef cacy.84 This drug may help reduce mortality as there are reports of hyperin ammation and cytokine storms, resulting in mortality of COVID-19 patients.87



Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

20.9 Nonspecific Anti-inflammatory

20.9.1 Dexamethasone

Dexamethasone is a steroid that works as an anti-in ammatory and immunosup- pressive by acting as a glucocorticoid agonist.88 Results of a randomized clinical trial involving 2104 patients seem encouraging, as results show that daily adminis- tration of the drug (6 mg either orally or by IV) reduced morality by a third in ven- tilated patients and by a fth in patients receiving only oxygen.89 However, experts have urged caution as the of cial papers detailing the results have not been pub- lished.90 The World Health Organization and other countries have previously expressed reservations of using steroids in treating COVID-19 patients, since ste- roids may suppress the immune system to a higher extent than desired, but they have indicated that these results may change WHO clinical guidelines.91, 92 If further data reinforces the bene ts of dexamethasone, this steroid, which is considered inexpen- sive and widely available, may become a key drug in saving many lives.92

20.9.2 Methylprednisolone

Methylprednisolone is a corticosteroid that is based on prednisolone, a glucocorti- coid, but it is reported to have a higher potency than prednisolone and to have a potency that is ve times greater than hydrocortisone in its anti-in ammatory prop- erties.93 The use of methylprednisolone in treating COVID-19 patients with ARDS as well as preventing the worsening of clinical symptoms has been suggested.94 A study of 173 participants in Italy has led the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases to recommend doctors in considering the use of methylpred- nisolone in patients that begin to have worsening respiratory functions.95 Another study of 213 participants by Henry Ford Health System also seems to suggest that the use of methylprednisolone can improve outcomes and help prevent worsening of respiratory functions.94 More studies are being conducted, including one by the Mayo clinic, to further support the use of methylprednisolone.96

20.9.3 Ciclesonide

Ciclesonide is a glucocorticoid that reduces in ammation by reducing vasodilation, vascular permeability, and the accumulation of leukocytes and macrophages.97 It has been regularly used as an inhaled corticosteroid, and there were some early reports suggesting ciclesonide as an effective candidate for treating SARS-CoV-2-induced pneumonia.98–101 However, there are claims that it is not clear whether or not inhaled corticosteroid is an effective treatment in patients with COVID-19.102 There are cur- rently multiple clinical trials taking place in Asia, Europe, and North America, including a phase III clinical trial with 400 participants in the United States.103

20.9.4 Budesonide/Formoterol

Budesonide is a glucocorticoid steroid that can be delivered via oral inhalation.104 Formoterol, a long-acting beta agonist, works as a bronchodilator and is routinely administered with budesonide in asthma patients.102, 105 The NIH is funding a phase III clinical trial of this drug combination in patients with acute respiratory failure, including cases involving COVID-19.106

20.10 Anti-Inflammatory Colchicine

Colchicine is a compound that is extracted from plants belonging to the Colchis genus, and has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including in ammatory ones such as pericarditis.107 The compound’s anti-in ammatory properties can come from multiple mechanisms.107 Some of which include the reduction in the secretion of certain cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-8, and IL-18.107–109

A recent study published from Greece consisting of 105 patients suggests that colchicine may be considered as a possible treatment.110 However, even the authors of this paper noted that this data is “hypothesis-generating,” and more studies are needed.110 There are currently multiple phase III trials looking into colchicine, including one that is double-blinded, controlled, and with 6000 participants being conducted in parts of the United States, Canada, and Spain.111

20.11 Antiparasitic

20.11.1 Nitazoxanide

Nitazoxanide is an antiparasitic drug that targets pyruvate ferredoxin/ avodoxin

oxidoreductase electron transfer.112 Although initially developed as an anti-proto-

zoan drug, the compound has also shown to reduce replication in RNA and deoxy-

ribonucleic acid (DNA) viruses, including ones that are resistant to oseltamivir.113

There are currently phase III clinical trials where researchers are seeking to deter-

mine if nitazoxanide can serve as a safe prophylaxis in health-care workers and the elderly.114, 115

20.11.2 Ivermectin

Ivermectin targets invertebrate glutamate-gated chloride channels inducing an in ux in chloride.116 Studies in the past have also indicated that the drug may have antiviral properties causing others to express the possibility of ivermectin as a pos- sible candidate for treating COVID-19 patients.117 This has led to multiple ivermec- tin-based clinical trials, including one by Johns Hopkins University.118



Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

20.12 Radiation

Low-dose radiation has been used to treat conditions like pneumonia before the advent of antibiotics, and it is thought to work by inducing anti-in ammatory pro- cesses.119, 120 The use of low-dose whole lung radiation seems to have improved the condition of some COVID-19 patients.119 On June 16th, 2020, a phase III trial was rst posted which seeks to determine whether low-dose whole lung radiation can be better than the current best supportive practices.121


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3. Wang M, Cao R, Zhang L, et al. Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro. Cell Res. 2020;30:269–271. https://doi. org/10.1038/s41422-020-0282-0.

4. Hendaus MA. Remdesivir in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a sim- pli ed summary. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2020:1–6. 1767691.

5. NIH USNLof M. Search of: COVID-19 Remdesivir – list results. Home –; city=&dist=. Published 2020. Accessed July 4, 2020.

6. Wang Y, Zhang D, Du G, et al. Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2020;395(10236):1569–1578.

7. Beigel JH, Tomashek KM, Dodd LE, et al. Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19—pre- liminary report. N Engl J Med. 2020.

8. Hendaus MA. Remdesivir in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a simpli- ed summary. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2020.

9. Cvetkovic RS, Goa KL. Lopinavir/Ritonavir. Drugs. 2012;63(8):769–-802. https://doi.

10. Chu CM, Cheng VC, Hung IF, et al. Role of lopinavir/ritonavir in the treatment of SARS:
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11. Hung IF, Lung KC, Tso EY, et al. Triple combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir–ritonavir,
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12. NIH. Lopinavir/Ritonavir and other HIV protease inhibitors. National Institutes of Health.
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13. Cao B, Wang Y, Wen D, et al. A trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in adults hospitalized with severe COVID-19. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(19):1787–1799.

14. Furuta Y, Gowen BB, Takahashi K, Shiraki K, Smee DF, Barnard DL. Favipiravir (T-705), a novel viral RNA polymerase inhibitor. Antiviral Res. 2013;100(2):446–454. https://doi.

15. Cai Q, Yang M, Liu D, et al. Experimental treatment with Favipiravir for COVID-19: an open-
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16. Chen C, Zhang Y, Huang J, et al. Favipiravir versus Arbidol for COVID-19: a randomized clinical trial. 2020.

17. Davies BE. Pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir: an oral antiviral for the treatment and prophy- laxis of in uenza in diverse populations. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2010;65(Suppl 2):ii5–ii10. Accessed June 16, 2020.

18. Moscona A. Neuraminidase inhibitors for in uenza. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(13):1363–1373. Accessed June 16, 2020.

19. Tan EL, Ooi EE, Lin CY, et al. Inhibition of SARS coronavirus infection in vitro with clinically approved antiviral drugs. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004;10(4):581–586. eid1004.030458. Accessed June 16, 2020.

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21. NHS. Inhaled drug prevents COVID-19 patients getting worse in Southampton trial. https:// Inhaled-drug-prevents-COVID-19-patients-getting-worse-in-Southampton-trial.aspx. Published July 20, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

22. Lin FC, Young HA. Interferons: success in anti-viral immunotherapy. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2014;25(4):369–376.

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46. Proactive care of ambulatory COVID19 patients. ct2/show/NCT04371107?term=Azithromycin&cond=covid&phase=2&draw=2&rank=10. Accessed June 21, 2020.

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49. Okuda Y. Review of tocilizumab in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Biologics. 2008;2(1):75–82. Accessed June 11, 2020.


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51. Luo P, Liu Y, Qiu L, Liu X, Liu D, Li J. Tocilizumab treatment in COVID-19: a single center experience. J Med Virol. 2020;92(7):814–818. Accessed June 16, 2020.

52. Xu X, Han M, Li T, et al. Effective treatment of severe COVID-19 patients with tocili- zumab. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020;117(20):10970–10975. pnas.2005615117. Accessed June 16, 2020.

53. Search of: tocilizumab: COVID-19 – list results. ct2/results?cond=COVID-19&term=tocilizumab&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=. Accessed June 16, 2020.

54. Blankenship K. Roche takes $25M in BARDA backing to accelerate Actemra trial in COVID-19. Fierce Pharma. https://www. another-actemra-trial-for-covid-19-25m-u-s-grant. Published April 7, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

55. A study to evaluate the ef cacy and safety of Remdesivir plus tocilizumab compared with Remdesivir plus placebo in hospitalized participants with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. d&draw=3. Accessed June 16, 2020.

56. Clinical trial of combined use of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and tocilizumab for the treatment of COVID-19. ?term=tocilizumab&cond=covid&draw=2. Accessed June 16, 2020.

57. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Regeneron and Sano provide update on U.S. phase 2/3 adaptive-designed trial of Kevzara® (sarilumab) in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. https:// -provide- update-us-phase-23-adaptive. Published April 27, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

58. Dhimolea E. Canakinumab. MAbs. 2010;2(1):3–13. Accessed June 10, 2020.

59. Lopez-Castejon G, Brough D. Understanding the mechanism of IL-1β secretion. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2011;22(4):189–195. Accessed June 10, 2020.

60. Mayo Clinic. Canakinumab (Subcutaneous Route) description and brand names. https:// 20073102. Published February 1, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2020.

61. Ucciferri C, Auricchio A, Di Nicola M, et al. Canakinumab in a subgroup of patients with COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 4]. Lancet Rheumatol. 2020. https://doi. org/10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30167-3. Accessed June 10, 2020.

62. Novartis. Novartis announces plan to initiate clinical trial of canakinumab for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. clinical-trial-canakinumab-patients-covid-19-pneumonia. Published April 28, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2020.

63. Brogan MK, Kruszewski J. VCU becomes one of the rst sites to test canakinumab against COVID-19. rst_sites_to_test_ canakinumab_against. Published May 6, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2020.

64. National Institutes of Health. Leronlimab clinical trials, side effects. drugs/423/leronlimab/0/patient. Accessed July 29, 2020.

65. Macuck A. CytoDyn touts ‘impressive’ early results for virus drug. The Columbian. https:// drug/. Published July 21, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

66. Study to Evaluate the Ef cacy and Safety of Leronlimab for Patients With Severe or Critical Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). NCT04347239?term=leronlimab&cond=COVID19&draw=2&rank=2. Accessed July 29, 2020.



Chapter 20: Drugs for Treating COVID-19

67. Wu J, Zhang M, Liu D. Acalabrutinib (ACP-196): a selective second-generation BTK inhibi- tor. J Hematol Oncol. 2016;9:21. Published 2016 Mar 9. 0250-9. Accessed June 11, 2020.

68. Weber ANR, Bittner Z, Liu X, Dang TM, Radsak MP, Brunner C. Bruton’s Tyrosine kinase: an emerging key player in innate immunity. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1454. Published 2017 Nov 8. mmu.2017.01454. Accessed June 11, 2020.

69. National Cancer Institute. Acalabrutinib receives FDA approval for Mantle cell lymphoma.
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70. Acalabrutinib study with best supportive care versus best supportive care in subjects hospitalized with COVID-19.
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71. Gras J. Baricitinib: JAK inhibition for rheumatoid arthritis. Drugs Today (Barc). 2016;52(10):543–550. Accessed June 11,
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72. Bousoik E, Montazeri Aliabadi H. “Do We Know Jack” about JAK? A closer look at JAK/STAT
signaling pathway. Front Oncol. 2018;8:287. Published 2018 Jul 31.
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73. Lo Caputo S, Corso G, Clerici M, Santantonio TA. Baricitinib: a chance to treat COVID-19?
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74. Stebbing J, Phelan A, Grif n I, et al. COVID-19: combining antiviral and anti-in amma-
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75. National Institutes of Health. NIH clinical trial testing antiviral remdesivir plus anti-in amma-
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76. Cantini F, Niccoli L, Matarrese D, Nicastri E, Stobbione P, Goletti D. Baricitinib therapy in COVID-19: a pilot study on safety and clinical impact [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 23]. J Infect. 2020;S0163-4453(20)30228-0. Accessed June 11, 2020.

77. Schwartz DM, Kanno Y, Villarino A, Ward M, Gadina M, O’Shea JJ. JAK inhibition as a thera- peutic strategy for immune and in ammatory diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2017;17(1):78.

78. Search of: tofacitinib: covid—list results. lts?cond=covid&term=tofacitinib&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=. Accessed June 11, 2020.

79. TOFAcitinib plus hydroxychloroquine vs hydroxychloroquine in patients
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80. Mascarenhas J, Hoffman R. Ruxolitinib: the rst FDA approved therapy for the treatment of Myelo brosis. Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18(11):3008–3014.

81. MedlinePlus. Ruxolitinib: MedlinePlus drug information.
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82. Blankenship K. Novartis, Incyte will take Jaka into 2nd trial for COVID-19 patients on
ventilators. Fierce Pharma. https://www. jaka -into-2nd-trial-for-covid-19-patients-ventilators. Published May 5, 2020. Accessed June 11, 2020.

83. Fleischmann RM, Schechtman J, Bennett R, et al. Anakinra, a recombinant human interleu- kin-1 receptor antagonist (r-metHuIL-1ra), in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a large, inter- national, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2003;48(4):927–934. https:// Accessed June 10, 2020.


84. Cavalli G, Dinarello CA. Anakinra therapy for non-cancer in ammatory diseases [published correction appears in Front Pharmacol. 2019 Mar 08;10:148]. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:1157. Published Nov 6 2018. Accessed June 10, 2020.

85. Pontali E, Volpi S, Antonucci G, et al. Safety and ef cacy of early high-dose IV anakinra in severe COVID-19 lung disease [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 11]. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;146(1):213–215. Accessed June 10, 2020.

86. Huet T, Beaussier H, Voisin O, et al. Anakinra for severe forms of COVID-19: a cohort study. Lancet Rheumatol. 2020;2(7):e393–e400. Accessed June 10, 2020.

87. King A, Vail A, O’Leary C, et al. Anakinra in COVID-19: important considerations for clinical trials. Lancet Rheumatol. 2020;2(7):e379–e381. 9913(20)30160-0. Accessed June 10, 2020.

88. Dexamethasone. PubChem compound database. pound/Dexamethasone. Accessed June 16, 2020.

89. University of Oxford. Low-cost dexamethasone reduces death by up to one third in hospi- talised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19. news/2020-06-16-low-cost-dexamethasone-reduces-death-one-third-hospitalised-patients- severe. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

90. Herper M. Major study nds common steroid reduces deaths among patients with severe COVID-19. STAT. nds-common- steroid-reduces-deaths-among-patients-with-severe-covid-19/. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

91. Ledford H. Coronavirus breakthrough: dexamethasone is rst drug shown to save lives. Nature. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

92. World Health Organization. WHO welcomes preliminary results about dexamethasone use in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed June 16, 2020.

93. Methylprednisolone. PubChem compound database. pound/Methylprednisolone#:~:text=Description:,inhibition of proin ammatory cytokine production. Accessed June 23, 2020.

94. Fadel R, Morrison AR, Vahia A, et al. Early short course corticosteroids in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 19]. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;ciaa601.

95. Nicastri E, Petrosillo N, Ascoli Bartoli T, et al. National Institute for the Infectious Diseases “L. Spallanzani”, IRCCS. Recommendations for COVID-19 clinical management. Infect Dis Rep. 2020;12(1):8543. Published 2020 Mar 16. Accessed June 23, 2020.

96. Steroid dosing by bioMARker guided titration in critically ill patients with pneumonia. e&cond=covid&cntry=US&draw=2&rank=4. Accessed June 23, 2020.

97. Ciclesonide. PubChem compound database. Ciclesonide#section=Metabolism-Metabolites. Accessed June 23, 2020.

98. Barnes PJ. Inhaled corticosteroids. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(3):514–540. Published 2010 Mar 8. Accessed June 23, 2020.

99. MedlinePlus. Ciclesonide oral inhalation: MedlinePlus drug information. https://medlin- Accessed June 23, 2020.

100. Nakajima K, Ogawa F, Sakai K, et al. A case of coronavirus disease 2019 treated with ciclesonide. Mayo Clin Proc. 2020;95(6):1296–1297. mayocp.2020.04.007.

101. Iwabuchi K, Yoshie K, Kurakami Y, Takahashi K, Kato Y, Morishima T. Therapeutic potential of ciclesonide inhalation for COVID-19 pneumonia: report of three cases. J Infect Chemother. 2020;26(6):625–632. Accessed Jun 23, 2020.



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102. Halpin DMG, Singh D, Had eld RM. Inhaled corticosteroids and COVID-19: a systematic review and clinical perspective. Eur Respir J. 2020;55(5):2001009. Published 2020 May 7.

103. Miller J. Covis initiates U.S. asthma inhaler study for COVID-19. Reuters. https://www. Published May 19, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020.

104. MedlinePlus. Budesonide Oral Inhalation: MedlinePlus drug information. https://medlin- Accessed June 23, 2020.

105. McCormack PL, Lyseng-Williamson KA. Budesonide/formoterol: a review of its use as maintenance and reliever inhalation therapy in asthma. Drugs. 2007;67(16):2407–2431.

106. ARrest RESpiraTory Failure From PNEUMONIA – full text view. https:// w=2&rank=2. Accessed June 23, 2020.

107. Leung YY, Yao Hui LL, Kraus VB. Colchicine—update on mechanisms of action and thera- peutic uses. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2015;45(3):341–350. thrit.2015.06.013. Accessed July 5, 2020.

108. Lopez-Castejon G, Brough D. Understanding the mechanism of IL-1β secretion. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2011;22(4):189–195. Accessed July 5, 2020.

109. Dinarello CA, Novick D, Kim S, Kaplanski G. Interleukin-18 and IL-18 binding protein. Front Immunol. 2013;4:289. Published 2013 Oct 8. mmu.2013.00289. Accessed July 5, 2020.

110. Deftereos SG, Giannopoulos G, Vrachatis DA, et al. Effect of colchicine vs standard care on cardiac and in ammatory biomarkers and clinical outcomes in patients hospi- talized with coronavirus disease 2019: the GRECCO-19 randomized clinical trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(6):e2013136. Published 2020 Jun 1. workopen.2020.13136. Accessed July 5, 2020.

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119. Hess CB, Buchwald ZS, Stokes W, et al. Low-dose whole-lung radiation for COVID-19 pneumonia: planned day-7 interim analysis of a registered clinical trial. medRxiv. 2020.

120. Kefayat A, Ghahremani F. Low dose radiation therapy for COVID-19 pneumonia: a double-edged sword. Radiother Oncol. 2020;147:224–225. radonc.2020.04.026.

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Vaccines for COVID-19

Syed E. Ahmad M.D. and Allen Jo

List of Abbreviations



Corona virus disease
Middle East respiratory syndrome viral-like particle


This chapter will brie y discuss viral technologies and categories relevant to corona virus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidates, which will include advantages, dis- advantages, and strategies to illicit immunity for each type of vaccine mentioned. The availability, possible risks, and how mutations may affect the ef cacy of these vaccines will also be brie y touched upon.

21.2 What Are Viral Vaccines?

Viral vaccines are prepared substances that seek to prevent the manifestation of a disease that is viral in origin, and to prevent the further spread of a viral pathogen.1 There are multiple different types of vaccines based on their composition, and some of these types are adenovirus vector, mRNA, DNA, live attenuated, inactivated, and subunit.1 Vaccines are considered as the primary method for preventing viral infec- tions.1 Vaccinations have been used to contain epidemics and are considered a vital tool in reducing mortality in a pandemic.2

21.3 What Are the Risks Associated with Viral Vaccines?

The risk a viral vaccine may have is dependent on the type of vaccine as well as the patient’s condition.3 In the case of live vaccines, patients who are suf ciently immu- nocompromised should not receive some vaccines as they may lead to an adverse




Chapter 21: Vaccines for COVID-19

reaction or result.3 The contents of the vaccine can also pose a risk in some individu- als as they can lead to an allergic reaction, some of which may lead to asphyxiation.4 In other rare cases, vaccine recipients have actually become more susceptible to infection or a more severe manifestation of the disease.5, 6 This phenomenon is called immune enhancement.6 Although studies suggest immune enhancement may be unlikely for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, it is a concern that is plausible enough for experts to express the need to monitor for enhancement during trials and to determine the possibility of enhancement.6, 7

21.4 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines in Development and WHO Database

As of September 25, 2020, approximately 42 potential COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in various stages of clinical trials.8 Over a hundred more are in the pre- clinical phase in development.8 The World Health Organization has a periodically updated table detailing the type of vaccine, its developer, and its current stage of development (Table 21.1).8 ( of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines).

21.4.1 Viral Vector Vaccines and Adenoviral Vector Vaccines

Viral vector vaccines exploit the existing viral mechanisms to transport genetic material into the vaccine recipient’s cells to express an antigen.9 These viral vector vaccines can be further differentiated into nonreplicating and replicating versions.9 An advantage of a replicating viral vector vaccine is dosage sparing and a stronger immune response, which may allow for more vaccines to be available.9 There are currently 40 viral vector vaccines being developed for SARS-CoV-2 based on the following viruses: the pox virus, the paramyxovirus, the alpha virus, the vaccinia virus, the in uenza virus, and the adenovirus.8 The rst vaccine to enter phase III of clinical trials is an adenoviral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute.8 Published data also shows that this vaccine can produce antibodies and a cellular response in recipients who received doses in April 2020.10

An adenoviral vector vaccine utilizes the adenovirus, which is a double-strand DNA, nonenveloped virus.11 Due to its genetic make-up, concerns of integration were expressed, but studies show that adenoviral vector vaccines remain largely unintegrated.11 Adenoviral vector vaccines have also been attenuated, and its vector has been modi ed to prevent the possibility of replication, further reducing the pos- sibility of adverse effects.11 The vaccine being developed by the Jenner Institute also addressed the issue of preexisting immunity to the adenovirus by developing the vector in chimpanzees.8, 12 Previous work on an adenoviral vector vaccine for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has shown that an adenoviral vector vaccine can produce a “robust immune response” to a coronavirus, and aided researchers in developing an adenovirus viral vector vaccines for COVID-19.13, 14 However, trials

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines in Development and WHO Database

Table 21.1 Types of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines and Promising Vaccine Candidates




Financial Supporters

University of Oxford/AstraZeneca

Adenoviral vector

Phase 3

U.S. Dept. of HHS—$1.2 billion U.K. Gov.—£84 million CEPI-$750 million

CanSino Biological Inc./Beijing Institute of Biotechnology

Adenoviral vector

Phase 3 Approved for limited use in China NCT04526990 NCT04540419

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology

Gamaleya Research Institute

Adenoviral vector

Phase 3 (approved for limited use in Russia) NCT04530396 NCT04564716

Russian government

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies/Johnson and Johnson

Adenoviral vector

Phase 3 NCT04505722

U.S BARDA- $456 million dollars U.S. Government-$1 billion dollars for 100 million doses if approved



Phase 3

U.S. BARDA—$483 million Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—$20 million CEPI

BioNTech/P zer


Phase 3 NCT04368728



Phase 3 (approved for limited use in China) NCT04456595

Advantech and Vivo Capital-$15 million
Bank of Beijing-$8.5 million



Phase 3 NCT04533399

U.S. Dept. of HHS and DoD-$1.6 billion
CEPI- $384 million

Inovio Pharmaceuticals


Phase 2 NCT04447781

U.S. DoD-$71 million CEPI-$17.2 million

for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s vaccine were put on pause in the UK due to possible safety concerns, which have been resolved.15

Another adenovirus-based vaccine, being developed by CanSino, is currently in phase III of clinical trials. Unfortunately, current results from this vaccine show the rates of neutralizing antibody production were lower than desired, and side effects reported were relatively high16, 17 As of September 25, 2020, the WHO has reported 45 vaccine candidates using adenovirus technology of which the most advanced and



Chapter 21: Vaccines for COVID-19

promising candidates are from the Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and BioNTech/ P zer.8

21.4.2 RNA Vaccines

RNA vaccines seek to induce the expression of a desired antigen in the patient by transporting genetic material into recipient’s cells.18 Moderna’s RNA vaccine, an initial forerunner, has begun its phase III trials and is expected to enroll 30,000 healthy participants who will receive two intramuscular injections, spaced 28 days apart, containing 100 microgram injections of mRNA-1273 or a saline pla- cebo.19 The company has stated that the vaccine may not be available till 2021.20 P zer’s vaccine, another RNA vaccine, may also have results early enough for approval in the fall.21 Both of these vaccines are using lipid nanoparticles to trans- port RNA for translation and production of the antigen.22, 23 By using lipid nanoparticles, issues of degradation, which have been associated with RNA vac- cines, can be reduced while serving as a method of delivery.22 Research also sug- gests that RNA vaccines may elicit humoral and cell-mediated immunity in a single dose.24 As of September 25, 2020, the WHO has reported 24 vaccine candi- dates using RNA technology.8

21.4.3 DNA Vaccines

DNA can also be used to express the antigen in patients and, like RNA vaccines, can illicit a humoral and cell-mediated immune response.25 There are 16 DNA vaccine candidates as of September 25, 2020, four of these candidates are in phase II trials.8 However, DNA vaccines have been reported of having lower immunoge- nicity, and different delivery techniques were explored in response to this phe- nomenon.26 One of the major delivery techniques developed is electroporation, the technique being used by Inovio pharmaceutical’s vaccine candidate.25 Electroporation works by creating electrically induced pores to facilitate the entry of the DNA vaccine into the cell.26 Like adenoviral vector vaccines, concerns of integration seem to be insigni cant.27 Another method to address this issue is the addition of adjuvants, substances that increase vaccine’s immunogenicity, to some DNA vaccine candidates.27

21.4.4 Live Attenuated Vaccines

A live attenuated vaccine is a vaccine that takes a weakened form of the virus to illicit future immunity.28 Since this kind of vaccine emulates a real infection, an antibody and cell-mediated response that is long lasting may occur.28, 29 This response can usually be achieved in one or two doses.30 However, since live

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines in Development and WHO Database

attenuated vaccines emulate a real infection and because there is a small chance a live attenuated vaccine may return to a more pathological form, certain individuals may not be suitable for receiving this form of vaccine.28 Although there are no live attenuated vaccines in the clinical stage, there are three in development as of September 25, 2020.8

21.4.5 Inactivated Vaccines

Inactivated vaccines are vaccines that inject viruses inoculated by using heat, chem- icals, or radiation.29 These vaccines cannot cause infections and can be safely administered to those who are immunocompromised.29 Some inactivated vaccines may also be stored at room temperature, which may provide logistical bene ts.30 Unfortunately, inactivated vaccines do not create a cell-mediated response and may also require booster doses.28 To get a desired immune response, multiple doses are also usually required.28 As of September 25, 2020, there are currently 14 inactivated vaccine candidates, 5 of which are in clinical trials, including three that are in phase III being developed by Chinese companies.8 Adjuvants are also being added to some of these vaccine candidates, which may lead to dose sparing and therefore more available vaccines.8, 27

21.4.6 Subunit Vaccines and Viral-Like Particle Vaccines

Another type of vaccine candidate type are subunit vaccines.8 Some of which are using adjuvants, substances that increase an antigen’s immunogenicity which could allow for more available doses.31 An inactivated vaccine uses the inoculated form of the pathogen, while a subunit vaccine utilizes a speci c portion of the pathogen.32 Since these vaccines also do not mimic an infection like an inactivated vaccine, the immune response is mainly humoral and not cell mediated.32 This inability to cause an infection also makes these vaccines safer for the immunocompromised or those with certain health conditions, but it is important to note that the vaccine’s effective- ness may be reduced in certain immunocompromised inidviduals.3, 33 However, these vaccines usually require multiple doses and/or booster doses to produce suf- cient long-term immunity.29 There are currently 70 subunit vaccine candidates de ned by the WHO, 13 of which are in clinical trials as of September 25, 2020.8

A more speci c type of subunit vaccine is a viral-like particle (VLP) vaccine, and there are 16 VLP vaccine candidates as of September 25, 2020, one of which is in phase II clinical trials, while another is in phase I.8, 34 A VLP vaccine is con- structed utilizing recombinant proteins to create particles that closely resemble the virus.35 The size and high repetitive structure may lead to high immunogenicity without risk to the immunocompromised due to the lack of genetic material in VLP vaccines.36 The nature of VLP vaccine production may provide advantages in increasing production.37



Chapter 21: Vaccines for COVID-19

21.5 Who will Get the First Vaccines?

Chinese and Russian governments have approved adenovirus-based vaccines for limited use without conclusive phase III studies, which have raised a concern in the scienti c community.38 Despite initial estimates of a vaccine being available by the end of 2020, experts and company statements are now estimating a vaccine some- times next year.39, 40

Multiple companies have already been investing into vaccine production, but fears that supply will be limited exist.41 Therefore, vulnerable populations may receive the rst doses, including children, the elderly, the immunocompromised, patients with certain preexisting conditions, and health-care workers.42 Yet, this may also be dependent on the vaccine as there are some reports that suggest that certain vaccines may not be suitable for some of these populations.43

21.6 Will these Vaccines Protect against a Mutated SARS- CoV-2 Virus?

Whether or not the vaccines in development will prevent mutated forms of the virus remains unclear.44 The SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating as expected, and some muta- tions seem to have affected the spike protein (the molecular target of many vaccine candidates).45 In order to prevent future strains from evading vaccines, there have been recommendations for future drugs and vaccines to target areas of the viral genome that are relatively constrained.46 The rate of mutation, however, seems to be slower than that of in uenza, about half as slow.47, 48 Another indicator that muta- tions may not prevent the ef cacy of vaccines is that vaccines can be designed to target multiple sites of the virus, reducing the risk of a mutated virus escaping exist- ing immunity.49, 50

21.7 Will These Vaccines Produce Long-Term Immunity?

There are multiple studies that suggest effective antibody levels may decline within a few months of SARS-CoV-2 infection.51, 52 This may be an issue in vac- cines that produce primarily an antibody response and may only confer short- term immunity. However, this drop in antibody levels does imply the absence of memory B cells, which may allow the rapid production of antibodies if reinfec- tion occurs.51, 53

These studies may also further reinforce the importance of T cells and vac- cines that illicit a cellular-mediated response.52 T cells can also remember patho- gens for many years, and once reinfection occurs, they can activate the immune system and kill any cells infected with the virus.54 Fortunately, the detection of T cells that can recognize SARS-CoV-2 in people once infected and those that received certain vaccine candidates suggest that long-term immunity can be achieved.55


21.8 Antivaxxers and Vaccine Efficacy

Antivaccination sentiments have been increasing and may affect the rates of vacci- nations for SARS-CoV-2.56 Recent polls seem to show that only half of the US population may be willing to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, which is much lower than some estimates for achieving herd immunity, a phenomenon that can protect unvaccinated individuals if enough of the population become immunized.56–58

Populations that are most hesitant may be those with historic mistrust of govern- mental agencies, such as African Americans due to the Tuskegee Study, where members of the African American community were knowingly given syphilis and denied treatment.56, 57 Widespread hesitation can also be accounted for by other fac- tors like the speed of vaccine development and misinformation.56 Experts have expressed concerns how the existence of a vaccine may not stop the COVID-19 pandemic unless public opinion changes.59 John Hopkins Center for Health Security has published a report of strategies and guidance to increase the willingness for receiving a coronavirus vaccine. ( work/pubs_archive/pubs-pdfs/2020/200709-The-Publics-Role-in-COVID-19-Vac- cination.pdf)


1. Arvin AM, Greenberg HB. New viral vaccines. Virology. 2006;344(1):240–249. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.virol.2005.09.057.

2. World Health Organization. Safety of pandemic vaccines. swine u/notes/h1n1_safety_vaccines_20090805/en/. Published June 21, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2020.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP altered immunocompetence guidelines for immunizations. tence.html. Published August 20, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2020.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP adverse reactions guidelines for immuniza- tion. Published July 12, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2020.

5. Zhang C, Zhou D. Adenoviral vector-based strategies against infectious disease and cancer. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016;12(8):2064–2074. 65908.

6. de Alwis R, Chen S, Gan ES, Ooi EE. Impact of immune enhancement on Covid-19 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin therapy and vaccine development. EBioMedicine. 2020;55:102768.

7. Corey L, Mascola JR, Fauci AS, Collins FS. A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D. Science. 2020;368(6494):948–950.

8. Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines. World Health Organization. https://www. Published June 9, 2020. Accessed June 12, 2020.

9. Robert-Guroff M. Replicating and non-replicating viral vectors for vaccine development. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2007;18(6):546–556.

10. Folegatti PM, Ewer KJ, Aley PK, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, ran- domised controlled trial. Lancet. 2020;S0140-6736(20)31604-4. S0140-6736(20)31604-4.



Chapter 21: Vaccines for COVID-19

11. Zhang C, Zhou D. Adenoviral vector-based strategies against infectious disease and cancer. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016;12(8):2064–2074. 65908.

12. Campos RK, Preciado-Llanes L, Azar SR, Lopez-Camacho C, Reyes-Sandoval A, Rossi SL. A single and un-adjuvanted dose of a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine against chi- kungunya virus fully protects mice from lethal disease. Pathogens. 2019;8(4):231. https://doi. org/10.3390/pathogens8040231.

13. Yoon I-K, Kim JH. First clinical trial of a MERS coronavirus DNA vaccine. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019;19(9):924–925.

14. Kirkpatrick DD, Zimmer C. In race for a coronavirus vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead. The New York Times. cine-update-oxford.html. Published April 27, 2020. Accessed May 15, 2020.

15. Grady DJ, Wu KJ, LaFraniere SJ. AstraZeneca, under re for vaccine safety, releases trial blueprints. The New York Times. vaccine-safety-blueprints.html. Published September 19, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020.

16. Branswell H. Early study of Covid-19 vaccine developed in China sees mixed results. Stat. sees-mixed-results/. Published May 22, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2020.

17. Cross R. CanSino publishes rst COVID-19 vaccine data to muted response. Chemical and Engineering News. rst- COVID-19/98/i21. Published May 2020. Accessed June 6, 2020.

18. Rauch S, Jasny E, Schmidt KE, Petsch B. New vaccine technologies to combat outbreak situ- ations. Front Immunol. 2018;9:1963. mmu.2018.01963.

19. Phase 3 clinical trial of investigational vaccine for COVID-19 begins. National Institutes of Health. vaccine-covid-19-begins. Published July 27, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

20. Cohen E. Moderna’s clinical trial numbers show there’s ‘no way’ Trump can have a vaccine by Election Day. CNN. erna-clinical-trials/index.htm.

21. Sagonowsky, E. P zer CEO says coronavirus vaccine data will roll in fast enough for results late October. Fierce Pharma.

22. Hopkins JS, Rockoff JD. Race for coronavirus vaccine accelerates as P zer says U.S. testing to begin next week. The Wall Street Journal. zer-coronavirus- vaccine-could-be-ready-for-emergency-use-by-fall-11588094064. Published April 28, 2020. Accessed May 19, 2020.

23. Safety and Immunogenicity Study of 2019-nCoV Vaccine (mRNA-1273) for Prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (COVID-19). NCT04283461. Published February 25, 2020. Accessed May 31, 2020.

24. Geall AJ, Verma A, Otten GR, et al. Nonviral delivery of self-amplifying RNA vaccines. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012;109(36):14604–14609.

25. Rauch S, Jasny E, Schmidt KE, Petsch B. New vaccine technologies to combat outbreak situ- ations. Front Immunol. 2018;9:1963. mmu.2018.01963.

26. Todorova B, Adam L, Culina S, et al. Electroporation as a vaccine delivery system and a natural adjuvant to intradermal administration of plasmid DNA in macaques. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):4122.

27. Flingai S, Czerwonko M, Goodman J, Kudchodkar SB, Muthumani K, Weiner DB. Synthetic DNA vaccines: improved vaccine potency by electroporation and co-delivered genetic adju- vants. Front Immunol. 2013;4:354 mmu.2013.00354.

28. Lee S, Nguyen MT. Recent advances of vaccine adjuvants for infectious diseases. Immune Netw. 2015;15(2):51–57.

29. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Principles of vaccination. vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/prinvac.html. Published June 29, 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020.

30. Pulendran B, Ahmed R. Immunological mechanisms of vaccination. Nat Immunol. 2011;12(6):509–517.


31. Clem AS. Fundamentals of vaccine immunology. J Glob Infect Dis. 2011;3(1):73–78. https://

32. Thanh Le T, Andreadakis Z, Kumar A, et al. The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2020;19(5):305–306.

33. Vaccines. Vaccine types. Accessed May 26, 2020.

34. Sobh A, Bonilla FA. Vaccination in primary immunode ciency disorders. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2016;4(6):1066–1075.

35. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Vaccine types. https://www.niaid.nih. gov/research/vaccine-types. Accessed July 9, 2020.

36. Qian C, Liu X, Xu Q, et al. Recent progress on the versatility of virus-like particles. Vaccines (Basel). 2020;8(1):139.

37. Garg H, Mehmetoglu-Gurbuz T, Joshi A. Virus like particles (VLP) as multivalent vaccine candidate against Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Zika virus. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):4017.

38. Corum J, Wee S, Zimmer C. Coronavirus vaccine tracker. active/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html. Published June 10, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020.

39. Thomas K, Drucker J. When will you be able to get a coronavirus vaccine? The New York

Times. Published September 17, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020.

40. Mcnamara, A. When will a coronavirus vaccine really be ready? CBS News. https://www. Published September 23, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2020.

41. Khamsi R. If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough?. Nature. 2020;580(7805):578–580.

42. Kramer S. A coronavirus vaccine may be available in record time, but experts predict pan- demonium during the rollout. Business Insider. dict-chaos-during-coronavirus-vaccine-rollout-2020-5. Published May 7, 2020. Accessed June 6, 2020.

43. Boseley S. Covid-19 vaccine may not work for at-risk older people, say scientists. The Guardian. for-at-risk-older-people-say-scientists. Published June 23, 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020.

44. Huang P. The coronavirus is mutating. That’s normal. Does that mean it’s more dangerous?

NPR. is-mutating-thats-normal-does-that-mean-it-s-more-dangerous. Published May 8, 2020. Accessed May 14, 2020.

45. Becerra-Flores M, Cardozo T. SARS-CoV-2 viral spike G614 mutation exhibits higher case fatality rate. Int J Clin Pract. 2020;e13525.

46. Dorp Lvan, Acman M, Richard D, et al. Emergence of genomic diversity and recurrent muta- tions in SARS-CoV-2. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. ence/article/pii/S1567134820301829. Published May 5, 2020. Accessed May 15, 2020.

47. Moshiri N. Coronavirus seems to mutate much slower than seasonal u. LiveScience. https:// Published April 6, 2020. Accessed May 15, 2020.

48. Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus – Global subsampling. Nextstrain. https://next- Published December 2019. Accessed May 14, 2020.

49. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Developing therapeutics and vaccines for coronaviruses. vaccines. Accessed May 17, 2020.

50. Siegel ER. Here are 3 drugs in development to ght coronavirus, 2 vaccines and one ‘passive’ vaccine. development- ght-coronavirus-2-vaccines-one-n1163191. Published March 19, 2020. Accessed May 14, 2020.



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51. Salleh A. Scientists say coronavirus antibodies don’t last long. But what does that mean? ABC News. coronavirus-last/12460724. Published July 16, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

52. Woodley M. Study raises questions over long-term COVID-19 immunity. NewsGP. https:// Published June 29, 2020. Accessed July 31, 2020.

53. Lanzavecchia A, Sallusto F. Human B cell memory. Curr Opin Immunol. 2009;21(3):298–304.

54. Pennock ND, White JT, Cross EW, Cheney EE, Tamburini BA, Kedl RM. T cell responses: naive to memory and everything in between. Adv Physiol Educ. 2013;37(4):273–283. https://

55. Leslie M. T cells found in COVID-19 patients ‘bode well’ for long-term immunity. Science. term-immunity. Published May 14, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

56. Hoffman J. Mistrust of a coronavirus vaccine could imperil widespread immunity. The New York Times. Published July 18, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

57. Cornwall W. Just 50% of Americans plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s how to win over the rest. Science. covid-19-vaccine-here-s-how-win-over-rest. Published July 1, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

58. Brum el G. Without a vaccine, researchers say, herd immunity may never be achieved.

NPR. researchers-say-herd-immunity-may-never-be-achieved. Published July 24, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

59. Cohen E. Fauci says Covid-19 vaccine may not get US to herd immunity if too many people refuse to get it. CNN. tact-tracing-aspen/index.html. Published June 29, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020.

Socioeconomic, Racial,
and Cultural Considerations

Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., Rohan Iyer, and Azwade Rahman

List of Abbreviations

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Coronavirus disease
SdoH Social determinants of health

22.1 Introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been termed the “great equalizer,” capa- ble of sickening anyone, but the reality is that it has increasingly demonstrated that social inequalities in health are profound.1 In times of pandemics and epi- demics, such differences become even more exaggerated. COVID-19 is not an equal-opportunity killer, and its victims are often the poor and economically vulnerable, living in crowded conditions, including prisons, and those without access to health care. These conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age are known as the social determinants of health (SDoH). The SDoH are conditions. They are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources, and are mostly responsible for health inequities in the health status of people seen within and between countries.2 This chapter examines the SDoH of COVID-19 in the United States and touches upon some critical issues in devel- oping societies.

22.2 Social Determinants of Health Framework

The SDoH framework includes ve key areas of determinants—economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment3 that affect peoples’ well-being, functioning, and quality-of- life outcomes and risks (Figure 22.1). Each of these ve determinant areas includes a number of subtopics that inform the overall framework (Table 22.1). For example,



Economic Stability

Neighborhood and Physical Environment



Community and Social Context

Health-Care System

Employment Income Expenses/ Debt Support

Housing Transportation Safety
Parks Playgrounds Walkability Zip code/ geography

Literacy Language Early education Vocational training Higher education

Hunger Access to healthy options

Social integration Social systems Community engagement Discrimination Stress

Health coverage Provider availability/ accessibility Linguistic competence Quality of care

Health Outcomes: Mortality, Morbidity, Health Status


Figure 22.1 The social determinants of health.

Neighborhood and Built Environment


Table 22.1

SDoH Elaborated

Chapter 22: Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations


Economic Stability


Health and Health Care

Social and Community Context

under economic stability, subtopics such as employment, food insecurity, housing instability and poverty would be included, and social and community context would include civic participation, discrimination, incarceration, and social cohesion. In addition, SDoH also include access to green spaces; exposure to environmental tox- ins; and discrimination based on gender, race or ethnicity, immigration status, and religion among others.

Unequal distributions and access to resources, exposure to discrimination, and administrative failures to ensure safety and maintenance all lead to the creation of

Race and COVID-19

phenomena called health disparities, that is, difference in outcomes as a result of economic, social, or environmental disadvantages.4 These are not singular, or indi- vidual, acts of injustice, but rather systemic and structural failures in the system and deliberate aws in the infrastructure of society. In contrast, health equity aims to create situations that would avoid bad health outcomes for people through access to opportunities and resources and instituting certain protections that would reduce the burden of disease on disadvantaged groups.

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that not all care is delivered equally, and there are gaps in health care and health disparities, which have grown wider as a result of the neoliberal policies and austerity measures. There are communities that are dis- proportionately affected by COVID-19.

22.3 Race and COVID-19

Racial bias in the age of COVID-19 has occurred in two forms. First, the United States and other pro-nationalistic governments politically stoked bias against people of Asian origins. Second, the virus ampli ed the structural inequalities and racial bias against Black Americans and other racial minorities in the United States.

The virus was scienti cally named SARS-CoV-2, based on its similar structure to SARS-CoV. Although the virus could have popped up anywhere where the envi- ronment was conducive to interspecies transfer, SARS-CoV-2 originated in Wuhan, China. The US President Trump repeatedly referred to it as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus.”5 This deliberate labeling was politically motivated to single out and blame the Chinese government and shield the Administration its inadequate response, and instead, it led to acts of aggression, and even physical violence, against people of Asian descent. In the eyes of the public, there was a strong asso- ciation between the virus and East Asians. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, and rural states like Indiana have all reported incidents of discrimination and outright attacks on Asians due to the perception that they were directly responsible for the virus.6 The singling out of Asians was not limited to America, but a global phenom- enon.7 Increases in racist rhetoric coincided with racially motivated attacks on East Asians in Europe, Africa, and Latin America, and against migrant workers in the Middle East and parts of Asia like Malaysia.

Second, racial bias in the United States is deeply seeded and plays out in terms of worse health outcomes for Black communities.8 The situation with COVID-19 is no different. COVID-19 data collected at the national level from counties showed that the disease was more prevalent, and deadly, among Black and Hispanic com- munities. Even though Black Americans accounted for 22% of the United States, they had 52% of reported cases and 58% of deaths nationally.9 A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that after adjusting for age, indigenous (Native) Americans and Blacks had a hospitalization rate ve times that of white person, and Hispanic or Latino person four times, and attributed these differences to long-standing systemic health and social inequities.10 The New York City Health Department created a report on infection and fatalities. Among Black



Chapter 22: Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations

Americans, the death rate was 92.3 deaths per 100,000, Latin Americans had a death rate of 74.3, white Americans had a death rate of 45.2, and Asian Americans had a death rate of 34.5, in the lowest category.

Viruses do not discriminate on the basis of skin color, so why in the United States is there such disparity in mortality rates? The answer to this simple question is com- plex, and wrapped in layers of structural inequities and health disparities. The SDoH affects health outcomes. The living conditions for disadvantaged groups are but one reason. America has had a long-standing policy on residential segregation through redlining, a systematic policy put in place by city planners that made higher-valued properties inaccessible to underprivileged groups, either through high pricing or through outright refusal to sell to Black Americans and Hispanic people. The afford- able housing available to Black communities was often poorly built and maintained, crowded and cramped, and included several generations sharing the same housing unit, factors that contributed to poor health outcomes.11–13

Living under such conditions makes it dif cult for people to follow the rule of physical distancing recommended by CDC for COVID-19. With no green spaces and cramped quarters with many people living in high rises, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 increases, and especially vulnerable are the elderly family members and those with underlying conditions. At the same time, Blacks and Hispanics face dis- proportionately high risk because they are more likely to work in essential, low- paying jobs. Under the pandemic, people ful lling such jobs have been designated as essential workers and face high risk of disease exposure through their employ- ment.14, 15

On the ip side, racial minorities often do not have jobs that provide bene ts such as paid parental leave, sick leave, or leave to care for elderly or ill family mem- bers. Black Americans and Hispanics are 7–13% less likely than their white coun- terparts to have access to these bene ts.16

Racial minorities have typically faced signi cantly diminished access to paid parental leave, paid sick leave, and paid leave to care for sick family members. Compared to white individuals, African Americans faced diminished access to any of these accommodations by up to 7% across three models of calculation, with Hispanic individuals facing up to 13%. These disparities are long-standing and exist despite controlling for education and employment. Since health insurance in America is tied to employment, Black Americans and Hispanics usually have lower rates of health insurance and encounter dif culties in co-payments even with access through Medicaid.17 In general, Black and Hispanic communities face discrimina- tion in access health services, which are only magni ed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unequal treatment of patients based on their race or ethnicity is well documented among health-care workers. In 2015, a study in Patient Education and Counseling found that patients from disadvantaged racial or ethnic backgrounds received less information from their doctors about treatment recommendations.18 Princeton University found that white medical students and residents can hold onto false beliefs about biological difference between black and white patients, in doing so incorrectly report lower pain ratings for black patients. In simpler terms, students

Caste and COVID-19 in India

and doctors with prejudices are less likely to believe black patients when they say they are in pain, and it affected their treatment recommendations negatively.19 Bias like this has affected many medical elds. One of the most popular topics in public health today is the racial difference in maternal mortality. Black women are far more likely than their white counterparts to have negative outcomes, including death, during pregnancy. Racism in health care was speci cally emphasized as a contributing factor.20 In general, these types of actions and reactions can be classi- ed under the umbrella term implicit bias. This refers to the prejudices and stereo- types that dictate an individual’s actions without explicit intention to do so. And it did not stop when the pandemic hit.

A biotech data company, Rubix Life Sciences based in Boston, Massachusetts, reviewed recent billing information in several states and found that African Americans with symptoms like cough and fever were less likely to be given a test for the coronavirus.21 Testing sites in historically black institutions also experienced greater delay in acquiring necessary testing equipment and protective gear. A heat map of Memphis of where coronavirus testing is taking place revealed that most screening was happening in predominantly white and well-off suburbs, and not the majority Black, lower-income neighborhoods.15, 21 Disadvantaged racial groups are highly more likely to have comorbidities for coronavirus like hypertension, diabe- tes, HIV/AIDS, etc.

Diagnosis is the rst step in receiving appropriate care for these patients. Identifying positive cases can encourage people to self-isolate and adhere to social distancing, keeping them from spreading the diseases if they end up being sent home. Delaying testing can allow for symptoms to worsen and result in hospitaliza- tion or even death, which could have been avoided.

22.4 Caste and COVID-19 in India

COVID-19 has created an unforeseen resurgence of caste-based discrimination, with fundamentalist using social distancing to re-enforce the idea of untouchables in Hinduism. The Hindu caste system India, and the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government steeped in religious ideology, has long ensured social segregation based on one’s place in the hierarchy composed of four main groups—Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and the Shudras—and the last group of Dalits or untouchables that number around 200 million. This group takes on the most menial and low- paying jobs, and for a variety of reasons, poverty being chief among them, are vul- nerable to most diseases.22

In 2007, the Global institute of Public Health and the Santhigiri Research Foundation found that women from the lower cast have greater likelihood of ane- mia, higher neonatal and infant mortality rates, and their children have a 30% higher likelihood of dying before their fth birthday and only one in two have access to vaccinations.23, 24 Another study reported that waiting time when visiting private doctors increased for those from lower social caste.25 COVID-19 has resulted in social exclusion of Dalits from accessing government bene ts or humanitarian aid,



Chapter 22: Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations

and at the same time made them vulnerable to exposure given that they work essen- tial jobs such as waste-pickers and sanitation workers. Since Dalits do not have the required government ID cards, they are unable to access any government bene ts such as subsidies to food, access to public health-care services, or any other form of social protection. They were particularly affected by Prime Minister Modi’s order of a nationwide lockdown on March 23 that gave only four hours’ warning for these largely casual, migrant labors to pack up and leave urban centers.26 Caste-based discrimination creates barriers to health services and increases risk of exposure, morbidity, and mortality.

22.5 Incarceration and COVID-19

America is known to have the largest prison population in the world, a problem called mass incarceration, referring not only to the total number of people in prison but also to the rate of imprisonment. Since 1970, the number of incarcerated people far outpaces population growth and crime, increasing 500% to 2.1–2.2 million peo- ple in jail and prisons today (655 incarcerated people per 100,000 people).27, 28 The increase in incarceration is a result of changes in laws and policies, such as the “three-strikes” law, which automatically gives a person 25 years in prison for a third felony and prisoners who have been sentenced to life without parole.29, 30

Today one in nine people in prison are serving a life sentence, of which a third are sentenced to life without parole. Race plays an important role in incarceration, and research shows that Black citizens are six times more likely than white people to be incarcerated, and almost three times more likely than their Latino counter- parts, who in turn are two times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.31 According to a report by the Department of Justice, the population of prisoners aged 55 and older increased by 400% between 1993 and 2003, in part to longer sentences and in general an increase of admissions of older persons.

Mass incarceration has set up a perfect storm for a public health disaster such as COVID-19 in prisons. There are thousands of people kept in poorly ventilated con- ned space in close proximity with others and living conditions that create extreme stress on the body and mind. Despite being a closed facility, there is ample opportu- nity for exposure with prison staff entering and exiting daily, prisoners being trans- ferred between facilities, and prisoners have little ability to maintain social distancing or safe hygienic practices. A federal prison in central Florida in February 2020 experienced an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.32 Ross Macdonald of the Riker’s Island jail system described the happening as a “public health disaster unfolding before our eyes” to the Guardian, while reporting on 200 COVID-19 cases in 12 days in April.33

By June 6, there were 42,107 cases of COVID-19 and 510 deaths among 1,295,285 prisoners with a case rate of 3,251 per 100,000 prisoners.34 The COVID- 19 case rate for prisoners was 5.5 times higher than the US population case rate, a truly sobering statistic.35 Women and minorities face particularly high risk since both groups have higher rates of chronic diseases. Correctional staff and their

Immigrants and COVID-19

families also share the high risks as they share the same environment and physical space. COVID-19 transmission is unlikely to be contained in US prisons without implementation of more effective policies that acknowledge responsibility, test, iso- late and treat infected prisoners and their contacts, employ compassionate release for elderly and in rm prisoners, improve sanitation and provide personal protective equipment, and implement physical distancing.

22.6 Immigrants and COVID-19

In the middle of April, the US government made signi cant changes to the immigra- tions system, including postponing immigration hearings, pausing deportation ight, suspending refugee admissions, and moving forward to blocking entry for asylum seekers and at the same time expelling anyone encountered at the border.36 These measures were taken to protect the American economy from the impact of foreign workers on US labor market, but they also brought into sharp focus the intersection of immigration issues and public health policy.

According to data from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Service as of July 1, more than 3,000 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, that is, 25% of all detainees tested (11,828), or 13% of all detainees.37 The largest number of positive cases (250) is from the Eloy Federal Contract Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. People living in detention centers face conditions similar to those in pris- ons, and cannot socially distance and have a limited access to soap.38 They are also subject to deportation even though this can spread the virus. Those who are not under detention, but undocumented, often working in occupations such as agricul- ture or large meatpacking plants, are afraid to seek care when they are sick. Immigrants have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Much of this information for medical care professionals is important with regard to understanding the pressures certain groups may be facing during clinical appoint- ments. That is to say, keep in mind many patients may only be going to the doctor at the last possible moment because of nancial needs or fears of how it may affect their immigration status. Furthermore, treatment plans should incorporate the likeli- hood of patients being able to return for an appointment or afford one. Another aspect is helping patients who are symptomatic or will understand the importance of isolating within the home, especially since it is known that people of color and immigrant groups tend to live with extended family. Some groups may have cultural healing practices or rely on religious prayer for healing, which may either expose them to more people or expose them to risk factors that worsen illnesses. Understanding the facts about different groups and cultures is what is known as cultural competence.39

While cultural competency is extremely important in setting patient care and understanding their risk factors with regard to infectious disease, this understanding is only halfway to what is required for highly sensitive patient groups. Medical care professionals risk losing patient contact when they fail to employ cultural humil- ity.39 This aspect takes competence one step further and acknowledges one’s own



Chapter 22: Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations

culture, and the moral equivalence of that culture to another. This is a lifelong learn- ing responsibility for anyone working with a variety of people like health-care workers.

22.7 Economic Inequalities and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the harsh reality of economic inequality within and between countries. Within countries, the chronic gap in wealth and employment surfaced as an acute problem. Those with nancially secure jobs and savings were able to work from home and maintain social distancing compared with people who were living paycheck-to-paycheck or on daily wages through the infor- mal sector found it dif cult to pay rents and buy food.40 People with money were able to create the physical distance between themselves and others, connect to oth- ers via Zoom, able to get food and other supplies delivered to their doors, and hoard necessities. But those without such af uence risked exposure through their jobs or lost their jobs altogether. The unemployment rate was higher for Black workers; 17.8% lost their jobs between February and April compared with 15.5% of white workers, with black women facing the largest losses of 18.8%.41

This scenario has played out in different parts of America prompting the US Congress to call for federally assisted income replacement, the Coronavirus AID, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) ACT, which provides $1200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000 or up to $3,400 for a family of four with children under 17 years old.42 A total of $293.4 billion to people who had led taxes, but at the same time, the CARES Act handed out an almost equal amount, $257.9 billion in 2020, in tax breaks and corporate losses to the country’s wealthiest people and corporations.43 The underlying inequalities continue to persist, and result in poorer health outcomes for the less af uent.44

The World Bank estimates that COVID-19 will push 71 million into extreme poverty of $1.90 per day of earning.45 Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will be hit hardest, and see large increases in the number of poor. Equally concerning are the marginally poor, who earn less than $3.20 per day, and their numbers will increase to 176 million. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the structural inequalities, inadequate health care, and the lack of social protections for the poor and exposed the social agenda that rede nes the public good as helping the rich get richer.46 The pro-growth policies, focused on GDP, have pushed aside the growing inequality, rising hunger, unaffordable health and housing costs, dismantled social safety nets, and promoted jobs that do not pay a living wage. According to Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, the coronavirus pandemic has only helped to lift the veil of a preexisting pandemic of poverty and inequality, and a political system that is designed by those in power to sustain and create wealth for themselves through an agenda of deregulation, privatization, and lower taxes for corporations and the wealth. The dismantling of social safety nets and ecological devastation directly related to neoliberal policies will most likely create more threats to peoples’ health and well-being.


22.8 Conclusion

COVID-19 has exacerbated the social determinants of health in the United States and around the world by creating job losses, food insecurity, housing instability, and unequal health care for communities of color, indigenous peoples, prisoners, immi- grants, and other marginal and disenfranchised groups. Given the fragility of their lives, they have not been able to exercise the self-distancing and isolation required to prevent transmission. In the United States, Black communities have been dispro- portionately hit, but the reality is that all over the world those with limited resources and zero social safety have faced, and continue to experience, the brunt of COVID-19.


1. Jones B, Jones JS, Gov. Cuomo is wrong, Covid-19 is anything but an equalizer. The Washington Post. April 5, 2020. gov-cuomo-is-wrong-covid-19-is-anything-an-equalizer/.

2. World Health Organization. Social determinants of health. 2020. social_determinants/sdh_de nition/en/.

3. Of ce of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2020. https://www.

4. Braveman P. What are health disparities and health equity? We need to be clear. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. 1974). Published 2014.

5. Vazquez M, Klein B. Trump again defends use of the term ‘China virus’. CNN. https://www. Published March 19, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020.

6. Yan H, Chen N, Naresh D. What’s spreading faster than coronavirus in the US? Racist assaults and ignorant attacks against Asians. CNN. racist-attacks-against-asian-americans/index.html. Published February 21, 2020.

7.Human Rights Watch. Covid-19 fueling anti-Asian racism and xenopho- bia worldwide. Published May 12, 2020. covid-19-fueling-anti-asian-racism-and-xenophobia-worldwide.

8. Byrd WM, Clayton LA. Race, medicine, and health care in the United States: a historical sur- vey. J Natl Med Assoc. 2001;93(3 Suppl):11S–34S.

9. Millet GA, Jones AT, Benkeser D, et al. Assessing differential impacts of COVID- 19 on black communities. Ann Epidemiol. 2020:47:27–44. annepidem.2020.05.003.

10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority groups.
html. Published April 22, 2020.

11. Bravo MA, Anthopolos R, Kimbro RT, Miranda ML. Residential racial isolation and spa-
tial patterning of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Durham, North Carolina. Am J Epidemiol.

12. Anthopolos R, James SA, Gelfand AE, Miranda ML. A spatial measure of neighborhood level
racial isolation applied to low birthweight, preterm birth, and birthweight in North Carolina.
Spat Spatio-Temporal Epidemiol. 2011;2(4):235–246.

13. Hearst MO, Oakes JM, Johnson PJ. The effect of racial residential segregation on black infant
mortality. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;168(11):1247–1254.



Chapter 22: Socioeconomic, Racial, and Cultural Considerations

14.Mesendrez P, Melin A. tures/2020-04-09/are-you-an-essential-worker-in-the-pandemic-that-depends. Published April 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020.

15. Tomer A and Kane JW. To protect frontline workers during and after COVID-19, we must de ne who they are. Brookings Metro’s COVID-19 Analysis. June 10, 2020. https://www. de ne-who-they-are/.

16. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Racial and ethnic disparities in access to and use of paid fam- ily and medical leave: evidence from four nationally representative datasets: Monthly Labor Review. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. and-ethnic-disparities-in-access-to-and-use-of-paid-family-and-medical-leave.htm. Published January 1, 2019.

17. Sohn H. Racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage: dynamics of gaining and losing coverage over the life-course. Pop Res Policy Rev. articles/PMC5370590/.

18. Lin M-Y, Kressin NR. Race/ethnicity and Americans’ experiences with treatment decision making. Patient Educ Counsel.

19. Hoffman KM, Trawalter S, Axt JR, Oliver MN. Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(16):4296–4301.

20. Severe Maternal Morbidity. NYC Health. data/maternal-morbidity-report-08-12.pdf. Published 2016. Accessed June 3, 2020.

21. Farmer B. The Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, but U.S. health care showing familiar biases.

NPR. doesnt-discriminate-but-u-s-health-care-showing-familiar-biases. Published April 2, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020.

22. Sur P. Under India’s caste system, Dalits are considered untouchable. The coronavirus is intensifying that slur. CNN. castes-hnk-intl/index.html. Published April 16, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020.

23. Cowling K, Dandona R, Dandona L. Social determinants of health in India: progress and inequities across states. Int J Equity Health. 2014;13:88. 0088-0.

24. Nayar KR. (PDF) Social exclusion, caste & health: a review based on the social deter- minants framework. ResearchGate. Social_exclusion_caste_health_A_review_based_on_the_social_determinants_framework. Published 2007. Accessed July 1, 2020.

25. Shaikh M, Miraldo M, Renner AT. Waiting time at health facilities and social class: evidence from the Indian caste system. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0205641. nal.pone.0205641.

26. Sonpimple R. Caste, COVID-19, and India’s disastrous coronavirus lockdown. Huf ngton

Post. https://www.huf in_5ee4ade3c5b61387f005e8d8. Published June 17, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020.

27. Walmsley R. World Prison Population List. 12th ed. September 2018. Institute for Criminal Policy Research. les/resources/downloads/ wppl_12.pdf.

28. The Sentencing Project. The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration. https://www. Accessed June 8, 2020.

29. The Sentencing Project. Black lives matter: eliminating racial inequity in the criminal justice system. pdf. Published 2014.

30. McCarthy J. Most Americans still see crime up over last year. Published February 14, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2020.


31. The Sentencing Project. Mass incarceration has not touched all communities equally. https://

32. Conarck B, Teproff C. Legionnaires’ outbreak at Florida prison adds 5 cases—and now they have scabies, too. miamiherald. orida- prisons/article240187477.html. Accessed June 8, 2020.

33. Bryant M. Coronavirus spread at Rikers is a ‘public health disaster’. The Guardian. https:// disaster. Published 2020. Accessed June 10, 2020.

34. Saloner B, Parish K, Ward JA, DiLaura G, Dolovich S. COVID-19 cases and deaths in federal and state prisons. JAMA.

35. Montoya-Barthelemy AG, Lee CD, Cundiff DR, Smith EB. COVID-19 and the correc- tional environment: the American prison as a focal point for public health. Am J Prev Med. 2020;58(6):888–891.

36. The White House. Proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S. Labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak. April 22, 2020.

37. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE guidance on COVID-19. Published July 1, 2020.

38. Loweree J, Reichlin-Melnick A, and Ewing W.A. The impact of COVID-19 on noncitizens and across the U.S. immigration system. American Immigration Council. https://www.ameri- les/research/the_impact_of_covid-19_on_nonciti- zens_and_across_the_us_immigration_system.pdf. Published May 2020.

39. Stewart A. Cultural humility is critical to health equity. AAFP Home. news/blogs/leadervoices/entry/20190418lv-humility.html. Published April 18, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2020.

40. Semuels A. It’s a race to the bottom. The Coronavirus is cutting into gig worker incomes as the newly jobless ood app. Time. May 18, 2020. gig-economy-coronavirus/.

41. Gould E and Wilson V, Black workers face two of the most lethal pre-existing conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality. Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi. org/publication/black-workers-covid/. Published June 1, 2020.

42. The U.S. Department of Treasury. The CARES act provides assistance to workers and their families. and-families#:~:text=The%20CARES%20Act%20provides%20for,for%20a%20family%20 of%20four.

43. Sloan A. The CARES Act sent you a $1,200 check but gave millionaires and billionaires far more. Propublica. but-gave-millionaires-and-billionaires-far-more. Published June 8, 2020.

44. Reeves RV, Rothwell J. Class and COVID: how the less af uent face double risks. Brookings. uent- face-double-risks/. Published March 27, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2020.

45. Mahler DG, Lakner C, Aguilar RAC, et al., Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty. World Bank blog. impact-covid-19-global-poverty. Published June 8, 2020.

46. Alston P. COVID-19 has revealed a pre-existing pandemic of poverty that bene ts the rich. The Guardian. Published July 11, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2020


Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

Apurv Gupta M.D., Hemant Gupta M.D.,
Andrew Cooper J.D., Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc., Azwade Rahman, Rohan Iyer, and Terran Cooper

List of Abbreviations

CDC Centers for Disease Control
CECC Central Epidemic Command Center COVID-19 Coronavirus disease


Intensive care unit
Personal protective equipment

23.1 Introduction

The philanthropist Bill Gates has referred to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a once-in-a-century pathogen that requires global cooperation for its containment.1 With no availability of vaccines or widespread immunity among people, only public health measures can reduce transmission and control outbreaks.

Soon after the con rmation of human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the Chinese authorities imposed a cordon sanitaire, a de ned quarantine area from which those inside were not allowed to leave, around Wuhan and then Hubei prov- ince. In addition, the authorities ordered bans on public gatherings, compulsory stay-at-home policies, mandatory closures of schools and nonessential businesses, and face mask ordinances, among others.2 Other neighboring countries had already imposed some of these measures along with testing, isolating positive cases, contact tracing, and quarantining those who had been exposed.

Nevertheless, from the time that the rst case of COVID-19 was identi ed on December 8, 2019, to the time that the Chinese central government took full control of the outbreak, a total of 47 days had passed and the virus had spread far and wide both within China and across the globe. Multiple studies modeling the epidemic pre- dicted that large overseas cities with transport links to China would become outbreak epicenters, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels were implemented.

This chapter looks at the global spread of COVID-19 and the responses imple- mented by countries to control the pandemic. Although the world is still in the midst




Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

of the COVID-19 pandemic, looking back over the early responses can provide insightful lessons about policy considerations, even as cases decline or disappear in some countries or increase and resurge in others.

23.2 East and Southeast Asian Response

The Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) informed the local of ces of the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019, about pneumonia of unknown etiology. But since mid-December, the information had been percolating on Chinese social media3 and Canadian-based disease tracking company, Blue Dot, had revealed news of the outbreak.4 Neighboring Taiwan, 81 miles off the coast of mainland China, once learning of the of cial declaration, started to screen incoming passengers from Wuhan.5 The Taiwanese government activated the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that had been established in 2004 after the SARS epidemic. The CECC coordinated efforts by various ministries and managed the response to the entire crisis.

Since the outbreak occurred just before the Chinese Lunar New Year, a time dur- ing which millions of Chinese and Taiwanese travel for the holiday, the expectation was for Taiwan to have the second highest number of cases. However, the govern- ment’s quick response with real-time alerts to classify travelers’ infectious risks based on ight origin and travel history and case identi cation and isolation, quar- antining of high-risk individuals, and regulating the pricing and availability of masks as well as ghting misinformation minimized the number of cases.6

Taiwan announced its rst con rmed imported cases of COVID-19 on January 21, 2020.7 By then, it made use of its established national disease surveillance and reporting system, as well as new location-based monitoring programs via cell phone geolocation.8 The government also utilized a location-tracking phone-based appli- cation to monitor compliance with quarantine measures. Taiwanese citizens’ unique health ID cards enabled doctors and hospitals to access online records allowing for easier access to records of individuals with COVID-19.9 The hospitals prepared for surges, and the production of personal protective equipment was scaled up and face masks were made widely available to the public. All these measures meant that Taiwan, a country of 23 million citizens, could rely on less aggressive measures such as lockdowns and could allow the most economic activity to continue. It has reported only 480 cases and 7 deaths until today, August 10, 2020.10

Other countries in the region that had experienced the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003 rushed to implement nonpharmaceutical measures and active screening and quarantining of individuals entering from Wuhan. South Korea reported its rst con rmed case of COVID-19 on January 20th (the same time as the rst reported case from the United States). It had imposed screening measures on January 3 for individuals entering from Wuhan,11 yet cases began to slowly rise over the coming months. On February 17, there were only 30 reported cases, but over the next 10 days, the cases grew exponentially, and by the end of February, there were nearly 3,000 COVID-19 cases in South Korea.12

The South Koreans, learning from their criticized MERS response in 2015 (clus- ter outbreak of 186 cases and 38 deaths due to ve superspreaders),13 acted quickly

East and Southeast Asian Response

to slow down transmission by expanding testing. The government in partnership with the private sector built hundreds of high-capacity screening clinics and 600 testing centers, with testing capacity reaching 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day. The nation of 51 million people also took a big data approach with contact mapping through credit card history and location from cell phone carriers. The authorities also pushed an intense, and mostly voluntary, social distancing campaign, but left most restaurants, stores, and social venues open for operation.

The Korean strategy included snuf ng out clusters of disease outbreak through aggressive contact tracing and testing, housing positive cases in temporary isolation wards (separate from hospitals), monitoring their symptoms regularly through smartphone applications or by phone, and providing timely and accurate informa- tion to the public and health-care professionals about COVID-19.14 Experience with past outbreaks provided that people wore masks and stayed at home without requir- ing government mandates. By the end of March, the pandemic was under control with fewer than 100 new cases per day and a total of 128 deaths. An outbreak con- nected to several nightclubs on May 12 was quickly brought under control. To date (October 3, 2020), South Korea reported 24,239 cases and 422 deaths compared to the United States with over 7.7 million cases and 215,278 deaths even though both countries reported their rst case on the same day.

Post-SARS, other countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam had also invested in their public health infrastructure. Thailand reported one of the rst cases outside China (January 16), but its early adoption of facemasks combined with a robust health-care system and enforced lockdown in March (which was lifted in May) has kept cases to a minimum.15 A popular tourist destination with millions of foreign visitors, Thailand has recorded only 3,600 cases and 59 deaths (October 3, 2020). It has imposed a strict 14-day quarantine period for all visitors. Other coun- tries such as Cambodia and Laos in the Mekong River Basin also recorded few COVID-19 infections and deaths. Myanmar, however, saw a spike in con rmed cases from 336 reported in mid-July to 10,000 in September and over 20,000 as of October 3, 2020. However, deaths remain low at 471.

Vietnam was especially proactive, moving quickly to put into place screening and testing measures, quarantine centers for passengers coming in on international ights, initiating aggressive multilevel contact tracing, and informing people about COVID- 19 through creative means such as songs and performances.16, 17 Similar to Korea, the Vietnamese employed a cluster strategy of containing outbreaks and tracing contacts to the third degree (index case to those close proximity to index and those in contact with the close contact), and quarantining those that did not test positive for the virus in government-run centers and requiring self-isolation at home for 14 days. The exten- sive tracing was supplemented by possible commune-level lockdowns, and although Vietnam did eventually introduce a nationwide lockdown, it was relatively short-lived (April 1–15, but extended to 21 days in 28 out of 63 provinces).

Although the rst con rmed case of COVID-19 was reported on January 23, Vietnam contained community transmission and has thus far (October 3, 2020) reported a total of 1,098 cases and 35 deaths until today. The majority of con rmed cases, nearly two-thirds, have been imported from China, Europe, and the United States.15



Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

Singapore appeared initially well prepared, and established border screening and quarantine measures for all new arrivals.18 The contact tracing was an inten- sive effort between multiple agencies that used activity mapping, analytic tools, and surveillance footage. The Singaporean economy remained open, and it seemed that the worst of the pandemic had been averted. However, in April, an outbreak of COVID-19 took hold among the 300,000 foreign workers living in overcrowded dormitories. The migrant workers were not allowed to leave and relied entirely on government support for food and water, communications, and entertainment. The country went into a lockdown on April 7 for nearly 2 months, but infection rates soared despite the high quality of health care.19 Although deaths (27 in total) remained low, the paradox of high rate of COVID-19 infections (55,353 positive cases to date) highlights the vulnerabilities among migrant communities that have little control over their lives and living situation. Singapore started a phased lift- ing of restrictions on June 2, but remote working arrangements and keeping physi- cal distance orders stay in effect. Migrant workers continue to remain in lockdown.

The Japanese government was initially criticized for its management of COVID- 19 because passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, oating off the coast of Yokohama city, contributed to the initial (but mild) wave of community spread. A larger surge occurred in late March, and cases were managed through 460 local public health centers (hokenjo in Japanese), which doubled as miniature centers of disease control.20 The centers were strained, and became bottlenecks for testing, while designated hospitals brimmed with mild cases. In mid-April, the government declared a national state of emergency and shifted to restructure the strained health- care system into a more expansive network that included privately owned facilities and started to house mild and asymptomatic cases in converted hotels or ordered them to stay at home.

By May, Japan had attened the curve and averted a full-blown health crisis compared to countries of similar demographics, like Italy (aging population), and economic development, like the United States.21 It had managed to bring down transmission without large-scale testing or very restrictive social distancing by focusing on clusters of infection in gyms, pubs, live music venues, karaoke rooms, and similar types of establishments where people get together for extended periods of time. Japanese citizens complied voluntarily to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

The public health responses to COVID-19 by Indonesia and the Philippines oundered and were delayed. Both countries continued to see new infections and deaths. Indonesia reported a total of 128,776 cases, an average of roughly 1500 new cases per day since mid-June, and 5765 deaths (August 10, 2020).22 Philippines surpassed Indonesia in terms of total cases, 139,538 con rmed COVID-19 cases, and 2312 deaths. Over the past 2 weeks, new cases continued to grow exponentially with a jump from around 1500 cases at end July to over 6000 on August 9.23 The pandemic has challenged the Philippines health-care infrastructure, and the country was included in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan together with 63 of the hardest hit countries in the South.24


23.3 Europe

On January 27, the WHO European Region and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECPD) introduced a surveillance system and asked coun- tries to report con rmed and probable cases of COVID-19.25 The overall strategic aim at the time was containment with a rapid identi cation of probable cases and contact tracing. The rst case detected in France on January 19, followed by two cases on January 24, had direct links to Wuhan.26 By February 21, 47 cases of COVID-19 were reported from 9 countries that included Belgium (1), Finland (1), France (12), Germany (16), Italy (3), Russia (2), Spain (2), Sweden (1), and the United Kingdom (UK) (9). Researchers observed transmission of infection taking place in two broad contexts: sporadic cases linked to travel from China and local community transmission in Europe.27 Clustered outbreaks occurred in France/Spain (7 person cluster in Haute-Savoie and cases were detected in UK) and 14 cases from Bavaria, Germany, and the risk level of similar clusters and community transmis- sion was raised from low to moderate, and then high.28

Although the Germans initially experienced a high rate of infection, they were able to slow down the transmission of the virus. They had developed the rst diag- nostic test for COVID-1929 and started early testing for the virus, increased the capacity of hospitals to manage severe cases, and engaged in a transparent and sci- enti c communications strategy. The German government at the federal and state levels undertook several measures such as social distancing, banning gatherings, wearing facemasks, and stay-at-home orders in some states. While these restrictive measures caused anger and frustration, and even protests, and were considered to impinge on basic rights, they contained the spread of the virus. By June, the UK had over 300,000 cases, over 100,000 more than Germany. More striking was the differ- ence in the total deaths—46,526 deaths in the UK in comparison to 9268 deaths in Germany. An individual with COVID-19 was 6.5 times more likely to die in the UK than in Germany because of the delays in implementing public health policies.

The Germans were able to successfully handle the pandemic. At the forefront of medicine with a strong pharmaceutical industry, they had started early production of test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE). They introduced early lockdowns based on outbreaks, and followed up on positive cases and their contacts. As the country entered into a recession because of the lockdown, the government intro- duced an aid package of $808 billion to mitigate the damage, which included sup- port to further strengthen the health-care system, to provide help to small businesses and the self-employed, to provide state aid for companies, and to secure corporate debt at risk of defaulting.30 A fresh domestic stimulus package worth $146 billion was launched in June for 2020/202131 that included providing families with an extra $336 per child.

In contrast, COVID-19 caught the Italians wholly unprepared. By mid-February, cases began to rapidly increase in northern regions of Italy and two deaths were recorded.32 Similar to Wuhan, the Italian provinces in the northern region became the next epicenter, and cases rose from 3 to 50 to 800. On March 8, the Italian govern- ment closed public spaces and prohibited traveling to Lombardia, Emilia Romagna,



Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

Piemonte, and Veneto. Commercial activities were closed aside from essential busi- nesses. A nationwide lockdown was declared on March 9, and all ights were sus- pended. But these measures were introduced too late as 14 other countries in Europe con rmed their rst cases seeded from travelers who visited Italy.

By March 19, the death toll in Italy surpassed that of China’s totaling 4,634, and it was eventually 7.5 times more.33 The health system was quickly saturated with cases, and faced major shortages of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.34 The highly competent state-run health-care sys- tem, overwhelmed with cases, especially as u season, was still ongoing, experi- enced overcrowding and disorder within and across hospitals resulting in high rates of transmission among medical personnel and patients. At one point, there were 900 deaths per day, and the horror stories of doctors being forced to choose who to treat and dramatic scenes of people lying on hospital oors circulated around the world.

A total of 35,216 deaths occurred in Italy, 87% in people over 70 years old,35 and over 150 medical doctors36 lost their lives. The crude mortality rate in Italy was 6–7%. The death rate was 58.3 per 100,000 population in Italy, almost six times that of Germany at 11.08 per 100,000 population and 10% less than the UK at 69.81 per 100,000 population.37 The Italian government, however, did take several strategic steps to contain the unfolding crisis, including social distancing, mandatory face- masks, banning large gatherings, closure of nonessential commercial and retail businesses, and closure of schools and universities, among others.

The Italian government also passed a 25 billion Euros nancial package, Cura Italia, of which 3.2 billion was used for strengthening the health-care infrastructure. New hospitals were built and the existing buildings were converted to house-infected cases. By early April, intensive care beds had doubled, and the departments for infection and respiratory disease received an in ux of funding to purchase PPE. Community nurses were recruited to intensify testing and contact tracing. Any indi- vidual who tested positive, or who had come in contact with a positive case, was placed under self-isolation and home quarantine of 14 days. After nearly 70 days, Italy loosened its restrictions on May 4. But the Italian government’s decentralized approach and bureaucratic red tape proved to be challenging in containing the out- break and minimizing the deaths.

Following the spike of cases in Italy, Austria closed its border. But soon it con- rmed two cases, tourists from Italy. Like many other countries in Europe, Austria did not shut down nonessential businesses until mid-March, and although it did not mandate wearing masks in public until April, it managed to contain the outbreak by a rigorous and punitive social distancing regime that ned people for breaking quar- antine. The government set up a hotline to dispatch medical workers to test for COVID-19 at home, and also implemented a random testing policy to nd presymp- tomatic and asymptomatic cases. As a result, there were only 22,439 infections and 724 deaths.38 The mortality rate was 8.16 per 100,000 population.

France, like Germany, has a strong central government and advanced health-care system. But its death rate was 4.5 times higher than that of Germany even though it con rmed its rst case around the same time. One reason for the difference was that the French government did not implement social distancing measures or ban large gatherings. Until early March, President Emmanuel Macron was still seen in large


gatherings, shaking hands, and kissing other colleagues, and even making public appearances in retirement homes.39

The French did not impose a lockdown until March 17, and failed to build their logistical capacity to promote mass testing.40 Only 45 public laboratories were accredited, and there was a limited availability of reagents for RT-PCR testing. Instead of scaling up testing, authorities argued that systematic testing was not needed and only reversed their position in late March as a way to end the lockdown. Although France had an expert committee for scienti c guidance, it proved ineffec- tive in informing policy. The French also faced shortages of PPE, relying on China for both masks and testing kits.

The government introduced a series of laws to protect businesses, including a 300 billion euros loan program that included the protection of workers. It intro- duced “Operation Resilience” that used the French military to provide medical and logistical help, and created checkpoints to prevent people from defying lockdown order. But while these policies appeared to be heading in the right direction, the government decided to hold the rst round of mayoral elections (a decision forced by political opponents of President Macron who wanted to take advantage of his rising unpopularity). However, the President postponed the second round given the low voter turnout and the severe losses incurred by his political party.41

On June 2, the government fully relaxed the lockdown measure. The French government, maintaining a reputation of being colorblind, refused to collect data by race, and it failed to acknowledge the disproportionate effect the pandemic had on its minority communities.42 The politicization of COVID-19 crippled France’s abil- ity to manage the public health crisis. Over 600,000 cases have been recorded in France and 32,299 deaths until October 3, 2020.

Greece has the second highest aging population in the European Union after Italy, and with years of economic hardship and austerity, it has a weak health-care system. However, the Greek government reacted swiftly to the threat of COVID-19, adopting an approach driven by science. Rather than promoting public messages that con ict with those of its own public health of cials, Prime Minister Mitsotakis consulted with specialists from the University of Athens Medical School, the National Research and Technology Centre, and other institutions, and established a specialized task force that advised on policy and communicated with the public.43 The emphasis on transparency quelled any backlash against socially disruptive mea- sures that were introduced by the government. In addition, the government through a public–private partnership effectively managed its health resources, doubling its ICU capacity by the end of March.44 It employed over 4000 new doctors and nurses, and spent an estimated $5 billion per month.45 As a result of its proactive interven- tions, Greece experienced only 6177 cases and 216 deaths.46 It has opened up its economy and resumed tourism, a major source of revenue. Tourists entering Greece are tested for the virus, and depending on their results, they are either required to self-isolate or spend 14 days in supervised quarantine.47

Sweden was an outlier in comparison to its neighboring countries and never imposed a full lockdown, keeping businesses, restaurants, and most schools open throughout the pandemic. It did not of cially prescribe policies of social distancing and the use of facemasks. Swedes naturally adopted preventative measures, such as



Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

keeping their distances, limiting social interactions, refraining from forming crowds, and wearing masks. The approach resulted in a high death toll, nearly 6000 deaths or 567 deaths per million people compared to three times that of Denmark (166 deaths per million people) and 7 times that of Finland (59 deaths per million people) and Norway (47 deaths per million per million). The COVID-19 deaths per million in Sweden were closer to Italy than to its neighbors.1 Sweden experienced an eco- nomic recession.

23.4 Oceania—Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand with two very different governments managed to success- fully control the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.48 New Zealand reported its rst case on February 26, and moved swiftly to shut down the country. Initially, it instigated shut- ting its borders to other nations, but a week later shut down all nonessential business and then went further implementing a level 4 lockdown, meaning that people could interact only within their household unit. The strategy was accompanied with text messages explaining what was expected from the individual, and accompanied by Facebook Live videos of the country’s prime minister explaining the situation. As a result, New Zealand reported just over 1500 cases and only 22 COVID-19 deaths. The government of Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, also introduced a series of tax reforms that supported small businesses and protected individuals from losing their homes. In addition, in a symbolic gesture, Ardern and her ministers took a 20% cut in salaries.

The full lockdown allowed the government to get its systems up and running and to effectively manage testing and contact tracing, as well as surveillance.49 The New Zealand response based on scienti c evidence, leadership, and careful communica- tion helped to slow down transmission and eliminate the virus.50 On June 8, the country announced that it was COVID-19 free but it remains vulnerable to future outbreaks.

Australian leadership could not be more different than New Zealand, but it also managed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak by deferring to its scientists for guid- ance. As COVID-19 spread across the vast island, federal and state leaders from across the political spectrum coordinated their response rooted in scienti c evi- dence. As early as March, Australia was possibly heading towards a public health disaster with cases rising exponentially and not enough testing.51 The passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise liner, amounting to 700 COVID-19-positive cases (10% of total cases), were allowed to disembark and self-isolate despite exposure to COVID- 19. The country also suffered from PPE shortages, with many health professionals unable to get enough materials for self-protection.52

But in the middle of March, the Australian government turned the tide and estab- lished a COVID-19 national cabinet to respond to the pandemic.53 All states and ter- ritories met to agree and implement consistent policies on testing, social gatherings, visitor restrictions to long-term facilities, and quarantine period. Listening to health experts guiding policy, political leadership remained apolitical of the COVID-19 out- break. Social distancing rules were put in place, and the government expanded access to telemedicine services to over 3 million patients.54 Changes in hospital services,

The Americas

including screening staff, patients, and visitors, as well as aggressive testing of those most at risk and effective communication prevented greater transmission.55 As of October 3, a total of 27,173 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded with 895 deaths.56

23.5 The Americas

The only entry of a successful response in the Americas is Canada, which had expe- rienced a localized SARS breakout in 2003 with 44 deaths.56 This had pushed the government to invest in testing and surveillance infrastructure for any future pan- demics, but even then Canadians were initially unprepared. They did not recom- mend social distancing or ban of large gatherings, facemasks, and other interventions until the rst COVID-19 death.57 Despite some delay in their response, the Canadian government implemented social distancing and lockdowns. Listening to the advice of health professionals, cross-partisan decisions and actions served to send a mes- sage of unity to the general public and reduce transmission.

However, Canada’s public health system has three levels of jurisdiction—fed- eral, provincial (10 provinces), and regional (3 territories). In a manner similar to the United States, where individual states determine the response, in Canada prov- inces and territories have the authority to determine strategies for containment, while the federal government focuses on international border closing, managing PPE supplies, testing kits, and ventilators. There was considerable cooperation between the federal and provincial governments including on policies related to social distancing, banning public gatherings, school and university closures, and closing of public spaces and nonessential businesses.58

Long-term care facilities for elderly struggled to contain the outbreak, and 81% of deaths occurred in these facilities.59 Employees in elderly care worked in multiple facilities and were spreading the virus. The Canadian military was deployed to sup- port facilities and contain transmission. Public health agencies hired extra people for testing and contact tracing, and the government introduced a new COVID-19 exposure mobile app. Masks were recommended in June and mandated in parts of Canada. By August 12, 2020, Canada reported a total of 120,844 cases and 9006 deaths. Currently, less than 300 new cases are being reported across the country unlike its neighbor the United States that has been recording over 50,000 new cases daily and 1,000 deaths.60

The US government response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been catastrophic, and President Trump’s administration has left policymaking for the outbreak up to state governors. Often the federal government and some state governors have even downplayed the impact of the virus. As a result, the United States, which makes up 4% of the global population, has reported 26% of COVID-19 cases (5.4 million of the 20.8 million cases) and the highest number of deaths at nearly 170,000 (22% of total deaths) followed by Brazil at 104,263 (14%) deaths and India at 47,138 (6%) deaths (August 22, 2020).61 However, as numbers have gone up globally, the United States proportion of cases has declined to 21.4% and deaths to 20.4% (October 3, 2020).

The US government initially ignored any warnings regarding the virus even though the administration was made aware of the outbreak on January 3.62 The rst



Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

known case of COVID-19 was detected on January 19, a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Washington.63 By February, there was evidence of person-to- person transmission,64 but the cases were downplayed and President Trump repeat- edly ignored warnings instead stating that the virus would disappear.65 The CDC botched testing efforts, further delaying the ability to detect new cases.66 State gov- ernors failed to recognize the severity of the crisis despite ample warning signs from Europe and Asia. Most of cials delayed on providing transparent guidance based on scienti c evidence and on introducing coherent public health policies of social dis- tancing; banning large gatherings; wearing facemasks; and closing of schools, uni- versities, and nonessential business. As the CDC advised and provided guidance to the Federal government and states on reducing transmission and attening the curve, the responses remained inconsistent.67

By the third week of March, COVID-19 cases increased exponentially and cities such as New York and San Francisco scrambled to manage the outbreak. The epi- center of the pandemic had once again shifted, from China to Italy and now the United States. The pandemic exposed the fragility of some of the most marginalized American communities, including racial and ethnic inequities and economic dis- parities deeply rooted in decades of structural discrimination.68 Five former CDC directors noted that America was behind the curve in containing the virus despite its considerable resources, scienti c expertise, and state-of-the-art health infrastruc- ture, and furthermore, simple behavioral interventions like wearing a mask had become far too politicized.69, 70

In March 2020, one of the earliest estimates of the impact of COVID-19 from the IHME (Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation) projected “a total of 81,114 deaths (95% UI 38,242–162,106) from COVID-19 over the next 4 months in the US.”2 As a result of many of the policy failures noted above, the number of deaths in the United States has already far exceeded this projection (170,000 on August 20, 2020). IHME’s latest (August 7, 2020) COVID-19 forecasts indicate that “the US will reach nearly 300,000 deaths by December 1, 2020.” The IHME issued simple and stark guidance along with this latest estimate, “if mask wearing in public increases to 95%, more than 66,000 lives could be saved.”3

In Brazil, President Bolsonaro’s response was similar to the US’s President Trump’s.71 Even as cases rose, the government postponed issuing recommendations of physical distancing, wearing facemasks, banning social gatherings, closing schools and nonessential businesses, as well as regional lockdowns, and instead played down the virus, comparing it to seasonal u. Many of these aforementioned public measures had been utilized in prior health emergencies such as H1N1 and the Zika virus, but had fallen out of favor with the current administration’s decentralized approach.72

President Bolsonaro’s rigid insistence that the virus posed no danger and later his belief in using hydroxychloroquine (unproven antimalarial drug as a remedy for COVID-19) resulted in the termination of his health minister, and resignation of the second within a month of taking on the job.73 Testing remained low even as cases grew. Similar to the United States, where state governors and city mayors stepped in to mitigate the COVID-19 impact, in Brazil, the states and municipal govern- ments stepped in to take up the mantle of responsibility.74 In low-income

Conclusion: Lessons Learned

neighborhoods, known as favelas, transmission and mortality rates were higher, given that social distancing was a near impossible challenge.75 Indigenous people and people of color were most affected with rates of transmission three times greater in poor neighborhoods compared to wealthy areas.76 The rst con rmed COVID-19 case was detected on February 26, and today (August 13), Brazil has the second highest number of cases after the United States at 3.1 million and reported over 100,000 deaths. Both countries were reporting an average of 55,000 new cases per day and over 1000 deaths per day.77

The Americas account for less than 10% of the global population, but have recorded 30% of COVID-19-related deaths78 and 50% of cases (11.1 million).79 The Pan American Health Organization Director noted that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed not only the structural de ciencies in the health sector resulting from years of inadequate public investment but also the inequalities around livelihoods.80 Coupled with delayed initiatives, poor leadership, and misinformation campaigns that undermined the scienti c realities, it should not be a surprise that the COVID- 19 pandemic continues to rage in the Americas with the one exception of Canada, which manages to limit infections.81

23.6 Conclusion: Lessons Learned

While no government should be blamed for creating the COVID-19 pandemic, they should be scrutinized for how they responded in slowing down transmission and protecting the health of their people, including preventing excess mortality. The pub- lic health policies for containing the outbreak were the same, but the timing of their implementation varied across the world. Some countries imposed aggressive mea- sures early on to contain and manage outbreaks, and others reacted slowly. The effect of travel restriction modestly slowed down viral transmission, by 3–5 days in China after the Wuhan lockdown.82 But it had a marked effect at an international scale, reducing case importation by nearly 80% until mid-February. The authors concluded that travel bans and restrictions were not as effective as early detection, hand wash- ing, self-isolation, and quarantine measures in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this chapter did not cover the situation in western Asia, Middle East, Africa, and the Paci c, the elements of a successful response with regard to infec- tions and deaths are evident in these regions as well. Listed below are the interven- tions shown to limit infection in the absence of vaccines and effective treatment.

1. Early implementation of nonpharmaceutical public health measures: Given the airborne nature of COVID-19 transmission, outbreaks could only be limited by implementing measures such as physical (social) distancing, good hand hygiene, and facemasks. Banning large gatherings, closing schools, uni- versities, public playground, and nonessential business, and mandating stay at home orders substantially reduced contact between people and helped to bring down the rate of transmission. Travel restrictions had a modest impact on reducing transmission, especially when community spread had already started.



Chapter 23: Health-Care Policy and COVID-19

2. Testing, testing, testing! Isolating positive cases, contact tracing, and quarantining exposed individuals: The importance of testing was central to containing COVID-19, especially clustered outbreaks that could turn into super-spreading events. Ongoing containment of viral transmission, espe- cially as the next u season approaches and restrictions are lifted, requires a robust testing strategy that includes positive individuals to self-isolate and their contacts to quarantine. A testing strategy should include both the RT-PCR and serological tests for antigens, and should focus on asymptom- atic and presymptomatic carriers and priority populations such as the elderly, health-care workers, immunocompromised individuals or those with chronic conditions. Mass serological testing can also provide a preva- lence estimate of COVID-19 in the population. The Brookings Institute and Washington University in St. Louis produced a computational simulation model to inform policy responses to COVID-19 called Testing Responses Through Agent-Based Computation Epidemiology (TRACE)82 for the United States.

3. Scienti cally accurate and transparent decision-making and public com- munications by leadership: Countries that made decisions based on medical and scienti c evidence and communicated the true facts to their citizens man- aged to control the spread of the virus and minimize deaths. Governments that denied viral spread or built mistrust of their public health and medical of – cials fared much worse, resulting in greater confusion. They experienced a higher number of cases and, as a result, many more deaths.

4. Well-resourced health infrastructure, including plans for pandemics: Countries that had experienced the SARS outbreak were better prepared, including having a pandemic response plan coordinated across various gov- ernment agencies. They were able to mobilize quickly and contain the out- break. They had stockpiled PPE, maintained their health infrastructure (or in the case of China were able to quickly build as needed), and maintained suf- cient investments in medical professionals and health-care workers. Governments who had been cutting health care and public services budgets did much worse, including those who had decimated their public health sector.

5. Prioritizing the most at risk, which includes the poorest and most mar- ginalized along with those who are vulnerable to the virus: COVID-19 has brought out the stark inequalities embedded in today’s globalized world. People with higher incomes and stable jobs were able to follow the public health recommendations, but those with lower incomes held essential jobs and were from ethnic and racial minorities. They were unable to keep physical distance, less informed about the pandemic, and often had preexisting condi- tions. As a result, they bore the brunt of exposure and mortality. Governments that prioritized a holistic approach and provided income support along with health services were able to contain the virus much quicker than those where there was an absence of universal, comprehensive health care, protection against job loss, and supplemental income.


COVID-19 has infected over 21 million people, and continues to rage in coun- tries that never contained the virus and has resurged in some countries that ended community transmission because of international travel. This coronavirus may never go away. It is much more transmissible but not as deadly as its cousins— SARS and MERS—and outbreaks are going to continue to pop up. Even if it was eliminated from circulation among humans, the pathogen has successfully made the interspecies jump and could easily transmit back into humans from its animal host. Governments around the world have learned that they need to recognize their role in supporting health care and public health infrastructure, to put aside partisan differ- ences in times of crisis in order not to sow confusion and distrust, to take care of their most disadvantaged citizenry in order to protect them as well as the population at large, and to heed the advice of experts and work in close collaboration with respective agencies in order to create coherence and consensus.


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leaves vulnerable populations exposed. Brookings. front/2020/08/13/the-covid-19-public-health-and-economic-crises-leave-vulnerable-popula- tions-exposed/. Accessed August 13, 2020.

69. Rivas A, 5 former CDC directors on where US went wrong in its COVID-19 response. ABC News. story?id=72219740. Accessed August 7, 2020.

70. Taylor A, How the split over masks sums up America’s chaotic coronavirus response. The Wash Post. Accessed June 25, 2020.

71. Friedman U. The coronavirus-denial movement now has a leader. The Atlantic. https://www. Accessed March 27, 2020.


72. Croda J, Oliveira WK, Frutuoso RL, et al. COVID-19 in Brazil: advantages of a social- ized uni ed health system and preparation to contain cases. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2020;53:e20200167.

73. Paaguassu L, Boadle A, Brazil loses new health minister as Bolsonaro grabs reins in coronavi- rus. Reuters. minister-quits-deepening-brazil-coronavirus-crisis-idUSKBN22R2FM. Accessed May 15, 2020.

74. PODER 360. STF (Supreme Federal Court) decides that States and municipalities have auton- omy to impose isolation. municipios-tem-autonomia-para-impor-isolamento/. Accessed April 15, 2020.

75. United Nations. Brazil favelas organize to ght Covid-19. Stories from the eld. ght-covid-19.

76. McCoy T, One disease. Two Brazils. The Washington Post.
world/2020/08/10/covid-brazil-deaths-inequality/?arc404=true. Accessed August 10, 2020.

77. Worldometer. Brazil and U.S. August 12, 2020.

78. Tharoor I, Latin America’s coronavirus crisis is only getting worse. The Wash Post. https:// Accessed
June 26, 2020.

79. PAHO, Region of the Americas Update. PAHO. le:///Users/sarahz/Downloads/COVID-19-
global-regional-update-13-Aug-2020.pdf. Accessed August 13, 2020.

80. PAHO, Director’s remarks at Bloomberg Philanthropies’ webinar “Leading through the crisis: reducing the impact of COVID-19 in Latin America and Africa”. PAHO. Accessed August 13,

81. Detsky AS, Bogoch II. COVID-19 in Canada: experience and response. JAMA.

82. Center on Social Dynamics and Policy. Testing Responses through Agent-based computational
epidemiology (TRACE). Brookings Institute. through-agent-based-computational-epidemiology-trace/. Accessed July 11, 2020.


Looking Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

Carey Kriz, Chirinjeev Kathuria M.D., MBA, Gary Shmorgon, and Carmina Rogelio

List of Abbreviations

COVID-19 Coronavirus disease

24.1 Introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has overwhelmed countries, brought economies to a standstill, and forced people to sequester in their homes. With no vaccines or effective treatment available, interventions have focused on nonpharma- ceutical methods along with testing, contact tracing, and quarantining. Some coun- tries have managed to successfully control the initial unfolding of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and developed strategies to mitigate the possibility of resurgence of infections. Others are still in midst of the rst wave of the pandemic. COVID-19 is now part of diseases that infect people, and this chapter looks at the potential future of our world with COVID-19.

24.2 How Might the Pandemic End?

Theoretically, there are three possible scenarios characterizing how the coronavirus pandemic might end: one that is catastrophic, one that is the best possible scenario,

and one that is in between the two.1, 2
The rst scenario is based on building up herd immunity by allowing the disease

to run its course through the population. This essentially means that few protective measures will be in place, and most people will become infected. Those who get infected and recover will begin to make up the immune population until hopefully, eventually, the virus will nd no more viable hosts and fail to infect any more peo- ple. Herd immunity would only be possible if 70–90%3 of the population became permanently immune.4 This is the fastest way for the pandemic to come to a head and effectively eradicate the virus, but of course would be unspeakably disastrous for the human population and health systems worldwide.11 Many people would die.




Chapter 24: Looking Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

The second scenario is based on cooperation among leaders to control the spread of the virus through precise and aggressive containment measures. Comprehensive testing would be required in order to identify any and all cases, which are then placed under immediate isolation. Strong cooperation between leadership, full com- pliance of the public, and adequate resources would be a prerequisite to enforcing this level of containment.1 This is an attractive strategy which could eventually shrink the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic perhaps similar to the original SARS in 2003. Health policy expert Dr. Harvey Fineberg predicted it may take as little as 10 weeks to “crush the curve” with a forceful enough campaign.5 However, given the exponential upward trend of outbreaks in the United States as well as the political, sociocultural, and economic climates that the pandemic was born into, this is astronomically unlikely to happen.

Finally, the third route is a strategy of mitigation until a vaccine comes. This is generally what is occurring around the world through various degrees of public health measures and the resulting daily number of cases. The summer and remain- ing months of 2020 are still described as part of the “ rst wave” in the United States.6 The disease will remain circulating as long as containment measures are imperfect and as long as it takes for a vaccine to be made and distributed.

While there are still too many unknowns to accurately make predictions, the pat- terns of other coronaviruses and past pandemics may be considered for thinking ahead. Some researchers speculate transmission dynamics which depend on two unknown factors: immunity status after infection and seasonality of infection.

24.2.1 If Immunity is Permanent, then Covid-19 is a Relatively Brief and Intense Pandemic

Kissler et al.7 built a deterministic model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics with a focus on the United States and cross-immunity interactions between the 2019 virus and other coronaviruses.7 Their projections consistently determined that given permanent immunity to COVID-19, the virus would cause a major outbreak and then effectively disappear in 5 or more years.1 The WHO has found that most stud- ies show that people generate antibodies to the virus after recovery. However, there is no evidence yet to determine whether or not antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confer immunity to future infections.8

24�2�2 If Immunity is Temporary and not Permanent, then Covid-19 Enters Regular Circulation of Other Respiratory Infections

In the case of temporary immunity, multiple sources point to the scenario of an initial wave of SARS-CoV-2 followed by the long-term seasonal ares much like the u.1, 4, 9 Kissler et al.7 modeled different durations of temporary immunity lead- ing to possible annual, biennial, or sporadic outbreak patterns. Based on other known coronaviruses, a duration of immunity of 40 weeks leads to an annual

The Future of COVID-19 and Dealing with the Years Ahead

pattern, while a longer 2-year immunity leads to biennial outbreaks.10 Cross- immunity with the existing coronaviruses also plays a role in the duration of immunity.11

A Swedish modeling study also simulated different scenarios using data from the existing endemic coronaviruses.12 Plausible model parameters show an initial phase in which northern and southern temperate and tropical regions see different patterns of circulation. After a few years, they predict SARS-CoV-2 will become a seasonal coronavirus with characteristic winter outbreaks. What determines seasonality? Infectious disease experts and biologists say that even for well-known diseases, it’s not exactly clear.11 Other researchers analyzed past pandemics since 1700 and did not discern any clear seasonal pattern for most. The 1968 pandemic (Hong Kong u) was the only one with seasonality characterized by more winter-dominant out- breaks. Seven other pandemics in the past had an early peak, which waned until a second peak erupted about 6 months after the rst.13

Some Russian scientists generated similar predictions when thinking from a virus–host perspective. They speculate that the virus will eventually become sea- sonal and endemic after a series of microevolutionary events during the initial wave. They paint a picture that perhaps one wintertime day in the future, a person will catch the virus, visit their doctor who will prescribe something like “covidol,” and recover in days.10 While it is not an impossible future, only the virus and our collec- tive actions will forecast how the pandemic will unfold.

24.3 The Future of COVID-19 and Dealing with the Years Ahead

24.3.1 Ongoing Mitigation

Every day of the pandemic, we learn from the mistakes and discoveries of others. It is vital that accurate information is shared widely in the public and in scienti c communities. Much information is already constantly promulgated by health experts, public of cials, and news outlets. Still, it is worth reinforcing how mitiga- tion strategies are actually proving to work due to persistent objections and politici- zation of some of these measures.

Researchers and health of cials acknowledge that an extended period of quar- antine may not be realistic for many reasons. Moreover, a one-time quarantine might merely delay an inevitable peak.7, 14, 15 Multiple sources conclude that a feasible strategy is intermittent social distancing as well as increasing critical care capacity.10, 14–16 Decisions to increase or loosen distancing restrictions should be informed by ongoing and widespread testing, contact tracing, and other data collection. A short-term goal might be to balance economic activity without exceeding health-care capacities.7 At the same time, development of vac- cines and other interventions is an urgent priority. Research on serology would also be helpful to learn more about the long-term immunology and transmission dynamics of the virus.


Ch. 21, 21.3

Vaccines, Vaccines in development for SARS-CoV-2

Ch. 18.2

Hospital Preparedness

Ch. 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

Transmission, Prevention, nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)

Ch. 19

Diagnostics, Testing


For more information, see the following sections:

Chapter 24: Looking Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

The numbers evolve so rapidly, so it is important to keep a pulse on the local situ- ation by regular testing. This might involve the implementation of systems in com- munities to streamline testing and reopening and restriction of activities. Without comprehensive testing, a signi cant percentage of transmission may occur unknow- ingly by asymptomatic individuals. Importantly, the use of cloth masks would help reduce asymptomatic transmission.17, 18 Simple cloth masks with <30% ef cacy (compared to ≥70% ef cacy of medical-grade masks) have been proven to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.19 Other preventative measures (see Chapter 3) should also be adopted.

A study published in March 2020 revealed early transmission in China.18 Researchers used a very large pool of mobility data to build a dynamic networked population model, and subsequently made inferences about epidemiology of SARS- CoV-2. It was found that undocumented infections were the source of 79% of docu- mented infections. Another modeling study used highly detailed mobility data to describe transmission dynamics in the Boston metropolitan area.16 Aleta et al.16 sought to calculate what percentage of the population would need to be quarantined in order to follow a proposed contact tracing and isolation strategy. If 50% of symp- tomatic infections were identi ed and 40% of their contacts were traced, then about 9% of the population would need to be quarantined at any given time. Researchers at Emory University generated a similar model with partial restoration of the econ- omy based on testing.20 This group investigated the role of serological testing in allowing seropositive individuals to be free of social distancing and act as “immu-

nological shields.”
To be clear, these models were generated with limitations and imperfect param-

eters; thus, further con rmation is needed. However, the idea of selective quaran- tine alongside a semi-active economy may be worth exploring for a sustainable future.

24�3�2 Dealing with the Aftermath

This section addresses the period not only after the peak has passed, but in the event of successful eradication of the disease. The WHO has recommended actions to take on a national level in order to address the long-term health and social impact of a pandemic. These actions are multifaceted and subdivided into categories:


1. Planning and coordination: review lessons learned with the international community; replenish resources

2. Situation monitoring and assessment: evaluate the pandemic characteris- tics and situation monitoring and assessment tools for the next pandemic and other public health emergencies

3. Reducing the spread of disease: conduct a thorough evaluation of all inter- ventions implemented

4. Continuity of health-care provision: evaluate the response of the health system to the pandemic, and share the lessons learned

5. Communications: publicly acknowledge contributions of all communities and sectors, and communicate the lessons learned, incorporate lessons learned into communications activities and planning for the next major pub- lic health crisis

Even without a vaccine, signi cant changes in individual behaviors such as hand washing and masks wearing and public policies can reduce disease transmission. Preventable diseases already cause huge losses of life. For example, on average, 400,000 people die each year from malaria; 1.5 million die from tuberculosis; and 140,000 children die from measles for which there is a vaccine. Since the virus selectively impacts the elderly and those with underlying chronic diseases, it is pos- sible that with smart interventions, deaths in these groups can be averted in the future. COVID-19 unleashed an unprecedented, and rarely witnessed, rush of pub- lications to mitigate its impact, share information on treatments, and nd vaccines. In the midst of a lot of uncertainty, there is a lot that has been discovered and shared about COVID-19. As the pandemic evolves, this section and book will continue to evolve with it.

24.4 Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on people and economies. As of August 27, over 800,000 people had died. The economic effects to the world economies have also been devastating. It has resulted in one of the largest global recession in history with much of the world being locked down in quarantine.

It is expected that global contraction could reach greater than 2% in 2020. Although governments have recorded one of the largest nancial scal packages in recorded history which to date is already greater than $9 trillion, the impact of loss of jobs, livelihoods, and homes will have far-reaching consequences, including depression.

The coronavirus pandemic is also upending the US Presidential elections with conventions being held virtually to a signi cant amount of the votes to be done by mail.



Chapter 24: Looking Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

It has changed the way campaigns will be conducted from limiting large cam- paign rallies to different tactics for fundraising. The COVID-19 response, deaths, and the economic effects are expected to have major impacts on the outcome of all aspects of the elections from the Presidential and control of the US Senate and House.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way patient care is delivered now and in the future. Telemedicine has grown an incredible 4000% during the pan- demic and is expected that a signi cant number of health-care visits will continue to be virtual. All that is needed is a computer, tablet, or smartphone for two-way video interaction between providers and patients. In the United States, the laws allowing for reimbursement of telemedicine continue to evolve and the Congress and advo- cacy groups are asking private insurers to make telemedicine.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunate, but its occurrence provides an opportu- nity to set up a different kind of world where health care can be delivered to all in a cost-effective manner, where mental health and well-being will become mainstream and part of health services, and where people will be the priority.


1. Yong SE. How the pandemic will end. The Atlantic. archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/. Published March 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

2. Denworth L. How the COVID-19 pandemic could end. https://www.scienti article/how-the-covid-19-pandemic-could-end1/. Published June 1, 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

3. Rogers LS, JH Bloomberg School of Public Health. What is herd immunity and how can we achieve it with COVID-19? Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. https://www. Published April 22, 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

4. Brett T, Rohani P. COVID-19 herd immunity strategies: walking an elusive and dangerous tightrope. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020.

5. Fineberg HV. Ten weeks to crush the curve. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:e37.

6. Caren A, Fauci AS. ‘We are still in the rst wave’ of coronavirus. The Washington Post. https:// rst-wave/. Published
June 18, 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

7. Kissler SM, Tedijanto C, Goldstein E, Grad YH, Lipsitch M. Projecting the transmission
dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the post pandemic period. Science. 2020;368(6493):860–

8. WHO, ed. “Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-19.
room/commentaries/detail/immunity-passports-in-the-context-of-covid-19. Published April
24, 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

9. Hoffman BU. Signi cant relaxation of SARS-CoV-2-targeted non-pharmaceutical interven-
tions will result in profound mortality: a New York State modelling study. Preprint. medRxiv.

10. Oberemok VV, Laikova KV, Yurchenko KA, Fomochkina II, Kubyshkin AV. SARS-CoV-2 will
continue to circulate in the human population: an opinion from the point of view of the virus-host relationship. In amm Res. 2020;69(7):635-640.


11. Cohen J. Why do dozens of diseases wax and wane with the seasons—and will COVID-19? Sci News. 2020.

12. Neher RA, Dyrdak R, Druelle V, Hodcroft EB, Albert J. Potential impact of seasonal forc- ing on a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20224. smw.2020.20224.

13. Moore KA, Lipsitch M, Barry JM, Osterholm MT. COVID-19: The CIDRAP viewpoint. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. les/public/downloads/cidrap-covid19-viewpoint-part1_0.pdf. Published April 30, 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.

14. Ngonghala CN, Iboi E, Eikenberry S, et al. Mathematical assessment of the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on curtailing the 2019 novel Coronavirus. Math Biosci. 2020;325:108364.

15. Matrajt L, Leung T. Early release—evaluating the effectiveness of social distancing inter- ventions to delay or atten the epidemic curve of coronavirus disease. Emerg Infect Dis J. 2020;26(8).

16. Aleta A, Martín-Corral D, Piontti APY, et al. Modeling the impact of social distancing, test- ing, contact tracing and household quarantine on second-wave scenarios of the COVID-19 epidemic. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020.

17. Shaman J, Galanti M. Direct measurement of rates of asymptomatic infection and clinical care-seeking for seasonal coronavirus. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020. 01.30.20019612.

18. Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemi- nation of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Science. 2020;368(6490):489–493. https://doi. org/10.1126/science.abb3221.

19. Eikenberry SE, Mancuso M, Iboi E, et al. To mask or not to mask: Modeling the potential for face mask use by the general public to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic. Infect Dis Model. 2020;5:293–308.

20. Kraay ANM, Nelson K, Zhao C, Weitz JS, Lopman BA. Modeling serological testing to inform relaxation of social distancing for COVID-19 control. medRxiv. 2020. /2020.04.24.20078576.


List of Contributors

Dr. Riyaz Ahmad M.D. graduated from Magadh Medical College in Gaya, India, in 1991, and Darbhanga Medical College, Darbhanga, India, in 1997. He received his MRCP from The Royal College of Physicians (Ireland) in 2012 and MRCP from The Royal College of Physicians (UK) in 2013. He is currently practicing in Dubai and contributed to Chapter 7 on COVID-19 manifestations in the central nervous system.

Dr. Syed E. Ahmad M.D. graduated medical school in 1990 from Darbhanga Medical College/Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Laheriasarai, Bihar, India. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Acting Internship Director at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine, and is working at Albert Einstein College of Medicine & SUNY Downstate SOM. In 1990, he joined the staff at North Shore University Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked on the front line and contributed to Chapter 12 on severe COVID-19 manifestations, Chapter 17 on post-recovery and long-term complications, Chapter 20 on drug treatments, and Chapter 21 on vaccines.

Syed Imran Ahmad is currently pursuing his medical degree at the Sophie Davis/ CUNY School of Medicine. He contributed to Chapter 2 on virology and the immune response.

Shaan Ahmad M.D. is a graduate of Brown University’s combined BA/MD pro- gram and currently a PGY-2 in Internal Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He is interested in cardiology and hopes to pursue fellow- ship training after completing residency. He contributed to Chapter 4 on outpatient management.

Syed Muzaffar Ahsan M.D. is a nephrologist in Taylor, Michigan. He is af liated with multiple hospitals in the area and has been practicing medicine for more than 20 years. He has been a senior physician at the Department of Nephrology at the Henry Ford Hospital since 1994 and Medical Director at Green eld Taylor Dialysis since 2007. Dr. Ahsan graduated from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan, and completed his residency at the Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. He contrib- uted to Chapter 9 on renal manifestations of COVID-19.



List of Contributors

Abena Baah-Fordjour is currently pursuing her Medical Degree at the Sophie Davis/ CUNY School of Medicine. She contributed to Chapter 4 on outpatient management.

Dr. Sudhir Bansal M.D. received his medical degree from Delhi University in India, and then attended Medicine and Endocrinology training at the University Hospital Rochester, N.Y. Since 1988, he has been running a private practice, and during the COVID-19 outbreak, he has triaged numerous numbers of patients. He contributed to Chapter 10 on the endocrine manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Nicholas Barresi M.D. graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and is currently a pediatric resident at the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. He has done a tremendous amount of research regarding the pediatric considerations of COVID-19, spreading awareness to the Yale and UCONN health systems and beyond, and contributed to Chapter 14 on COVID-19 in children.

Urmila Bharathan is currently pursuing her medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine with interests in pediatrics and cardiology. She graduated with a B.A. in Biology from the University of Virginia. She contributed to Chapter 6 on cardiovascular manifestations.

Arijit Robin Chakraborty is currently a second year medical student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He completed his Bachelor’s of Music with a minor in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. He contrib- uted to Chapter 3 on transmission and prevention and to Chapter 18 on personal protective equipment.

Sabbir Chowdhury is pursuing his degree of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree at the University of Manchester and preparing for a degree in Health Sciences with Management at Imperial College London, UK. He contributed to Chapter 5 on the pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19.

Andrew Cooper J.D. is an experienced health-care lawyer who represents profes- sionals, practices, hospitals and health-care systems in litigation, transactional and regulatory issues, as well as emerging areas like telemedicine. He has over 30 years of experience representing companies from start-ups to established enterprises in matters involving intellectual property, commercial, compliance, and regulatory issues. Andrew has also served as counsel and trusted C-Suite advisor to companies in market segments ranging from health care and biotech to salty snacks, and food and beverage. Andrew graduated with a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law, where he was on the Editorial Board of the Hofstra Law Review and has an LLM from NYU School of Law. He is a member of the law rm of Mohen Cooper LLC and is serving as the General Counsel to First Medicine. He contrib- uted to Chapter 23 on health-care policy in the COVID-19 response.

Terran Cooper has a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and minor in Creative Writing from the Ohio State University. He is a health-care paralegal at Mohen Cooper

List of Contributors

LLC, whose responsibilities include legal research and writing on a variety of health- care-related issues, matters, and topics. He contributed to Chapter 23 on health-care policy in the COVID-19 response.

Dr. Apurv Gupta M.D., MPH completed his Internal Medicine training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. He received his M.D. and Sc.B. from Brown University, and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is an expert in physician engagement, change management, and leadership develop- ment, and contributed to Chapter 23 on health-care policy to the COVID-19 response.

Shariq Haider Hashmi M.D. graduated from the University of Virginia with a double degree in physics and biochemistry. He is currently pursuing his medical degree at New York University School of Medicine. He contributed to Chapter 9 on endocrinology.

Dr. S. Ejaz Husain M.D. graduated from Brown University School of Medicine in 1986 and completed his ophthalmology residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he also completed a two-year surgical fellowship program in Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery. He contributed to Chapter 12 on the oph- thalmological manifestations of COVID-19.

Eesha Imam graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Chemistry. She worked as a medical scribe and medical assistant in a family practice and internal medicine clinic and is currently preparing for a career in medicine. She contributed to Chapter 7 on the neurological manifestations and Chapter 12 on the ophthalmological manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Khursheed Imam M.D. is a board-certi ed radiologist who has practiced and taught in Roanoke, Virginia, since 2003. Dr. Imam is an Associate Professor of Radiology at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He obtained his AB in Physics with Honors at Harvard University in 1990, obtained his MD at Yale University School of Medicine in 1994, completed his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Brown University in 1999, and completed his fellowship in Body Magnetic Resonance Imaging, including training in musculoskeletal imaging at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he remained on staff as Instructor in Radiology until 2002. His clinical interests include neurological, tho- racic, abdominal, and musculoskeletal imaging and fetal MR imaging. He contrib- uted to Chapter 15 on radiology of COVID-19.

Dr. Naiyer Imam M.D. is a practicing radiologist. He graduated from Brown University with an M.D. and BSc in Mathematics and Computer Sciences, and MSc in Biostatistics from Harvard University. He is the President and CEO of the First Medicine Corporation, a company focused on telemedicine. Previously, he served as a Medical Director for the publicly traded corporation, NightHawk Radiology Services, and was the Chairman and Founder of American Teleradiology NightHawks



List of Contributors

(ATN). The two companies combined in February 2006 with a market cap of over $700 million at the time of the IPO. Breaking Down COVID-19: A Living Textbook book was his idea, and he pulled together all the writers and researchers. Dr. Imam contributed to several chapters, including Chapter 1 on COVID-19 overview, Chapter 3 on COVID-19 transmission and prevention, Chapter 4 on outpatient management, Chapter 7 on COVID-19 and neurological manifestations, Chapter 15 on COVID-19 and radiology, and Chapter 19 on testing for COVID-19.

Syed Ashraf Imam Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of California with vast experience of working with people of different culture, race, and ethnicity. He has more than 15 years of practical experience in the eld of psychology and behav- ioral health, and is trained in a range of treatment modalities. Certi ed PEARLS Therapist from University of Washington to treat depression and Mental Health America, his focus in therapy is on holistic healing by optimum blending of eastern and western philosophy, also including narrative therapy, logo therapy, reminiscence, spiri- tual, and faith-based counseling. Currently, he is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Lyra Behavioral Health, San Francisco; HELP Therapist, San Diego, CA; and Program Manager at UPAC Positive Solutions Program, San Diego, CA.

Rohan Iyer graduated from Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Health and Environment. He contributed to Chapter 22 on the socioeconomic factors of COVID-19.

Dr. Vineet R. Jain M.D. studied at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He did his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and then completed his Fellowship of Thoracic Radiology at the University of Maryland. He is currently an Associate Professor of Radiology at Monte ore Medical Center and contributed to Chapter 15 on radiology and COVID-19.

Dr. Saeed Jaffer M.D. graduated from the Harvard Medical School and completed his M.S. in Computer Science from MIT. He is a Fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Mohs Surgery, and currently runs a private practice in Southern California. He contributed to Chapter 11 on dermato- logical manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Mehran Javeed MBChB, MRCPsych, PGCert in Medical Education gradu- ated from University of Manchester Medical School in 2007 and is a Consultant Psychiatrist for older people in Salford, United Kingdom. He is also a member of the Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and South Cumbria Clinical Senate. He has co- authored book chapters on drugs in dementia as well as neuropsychiatric manifesta- tions in dementia and contributed to Chapter 13 on mental health and COVID-19.

Allen Jo graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S in Biology. He is cur- rently pursuing his medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine. He contributed to Chapter 20 on drugs for treating COVID-19 and Chapter 21 on vaccines.

List of Contributors

Dr. Samer Kabbani M.D. graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1994. Then, he completed his internal medicine residency at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, and his cardiology and interventional car- diology fellowship at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Lebanese American University and inter- ventional cardiologist at Clemenceau Medical Center af liated with John Hopkins international. He contributed to Chapter 6 on cardiovascular manifesta- tions of COVID-19.

Dr. Nooshi Karim M.D. graduated medical school in 1996 from Nalanda, Medical College Bihar, India, and completed her residency, including third-year chief resi- dent in 2006 from Flushing Hospital Medical Center NY and her Fellowship in Geriatrics in 2007. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Donald and Barbara Zucker School. She is an Attending Physician, Division of Hospital Medicine Long Island Jewish Medical Center. During this pandemic, she has been extensively involved in care of COVID-19 patients on the front line. She contributed to Chapter 4 on outpatient management and Chapter 20 on drug testing for COVID-19.

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria M.D., MBA graduated from Brown University with his medical degree and received his business degree from Stanford University. He is the Co-founder and Chairman of New Generation Power and also the Co-founder of American Teleradiology NightHawks, Inc., which merged with NightHawk Radiology Holdings, Inc. The combined company went public on NASDAQ. Dr. Kathuria is an entrepreneurial investor, businessperson, and philanthropist. He ran for political of ce in Illinois, becoming the rst Indian-American to run for the US Senate in US history, in a race that included eventual winner, President Barack Obama. He contributed to Chapter 24 on looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Hasmeera Kathuria M.D. graduated from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and completed her Pulmonary and Critical Care fellow- ship at Boston University. Dr. Kathuria is currently a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician at Boston Medical Center, and is also an Associate Professor at Boston University Medical School. During this pandemic, Dr. Kathuria cared for COVID- 19 patients admitted to the ICU and served on a hospital committee to develop and update best practices for ICU management of COVID-19 patients. She contributed to Chapter 16 on severe COVID-19.

Joseph Kennedy is pursuing his medical degree at the CUNY School of Medicine. He is enrolled in a seven-year joint BSc/M.D. program and received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. He is interested in pursuing anesthesiology and has published several works in obstetric anesthesiology. He has also worked on research related to medical education, telemedicine, and geriatric medicine during COVID-19.



List of Contributors

Dr. Intezam Khan M.D. graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and completed his residency in neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has been in practice for more than 20 years and is af liated with multiple hospi- tals in New York. He contributed to Chapter 7 on central nervous system manifesta- tions of COVID-19.

Dr. Ruhani Doda Khera M.D. is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and also completing her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Doda Khera completed her medical school and postgraduate residency training in India. She plans to use her clinical and administrative skills to improve patient experience and optimize resource utilization in radiological suites. Dr. Doda Khera contributed to Chapter 15 on radiology.

Dr. Lawrence Kogan M.D. graduated from Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. He is an internal medicine resident at Brown University and has treated COVID-19 patients in the ICU and general medicine oors at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. He contributed to Chapter 8 on gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19.

Carey Kriz is the chairman of the First Medicine Holdings Corporation of New York, director of Kingdem Capital in Beijing, and founder and chairman of Templeton Energy. Previously, he was the CEO of Keystone Health Ltd of London, England/Cyprus and has held engineering and executive positions with the IBM Corporation and Johns Hopkins. Mr. Kriz was on the executive committee of Johns Hopkins Medicine, directed the Center for Biomedical Visualization and launched the institutions Medical Robotics program with IBM Research. He is also founder of Johns Hopkins International, American Radiology Services, Amcare Labs, MedBiquitous, and the Callisto TV Corporations. He has been involved in leading investment syndications with institutions including the government of Singapore, P zer, Medtronic, and others. Mr. Kriz has a degree in Economics from the University of Rochester and studied computer science/mathematics at the University of Maryland. He contributed to Chapter 1 on the overview of COVID-19, Chapter 2 on virology and the immune response, and Chapter 24 on looking beyond COVID-19.

Dr. Syed Basharath Mehdi MBBS, FRCP (Edinburgh) is currently a Consultant Chest Physician and Lung Cancer Lead at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He completed his medical schooling from M S Ramaiah Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Bangalore, India, and completed his core medical training fol- lowed by specialist registrar training in Respiratory Medicine from Northwest Deanery UK between 2010 and 2015. His specialist areas include lung cancer and interventional pulmonology. During the pandemic, he has delivered public aware- ness seminars and clinical webinars related to COVID and Contributed to Chapter 5 on pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19.

List of Contributors

Dr. Nishat Mehdi M.D. graduated from M.N.R. Medical College in Telangana, India, in 2015 and received certi cation on maternal and child health in 2019. She has been working on raising community awareness about communicable diseases and volunteers in free medical camps for low-income people. She contributed to Chapter 5 on pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Ehusn Mirza M.D. graduated from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan. He is a Critical Care Medicine Specialist in Fall River, MA, and is af liated with medical facilities at Kent Hospital and Southcoast Hospitals Group—Charlton Memorial. He has over 27 years of experience in the medical eld and contributed to Chapter 18 on personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dr. Usman Mirza M.D. is a Chief Resident at a major NY hospital system and will be starting subspecialty fellowship training in epilepsy in mid-2021. He had rst- hand exposure in managing neurological complications in patients infected with COVID-19 in the New York metropolitan area, which was the epicenter at the onset of the outbreak in the United States. He contributed to Chapter 7 on CNS manifesta- tions of COVID-19.

Sundus Nasim is currently a medical student at Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan. She contributed to Chapter 9 on renal manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Arshad Quadri M.D. is a cardiac surgeon and began his practice in 1995 at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He has performed 100 to 150 open heart surgeries a year, and treated a range of heart diseases. His experience has given him a deep understanding of cardiovascular pathologies leading him to develop numer- ous technological solutions and over 100 patents. Dr. Quadri’s most notable patent is for the world’s rst percutaneous mitral valve delivered via a transfemoral approach. The technology was sold to Edwards Life Science over four years ago. Dr. Quadri completed his medical training in Darbhanga Medical College in Darbhanga, India. He completed his surgical residency in Berkshire Medical Center in Pitts eld, Massachusetts, and his fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Dr. Quadri contributed to Chapter 6 on cardiovascu- lar manifestations of COVID-19.

Dr. Ishrat Quadri M.D. received her medical degree from Mt Sinai (now ICAHN) School of Medicine in New York City, New York, and completed her pediatric resi- dency at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Medical School. She owns a private pediatric practice in West Hartford, Connection, and is currently af liated with UConn and St Joseph’s University. Dr. Quadri has a special interest in pediatric obesity, migraines, and children with developmental issues. Dr. Quadri has a BS in biology from Columbia University, where she also minored in English Literature. She contributed to Chapter 14 on pediatrics and COVID-19.



List of Contributors

Farhan Qureshi is currently pursuing his medical degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is in his second year of PhD training in the laboratory of Dr. Alejandro Caicedo, where he is studying the effects of local immune in ltration on beta cell function in the context of pre-type 1 diabetes. He contributed to Chapter 8 on gastrointestinal manifestations and Chapter 10 on endo- crine manifestations of COVID-19.

Azwade Rahman graduated from Drexel College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in Biological Sciences and is currently studying medicine at the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He contributed to Chapter 15 on radiology, Chapter 22 on socioeconomic factors and COVID-19, and Chapter 23 on health policy.

Dr. Syed Raza M.D. graduated with his medical degree from Aligarh University, India. After completing his postgraduate degree in Medicine from the same univer- sity, he moved to the United Kingdom for higher specialist studies. He successfully completed MRCP and CCT, and later also awarded Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP). He was awarded professor John Goodwin prize for outstanding performance in Diploma Cardiology examination at Hammersmith Hospital, University of London in 2001. Dr Raza is a Fellow of American College of Cardiology and American College of Chest Physicians. He is also a Fellow of European Society of Cardiology and Fellow of European Society of Cardiovascular Imaging. He is also on the committee of Acute Cardiovascular Care, Heart Failure, and Cardiovascular Imaging (European Society of Cardiology). He is currently head- ing the Department of Medicine at Awali Hospital in Bahrain as a consultant cardi- ologist. He contributed to Chapter 6 on cardiological manifestations of COVID-19.

Carmina Rogelio graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. She is currently pursuing her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine and contributed to Chapter 17 on post- recovery and long-term complications of COVID-19, Chapter 20 on drugs for treat- ing COVID-19, and Chapter 24 on post-pandemica.

Dr. Samir A. Shah M.D., FACG graduated from the Harvard Medical School and completed his internal medicine residency and GI fellowship from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. He currently serves as President of the Digestive Diseases National Coalition (DDNC), Vice President of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), Co-chair of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation membership committee, and Co-chair of the IBD Circle. He has a special interest in managing IBD patients in the COVID-19 era and recently organized and co-moder- ated a national webinar on the topic. He contributed to Chapter 9 on gastrointestinal manifestations and COVID-19.

Gary Shmorgon is pursuing his medical degree at State University of New York Upstate Medical University. During the pandemic, he participated in SUNY

List of Contributors

Upstate’s Incident Command initiative and is currently a member of Upstate Task Team. He contributed to Chapter 17 on post-recovery and long-term complications and Chapter 24 on post-pandemic.

Dr. Sanjay Saini M.D. graduated from Tufts University Medical School and received his MBA from MIT Sloan School. His research, teaching, and clinical activities have focused on computed tomographic imaging of the abdominal organs. As a former director of CT services at the Mass General Hospital, Dr. Saini oversaw performances of scanners by different manufacturers and models, which has given him a unique per- spective on evaluating and introducing newer CT methods in the realm of clinical care. He is currently the Vice Chairman for Finance, Quality, and Safety at the Department of Radiology at Mass General Hospital, and contributed to Chapter 15 on radiology.

Lilah Sanduby is in her third year of medical school at the CUNY School of Medicine, where she also mentors and prepares students for STEP 1. She is cur- rently exploring multiple specialties within her clerkship experience while she nur- tures her passion for surgery. She contributed to Chapter 15 on radiology.

Ashley Slack is currently pursuing her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C, with interests in dermatology. She con- tributed to Chapter 11 on dermatological manifestations of COVID-19.

Bethany Sullivan graduated from UConn with degrees in Animal Science, Pathobiology, and Molecular and Cell Biology. She is currently pursuing her medi- cal degree at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and contributed to Chapter 16 on severe COVID-19.

Dr. Chung Sang Tse M.D. is a Gastroenterology Fellow at Brown University. She received her Medical Degree from Yale University and completed internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester). Dr. Tse has been treating COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Rhode Island Hospital. She contributed to Chapter 8 on gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19.

Sarah Zaidi Sc.D., MSc. graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed her undergraduate studies from Brown University. She is a public health scientist dedicated to improving health-care access for underserved and marginal- ized communities and currently working to establish Global Clinical Partners. She co-founded and served as the Science and Managing Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, and later headed a global network of activists working on access to HIV treatment. Dr. Zaidi was responsible for the entire book project and contributed to the following chapters: Chapter 1 on the overview of COVID-19, Chapter 3 on transmission and prevention, Chapter 17 on post-recovery and long- term complications, Chapter 19 on testing for COVID-19, Chapter 22 on socioeco- nomic factors, and Chapter 23 on health policy and the COVID-19 response.




Abdominal pain, 149
Acalabrutinib (Calquence), 222 Adenoviral Vector Vaccines, 236
Adrenal insuf ciency, 109
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 147 Analgesics, 178
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2

(ACE2), 13
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2

(ACE2), 21
Angiotensin II (ATII), 37
Anticipate, 135
Anticoagulating, 102
Antiretroviral, 216
Antivaxxers and Vaccine Ef cacy, 241 ARB Usage in COVID-19, 101 Arrhythmia, 68
Asthma, 43
Atypical Kawasaki disease, 149 Azithromycin, 220


Baricitinib (Olumiant), 222 B-cell, 17
Blood urea nitrogen, 80 Brazil, 267

British Thoracic Society (BTS), 47 Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), 205 Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), 213 Budesonide/Formoterol, 225


Canakinumab (Ilaris), 221 Candidate pandemic virus, 9

Carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO), 187

Cardiovascular, 63
Case fatality rate (CFR), 1
Caste and COVID-19 in India, 249 Cell-to-cell spread, 14
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC), 245
Central Epidemic Command Center

(CECC), 257
Central Nervous System (CNS), 71 Cerebrospinal uid (CSF), 72
Chest X-Rays (CXR), 156
Childhood psychological, 135
Children on school break, 31
China, 259
Chloroquine, 58
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine, 126 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

(COPD), 53
Ciclesonide, 224
Clinical Manifestations, 116 Clofazimine, 221 Community-acquired pneumonia, 72 Complete blood count (CBC), 171 Computed tomography (CT), 155 Convalescent Plasma, 215
Cordon sanitaire, 31
Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2
Cough, 157
COVID-19, 63
C-reactive protein, 64
Creatine phosphokinase (CPK), 171 CRISPR-based test, 208 Cross-immunity, 277



Cultural Considerations, 245 Cura Italia, 262
Cytokine Storm, 180


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), 213 Dermatological Manifestations, 113 Dexamethasone, 224
Dexcom Clarity and Glooko, 108 Diacylyglycerol (DAG), 17 Diagnosis, 146

Diarrhea, 84
Direct Viral Infection, 99
DNA Vaccines, 238
Doing It’s Best (DIB), 195
Drugs for Treating COVID-19, 213



Headache, 80
Health-Care Policy and COVID-19, 257 Health Framework, 245
Heart Failure, 66
Hemoglobin, 104
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

(HLH), 171
Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis, 128 Hepato-pancreato-biliary cancer, 89 High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), 171 High- ow nasal cannula (HFNC), 171 HIV and Ebola virus, 6
Hokenjo in Japanese, 260
Home oxygen therapy, 44
Hong Kong, 3
Human immunode ciency virus (HIV), 213 Hygiene, 202
Hypoxemia and Hypercapnia, 98


IgE antibodies, 17
Immunoglobulin G (IgG), 205 Inactivated Vaccines, 239
Incarceration and COVID-19, 250 Individual Disease Prevention, 28 In ammatory Bowel Disease, 87 Inhaled Pulmonary Vasodilators, 177 Innate and adaptive immune systems, 15 Intensive care unit (ICU), 95
Interferon (IFN-𝜆), 58
Interferon-β, 219
International Society on Thrombosis and

Haemostasis (ISTH), 52 Interspecies jump is SARS-CoV-2, 6 Invasive bacterial infection (IBI), 143 Isolating, 268
Ivermectin, 225


Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), 169


Keratoconjunctivitis, 128


Lancet Global Health, 32 Leronlimab, 222
Live Attenuated Vaccines, 238

Early Management of AKI, 99
East and Southeast Asian Response, 258 Eat & Drink healthy, 138
Economic Inequalities, 252
Economic Security, 252 Electrocardiogram (ECG), 131 Emergency medical services (EMS), 195 Endocrine Diseases, 107
Endocrine Manifestations, 103
Endoscopy and Risk of Transmission, 85 Epidemiology, 96, 172
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), 121 Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), 171 Europe, 259
European Center for Disease Prevention

and Control (ECPD, 261 Eye protection, 195


Face masks, 196
Favipiravir (FPV), 213
FDA-approved drugs, 213
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 213 Forced vital capacity (FVC), 187
Fructose consumption, 44


Gastrointestinal (GI), 83
GI Cancers, 88
Global population, 267 Guillain–Barrésyndrome, 76



Liver Diseases, 87
Liver function test (LFT), 171 Lopinavir/Ritonavir, 217
Lung Protective Ventilation, 175


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 155 Management by Telemedicine, 44 Massive psychological trauma, 135 Mean arterial pressure (MAP), 171 Mechanism, 51

Media distancing, 137
Meningitis, 75
Mental Health in Patients, 133 Mental Health Manifestations, 131 Mental Illness, 133 Methylprednisolone, 224
Middle east respiratory syndrome

(MERS), 7
Monoclonal Antibodies, 221 Mother-to-Child (Vertical) Transmission,

145 Myopericarditis, 69


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 195

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), 208

Natural killer (NK), 15
Nausea, 157
Newborn and Infant Considerations, 145 New England Journal of Medicine, 127 New York Times article, 45 Nitazoxanide, 225
Noninvasive ventilation (NIV), 57 Northern and southern temperate, 277 Nucleic acid ampli cation test

(NAAT), 205

Oceania—Australia and New Zealand, 264 Ophthalmological Manifestations, 125 Oseltamivir (Tami u), 218
Outpatient Management, 37

Paralytics, 178
Pathogen-associated molecular patterns

(PAMPs), 16
Pathophysiology, 48, 100
Pattern recognition proteins (PRRs), 16 Pediatric Manifestations, 143
Personal protective equipment (PPE), 171 Person-to-person transmission, 26 Physical Distancing, 202
Planning and coordination, 279
Positive end-expiratory pressure

(PEEP), 171
Post-Recovery and Long-Term

Complications, 187
PPE Usage Impact on Patients, 122 Predicted body weight (PBW), 171 Prescribed Antidiabetic Drugs, 106 Prime Minister Mitsotakis, 263 Prioritizing, 268
Pro-in ammatory cytokines, 23
Prone Ventilation, 176
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), 91 Psychological disturbances, 134 Psychological Health in Patients, 133 Psychological Impacts, 131
Public health emergency of international

concern, 3

Race and COVID-19, 247 Racial, 245
Radiation, 226
Radiological Manifestations, 155 Radiology of Chest Imaging, 155 Reduces anxiety/fatigue, 136 Renal Manifestations, 95 Respiratory Failure, 52

Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), 71

Ribonucleic acid (RNA), 213 R-naught (R0), 27
RNA Vaccines, 238 Ruxolitinib (Jaka ), 223

Rx Health, 91


Sanitization, 136
Sarilumab (Kevzara), 221 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines, 236



Palliative Care, 182 Pancreatic beta cells, 105




Screening, 202
Sedation, 178
Severe acute respiratory syndrome

Tracheostomy, 179 Triggering the gag re ex, 85 Type 2 diabetes (T2D), 103


United States (US), 259


Vaccines, 278
Vaccines for COVID-19, 235 Vascular Manifestations, 66
Venous thromboembolism (VTE), 96 Veno-venous extracorporeal

membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO),

Viral double-stranded RNA, 16 Viral-Like Particle Vaccines, 239 Viral-like particle (VLP), 235 Viral Vector Vaccines, 236 Vitamin C, 44
Vomiting, 84


Washington, 266
Washington Post article, 45 Weakness, 79
Weaning and Extubation, 179
What goes around comes around, 137 Winter-dominant outbreaks, 277 World Health Organization (WHO), 1

(SARS), 7
Severe COVID-19 and ICU, 171 Singapore, 260
Situation monitoring, 279
Skeletal Muscle Injury, 80
Smoking, 33
SNG001, 219
Social determinants of health (SdoH), 245 Society of Surgical Oncology, 89 Socioeconomic, 245
Sore throat, 157
South Koreans, 258
Steroids, 58
Stress cardiomyopathy, 69
Subacute Thyroiditis, 108
Sub-Saharan Africa, 252
Subunit Vaccines, 239
Sweden, 263


Telehealth in GI, 91
Testing for COVID-19, 205 The pathogen pyramid, 8 Tobacco, 33
Tocilizumab (Actemra), 221 Tofacitinib (Xeljanz), 223 Total lung capacity (TLC), 187


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