The Rundown by inforMD | Week of 5.04.2020

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Hackers Now Targeting COVID-19 Data

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.K.’s National Cyber Agency (NCSC) issued a joint alert this week warning that they are seeing “indications that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups” are “actively targeting organizations involved in both national and international COVID-19 responses” with password spraying, an attack in which the hacker uses a “single and commonly used password against many accounts before moving on to try a second password, and so on.” According to the alert, hackers are primarily targeting “pharmaceutical companies, medical research organizations, and universities” to “steal sensitive research data and intellectual property for commercial and state benefit.”

>> Read More: Alert (AA20-126A)

Patients Avoiding Medical Facilities During COVID-19

In a poll of 2,021 U.S. participants, “62 percent of adults said it is unlikely they will visit a hospital during the coronavirus pandemic for treatment unrelated to COVID-19 versus 21 percent who said it is likely that they would.” However, when asked whether or not they would be willing to see their primary care provider, “48 percent of adults said they would be unlikely to visit amid the pandemic, compared with 39 percent who said they were likely to do so.” Telehealth remains a viable option for patients, and “23 percent in the survey said they have used telehealth services for an appointment with a doctor, hospital, or specialist in light of the pandemic.”

>> Read More: Amid Pandemic, Public Wary of Seeking Non-Coronavirus Care From Providers

Hospitals Facing Upwards of $200B in Losses Due to COVID-19

The American Hospital Association (AHA) released a report estimating that between March 1, 2020 to June 13, 2020, COVID-19, will result in a “financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for America’s hospitals and health systems, or an average of $50.7 billion per month.” The AHA attributes these costs to “the financial impact of COVID-19 hospitalizations, total revenue losses from cancelled surgeries and other services, additional costs associated with purchasing needed PPE,” and “costs of additional support some hospitals are providing to their front-line workers.” 

>> Read More: Hospitals and Health Systems Face Unprecedented Financial Pressures Due to COVID-19

Study: Hospitals May Contribute to Racial Disparities in Maternal Morbidity

A study published in Health Affairs discovered that “women in ZIP codes with the highest concentration of poor blacks relative to wealthy whites experienced 4.0 cases of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) per 100 deliveries, compared with 1.7 cases per 100 deliveries among women in the neighborhoods with the lowest concentration.” The study reveals that “35 percent of this difference was attributable to the delivery hospital” because “women in highly polarized neighborhoods were most likely to deliver in hospitals located in similarly polarized neighborhoods.”

>> Read More:  Neighborhood Racial And Economic Polarization, Hospital Of Delivery, And Severe Maternal Morbidity

Study: Healthcare Workers’ Mental Health Suffering More Than That of General Public

A recent study of “25,000 healthcare workers and more than 10,000 members of the general population” found that “while the well-being of the general population has decreased, the well-being of the healthcare providers has decreased even more.” Researchers from Qntfy, an analytics company, in partnership with the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), discovered that healthcare workers’ well-being dropped by as many as four standard deviations when compared to the general population. Researchers suggest that doctors form a safety plan to mitigate the risks.

>> Read More: Healthcare Professionals’ Mental Health Suffering Even More Than That of General Public Due to COVID-19

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