Radiology, COVID-19, and the next pandemic
Diagn Interv Imaging . 2021 Aug 5;S2211-5684(21)00173-X. doi: 10.1016/j.diii.2021.07.004. Online ahead of print.
Edmund M Weisberg, Linda C Chu, Steven P Rowe, Elliot K Fishman
One can read in several venues of the litany of missteps that led to the United States of America (USA) becoming one of the early epicenters of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning in spring 2020 [1, 2]. Our purpose is not to focus on these tragedies of misunderstanding, mismanagement, inaction, and implementation, but to encourage the medical community to act now to prevent future mistakes. As radiologists, our earliest and often primary interface with COVID-19 seemed to be in reading multiple chest X-rays and computed tomography (CT) examinations of the lungs of patients suspected of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection [3, 4]. While the demand for non-COVID-related CT examinations has essentially returned to normal and the pandemic is receding in the USA after 17 months, it is worth considering how radiologists can further contribute to addressing what continues to be a global health crisis. The Delta variant (originally identified in India and now prevalent globally) poses a considerable risk for those unvaccinated in the USA and throughout the world and long-haul COVID presents myriad health problems we are only beginning to study and understand. Radiologists play an important role in diagnosis and management of patients affected by COVID-19 [5, 6] and perhaps can have greater input in communicating sound, healthy behavioral practices to the public regarding the current pandemic and likely future ones. We herein briefly consider the potential role radiologists can play in this continuing health crisis and those that may follow.
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