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CDC data shows thousands of patients caught coronavirus in hospitals while seeking care for other conditions

September 15, 2020
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More than 7,400 patients likely caught the coronavirus while seeking care for other conditions in U.S. hospitals between mid-May and mid-July, data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided The Wall Street Journal shows.

The data, reported by half of U.S. hospitals to the CDC, indicates hospitals have struggled to prevent contagion within their walls, but experts don’t want people to panic. Hospitals are still considered safe and seem to be improving at containing the virus, and the risk of becoming infected has remained low throughout the pandemic. Dr. Meghan Baker, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told the Journal that avoiding hospitals out of fear of becoming infected with the virus is actually the “bigger public health risk.”

Baker and her colleagues recently published a study that found hospitals can, perhaps unsurprisingly, control viral spread with the right tactics like testing every patient on arrival and requiring everyone who is able to wear masks to do so. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for instance, only reported two hospital-acquired COVID-19 cases. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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