It’s mid-April and I trust the freezes are done for us for the foreseeable future. The pollens are in full bloom and the pandemic is starting to stabilize in many parts of our country and around the world. In-person office visits are slowly returning and we are starting to restore normalcy to or lives. In that mix is our collective desire to stay current in our field for the benefit of our patients.
In that context, I offer some insight into the contents of the April issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. This month’s theme is very timely regarding epidemics. When this issue was planned about 15 months ago, little did we know that the COVID-19 pandemic would have wreaked the global havoc that it has. Remember, a pandemic can be thought of as an epidemic “on steroids,” so much of what you will read in this issue is quite relevant to the theme. I would like to call your attention to a few special articles that are true must reads for us as allergy-immunology specialists in the midst of this pandemic.
First up is an extremely relevant perspective article by Joy Hsu, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She describes an overview of U.S. public health resources for the COVID-19 pandemic that are most relevant for use by allergists-immunologists. These include such items as COVIDView, a weekly summary and analysis of testing and mortality for COVID-like illnesses nationwide. Another feature is an updated recommendation list for managing patients with asthma during the pandemic. There are pragmatic tips on optimal conditions for our offices during the pandemic and how we can best protect ourselves, our staffs and our patients. This is an extremely valuable article that is truly a must read.
Another article that has applicability is by Armaud J. Wautlet, MD, and colleagues from Chicago who report on a more familiar epidemic that we have all seen multiple times – influenza. Even though we are currently battling a coronavirus pandemic, historically, influenza has created more havoc in the past century or so. The review by Wautlet, et al, describes a compelling, detailed history of influenza epidemics, the effect of a constantly mutating virus on specific patient populations, and the ways in which our treatment modalities have improved in response to the evolution of the virus itself. This is important reading even in the context of our current pandemic.
These are but two examples of articles related to various aspects of the SARS-CoV-2-induced pandemic that you will want to take time to read and ponder. Stay safe and I look forward (cautiously optimistically) to seeing many of you in New Orleans for the ACAAI Annual Meeting this November.
Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD, PhD, FACAAI