As of mid-April 2020, there have been nearly 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and more than 100 000 people have died.1 This historic pandemic has upended daily life globally and forced rationing in some of the world’s most high-income countries. To stem escalation of COVID-19, the World Health Organization has called for the deferral of elective surgery to divert personnel and equipment to patients with COVID-19. Thus, in the near term, surgical care is largely restricted to patients with the most severe illnesses and patients who are symptomatic and hospitalized (with any condition). Surgeons will also provide surgical and critical care for patients with COVID-19, a life-threatening virus that gives some affected individuals severe dyspnea or the need for a ventilator and thus isolates them from loved ones within days or weeks of onset. The experience in China and Italy warns other countries that the upcoming months will bring immeasurable pain to patients, families, and clinicians.
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Corresponding Author: Zara Cooper, MD, MSc, Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 1620 Tremont St, Ste 2-016, Boston, MA 02120 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: April 28, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.1698
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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