Only one-third of physicians in 25 early-to-reopen states says testing, staffing, PPE is sufficient for any new outbreaks that could result from reopening; testing remains problematic
WATERTOWN MA May 22, 2020—With all 50 states easing COVID-19 restrictions, US physicians are not confident that they are ready to handle future outbreaks in their state shall they occur. Findings represent the fifth COVID-19 tracking report in a series focused on reaching the voice of US frontline treating physicians, conducted and sourced last week by InCrowd, the pioneer for real-time, high-quality primary market intelligence for the life science industry.
InCrowd’s new research examined the perspectives of frontline-treating physicians in 25 newly reopened states, including their thoughts on their treating facilities’ preparedness for an influx of patients that could result from reopening the state. The study also asked their thoughts on scaling back social distancing, opening-up businesses, and managing future outbreaks.
Physicians are split on state readiness to reopen, with 41% believing yes, their state is ready to reopen, and 59% saying no, their state is not. The majority of physicians with limited numbers of COVID-19 patients (fewer than 20), were in favor of reopening (52%)—compared to just 25% reported among physicians with 20 or more COVID-19 patients. And when asked if they were in favor of beginning the process to open-up businesses and the economy, only 24% strongly agreed and 37% agreed overall.
InCrowd’s data also show:
- Masks and social distancing are important.Among physicians who believe their states are ready to reopen, nearly half wanted restrictions that coincide with opening, including required masking (48%), 6-foot social distancing (46%), and gathering/crowd limits (39%). For those physicians who do not believe their state is ready, one-third wanted a further downtrend in positive cases, and 23% wanted enforced mask-wearing, social distancing and gathering-size limits.
- Testing remains an issue, particularly among US physicians who do not believe their state is ready to reopen. Forty seven percent in this group wanted more widespread access and reliable testing before their state could safely reopen. Among all respondents, about half report they are able to test all suspected COVID-19 cases, and just a third believe they have sufficient testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with potential outbreaks if occurred as a result of states re-openings.
- Physician have personal concerns. Job security during the COVID-19 pandemic remains an issue for 40% respondents, down slightly from 45% noted in a national study of frontline-treating physicians fielded in April. One-in-ten (11%) reported living separately from his or her family to ensure at-risk loved ones are protected from exposure to COVID-19.
- A fraction reports an increasing volume of COVID-19 cases. When the survey fielded a week ago to physicians in states open or in the process of opening-up, only 22% of respondents reported that their facilities were experiencing increasing numbers of COVID-19.
“Physicians are divided, and most, according to the data, are not feeling confident about their states overall preparedness for reopening,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of InCrowd. “They are seeking stronger restrictions to coincide with the opening in their states. Now that all 50 states are moving toward reestablishing a sense of normalcy, it’s vital that we all, especially public health leaders and policy makers, listen carefully to the voice of those on the frontlines of care, insights that will prepare the nation for the future of disease management, care delivery, and contagion containment. InCrowd will continue to bring this important voice to the forefront.”
InCrowd’s COVID-19 reopening physicians’ report included the perceptions of n=250 US physicians including emergency medicine and critical care specialists (n=180), hospitalists (n=60), and pulmonologists (n=10), each of whom is treating 10 or more unique patients for flu-like symptoms in any of the 25 states that had begun opening COVID-19-restricted services as of early May 2020. The survey fielded May 11-13, 2020. States included can be found in the full report.