Physicians pessimistic despite increased COVID-19 test kits


Physicians were concerned about the safety of their loved ones and themselves and pessimistic about how those outside of the medical community will respond to the pandemic, according to a survey.

Do physicians have access to the COVID-19 test kit?

One positive finding from the physicians who participated in this survey March 19-20 was that the availability of COVID-19 test kits has more than doubled since late February.

Reported access to test kits went from 31% in the first wave of a series of surveys (Jan. 31–Feb. 4), down to 20% in the second (Feb. 26-27), and then jumped to 67% by the third wave (March 19-20), InCrowd reported March 26.

Views on several other COVID-related topics were negative among the majority of responding physicians – all of whom had or were currently treating 20 or more patients with flu-like symptoms at the time of the survey.

“Their frustrations and concerns about their ability to protect themselves while meeting upcoming patient care levels has increased significantly in the last 3 months,” Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of InCrowd, said in a written statement.

In the third wave, 78% of respondents were “concerned for the safety of loved ones due to my exposure as a physician to COVID-19” and only 16% believed that their facility was “staffed adequately to treat the influx of patients anticipated in the next 30 days,” InCrowd said.

One primary care physician from California elaborated on the issue of safety equipment: “First, [the CDC] said we need N95 masks and other masks would not protect us. As those are running out then they said just use regular surgical masks. Now they are saying use bandannas and scarves! It’s like they don’t care about the safety of the people who will be treating the ill! We don’t want to bring it home to our families!”

“Overall, morale appears low, with few optimistic about the efficacy of public-private collaboration (21%), their own safety given current PPE [personal protective equipment] supply (13%), and the U.S.’s ability to ‘flatten the curve’ (12%),” InCrowd noted in the report.

The first two waves each had 150 respondents, but the number increased to 263 for wave 3, with similar proportions – about 50% emergency medicine or critical care specialists, 25% pediatricians, and 25% primary care physicians – in all three.

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