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COVID Info Compilation


A compilation and synthesis of COVID info created by and for frontline MDs. We aren’t ID experts and this is not a comprehensive guide — just a document put together to facilitate quick access to good info. Please email at bolleskm@gmail.com to notify of any omissions/errors.

Compiled & created by Kathryn Bolles, MD; Justin Granstein, MD MPH; Christopher Kovach, MD MSc; Patrick Marcus, MD; Kristen Rogers, MD MPH; and Eric Tanenbaum, MD

Last update 03/21/20


COVID One Pager by Nick Mark, MD

EmCrit COVID Review


EB Medicine COVID19 Guide

UpToDate COVID19 (no paywall)

Stanford Grand Rounds on COVID


WHO Pandemic Situation Reports

Johns Hopkins Pandemic Map


CDC Guidelines

WHO Guidelines

SCCM COVID19 Guidelines

UW COVID Protocols

UCSF COVID Protocols

Mount Sinai Health System Protocols

MGH Treatment protocols

Brigham & Women’s Critical Care Protocols

U Nebraska Protocols (includes UV mask decon protocols)

AliBaba/Global MediXchange Handbook for Combating COVID-19



WHO COVID Research

Wiley COVID articles (no paywall)

NEJM COVID articles (no paywall)

JAMA COVID articles (no paywall)

IDSA COVID19 Resource Center includes great info on testing protocols


Patient Characteristics:

  • Median hospitalized age varies by country and case report, mostly between 40s-70s (Wang et al, Arentz et al)
  • Initial male predominance but less clear as more data appears (Wang et al, Arentz et al)
  • Most patients with comorbidities, esp HTN, DM, CVD, chronic respiratory disease

Incubation period: median 5-7 days, 98% within 12 days (Lauer et al, Tian et al)

R0: around 2-2.5 in general population (WHO), up to 11 aboard cruise ships (Mizumoto & Chowell) but can be lowered through distancing & public health controls

Viral shedding: can be present 1-3 days prior to onset of symptoms, median duration 20 days with durations up to 37 days in recovered patients (Zhou et al)


  • Transmission via droplet, contact (fomites up to 7hrs on some surfaces); unclear if airborne transmission but may be possible (van Doremalen et al)
  • Asymptomatic transmission appears to occur based on case reports (Bai et al, Rothe et al) and may be the source of a majority of infections based on modeling (Li et al)
  • Current CDC, WHO, SCCM recommendations: contact and droplet for COVID+ and rule out; airborne if aerosolizing procedure
  • In influenza studies, surgical facemasks appear equivalent to N95 in respiratory infection prevention — though N95 significantly better in vitro, pragmatic benefit unclear (Smith et al, Radonovich et al)
  • All aerosolizing procedures (intubation, NIPPV, HFNC, suctioning, nebs, bronchoscopy, endoscopy, TEE) should be performed in negative pressure rooms (SCCM)
  • HFNC increases droplet spread and should be considered aerosolizing (Ne-Hooi et al)
  • Laparoscopy should be considered a potentially aerosolizing procedure, avoid ALL elective procedures and use viral filters if considering (SAGES)
  • Avoid aerosolizing procedures when possible

Creative solutions as supplies run low:

  • 3D printing templates (not tested or validated, but likely better than nothing)



  • Adults: fever (99% over 99F in one study, but up to 40% afebrile on admission in another), fatigue (70%), dry cough (59%), anorexia (40%), myalgias (35%), dyspnea (31%), sputum production (27%) (Wang et al, Leung et al, Arentz et al, Guan et al)
  • Symptoms are highly variable and should generally have high index of suspicion for isolation and testing (Lynch)
  • Look out for “silent hypoxemia” — profound hypoxemia without respiratory distress (Xie et al)
  • GI symptoms (abd pain, diarrhea, N/V) were rare in some case series but common (49%) in others; often preceded respiratory symptoms (Wang et al, Lei et Al)
  • May present with anosmia per European reports, though unable to find original case reports (ENT UK)
  • ARDS present in all intubated patients (Arentz et al)
  • Cardiomyopathy in ⅓ of patients (Arentz et al, Ruan et al)
  • Presence of shock highly variable (1%-35%) (SCCM)
  • Children: more variable — most common cough (48%), pharyngeal erythema (46%), fever (42%) (Lu et al)
  • Pregnancy: very little known, but very small (15) case series without clear difference in outcomes of mild disease or clear adverse impact on fetus/childbirth (Liu et al)

Spectrum of disease: 81% mild, 14% severe, 5% critical (Wu & McGoogan)

Co-infection with other respiratory virus including flu has been described; does not appear common in adults (Ding et al) but may be common in children (Xia et al)


  • Average 7 days from symptom onset to hospitalization (Tian et al)
  • Most admitted to ICU within 24hrs of admission (Arentz et al, Wang et al) and appear to have a prolonged ICU course


  • Sensitivity of nasopharyngeal RT-PCR debatable and may be low (63-67%) for single PCR, increased with repetition (Fang et al, Wang et al)
  • Increased sensitivity with BAL (93%), sputum (72%) (Wang et al) but unclear if bronchoscopy advisable given aerosolization risk (Bouadma et al)
  • Chest CT may be more sensitive (98%) but less specific (Fang et al), but may not be a good use of resources esp. with disinfection times required
  • Serological tests are in the works but not yet in clinical use (Amanat et al)
  • Normal WBC with lymphopenia common (Wang et al, Arentz et al)
  • Elevated inflammatory markers (D-dimer, CRP, IL-6, ferritin, LDH) though notably low ESR (Zhou et al)
  • Procal usually negative or indeterminate, may be elevated in superinfection
  • Small case series in children showed most (80%) with procal >0.05, though unclear if due to COVID or coinfection (Xia et al)
  • Seeing some elevation in LFTs but typically not substantial hepatitis
  • Prevalence of AKI unclear but may be more common than initially thought and AKI is an independent risk factor for mortality (Naicker et al)
  • Proteinuria in 44-67%, massive albuminuria in ⅓, elevated Cr in 15-20% (Li et al, Cheng et al)


Pulm CCM Guide to Lung Imaging in COVID19

Italian Radiology COVID19 Image Database

  • CXRs with hazy, bilateral reticular opacities or GGOs; sensitivity appears variable, but increased after 72hrs (Arentz et al)
  • CT: highly sensitive, progression over disease course (Shi et al)
  • Early on (including before symptom onset) may see unilateral, multilobar, peripheral GGOs
  • CT abnormalities prior to laboratory confirmation in 70% (Li & Xia)
  • Progression to bilateral (90%), diffuse (50%) GGOs in most patients (Shi et al)
  • Consolidation with halo sign may be seen in pediatric patients (Xia et al)
  • Lesions predominantly bilateral, lower lobe > upper lobe (Zhao et al)
  • Progression to multifocal consolidation, air bronchograms, traction bronchiectasis, crazy paving appears to be correlated with more severe disease (Zhao et al)
  • Lung US findings include pleural thickening/irregular pleural lines, B lines, and subpleural consolidations; seems more sensitive than CXR and less than CT but need to capture a lot of lung area (Peng et al, Buonsenso et al)


  • Case fatality rates vary widely by country and likely inaccurate at this point given limited capture, overall CFR in largest study thus far (China) was 2.3% (Wu & McGoogan)
  • CFRs may be underestimated due to delays between case identification and death, with estimated mortality accounting for this delay leveling off at 5.7% (Baud et al)
  • …but CFRs may also be overestimated due to lack of capture of asymptomatic cases, with S Korea having much better capture and a much lower rate (1.1%) (KCDC)
  • HCWs appear to get sicker than age would otherwise predict with 14.8% severe or critical cases, higher rates of infection in overwhelmed areas (Wu & McGoogan)
  • Kids appear to do relatively well — 87% discharged home, 12% stable on medical floor, 0.6% mortality (1 patient) (Lu et al)
  • Very early data with no clear difference in maternal outcomes in pregnancy (Liu et al) but may have a higher rate of preterm delivery (Mullins et al)
  • Comorbidities significantly increase mortality: CVD (CFR 10.5%, OR 21), diabetes (CFR 7.3%), COPD (CFR 6.3%), HTN (CFR 6.0%), cancer (CFR 5.3%) (Wu & McGoogan, Zhou et al)
  • Cause of death: 53% resp failure, 33% resp failure + heart failure, 5% heart failure (Ruan et al)
  • SOFA score correlated with in-hospital mortality (OR 5.65) (Zhou et al)

Laboratory indicators of severity/mortality

  • Lower mortality with early warning system based on age, lymphocyte count, O2 req, CT scan (thresholds unclear) to triage to BID or continuous monitoring, then early ICU transfer for RR>30, SpO2<93%, or HR>120bpm (Sun et al)
  • D-dimer > 1 (OR 18.42) (Zhou et al), elevated trop, CRP, and myoglobin correlated with poor outcomes (Ruan et al)
  • Overall, patients with more elevated inflammatory markers appear to have worse outcomes
  • D-dimer (threshold 0.28) and IL-6 (threshold 24.3) may be a good combo of markers for severe disease (96% sensitivity, 93% specificity in small cohort) (Gao et al) — please note, paper does not include case definition of mild vs severe disease
  • Very small case series argues higher platelet to lymphocyte ratio (i.e. platelet count/absolute lymphocyte count) may be predictive of severe disease, with platelet count tracking severity of disease (Qu et al)


SCCM COVID19 Guidelines

Highlights: mostly adheres to traditional critical care for shock and ARDS

  • Conservative over liberal fluid resuscitation with typical preference for buffered crystalloids > NS > colloids
  • If pressors required, recommend norepi first line, vaso second line to target MAP 60-65
  • If cardiac dysfunction despite fluids and norepi, recommend dobutamine
  • Low-dose corticosteroids for refractory shock
  • COVID19 specific: recommend HFNC over NIPPV for patients needing more support than conventional NC O2 (high risk for aerosol production/transmission, may depend on local hospital protocols)
  • If HFNC unavailable and no immediate indication for intubation, can consider short NIPPV trial (high risk for aerosol production/transmission, may depend on local hospital protocols)


From SCCM guidelines

  • COVID19 specific: recommend early intubation if worsening on HFNC or NIPPV with expert performing, minimal staff in room, negative pressure, and contact + droplet + airborne precautions
  • Follow typical ARDS algorithms with LPV (ARDSNet), PEEP (ARDSNet), paralytics (PETAL), proning (PROSEVA)
  • Consider trial of inhaled pulmonary vasodilator as rescue therapy, recommend against inhaled NO
  • Recommend traditional but not staircase recruitment maneuvers
  • As a last resort, consider VV ECMO if available, but resource intensive and essentially no data (reportedly used in China but no outcomes data yet)


From SCCM guidelines

Other COVID19-specific notes:

  • Tend to have better response to high PEEP and better compliance than similarly ill ARDS patients (observations from Italian ICU MDs, no published data; discussed in EmCrit)
  • May be possible to share/split vents in crisis, though prior studies/explorations primarily in mass trauma not pandemic (Neyman)
  • Avoid bronch unless suspected alternate etiology or superinfection given super high infxn risk and no other benefit (Bouadma et al)

Brigham & Women’s Critical Care Protocols

Crit Care MDs COVID respiratory failure algorithm

Critical care for non-intensivists:


ACC/China Meeting Summary

COVID-19: Cardiac and Arrhythmic Complications by Christopher Kovach, MD MSc

CardioNerds on COVID & Cardiology by Pranoti Hiremath, MD

  • In one case series, 17% of patients with arrhythmia (44% of ICU patients) and 7% with cardiac injury (22% of ICU patients) (Wang et al)
  • Reports of MI, acute onset heart failure, myocarditis, and cardiac arrest (ACC Bulletin); some patients presenting with purely CHF or myocarditis Sx (Zheng et al)
  • Overall seeing a high mortality with CV involvement though pathway (stress CM vs direct viral injury vs cytokine storm) currently unclear (Zheng et al)
  • ACE2 is a functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 (Zheng et al) which has led to consideration of association between ACE/ARB use and COVID outcomes
  • Patients with HTN, heart disease appear overrepresented in COVID diagnoses and mortality but difficult to interpret without age adjustment or cohort studies (Sparks et al)
  • No clear evidence of causation or worse outcomes with ACE/ARB (Sparks et al), may have some lung protection from ARB in prior SARS studies
  • Professional societies currently recommend continuing ACE/ARB for patients already taking (Sparks et alACC)


  • Limited data suggest that hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 with severe infections (>2 organ systems involved) are at significantly elevated risk of stroke/cerebrovascular events (Li et al) and this is a negative prognostic factor
  • Extremely elevated levels of CRP and D-dimer (>6) are likely indicative of severe generalized inflammatory conditions leading to prothrombotic state responsible for these outcomes (Li et al)
  • SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV have previously demonstrated ability to infiltrate CNS, most likely via olfactory bulb neurons and trans-synaptic spread; prior studies have demonstrated viral antigens in the respiratory centers of the medulla raising questions of a potential contributory effect on pulmonary/respiratory compromise (Li et al [different paper])



  • Remedesivir: effective in vitro with chloroquine (Wang et al), clinical trials in progress
  • Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine: effective in vitro (Wang et al, Lui et al); may have clinical efficacy (esp. with azithromycin) but unclear validity of studies so far (Gao et al (abstract only), Gautret et al (unable to find working DOI))
  • Also in trials for infection prevention/PPx (U Minnesota)
  • Favilavir: approved in China per news reports, not available in US, unable to find studies
  • Tocilizumab: may help cytokine storm, case series of 21 patients in China with clinical improvement and no known adverse events (Xu et al)
  • Convalescent sera: theoretically beneficial (Casadevall & Pirofski), reportedly some cases in China but unable to find data, can’t find trials yet; may also be logistically difficult; SCCM currently recommends against use of convalescent plasma or IVIG
  • ACE2: undergoing small observational trial in China, no results yet
  • Lopinavir-Ritonavir: initial observations & RCT without clear efficacy in COVID19 (Young et al, Cao et al)
  • Caveat: Known increased activity in SARS-CoV-1 when used in conjunction with ribavirin (Chu et al) but not used in current COVID studies (EmCrit)
  • Neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir): no in vitro benefit in SARS-CoV-2 (Tan et al)


  • Corticosteroids: may have reduced mortality in COVID-related ARDS (HR 0.38) in single, small, uncontrolled trial (Wu et al) but not recommended due to prior SARS data indicating increased viral shedding (Lee et al); WHO & CDC guidelines currently recommend against use but SCCM guidelines recommend use in patients with ARDS (not in patients without ARDS)
  • May consider in patients with other indications (COPD, vasopressor-resistant shock)
  • Not all steroids created equal – dexamethasone may be preferable agent due to relative lack of mineralocorticoid activity, decreasing potential for worsening pulmonary edema while still tamping down inflammatory response


AMA Journal of Ethics COVID19 Resource Center

  • A lot of US states are starting to come up with crisis standards of care (WA State here) and plans for triage, but you should look up your own and keep in touch with your hospital leadership as there are many different standards and they are likely to change over the course of the outbreak
  • SCCM Resource Availability for COVID19 — includes plans for alternate sources of vents and beds, possible team structures if insufficient intensivists


Guide for discussions with patients and families about COVID by Anthony Back, MD

  • Reportedly planning guide for families soon

Vital Talk app with family discussion guides, including for COVID19


(note: not company endorsements, just seemed like good resources — take care of yourselves)

NYT on coping with Coronavirus anxiety

Headspace meditation app (free for HCW with NPI)

Leave No Trace recommendations for safely getting outdoors (if allowed in your region)

Down Dog yoga app (free until 04/01)

Les Mills workouts on demand (currently free)

Kansas City Zoo 24hr Penguin Cam YES


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