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Evidence-based medicine and COVID-19: what to believe and when to change
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  • Published on:
    Public and Political Influence on Frontline Practice

    Dear Editor,

    I read with interest the recent article by Carley et al., “Evidence-based medicine and COVID-19: what to believe and when to change”1. The authors pay homage to the challenges of keeping pace with a pandemic growing at unprecedented speeds, forcing the hand of clinicians to make therapeutic decisions on the basis of weak, often unvalidated evidence. They also note the influence of political opinion, referencing Donald Trump’s infamous declaration on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-192. In their concluding statements, the authors eloquently present the need to follow science rather than emotions or politics.

    Having worked in a large critical care unit over the pandemic, I question how easy this is in practice. Clinicians, nurses and Allied Health Professionals do not exist in a vacuum, but rather their opinions and knowledge are inevitably shaped by social and cultural rhetoric. I use the example of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), an acronym once reserved to select professions yet now colloquially used by the lay person. Information regarding the appropriate PPE to be worn was disseminated in multiple formats, from news broadcasts to social media platforms such as Twitter. As knowledge developed about how the SARS-COV-2 virus was transmitted, recommendations on PPE changed accordingly. As of July 23rd, it was recommended that double gloving was not necessary3, and in fact increased the risk of transmitting e-coli...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.