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Feature Global Health

Covid-19: how doctors and healthcare systems are tackling coronavirus worldwide

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 18 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1090

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  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne1,
  2. Erika Hayasaki2,
  3. Mark Zastrow3,
  4. Priyanka Pulla4,
  5. Paul Smith5,
  6. Aser Garcia Rada6
  1. 1New York
  2. 2Boston
  3. 3Seoul
  4. 4Bangalore
  5. 5Sydney
  6. 6Madrid
  1. Correspondence to: Mun-Keat Looi, The BMJ mlooi{at}

As coronavirus continues to spread, doctors and healthcare systems are facing a multitude of challenges at all stages of the pandemic

United States

The United States declared a national emergency on 13 March as covid-19 spread to 49 of the country’s 50 states.

President Donald Trump announced $50bn (£42.1bn; €45.6bn) to help combat the virus, as well as powers to waive laws and restrictions to make care more available, such as through telehealth and allowing doctors to practise in states they are not licensed in.

The president—who has tested negative for covid-19 after contact with an infected Brazilian official—said that many more test kits would soon be available, as would a website to guide people as to signs of infection and whether they should seek testing. The vice president, Mike Pence, who is in charge of response to the outbreak, said that the focus was on the partnership between the government, private companies, and commercial and public laboratories to make widespread testing available. About 2000 laboratories would soon be able to process the tests, he said.

The US government had faced mounting criticism over its response and admitted to failing to provide enough test kits. In the 13 March press conference Trump said that the Food and Drug Administration had approved a new test from the drug manufacturer Roche and that half a million of the kits would be available by 22 March, five million within a month. Deborah Birx, the White House response coordinator for covid-19, said that the tests would provide answers within 24 to 36 hours.

The president also said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would open a website ( to help people decide whether they should seek testing. Leaders of commercial testing laboratories, drug store chains, and mass market retailers said that …

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