- It is with deep appreciation that we read the research by Yu et al.1 investigating the risk factors for mortality among 1,663 patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Wuhan (China) hospital that utilized clinical characteristics in the development of a statistical model that predicts death risk.1 Given that the ongoing pandemic has placed great pressure on healthcare systems worldwide, we consider prediction models to be of high utility in assessing which patients with COVID-19 have higher mortality risk to optimize healthcare resources.
- We appreciate the comments by Zhang and Xu on our article,1 which affirmed our research and provided valuable suggestions. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in late December 2019 quickly emerged into a global pandemic in 2020. However, there are currently no effective drugs or vaccines for COVID-19. The COVID-19 mortality risk score model may help clinicians reduce COVID-19–related mortality by implementing better strategies for the use of limited medical resources. As the commentators suggested, our model still needs further validation studies.
- In “COVID-19 and the correctional environment: the American prison as a focal point for public health,” Montoya-Barthelemy et al.1 acknowledged that during the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, response correctional workers are essential personnel because of their daily contact with a high-risk population. In their opinion, careful preparation and planning are essential for containment. In a comparable paper by Irvine et al.,2 modelers postulated that COVID-19 outbreaks in Immigration and Customs Enforcement Facilities would overwhelm available intensive care unit beds.
- The authors read “Maryland Alcohol Sales Tax and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Natural Experiment” by Staras et al.1 with great interest. In this paper, it is reported that the 2011 alcohol-specific sales tax increase in Maryland caused a 24% decrease in gonorrhea cases reported to the U.S. National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System, but had no effect on chlamydia. Its effects did not vary across age, race/ethnicity, or gender subgroups. Staras and colleagues refer to reductions in alcohol intake and changes in drinking patterns as possible links between the reduction in gonorrhea cases and the alcohol tax increase.
- Middelbeek and Veuger raise the issue of the effect of alcohol tax changes on alcohol consumption in response to the authors’ article “Maryland Alcohol Sales Tax and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Natural Experiment.”1 They point out, as the authors also do in the article, that it seems necessary for the Maryland alcohol tax increase to have influenced alcohol consumption in order for the alcohol tax increase to decrease gonorrhea rates. They suggest that a simple comparison of two data points showing a very small increase (0.03%) in Maryland per capita ethanol consumption from 2010 and 2012 (rather than a decrease in consumption) undermines the results.
- A paper by Green et al.1 questions the external validity of the three RCTs of medical male circumcision for HIV prevention, all of which reported 50%–60% reduction of HIV acquisition in heterosexual circumcised men. The trials differed in the age of participants, background HIV incidence, and surgical techniques, and it is very encouraging that they achieved such similar results. Here, we address the key points from that paper:
- Although three RCTs1–3 and dozens of observational studies have confirmed that medical male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV acquisition in men by at least 60%,4 Green et al.5 continue to question its effectiveness and would deny millions of men—and their female partners—a proven, permanent, and inexpensive method to reduce their lifetime risk of HIV infection. Such denialism in the face of the ongoing pandemic are unethical and immoral.