What a year this has been. As I write this column in late-October, The New York Times (NYT) reported over 8.7 million cases of novel coronavirus in the U.S. to date, and more than 225,600 deaths. At least 534 new coronavirus deaths and 74,323 new cases were reported in the United States on Oct. 26 alone. Over the past week, there have been an average of 71,092 cases per day, an increase of 40 percent from the average two weeks earlier. Globally, the numbers are just as grim. COVID-19 has affected at least 43.6 million people, and has seen more than 1.1 million deaths. The NYT reports that the pandemic is ebbing in some of the countries that were hit hard early on, “but the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 200,000 reported each day on average.”
This summer, I became part of these statistics. I was fortunate and never required hospitalization, and have fully recovered. So many others did not. ITN first wrote about coronavirus on Jan. 31. The article, CT Imaging of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Pneumonia, stated: “One of the first imaging studies on the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was published online today as radiologists scramble to find out how the virus presents in medical imaging. In just 30 days after the virus first appeared in China, it has spread to more than 8,200 confirmed cases and more than 170 deaths. Cases are now being reported in several countries, including the United States and Canada.” Over this past year, the world has learned so much, and yet learned so little.
In July, a report from the RSNA COVID-19 Task Force addressed the impact of the pandemic on private radiology practices. The coronavirus has resulted in widespread disruption to the global economy. The report went on to say that the resulting reduction in demand for imaging services had an abrupt and substantial impact on private radiology practices, which are heavily dependent on examination volumes for practice revenues. According to the report, examination volumes in radiology practices have decreased by 40-90 percent, and the volume reduction is anticipated to persist for anywhere from a few months to a few years.
It is now fall, and usually at this time of year, the ITN team is busy preparing for the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) annual show in Chicago. We are still preparing, however this year, there are no flights to book, no hotels to reserve or dinner appointments to make. RSNA20, like every single conference in 2020, has gone virtual. We still look forward to interacting with you, even if it is via a chatroom.
As we gratefully close out 2020, we wish you a safe and healthy New Year.