As the autumn season descends upon us, it is hard to believe that the United States has more than 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Although we had hoped “the curve” would have plateaued and begun to wane over the summer, we experienced the opposite. As states lifted their stay-at-home orders, reopened businesses, and relaxed social distancing rules, the number of cases exploded and the virus spread throughout the South, Southwest, and across the heartland.

Luckily, many states were able to pivot quickly and reintroduce lockdown orders, which seemed to have had a positive effect on lowering the number of new cases in the majority of states, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource center. At the time of this writing, only 8 states were in the “red,” indicating an increase in cases over the past week. Florida has seen a dramatic decline in new cases—down from a peak of 15,300 new cases on July 12.

The October issue of Clinical Advisor features an article written by Jessica Kovalchick, RPA-C, called How to Prepare Patients for the New Influenza Season During COVID-19. The story highlights the differences in clinical presentation of COVID-19, influenza, and upper respiratory infections. Interestingly, the precautions Americans took to stall the spread of COVID-19, starting in mid-March, also shortened last year’s flu season by 5 to 6 weeks, saving tens of thousands of lives.

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However, if stay-at-home orders are lifted and children return to school, these measures may not be effective at preventing a serious influenza season this year, leaving an already overwhelmed health care system struggling with 2 epidemics.  

In September we’ve also published our annual NP/PA Salary Survey. The survey was conducted at the beginning of June 2020 and includes responses from 1373 nurse practitioners (NPs) and 489 physician assistants (PAs). In the prior year (June 2019-June 2020), the majority of respondents noted that their average salary has either increased or remained the same. 

Although the full effect of COVID-19 may not be reflected in this survey, the pandemic certainly has left its mark. When we asked our readers if the pandemic has had an impact on their income, 30% of NPs and 13% of PAs said they have experienced a reduction in salaries.  

 I hope you enjoy your issue, and stay safe!

Nikki Kean, Director
The Clinical Advisor