Safety at the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic: How to Keep Our Oncology Patients and Healthcare Workers Safe

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The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first detected as a respiratory illness in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. Since then, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted every aspect of our lives worldwide. In a time when terms such as social distancing and flattening the curve have become a part of our vernacular, it is essential that we understand what measures can be implemented to protect our patients and healthcare workers. Undoubtedly, healthcare providers have had to rapidly alter care delivery models while simultaneously acknowledging the crucial unknowns of how these changes may affect clinical outcomes. This special feature reviews strategies on how to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease for patients with cancer without infection, for patients with cancer with COVID-19 infection, and for the healthcare workers caring for them, while continuing to provide the best possible cancer care. [Editor’s Note: This article includes the most current information available at time of publication; however, recommendations regarding public safety and practice may change rapidly in this situation. Individuals should get the most up to date information from the CDC website.]

Submitted April 1, 2020; accepted for publication April 3, 2020.

Publication: This is an invited article from the NCCN Best Practices Committee.

Disclosures: Dr. Fonesca disclosed that he has served as a consultant for Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene, Takeda, Bayer, Janssen, Novartis, Pharmacyclics, Sanofi, Merck, Juno, Kite, Aduro, OncoTracker, GlaxoSmithKline, and AbbVie, and is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Adaptive Biotechnologies and OncoTracker. The remaining authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests, arrangements, affiliations, or commercial interests with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.

Correspondence: Pelin Cinar, MD, MS, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, 550 16th Street, 6th Floor, Box 3211, San Francisco, CA 94143. Email:
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