Coronavirus BRIEFING
Supported by Essilor

Third VM ‘Micro Chat’ Explores Access to Care and Social Determinants of Health

By Andrew Karp
Friday, April 9, 2021 12:27 AM NEW YORK—With millions of Americans facing job losses and other economic hardships resulting from the pandemic, providing access to healthcare for those in need has taken on new urgency. The crisis is prompting healthcare policy makers and researchers to sharpen their focus on the underlying causes that prevent many people from getting the healthcare services they need. In a new video, “Access to Care: The Social Determinants of Health,” VM editorial director Marge Axelrad and lens and technology editor Andrew Karp discuss this timely topic and how it impacts vision care. The video, the third in a series of “Micro Chats on Macro Topics,” can be viewed here.

The Vision Council's March 2021 Eyecare Provider Insight Survey Reflects Slight Improvements in Exams and Capture Rates Over February

By Staff
Friday, April 9, 2021 12:15 AM ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has released the results of the March 2021 Eyecare Provider Insights Survey. The Vision Council fielded the survey to the organization’s panel of more than 1,700 eyecare providers during the last week of March.

Biden Administration Launches $500,000 Contest for Face Mask Innovation

By Staff
Friday, April 9, 2021 12:01 AM With this mask challenge, we want to get people across the country involved in developing new masks that are both effective and comfortable. This will help us control COVID-19 and be better prepared for future public health emergencies.

Men and Women Differ on Masks During, After COVID-19, WebMD Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, April 8, 2021 8:00 AM More women than men plan to wear a mask due to COVID-19 as long as public health experts like those at the CDC recommend it, according to a survey conducted by WebMD.They survey shows that 73 percent of women will keep wearing masks "while recommended by public health experts," compared with 63 percent of men.

Vision Monday and 20/20 Magazine Kick Off Nominations for Their Readers' Choices of Business Support from 'Ultimate Partners'

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 5:47 PM NEW YORK—The readers of Vision Monday and 20/20 Magazine are being asked to share their choices for great business support partners in a challenging business year, via the new Ultimate Partners program, with nominations opening today. Readers are being asked to recall the time when they were facing a critical challenge, in 2020 and into this year, and to salute the business partner who showed up at the right moment to reshape that problem into an opportunity or name which supplier (or representative) came to the rescue with valuable new solutions. The Ultimate Partners program offers a chance for ECPs and optical retailers to name and describe an individual or a company that stepped up to help them best meet business challenges in the most trying of times. ECPs and optical retailers can submit nominations starting today for their Ultimate Partners here. Deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., ET, April 23. Read More

Covid-19 Was America's Third Leading Cause of Death in 2020

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 4:21 PM The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released provisional mortality data showing that Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. last year, according to Two reports were part of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which found that there were 3,358,814 deaths in the U.S. in 2020 and that the age-adjusted death rate was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 of the population, a 15.9 percent increase over 2019.

Covid-19 was listed as the underlying cause of 345,323 deaths. That makes it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer which were associated with 690,882 and 598,932 deaths in 2020, respectively. Further causes of death in the U.S. last year include unintentional injuries (192,176), strokes (159,050) and chronic respiratory diseases (151,637).

Click here to read the full story from

Parents Are Split on Vaccinating Kids, Axios-Ipsos Poll Says

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 3:59 PM Just half of U.S. parents plan to get their children vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they can, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index. High vaccination rates are seen as a key to achieving herd immunity, but many parents don't want their kids to be the first in line once pediatric vaccinations become available.

The Big Picture

As millions of adults get vaccinated and receive new stimulus payments, confidence is rising and pandemic risk perceptions are declining.

• For the first time in a year, the survey showed a net improvement in how people perceive their ability to do their jobs effectively—and a respite from declining ability to afford household goods.

• 37 percent of those surveyed said they felt returning to their normal place of work would be a large or moderate risk—the lowest since Axios began asking the question last May.

• Just 28 percent said they're now working at home or remotely—the lowest share in a year. Education was a major predictor: 43 percent with a bachelor's degree or higher are still working from home, compared to 18 percent with less than a bachelor’s degree.

• 55 percent said it would be very or moderately risky to return to their pre-coronavirus live—the lowest in a year—and 37 percent said airplane or mass transit travel is a large risk, down from 73 percent last April.

• Perceived risks of seeing friends and family outside the home, going to the hairdresser, attending sporting events, retail shopping and taking a vacation also declined.

• Respondents' ability to pay the rent or mortgage continued to improve.

• 63 percent said they've received stimulus money from the government in the last few weeks.

Click here for a closer look at the Axios-Ipsos poll results.

National Optical Sales Experience Significant Declines for Week of March 29 to April 4, Jobson Practice Performance Tracker Says

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:33 AM NEW YORK—Over a holiday weekend during which the U.S. reached a record four million COVID-19 vaccine doses given in 24 hours, according to the CDC, national optical sales experienced significant declines. Over the course of last week (March 29-April 4), optical service/product categories were down on a national basis by -4 index points for frame units and lens pairs and -5 index points for gross revenue, exams/refractions, and contact lenses, according to the latest Jobson Practice Performance Tracker.

Overall Shopper Anxiety Drops 10% But Safety Concerns and Financial Stress Still Linger

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:01 AM We expect there to be a shift to more discretionary spending, and retail will be a benefactor of that. When you think of what people were spending money on during pandemic, it was groceries, health and other needs that needed taking care of. Now we’ve seen anxiety levels shift, and there has been a corresponding uptick in intention to spend on apparel, restaurants, travel—leisure-type activities, as you might expect.

New Double Mutation Variant from India Found in U.S., WebMD Reports

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 10:53 AM Researchers at Stanford University have identified a case of a new coronavirus variant with two mutations, which was first detected in India last month. The variant was found in a patient in the San Francisco Bay Area, university officials announced on Saturday. “We believe this is the first described case with this variant in the United States,” Lisa Kim, a spokeswoman for Stanford Health Care, told NBC News in a statement.

Men and Women Differ on Masks During, After COVID-19, WebMD Survey Says

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 9:21 AM Answers ranged from "while recommended by public health experts" to "never" regarding the wearing of masks during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in a new WebMD survey. Significant differences emerged between women and men, as well as by age. A much higher percentage of women plan to wear a mask because of COVID-19 as long as public health experts such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend it—73 percent, compared with 63 percent of men.

Would You Get a COVID-19 Vaccine From Your Dentist? 'Drillers and Fillers' Fight Pandemic

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 12:01 AM We used to be drillers and fillers. Now we’re looking at the overall health of an individual.

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Social Software and Collaboration Market to Grow 17 Percent in 2021

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 3:51 PM The worldwide social software and collaboration market is forecast to total $4.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.1 percent from 2020, according to the latest forecast by market research firm Gartner, Inc. The need to support remote work during COVID-19, as well as social software integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth. Even as some workers begin to return to offices, COVID-19 has caused a permanent change in workforce structure.

CDC Updates Guidance to Cruise Ship Industry, Urges Vaccinations

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 9:18 AM The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention on Friday issued new guidance to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, a necessary step before passenger voyages can resume. The new technical instructions, the first update since October, include increasing from weekly to daily reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses and implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status and establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.

Many Eyecare Practices Still Operating Below March 2019 Level, Wave 21 of Jobson Research Survey Finds

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 12:30 AM NEW YORK—After an almost complete shutdown of eyecare practices across the nation in the latter part of March 2020, it’s not unexpected that practices overall performed much better across many of the key office metrics in March 2021. However, in a few key areas—such as patients per day and profitably per patient—March 2021 performance trailed the results of March 2019, the most recent time that ECPs were not dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.