Make your home page

Physicians begin registry to record rashes on COVID-19 patients

A leading epidemiologist advising the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the peak of deaths in the US coronavirus pandemic will be three weeks from now, after which "most of the damage will be done," and says it may be possible to only isolate the vulnerable, allowing many back to work. (Provided Photo/CDC via CNN)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – News 8’s medical reporter Mary Gillis says some physicians are seeing rashes that could actually be the first or only indicator of the coronavirus.

Harvard University and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) teamed up last week to launch a registry for physicians to track symptoms of COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Esther Freeman, a dermatologist and epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member at Harvard’s medical school, is managing the registry in collaboration with the AAD. Freeman told Business Insider that about half of the cases in the registry noted lesions in the hands or feet that resemble frostbite.

It’s referred to as “COVID toes,” a bluish or reddish rash on the toes.

Freeman said she’d also seen several of these cases in her own patients in recent weeks; she said she connected with patients through virtual consultations.

Many in the medical community are speculating on the cause of “COVID toes.”

Physicians have also reported several skin problems with COVID-19 patients: a rash similar to dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness; measles; hives; and livedo, which looks like varicose veins.

“We don’t really know what’s happening,” Dr. Carrie Kovarik, associate professor of dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, told Yahoo Life. “We know that most people who are fighting this (virus) are seeing it for the first time, so the immune system is going crazy.”

This story was updated with details from an earlier report.