Dermatologists and SARS-CoV-2: the impact of the pandemic on daily practice

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2020 Jun;34(6):1196-1201. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16515.


Since the first case of 'pneumonia of unknown aetiology' was diagnosed at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in China on 30 December 2019, what was recognized thereafter as 'severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2' (SARS-CoV-2) has spread over the four continents, causing the respiratory manifestations of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) and satisfying the epidemiological criteria for a label of 'pandemic'. The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is having a huge impact on dermatological practice including the marked reduction of face-to-face consultations in favour of teledermatology, the uncertainties concerning the outcome of COVID-19 infection in patients with common inflammatory disorders such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis receiving immunosuppressive/immunomodulating systemic therapies; the direct involvement of dermatologists in COVID-19 care for patient assistance and new research needs to be addressed. It is not known yet if skin lesions and derangement of the skin barrier could make it easier for SARS-CoV-2 to transmit via indirect contact; it remains to be defined if specific mucosal or skin lesions are associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, although some unpublished observations indicate the occurrence of a transient varicelliform exanthema during the early phase of the infection. SARS-CoV-2 is a new pathogen for humans that is highly contagious, can spread quickly, and is capable of causing enormous health, economic and societal impacts in any setting. The consequences may continue long after the pandemic resolves, and new management modalities for dermatology may originate from the COVID-19 disaster. Learning from experience may help to cope with future major societal changes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Dermatologists / organization & administration
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Safety
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*