White House tables CDC reopening guidelines; hospitals question transparency of remdesivir distribution — 8 updates

The U.S. has confirmed 1,229,089 COVID-19 cases and 73,435 deaths as of 9:45 a.m. CDT May 7. Globally, there have been 3,778,179 reported cases and 264,602 deaths, while 1,254,744 have recovered.

Eight updates:

1. The White House does not plan to implement the CDC's proposed reopening guidelines, a top agency official told CNN May 7. The CDC shared its 17-page document with CNN April 30. The document includes a phased reopening, along with specific guidelines for child care programs; schools and day camps; communities of faith; employers with vulnerable workers; restaurants and bars; and mass transit administrators. A White House official told CNN the guidelines were "overly prescriptive," adding that "guidance in rural Tennessee shouldn't be the same guidance for urban New York City." The recommendations also did not coincide with the coronavirus task force's phased reopening plan, according to CNN. 

2. Blood thinners may help treat severe COVID-19 patients, according to a study published May 6 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A team from New York City-based Mount Sinai Hospital analyzed data from 2,773 patients treated at the hospital between March 14 and April 11. The study found 29 percent of patients on ventilators who were given blood thinners died, compared to 63 percent of patients on ventilators who didn't receive blood thinners. The team told CNN that most of the patients receiving blood thinners were severely ill. 

It's not yet certain how the virus causes blood clots, and the study findings are not definitive enough to prompt solid recommendations, though the researchers are running further experiments.

3. Hospitals and physicians are calling for more transparency regarding how the White House is distributing the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, according to STAT. After the antiviral received emergency use authorization from the FDA, Gilead Sciences donated its existing supply to the U.S. government to distribute to patients. The White House has reportedly selected about two dozen hospitals nationwide to receive remdesivir. However, clinicians told STAT it's unclear why or how those hospitals were chosen. For example, Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital learned May 5 it would get a shipment of the drug, while other extremely hard-hit hospitals in Massachusetts would not receive any. Hospital officials are now attempting to share their allotment with the state health department. 

4. At least 64 children in New York state have developed a rare complication believed to be linked to COVID-19, rising from 15 cases reported May 4 in New York City, according to NBC News. Known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, the complication can lead to inflammation of the heart, and has features of toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease. Possible symptoms include fever, rash and abdominal illness. No related deaths have been reported, though some children have been hospitalized.

5. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing May 6 as National Nurses Day during the White House's COVID-19 press briefing. President Trump called nurses "incredible warriors" and thanked them for working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, president of the American Nurses Association, and Sophia Thomas, DNP, APRN, president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners, were present for the signing ceremony. The nursing leaders also met with President Trump and other administration officials to discuss concerns about nurses' mental health and emphasize the importance of governors including nurses in their decisions about reopening. 

6. Thirty states plan to or have already started reopening their economies, but few meet federal criteria to resume public activities, according to an analysis from The New York Times. The guidelines, which function as recommendations for state governors, suggest states have a downward trajectory of either confirmed cases or the percentage of positive tests before reopening. However, more than half of states easing restrictions are seeing one or both of those metrics continue to rise.

7. U.S. children are facing an unprecedented level of food insecurity for modern times, according to new research from the Brookings Institution cited by The New York Times. About 17.4 percent of mothers (or 1 in 5 households) reported that their children were not eating enough because they couldn't afford to buy food amid the pandemic. During the 2008 recession, just 5.7 percent of mothers reported the same, according to NYT.

8. Nearly 3.2 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Weekly unemployment claim totals have been declining since peaking at 6.9 million in late March, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, these figures still remain record-high. In total, about 33 million people have filed for unemployment in the last seven weeks, according to The New York Times.

More articles on public health:
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New Washington state coronavirus cases linked to 'COVID-19 parties,' officials say

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