1.4M healthcare jobs lost in April; US needs 900K tests daily to safely reopen — 4 COVID-19 updates

About 900,000 daily COVID-19 tests would be needed to safely reopen the U.S., according to projections from Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard Global Health Institute. The U.S. has confirmed 1,256,972 COVID-19 cases and 75,670 deaths as of 9 a.m. CDT May 8. 

Globally, there have been 3,871,718 reported cases and 270,279 deaths, while 1,294,987 have recovered.

Four updates: 

1. About 1.4 million healthcare jobs were lost in April, primarily in ambulatory healthcare services, with a national total of 20.5 million jobs lost in the last month, according to a May 8 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The April count compares to 43,000 healthcare jobs lost in March. The national unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent, a jump from February, when the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, according to The New York Times. 

2. The U.S. needs to conduct 900,000 tests daily to safely ease social distancing measures, according to new projections shared May 7 by the Harvard Global Health Institute in Cambridge, Mass. This projection marks a steep increase from Harvard researchers' previous estimates that U.S. labs would need to process 500,000 tests daily to lift restrictions by June. In the past seven days, the U.S. has conducted about 248,000 tests daily, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project cited by NPR. Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told NPR the increase is due to more recent modeling that shows the pandemic is worse than earlier projected in the U.S. The researchers found only nine states have reached testing minimums needed to safely reopen. 

3. The novel coronavirus can be found in semen, though it is still unknown if the virus can be sexually transmitted, according to a small study published May 7 in JAMA Network Open. Researchers examined semen specimens from 38 male patients with confirmed COVID-19 at a hospital in China between Jan. 26 and Feb. 16, and found the virus' genetic material in specimens from six patients (15.8 percent). The study did not confirm whether the virus detected in samples was infectious.  

4. The U.S. reported more than 25,000 new COVID-19 cases nearly every day in April, according to STAT. More than 1,000 people have also died from the virus daily since April 2. The data come from STAT's COVID-19 tracker, which uses datasets from more than 15 sources globally, including U.S. data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard. STAT notes these figures are likely underestimates due to limited testing capacity in some areas.


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