200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19; Trump extends social distancing guidelines and 9 other updates

Federal social distancing guidelines have been extended through April 30, President Donald Trump said at a March 29 White House news briefing.  

The U.S. COVID-19 case count is the highest in the world, with 144,672 cases as of 11:30 a.m. CDT March 30. Nationwide, 2,575 Americans have died from the virus, while 4,865 have recovered. 

Ten outbreak updates:

1. Hospitals are to report COVID-19 testing and bed capacity data to HHS, Vice President Mike Pence wrote to hospital administrators March 29. All hospitals should report data every day to the National Healthcare Safety Network COVID-19 Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Module. The data is "critical for epidemiological surveillance and public health decision making," Mr. Pence wrote.

2. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19, while the virus is likely to infect millions, Anthony Fauci, MD, estimated March 29 on CNN's "State of the Union." The prediction is much lower than worst-case-scenario estimates, said Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

However, the expert said people should not focus on estimates because "it's such a moving target that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people."

3. An infant from Cook County, Ill., has died from COVID-19 complications, the first known infant death in the U.S., NBC's WMAQ-TV reports. The infant had underlying health conditions and died four weeks after being hospitalized, officials said.

4. An estimated 47 million Americans will lose their jobs, totaling a 32.1 percent unemployment rate, according to a recent Federal Reserve analysis, cited by CNBC. However, the estimate doesn't account for workers who voluntarily drop out of the labor force or the effects of the recently passed government stimulus package.

5. The CDC issued a level 3 travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, urging residents to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days. The advisory doesn't apply to critical infrastructure employees, such as public health professionals.  

6. Strict containment strategies in Seattle, imposed in the earliest days of the outbreak, may be lowering the rate of COVID-19 transmission, The New York Times reports. Officials in Washington state worry that the gains are precarious, but report that COVID-19 deaths aren't rising as rapidly as in other states, and hospitals haven't been overwhelmed so far. Earlier in March, each infected person spread the virus to an estimated 2.7 other people, while one projection suggests that the number has now dropped to 1.4.

7. "Project Airbridge" will deliver healthcare supplies to high-risk areas in the U.S. through April, with its first flight arriving in New York City March 29 from China, NPR reports. According to the Trump administration, the public-private partnership will involve about 20 flights that will allow medical supplies to reach the U.S. in two to three days versus the 20 to 40 days they would take to arrive if shipped by sea.

The first flight delivered about 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and 70,000 thermometers, according to a White House statement.

8. The FDA has authorized emergency use of a 15-minute COVID-19 test, NBC News reports. Positive results are available in as little as 5 minutes, while negative results are delivered in 13 minutes, according to Abbott, the medical device company that developed the test.

9. University labs around the U.S. have worked to develop COVID-19 tests amid a supply shortage, NPR reports. Academic research facilities are now being used to develop COVID-19 tests, calling on students for help. Early work by Seattle-based University of Washington helped expand patient testing in the area.

10. The Summer Olympics have been rescheduled to begin July 23, 2021, with the Paralympic Games to start Aug. 24, 2021, NPR reports. 

Worldwide, 741,724 COVID-19 cases and 35,307 deaths have been reported, while 156,841 people have recovered from the illness as of 11:30 a.m. CDT March 30.

More articles on public health:
New York to allow ventilator-sharing, despite misgivings from experts
COVID-19 vs. SARS: How the outbreaks compare
10 countries with most COVID-19 cases, deaths

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