3 top health officials in quarantine; remdesivir distribution plan released — 7 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. has confirmed 1,329,885 COVID-19 cases and 79,531 deaths as of 9:30 a.m. CDT May 11. Globally, there have been 4,132,365 reported cases and 283,387 deaths, while 1,422,745 have recovered.

Seven updates: 

1. Three members of the White House coronavirus task force are self-quarantining after possible exposure to COVID-19, NBC News reports. Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Robert Redfield, MD, director of the CDC, will quarantine for 14 days, according to White House officials. The move comes after a White House aide tested positive for COVID-19 May 8. Stephen Hahn, MD, FDA commissioner, began quarantining May 8, after being in contact with a person who has COVID-19, though the commissioner tested negative for the virus, aides told NBC News. 

As of May 8, both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have tested negative for COVID-19, according to a White House spokesperson. The two are now being tested daily.

2. Some paramedics in COVID-19 hotspots have pulled back from CPR to limit exposure, The New York Times reports. The most unsettling change has been the suspension of resuscitation in cases when the odds of survival are close to zero, paramedics in six states told the NYT. New York issued do-not-resuscitate orders for cardiac patients last month, but quickly rolled the policy back, according to the NYT. In New Jersey, most emergency units have adopted similar DNR guidelines. 

3. The White House released its plan for distributing the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir to hospitals May 9, according to STAT. The government will now deliver the antiviral drug to state health departments, which will allocate it to hospitals based on need. The new plan comes about a week after hospitals and physicians called for more transparency into the process, claiming that only some hospitals in hard-hit areas were slated to receive direct shipments of remdesivir. 

4. The FDA granted the first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 antigen test May 9. Antigen tests can offer quick COVID-19 diagnoses by detecting fragments of viral proteins in patient samples collected through nasal swabbing. San Diego-based Quidel Corp. developed the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA test. 

"This is just the first antigen test to be authorized and we expect more to follow," the FDA said in a press release. 

5. COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York City have dropped to levels similar to those in early March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said May 10, according to CNBC. Mr. Cuomo said 521 related hospitalizations and 207 deaths were reported for May 9. 

"The number of new cases is basically right where we were when we started," Mr. Cuomo said during a news briefing. "It has been a painful period of time between March 20 to May 9."

6. Some officials and health experts have voiced concern over CMS' draft guidelines for reopening nursing homes, several unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal. The draft proposes a phased reopening of the facilities, with state and local officials having a large say in when and how to do so. Some officials have claimed the current recommendations are too vague, while other leaders and health experts expressed concern that reopening nursing homes too soon could increase residents' risk of contracting COVID-19. WSJ noted the final version of the guidelines may be drastically different from this draft. It's not clear when the final guidelines will be released. 

7. COVID-19 cases spiked in a reopened South Korea, with 34 new infections reported in one day, the country's highest daily count in a month, according to NPR. Overall, at least 54 cases have been tied to bars and clubs in Seoul, which have been closed in an effort to contain the outbreak. Previously, cases had been declining, with authorities at one point reporting zero new domestic cases. As of May 11, the country has reported 10,909 known infections and 256 deaths. 

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