Contact-tracing 'not going well,' Fauci says; remdesivir gets price tag — 4 COVID-19 updates

The global COVID-19 case count surpassed 10 million June 28, reports The New York Times.

There have been more than 500,000 confirmed deaths, with the U.S. accounting for more than a quarter of them. 

Four updates:

1. Vice President Mike Pence visited Texas June 28 as part of a multistate tour of COVID-19 hot spots, reports The New York Times. During a media briefing in Dallas with Gov. Greg Abbott, Mr. Pence encouraged Texans to wear masks to help slow the  virus's spread. He wore a mask while attending a religious service at a Dallas church. Mr. Pence is slated to visit Florida and Arizona over the coming days. Like Texas, these states are seeing huge surges in cases.

2. National contact-tracing efforts are "not going well," Anthony Fauci, MD, told CNBC June 26. Instead of creating a national contract-tracing strategy, the White House instructed states to develop infrastructure for broad COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing before reopening. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said some states have been slow to ramp up this capacity, which will be crucial before a potential second wave of coronavirus cases this fall.

3. Remdesivir will cost $3,120 for a typical patient in the U.S. with private insurance, according to a pricing plan Gilead Sciences shared June 29. The drugmaker said it will begin to charge developed countries $390 per vial for the COVID-19 treatment in July, according to CNBC. In the U.S., private insurance companies will pay $520 per vial, while Medicaid and Medicare will receive the lower price. A typical five-day treatment regimen requires six vials, which would put federal health costs at $2,340 per patient.

4. Federal officials are warning of fake mask exemption cards that say their owners are exempt from ordinances requiring masks in public due to a health condition, according to The New York Times. Some versions of the card feature a fake U.S. Justice Department logo and list a phone number to report violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency was selling 500-count boxes of the fake cards online for $49.99, officials said.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 2,549,069
Deaths: 125,803
Recovered: 685,164

Counts reflect data available as of 8:25 a.m. CDT June 29.

More articles on public health:

12 states with the fastest COVID-19 spread: June 26
How COVID-19 affects the brain: 4 things to know
31% of Black people know someone who's died of COVID-19, survey finds


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