COVID-19 is 'worst nightmare,' Fauci says; cases rise in 19 states — 6 updates

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are nearing 2 million, with 1,979,971 cases and 112,006 related deaths reported as of 8 a.m. CDT June 10. Worldwide, 7,264,866 cases and 411,879 deaths have been reported, while 3,394,970 people have recovered.

Six updates:

1. Anthony Fauci, MD, said COVID-19 is his "worst nightmare" due to its highly contagious nature and high rate of illness and death, according to The New York Times. The nation's top infectious disease expert made the remark during a virtual discussion shared at a June 9 biotech conference. Dr. Fauci said he's been prepared for a pandemic, but was surprised by how rapidly the virus spread globally. "In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world," he said. "And it isn’t over yet."

Dr. Fauci also said he is "almost certain" more than one vaccine candidate would be successful. 

2. The White House will fund and oversee clinical trials for three COVID-19 vaccine candidates this summer, John Mascola, MD, director of the vaccine research center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Wall Street Journal. The phase 3 clinical trials will assess the vaccines' safety and efficacy, marking a final stage of testing. Moderna's trial will start in July; AstraZeneca and Oxford University's will launch in August; and Johnson & Johnson's will commence in September. 

3. COVID-19 cases are rising in 19 states and decreasing in 24, according to CNN. Cases in seven states are remaining steady, according to the CNN dashboard. Data from states reporting some of their highest seven-day averages of new cases disproves the idea that spikes are solely due to an increase in testing, according to The Washington Post. Nine states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah — have reported a significant uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations after Memorial Day, according to the Post.   

4. HHS is distributing relief funds to hospitals serving a high proportion of Medicaid or uninsured patients. About $15 billion will go to providers that haven't received payment from the provider relief fund and also participate in state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs. Around 1 million healthcare providers may be eligible for this funding, HHS said, with payments based on annual patient revenue. HHS is also distributing an additional $10 billion to safety-net hospitals.   

5. Economic activity peaked in February, and the U.S. has been in a recession ever since, according to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The recession marks an end to the longest economic expansion in the history of U.S. business cycles. The expansion started in June 2009 and lasted a record 128 months. If another wave of infections forces more lockdowns, the global economy could shrink by 7.6 percent in 2020, according to a separate report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cited by The Wall Street Journal. Without a second wave, the OECD said it expects to see a 5.2 percent growth in 2021.

6. COVID-19 cases in Latin America and the Caribbean are surging in a way that has pushed the region to the limit, said Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, according to The New York Times. Some governments are relaxing lockdown restrictions while cases climb in a choice the NYT describes as "watching citizens die of the virus or of hunger." Brazil has the second highest case count in the world, behind only the U.S., with some of the country's military figures warning of looming instability.

More articles on public health:
WHO official clarifies comments on asymptomatic spread of COVID-19
COVID-19 activity by region: Cases ramp up in rural areas
10 states with fastest, slowest COVID-19 spread: June 10

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