FEMA plans call for PPE reuse through summer; J&J moves up COVID-19 vaccine trial — 5 updates

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have surpassed 2 million, with 2,000,464 cases and 112,924 related deaths reported as of 8 a.m. CDT June 11. Worldwide, 7,403,713 cases and 417,174 deaths have been reported, while 3,484,672 people have recovered. 

 Five updates:

1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's plan to increase the supply of personal protective equipment calls for providers to reuse N95 masks and surgical gowns, an internal document made public June 9 shows, according to Roll Call. The information was given to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ahead of a June 9 hearing on inadequate distribution of supplies, and Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., demanded the document be made public. The document shows that the U.S. government's supply of surgical gowns and masks has not meaningfully increased since the pandemic started. FEMA said the demand for personal protective equipment still outweighs U.S. manufacturing capacity.

2. Johnson & Johnson moved up the start date of a clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine to late July, the drugmaker said June 10. The trial was initially scheduled to start in September, according to CNBC. Johnson & Johnson is one of three drugmakers that will run vaccine trials funded by the U.S. government this summer. Moderna's trial will start in July, and AstraZeneca and Oxford University's is slated for August. 

3. The U.S. has not formally notified the World Health Organization that it is withdrawing, an agency spokesperson told STAT. On May 29, President Donald Trump said the U.S. was terminating its relationship with WHO due to its response to the pandemic. However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said June 10 that he continues to speak with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, most recently about a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Tedros is also reportedly in contact with the U.S. ambassador to Geneva regarding concerns the Trump administration has expressed about the agency. The U.S. must still pay outstanding financial obligations before pulling out, according to a joint resolution signed by Congress.

4. More than 1.5 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 6, according to seasonally adjusted data released June 11 by the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he expects a slow economic recovery from the pandemic and that millions of Americans may never get their jobs back, according to The Washington Post.

5. A fourth round of fiscal stimulus is necessary, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on June 10, according to Bloomberg. Mr. Mnuchin said businesses struggling to reopen in particular need additional fiscal stimulus. Congress has not yet reached any agreement on another round of stimulus payments.

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