HHS data lags by week or more, experts say; preventive nasal spray in the works — 5 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. reported an average of 53,723 cases daily in the past week, down 18 percent from the average seen two weeks ago, reports The New York Times.

Five updates:

1. Key indicators for COVID-19 hospital data published by HHS lag by a week or more, The Wall Street Journal reports. A month after states began reporting COVID-19 data to HHS instead of the CDC, some data lags behind, making it harder to understand how the pandemic is progressing and appropriately allocate supplies, some experts say. "The transition has been a disaster," because hospitals generally take time to adjust to new data systems, said Jeffrey Engel, MD, senior adviser to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. HHS officials say more hospitals are now reporting more exhaustive data, but the quality-control process has led to some delays in hospital capacity estimates.

2. Coronavirus appears unaffected by seasonal changes, a World Health Organization official said Aug. 10. "Viruses can show seasonal patterns. We've certainly seen that with influenza," said Mike Ryan, MD, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, adding that the novel coronavirus has not shown any such pattern. "This virus is proving exceptionally difficult to stop," Dr. Ryan said.

3. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco developed a nasal spray aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection, reports The Sacramento Bee. The aerosol spray, called AeroNabs, functions as an antiviral that thwarts the virus's ability to infect human cells. Inventor and UCSF professor Peter Walter, PhD, called the nasal spray "a molecular form of PPE that could serve as an important stopgap" until a vaccine is widely available, according to the Bee. Researchers are working with business partners to manufacture and clinically test the spray.  

4. The White House reached a $1.5 billion deal with Moderna for 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna will begin manufacturing the vaccines while clinical trials are underway. Under the deal, the U.S. will own the vaccine doses and distribute them as part of its COVID-19 vaccine campaign. Previously, Pfizer and BioNTech inked a $1.95B deal with the government to supply up to 600 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

5. Georgia and Florida both reported record daily death tolls Aug. 11. Georgia recorded 137 COVID-19 deaths, while Florida confirmed 276 new virus-related deaths. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 5,141,879
Deaths: 164,681
Recovered: 1,714,960

Counts reflect data available as of 8:40 a.m. CDT Aug. 12.

More articles on public health:
30 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Aug. 12
8 quotes from Black women in health that reveal the field's pervasive racism
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Aug. 12

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