HHS permits ventilator-sharing; Trump warns of 'very painful' 2 weeks ahead and 4 other COVID-19 updates

The U.S. COVID-19 case count is the highest in the world, with 190,740 cases as of 11:30 a.m. CDT April 1. Nationwide, 4,127 Americans have died from the virus, while 7,147 have recovered. 

Six updates: 

1. Michigan COVID-19 cases surged, with 7,615 cases confirmed as of 11:30 a.m. CDT April 1. The state now has confirmed the fourth most cases in the U.S., behind New York, New Jersey and California.  

2. All U.S. hospitals can split ventilators if necessary for COVID-19 patients, the Trump administration said March 31. In a letter to healthcare workers, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, offer technical guidance for hospitals splitting ventilators between two patients. The federal guidelines said ventilator-splitting "should only be considered as an absolute last resort" since the reliability and safety are unknown, consistent with what many pulmonology experts have told Becker's.  

3. Health officials in some areas of the U.S. aren't releasing COVID-19 data, according to NPR. Even some hotspots in Washington and California haven't released data, either because officials are overwhelmed and still compiling data or for reasons they declined to share with NPR, though the numbers are being recorded internally.

4. President Donald Trump warned Americans of a "very painful" two weeks ahead in a March 31 White House news briefing. The White House has projected that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from COVID-19. 

5. Officials may recommend the use of face coverings for the general public, according to internal memos from the CDC to the White House and HHS, cited by The Washington Post. With an increasing number of COVID-19 patients proving to be asymptomatic, simple cloth masks covering the mouth and nose may prevent transmission when buying groceries or seeking medical care, according to the memos. The memos clarify that the coverings would not be medical masks, which are in short supply.

6. Italy, Spain, the U.S. and France all have higher COVID-19 death tolls than China. Italy has reported the most deaths, with 12,428 deaths as of 11:30 a.m. CDT April 1.

Worldwide, 887,067 COVID-19 cases and 44,264 deaths have been reported, while 185,541 people have recovered from the illness as of 11:30 a.m. CDT April 1.

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