Model predicts 200K new cases daily by June; toxic shock-like symptoms may be tied to COVID-19 — 5 updates

Mackenzie Bean and Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

The U.S. reported more than 21,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day, bringing the national total to 1,180,634 cases and 68,934 deaths as of 8 a.m. CDT May 5. Globally, there have been 3,603,217 confirmed cases and 251,910 deaths.

Five updates:

1. A preliminary analysis by a Johns Hopkins University researcher and shared with the Federal Emergency Management Agency projects a steady increase in COVID-19 cases this month, with the daily death toll potentially hitting about 3,000 by June 1, according to The New York Times, which first obtained the document. At present, about 1,750 COVID-19 deaths are occurring each day. The document also projects about 200,000 new cases daily by the end of May, a large jump from the roughly 25,000 daily cases occurring now.

The researcher at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins shared the model with FEMA "to aid in scenario planning — not to be used as forecasts,” Joshua Sharfstein, MD, the school's vice dean of public health practice, told Bloomberg. The White House has distanced itself from the analysis, which was dated May 1 and contains seals for both HHS and the Department of Homeland Security.

"This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting," Judd Deere, a spokesperson for the White House, said in a statement to Bloomberg. "This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed."

2. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. increase by 2 to 4 percent daily, according to The New York Times. More than 1,000 related deaths have been reported each day for over a month, the NYT reports. 

3. Fifteen children in New York City have been hospitalized with mysterious symptoms resembling toxic shock that could be linked to COVID-19, according to a May 4 alert from local health officials. The patients, ages 2 to 15, were in intensive care from April 17 to May 1 with symptoms associated with toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory syndrome. No patients have died, though more than half needed blood pressure support and five required mechanical ventilation. All 15 patients experienced a fever, while more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Four patients tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of hospitalization, while the majority were likely previously exposed to the virus. Six patients with negative COVID-19 results by PCR testing had positive results via serology testing. 

4. The FDA has tightened standards for COVID-19 antibody tests after public health officials raised concerns over the quality of the tests, which were allowed on the market without FDA review, according to Politico. Test manufacturers must now apply for emergency use authorization within 10 business days after the product hits the market, the agency said May 4. If the tests don't meet FDA criteria, the manufacturer must suspend distribution. The FDA will typically give emergency authorization to tests that can detect 90 percent of people with COVID-19 antibodies and that produce false positives in less than 5 percent of cases, a senior official told Politico. 

5. France, Italy and Spain have reported the lowest daily COVID-19 death counts in weeks, BBC News reports. On the other hand, cases in Russia have surged, reporting 10,000 new infections May 3. More than a dozen countries with declining case numbers eased lockdowns this week, including Spain and Italy, two of the hardest hit countries in the pandemic, according to The New York Times. 

Editor's note: This article was updated March 6 at 2:25 p.m.

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