NIH study backs remdesivir's benefits; COVID-19 tests will be widely available for patients by June — 7 national updates

Worldwide, 3,139,415 COVID-19 cases and 217,947 deaths have been reported, while 947,504 patients have recovered, as of 9 a.m. CDT April 29.

Seven updates:

1. The U.S. COVID-19 case count hit 1 million April 28, making up about one-third of the world's total COVID-19 cases, according to the dashboard created by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has confirmed 1,013,168 cases and 58,368 deaths, as of 9 a.m. CDT April 29.

2. Gilead Science's antiviral drug remdesivir proved effective against COVID-19 in a federally-run clinical trial, the drugmaker said April 29. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is running the phase 3, double-blind clinical trial, which studied remdesivir's efficacy against a placebo in 800 patients. 

NIAID plans to release specific data from the study during an upcoming briefing, according to STAT. The findings could solidify remdesivir as the first therapy shown to improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients and comes after weeks of conflicting evidence on the drug's efficacy.

3. By late May or early June, any American who needs a COVID-19 test will be able to get one, Anthony Fauci, MD, said on CNN's "The Lead." Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged active collaboration between federal and state governments to reach that point, adding that the threshold only includes necessary testing. Dr. Fauci said the estimate comes from the "people responsible for the testing."

4. The World Health Organization, U.S. health agencies and the media should have warned the world about COVID-19 sooner, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during an April 28 news briefing. Mr. Cuomo said the CDC, National Institutes of Health and U.S. intelligence community should have issued advisory warnings in late 2019 when the virus was first spreading through China, according to The New York Times. 

"Where was the whole international health community? Where was the whole national host of experts?" Mr. Cuomo said, adding that "governors don’t do global pandemics."

5. JetBlue is the first major airline to require all passengers to wear face coverings. Effective May 4, all JetBlue air travelers must wear a face mask over their nose and mouth during their flight, along with check-in, boarding and deplaning processes. JetBlue said it will also encourage customers to follow this policy, which corresponds with CDC guidelines, in airports.

6. The U.S. economy shrank 4.8 percent from January to March 2020, the largest quarterly GDP drop since the last recession in 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal.

7. Australia has called for an independent probe into the pandemic's origins, according to Bloomberg. The move has heightened tensions with Beijing and worried Australian business owners, as China is the country's largest export destination. 

Stay-at-home orders, reopenings by state

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