OIG outlines hospitals' COVID-19 needs; US death toll nears 10,000 — 5 updates

The U.S. COVID-19 case count is the highest in the world, with 337,971 cases as of 10:30 a.m. CDT April 6. Nationwide, 9,654 Americans have died from the virus, while 17,582 have recovered. 

Five updates: 

1. The U.S. is "struggling" to get the coronavirus under control, Anthony Fauci, MD, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that aired April 5. 

"This is going to be a bad week," the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases continued, predicting an escalation of COVID-19 cases. Dr. Fauci said even if the number of new cases starts to flatten, the deaths will lag behind by a few weeks. The U.S. may start to see a flattening of the curve within a week or so, Dr. Fauci estimated. 

New York, Detroit and Louisiana are expected to see a spike in deaths over the upcoming week, Deborah Birx, MD, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said in an April 4 news briefing.

"This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives," Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said April 5 on "Fox News Sunday," according to USA Today. 

2. The challenges 326 hospitals are facing due to COVID-19, how they are responding, and what they're asking of the government to better meet their needs are detailed in an HHS Office of Inspector General report released April 6. The five main requests from hospitals are the reassignment of licensed professionals and realignment of duties within health systems, equitable distribution of supplies throughout the U.S., government support obtaining supplies, financial assistance and evidence-based guidance from the government.

3. The CDC is recommending the public wear cloth face masks, President Donald Trump said in a news briefing April 3. The masks can be purchased online or made at home, and are not medical masks. President Trump clarified that it is optional to wear a mask for the general public, and he is choosing not to.  

4. President Trump doubled down on the push to use hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. The president endorsed the use of the anti-malarial drug in an April 5 news briefing, acknowledging that he was not an expert on the topic. Dr. Fauci has declined to support his call to widely administer the drug, and experts say current data is extremely limited and more research on the drug's effectiveness must be done. Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System intends to lead the first large-scale study in the U.S. on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 in healthcare workers. The study could start this week, and participation is strictly voluntary.

5. The CDC began one of three preliminary studies to more accurately determine the count of undetected COVID-19 cases in Americans, an agency official told STAT April 4. In the first study, which has already begun, the CDC is testing blood samples from people living in COVID-19 hot spots to see how widely the virus circulated. The agency also plans to conduct a national survey and look at special populations, such as healthcare workers

Worldwide, 1,289,380 COVID-19 cases and 70,590 deaths have been reported, while 270,372 people have recovered from the illness as of 10:30 a.m. CDT April 6.

More articles on public health:
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