Senate agrees on $2 trillion aid deal; FEMA secures 60K tests without wartime law & 7 other COVID-19 updates

The U.S. COVID-19 death toll jumped more than 300 in one day, from 492 deaths as of 11:30 a.m. CDT, March 24 to 802 as of 10 a.m. CDT, March 25. Nationwide, 55,243 American cases have been reported. 

Worldwide, 438,749 COVID-19 cases and 19,675 deaths have been reported, while 111,895  people have recovered from the illness.

Nine outbreak updates: 

1. President Donald Trump procured 60,000 COVID-19 test kits without implementing the Defense Production Act, despite messages from FEMA that the wartime law was enacted, The Wall Street Journal reports.

On the morning of March 24, President Trump tweeted, "The Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven't had to use it."

Moments later, Peter Gaynor, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, said on CNN that the law would be implemented, which Becker's Hospital Review reported. In the afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence said at a Fox News town hall it would not be necessary to invoke the law, saying companies stepped forward voluntarily. The president confirmed the law hadn't been activated at a 5:45 p.m. White House briefing.

2. President Trump's timeline for lifting restrictions on parts of the U.S. by Easter Sunday should be "flexible," said Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to The Hill. Health officials will have to gauge the spread of COVID-19 in areas that haven't reported significant numbers of cases, Dr. Fauci said March 24, after the president's March 24 statement. 

3. The White House and Senate agreed on a $2 trillion spending package in the early morning of March 25, NPR reports. A formal vote on the package will take place at noon EDT March 25.

4. The CDC updated discharge guidelines for COVID-19 patients, clarifying that patients can be discharged whenever clinically indicated. The decision to discharge should be made in consultation with the patient's clinical care team and local public health departments. The patient's ability to follow home isolation recommendations should also be considered. The CDC also issued guidance on implementing home care of persons who do not require hospitalization, the discontinuation of home isolation for persons with COVID-19, as well as guidelines for patients discharged to long-term care or assisted living facilities. 

5. The FDA said March 24 it will allow physicians to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients with blood from survivors. It's possible that blood containing antibodies from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may be effective against the infection. While clinical trials are being conducted, the FDA is allowing the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening infections through the process of single patient emergency Investigational New Drug Applications.  

6. Seventeen states have enacted shelter-in-place laws, along with 26 counties and 10 cities, with at least 175 million people urged to stay home, The New York Times reports. Statewide shelter-in-place laws have been implemented in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Beyond legal regulations, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association penned an open letter urging all Americans to stay home. 

7. COVID-19 deaths in Spain have surpassed China's death toll. Spain has reported 3,434 related deaths as of 10 a.m., CDT March 25, compared to China's 3,285 deaths. China has still confirmed over 30,000 more COVID-19 cases than Spain.

8. The NIH launched a website of safety training resources amid the pandemic. The information, gathered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is meant to help protect emergency response and cleanup workers from COVID-19.

9. HHS awarded $100 million to 1,381 health centers across the U.S. to be used for increased medical supplies, testing and telehealth needs related to the COVID-19 response.

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President Donald Trump procured 60,000 COVID-19 test kits without implementing the Defense Production Act, despite messages from FEMA that the wartime law was enacted, The Wall Street Journal reports.

On the morning of March 24, President Trump tweeted, "The Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven't had to use it."

Moments later, Peter Gaynor, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, said on CNN that the law would be implemented, which Becker's Hospital Review reported. In the afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence said at a Fox News town hall it would not be necessary to invoke the law, saying companies stepped forward voluntarily. The president confirmed the law hadn't been activated at a 5:45 p.m. White House briefing.

President Donald Trump's timeline for lifting restrictions on parts of the U.S. by Easter Sunday should be "flexible," said Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to The Hill. Health officials will have to gauge the spread of COVID-19 in areas that haven't reported significant numbers of cases, Dr. Fauci said March 24, after the president's March 24 statement.

Senate approves $2 trillion stimulus package -- AYLA

The CDC updated discharge guidelines for COVID-19 patients, clarifying that patients can be discharged whenever clinically indicated. The decision to discharge should be made in consultation with the patient's clinical care team and local public health departments. The patient's ability to follow home isolation recommendations should also be considered. The CDC also issued guidance on implementing home care of persons who do not require hospitalization, the discontinuation of home isolation for persons with COVID-19, as well as guidelines for patients discharged to long-term care or assisted living facilities.

The FDA said March 24 it will allow physicians to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients with blood from survivors. It's possible that blood containing antibodies from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may be effective against the infection. While clinical trials are being conducted, the FDA is allowing the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening infections through the process of single patient emergency Investigational New Drug Applications.

Seventeen states have enacted shelter-in-place laws, along with 26 counties and 10 cities, with at least 175 million people urged to stay home, The New York Times reports. Statewide shelter-in-place laws have been implemented in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Beyond legal regulations, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association penned an open letter urging all Americans to stay home.

The NIH launched a website of safety training resources amid the pandemic. The information, gathered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is meant to help protect emergency response and cleanup workers from COVID-19.

HHS awarded $100 million to 1,381 health centers across the U.S. to be used for increased medical supplies, testing and telehealth needs related to the COVID-19 response.

 

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