Testing sites close amid unrest; 1 in 4 virus deaths tied to nursing homes — 5 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. has reported 1,811,277 COVID-19 cases and 105,147 deaths as of 7:35 a.m. CDT June 2. Globally, there have been 6,294,222 reported cases and 376,077 deaths, while 2,711,241 people have recovered.

Five updates: 

1. More than 25,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, according to federal data cited by The Washington Post. CMS shared the data June 1, offering the first official tally of nursing home fatalities in the U.S. The agency said 60,000 residents and 34,000 employees nationwide have contracted the virus. More than 400 staff members have died. About 20 percent of the 15,000 nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding have not yet reported data to CMS. The facilities were also only required to include cases that have occurred since early May, so the figures are likely higher. The Post examined reports from 21 states since the pandemic's start and found more than 28,000 nursing home residents have died.

2. COVID-19 testing sites in California, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania have shut down, citing civil unrest related to police brutality protests, according to Politico. Officials also have voiced concern about the risk of COVID-19 spreading at mass gatherings. "Based on the way the disease spreads, there is every reason to expect that we will see new clusters and potentially new outbreaks moving forward," U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, told Politico. However, Dr. Adams said he also understands the motivation behind the protests.  

3. Remdesivir shows some benefits in treating moderately ill COVID-19 patients, Gilead Sciences said June 1, according to STAT. The drugmaker shared new data from a clinical trial, which showed five days of remdesivir helped patients who were hospitalized (but did not need ventilation) recover more quickly. STAT noted the finding supports remdesivir's efficacy, but complicates discussions about exactly how effective the drug is and which patients should receive it.

4. The pandemic will likely cost the U.S. economy about $8 trillion by 2030, according to a June 1 report by the Congressional Budget Office and cited by The Washington Post. The report considers a reduction in consumer spending and the numerous businesses shut down by the pandemic. The government is attempting to mitigate the economic fallout, with more than $2 trillion already approved in emergency spending for households and businesses. The report was requested by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who said June 1 that Congress must approve relief funds with urgency in light of the forecast.  

5. N95 respirators offer greater protection against COVID-19 than surgical or cloth masks, according to a study published June 1 in The Lancet. The World Health Organization funded the study, which analyzed 172 existing studies on the use of face masks to prevent virus transmissions. N95s offered 96 percent protection, compared to just 77 percent protection for surgical masks. Based on these findings, the WHO and CDC should recommend all essential workers wear N95s instead of surgical masks, health experts told The New York Times.

More articles on public health:
Herd immunity for COVID-19 is still far off, research suggests
COVID-19 fears still keeping Americans away from hospitals, survey finds
Coronavirus community spread dropped 58% after states locked down, new study shows

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