US cancels contract for more ventilators; plasma shouldn't be standard of care for COVID-19, NIH says — 5 updates

The U.S. has reported an average of 42,214 COVID-19 cases daily in the past week, down 13 percent from the average seen two weeks ago, reports The New York Times. 

Five updates:

1. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shared a proposed framework on how the U.S. should distribute a COVID-19 vaccine Sept. 1. The draft framework outlines a phased vaccination approach that prioritizes high-risk healthcare workers, first responders and people at risk of severe infections, including those with underlying conditions or older adults living in overcrowded settings. The academies are seeking public comment on the framework through Sept. 4. 

2. The National Institutes of Health on Sept. 1 underscored the lack of available data on the benefits of convalescent plasma and said it should not be considered a standard of care for COVID-19 patients. An NIH panel reviewed all available evidence on convalescent plasma, including analyses used to support the FDA's emergency use authorization of plasma as a COVID-19 treatment Aug. 23. "There are currently no data from well-controlled, adequately powered randomized clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19," NIH said. While serious adverse reactions to plasma are rare, long term risks of the treatment and whether it can make COVID-19 patients more susceptible to reinfection are still unclear. 

3. The U.S. has canceled a contract for 42,900 ventilators from Phillips and is examining actions of White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro, according to The Washington Post. On Aug. 31, the administration terminated the Phillips contract that Mr. Navarro had negotiated. An HHS spokesperson said the contract cancellation was "subject to internal HHS investigation and legal review." A House oversight subcommittee had criticized the contract after finding that the government had overpaid for the ventilators by $500 million. The panel says it will examine all deals by Mr. Navarro, who has been using the Defense Production Act to coordinate the federal government's purchases of medical supplies since March.   

4. The U.S. said it will not join a global effort to develop and strategically share a COVID-19 vaccine, reports The Washington Post. More than 170 countries have joined the global vaccine pact, which is co-led by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

5. The CDC is set to issue an order suspending residential evictions nationwide until Dec. 31 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the White House said Sept. 1. The order is meant to mitigate virus spread within shared living settings or unsheltered homelessness, as well as between U.S. states and territories.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 6,076,425
Deaths: 184,697
Recovered: 2,202,663

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CDT Sept. 2.

More articles on public health:
25 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Sept. 2
Providence to invest $50M to reduce health disparities
COVID-19's aftermath a year from now: 4 expert insights


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