US reports most COVID-19 cases in world; White House reconsiders $1.5B deal for 80K ventilators

The U.S. COVID-19 case count is the highest in the world, surpassing even that of China, with 86,012 cases as of 11:45 a.m. CDT March 27. Nationwide, 1,301 Americans have died from the virus, while 753 have recovered. 

Worldwide, 558,905 COVID-19 cases and 25,336 deaths have been reported, while 127,709 people have recovered from the illness.

Three updates: 

1. The Trump administration is reconsidering a $1.5 billion deal for 80,000 ventilators, The New York Times reports. A joint project between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems to produce as many as 80,000 ventilators was to be announced March 25, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needs to reevaluate if the venture is too expensive.

Costing around $18,000 a ventilator, several hundred million was to be paid upfront to General Motors. A General Motors spokesperson said the project was moving very fast, and a Ventec representative agreed.

Government officials said the deal may still happen, but they are considering other proposals. 

2. The Trump administration is working on new guidelines that will label U.S. regions by COVID-19 risk level. The guidelines are for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" amid the pandemic, according to a March 26 letter from the president. 

3. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $2 trillion stimulus package March 27, though the vote was delayed, according to The Guardian. The measure now heads to President Donald Trump, who said he plans to sign the bill the same day.

More articles on public health:
Is ventilator-sharing a good idea? Pulmonology experts weigh in
'We're going to be coding dead people': Hospitals consider do-not-resuscitate order for all COVID-19 patients
COVID-19 vs. SARS: How the outbreaks compare

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