White House taps 3M for 166M face masks; Fauci 'cautiously optimistic' US can avoid worst projections — 6 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. COVID-19 case count is the highest in the world, with 368,449 cases as of 8:45 a.m. CDT April 7. Nationwide, 10,993 Americans have died from the virus, while 19,919 have recovered. 

Six updates:

1. Despite the development of quicker tests, U.S. hospitals are still struggling to obtain test materials and results in a timely manner, The New York Times reports. To combat the delay, HHS intends to supply public health labs in every state with Abbott's point-of-care test, which provides results in under 13 minutes. HHS is procuring tests for  the Indian Health Service and the Strategic National Stockpile as well. Additionally, Abbott produces about 50,000 tests a day for the commercial market.  

2. Anthony Fauci, MD, is "cautiously optimistic" the U.S. can avoid the worst projections, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said April 6 during the daily White House news briefing.

A new model predicts that the U.S. won't need as many hospital beds and ventilators as initially projected, and that some states may reach their peak of COVID-19 deaths sooner than expected. Last week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force used other models to estimate that between 100,000 and 240,000 people would die from COVID-19 if proper precautions were taken.

"I don't accept that we have to have 100,000 to 200,000 deaths," Dr. Fauci said April 6. "I think we can really bring that down." 

3. The government will buy almost 166.5 million facemasks from 3M over the next three months, President Donald Trump said, according to The Wall Street Journal. President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act against 3M last week, but an official said the administration doesn't intend to take further action against 3M under the wartime law.

4. New York curve may be slightly flattening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said April 6, according to The Washington Post. The state reported 599 new deaths April 6, similar to 594 deaths April 5 and down from 630 April 4.

5. As China comes out of lockdown, large numbers of people are crowding major attraction sites and cities, according to CNN. As the government slowly relaxes restrictions and floods of people return to normal life, experts are warning the public to continue to practice caution.

6. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is receiving oxygen in intensive care, The Washington Post reports. Mr. Johnson said he was suffering from COVID-19 March 27, and was taken to the hospital April 6 as his condition worsened. The prime minister is not on a ventilator, an official said April 7. 

Worldwide, 1,362,936 COVID-19 cases and 76,373 deaths have been reported, while 292,188 people have recovered from the illness as of 8:45 a.m. CDT April 7. 

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