White House to restructure national stockpile; CDC releases new reopening guidelines — 4 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. has reported 1,419,863 COVID-19 cases and 85,964 related deaths as of 9:30 a.m. CDT May 15. Globally, there have been 4,444,670 reported cases and 303,297 deaths, while 1,606,082 have recovered.

Four updates: 

1. The White House has announced a plan to restructure the national stockpile. The administration said May 14 it will work to improve the Strategic National Stockpile by increasing supplies of critical items, using predictive analytics to determine needs, providing real-time visibility of supply chains and reducing dependency on foreign products. President Donald Trump intends to sign an executive order that will allow the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to finance certain industries producing relevant goods and services.

2. The CDC released 'decision tools' to guide reopenings for community establishments, NPR reports. The agency recommends all workplaces delay reopening unless they can protect high-risk employees. If an organization begins to reopen, the CDC recommends increasing sanitation and health safety actions, such as handwashing, wearing a cloth face mask and social distancing. The flowchart documents ask organizations to make sure reopening is consistent with state and local stay-at-home orders.

3. Strict social distancing measures helped prevent COVID-19's spread in the U.S., according to a study slated for publication in Health Affairs. Using the growth rate of confirmed cases between March 1 and April 27, researchers project the measures reduced the virus' daily growth rate by 5.4 percentage points in the first one to five days. This figure jumped to 9.1 percent in the 16 to 20 days after policies took effect. Based on these findings, researchers estimate strict social distancing prevented an additional 10 million COVID-19 cases through April 27. 

4. The House is set to vote on a $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package today, according to CBS News. The bill would provide nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments, $100 billion in grants for hospitals and medical providers and $75 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act is not expected to get Republican support in the House or gain traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.

More articles on public health:
1.2 million kids at risk of preventable deaths amid pandemic, study finds
'Mass amnesia' of Spanish flu left world unprepared for COVID-19, scholars say
There are limits to coronavirus antibody testing, AMA warns

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