'Worst is yet to come,' WHO chief says; Hospitalizations up in 7 states — 6 COVID-19 updates

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating globally, the World Health Organization warned during a June 29 media briefing.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said a lack of global solidarity is helping COVID-19 spread, and he reinforced the importance of a thorough testing and tracing strategy to slow the pandemic.

"We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over," Dr. Tedros said. "The worst is yet to come."

The WHO is also sending a team to China next week to investigate the source of the virus. 

"We can fight the virus better if we know everything about the virus, including how it started," Dr. Tedros said.

Five other updates:

1. U.S. researchers have found nearly 300 cases of a rare inflammatory disorder linked to COVID-19 in children, according to two new studies cited by STAT. In the first study, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital identified 186 children with the condition in 26 states. Eighty percent required intensive care, 20 percent were put on a ventilator, and 2 percent (four children) died. In a second study examining 99 cases in New York state, 63 percent needed mechanical ventilation, and two children died. Both studies were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

2. COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in seven states, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Texas, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, Montana, Georgia and California have all reported seven-day hospitalization averages that are up by at least 25 percent from the previous week. 

3. The FDA will publish a guidance June 30 outlining its conditions for approving a COVID-19 vaccine, reports The Wall Street Journal. One major requirement is that the vaccine be at least 50 percent more effective than a placebo at preventing COVID-19, according to a summary reviewed by WSJ. Drugmakers also will need to clearly demonstrate proof of the vaccine's safety and efficacy before it is approved, the FDA said.

4. HHS has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir through September that U.S. hospitals can purchase. The agency will use COVID-19 hospitalization data to determine how many doses each state will get, and state health departments will decide which hospitals will get the drug, the agency said June 29.

5. Top health officials will testify about COVID-19 before the Senate's health and education committee June 30. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD; FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD; and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, are slated to discuss national progress on Americans safely returning to school and work. The meeting comes a week after the four officials testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 2,682,897
Deaths: 129,544
Recovered: 705,203

Counts reflect data available as of 8:23 a.m. CDT June 30.

More articles on public health:
How COVID-19 affects the brain: 4 things to know
12 states with the fastest COVID-19 spread: June 26
Where new COVID-19 cases are rising, falling and staying the same — June 29

 

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