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COVID-19 Update: Stay Home Orders; Grim Ethics; National Guard Activated
– A daily roundup of news on the novel coronavirus outbreak
by Crystal Phend, Senior Editor, MedPage Today March 23, 2020
New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, and California are among the growing list of states under some version of stay-at-home orders. (NBC News, Buzzfeed, NPR)
The potentially $2 trillion-plus COVID-19 coronavirus “Phase 3” stimulus package negotiations broke down in the Senate on Sunday. (Axios)
The House may move forward with its own version. (Politico)
As of 8:00 a.m. EDT Monday, the U.S. case count and death toll stood at 35,224 and 471, respectively — both more than double Friday’s totals.
FDA approved a 45-minute point-of-care COVID-19 test from Cepheid, which runs on the company’s Xpert Xpress tabletop analyzer.
New York hospitals are “getting pounded,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The swiftly rising number of patients, sooner than expected, is leading to supply shortages and concern about what is to come.”
In Washington state, grim discussions are underway on which dying COVID-19 patients would be allocated ventilators and other scarce resources as critical shortages are feared. (New York Times)
President Donald Trump announced National Guard activation in Washington, California and New York to build and supply multiple medical stations to provide each state with 1,000 or more additional hospital beds. Those states are also getting tens of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment from the national stockpile. (The Hill)
However, some state governors have said that the mask allocations are far short of what was requested. (Politico)
Gilead Sciences has temporarily stopped granting most requests for access to novel remdesivir for COVID-19, citing “overwhelming demand.” (STAT)
Four COVID-19 patients have now been treated with novel viral-entry inhibitor leronlimab under an emergency trial approval from the FDA, CytoDyn announced.
Several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the Trump administration axed a medical epidemiologist’s position embedded in China’s disease control agency, a position intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China. (Reuters)
Drug trials to test chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine with antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax) will begin Tuesday in New York. (Forbes)
Trump has invoked but not yet started using the Defense Production Act to get companies to manufacture PPE, hand sanitizer, and other critical supplies against the coronavirus, saying they are voluntarily doing enough. (Business Insider)
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association urged Trump to go ahead and use the Defense Production Act in a letter on Saturday. (Axios)
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tested positive, while Vice President Mike Pence and his wife didn’t. (USA Today, CNN)
Medical staffs at Pittsburgh hospital systems — bitter rivals on the business side — are cooperating on COVID-19 prep with thrice weekly conference calls to discuss best practices, supply issues, and even the possibility of sharing personnel and equipment. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The FDA temporarily relaxed regulations regarding commercial production and compounding of hand sanitizers.
Efforts to deal with the shortage of key consumer products brought about by the COVID-19 epidemic got help from a surprising source — liquor distillers. (CNN)
Anthony Fauci’s running habit is legendary. But now the COVID-19 response is “so demanding that he can’t pause in his 20-hour workdays to run at lunch. It took a pandemic for this 79-year-old workaholic to resign himself to walking several miles on weekends,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it will loosen reporting requirements for Medicare quality reporting programs in light of the pandemic.
Designer Christian Siriano, of “Project Runway” fame, said his company will start making face masks for New York hospitals. (Vulture)