Among the top coronavirus news out today are: Unemployment in the U.S. dropped to 13.3% last month and NYC saw its first day this week without any confirmed deaths from COVID-19. For other info: U.S. case counts, coronavirus symptoms, our kids guide, comparison with seasonal flu and treatments in the works.
US health workers with COVID-19, Surge in Iran, Cull of 10,000 mink with virus
—About 586 frontline health care workers in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to Lost on the Frontline, a project by The Guardian newspaper and Kaiser Health News. The aim is to count and memorialize all health care workers who die during this pandemic. Today, the project released the names and obituaries of more than 100 of those workers, which include doctors, nurses, paramedics and support staff, such as hospital janitors and nursing home workers, The Guardian reported. You can read the project's first 100 profiles here.
—A new surge in COVID-19 infections in Iran is being partly attributed to a wedding party, though no details of this party were given. Starting in mid-April, Iran began relaxing its lockdown measures, though the country has seen a sharp uptick in new infections in recent days, the Associated Press reported. On Thursday (June 4), Iran recorded 3,574 new cases, the highest since the outbreak was first reported in February.
"At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country's health system," President Hassan Rouhani, the AP reported. To date, Iran has logged about 169,425 COVID-19 cases and 8,209 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—The Dutch government has ordered the culling of 10,000 mink after 10 farms reported having animals infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, BBC News reported. The mink are bred at these farms for their fur, and the fear is that they could transmit the virus to humans. "All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms where there are no infections won't be," said spokeswoman Frederique Hermie, according to BBC News.
World's COVID-19 cases increasing at alarming rate
— Every day, more than 100,000 individuals worldwide are testing positive for COVID-19 on average, CNN reported. That's according to a seven-day average; some of this increase is due to increased testing, CNN reported. Some countries that were hit hard earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic have seen a slowing of new cases: the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France. But the rate of spread of the virus seems to be accelerating in other countries in South America, the Middle East and Africa, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
For instance, the number of known cases is doubling every week in Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Mozambique and Uganda, CNN found. And it's doubling every two weeks in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and South Africa.
— By the numbers: The world has recorded more than 6.76 million COVID-19 cases and at least 395,409 related deaths to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. The top 5 countries with the most cases to date include:
— United States: 1.9 million cases (109,143 COVID-19 deaths)
— Brazil: 614,941 cases (34,021 deaths)
— Russia: 458,102 cases (5,717 deaths)
— United Kingdom: 284,735 cases (40,344 deaths)
— Spain: 240,978 cases (27,134 deaths)
The World Health Organization now recommends fabric face coverings in places where physical distancing is difficult
— The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced updated guidelines for the use of face masks for preventing COVID-19 spread. Among the new recommendations is that fabric masks should consist of at least three layers, officials said at a news briefing. These include an inner layer made of an absorbent material such as cotton, a middle layer made of a nonwoven material such as polypropylene that acts as a filter and an outer layer made of a non-absorbent material such as polyester, Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist with WHO, said at the briefing. New research commissioned by WHO found that "with those three layers and in that combination, that fabric can actually provide a mechanistic barrier that if someone were infected with COVID-19, it can prevent those droplets from going through and infecting someone else," Van Kerkhove said. WHO now recommends fabric face coverings for the general public in places where physical distancing is difficult.
— British researchers have ended a large trial of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 patients after their study showed no benefit from the drug. The trial, known as RECOVERY, randomly assigned more than 4,600 hospitalized COVID-19 patients to receive either hydroxychloroquine or usual care. The researchers found that, after 28 days, about 25% of patients in each group had died, meaning there was no significant difference in fatality rate, according to The Washington Post.
"Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have received a lot of attention and have been used very widely to treat covid patients despite the absence of any good evidence,” Peter Horby, the trial’s chief investigator, said in statement. "The RECOVERY trial has shown that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Although it is disappointing that this treatment has been shown to be ineffective, it does allow us to focus care and research on more promising drugs."
NYC reported zero confirmed COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, survey finds nearly 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. engaged in dangerous cleaning practices to prevent COVID-19
— A recent survey found that nearly 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. engaged in dangerous cleaning practices to prevent COVID-19, such as washing their food with bleach, using household disinfecting products on their skin or deliberately inhaling cleaning product vapors, according to a Live Science report. The report, based on an online survey of 500 adults across the U.S., found that most people had at least some knowledge of how to clean safely such as making sure there's good ventilation in the room when using cleaning products, keeping the products away from children and washing their hands after using the products. But only one-third of survey responders said that bleach should not be mixed with vinegar (which can produce harmful chlorine gas).
Of the survey responders, 19% said they had used bleach to wash their food which is not recommended because ingesting bleach is hazardous; 18% reported using cleaning or disinfectant products on their hands or skin; 6% reported inhaling vapors; 4% reported drinking or gargling diluted bleach solutions, Live Science reported. "These practices pose a risk of severe tissue damage and corrosive injury and should be strictly avoided," the authors wrote in their report, published Friday (June 5) in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
— For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, New York City reported zero confirmed deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to CNBC. That being said, there were three probable coronavirus deaths or people who had symptoms but weren't tested yet, according to the NYC data, CNBC reported. The first confirmed death in the city was on March 11 and the number of confirmed deaths reached its peak at 590 on April 7, according to CNBC. Since the beginning of the pandemic, NYC has reported more than 202,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 17,000 confirmed deaths (plus another 4,760 probable deaths), according to CNBC.
In May, unemployment in the U.S. dropped to 13.3%, U.S. labs will be required to report more data on people being tested for the coronavirus, including data on race and ethnicity to help address disparities
— There are now more than 6.6 million people who have gotten COVID-19 worldwide and more than 391,600 who have died from the infection, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are 1.8 million people who have gotten COVID-19 and more than 108,200 who have died; in Brazil there are 614,900 people who have gotten COVID-19 and more than 34,000 who have died; in Russia there are more than 449,200 people who have gotten COVID-19 and more than 5,500 who have died.
— Starting in August, U.S. labs will now be required to report more data about people being tested for the coronavirus, including their race and ethnicity to help officials better track and respond to the outbreaks, according to The Washington Post. The labs are required to report this information within 24 hours of testing a person to a state or local health department which is then required to forward it (without revealing the person's identity) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Post reported. This follows months of criticism that the Trump administration hasn't adequately responded to the demographic disparities brought on by the pandemic, namely that black, Hispanic and poor residents have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, the Post reported.
— In May, unemployment in the U.S. dropped to 13.3% and 2.5 million jobs were added, according to a statement from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reported by The New York Times. "These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it," according to the report. Last month, employment rose in "leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade," according to the statement. In April, there was a record 20.5 million jobs lost and the unemployment rate was 14.7%, according to the Times.
A study that suggested antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine were dangerous to COVID-19 patients has been retracted
— A study that suggested antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine were dangerous to COVID-19 patients has been retracted due to concerns about the study's data, according to a Live Science report. The study, published May 22 in the journal The Lancet, had suggested that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were tied to an increased risk of death and heart problems among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Yesterday, the journal published an "expression of concern" about the study, saying that "serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention" about the research, and that the authors had commissioned an independent audit of the study. The data for the study was provided by an obscure U.S. analytics company called Surgisphere, according to the report.
Today, the journal announced three of the study's authors had retracted the paper, saying that they "were unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis," according to a statement published in the journal. "As a result, [the three authors] have concluded that they 'can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources,'" the statement said. "There are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study."
— Australia's National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce is recommending the use of antiviral drug remdesivir to treat and improve recovery times of COVID-19 patients, according to The Guardian. Remdesivir — originally developed to treat Ebola but shown to improve recovery times for COVID-19 patients in clinical trials — is the first drug to be recommended as treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to the Guardian.
The NBA is planning to resume games at the end of July in Orlando, Florida
— Starting on June 15, face coverings will be required on public transport in England, according to CNN. Children, elderly and people with respiratory problems will be exempt from the rule that might be enforced by the British transport police, Britain's Transport Minister Grant Shapps said today. “You cannot travel if you are not wearing a face covering,” Shapps said, according to CNN. Additionally, more buses, trains and subways will run to decrease crowds, they reported.
— The NBA is planning to resume games at the end of July in Orlando, Florida, according to The Washington Post. The NBA's Board of Governors voted today and approved the plan, which held that 22 teams will continue this year's season in late July inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, with limited contact with people outside, the Post reported. The NBA season has been suspended since March.
— There have now been 6.5 million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide and more than 387,800 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
1.9 million people in the U.S. filed for unemployment insurance last week, the lowest number since March
— There are now more than 1.8 million people who have had COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 107,100 who have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard; In Brazil there are more than 584,000 people who were infected and more than 32,500 who have died; in Russia there are more than 440,500 who were infected and more than 5,300 who have died.
— 1.9 million people filed for unemployment insurance last week, according to the latest numbers from The Labor Department. That brought the total number of people collected benefits to 21.5 million, according to The New York Times. These numbers suggest that even as states reopen and some return back to work, others are newly being laid off or just beginning to receive benefits, according to the Times. Still, 1.9 million is the fewest number of people that filed for unemployment benefits since March, which could signal that the economy might have stopped falling, according to The Washington Post.
— Spain will reopen its land borders to France and Portugal starting on June 22, Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said at a briefing on Thursday, CNN reported. “This is very important because it will allow us to recover the volume of tourists”, she said.
Hydroxychloroquine doesn't prevent COVID-19, clinical trial finds
— Humanity must "drastically change our diets" and our treatment of wild and farm animals if we want to avoid future pandemics, primatologist Jane Goodall said, according to a Live Science report. Goodall spoke at an online event hosted by Compassion in World Farming, The Guardian reported. "Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings," Goodall said at the event. "If we do not do things differently, we are finished," she said. “We can’t go on very much longer like this." Habitat destruction, farming and consumption of wild animals, illegal wildlife trafficking and factory farming are all risky practices that can fuel the next pandemic, she said. These practices have started disease outbreaks in the past, The Guardian reported.
— Hydroxychloroquine, a drug touted by Donald Trump as a potential "game changer," did not prevent people from getting COVID-19, according to the results of a new study, Live Science reported. The study, the first clinical trial to analyze the effects of hydroxychloroquine in preventing COVID-19 was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved 821 people who were exposed to patients with COVID-19 and then randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine or placebo within four days of exposure. After two weeks, about 12% of participants given hydroxychloroquine developed symptoms of COVID-19 and 14% of those who received a placebo developed symptoms, a difference that was too small to be meaningful or "statistically significant," according to the report.
— There are now more than 6.3 million people who have had COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are 383,298 people who have died from COVID-19 worldwide, according to the latest numbers.
Emergency department visits declined by 42% in April as compared to last year
— Emergency department visits decreased by 42% in April as compared to last year, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. There were on average 2.1 million emergency department visits a week last year between March 31 to April 27, whereas this year there were on average 1.2 million a week between March 29 and April 25. The most declines were in the Northeast, in females and in those 14 years old and younger, according to the report. The largest declines were in visits for abdominal pain or other digestive problems, musculoskeletal pain including low back pain, essential hypertension, nausea and vomiting, other upper respiratory infections, sprains and strains and superficial injuries, they wrote.
"The number of visits for conditions including nonspecific chest pain and acute myocardial infarction decreased, suggesting that some persons could be delaying care for conditions that might result in additional mortality if left untreated," the authors wrote in the report.
— Several experts said the nationwide protests could plausibly enhance the spread of COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. "It's really the worst thing they can do from the pandemic standpoint, because people are coming from disparate areas, crowding together, screaming," which can transmit the virus more easily, Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus in infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health told Live Science. "And then they're going back to their own communities." That said, protesting racism and injustice is important, and the risk of transmission can be reduced by staying 6 feet away from people and wearing a mask, Swartzberg said. [Here's what you need to know to stay safe(r) at a protest]
— Most of Florida will likely begin its second phase of reopening on Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis said today despite the state having the second-highest daily increase in coronavirus infections (1,317 new cases), The Washington Post reported. Bars, theme parks, bowling alleys and recreational facilities with social-distancing measures can open in 64 of the state's 67 counties, according to the Post.
Brazil's President continues to downplay the virus even as the country faces highest daily death toll yet, tear gas might increase the risk of coronavirus spread
— There are now more than 555,300 cases of COVID-19 in Brazil, the second-most in the world after the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are 31,199 people who have died in Brazil from COVID-19. On Tuesday evening, the health ministry said Brazil has had 1,262 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a record-number of daily deaths, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has been downplaying the virus. “We lament all deaths, but it’s everyone’s destiny,” Bolsonaro said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
— In some places, authorities are using tear gas on crowds of people gathered to protest George Floyd's death and experts are concerned that tear gas might increase the risk of coronavirus spread, according to The New York Times. Tear gas can damage the lungs and make people more susceptible to a respiratory illness like COVID-19, according to several studies, the Times reported. Tear gas can also cause a person to start coughing, which can spread the virus easier to others. Health experts have already raised concerns that large crowds and chanting could increase the spread of respiratory droplets, according to The Times.
— There are now more than 1.8 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 106,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. Though the number of new deaths has been decreasing, thousands of people continue to be infected with the virus every day, according to The New York Times. New cases continue to increase (in part because of increased testing capacity) in California, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Idaho, West Virginia, Montana and Alaska, according to the Times. In the rest of the states, new cases are mostly the same or are currently decreasing.
A dog in the U.S. tests positive for the coronavirus, The city of Wuhan finds 300 asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus after testing nearly 10 million of its residents
— The city of Wuhan has now tested 9.9 million of its 11 million residents for COVID-19, in an effort to pinpoint any unknown cases, according to Reuters. They have found 300 people who were carriers of the virus but were asymptomatic and zero people who had symptoms of COVID-19, according to Reuters. But officials said that though these people were asymptomatic carriers, they didn't seem to be infectious as their masks, toothbrushes, phones and door handles and elevator buttons they used didn't have virus particles on them, according to Reuters. China doesn't count asymptomatic people with the virus as confirmed cases, they reported.
— There were 154 new coronavirus hospitalizations in New York yesterday, the lowest number since mid-March. The "number of new COVID cases walking in the door is at an all-time low," Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his news briefing. Yesterday, there were 58 additional people who died from COVID-19 in the state, he said. In total, New York has reported more than 373,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 24,000 deaths, according to the New York State Department of Health.
— For the first time in the U.S., a pet dog has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The dog, a German shepherd in New York State, was tested after showing signs of respiratory illness. One of the dog's owners tested positive for COVID-19 and another had symptoms before the dog showed any symptoms, according to the statement. A second dog in the household didn't have any symptoms but had antibodies from the virus, indicating exposure, according to the statement. "We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus," the USDA wrote in the statement. "Based on the limited information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low." But it seems that people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact, so "it is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection," the USDA wrote.
In the U.S., a tiger, a lion and two pet cats have previously tested positive for the virus but this is the first dog to test positive, according to The New York Times. Previously, two dogs in Hong Kong had tested positive, and in the U.S., a pug was thought to be positive back in April when low amounts of virus was found in his saliva, but tests didn't find that he was infected.
Social distancing, face masks and eye protection all help reduce the spread of COVID-19, new review finds
— A new review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), found that social distancing, face masks and eye protection help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 both in healthcare settings and the general community, according to a new Live Science report. Staying 3 feet (1 meter) apart lowers the chances of coronavirus spread by 82% and staying 6 feet (2 m) apart is likely even more effective at reducing the spread, according to the review that analyzed information from 44 studies across 16 countries and published June 1 in the journal The Lancet. With face masks, the chance of spread was 3% with a mask compared with 17% without a mask, a reduction of more than 80%, according to the report.
"Although distancing, face masks and eye protection were each highly protective, none made individuals totally impervious from [COVID-19] infection," lead author Dr. Derek Chu, a clinician scientist in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, and the Department of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, said in a statement. For this reason "basic measures such as hand hygiene are also essential to curtail the current COVID-19 pandemic and future waves."
— There are now more than 6.3 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 377,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.8 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 105,600 deaths; in Brazil there are more than 526,400 cases and more than 29,900 deaths; and in Russia there are more than 423,100 cases and more than 5,000 deaths.
Experts push back on claim from top Italian doctor that coronavirus is losing potency, North Korea also eases coronavirus restrictions
— North Korea is easing coronavirus restrictions by reopening schools and restarting trade with China, according to The Washington Post. In April, universities and final-year high school students had gone back to school, but now all other grades will reopen, the state radio said on Monday, the Post reported. The country's government, which had instituted an early and strict lockdown, claims they didn't have COVID-19, according to the Post. But news sources have reported quarantines and deaths across the country that were likely due to the virus and state media reports have shown many people wearing masks, according to the Post.
— A top Italian doctor said on Sunday that the new coronavirus is losing potency, according to Reuters. "In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy," Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan in the northern region of Lombardy told RAI television. "The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago." But experts pushed back against the claim.
"This is still a killer virus and there are still thousands of people everyday dying from this virus," Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program said during a news briefing yesterday (June 1). "So, we need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that all of a sudden the virus by its own volition has now decided to be less pathogenic. That is not the case at all."
Experts interviewed by The Washington Post said that the doctor's findings aren't due to a change in the virus but due to the fact that there is less virus circulating so people are less likely to be exposed to high doses.
At least a quarter of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were among nursing home residents, new report finds
— Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in the U.S., according to a new report provided to U.S. governors, according to AP News. This number, which makes up at least a quarter of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., is likely higher than what it is and will continue to increase, according to AP News. Based on data up to May 24, from 80% of the 15,400 nursing homes around the country, there were 60,000 cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents, according to a letter addressed to governors and a chart from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided to the AP.
— The Metropolitan Opera has canceled its fall season due to the coronavirus, according to a statement. They expect to open up and invite audiences back starting on December 31, 2020 "with a special gala performance," they wrote. "Social distancing and grand opera simply don't go together," said Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan's General Manager said in a video. "We are hopeful that in the winter starting December 31, that there will be a medical solution and the Met will continue its performances at that time," Gelb said. "In the troubled state of the world today, the people certainly need the relief and happiness and solace the grand opera brings to them. For now we'll be streaming, but in the winter we'll be performing again."
— The Democratic Republic of the Congo is now having a new outbreak of Ebola, as the country tries to fight both the coronavirus and the world's largest measles epidemic, according to The New York Times. The new Ebola outbreak has killed five people and infected two more in Mbandaka, on the western side of the country, hundreds of miles away from an Ebola epidemic that, a couple of months ago, was nearly over until a new case was found. It's unclear how Ebola spread to the western side amid travel restrictions from the coronavirus, according to the Times. Congo has reported more than 3,000 cases of the coronavirus and 71 COVID-19-related deaths but because testing is limited, it's unclear how much higher those numbers actually are, the Times reported.
Spain reports zero coronavirus deaths in last 24 hours, cases are declining in some parts of the U.S. and increasing in others
— Spain reported no coronavirus deaths in the last 24-hours for the first time since March, according to The Associated Press. Spain, which was one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, only reported 71 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24-hours, according to AP News. The country's peak death toll happened on April 2 with 950 deaths within 24 hours. Spain is slowly easing its very strict lockdown, but the government is warning that new waves of infections can occur and that the threat isn't over, according to AP News. The country has tallied more than 239,400 COVID-19 cases and more than 27,100 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— In five days, California's coronavirus cases have increased by 11%, according to CNN. The state now has 110,583 cases, up more than 11,000 since Wednesday, CNN reported. In some states, cases are declining significantly, but in others, new outbreaks are raising alarms, according to The New York Times. The U.S. has been reporting around 21,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, lower than the more than 30,000 cases the country was reporting at its peak in April, according to the Times. While the pandemic seems to be waning in the northeast, it's persisting in the midwest. Some states in the South have also been seeing spikes, including Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the Times reported.
New cases are increasing in California, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, West Virginia, Vermont, Montana, Alaska and Puerto Rico, according to an analysis by The New York Times. New Cases are mostly remaining the same in Texas, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Idaho, Maine, Wyoming, Hawaii and Guam. New Cases are decreasing in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Delaware, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and North Dakota.
Public health officials and government officials are worried that the protests over George Floyd's death — which has led to large gatherings of people across the country — will lead to an increase in coronavirus cases, according to CNN. "I share the outrage and I stand with the protestors," Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. But Cuomo expressed concerns that these mass gatherings could "exacerbate the COVID-19 spread."
"We don't even know the consequence for the COVID virus of those mass gatherings, we won't know possibly for weeks," Cuomo said. It could potentially affect hundreds and hundreds of people — who knows how many super-spreaders might have been in those crowds, he said. And this comes a week before New York City is expected to start easing restrictions, he said. Cuomo told reporters people can continue to protest, but recommended they protest safely with masks, using hand sanitizer and physical distancing if possible, according to CNBC.
Eli Lilly begins testing a human-made antibody against the coronavirus on a small group of people
— Researchers have begun conducting an early study of a human-made antibody against the coronavirus discovered by AbCellera and developed by Eli Lilly, according to STAT News. Researchers with Eli Lilly will test this drug, thought to be the first developed specifically to fight COVID-19, on 32 people at various doses to see if it has any side effects. Mark Mulligan, the director of the vaccine center at New York University Langone Health, who is one of the doctors working in Lilly's study, has intravenously given the antibody to the first patient at NYU for over 30 minutes, according to STAT. The researchers hope that by giving neutralizing antibodies to patients, it can help treat the coronavirus. But they also hope that it can prevent infection, according to STAT. It's not yet clear if antibody drugs will be effective, but they're not the only ones developing them: Regeneron is also expected to start testing its antibody drug soon, as are Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline (as part of a partnership).
— There are now more than 6.1 million people who have had COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 372,500 people who have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.79 million people who have had COVID-19 and more than 104,300 have died; In Brazil, there are now more than 514,800 people who have had COVID-19 and more than 29,300 who have died; in Russia there are 414,800 people who have had COVID-19 and more than 4,800 have died.
Health officials are trying to contact people who gathered at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend, after visitor tests positive for the coronavirus
— On Memorial Day weekend, large crowds gathered in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, despite social distancing guidelines, igniting outrage on social media. Now, health officials are trying to contact many of these people after one of the party-goers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. The person was a Boone County resident who had arrived to the lake on Saturday and developed illness on Sunday, “so was likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit,” according to a statement from The Camden County Health Department. The county released a timeline of where the person had visited on Saturday and Sunday “due to the need to inform mass numbers of unknown people,” according to the release. The Boone County Health Department is now conducting an investigation and Lake Area health departments are helping with local contacts, according to the statement.
— There are now more than 6 million people who have gotten COVID-19 worldwide and more than 367,600 people who have died from the infection, according the Johns Hopkins Dashboard. There are more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. who have gotten COVID-19 and more than 103,600 who have died in the country, according to the dashboard.
— There are now more than 465,100 COVID-19 cases in Brazil and 27,878 deaths, according to the dashboard. COVID-19 related deaths in Brazil has now surpassed Spain’s, making the country the fifth deadliest hit by the virus, according to Reuters.
Trump says U.S. is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, Monkey runs away with blood samples from possible COVID-19 patients in India
— A couple of days ago, a monkey attacked a lab technician at a medical school in Meerut, India and ran away with blood samples from patients suspected to have COVID-19, according to a Live Science report. The lab technician took a video with his phone of the monkey climbing up a tree and eating what seems to be surgical gloves, Indian news outlet NDTV reported. Residents in the area are concerned that this theft could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the area if the monkey thief infects other monkeys and these animals become another source of transmission to humans, India Today reported. But there is no evidence that the monkeys or any animal can catch the virus from the blood of infected people, the New York Times reported.
— President Donald Trump said today that the U.S. will stop funding and terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), according to CNBC. "China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump said during a news conference today. He has been criticizing the organization for their response to the pandemic and for being too "China-centric," according to CNBC. It's not clear if Trump can completely withdraw U.S. funding from the WHO without going through Congress.
Most funding from the U.S. goes directly out to the program that helps countries in “all sorts of fragile and difficult settings,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, had said on May 20, according to CNBC. (This was two days after Trump sent the WHO a letter threatening to freeze funding if the organization didn't make "substantive improvements" to their response to the pandemic.) “This is going to be a major implication for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we trust developed donors will, if necessary, step in to fill that gap, Ryan said.
In response to Trump's announcement today, the Infectious Diseases Society of America released a short statement, according to CNN.
"As infectious disease physicians on the front line of combating the current global crisis, we stand strongly against President Trump's decision to leave the world Health Organization," Dr. Thomas File, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America said in the statement. "This pandemic has demonstrated that neither national boundaries nor political positions can protect us from the spread of an infectious disease. We will not succeed against this pandemic, or any future outbreak, unless we stand together, share information, and coordinate actions."
New York City is expected to enter first phase of reopening on June 8
— New York City is expected to enter the first phase of reopening on June 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today during his daily briefing. About 400,000 employees that work in construction, manufacturing and retail are expected to be able to go back to work during this first phase, he said. "Remember that reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were," Cuomo said. "We go forward." New York City is reopening to "a new normal," he said. "People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distanced."
— U.S. offices that may reopen this year should undergo some major changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These changes include conducting daily temperature screenings and symptoms checks before employees enter the office, requiring face coverings in all areas of the workspace, moving desks so that employees are at least 6 feet apart, marking the floors to help social distancing and setting up transparent "shields" in areas where social distancing isn't possible, according to a new Live Science report. Also, coffee pots, water coolers and snack bins should be replaced with pre-packaged and single-serve items, and people should be discouraged from taking public transportation and carpooling and rather be encouraged or incentivized to travel alone and at less busy times, according to the report.
1 in 7 people in New York might have been infected with the coronavirus by the end of March, results from statewide antibody testing reveal
— 1 in 7 people in New York might have had COVID-19 by the end of March, according to a new study published as a pre-print on MedRxiv and that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. That means that over 2 million adults might have been infected by the end of March, which is about 10 times the official count, according to CNN. These are the results of the random antibody testing that New York state conducted at grocery stores across 26 counties between April 19 and 28, according to the study. The researchers also found that more than 1 in 5 people in New York City likely had COVID-19 by the end of March.
— More than 200 schools in South Korea closed days after reopening because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the BBC. On Thursday, South Korea reported 79 new cases, the highest daily case count in two months. Most of the cases were traced back to a distribution center in Bucheon, outside of Seoul. The warehouse wasn’t complying with measures set in place to make sure the virus doesn’t spread, the BBC reported.
— There are now more than 5.8 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 361,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. There are now more than 1.7 million people who have had COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 101,000 have died.
The Boston Marathon has officially been canceled
— The Boston Marathon has officially been canceled, Mayor Marty Walsh announced at a news conference today, CNN reported. Originally, the April 20 event had been postponed to September 14. "There's no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity," Walsh said during the news conference, according to CNN. "This kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14th or anytime this year." Registered runners will receive their entry fee back and will still be able to run virtually, according to CNN. They can get a finisher's medal if they can show that they ran 26.2 miles within 6 hours, according to CNN.
— The city of Wuhan, China, recently launched a campaign to test every one of its 11 million residents for the virus. In less than two weeks, the city has tested about 6.5 million residents, The New York Times reported on May 26. U.S. cities could similarly conduct "pooled testing" to screen many residents at once and help stop new waves of infection, but this strategy would only work if the overall prevalence of COVID-19 remains low, according to a Live Science report.
— COVID-19 cases have exceeded 5.7 million worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 358,300 people have died from this virus across the globe. The U.S. has reported more than 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 101,000 deaths; Brazil has reported more than 411,800 cases and more than 25,500 deaths; Russia has reported more than 379,000 cases and 4,000 deaths. Case counts continue to increase rapidly across the globe and the pandemic is growing at a faster pace, especially as the coronavirus has now taken hold of countries in Latin America and the Gulf States, according to The New York Times. Last week, there were nearly 700,000 new infections reported worldwide, according to the Times.
One in every four U.S. workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, South Korea reports big jump in cases
— More than 40 million people, or one in every four U.S. workers have filed for unemployment since the middle of March, according to The New York Times. That's after 2.1 million people who filed for unemployment claims last week, which might include both new layoffs and backlogged claims, according to the Times. The federal virus relief package that gives eligible workers $600 a week on top of state benefits, is set to expire on July 31, according to the Times.
— There were 163 new COVID-19 patients hospitalized yesterday in New York, the lowest daily hospitalization rate recorded since March, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily briefing. Yesterday, 74 people died from COVID-19 in New York, 52 of those people were in hospitals and 22 in nursing homes, he said. Cuomo is signing an Executive Order today that authorizes businesses in New York to deny entry to people who are not wearing masks or face coverings. Mayor Bill De Blasio said today that 200,000 to 400,000 unemployed people could return to work in New York City once reopening begins as soon as early June, according to NBC News. Phase 1 of reopening in the city includes construction, manufacturing, wholesale and nonessential retail, he said.
— Today, South Korea reported 79 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest jump in cases in nearly two months, according to AP News. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 of the 79 new cases were from the Seoul metropolitan area, AP News reported. In response, South Korea shut down public facilities such as parks, museums and state-run theaters in the area for the next two weeks to slow the spread. In total, South Korea has reported more than 11,300 COVID-19 cases and 269 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The country has been praised for their handling of the pandemic including widespread testing, isolation and contact tracing, according to an NPR report from April. This recent spike shows the risks of easing social distancing rules, according to The Guardian. “The next two weeks are crucial to prevent the spread of the infection in the metropolitan area,” said South Korea's Health Minister Park Neung-hoo. “We will have to return to social distancing if we fail.”
Coronavirus may not have started at a seafood market in Wuhan, Africa is seeing "rapid increases" in cases, U.K. starts mass testing and contract tracing
— Reports have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Now, experts at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have claimed that this theory is wrong, and that the virus must have originated elsewhere, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Instead, a superspreader at the live animal market may have spread the virus to many people, according to a Live Science report.
— Africa is seeing "rapid increases" in COVID-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Africa, CNN reported. “Compared to two weeks ago, reported cases have tripled in five countries and doubled in 10 countries, noting that most countries still have fewer than 1,000 reported cases," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said during a press briefing today, as CNN reported. “With strong country leadership and implementation of public and social health measures, cases in Africa remain lower than in some other parts of the world. However, we are not letting our guard down and we cannot be complacent."
— Today, the U.K. is starting an effort to mass test and contact trace, according to The New York Times. People with symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested and those who turn up positive for the virus will be asked to list people they've recently been in contact with for at least 15 minutes. These people will then be called up and asked to isolate for 14 days. A day earlier, France's parliament approved a contact tracing app, the Times reported.
US hits grim milestone: 100,000 COVID-19 deaths
U.S. deaths from coronavirus have now reached 100,000, the most of any country in the world, according to The New York Times. The somber milestone comes as all states are beginning to take steps to reopen parts of their economies. Overall death rates in the U.S. have dropped in recent weeks, from a high of more than 2,000 deaths a day in April and May, to about 750 deaths related to the coronavirus reported on Tuesday (May 26), according to the Times; however, reporting of deaths may have been delayed due to the holiday weekend. In addition, deaths from the coronavirus are likely underreported in general due to challenges with how deaths are counted, Live Science previously reported.
Walt Disney plans to reopen in July with restrictions, Denmark allows cross-border couples to meet again
— Walt Disney World is planning to reopen its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11 and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Seaworld is planning to reopen three of its parks in Orlando on June 11. Both companies plan to make changes to encourage social distancing and hand washing and will also require people to wear masks and get temperature checks, the Sentinel reported. Universal is planning to reopen on June 5, according to the Sentinel.
— Denmark is now allowing significant others to cross the border into Denmark, which has been closed to other countries since March, according to the BBC. As of Monday, significant others who live in Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are allowed to cross into Denmark as long as they can prove that they are in a serious relationship with someone in Denmark (defined as about six months of face-to-face meetings not just online dating) with photos, text messages and emails, the BBC reported. In a couple of days, even these regulations will ease and couples will just need to sign a letter, Justice minister Nick Hækkerup said. "If you say you are a boyfriend and sign [the letter], we will assume it [is true]," Justice minister Nick Hækkerup told broadcaster TV2.
— The European Union is proposing a 750 billion euro ($860 billion) stimulus package to help the economies of its member countries, especially those hardest hit by the coronavirus, according to The New York Times. This will involve giving billions of euros worth of grants to all member states with Italy getting the most and Spain getting the second most, the Times reported.
France bans use of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients
— France has banned the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, according to CNN. The French Health Ministry said there wasn't enough data to suggest that the drug provides sufficient evidence of a benefit for use on COVID-19 patients, and some data suggests there's a link between using this drug and cardiac toxicity, CNN reported. This comes after the World Health Organization stopped a study of hydroxychloroquine being conducted on COVID-19 patients because of safety concerns. A new study published in the journal The Lancet on Friday suggested that severe COVID-19 patients who took the drug were more likely to die or develop irregular heart rhythms, CNN reported.
— More than 5.6 million people have now been reported to have COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 351,000 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., more than 1.6 million people have had COVID-19 and more than 98,900 have died; In Brazil more than 391,200 have had COVID-19 and more than 24,500 have died; in Russia more than 370,600 have had COVID-19 and more than 3,900 have died.
— Across the U.S. states that had shut down amid the pandemic are undergoing various reopening phases, but the virus is still circulating and thousands of people are still being infected every day, according to The New York Times. New cases are increasing in some states (in part because of increased testing): California, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Nevada, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, North Dakota, Maine and West Virginia, according to The Times.
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression amid the pandemic, survey finds
— About a dozen states are reporting an increase in the number of infections even as levels nationwide are staying steady or decreasing, according to The New York Times. Half of those states had started to reopen in late April and early May, according to the Times. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, for example, have had increases several weeks after easing restrictions. Arkansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma — states that didn't have state-wide stay-at-home orders — but began to reopen businesses also had an increase in cases, as did Washington D.C. which is still under lockdown but will start reopening on Friday, according to the Times.
— A new study that analyzed 16 women who tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant found that their placentas showed evidence of injury that might cause abnormal blood flow between the mothers and their babies in utero, according to a statement from Northwestern University. “Most of these babies were delivered full-term after otherwise normal pregnancies, so you wouldn’t expect to find anything wrong with the placentas, but this virus appears to be inducing some injury in the placenta,” senior author Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine pathologist said in the statement. “It doesn’t appear to be inducing negative outcomes in live-born infants, based on our limited data, but it does validate the idea that women with COVID should be monitored more closely.” The study was published last week (May 22) in the journal American Journal of Clinical Pathology.
— Amid the pandemic, a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, according to a new nationwide survey, as reported by The Washington Post. This 20-minute online "Household Pulse Survey," conducted by The National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau, found that 24% of people showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30% showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, the Post reported.
New York sees lowest daily death toll since the outbreak began, More than 7,000 Tyson Foods employees have tested positive for the coronavirus
— Yesterday, an additional 73 people died from COVID-19 in New York, the lowest death toll the state has seen since this outbreak began, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily briefing. "In this absurd new reality, that is good news," he said. The number of new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York is about 200, also the lowest it has been since this started, he said.
— There are more than 7,000 employees working for Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the U.S., who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a Washington Post analysis. That's despite efforts made by the company to stop the spread among its employees through installing plastic dividers, requiring face masks or coverings and setting up on-site medical clinics and screenings, according to the Post. With thousands of employees coming down with COVID-19 and only some of the workforce having been able to go back to work, meat supplies remain strained, according to the Post.
— The New York Stock Exchange reopened for in-person trading for the first time today, according to The New York Times. Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell this morning at 9:30 a.m. There are restrictions put in place for those who will work in-person at the stock exchange — namely floor brokers and trading floor officials — including mandatory temperature checks and face masks, the Times reported. People will also need to avoid taking public transportation.
People crowded Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, ignoring social distancing guidelines, The city of Wuhan tested 6.5 million people for the coronavirus in just two weeks
— People ignored social distancing guidelines and hung out in dense crowds at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend, according to The Washington Post. These videos of Ozark vacationers — which circulated over social media over the weekend and was met with criticism — is an example of how some people took easing restrictions to mean life would return back to a pre-pandemic normal, according to The Post.
— The Wuhan government has tested 6.5 million people for the coronavirus in two weeks, according to The New York Times. The city is conducting a campaign to test all 11 million of its residents for free in order to prevent a second wave of infections and increase people’s confidence in getting back to work and normal life, according to the Times. Medical workers have gone to construction sites and markets, have made house calls to older residents and those with disabilities and made announcements over loudspeakers to sign up for the swab testing, according to The Times. Samples taken are still being analyzed, but so far, 200 people — most without any symptoms — have turned up positive for the coronavirus, according to The Times.
— More than 5.5 million people have now had COVID-19 worldwide, according to the latest numbers from the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 346,800 people have died across the globe. In the U.S., 1.6 million people have now had COVID-19 and more than 98,000 have died; in Brazil more than 374,800 have had COVID-19 and more than 23,400 have died; in Russia more than 362,300 people have had COVID-19 and more than 3,800 have died.
WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trial & warns of 'immediate second peak'
—The World Health Organization has stopped its arm of a global study into the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 due to safety concerns, The Guardian reported. The WHO announcement today was spurred by research results published in the journal The Lancet showing that COVID-19 patients taking the drug had a higher risk of death and heart problems than those not taking the drug. Hydroxychloroquine is the drug that U.S. president Donald Trump has promoted and has said he was taking prophylactically.
—The chief of staff to UK prime minister Boris Johnson released a statement today confirming that he had indeed traveled about 250 miles (400 kilometers) during the lockdown, despite his wife showing coronavirus symptoms. He did so, he said, to visit family who could help with childcare. Even so, David Cummings said he acted reasonably, The Guardian said.
—Italy reported its lowest daily deaths from COVID-19 since early March, with 92 deaths related to the virus, The Guardian reported. The country recorded 300 new cases Monday, down from 531 on Sunday. They had zero new cases in five regions — Bolzano, Umbria, Calabria, Molise and Basilicata, according to The Guardian. To date, the country has logged 230,158 COVID-19 cases and 32,877 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Countries where COVID-19 cases are on the decline could experience an "immediate second peak" if they loosen lockdown measures too soon, the WHO said today, Channel News Asia reported. Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO emergencies, said during an online briefing that though some countries are on the decline, others — such as Central and South America, South Asia and Africa — are experiencing an increase in cases. "When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months' time," Ryan said. "But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are get [sic] a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave."
Japan lifts lockdown measures, Advisor to UK prime minister sparks furor over travel while sick
—Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced he is lifting the country's state of emergency, since the virus spread seems to be under control, loosening the once-strict lockdown measures for the last five of the country's 47 prefectures, NPR reported. "Recently, new infection cases have fallen below 50 for the entire nation," Abe said at a news conference, as reported by NPR, "and what was once nearly 10,000 hospitalized cases — that has now fallen below 2,000." Japan has confirmed a total of 16,550 COVID-19 cases and 820 related deaths to date.
—Dominic Cummings, the chief adviser to the U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson is facing pressure to resign after he the government confirmed that in March Cummings made a 260-mile trip from London to County Durham in northern England with his wife who was showing symptoms of the coronavirus in order to be closer to family, according to reports by BBC News and The Wall Street Journal. "Critics including lawmakers from Mr. Johnson's ruling Conservative Party say the move contravened strict government instructions for families to isolate when sick with Covid-19 and appeared to show the rules don't apply to Westminster's political elite," the Journal reported. The U.K. is the worst-hit by the coronavirus in all of Europe, with a total of 260,916 COVID-19 cases and 36,875 related deaths to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. Cummings is expected to give a statement and take questions from the press today.
—A city in New Jersey is leading the way in contact-tracing to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Paterson, New Jersey, with a population of 150,000, "has been tracing the virus at a level that could be the envy of larger cities. The team has been able to successfully investigate and trace about 90 percent of the more than 5,900 positive virus cases in Paterson, said the city's top health officer, Dr. Paul Persaud," The New York Times reported. Once contacts with sick individuals are traced, those individuals can self-isolate so they don't unknowingly infect others. As a testament to the city's efforts, the city is now logging about 50 to 70 new cases a day, down from a high of about 260 per day on April 15, the Times said.
2nd Missouri stylist exposes clients to COVID-19, Trump bans travel from Brazil
—A second hairstylist at Great Clips salon in Springfield, Missouri, may have exposed clients to COVID-19. The stylist had worked for a week at the salon earlier this month while she was experiencing mild symptoms; during that time, she may have exposed more than 50 clients, The Hill reported. Another hairstylist at that salon who tested positive for COVID-19 possibly exposed nearly 100 clients and employees, health officials announced Friday (May 22). Many businesses, including hair salons, were allowed to reopen beginning May 4 in Missouri.
—President Donald Trump announced Sunday (May 24) that he was banning travelers from Brazil from entering the United States, the Associated Press reported. With 363,211 COVID-19 cases and 22,666 related deaths, Brazil has become the world's second worst hotspot for the virus behind the U.S. Trump had already implemented travel bans from certain areas in China and Europe (including the United Kingdom), the AP reported. "Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, the AP reported.
—Veteran Iditarod musher Thomas Waerner of Torpa, Norway, won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska on March 18; however, because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the 47-year-old and his 16 sled dogs have been stranded in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Waiting for him at home in Torpa are his five children and 35 other sled dogs. Now, he is expected to hitch a ride aboard a DC-6 aircraft bound for the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway, in early June. Before boarding, Waerner will be tested for COVID-19 and will retrieve his dogs from a kennel owned by another musher. "We are hitchhiking," Waerner said, according to the Daily News. "The plane is going to Norway, and we are going with them. We are so lucky."
Grocery workers face risky conditions, Virus spreading at epidemic levels in 24 states
—Chile has experienced a surge in new COVID-19 infections recently, with 3,709 new cases recorded in the last day. The surge has pushed the country's health-care system "very close to the limit," President Sebastian Pinera said, The Guardian reported. To date, Chile has logged 69,102 cases and 718 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—An investigative report by The Washington Post has revealed the risky conditions for workers at various grocery stores. The Post investigation involved the following stores: Walmart, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, Target, Kroger, BJ's Wholesale Club and Lidl. They found that since late-March, at least 100 grocery workers have died from COVID-19, while another 5,500 have been infected with the virus causing COVID-19. In addition, during interviews with 40 employees from 30 supermarkets, individuals claimed "the companies had not disclosed cases of infected or dead workers, retaliated against employees who raised safety concerns and used faulty equipment to implement coronavirus mitigation measures," the Post said.
—A model created by researchers at the Imperial College London suggests that the coronavirus is spreading at epidemic rates in 24 U.S. states, The Hour reported. That means in those states the so-called reproduction number — the average number of people who catch the virus from a single infected person — is still above 1. In general, the R0 (R-nought) needs to be below 1 to reduce disease transmission. The highest R0 was found in Texas, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama and Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri, Delaware, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Maryland, according to the report. "Higher reproduction numbers are geographically clustered in the South and Midwest, where epidemics are still developing, while we estimate lower reproduction numbers in states that have already suffered high COVID-19 mortality (such as the Northeast). These estimates suggest that caution must be taken in loosening current restrictions if effective additional measures are not put in place," the researchers write in their report, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Mass testing in Wuhan, COVID outbreak in German church, the latest in Africa
—After a cluster of COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak of the novel coronavirus began in December 2019, the city has instituted a mass testing initiative. Yesterday, the city conducted 1.1 million diagnostic tests for the disease, BBC News reported. The day before, the city conducted 1.4 million nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus.
—To date, the African Union's 55 member states have logged 104,279 COVID-19 cases and 3,185 related deaths, according to BBC News. South Africa, which has recorded 21,343 cases and 407 related deaths, is expected to ease some of its lockdown restrictions beginning June 1; if so, schools would reopen for seventh through 12th grades, and some parts of the economy would also reopen. In Nigeria, a country with 7,526 cases and 221 deaths, the Muslim Public Affairs Center has advised Muslims to celebrate Eid at home or with just family members, BBC News said.
—During a service at a Baptist church in Frankfurt, Germany, 40 church members have become infected with COVID-19, just weeks after the country allowed such services to resume, The New York Times reported. "We followed all the rules," leader of the church Wladimir Pritzkau told the German news agency DPA, as reported by the Times. For instance, churches are required to ask members to stay 5 feet apart and to have disinfectant readily available, according to the Times. Meanwhile, U.S. president Donald Trump is designating religious institutions as "essential," and pushing officials to reopen such houses of worship, the Times reported.
NY has single-day death toll below 100, Remdesivir shows promise in clinical trial
—New York's single-day death toll linked to COVID-19 dropped below 100 to 84 yesterday for the first time in weeks, the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo announced today. "Eighty-four is still a tragedy, no doubt," he said. "But the fact that it's down as low as it is is really, overall, good news," Cuomo said, as reported by CBS News. During the peak of deaths in the state, New York was logging close to 800 daily COVID-19 deaths for days.
—In more of such hopeful news, the antiviral drug called remdesivir, which is the only COVID-19 drug approved by the FDA, showed some success in treating patients with less severe cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to results from a clinical trial just published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday (May 22). In the study of just over 1,000 patients, half were randomly assigned to the medicine and the others took a placebo. The researchers found that those on remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days, compared with 15 days in the placebo group. Estimates of mortality by day 14 were 7.1% for the remdesivir group and 11.9% for the placebo patients. That result wasn't statistically significant. In terms of adverse effects from taking the drug, 114 patients out of 541 taking remdesivir had serious adverse effects, compared with 141 of 522 patients in the placebo group, according to the journal article. The drug showed much less to no benefit in patients who began the trial with a severe case of COVID-19, STAT News reported.
The researchers rated the patients' illness severity on a scale of 1 (not hospitalized) to 8 (dead), according to The severity of patients' illness was rated on a scale of 1 to 8: 1 (not hospitalized) to 5 (hospitalized, requiring any supplemental oxygen) to to 7 (hospitalized, receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or so-called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO) to 8 (dead). Most of the patients in the study rated 5, with the lowest score being a 4. In the group who scored 4, the study showed a 38% benefit in the speed of recovery, STAT reported, whereas those in the "5" group showed a 47% benefit in speed of recovery. However, in those who scored 6, that number fell to 20%; it fell even further to 0.05% in the group who scored 7, STAT said. "We need to get something that works for these patients who have a high mortality rate," said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, as reported by STAT.
Missouri hairstylist exposes at least 91 to virus, US nears 100K deaths
—A hairstylist in Springfield, Missouri, may have exposed 84 clients and seven co-workers to COVID-19, after working eight shifts at Great Clips hair salon while she was sick (and symptomatic) with the coronavirus, The New York Times reported. While working between May 12 and May 20, she wore a face mask, as did her clients. Over the last 10 days, the stylist also visited a fitness center, a Dairy Queen and a Walmart, the Times said. Many businesses, including hair salons, were allowed to reopen beginning May 4.
—The U.S. is nearing the 100,000-deaths mark related to COVID-19. The country has to date logged more than 1.57 million cases of the virus and 94,729 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has said that casinos could reopen June 4, after closing for the first time ever in mid-March in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Associated Press reported. Even so, the casinos will look much different than they did pre-pandemic. For instance, there will be no valet parking; bartenders, blackjack dealers and waiters will don face masks; and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the floors. And then there will be social distancing. "You're going to see a lot of social distancing," said Sean McBurney, general manager at Caesars Palace, the AP reported. "If there's crowding, it's every employee's responsibility to ensure there's social distancing."
Burial site of Jesus reopens, NY allows small gatherings, Spain soccer to resume
—The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, said to have been built over the original tomb of Jesus and considered one of the holiest sites of Christianity, will again open its doors beginning Sunday (May 24). The church was closed for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the doors open, patrons will be required to wear masks, stand at least 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) apart and to avoid practices that would require close contact, "touching and kissing the stones, icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica," BBC News reported. (Here's a gallery of images of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.)
—Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country will reopen to foreign visitors beginning in July, BBC News reported. "I am announcing to you that from the month of July, entry for foreign tourists into Spain will resume in secure conditions," Sánchez said, according to the BBC. The prime minister extended the state of emergency until June 6. He also announced that soccer matches would resume for the professional soccer league, La Liga, the week of June 8. Spain has recorded 234,824 cases of COVID-19 and 28,628 related deaths to date, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard.
—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday night (May 22) that he had issued an executive order to allow gatherings of up to 10 people in the state (including in the hardest-hit New York City), as long as social-distancing measures were followed, The New York Times reported. The announcement was met with outcry from some who say the risks are too great.
In a tweet, Councilman Mark D. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan and is the chair of the City Council's health committee, said: "This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings — especially those held indoors." Reportedly, the governor's order comes on the heels of a lawsuit from the New York Civil Liberties Union, which objected to a tighter version of this order.
More than 5.2 million people worldwide have now had COVID-19
— An early trial in more than 100 people found that a candidate coronavirus vaccine developed in China appeared safe and able to generate an immune response, according to a Live Science report. The vaccine, called Ad5-nCoV, is being developed by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and was one of the first coronavirus vaccines to enter early human trials back in March. Now, there are more than 100 different coronavirus vaccines in development worldwide, with at least eight of those in the process of human trials, according to the report.
— More than 5.2 million people worldwide have now had COVID-19, and more than 337,500 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 1.6 million people in the U.S. have now had COVID-19 and more than 95,900 have died, according to the dashboard.
— Brazil has reported more than 20,800 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Brazilian health ministry said today. The country now has a total of 330,890 cases, which is slightly higher than Russia's cases, making Brazil the country with the second highest number of cases in the world, according to CNN's calculations.
It's "conceivable" that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine by December, Fauci says and large study finds that use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine increased the risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients
— Based on surveys given to 2,500 adults in England, about 1 in 5 believe that the coronavirus is a hoax "to some extent", according to NPR and a new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine. About 3 in 5 adults believe to some extent that the government is misleading the public about how the virus came to be and 2 in 5 adults believe to some extent that powerful people are deliberately spreading the virus to gain control, according to a statement from The University of Oxford.
— It's "conceivable" that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine by December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with NPR. "I think it is conceivable if we don't run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year — December 2020 or into January 2021," he said.
— A large international retrospective study of more than 96,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 found that those who were treated with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by Trump as a "game changer," had a significantly higher risk of death compared to those who weren't. The patients treated with these drugs were also more likely to develop arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rates, the authors found. "We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19," the authors wrote in the study published today in the journal The Lancet.
President Trump says he won't close the country if another wave of coronavirus hits
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that the virus "does not spread easily" from touching surfaces or objects. This worries some public health experts that it could encourage people not to wash their hands so often, according to The Washington Post. The CDC updated this on their website earlier this month, without making a formal announcement, according to the Post.
— President Donald Trump said yesterday that he won't close the country if another wave of coronavirus infections hits, according to CNBC. “We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” Trump said. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”
— More than 1.58 million people in the U.S. have now been infected with COVID-19, and more than 94,700 people have died and 298,400 have recovered so far, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 356,400 people in New York, more than 151,500 people in New Jersey, more than 102,600 people in Illinois, more than 90,000 in Massachusetts and more than 88.400 people in California have now been infected with the coronavirus, according to the dashboard.
Nearly half of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden are care home residents
— Nearly half of the COVID-19 deaths in Sweden are care home residents, according to the BBC. Some healthcare workers are pinning the high death counts in the elderly population on a protocol-dictated institutional unwillingness to admit them to the hospital. Some workers have criticized these protocols given to them by healthcare authorities, which they say discourage them from sending care home residents to the hospital and prevent them from giving people oxygen without approval, according to the BBC.
Sweden has reported 3,698 deaths associated with COVID-19, almost all of them in people over the age of 70. The country, which has largely stayed open compared with the rest of Europe, has reported more than 32,100 cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— The mysterious inflammatory syndrome tied to COVID-19 and reported in children, is now being diagnosed in young adults in their early 20s, according to a Live Science report. Doctors have reported the syndrome in a 20-year-old in San Diego and a 25-year-old in Long Island, New York, according to The Washington Post. Several additional cases have been reported in patients in their early 20s who are hospitalized in New York City, the Post reported.
— The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several state health departments have been reporting results from COVID-19 diagnostic tests and antibody tests together, The Atlantic reported. Reporting these numbers together, rather than differentiating them, presents several major issues, according to a Live Science report. Namely, combining the numbers could make America's diagnostic testing capabilities and testing rates appear higher than they actually are, according to The Atlantic.
Downstate beaches in New York will open with restrictions tomorrow
— Yesterday, there were 246 new COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York, lower than what the number of hospitalizations were at the start of the incline on March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his news briefing. An additional 105 people died from COVID-19 in New York yesterday, which is relatively better than what it has been, Cuomo said.
— Downstate beaches in New York (Jones Beach, Sunken Meadow, Hither Hills, Robert Moses, Lake Welch Beach in Harriman State Park) will open tomorrow, May 22, Cuomo said. "There are certain rules on braces that are operating," he said. The beaches will open at 50% capacity, people won't be allowed to partake in group contact activities, there will be no concessions, areas of social gathering will be closed, social distancing will be enforced and masks will be required when social distancing is not possible, he said. It's expected that the 50% capacity of the beaches will be reached by 10 a.m.
— Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, a former White House butler who served 11 presidents and retired in 2012, died of the coronavirus, according to NBC News. He was 91. “I want the world to remember my grandfather as someone who was really authentic,” Jamila Garrett, his granddaughter told WTTG. “Always being yourself. That’s what he taught our family, that’s what thrives throughout our family. And that’s what we’ll continue to carry on, his legacy.”
“He was a lovely man,” former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush said in a statement to NBC News. “He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned.”
COVID-19 case count reaches 5 million worldwide
— Last week an additional 2.4 million workers filed claims for unemployment, according to The New York Times. There are now more than 38 million people who have filed for unemployment in the past 9 weeks.
— There have now been 5 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 328,600 of those people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. In the U.S., there are more than 1.5 million cases reported and more than 93,400 deaths. In Russia, the country with the second-most cases, there are more than 317,500 reported cases and more than 3,000 deaths. Brazil ranks third with more than 291,500 cases and more than 18,800 deaths.
— Columbia University researchers found that if the U.S. had enacted social distancing rules a week earlier, it could have saved 36,000 lives, according to The Washington Post. The week of March 8 when the country had a reported 500 cases of COVID-19, everything went on as normal: crowds gathered and parties happened, according to the Post. Modeling found that had social distancing begun that week, tens of thousands of people could have been saved. If the U.S. had enacted such measures even earlier, on March 1, it could have saved 54,000 lives, the researchers reported in their not-yet peer-reviewed study published in medRxiv as a pre-print.
Less than a month after relaxing restrictions, some Gulf Arab countries are reimposing them after seeing a surge in cases
— A new study published Tuesday (May 19) in the European Journal of Epidemiology, suggests that alternating between 50 days of strict lockdown and 30 days of relaxation could control the outbreak, according to a Live Science report. "This intermittent combination of strict social distancing, and a relatively relaxed period ... may allow populations and their national economies to 'breathe' at intervals — a potential that might make this solution more sustainable, especially in resource-poor regions," study lead author Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a global health epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge in England, said in a statement.
— A couple of Gulf Arab countries are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, less than a month after easing restrictions, according to The Washington Post. The number of cases quadrupled in Saudi Arabia and increased sevenfold in Kuwait, according to the Post. Some of these Gulf Arab countries are now reimposing strict restrictions.
— The Smithsonian museums are collecting or planning to collect artifacts related to the pandemic in order to document it, according to NPR. These include objects, but also digital objects and oral histories, they reported. Many of the physical objects won't be collected until after the pandemic ends, according to NPR. The National Museum of American History and the Anacostia Community Museum have already started their collection projects and the National Museum of African American History and Culture will start their project in June, according to NPR.
There were 106,000 COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO in the past 24 hours, the largest single day increase in cases since the start of the outbreak
— There were 106,000 COVID-19 cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the past 24 hours, the largest daily number of cases reported since the outbreak first began, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a news briefing today. "We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," he said.
Two-thirds of those cases were reported in four countries, Ghebreyesus said, though he didn't specify which ones, according to NBC News. The countries that currently have the most reported cases are the U.S., Brazil, Russia and the U.K., according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. But "We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries," he said.
There have been nearly 5 million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide and more than 325,700 deaths, according to the dashboard.
— Religious gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed in New York State starting Thursday, if people wear masks and practice social distancing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. “I think that even at this time of stress and when people are so anxious and so confused, I think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting,” he said, The New York Times reported. “But we need to find out how to do it, and do it safely and do it smartly.”
All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, but many don't meet federal benchmarks
— All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, according to The Washington Post. But many of them don’t meet federal benchmarks on when it’s safe to reopen, sparking fears of new surges of infection, according to the Post. There have now been 1.5 million COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
— Brazil, with more than 271,800 cases, has the third-most reported COVID-19 cases in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The country has reported nearly 18,000 deaths. Yesterday, Brazil had its deadliest COVID-19 day yet with 1,179 deaths from the coronavirus, according to CNBC. President Donald Trump said he was considering a travel ban on the country.
— Offices in Boston will start reopening on June 1 with regulations to prevent spikes in the outbreak, Mayor Marty Walsh said on CNN this morning. “I don’t think we can afford to shut back down, so I think we have to get this right the first time,” he said. Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker said offices may open up on May 25.
Dozens of people in South Korea were infected with the coronavirus from fitness dance classes
— Dozens of people in South Korea were infected with the coronavirus after going to fitness dance classes at the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new report, published May 15 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A cluster of COVID-19 cases were traced back to a workshop for fitness dance instructors held on Feb. 15 that involved four hours of intense training, according to a Live Science report.
Eight of the 27 instructors at that workshop, though none showing symptoms at the time, later tested positive for COVID-19. By March 9, researchers traced 112 COVID-19 cases tied to fitness dance classes taught by those instructors at 12 different sports facilities, according to the report. "The moist, warm atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets," the authors said. Also, the classes with a higher number of people resulted in disease spread, while smaller classes and those that were lower intensity classes such as yoga and pilates did not, according to the report.
— The head of Florida's coronavirus dashboard claims she was removed from her position of managing the dashboard after she refused to censor and change the information to increase support for reopening the state, according to NBC News. "As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it,” Rebekah Jones said in an email to the team, according to Florida Today .
"I don't know who she is," Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during his press briefing today after being asked about Jones' claims, according to WFLA News. DeSantis said that he was given an email that she reportedly sent to her supervisor saying she might have said something that was misrepresented. "Our dashboard has been recognized nationally," he said. "It's a non-issue."
Carbon emissions fell by 17% worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump threatens to permanently stop funding the World Health Organization
— In a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), President Trump wrote that if the organization doesn't "commit to major substantive improvements" to their response to the pandemic, the U.S. will make their freeze on funding to the organization, permanent. "The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China," Trump wrote in the letter. But Trump himself has been majorly criticized for his response to the pandemic, such as in an editorial published last week in the journal The Lancet that tells U.S. voters to replace Trump with someone who will support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health experts, NPR reported.
— "An important lesson" that can be seen in every state and almost every country is that the incline in the COVID-19 curves (such as in the number of hospitalizations) is very steep and the decline is slow, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily news briefing. "It takes you a longer time to turn that curve and to turn that infection rate, so don't let a spike happen in the first place." The number of hospitalizations in New York are declining. There were 335 new COVID-19 hospitalizations yesterday and an additional 105 deaths. The number of daily deaths is "down dramatically from where it was in the first place, but it's still painfully high," Cuomo said. "We are basically back to where we started before this tragedy."
— Carbon emissions dropped by 17% across the globe during the pandemic, according to NBC News. Under quarantines and lockdowns, with limited economic activities and travel, daily global carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 18.7 million tons compared to the average daily emissions last year, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The biggest decline in carbon dioxide emissions came from decreased traffic from cars, buses and trucks, NBC News reported.
COVID-19 cases reach 4.8 million worldwide, cases are trending down in the U.S. but there are still tens of thousands of people infected a day
— There have now been 4.8 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. More than 319,000 people have died from the coronavirus worldwide. There have now been 1.5 million cases in the U.S. and more than 90,300 deaths. In Russia, there have been nearly 300,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths; in Brazil there have been more than 255,300 cases and more than 16,800 deaths; and in the United Kingdom there have been more than 247,700 cases and more than 34,800 deaths.
—COVID-19 cases are trending down in the U.S. but there are still more than 20,000 people who are infected with the virus every day, according to The New York Times. Yesterday, there were 21,760 new cases of COVID-19, whereas on April 24, there were more than 36,000 daily cases, according to the Times. New cases are increasing in Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, Alabama, Delaware, Arkansas, North Dakota, Maine and Wyoming; new cases are staying around the same in Illinois, California, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Idaho, West Virginia, Guam, Hawaii, Montana and Alaska; New cases are decreasing in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, Tennessee, Iowa, Rhode Island, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington D.C. , New Hampshire and Vermont.
— A person who had severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 17 years ago had antibodies in their blood that appeared to inhibit SARS-CoV-2, according to a Live Science report. This antibody, so-called S309, could bind and disable the coronavirus' spike protein, which it uses to enter human cells, according to a statement from the University of Washington School of Medicine, which was involved in the research. Multiple authors on the study work for Vir Biotechnology, a company that's developing a therapeutic based on the study findings (and have fast-tracked the development and testing of the antibody in hopes of starting a clinical trial in people). But these findings were conducted in a lab dish and much more research is needed to see whether or not the antibody could be effective against the new coronavirus in humans, according to the report.
Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent the coronavirus, despite warnings from experts
— President Donald Trump said today that he's taking hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malarial drug he's been promoting for some time now despite warnings from medical experts that it wasn't helpful and could cause severe side effects — to prevent the coronavirus, according to Reuters. "I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with restaurant executives. He said he asked his doctor if he could take the drug and the doctor said "well, if you’d like it."