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Health Politics

Update: “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines extended through April 30

American Wire
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President Donald Trump held his daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on Sunday from the White House Rose Garden.

The peak of COVID-19 – or the point of highest death rate – is likely to hit in two weeks, the president reported. The original 15-day guidelines proposed by the administration will now be extended to April 30 “to slow the spread.” An important statement will be made on Tuesday regarding this new extension. 

Trump announced that Abbott Labs has developed a new coronavirus test that provides almost immediate results within five minutes. Abbott Labs is delivering approximately 50,000 tests a day. The deployment of rapid testing allows doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to be tested almost immediately.

Since Friday, hydroxychloroquine has been administered to 1,100 patients in New York in combination with azithromycin or “Z-Pack”.

The FDA has approved a new blood-related therapy, called convalescent plasma, as an experimental treatment of seriously ill patients. The therapy allows doctors to take blood plasma from patients that have already recovered from the coronavirus.

“One of the issues we’re struggling with is the demand increase,” reported Edward Pesicka, president and chief executive officer of Owens & Minor, Inc. “One hospital in New York that traditionally uses roughly ten to twenty thousand masks a week is using 200,000 to 300,000.”

President Trump reported that the dramatic increase in demand may in part be due to hospital chains hoarding medical equipment. 

FEMA is currently working with companies to launch Project Airbridge to expedite the movement of critical supplies from other countries to the USA. The first flight arrived at JFK airport in New York this morning filled with 80 tons of PPE including 130,000 N95 respirators, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, and 10.3 million gloves.

Health service companies, Umana and Cigna, have committed to waiving copays, coinsurance and deductibles for coronavirus treatments.

President Trump has directed his staff to use any and all authority to give restaurants, bars and clubs incentives to stay open, saying he is “going to tell Secretary Mnuchin and also our great secretary of labor to immediately start looking into restoring deductibility of meals and entertainment costs for corporations.”

The newly signed economic stimulus package provides $350 billion to job restoration and retention, including loan forgiveness for businesses that continue paying their workers. $300 billion is provided in direct cash payments to American workers receiving less than $99,000 a year, with $3,400 for the typical family of four. 

The average worker will receive 100% of their salary for up to four months through the $250 billion provided in expanded unemployment benefits. Checks will be delivered through existing state unemployment systems, though Trump said he was opposed to this method because states are not set up to handle the amount of people prepared to collect these unemployment checks. 

PHOTO CREDIT: TASOS KATOPODIS / GETTY IMAGES

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