COVID-19 Update: Hitting Home at NIH; $$$ Relief on the Way; Unofficial Rationing Begins
by Managing Editor, MedPage Today
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The NIH reported its first known employee with COVID-19 coronavirus. The agency noted this individual is “self-quarantined,” while contacts will also be asked to self-quarantine.
The current U.S. case count (as of 8:00 a.m. EDT Monday) stands at 3,774, with 69 deaths.
New CDC recommendation on Sunday: no mass gatherings of any kind with 50 or more people.
And the AMA announced a new CPT code specifically for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis.
The Senate is expected to take up the coronavirus relief bill early this week, following its House passage on Saturday. It provides paid sick leave for some (but not all) workers, free COVID-19 testing for everyone, increased food aid, and unemployment assistance for states — and President Trump reportedly supports it, despite it lacking the payroll tax suspension he wanted. (New York Times)
And in an unusual Sunday announcement, the Federal Reserve Board said interest rates would go to zero and promised a 12-figure bond-buying spree in hopes of propping up the economy. (Politico)
King County in Washington state is still reporting dozens of newly diagnosed cases every day.
Also in Washington state, and in New Jersey, emergency physicians are in critical condition with COVID-19. (New York Times)
The medRxiv preprint server has had 381 manuscripts on the novel coronavirus in less than 2 months, as of Sunday afternoon.
One of the most recent: a Chinese group reports success with a 10-minute test based on detection of a viral nucleocapsid protein, rather than the multi-hour PCR methods that identify viral DNA.
But in the meantime, as the U.S. remains dependent on PCR tests, the American Enterprise Institute is tracking the nation’s capacity via a special Twitter account.
Read the story of a Kentucky man who tested positive and is now ordered to self-isolate. (Kentucky.com)
Pfizer made a number of promises to aid in fighting COVID-19, including “using any excess manufacturing capacity and to potentially shifting production to support others” in producing vaccine and drugs.
Where people look for COVID-19 information may surprise and possibly disturb you. Pornhub, for example, said searches of its website for “coronavirus” in recent weeks numbered in the millions.
Retail stores, reeling from panic buying nationwide, have instituted a form of rationing: major chains including Walmart, Publix, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and many others are cutting their hours. (USA Today)