Your Coronavirus Update for April 7, 2020; Stay Informed with Elite
More than 1,346,000 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed as of Monday evening, including nearly 75,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 367,000 positive COVID-19 patients and more than 10,000 deaths.
New York Sees Death Toll Drop For 1st Time
Although reportedly too soon to determine if there’s any significance to the data, state officials in New York claim that the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths are dropping for the first time during the pandemic.
According to a report by BBC News,1 594 new deaths were reported Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 4,159. There were also 122,000 state residents who had been infected by the virus at the time, 75% of whom had reportedly been discharged from the hospital (among only those actually hospitalized). The total number of patients requiring hospitalization is also lower for the first time in one week, according to the report.
Officials have said too early to know if the state is at its apex or if cases will drop quickly after the apex. Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor, believes ventilators could be unavailable to patients by Tuesday or Wednesday despite the fewer deaths.
Hospitals Deemed Safe For Childbirth
Despite an increasing number of pregnant women choosing to deliver their babies at home due to fears about the COVID-19 pandemic,2 the nation’s hospitals continue to be safe in regards to giving birth during the pandemic, according to multiple organizations.
In a joint statement released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine on March 30, provided their support of hospital-based births and the licensed staff trained to deliver newborns.
“Amid the significant strain on the healthcare system, the entire maternity care team is committed to making sure laboring patients get the support they need to birth confidently, safely, and respectfully,”3 the statement reads in part. “Our organizations are rapidly developing and communicating guidance for our members and their patients based on the best available evidence to help inform their provision of care amid the pandemic. Physicians, certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives, and the entire health care team will work to ensure that precautions are taken to make labor and delivery as safe as possible for their patients.”
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, planned home birth is associated with more risk of infant death immediately after birth and neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction.4 Less than 1% of births in the United States occur at home, according to the National Institutes of Health and Science.5
CDC Initiates New Weekly COVID Surveillance Report
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have announced that they will now be releasing weekly surveillance of modified tracking related to COVID-19 that will summarize and interpret key indicators such as hospitalizations and other healthcare visits, deaths, and laboratory data.
Launched April 4, the initial set of improved surveillance included several findings:6
- Visits to outpatient providers and emergency departments for illnesses with symptom presentation similar to COVID-19 are elevated compared to what is normally seen at this time of year. There is little influenza virus circulation said to happening currently.
- The overall cumulative COVID-19 associated hospitalization rate is 4.6 per 100,000, with the highest rates in people ages 65 and older (13.8 per 100,000) and 50-64 years (7.4 per 100,000). Rates are said to be similar to what is seen at the beginning of an annual influenza epidemic.
- The percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza increased to 8.2% and the percent of deaths due to pneumonia has increased sharply since the end of February. Deaths due to influenza increased modestly through early March and declined recently. This could reflect an increase in deaths from pneumonia caused by non-influenza-associated infections, including COVID-19.
FDA to Develop Blood-Related Therapies for COVID
As part of its overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is taking the lead on a national effort to facilitate development of two investigational therapies – convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin – derived from human blood. According to officials, the antibody-rich blood products made from blood donated by patients who have recovered from the virus can be administered to those currently diagnosed with COVID-19. Limited data exists to suggest that both convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin may have benefit in the COVID-19 illness.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, the FDA is launching a new national effort to bring blood-related therapies for COVID-19 to market as fast as possible,” Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a prepared statement April 3. “Thanks to the hard work of FDA staff, scientists, and physicians elsewhere, and support from the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, patients will be able to benefit from these promising new options in the coming weeks.”
Based on prior experience with respiratory viruses and on data from China, these products have the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19, officials said. Individuals who have fully recovered from COVID for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma, which could potentially help save the lives of up to four patients. Those providers who have access to those willing to donate, or would like to donate themselves, can visit the American Red Cross at www.redcrossblood.org/plasma4covid or contact their local blood donor or plasma collection center.
Got Questions About COVID-19?
As the cases of coronavirus escalate, so too does the insight into the condition. That said, each passing day also brings with it new questions. What are your coronavirus-related questions? Send your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll get answers and post them in upcoming newsletters.
Thank you for joining us for your Coronavirus Update for April 7, 2020. If you missed last week’s article, please read it here.
1. Coronavirus: Trump Voices Hope for ‘Leveling-off’ in US hotspots. BBC News. 2020. Accessed online: www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52175746
2. Nahorniak M. ‘Grateful that we have this option’: Some Pregnant Women Turn to Home Births Amid Coronavirus Pandemic. USAToday. 2020. Accessed online: www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/04/04/coronavirus-pregnancy-home-births-midwives-pandemic/5100678002
3. Patient-Centered Care for Pregnant Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2020. Accessed online: www.acog.org/news/news-releases/2020/03/patient-centered-care-for-pregnant-patients-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
4. Planned Home Birth. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2020. Accessed online: www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2017/04/planned-home-birth
5. MacDorman MF, Matthews TJ, Declercq E. Trends in Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States. 1990-2012. NCHS Data Brief. 2014;(144):1-8.
6. CDC Launches New Weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Report. CDC. 2020. Accessed online: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0404-covid19-surveillance-report.html