April 9, 2020
(WJW) – In Ohio, the fight to protect healthcare workers and understand how the virus is spread in our communities is struggling.
Gov. Mike DeWine says he is trying to get more Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers, who simply don’t have what they need to do their jobs as safely as possible.
Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County’s top doctor says preventing the spread without more testing is extremely challenging.
Dr. Heidi Gullett says she’s fighting to get more tests to get more information on the virus.
10:30 p.m. update:
“I’m reporting today that we passed two million tests completed in the United States,” Trump said during the White House coronavirus task force’s news briefing, adding that the tests are “highly sophisticated and highly accurate.”
The President has been celebrating the growing number of coronavirus tests conducted in the US as a victory since the US surpassed South Korea last month as the country with the highest number of tests administered. However, compared to South Korea, the US has conducted far fewer tests per capita given the US population is more than six times larger than South Korea’s.
Epidemiologists generally use rates like tests per capita when comparing different countries.
“I think the important clarification is that we should be considering the number of cases per 1 million population and considering a rate of people tested and not the absolute numbers,” said Jennifer Horney, founding director of the University of Delaware’s epidemiology program. “The absolute number of tests is not very meaningful.”
The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism for the lack of a testing system across the country to identify coronavirus patients and track the spread of the outbreak. While testing has ramped up in recent weeks, the lack of an aggressive testing regimen early in the outbreak led to accusations that the government missed a chance to reduce the speed and scale of the pandemic in the US. The US now leads the world in the number of reported cases.
And though the number of tests administered has continued to increase, not all labs evaluating those tests have been able to keep up.
Quest Diagnostics, one of the nation’s largest commercial labs, has faced a backlog of coronavirus tests which has ballooned in the last two weeks and has delayed results up to 10 days. In late March, the lab had about 160,000 coronavirus test orders waiting to be processed, amounting to about half of the 320,000 orders for tests the company had received up to that date.
As many people with symptoms consistent with coronavirus struggle to get tested — including health care workers such as nurses — it’s still not clear how the country will emerge from its current state. Many states are operating under stay-at-home orders and the federal government is recommending strict social distancing guidelines in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During Thursday’s briefing, the President was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta whether the US would return to normal without instituting an adequate testing system, potentially through nationwide testing and monitoring. Trump appeared to interpret the question as asking whether the entire American population would be tested for coronavirus.
“We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes. We’re talking about 325 million people and that’s not gonna happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else, either,” the President said. “Other countries do it, but they do it in a limited form. We’ll probably be the leader of the pack.”
Trump also suggested there would be “massive testing” in “certain areas” of the country.
Later on in the briefing, Vice President Mike Pence would not say if there are enough coronavirus tests available right now to reopen the country.
When asked by Acosta if the US had the testing capacity to make Americans feel comfortable about returning to work, Pence largely sidestepped the question, but when pressed, the vice president said, “We are moving every day toward meeting that moment.”
He went on to say that a decision on reopening the country will be made through a combination of factors.
“First would be that we are at the end of the coronavirus for most major communities,” Pence said. “Another piece of that is that we have therapeutics for Americans to take medicines if they contract the disease. Another piece of that is guidance from the CDC to public institutions, to businesses large and small about how to conduct themselves in a safe and a responsible way. And testing is also a piece of that.”
Pence added that testing is being scaled up across the country daily and there is work being done on surveillance testing in addition to diagnostic testing.
9:10 p.m. update:
(AP)– With the federal stockpile drained of protective gear, states are turning to each other, private industries and anyone who can donate in a desperate bid to get respirators, gloves and other supplies to doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Wednesday that the federal cupboard is officially bare at least through this month after it was able to fulfill just a sliver of states’ requests. States already have begun working together, whether its forming regional alliances to create greater purchasing power or sending excess supplies to hot spots.
7:30 P.M. update:
NEW YORK (AP) — New York state reported a record increase in coronavirus deaths for a third consecutive day with 799, raising the total above 7,000. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that despite the worsening death toll, New York City hospitals have so far stood up under the strain. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city needs continued social distancing plus more testing capacity to reach a point where the loosening of restrictions could be considered.
5:30 p.m. update:
MIAMI (AP) — A crew member who was hospitalized after two ill-fated cruise ships docked in Florida with coronavirus cases has died. A medical examiner said Thursday that the 50-year-old Indonesian man tested positive for COVID-19. His death raises the Zaandam ship’s coronavirus-related death toll to four. A Holland America Line spokesman says the man was taken to a Florida hospital the day the Zaandam and a sister ship docked in Fort Lauderdale after spending two weeks at sea rejected by South American ports. Four passengers had died before the ships arrived April 2, and three of those men tested positive for COVID-19.
4:35 p.m. update:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says the coronavirus pandemic will push the global economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Thursday that the world’s poorest countries will be hardest hit. Her remarks came as she previewed next week’s virtual meetings of the 189-nation IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank. She said that the IMF will release an updated world economic forecast on Tuesday that will show just how quickly the coronavirus outbreak has turned what had been expected to be a solid year of growth into a deep downturn.
3:30 p.m. update:
NEW YORK (AP) — A staggering 16.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in just three weeks in a measure of how fast the coronavirus has brought world economies to their knees. Meanwhile, religious leaders around the globe are urging people to celebrate Good Friday and Easter from the safety of their homes. Politicians and public health officials warn that the hard-won gains against the scourge must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing over the holiday weekend. In Europe, authorities set up roadblocks.
1:20 p.m. update:
WUHAN, China (AP) — Residents of Wuhan are cautiously returning to shopping and strolling in the streets of the city where the coronavirus pandemic began. But they say they still go out very little from their apartments and keep their children at home while they wait for schools to reopen after a 2 1/2-month quarantine, A ban on leaving Wuhan ended this week, but the sprawling city’s 11 million people face a thicket of controls. The city is taking gradual steps toward reviving business and daily life while trying to prevent a resurgence of the virus. That foreshadows the struggle other cities in Asia and the West face once they ease anti-disease controls.
- 1,503,900 people have contracted coronavirus around the world
- White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing is scheduled for 5 p.m.
- (AP) – Pentagon leaders anticipate that the coronavirus is likely to strike more Navy ships at sea
- John Hopkins reports 339,775 recoveries worldwide
- Stocks are rising in early trading on Wall Street
- Nationwide jobless claims in the last 3 weeks top 16 million
- 695,000 in Ohio have lost jobs in the last three weeks
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is improving after his 3rd night in intensive care, according to a spokesperson
- U.S. reports 24,125 coronavirus recoveries
- (AP) The Transportation Security Administration screened fewer than 100,000 people on Tuesday, a drop of 95% from a year ago
- There are 1.4 million coronavirus cases worldwide
- The US has more than 432,000 cases
- Ohio has 5,148 cases of coronavirus
- 88,567 have lost their lives around the world due to coronavirus
- America has lost 14,808 people to coronavirus
- 193 people have died of coronavirus in Ohio
Coronavirus questions answered
- How long does COVID-19 live on surfaces?
- What about pets?
- Should I be concerned about packages?
- How to file an essential business complaint
- Understanding Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order
- The Ohio state hotline for your coronavirus questions is staffed seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)