Overnight Health Care: Coronavirus spreads to Trump country | Disinfectant remarks draw blowback | FDA issues warning about drugs touted by Trump

Overnight Health Care: Coronavirus spreads to Trump country | Disinfectant remarks draw blowback | FDA issues warning about drugs touted by Trump
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

The U.S. has surpassed 50,000 coronavirus deaths, and the numbers are continuing to climb. 

In Georgia, businesses reopened under Gov. Brian Kemp's (R) executive order, which defied recommendations from public health experts, local mayors and even President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE


Nationally, Trump's remarks about injecting disinfectants to combat the coronavirus drew alarm from doctors, even as the president attempted to downplay what he said, labeling it sarcasm.

We'll start today with a new trend of where coronavirus cases are spreading:


Coronavirus spreads to Trump country

Coronavirus might have started in big, blue cities, but now it's spreading to rural areas that support President Trump. 

Emerging areas include southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Midwest, including Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The stats: Up until late March, 80 percent of the counties with high prevalence of the coronavirus were home to large urban cores, according to an analysis by William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution. 


But over the last three weeks, the share of suburban, small metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas experiencing coronavirus prevalence has grown.

Now, more than half the counties showing signs of rapid growth are outside metro areas.

Read more here

Meanwhile, Trump has continued to give medical advice about the virus, which has not gone over well with actual health experts.


Trump remarks on injecting disinfectants draw blowback from doctors

On Thursday, Trump openly mused that people could inject disinfectants as a way to treat the coronavirus, and suggested doctors should be checking into the idea. His remarks prompted unusual warnings from public health experts, state officials, doctors and even the company that produces Lysol.

People are understandably looking for any ray of hope amid the pandemic – any indication that there is a way to fight the virus. But as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE said today: "I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach."

The public health officials: "I think we need to speak very clearly that there's no circumstance under which you should take a disinfectant or inject a disinfectant for the treatment of anything, and certainly not for the treatment of coronavirus,” said Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner.

The brands: “We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” said Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Lysol. The company said it was responding to “recent speculation and social media activity.”

The states: Maryland's Emergency Management Agency issued a warning on Twitter after receiving more than 100 calls to their COVID-19 hotline about disinfectant use and the disease. 

"This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route," it said.

Read more here.



Related: Pelosi blasts Trump's remarks about heat, light, disinfectant

Schumer on Trump briefing: We have a 'quack medicine salesman' on TV


It wasn't just the remarks on disinfectants that could be dangerous. The FDA issued a warning about the use of the president's favorite anti-malaria drugs as a cure for COVID-19.

Anti-malaria drugs touted by Trump trigger FDA warning over heart risks

Neither hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine should be taken outside a hospital or clinical trial because of the risk of severe heart problems, the Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.

The agency said it issued the warning because of numerous reports about serious cardiac events and death in patients with COVID-19 receiving the drugs, either alone or combined with the antibiotic azithromycin.


"Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms ... and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia," the agency said.  "These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines ... including the antibiotic azithromycin."

The FDA emphasized that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are not approved for treating or preventing COVID-19. 

The Trump angle: President Trump has latched on to the use of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, as a potential "game changer" for COVID-19 patients. The drugs, "taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine," Trump tweeted last month. 

Read more here.


Georgia records hundreds of cases as businesses begin to reopen

Georgia reported 635 new coronavirus cases and 20 more deaths in a 24-hour period ending at noon on Friday, the same day its governor has opted to let some businesses reopen.


The state now has 22,147 cases and its death toll stands at 892, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

But despite the increase in new cases and additional deaths, businesses such as barbershops and nail salons are allowed to open Friday under an executive order signed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R). Dine-in service at restaurants will be allowed to resume on Monday.

Kemp has faced widespread backlash from leaders at all levels of government, including President Trump, and public health experts who warn that reopening businesses now could help spread the deadly virus. 

Read more here.


Related: Arizona has worst day of confirmed coronavirus cases yet

New Hampshire's GOP governor slams McConnell over suggestion states declare bankruptcy: 'Ridiculous'


Meanwhile, other states and cities are extending stay-at-home orders and taking slower steps toward reopening:


Trump signs $484 billion coronavirus relief package

President Trump on Friday signed the next round of coronavirus relief funding, which includes:

  • $310 billion for small business funding through the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $75 billion for hospitals
  • $25 billion for testing

Looking ahead: Tough negotiations are coming on the next phase of relief. 

Democrats have pushed for more funding for state and local governments grappling with the virus. Trump tweeted this week that he envisioned the next package having fiscal relief for state and local governments, funding for infrastructure investments and a payroll tax cut. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWashington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ky.) has expressed concern with the state and local funding.

Read more here.


Democrats roll out national plan to reopen America

House Democrats on Friday called for the federal government to take a more aggressive role in determining how to reopen American society, including schools and businesses, the same day Georgia pressed ahead with plans to reopen some nonessential businesses.

The Democrats warned that an individual state rushing to reopen before it has met key public-health benchmarks could result in more outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus in neighboring states.

The Reopen America Act would create a federal coronavirus reopening panel that would work with states on their reopening strategy. But the legislation encourages neighboring states — like South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, or New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — to work together on a regional reopening plan. 

Read more here.


What we’re reading

"really want to flood NY and NJ”: internal documents reveal Team Trump’s chloroquine master plan (Vanity Fair) 

The results of coronavirus ‘serosurveys’ are starting to be released. Here’s how to kick their tires (Stat News)

Anti-vaccine activists latch onto coronavirus to bolster their movement (Kaiser Health News)

A Stanford professor’s wife recruited people for his coronavirus study by claiming it would reveal if they could 'return to work without fear' (BuzzFeed News)

Bill Gates: ‘I wish I could say that we’re halfway through’ coronavirus pandemic (CNBC


State by state

New Jersey governor got off the table after cancer surgery to take on the virus (New York Times)

Georgia business owners are conflicted as the state reopens hair salons, gyms and bowling alleys (CNN.com)

New coronavirus relief bill doesn’t answer DC’s call for $750M (NBC Washington