Overnight Health Care: Health officials eye emerging hotspots | CDC cautions against relying on antibody tests for back to work decisions | Fauci says no evidence for hydroxychloroquine

Overnight Health Care: Health officials eye emerging hotspots | CDC cautions against relying on antibody tests for back to work decisions | Fauci says no evidence for hydroxychloroquine
© Getty

Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care.

The number of American deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 this evening, an incomprehensible number, but one that is also likely lower than the actual death toll.

Health officials are warily eyeing new hotspots across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) said nobody should be making major decisions based on antibody test results, and infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNorth Carolina couple married 50 years dies minutes apart of coronavirus holding hands As virus pummels US, Europe sees its own spike Democratic chairman says White House blocked FDA commissioner from testifying MORE said the evidence shows hydroxychloroquine doesn't work as a coronavirus treatment. 


We'll start with the spread of the virus:

Health officials nervously eye emerging hotspots

While some officials are talking about how to avoid a second wave of infections, the virus is still spreading across the country.

So where are the next hot spots for coronavirus emerging? While the number of new coronavirus cases is declining in New York, Seattle and other focal points of the first wave of cases, models are predicting that cases could skyrocket in the next two weeks in cities like Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Tenn., and Memphis, Tenn., creating new epicenters.

Modelers are also watching suburban areas like Fairfax County in Virginia, and areas around Minneapolis, Phoenix and Omaha, Neb. 

“We think there's a storm out there, there's the potential for a storm. We're not sure if it's going to land on shore,” said David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, whose models show the impending surges. “The next two to three weeks are going to be really important.”

Read more here.


CDC: Antibody tests should not be used for decisions on returning to work 

Don’t think you can go back to work just because you had a positive antibody test, the CDC says.  

Antibody tests that determine if someone has had the coronavirus in the past should not be used for making decisions about people returning to work, the agency says in new guidance.

The CDC raised concerns with the accuracy of the tests and said that even if someone has antibodies indicating they have already had the virus, it is unclear how long immunity from the virus lasts or how durable it is.

The guidance comes as a note of warning, given that some have expressed hope that antibody testing could help pave the way for certain people to return to work if they test positive and are shown to have already had the virus.

Read more here

Fauci: No evidence hydroxychloroquine is effective at treating coronavirus

There's no evidence that shows the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is effective at treating COVID-19, Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

"Clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, said during a CNN interview. 

Fauci said evidence also shows the drug can cause severe irregular heart rhythms.

The pronouncements mark Fauci's strongest warnings yet against the drug and puts him at odds with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE, who has embraced hydroxychloroquine as a "game changer" and a "miracle." Earlier this month, Trump even said he had been taking hydroxychloroquine, in combination with zinc, as a way to prevent getting COVID-19.

Read more here.

Related: Fauci says second wave of coronavirus infections is 'not inevitable': 'We can prevent this'

Medicaid providers increasingly frustrated by delays in COVID-19 funding


Health care providers that primarily treat the poor, children and people with disabilities are getting left out of the COVID-19 aid being issued by the Trump administration, frustrating advocates who worry about the future of the Medicaid safety net.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided $72 billion to help hospitals and clinics stay afloat during the pandemic, but Medicaid providers — including mental health and substance use clinics, disability care providers and children’s doctors — have seen very little of that money.

Instead, most of the funding has gone to providers participating in Medicare, the federal health care program for seniors. Providers that primarily serve the nation’s 70 million low-income Medicaid patients have been left out of the funding equation.

“It’s just astonishing to me that we’re last in line right now, having to fight and beg to be included and not to be overlooked,” said Shannon McCracken, vice president of government relations for ANCOR, a trade association representing community disability providers that are almost completely funded by Medicaid.

Why it matters: Some Medicaid providers serve very vulnerable populations and don’t have enough cash to make it through the next month. Meanwhile, millions more Americans are expected to enroll in Medicaid as they lose their job-based health coverage. 

Read more here. 

What we’re reading


AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely blames Obama for pricey drugs (Associated Press)

A month after reopening, Georgia coronavirus cases continue slow and steady (CNN)

Some countries have brought new cases down to nearly zero. How did they do it? (NPR)  

Moderna executives have cashed out $89M in shares this year, as stock price has soared on vaccine hopes (Stat News

State by state

As Washington D.C. weighs reopening, African Americans in the nation's capital brace for the worst (Time)

N.J. more at risk for second wave of coronavirus cases than other states, Murphy says (NJ.com)


California surpasses 100,000 total coronavirus cases (Mercury News

Op-eds in The Hill

The battle of COVID in the 'quiet war' on China