Overnight Health Care: Protests risk spread of coronavirus | Health groups: Police brutality is a public health issue, too | Fauci says meetings with Trump have decreased

Overnight Health Care: Protests risk spread of coronavirus | Health groups: Police brutality is a public health issue, too | Fauci says meetings with Trump have decreased
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Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care. Public health experts worry a wave of protests challenging police brutality and the deaths of unarmed black people will lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, experts and medical organizations note that police brutality is also a public health issue. 

As of Monday afternoon, there were 1.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., including 105,000 deaths. 

We'll start off with the protests: 

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Protests risk spread of coronavirus

While protests against police misconduct across the country are now dominating the headlines, the coronavirus is still out there and could be spreading through the protests, experts warn. 

Images from almost a week of protests across the country show many peaceful protesters wearing masks. But few appear to be following social distancing guidelines, which recommend people stay six feet apart, something that becomes difficult as crowds grow. 

Even heartening moments of protesters and police coming together to embrace or link arms in solidarity show contacts that could spread the virus.

“With protests, there is a high risk of spread in the sense that people are in close quarters with each other, they're screaming and yelling,” said Abraar Karan, a public health expert and internist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. 

The upshot: Health officials and experts are walking a fine line between telling protesters to go home, a warning that would almost certainly be ignored, and acknowledging the threat of the virus. The California Department of Public Health published recommendations for protesting while maintaining social distance.

Read more here.

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Health groups: Police brutality is a public health issue, too 

Several leading health groups are speaking out against police brutality, arguing that is a public health issue that leads to poorer health outcomes for communities of color, especially during a pandemic.

“Police brutality in the midst of public health crises is not crime-preventive — it creates demoralized conditions in an already strained time,” American Medical Association (AMA) President Patrice Harris and Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld said in a statement. 

“Excessive police force is a communal violence that significantly drives unnecessary and costly injury, and premature morbidity and death. Our country — our society — demands more.” 

The AMA urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other researchers to study the public health effects of physical and verbal violence between police and racially marginalized communities. The AMA notes studies have already found an increased prevalence of police encounters is linked to elevated stress and anxiety levels, increased rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma. 

Association of American Medical Colleges President David Skorton said Monday “we can no longer be bystanders.” 

“The brutal and shocking deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have shaken our nation to its core and once again tragically demonstrated the everyday danger of being black in America,” Skorton said.  “Police brutality is a striking demonstration of the legacy racism has had in our society over decades.”

Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, federal officials say

Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents across the country have died from COVID-19, federal officials said Monday, the first public acknowledgement about the scope of the disease in nursing homes.

The numbers are limited, as only 80 percent of all federally regulated nursing homes have reported. 

But the new data comes after transparency watchdogs and family members have been criticizing state and local health officials for declining to release data on nursing home COVID-19 cases and deaths, citing privacy issues.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, states reported more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus illness among nursing home residents. About one in every four nursing facilities had a COVID case, and 1 in every 5 had a COVID death, CMS said. The hardest-hit facilities were ones with particularly low quality scores, according to the government's report.  

Fauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE and the coronavirus task force’s press briefings are no longer a daily occurrence, and it sounds like their private meetings have now also lessened. 

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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump adviser knocks Fauci: Wrong about 'everything' Overnight Health Care: Experimental COVID-19 vaccine shows immune response in early results Fauci: Young people have 'societal responsibility' to avoid COVID infection MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said his meetings with President Trump have “dramatically decreased” in recent weeks.

"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting we’d meet with the president. So I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago,” Fauci said in an interview with STAT News published Monday.

“But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased,” he added.

Read more here.

Some hopeful news from Europe: Spain reports no new coronavirus deaths in past 24 hours for first time since March

Spain on Monday reported no new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours for the first time since March, The Associated Press reported.

The marker is a sign of progress in one of the countries hit hardest by the virus. 

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Spain has the fifth most deaths of any country in the world, at 27,127, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

At one point in early April, it recorded more than 1,000 deaths in a day, according to New York Times data, a sign of how far the country has come down to zero deaths in a day. 

Spain had one of the strictest lockdowns anywhere, only allowing people to leave their homes for exercise starting in early May as the pandemic began to ease. 

Read more here.

And some hopeful news from the world of science: Eli Lilly gives patients first doses in trial of new coronavirus treatment

The drug company Eli Lilly announced Monday that it has administered the first doses of a possible new treatment for coronavirus patients as it begins a phase one clinical trial. 

The treatment uses an antibody that the body produces to fight coronavirus. The potential new treatment was developed using a blood sample from one of the first U.S. patients to recover from coronavirus. 

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How it’s different: Antibody treatments hold promise as effective treatments, and are developed specifically to fight coronavirus, unlike the drug remdesivir, which already existed and was repurposed to fight coronavirus. Remdesivir has been shown to produce moderate but not extreme improvement in patients.

Eli Lilly said it should know results from the phase one trial, which tests for safety, by the end of June, and hopes to have “several hundred thousand doses available by the end of the year.”

Read more here.

What we’re reading

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine announcement set off a frenzy on Wall Street. Now some are calling for an investigation (CNN.com)

More evidence remdesivir helps some coronavirus patients (CNN.com)

Health care CEO pay outstrips infectious disease research (Axios

State by state

First California prison officer dies after contracting coronavirus (LA Times)

New Jersey to open outdoor dining, retail shops on June 15 as tri-state region slowly eases restrictions (NJ.com)

Outdoor dining, summer camps included in next phase of Massachusetts reopening plan (CBS 4

Oklahoma pulls back on releasing coronavirus data (OklahomaWatch)

The Hill op-ed

Primary care doctors could be COVID-19's next victims