Overnight Healthcare: Fauci says coronavirus task force activity 'intense' despite decreased visibility

Overnight Healthcare: Fauci says coronavirus task force activity 'intense' despite decreased visibility
© Bonnie Cash

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

The White House coronavirus task force isn't quite dead, even though 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 has all but declared victory over COVID-19. The WHO has endorsed wearing face masks, and New York saw its lowest one-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.

We'll start with the task force:

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Premature rumors of its demise? Fauci says coronavirus task force activity 'intense'

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 government's top infectious diseases expert, said Friday that the White House coronavirus task force is still doing "substantial" work despite holding fewer meetings and making scarce public appearances.

"I think that what you’re seeing out there publicly doesn’t really reflect what’s going on," Fauci told CNBC, noting there was a task force meeting earlier in the week and another one scheduled for Friday afternoon.

"Just because you don't see the public press conferences does not mean that there’s [not] a lot of activity going on and a lot of attention paid to what we do," he added. "But I could understand how you might come to that conclusion. But I think there really is a disconnect.”

Background of less activity: Fauci's comments come as the White House has publicly signaled it is ready to move on from the health crisis associated with the coronavirus pandemic, even as thousands of new cases are reported in the U.S. each day.

Fauci said in an interview published Monday that his meetings with President Trump have "decreased dramatically" in recent weeks. The White House's designated testing czar, Brett Giroir, likewise said Monday he is set to return to his regular duties this month.

Read more here

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WHO recommends face coverings for general public, medical masks for elderly

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday endorsed the use of face coverings among the general public in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, after many countries have already encouraged their citizens to wear them.

The WHO previously only recommended the use of masks for people who are sick or caring for someone who is.

In updated guidance released Friday, the WHO stated that governments in countries with widespread transmission of COVID-19 should urge their citizens to wear non-medical face masks in public settings, especially in areas where physical distancing is difficult, like in grocery stores and other crowded spaces.

The change from the WHO comes after many other countries, including the U.S., have encouraged their citizens to wear face coverings in public. The WHO guidance states the widespread use of masks by healthy people is not yet supported by science, but that growing evidence suggests it could be beneficial, especially as studies show people can spread COVID-19 before they show symptoms.

The international body also recommended medical masks be worn by people aged 60 and older and people with underlying health conditions such as lung or heart disease or cancer, and health workers.

Read more here.

 

Some good news: New York reports lowest number of COVID-19 deaths

New York on Thursday reported the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDeSantis sued for not having ASL interpreter at coronavirus briefings New York adds four new states to quarantine requirement list Quarantines for out-of-state visitors exceeds governors' emergency authority MORE (D) said that 42 deaths were reported to the New York State Department of Health on Thursday, an “amazing” improvement compared to 800 daily deaths two months ago. 

“I did nothing. The people of the state radically changed how they behaved,” Cuomo said at his Friday news conference, referring to social distancing measures and the wearing of masks. 

The epidemic has shown signs of slowing in New York for weeks, according to falling hospitalization and death rates.

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More than 376,200 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, with about 30,000 dying.

Read more here.

 

Shocking job numbers raise hopes for quicker recovery

A shockingly positive May jobs report has raised hopes of a faster recovery from the coronavirus-induced recession.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to rise from a post-World War II record of 14.7 percent in April to Great Depression-era levels of 20 percent or higher. Instead, the economy added 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent.

“It indicates the recession is over and the recovery has begun,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

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Trump latches on: President Trump, who has built his case for reelection around the economy, was ecstatic over the news, giving a hastily scheduled Rose Garden speech in which he touted the numbers as “a big step in our comeback.”

Read more here.

 

What we’re reading: 

How we can avoid screwing up the response to COVID-19 again (STAT)

Thousands who got COVID-19 in March are still sick (The Atlantic

Police arrest tactics at protests add to virus risk (Politico

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Tear-gassing protesters during an infectious outbreak ‘a recipe for disaster’ (Kaiser Health News)

 

State by state

Colorado Democrats unveil plan for $70M in coronavirus aid (Durango Herald)

Philadelphia-area churches to resume in-person mass despite cautions from city (Philadelphia Inquirer)

San Diego VA moves suicidal veterans off ‘life-saving treatment,’ against doctor’s pleas (inewsource)

Cases in Ohio see steady increase as state starts to reopen (dispatch.com)

Missouri sees nearly 300 new COVID-19 cases, biggest daily jump since early May (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)