Overnight Health Care: White House says rally attendees assume 'personal risk' | Florida, Texas and Arizona set daily case records for coronavirus

Overnight Health Care: White House says rally attendees assume 'personal risk' | Florida, Texas and Arizona set daily case records for coronavirus
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Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care.

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have topped 117,500 people. It's a staggering number of lives lost to the disease that's hard to reconcile, especially as the messaging from the White House is that it is time to move on from the pandemic. 

Florida, Texas and Arizona again saw record numbers of infections. New data from the CDC shows the racial divide of the virus's impact, and the White House said anyone going to the president's campaign rally on Saturday is assuming personal risk.

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Which is where we'll start: 

White House says rally attendees assume 'personal risk'

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday dismissed health concerns surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE’s upcoming rally, saying the campaign had taken measures to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic and that attendees in Tulsa, Okla., would assume a “personal risk.”

“The campaign has taken certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally,” McEnany said, noting campaign officials would administer temperature checks and distribute hand sanitizer and masks.

“They will be given a mask. It is up to them whether to make that decision.[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines are recommended but not required,” McEnany said.

McEnany was repeatedly asked whether the White House or Trump would take responsibility if attendees contract the novel coronavirus. McEnany responded that it was the “personal choice” of those who attend the rally to do so. Anyone who signs up for the rally must sign a disclaimer agreeing not to sue the Trump campaign or the host venue if they contract the coronavirus.

Reality check: There's more than just personal risk involved. Anyone who attends the event, especially those who don't take precautions like wearing masks, could infect others not at the rally -- friends, family, strangers. The point of physical distancing and wearing masks is to make sure you're not close enough to pass along the infection. 

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Read more here.

Tulsa officials tell vulnerable people to stay home

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging in Tulsa, and top officials on Wednesday advised people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 to stay home rather than attend President Trump's campaign rally this weekend.

Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart and Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) said people who attend any large gathering, including the Trump rally or any large gathering related to the city's Juneteenth celebration, will likely be at risk, especially if they don't wear masks.  

"Let me be clear: anyone planning to attend a large-scale gathering will face an increased risk at being infected with COVID-19," Dart said during a press conference. "We want to keep people safe ... if you are part of a vulnerable population, please stay at home."

Bynum said he was excited that Trump chose to "honor" Tulsa and the way it has responded to the virus, but he couldn't guarantee that anyone who attends the rally would be safe.

But Bynum said he was more concerned with Tulsa residents who have been letting their guard down, and have not been wearing masks in public and are not practicing physical distancing. The city has seen a spike in coronavirus infections, and set a record for new cases on Thursday. Hospitalizations are also significantly increasing. 

Florida, Texas and Arizona set records for daily COVID-19 cases

Florida, Texas and Arizona all set records this week for the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day as the virus continues to spread throughout the southern United States.

Florida reported 2,783 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, while Texas reported 4,098 cases and Arizona reported 2,392, with all states passing their previous records for highest single-day increases.

Governors in those states have argued that the increasing number of cases is a product of expanded testing, but public health experts have pointed to warning signs that there is more transmission within communities, including an increasing number of tests coming back positive.

“Part of it is increased testing, but the positivity rate is going up,” former Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“This is an outbreak that’s underway. It’s expanding. They’re at risk of tipping over,” he said of Texas, specifically. 

Read more here.

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Black COVID-19 patients in Atlanta more likely to be hospitalized than white patients: CDC

Black COVID-19 patients in Atlanta are more likely to be hospitalized than white patients with the disease, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An analysis of 531 COVID-19 patients across six acute care hospitals and outpatient clinics found that hospitalized patients were more likely to be older, male and black.

Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and a history of smoking cigarettes were more prevalent among hospitalized patients, suggesting a relationship between the severity of illness and underlying illness, the CDC authors wrote.

“Racial and ethnic minority groups are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 because of the increased prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other underlying conditions among racial and ethnic minority groups,” the authors wrote. 

Read more here.

WHO: New treatment only meant for severe COVID-19 cases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said a common drug shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 is meant for use only among those who are suffering the most severe symptoms of the disease, not those who have milder cases.

Scientists at the University of Oxford said Tuesday that their studies showed dexamethasone was effective in reducing the mortality rate of severely ill patients. The study is the first to show that an already available drug is effective in reducing death rates among COVID-19 patients.

WHO officials cautioned the drug is meant only for those who are in the most severe throes of the virus. It has not been tested or shown to be effective on those with milder forms of the virus.

"The benefit was seen in patients who were on oxygen therapy," said Janet Diaz, the WHO's head of clinical care. "There was no benefit seen in patients that had mild disease."

Read more here.

What we’re reading

10 states are seeing their highest average of daily new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started (CNN.com)

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Coronavirus has come to Trump country (Washington Post)

Rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations underscore the long road ahead (Stat News)

‘There is no playbook’: Restaurants are closing again after workers test positive for coronavirus (Washington Post

State by state

Bexar County requires face masks in businesses as coronavirus surges, possibly paving the way for other counties (Texas Tribune

Kynect is coming back. Beshear plans to revive state health insurance exchange (Louisville Courier Journal)

16 friends test positive for coronavirus after night out at Florida bar (CBS Miami)

Recent spike in coronavirus cases in South Carolina 'concerning' expert says (News 19)

Op-eds in The Hill

Health equity includes addressing maternal mortality

Unreported young adult population uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19