Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Coronavirus deaths rise again amid mounting outbreaks | The Trump-Fauci divide is getting more apparent | New York to deliver remdesivir to Florida after DeSantis dismisses offer for help

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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care.

Coronavirus deaths are catching up to the rising cases, the Trump-Fauci divide is becoming even more clear and New York is sending remdesivir to Florida.

We’ll start with the death toll:

Coronavirus deaths rise again amid mounting outbreaks

So much for the idea coronavirus deaths aren’t rising. 

Arizona, California, Texas and Florida all recently saw record numbers of daily fatalities. According to an analysis from the Harvard Global Health Institute, daily deaths over the past two weeks from the coronavirus are up 79 percent in Arizona, 37 percent in Florida and 52 percent in Texas.    

The mounting deaths undercut President Trump’s effort to downplay the explosion of new cases by pointing to the death rate. Earlier this week, Trump had pointed to falling death counts to push back at criticism over his response to the crisis given the rising case numbers.

Nationally, daily deaths hit their highest point since early June in the past three days, with 867 deaths reported on Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Deaths are a lagging indicator, and experts have been warning for weeks that people shouldn’t get complacent because they will eventually catch up. And here we are. 

Key quote: “It’s so crazy that we have to prove to people that sick people die,” said Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. 

Read more here.

The Trump-Fauci divide is getting more apparent: 

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, pushed back in an interview published Friday on President Trump‘s claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are “harmless,” saying that it is “obviously not” the case.

“I’m trying to figure out where the president got that number,” Fauci told The Financial Times. “What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.”

At an Independence Day celebration at the White House, Trump said that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless,” a claim not backed by evidence. Previous estimates from experts have said about 80 percent of coronavirus cases do not require hospitalization and 20 percent do, though there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how many cases are going undetected.

Big picture: The comments come amid growing public distance between Trump and Fauci. Fauci said he has not seen Trump in person since early June.

Trump has been seeking to downplay the virus, while Fauci and a wide range of other experts have warned of the danger of the worsening outbreaks around the country, which are leading to spikes in hospitalizations in hard-hit states.

Read more here

More evidence: In the same interview, Fauci said he thinks his reputation for speaking bluntly may be why he hasn’t been on television as much recently.

“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things. And that may be one of the reasons, why I haven’t been on television very much lately,” he said. 

Read more here. 

New York to deliver remdesivir to Florida after DeSantis dismisses offer for help

New York is delivering a small shipment of the experimental coronavirus treatment drug remdesivir to Florida, just one day after Florida’s governor said he didn’t need the state’s help, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced.

Cuomo said his state is sending a one day’s supply of the drug to Florida — enough for 280 patients— as it struggles with a massive spike in COVID-19 infections. 

There were more than 11,000 new cases in Florida on Friday. According to a newly released state tally, there are nearly 7,000 hospitalizations “with a primary diagnosis of COVID.”

“We will stand by our fellow Americans every step of the way as our nation fights COVID-19 together,” Cuomo said. 

Confusing stories: It’s not totally clear if Florida wants the help. Cuomo made an offer on Wednesday during a press conference, but when asked about it the following day, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said it was not anything the state was interested in, and indicated they were doing just fine.

“They’re not helping us,” DeSantis said. “I think that someone reached out to our office on ventilators. We’ve got 6,000 ventilators just, you know, sitting idle, so we don’t necessarily need it.” DeSantis has taken repeated shots at Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic in his state.

Federal help: On Friday, DeSantis announced that he had personally secured a shipment of remdesivir from the Trump administration that will arrive directly to state hospitals tomorrow. He did not mention New York’s shipment. 

Read more here.

Health insurers call on Congress to provide new funding for coverage amid pandemic

Health insurance companies are calling on Congress to provide more funding to help people keep coverage, citing the more than 44 million who have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus crisis started. 

The two main health insurance lobbying groups, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, wrote a letter to congressional leaders on Friday making a range of requests for the next coronavirus response package, expected later this month. 

“The adoption of each of these recommendations is critical to assuring that health insurance providers are able to deliver coverage that is reliable and high value in all markets,” the letter states. 

Among the requests:

  • Increasing ObamaCare subsidies to help people pay premiums
  • Financial assistance for employers to keep coverage
  • Picking up the cost of laid-off workers COBRA coverage

Read more here 

What we’re reading

U.S. bets on small, untested company to deliver COVID vaccine (Associated Press

Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again (Washington Post)

Trump and Fauci not speaking as coronavirus pandemic worsens (CNN)

Does asthma increase COVID-19 risk? Emerging research suggests a complicated connection (Stat News)

State by state

Dozens of Mississippi lawmakers have coronavirus after weeks of refusing to wear masks (CNN)

Obvious propaganda’: Pence claim of COVID-19 ‘flattening’ contradicted by Florida data (Miami Herald)

Andrew Cuomo’s report on controversial nursing home policy for COVID patients prompts more controversy (ProPublica) 

California to release up to 8,000 prisoners to curb spread of coronavirus (Guardian)

At least 82 coronavirus cases linked to Missouri sleepaway camp (NPR)

Tags Andrew Cuomo Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Donald Trump Remdesivir Ron DeSantis

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