Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Fauci pans ‘unacceptably high’ level of cases | CDC asks states to have vaccine sites ready by Nov. 1 | Steroid drugs reduce deaths in severely ill patients


Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.

The CDC wants states to get ready for a possible vaccine by Nov. 1, just before the election; there’s more evidence steroids work as a treatment for severely ill patients; and the first coronavirus death linked to a giant motorcycle rally has been reported.

We’ll start, though, with a warning from Fauci ahead of Labor Day:

Fauci: US has ‘unacceptably high’ level of COVID-19 cases going into fall

Anthony Fauci issued a warning Wednesday about the continuing severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., and the need to improve things before the fall brings even more challenges. 

Fauci was asked on MSNBC about what baseline level of new cases per day he would be comfortable with ahead of the fall, when many experts fear the virus will further surge and coincide with flu as the weather gets colder.

The U.S. has around 40,000 new cases per day currently. “We’re right around 40,000 new cases, that’s an unacceptably high baseline,” Fauci said. “We’ve got to get it down, I’d like to see it 10,000 or less, hopefully less.”

Don’t be careless on Labor Day: Fauci warned that as the country approaches Labor Day, holiday weekends in the past have led to spikes in cases as people gather and let down their guard.

He urged people to wear masks, avoid crowds, stay six feet apart from others, wash their hands and favor outdoor activity over indoor activity.

Read more here.


CDC asks states to have vaccine sites ready by Nov. 1 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked state governors last week to speed applications for building permits for vaccine distribution sites that would be operational just before November’s elections.

In a letter to state governors and health departments obtained by The Hill, CDC Director Robert Redfield said the McKesson Corporation and its subsidiaries would soon be applying for permits to build distribution sites. He asked governors to consider waiving requirements that would delay construction or opening the sites.

“The normal time required to obtain these permits presents a significant barrier to the success of this urgent public health program,” Redfield wrote. “CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”

Redfield assured governors that the requirements that might need to be waived would not “compromise the safety or integrity of the products being distributed.”

Read more here.


Some good news on treatments: Steroid drugs reduce deaths in severely ill COVID-19 patients, study finds

A new analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that cheap, widely available steroid drugs help reduce deaths among severely ill coronavirus patients, shedding more light on the path to treating the virus.

The analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday, looked at seven clinical trials involving 1,703 patients. It found that steroids such as dexamethasone helped reduce mortality in seriously ill patients.

The findings confirmed an earlier study in June, which concluded that the drugs reduced deaths in seriously ill patients by one third.

The World Health Organization issued new recommendations on Wednesday recommending the use of the steroid treatment for seven to 10 days in “patients with severe and critical COVID-19.” It also recommended not to use the treatment in patients with non-severe cases of the disease, “given that current data indicated they would not likely derive benefit and may derive harm.”

Read more here.


COVID-19 is leading cause of law enforcement deaths this year: analysis

Coronavirus infections possibly caught while on the job are now the leading cause of death among U.S. police officers, according to law enforcement groups.

Officer Down, a nonprofit group tracking deaths among law enforcement agencies across the U.S., found that 101 officers have died from COVID-19 so far in 2020, more than twice as many that have died in shootings, the second-highest cause of deaths among law enforcement. The statistic was first reported in The Washington Post on Wednesday.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which also has worked to track deaths of officers from COVID-19, says on its website that 208 officers have died from the disease so far this year.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) recently highlighted the surge in law enforcement deaths during a speech to supporters in Pittsburgh, where the 2020 Democratic nominee made his first campaign stop since the Democratic convention last month.

Read more here.


First coronavirus death occurs linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota

Officials announced the first known COVID-19 death linked to last month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which brought 400,000 people to South Dakota.

A male biker in his 60s with underlying conditions died after visiting the rally, a Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson confirmed to The Hill. The Minnesota resident had been hospitalized in an intensive care unit for several weeks after the rally.

His case is among at least 260 cases in 11 states connected to the rally, according to a survey of health departments conducted by The Washington Post. Out of the states that have connected cases to the Sturgis rally, held from Aug. 7 to Aug. 16, South Dakota has recorded the most, at 105.

But public health officials say the Post’s overall count is likely an undercount, noting rallygoers’ resistance to testing and limited contact-tracing programs in some states. 

Read more here.


What we’re reading

‘They’re so vulnerable’: Coronavirus hits tribes of isolated Andaman Islands (NBC News)

Experts see a chance for a Covid-19 vaccine approval this fall — if it’s done right (Stat News)

Health Officials Worry Nation’s Not Ready for COVID-19 Vaccine (Kaiser Health News)   


State by state

To combat COVID, Georgia Tech wants students to move to single rooms (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

As Virus Wanes in Florida, a City Battles ‘Pandemic Fatigue’ (New York Times)

Ohio Lawmakers Pass Covid-19 Business Liability Shield Bill (Bloomberg Law)   


The Hill op-eds

Dissecting physical vs social distancing

Jonathan Mann’s human rights blueprint for global health must guide COVID-19 response 

Tags Anthony Fauci Joe Biden

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

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