U.S. reports almost 2,000 COVID-19 deaths in deadliest day yet

April 9, 2020

In the deadliest day for COVID-19-related fatalities in America, there were approximately 2,000 deaths, including almost 800 in New York state, the epicenter of US virus activity. The United States now has nearly 435,000 cases and over 14,000 deaths due to the virus.

In New York, a slowing rate of hospitalizations has not yet translated into curbing deaths from the novel coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany that the state has now seen over 6,000 COVID-19 deaths, and it surpasses Italy and Spain in confirmed cases, with more than 150,000 confirmed cases.

Cuomo also commented on a new report published by NYC Health, the health department in New York City, which showed that black and Hispanic residents were dying at higher rates than white New Yorkers. The rate of fatal COVID-19 infections in New York City is 22.8 per 100,000 for Hispanics and 19.8 per 100,000 for African Americans, while the rates for whites and Asians were 10.2 per 100,000 and 8.4 per 100,000, respectively.

Elsewhere in the U.S., Illinois also reported its deadliest day, and a jail in Cook County, IL, now has the most localized infections in the country. Both staff and inmates are infected with the virus, and county officials warn that most of the 5,000 inmates have not yet been tested.

In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to release new guidelines about how to return to work after an exposure to COVID-19. According to a source cited by the Associated Press, the guidance will suggest that those exposed to the virus can return to work if they have no signs of illness, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask.

The White House coronavirus task force coordinator, Deborah Birx, MD, said the task force is actively looking at when and how to reopen society safely. She said she expects the rollout of serology tests within the next 10 to 14 days, which would look for evidence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples.

Birx said serology results could help identify who could safely return to work, as antibodies likely confer some protection against the novel coronavirus.

In other updates, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a contract with General Motors, under the Defense Production Act, that will result in the manufacturing of 30,000 ventilators deliverable to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August 2020. As many as 6,000 ventilators should be available by June 1.

In a study published by the CDC in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looked at data from the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) to estimate U.S. hospitalization rates. Among 1,482 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the country in March, 74.5 percent were 50 years of age and older, and 54.4 percent were male.

The hospitalization rate from March 1 to March 28 was 4.6 per 100,000 population, but the rate climbed to 13.8 per 100,000 population among adults 65 and older.

"Among 178 (12 percent) adult patients with data on underlying conditions as of March 30, 2020, 89.3 percent had one or more underlying conditions; the most common were hypertension (49.7 percent), obesity (48.3 percent), chronic lung disease (34.6 percent), diabetes mellitus (28.3 percent), and cardiovascular disease (27.8 percent)," the authors said.

Older age and co-morbidities, especially heart disease and obesity, are the most likely risk factors for serve COVID-19, the authors said.

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