Global COVID-19 total passes 4 million cases

May 11, 2020

The global COVID-19 total has topped 4 million cases, taking 12 days for the pandemic total to jump from 3 million to 4 million, the same number of days it took for the total to rise from 2 million to 3 million.

The worldwide total stands at over 4,100,000, with over 282,000 people having died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard. Within the U.S, the same dashboard shows over 1,300,000 confirmed cases and over 80,000 deaths.

In related news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that antibody testing in 1,300 New York City transit workers has found a 14.2% positive rate. Cuomo also said that three children have died from a COVID-19-related illness that has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. He said the New York Department of Health is investigating, and health officials will provide updates.

Recently, New York City health officials reported the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in 15 pediatric patients, possibly related to COVID-19. The condition had recently been reported in children in the United Kingdom.

In federal developments, two top U.S. health officials are in self-quarantine after coming in contact with someone at the White House who tested positive for COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that its commissioner, Stephen Hahn, MD, is in self-quarantine, CBS News reported. In addition, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson said its director, Robert Redfield, MD, will be teleworking for the next two weeks after he had low-risk exposure to a person at the White House who tested positive, the Washington Post reported. Two people at the White House recently tested positive for the virus.

In other developments, the White House said that Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, will direct how remdesivir will be distributed to hospitals, Reuters reported. Recently, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association called on Vice President Mike Pence to provide more transparency about how and when the experimental antiviral drug is being distributed in the United States.

On the regulatory front, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 test with an option of using home-collected saliva samples. The test was developed by the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory. The FDA also issued an EUA to Quidel for a COVID-19 antigen test that quickly detects virus protein fragments in samples collected with nasal swabs. The FDA said antigen tests can provide results in minutes but do not detect all active infections.

In other US developments, contact tracing in Pasadena, CA, recently identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases among people who attended a birthday party, with five lab-confirmed infections and many more sick people. The index case was coughing and not wearing a mask, and guests were not wearing masks or following physical distancing recommendations.

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