Coronavirus Updates: Study Shows Experimental Drug Helps Fight COVID-19; Fauci Warns of Second Wave

  • The experimental drug remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31%.
  • Fauci says a second wave of the disease in the U.S. is ‘inevitable.’
  • More than 1 million people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19.

Testing has shown that the experimental drug remdesivir shortens the time it takes patients to recover from COVID-19 and may reduce the number of deaths from the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, White House officials and representatives from the company that make the drug announced Wednesday.

Remdesivir, made by Gilead Science, is the only treatment so far to pass strict testing to combat the virus, The Associated Press reported. The study on its effectiveness was done by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the NIH, said patients in the study recovered 31% faster than those who didn’t receive the drug and that there tended to be fewer deaths.

The test included 1,063 people hospitalized for COVID-19. Full results of the study are expected to be published soon in a medical journal.

“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Fauci said. “This will be the standard of care.”

The Food and Drug Administration plans to authorize the emergency use of remdesivir as soon as today, the New York Times reported.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. topped 1 million on Tuesday, doubling in less than three weeks, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number increased by another 23,000 by Wednesday afternoon, and the nation has recorded at least 59,392 deaths from the disease.

The U.S. numbers account for nearly one third of the 3.16 million cases reported worldwide and more than one quarter of the 224,562 deaths worldwide.

Latest Developments

United States:

-Earlier, Fauci told CNN that the U.S. could be “right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago” if states lift restrictions too soon. He also warned that a second wave of infections is “inevitable” in the fall and winter, but its impacts depend on how well the country prepares. “If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” Fauci said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”

-Texas reported 883 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the second highest number in the past 10 days, KYTX-TV reported. The state also reported 42 additional deaths, which is the second highest number since the start of the pandemic.

-Severe weather impacted COVID-19 testing sites in Houston Wednesday morning. The city health department said sites would not open until noon as thunderstorms continued to move through the area.

-New York City will allow marriage certificates to be issued online, meaning people can get married without ever leaving their homes. City officials announced “Project Cupid” on Wednesday and said the new rules will be in effect by the end of next week. “We need moments of joy now more than ever, and we won’t let a pandemic get in the way of true love,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the announcement. New York has suffered the coronavirus pandemic worse than any other place in the world, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases statewide and more than 17,500 deaths in the city alone.

-The Navy destroyer USS Kidd pulled into San Diego Tuesday after an outbreak of COVID-19 among the crew. At least 78 sailors on board have been infected. Navy officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating how the virus spread on the ship, according to report by USNI News. The first symptoms didn’t show up among crew members until more than 30 days after the ship’s last port call in Hawaii.

-Employees of corporations including Amazon, Walmart and FedEx are organizing a walkout on Friday, according to The Hill. Workers are protesting for better health and safety standards in their workplaces and hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic. Friday is May Day, which in many countries is similar to Labor Day in the U.S.

-Passengers arriving in the U.S. on international flights may be subject to temperature and virus checks. The idea is being considered for flights coming from areas with high levels of infection, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.

-Trump signed an executive order that requires meat processing facilities to remain open. At least 20 meat processing plants in the U.S. have closed recently as workers become sick with COVID-19 and others say conditions are not safe in the plants.

Janeisha Lee of Nevada sets up a pop-up coronavirus supply tent on April 28, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lee said she travels to California every other day to buy supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves in bulk, which she sells in Las Vegas because the items are hard to find in the city.

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Worldwide:

-Germans are being advised to avoid travel until at least mid-June as Germany extended its worldwide travel warning to June 14. Germany has the sixth highest number of known COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 160,000 infections and 6,314 deaths.

-The International Labor Organization projects that more than 300 million full-time jobs could be lost worldwide in the second quarter of 2020, the AP reported.

-Shopping malls, hotels, museums and libraries will reopen Monday in Poland, with social distancing rules in effect. Face masks are also required. Many businesses, including restaurants, remain closed. Poland has reported 12,415 cases of COVID-19 and 606 deaths.

-One city in Sweden is using smell to discourage gathering in a public park. Officials in Lund, in the southern part of the country, say they are spreading chicken manure on the grounds of a central park ahead of the Valborg celebration, a spontaneous gathering popular with students and youth to mark the beginning of spring, according to the AP. The city sees it as an opportunity not only to fertilize the grounds, but “at the same time, it will stink and it may not be so nice to sit and drink beer in the park,” Gustav Lindblad, a member of from Lund’s environmental committee, tells the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan. Sweden has reported 20,302 cases of COVID-19 and 2,462 deaths.

For the latest coronavirus information in your county and a full list of important resources to help you make the smartest decisions regarding the disease, check out our dedicated COVID-19 page.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.




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