Daily COVID-19 Briefing: 4/28/20

Top news, reports and insights for today:

  1. Top headlines for Tuesday:
  • At least 1,002,459 people in the US and four territories have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 as of this afternoon, accounting for a third of all global cases (New York Times)
  • Approval for President Trump’s handing of the coronavirus outbreak sinks to record low (Newsweek)
  • Disappointing results on arthritis drug Kevzara highlights shortcomings of tiny studies of repurposed drugs during a pandemic (Market Watch)
  • COVID-19 is spreading into rural communities, highlighting resource shortages and the role of industrial farms and factories (Vox)
  • President Trump plans to use DPA to order meat-processing plant to remain open in response to concerns about food shortages (Bloomberg)
  • Germans urged to stay home amid fears that infection rates are rising again. Data shows recent increase in R0 (The Guardian)
  • Arkansas governor says schools will re-open in the fall (Axios) Meanwhile, new cases in that state rose by 56% last week
  1. U.S. deaths from lab-confirmed COVID-19 pass 50,000, declining trend continues?
    On Monday, 1,237 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19, an increase of 3%. The U.S. has now reported 50,230 deaths attributed to the virus, not including more than 5,000 “probable” coronavirus deaths. The U.S. now has twice as many deaths as either Spain or Italy and has done slightly more than half as many tests per capita as those nations. The trend toward declining daily deaths continues in Monday’s data, but we need to be cautious given the lag in reporting over the weekend that is evident in the chart below over the last 5 weeks. As always, this overall trend masks a diverse set of conditions in individual states. Last week, deaths in New York increased by only 21%, the lowest of any state in the Northeast (see bottom graph). Evidence is rising that New York has peaked; because that state accounts for a third of all U.S. deaths, the declining numbers there can hide hot spots elsewhere. Last week total deaths increased by 50% or more in 2 western states (Colorado and New Mexico), in 4 midwestern states (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska), 3 southern states (Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia), and 6 northeastern states (Connecticut, Washington DC, Delaware, Massachussetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island). Among the first two states to be impacted, Washington state saw only 17% growth in deaths, while California increased by 45% after hitting a record high 115 deaths on April 23.
    What this means? The U.S. now has more deaths than Italy, Spain and China, combined. In total 27% of the global deaths attributed to the pandemic have occurred here. A recent trend toward declining daily deaths is promising, however we should be cautious about a reporting rebound mid-week and hot spots on the horizon in all regions.
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