There have been more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
The U.S. death toll has surpassed 79,000 people, according to Hopkins.
President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. will purchase $3 billion worth of food from farms to provide to food banks.
South Korea’s capital closed down more than 2,100 bars and other nightspots Saturday because of a new cluster of coronavirus infections, Germany scrambled to contain fresh outbreaks at slaughterhouses, and Italian authorities worried that people were getting too friendly at cocktail hour during the country’s first weekend of eased restrictions.
The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday — by far the most sudden and largest decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939.
Vice President Mike Pence is not planning to enter self-quarantine after his press secretary tested positive for coronavirus Friday, and he plans to be at the White House on Monday, a Pence spokesman said on Sunday.
Devin O’Malley, the vice president’s spokesman, said Pence “will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine.”
“Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow,” O’Malley said in a statement.
Separately, an official said Pence’s schedule will probably be on the lighter side for the next few days but he’s not doing a full self-isolation.
This official also said there is extreme sensitivity inside the White House now at the current state of affairs — officials recognize the contradiction in telling states to reopen while the White House enhances protocols to prevent spread of the virus.
Health care workers seek legal services to draw up wills during outbreak
Some lawyers are offering free legal services to help health care workers draw up wills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorney Natalie Elisha Gold, CEO of Gold Legal Group, said she was inspired to offer free services by her own sister, a nurse in Manhattan.
“I felt that it was my obligation, when you had the certain skills and opportunities to help others during a pandemic, you have to do what you can,” Gold said.
Her firm, which operates in New York, New Jersey and California, has received an “extraordinarily high volume” of roughly 200 inquiries so far, with about 40 health care workers embarking on the will process, Gold explained.
Gold said she created an online system that would allow people to submit their information immediately. They’ve also heard from health care workers and first responders in Alabama, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, she added.
“I am so grateful to Natalie for her dedication to helping health care workers, especially in a time like this,” said Dr. Alexandra Volo, a family medicine physician based Pennsylvania. “It’s very important to have a last will and testament to know exactly what our wishes are, especially in a time like this.”
“We don’t have a magic 8-ball, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Volo added.
Volo just came back to work following the birth of her child, now 4 months old. She works at Penn State Health St. Joseph in Redding, Pennsylvania, roughly an hour away from Philadelphia.
The hospital is seeing a surge of patients, Volo said.
Lab-made antibodies may be available by end of summer, biotech CEO says
The CEO of biotechnology company Regeneron said he’s optimistic about an artificial antibody treatment for coronavirus that could enter clinical trials next month – but says it’s too soon to know whether it will help prevent or treat infection.
“We should be optimistic about this approach, but we have to get real data. In this environment, there’s nothing that can substitute for real science and real data,” Dr. Leonard Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron, said to CNN.
Unlike a vaccine, which triggers the immune system to develop antibodies, lab-made antibodies are infused directly into the blood, providing temporary immunity.
“Our approach takes advantage of what’s been known about the immune system for more than 100 years,” Schleifer told CNN.
The body naturally produces antibodies after being exposed to a virus, he said.
“Our approach is to generate these human antibodies artificially, so to speak, and give people those antibodies to either prevent them from getting infected if they’re at higher risk, or treat them,” Schleifer said.
The company is hoping to enter clinical trials next month and might have hundreds of thousands of doses available by the end of summer, according to Dr. George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s chief scientific officer.
Yancopoulos described the therapy as an “important stopgap” until a vaccine is available and said they would be complementary, he said on ABC.
“Vaccines can provide permanent immunity to much larger numbers of people,” he said.
“This is why we need all of these efforts.”
Model projects more US deaths as states see “explosive” mobility increases
A key coronavirus model often cited by the White House now predicts more deaths in the U.S., a shift that a top researcher tied to “explosive increases in mobility in a number of states.”
The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, now forecasts 137,000 deaths in the US by August, up from an earlier prediction of about 134,000.
Dr. Christopher Murray, the IHME director, discussed the model on CBS today.
“We’re seeing just explosive increases in mobility in a number of states that we expect will translate into more cases and deaths in ten days from now,” Murray said.
In a press release, Murray said the model is not yet predicting a resurgence or “return to exponential growth” of the epidemic in the U.S. But cell phone data still shows Americans moving more – which suggests more infections to come.
“What’s driving the change is, simply put, the rise in mobility. And that’s the key driver,” Murray said. “We’re seeing in some states a 20 percentage point increase in just 10 days in mobility. And that will translate into more human contact, more transmission.”
IHME is also seeing more cases and deaths than expected in certain places, “but it’s mostly mobility that’s driving up the numbers.” Some of that is the result of relaxed social distancing measures, Murray said.
“We’re seeing increases in mobility even in anticipation of the relaxation of social distancing, but there’s definitely a correlation – the places that are taking off the social distancing mandates, the bump in mobility appears to be larger,” he said.
15 children hospitalized in New York City with inflammatory syndrome that might be linked to coronavirus
But governors have begun relaxing measures across the U.S. amid protests from residents and business owners who demanded an end to sweeping stay-at-home orders. And as states grapple with finding a path toward the new normal, more protests have taken shape across the country by residents who refused to put on face coverings.
Public health experts have cautioned the U.S. is not ready to begin reopening — citing lack of sufficient testing and contact tracing efforts, among other reasons — and that premature lifting of measures could mean a death toll twice as high as previously predicted. But the effects of the loosening measures won’t become evident for a while.
“It will be at least two to three weeks before we see an increase in the number of infections because it takes time for individuals to infect others and for them to display symptoms,” data scientist Youyang Gu, whose coronavirus projection model is cited by the CDC, told CNN.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading public health expert, has said if measures are lifted too early, the country could see a rebound of the virus which could land the U.S. “right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago.”