Global COVID-19 cases top 1M, US cases surpass 245K | Administration to advise use of cloth masks in public | DPA invoked to help ventilator manufacturers
April 3, 2020
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Global COVID-19 cases top 1M, US cases surpass 245K
(Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Getty Images)
The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 1 million and killed almost 53,000 people worldwide as cases continue to surge in the US, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The US accounted for more than 245,000 infections and more than 6,000 deaths, while Italy and Spain reported 13,915 and 10,935 deaths, respectively.
Full Story: USA Today (4/3),  Reuters (4/3),  CNBC (4/2) 
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Administration to advise use of cloth masks in public
(Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump said forthcoming guidance will recommend that Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, although another official said the specifics are still being debated. "In light of these new data, along with evidence of widespread transmission in communities across the country, CDC recommends the community use of cloth masks as an additional public health measure people can take to prevent the spread of virus to those around them," said a copy of the guidance obtained by The Washington Post.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/2),  The Associated Press (4/3) 
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Providers & Suppliers
President Donald Trump issued a memorandum allowing HHS to use authority under the Defense Production Act to help Generic Electric, Medtronic and four other manufacturers to obtain supplies needed for ventilator production.
Full Story: The Hill (4/3) 
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Medical Update
The National Academy of Sciences sent a letter to the White House saying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be spread through aerosolized droplets generated by talking or even breathing. Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a NAS committee, said he plans to start covering his face at the grocery store, though he won't wear a surgical mask because those are needed for clinical care.
Full Story: CNN (4/2) 
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Researchers estimated that there will be 13.7 million new cases of pediatric cancer worldwide between 2020 and 2050, as well as 11.1 million pediatric cancer deaths, including 84.1% in low-income and lower-middle-income nations, if no supplementary investments are made to enhance childhood cancer treatment or improve access to health care services. The findings, published in The Lancet Oncology, also showed that 56.1% of the projected number of deaths could be prevented with concurrent and comprehensive scale-up of interventions during the same period.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (4/1) 
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Emerging Trends
Health Care Service Corp. said it is waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment and offering a special enrollment period to boost coverage among the uninsured during the pandemic. The enrollment period runs through the end of April.
Full Story: Crain's Chicago Business (tiered subscription model) (4/2) 
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New York City, New Orleans and Seattle are the nation's COVID-19 hot spots, but state-level maps obscure the disease's spread in other regions of the US. A new map showing confirmed COVID-19 infections per county, adjusted for population size, shows significant clusters and suggests areas with comparatively fewer resources could be more greatly affected.
Full Story: Scientific American online (4/2) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
Solutions Provider News
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Pharma News
An updated list of medications in shortage was released by the FDA on Thursday, and the list now includes the sedation drug midazolam, which is used for patients who require mechanical ventilation. Five manufacturers noted that the shortage was due to a higher demand for the drug.
Full Story: Regulatory Focus (4/2) 
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Cancer treatments or injectable medicines given in a doctor's office are being affected by the coronavirus, and difficult decisions need to be made. Which treatments are essential, who to start on immunosuppressive drugs, and who to continue on such medications are all difficult questions patients and doctors face.
Full Story: BioPharma Dive (4/1) 
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Policy Watch
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will require health insurers to defer premium collection until June for small businesses and individuals experiencing financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state will also extend a special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act coverage until May 15.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (4/2) 
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The AHIP Board of Directors released an important statement outlining the actions that health insurance providers are taking to assist care providers and improve patient care during this crisis -- particularly for hospitals in the most affected, most at-risk communities.
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