COVID-19 Update: Docs Hoard Chloroquine; ‘We Have a Deal’; Can Old TB Vax Help?
by News Editor, MedPage Today
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Like toilet paper at Target: chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are flying off pharmacy shelves — because physicians are self-prescribing for their own potential use, pharmacists told ProPublica, making it difficult for lupus patients who actually need HCQ to find it.
Meanwhile, a 30-patient Chinese trial throws cold water on HCQ as a COVID-19 treatment. (Journal of ZheJiang University)
Congress and the White House agreed to terms on a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package, with the Senate expected to vote later today. “At last we have a deal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (CNBC)
President Trump says he wants packed churches and the country “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, even as doctors say that won’t be enough time to slow the disease’s spread through mitigation measures. (CNN)
After about 9,000 new cases in 24 hours, the unofficial U.S case count stands at 55,225 as of 8:00 a.m. EDT Wednesday; and deaths increased by more than 200 to 802.
“I survived Ebola. I fear #COVID-19.” Craig Spencer, MD, MPH, an ER physician in New York City, posts a Twitter dispatch from the COVID-19 front lines: “You reflect on the fact that it’s really hard to understand how bad this is — and how bad it’s going to be — if all you see are empty streets. Hospitals are nearing capacity. We are running out of ventilators. Ambulance sirens don’t stop.”
“Stay home,” say the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and the American Nurses Association, in an open letter to the public.
U.S. companies and academic centers are racing to develop serology tests to identify individuals that have been exposed to and developed immunity against the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Reuters)
Florida is decreeing that airline passengers coming into the state from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut quarantine themselves for 14 days. (Politico)
In Louisiana, a pastor held a Sunday night service that drew 1,000 people and planned to hold a second service, despite an order from the governor banning gatherings larger than 50 people. (CNN)
Meanwhile, the country of India is locking down its 1.3 billion citizens over the next 21 days to slow the outbreak. (V0x)
The coronavirus doesn’t seem to be mutating quickly, suggesting that a vaccine might give long-lasting protection, scientists said. (Washington Post)
Because of restrictions on visitors imposed due to coronavirus, expectant mothers at two New York hospital systems are sad to learn they will have to give birth alone, without spouses or partners. (New York Times)
Can a 100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine help prevent coronavirus? These scientists want to find out. (Science)
The virus reached the upper echelons of the British royal family, as Prince Charles tests positive with mild symptoms. (BBC News)