I’m sure many of you have had a stressful week, and I hope you’re staying well. Not to pile on to the craziness, but it’s important to stay informed. And the U.S. reached a grim milestone on Friday.
America now has the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, according to Johns Hopkins’ live tracker of the coronavirus spread across the globe. (If you haven’t been keeping up with this interactive map, it’s a vital, if depressing, resource at this time.)
Let’s break down some of the stats.
There are now more than 97,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. That’s over 10,000 more cases than Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, has seen, and over 15,000 more cases than China, where the pandemic originally broke out.
Keep in mind that the bulk of the testing has been done in New York. There are nearly 26,000 cases in New York City alone; 7,200 in Westchester; 4,700 in Nassau; and thousands upon thousands more in California, Michigan, New Jersey.
It’s still unclear exactly how many people have been infected with coronavirus but it has now hit every single American state plus the District of Columbia. Known deaths have crossed 500 in New York and 1,200 across the country.
These numbers will continue to swell in the coming days, weeks, and months, according to public health officials, a reality which already has (and will continue to) put a massive burden on the nation’s health system and will test supply capacity for hospital beds, ventilators, and even basic equipment such as swabs needed to conduct many coronavirus tests.
Congressional leaders appear to have woken up to that reality in the past few weeks—the Senate’s record-breaking $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill a case in point.
But as the rapidly escalating numbers demonstrate, we are still very much in the midst of the storm.
Read on for the day’s news, and have a safe and healthy weekend.
MIT, Berkeley, Microsoft, and more team up in a massive COVID-19 A.I. consortium. A federation of tech, health care, and academic organizations are teaming up to develop new A.I. strategies to fight the coronavirus. The full list: C3.ai, Microsoft Corporation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the University of California, Berkeley, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC. The public-private partnership will encourage digital approaches to fighting COVID-19’s spread, whether through information sharing or technologies that can help drug makers figure out how to more effectively develop coronavirus drugs, among other possible initiatives. The initiatives would seek proposals from leading scientists across the globe. More on this soon.
Multiple biotechs are pausing clinical trials. Add Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a specialist in multiple sclerosis drugs, to the list of companies delaying or postponing clinical trials in the midst of this pandemic. Other firms hitting the pause button include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been pushing virtual clinical trial followups as COVID-19 spread and health care resources (and the ability of patients to get to a clinical trial site) have been facing a squeeze. But such virtual followups aren’t exactly possible for an entirely new drug trial. (Reuters)
THE BIG PICTURE
Andrew Cuomo: 140,000 hospital beds, 40,000 ventilators will be needed in NY. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will tell Lester Holt and NBC’s Nightly News this evening that the state will require nearly 150,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ICU beds equipped with ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients when the pandemic eventually reaches an apex in New York. The state’s Javits Center has been turned into a temporary hospital with 1,000 beds.
Read the full article here.