Coronavirus News – May 13

New $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill introduced in U.S. House

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled their latest coronavirus relief bill this week, a $3 trillion, 1,800-page package. A vote is expected this week on it. If it passes the House, it will face roadblocks in the Senate. “I’m in discussion, we all are with the administration, if we reach a decision along with the administration to move to another phase, that’ll be the time to interact with the Democrats,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell has taken issue with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) priority of passing relief for state and local governments, which could soon have to scale back payrolls and programs. Democrats have opposed Republicans’ goal of passing liability protections for businesses as they restart amid the pandemic. Read more.


Resilient Drug Supply Project shows drug shortages on those deemed critical for COVID-19

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Drug Supply Project shows that 32 of 40 drugs deemed critical for treatment of COVID-19 patients are in short supply. “We had drugs on the shortage list for more than two decades,” Stephen Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota professor, told CBS News. “COVID-19 has kind of brought this to light.” Schondelmeyer said some drugs on the research project’s list included paralytics that they might use when they put you on a ventilator and others are as common as Tylenol’s active ingredient, acetaminophen. Read more.


More than 16,000 young adults want to be exposed to COVID-19 for vaccine advancements

Abie Rohrig, 20, is just one of more than 16,000 people, mostly young adults, who have signaled their support for a controversial method of speeding up vaccine development by intentionally infecting dozens of volunteers. The signees have all checked a box next to the statement, “I am interested in being exposed to the coronavirus to speed up vaccine development,” on a new website called 1 Day Sooner. The practice is called a human-challenge study or controlled human infection study. It can truncate a conventional vaccine study by several months. It is high risk, high reward. Although COVID-19 is much more deadly for the elderly and the compromised than healthy young adults, it is an unpredictable pathogen. Read more.


Coronavirus pressures mount on largest U.S. food company after more workers test positive

More than 200 workers at a Tyson Fresh Meats plant (Madison, NE) tested positive for the coronavirus after facility-wide testing from May 1 to May 4. The plant employs 1,467 workers and contractors, and Tyson is unveiling its plants’ case counts to help affected communities better understand the virus and how it spreads. Their Nebraska plant was idled for sanitation while employees were tested. It is ramping up its response to workers contracting the virus and is trying out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced onsite healthcare at plants. Tyson is the largest food company in the U.S. Read more.


Washington state choir practice deemed superspreader event

A choir practice in Washington state that saw one symptomatic person infect nearly 87% of those who attended was officially deemed a “superspreader event.” Fifty three of the 61 Skagit Valley Chorale members who attended a two-hour practice on March 10 became ill with COVID-19. Two later died. It was held nearly two weeks before the state’s stay-at-home order. “One individual present felt ill, not knowing what they had, and ended up infecting 52 other people,” said Lea Hamner, lead author of a report on the event. The Skagit County Public Health report found that the choir practice provided several opportunities for respiratory transmission, including members sitting close to one another, sharing snacks and stacking chairs at the end of the practice. Read more.


Russia has second highest coronavirus case total in world

Russia has confirmed 232,000 cases of coronavirus, the second highest toll in the world after the U.S. Among the infected in President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The country has reported 10,899 infections in the past 24 hours, the 10th consecutive day that number has been above 10,000. Factory and construction workers returned to work this week in Russia. Read more.