Coronavirus News – May 14

Coronavirus testing numbers improving in U.S.

The U.S. has recently seen significant improvements with the raw number of COVID-19 tests, but also other metrics experts use to gauge the scope of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak and its testing capacity. The U.S. averaged nearly 300,000 new coronavirus tests a day during the week of May 5, and that’s nearly double the roughly 150,000 daily tests performed in early April. The number of new tests per day that experts say is needed to fully control the outbreak ranges from 500,000 to tens of millions, depending on the plan. Read more.


French minister resists idea of U.S. getting a Sanofi vaccine first

A French minister has warned French drug giant Sanofi that it would be unacceptable for them to give priority to the U.S. market if it develops a COVID-19 vaccine. Deputy Finance Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher was responding to comments by Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, who said “the U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk.” Pannier-Runacher said, “For us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access to such and such a country for financial reasons.” Read more.


Wuhan plans to test all 11 million residents

Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the worldwide outbreak, is planning to test 11 million residents for COVID-19. The plan is in early stages with all districts in Wuhan told to submit details as to how testing could be done within 10 days. Wuhan recorded six new cases over the past weekend. It had previously seen no new cases since April 3. Wuhan reopened its city on April 8. Read more.


WHO director says novel coronavirus may join mix of viruses that kill people yearly

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said the novel coronavirus may join the mix of viruses that kill people around the world every year. “This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV hasn’t gone away,” said Dr. Ryan. “I’m not comparing the two diseases, but I think it is important that we’re realistic. I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, was more optimistic. “The trajectory of this outbreak is in our hands,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove. “The global community has come together to work in solidarity. We have seen countries bring this virus under control. We have seen countries use public health measures.” Read more.


Weekly U.S. unemployment claims close to 3 million again, though declining since March

The U.S. Department of Labor said that 2.98 million people filed new unemployment claims last week. Although the weekly tally of new claims has been declining since late March, the latest count pushed the eight-week total above 36 million. The U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the United States was experiencing an economic hit “without modern precedent.” Read more.