Coronavirus News – May 19

BARDA awards $354M contract to Phlow Corp. to manufacture generic meds, pharm ingredients

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has awarded a $354 million, four-year contract to Phlow Corp. (Richmond, VA), a new company, to manufacture generic medicines and pharmaceutical ingredients needed to treat COVID-19. Currently, most of these ingredients are made overseas, mostly in India and China. The contract may be extended for a total of $812 million over 10 years. Read more.


President Trump threatens to permanently withhold U.S. funding to WHO

President Donald Trump issued a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO), threatening to permanently withhold U.S. funding from WHO and reconsider membership in the global health body. “My administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization. But action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste,” the letter read. President Trump froze WHO funding about one month ago. Read more.


San Francisco Bay Area coronavirus hospitalizations hit key milestone, down more than half from peak

The number of COVID-19 patients in the San Francisco Bay Area has dropped by more than half since its peak over one month ago. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week that California will relax its criteria for counties that want to reopen faster than the state. The framework includes showing that their hospitalization rates remain stable and the number of coronavirus patients has not increased by more than 5% during the past seven days. Read more.


Georgia reported cases decline due to data coding error

The Georgia Department of Public Health published a count of statewide COVID-19 cases over the weekend that declined in rate because the agency corrected a data coding error, spokesperson Nancy Nydam said. The agency mistakenly logged the results of 231 tests that check for COVID-19 antibodies as diagnostic tests, causing them to be coded as confirmed cases of COVID-19. The case count declined when the error was corrected. Current confirmed cases in Georgia are approximately 38,000. Read more.


California begins to reopen parking lots in state parks

Parking lots are beginning to reopen in California’s state parks. The state has partially reopened lots at 27 state parks and beaches in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Sonoma, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as the Lake Tahoe area and other rural parts of the state. In most reopened lots, 50% or less of the parking spaces will be available. California has 280 state parks. As of this week, 244 were open and 36 were closed. The parking lots had been closed as a way to encourage only local visitors and reduce crowd size. Read more.