Coronavirus News – May 4

Coronavirus treatment drug remdesivir to arrive in hospitals this week

Remdesivir, the first possible scientifically proven treatment for battling COVID-19, will become available for U.S. hospitals in the coming week, said Daniel O’Day, CEO and chairman of Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA), the biotech company producing the drug. Gilead Sciences has donated 1.5 million vials to the U.S. government, enough to treat 150,000 to 200,000 patients. Federal health officials will outlay the drug “based on things like ICU beds, where the course of the epidemic is in the United States,” said O’Day. Read more.

U.S. Senate returns after five weeks since their last formal gathering

U.S. senators will return to the Capitol on Monday, more than five weeks after their last formal gathering and roll call votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has led efforts to resume Senate business. The chamber is set to consider several presidential nominations this week, including a confirmation vote for an agency official Monday. Sen. McConnell shared new Senate guidelines from Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, to avoid gatherings and wear masks when possible. The guidelines also advise members and others to maintain six feet of distance, limit staff and visitors in offices. Read more.

Workers at pork plant in Missouri test positive for coronavirus, all asymptomatic

More than 370 workers at Triumph Foods (Buchanan County, MO) have tested positive for coronavirus. All of them were asymptomatic. Testing at the plant has been ongoing since last week and results have been coming in over the past few days. As of April 30, at least 1,500 had been tested. Lab results indicate that 17% of those tested are positive for the virus. Those with positive test results have been asked to stay home and self-isolate. Read more.

‘Happy hypoxia’ confuses doctors treating coronavirus patients

A strange phenomenon dubbed “happy hypoxia” has confused doctors treating coronavirus patients, who described themselves as comfortable despite dangerously low oxygen levels that would typically leave them unconscious, or even dead. “There is a mismatch between what we see on the monitor and what the patient looks like in front of us,” Dr. Reuben Strayer, an emergency physician at Maimonides Medical Center (New York, NY), told Science Magazine. These patients with low oxygen levels have been observed to be scrolling on their phones, talking with their healthcare providers and describing themselves as generally comfortable. Read more.  

Italy emerges from world’s longest lockdown

Italy, the first country in the world to impose a national lockdown due to coronavirus, eased some restrictions on Monday as the number of new infections continued to decline. Parks and public gardens will reopen, people will be allowed to visit relatives within the same region, restaurants can provide takeaway services and athletes will be able to resume training for individual sports. Many other countries in Europe and around the world have also begun relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions or have announced plans to do so imminently. Read more.