A panel of U.S. physicians, statisticians, and other experts has developed treatment guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday.
These guidelines, intended for healthcare providers, are based on published and preliminary data and the clinical expertise of the panelists, many of whom are frontline clinicians caring for patients during the rapidly evolving pandemic, said the release.
The guidelines consider two broad categories of therapies currently in use against the novel coronavirus: antivirals, which may target the coronavirus directly, and host modifiers and immune-based therapies, which may influence the immune response to the virus or target the virus.
The guidelines also describe the evaluation and stratification of patients based on their risk of infection and severity of illness.
Recommendations are offered concerning the use of concomitant medications, including statins, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and certain drugs used to control high blood pressure, according to the release.
The number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the United States topped 823,000 as of Tuesday night, with over 44,800 deaths, according to data provided by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States Senate on Tuesday passed an additional coronavirus relief package worth $484 billion (N181 trillion) to address emerging public health and economic challenges occasioned by the pandemic.
Specifically, this will replenish a depleted loan package for small businesses and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment.
The unanimous approval followed marathon bipartisan negotiations between Democrats and the administration of President Donald Trump.
It came barely a month after the $2 trillion (N827 trillion) economic stimulus enacted by the government in March 27.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that $349 billion (N131 trillion) allocated to small businesses as loan in the first package fell sharply short of applications from distressed businesses.
The additional fund comprises $381 billion (N143 trillion) as soft loan for small businesses, $75 billion (N28 trillion) for hospitals and $25 billion (N9 trillion) for national coronavirus testing.
It has been sent to the House of Representatives for final passage later this week before it goes to the White House for presidential assent.
NAN reports that the U.S. economy has been badly hit by the pandemic, which has killed no fewer than 43,000 Americans.
No fewer than 22 million people have lost their jobs as states shut down and imposed stay-at-home rules to slow the spread of the virus.
President Trump is currently pushing for reopening of the economy and recently issued a three-phase plan to guide states in the process.
Some states have started reopening, but key areas of their economies will remain shut for weeks.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the White House will halt the immigration of green card recipients for 60 days while continuing to allow temporary workers on nonimmigrant visas to enter the country.
"I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States," Trump said at the White House briefing, citing coronavirus outbreak and jobs shortage.
"By pausing, we'll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs. It would be wrong to be replacing them with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad," said the U.S. president.
Seasonal farm laborers would not be affected by the measures, Trump added.
Trump said that attorneys were still working through the final details of the executive order. "We'll most likely sign it tomorrow."
The order would mark an extraordinary use of executive power by Trump, who has imposed travel restrictions on a group of nations and regions -- measures that have led to chaos abroad and at U.S. airports.
During his presidency, Trump has maintained a hardline stance on immigration and border security, and pushed for a series of controversial measures, including erecting a border wall along the nation's southern border with Mexico in a bid to deter illegal immigrants.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States reached 823,786 as of 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday (0000 GMT Wednesday), up 39,460 from 24 hours earlier, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season, according to a report of The Washington Post.
"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Redfield was quoted as saying. "And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean."
"We are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," he said.
Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he told The Washington Post.
Redfield's comments came as several U.S. states are preparing to reopen their economies.
Officials need to stress the continued importance of social distancing as stay-at-home orders are lifted, Redfield was quoted as saying.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has topped 823,000 as of Tuesday evening, with over 44,800 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 800,000 on Tuesday with deaths surpassing 43,000, while Americans are increasingly divided over when and how to reopen the economy.
The country's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 804,194 with a death toll of 43,200 by 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) on Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
New York state remains to be the hardest-hit state with 257,125 cases and 18,821 deaths. New Jersey followed with 88,806 cases and 4,520 deaths.
Other states with over 30,000 cases include Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan and Illinois, according to the CSSE.
In the wake of the pandemic and its economic fallout, governors of U.S. states, such as Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, and Louisiana, have recently announced moves intended to restart economy and public life in their states.
The decisions came as anti-quarantine protests were popping up nationwide, in which attendees argued that stay-at-home orders aimed at limiting the spread of the virus were unnecessary or have gone on for too long.
The ongoing tension in the country was vividly captured by a viral video showing two health care workers dressed in scrubs and protective masks counter-protesting against a rally on Sunday in Denver, Colorado.
The scene was "remarkable" and the two health care workers "are standing in the crosswalk during red lights as a 'reminder,' they say, of why shutdown measures are in place," tweeted local reporter Chase Woodruff.
According to a report released Monday by Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the United States will need to administer 20 million tests for the novel coronavirus each day by mid-summer in order to fully re-mobilize the economy in a safe fashion.
Some governors complained that the federal government has not followed through on its responsibility to help states get access to supplies. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, said on Monday that states, not the federal government, should be doing the testing.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been saying for days that New York cannot reopen for business until a testing regime has been established to determine who is safe to go back to work, but without federal aid, the states are not equipped to scale up.
New York will reopen at a different rate on a regional basis based on that region's facts and circumstances, Cuomo said Tuesday at his daily news briefing.
"Just like some states will reopen before other states because they have a different circumstance when it comes to Covid and their status with Covid, it's also true across the state," Cuomo said.
New Hampshire may take a phased approach to the loosening of the state's stay-at-home order at some point, Governor Chris Sununu said Tuesday afternoon.
"This is not an open/close situation, it just isn't, nor should it be," he said. "We've always said public health has to be preeminent, has to be one of the key factors that we are looking at when we take any step."
Noticing some counties are starting to loosen restrictions, California Governor Gavin Newsom warned them that doing so could lead to a rise in cases.
"I caution those elected officials that practicing physical distancing has worked to keep those numbers relatively modest in terms of growth, but if we pull back too quickly, those numbers will go through the roof," Newsom said.
Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious disease, on Monday urged caution for states to reopen and warned that moving too quickly may backfire.
"Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC's "Good Morning America."
U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed their close cooperation to reopen global economies during a phone conversation on Tuesday, according to the White House.
"President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson reaffirmed their close cooperation through the G7 and G20 to reopen global economies and ensure medical care and supplies reach all those in need," the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral trade and global issues. "The Prime Minister shared that he is feeling better and on the road to recovery," it said.
Both countries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 800,000 Tuesday afternoon, including over 43,900 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The United Kingdom reported 129,044 COVID-19 cases, including 17,337 deaths, the nation's department of health and social care said earlier in the day.
President Muhammadu Buhari has received more condolence messages from African leaders over passing of former Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the latest condolences came from Presidents of Guinea Bissau, Umaru Embalo; Guinea (Conakry), Alpha Conde; Liberia, George Weah; and Benin Republic, Patrice Talon,
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In a letter, the President of Guinea Bissau said:
“At this moment of pain, on behalf of the People of the Republic of Guinea Bissau and myself, I would like to express to you, and through Your Excellency, the family of the deceased, members of staff of the Presidential Office and the Nigerian People, our deep condolences and sincere feelings of compassion.
“Mr Kyari actively contributed on strengthening relations and cooperation between our two countries and he will be deeply missed, and remembered for those of us who worked closely and shared experience with him.’’
Others who sent messages to President Buhari are: Mr Kikuta Yutaka, Ambassador of Japan; Omba Olenga, Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Congo; and Amadou S.O. Taal, Charge D’Affairs, Gambia High Commission.
The presidential aide revealed that the Embassy of the State of Libya and Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania; Amb. Hassan Tukur, former Principal Secretary to President Goodluck Jonathan; and Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information, also sent their condolences to the president.
Shehu disclosed that Hajiya Nuratu Batagarawa, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, and Prof. Dick Adzenge, Benue State-born Professor of Law and Jurisprudence in the United States, also commiserated with the president.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Air Canada said on Tuesday that it's suspending all scheduled flights to the United States for four weeks starting on April 27.
The suspension came after the Canadian and U.S. governments agreed to extend cross-border restrictions to non-essential travel for another 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The border travel restrictions were set to expire on April 21 but were officially renewed on Saturday.
Air Canada's last scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Canada will be on April 26.
The Canadian airline said in a news release that it will resume its service to the United States on May 22 if there is no further extension.
Since the border closing on March 21, the airline has maintained limited service to 11 destinations in the United States to facilitate the repatriation of Canadians.
Air Canada has reduced its flight operations by more than 90 percent since mid-March.
Except Air Canada, the country's other airlines were also forced to suspend most of their operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed his administration to work on a plan to get funding to the oil and gas industries as a steep sell-off in oil futures continued.
"We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future!"
At a White House press briefing on Monday, Trump said that the United States was "looking to" add as much as 75 million barrels of oil to its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) "based on the record low price of oil".
U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the U.S. government is taking "aggressive and appropriate steps" to help the oil industry during the pandemic, and he is eyeing the Federal Reserve's Main Street lending program to help oil companies.
Fueled by pandemic-related demand shock and oversupply fears, the soon-to-expire May contract for U.S. oil futures prices crashed to the negative territory for the first time in history on Monday.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery shed 55.9 U.S. dollars, or over 305 percent, to settle at -37.63 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, implying that producers would pay buyers to take oil off their hands.
The May contract managed to turn positive as of midday Tuesday. However, the most-active June contract for the U.S. benchmark plunged more than 30 percent to settle around 11.57 dollars a barrel.
The oil and gas industries have seen a historic sell-off amid the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 40 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas producers face insolvency within the year if crude prices remain near 30 dollars a barrel, according to a recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
"Expectations for future activity also fell to their lowest level since late 2014, as most firms do not expect energy prices to return to profitable levels this year," said Chad Wilkerson, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.