WASHINGTON — The US has surpassed 7,000 deaths and some state leaders say there’s still a lot they’re missing in the battle against the coronavirus.
As cases rise, testing has become crucial in tracking how many Americans have been infected, but states like Illinois say they still don’t have enough.
“Everything about the tests are very difficult to come by, and there’s no federal plan for this so every state is on their own — as I’ve said it’s the wild West out here,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of US coronavirus cases, there have been at least 277,953 Americans infected.
In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday the government should ramp up its efforts to push for more personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, saying the state had received some, but not all of the PPE they had asked for.
“We’re grateful for these supplies. But to be clear, we’ve gotten just 33% of what we’ve asked for and they’ve told us not to expect more anytime soon,” he said.
“This pandemic is a war. And we need the armor to fight it,” Cooper said.
President Donald Trump said earlier this week theUS Strategic National Stockpile is nearly depleted.
“Governments at all levels, hospitals, law enforcement and others are competing against each other for a scarce amount of personal protective equipment,” Cooper said.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said the state had increased its efforts in upping hospital bed capacity and buying personal protective equipment.
“We try to buy (PPE). It’s really hard. The federal government buys most all of it.”
Beshear called on residents to donate any equipment they have available, saying the state was in great need of gloves.
“We believe this is the next area where there’s going to be another big run in the United States,” the governor said in a statement.
Government announced new face cloth guidelines
In its latest efforts to prevent further spread of the virus, the White House announced Friday the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending people wear cloth face coverings when in public.
“It’s really going to be a voluntary thing,” Trump said. “I’m not choosing to do it.”
The president’s announcement came days after a panel of experts advised the White House on new research that suggests coronavirus could be spread by talking and possibly even just breathing.
But public health experts at the CDC said they felt “pressured” by the White House to draft recommendations and were under “intense pressure” to draft the new guidelines on face coverings quickly, a senior federal health official involved in discussions said.
“The CDC would not have gone this direction if not for the White House,” the official told CNN. “We would have tried more to understand about asymptomatic transmission. We would have done more studies if we had more time.”
Here’s what else happened this week:
- Now all but eight states across the US have issued stay at home orders. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top health expert, has said he doesn’t understand why all states haven’t issued an order by now. But Trump has previously saidhe will not issue a nationwide order, saying Friday he will continue to leave that decision to governors.
- The President also said the next two weeks would be “very, very rough” for the US.White House experts cited a model this week that showed more than 2,000 Americans could die each day by mid-April.
- Earlier this week, White House experts predicted at least 100,000 Americans could die from the virus — and that’s if residents strictly abide by federal social distancing guidelines, which were extended for another month. Without those measures in place, deaths could be as many as 2.2 million, White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx said. New evidence also suggested about a quarter of US coronavirus carriers have no symptoms, according to the CDC.
- In some areas, officials say they believe social distancing measures have begun to pay off. Health officials in Washington state’s King County — the country’s first epicenter — said they were beginning a “positive impact” from less people coming into contact with each other.
NY nurse: Patients appear sicker than last week
Kelley Bradshaw, a New York hospital intensive care unit nurse says the patients they are treating this week appear sicker compared to last week. She says it’s not just the lungs. They are seeing patients whose heart and kidneys are being affected as well.
“The pathophysiology of this thing is it starts out with the lungs and then a patient may start to have some respiratory insufficiency, meaning they need some oxygen supplementation and then that might not be enough so they need different modalities, i.e. they need a breathing tube and then after that happens, then sometimes different organ systems start to get affected like the kidneys,” she said.
“There’s just a lot of unpredictability with these patients and it just feels like the longer someone battles this virus and the more critically ill they become, the harder our job gets,” she said.
She told CNN they’ve expanded their ICU unit to handle more patients, and while they still have all the protective equipment they need, they’re careful not to exhaust it in case they still have a lot of coronavirus patients three weeks from now.
“They do have to keep it very — it is very regulated, meaning that we can’t just blow through it, because we don’t know what’s coming next,” she said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign an executive order that will allow the state to take ventilators and medical supplies from institutions that aren’t using them in order to relieve downstate medical facilities.
Cuomo is asking upstate hospitals to loan up to 20% of their unused ventilators.
“Moreover, when the pandemic wave hits upstate New York, the governor will ask downstate hospitals for similar help,” Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, said in a statement. “We are not upstate or downstate we are one state and we act that way.”