Coronavirus pandemic in the US
Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has ended for the day. Follow the latest updates from around the globe here.
Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez says he hopes Major League Baseball will return in July despite the pandemic.
“I know that Major League Baseball officials are working around the clock,” Rodriguez told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “I think they will let science lead the way.”
The former Yankees star remains optimistic that Major League Baseball will return in the summer, but said it’s not just players that officials need to think about before the start of the season.
“There’s also coaches that are over 65,” he said. “There’s umpires. There’s kids that have asthma. So there’s a lot of variables and factors that are being considered that are not really being talked about. But I am still very hopeful and optimistic.”
Rodriguez continued to lay out what would need to occur for national baseball to return in the middle of a pandemic.
“The 30 owners and the players association have to come to an agreement on what is going to be the payment.,” he said. “Will there be additional concessions with those people in the stands, without any fans? And those are going to be big issues that are being talked about right now. After they come up with an agreement, hopefully July is the right time.”
Burnett discussed baseball games underway in Taiwan where fans are sitting apart from one another and in South Korea, where the stands are empty. Asked if the former MLB star could imagine playing without fans, Rodriguez said, “no.”
"The game is all about fans," Rodriguez said. "They’re the shareholders. They’re really owners of our game. We have the privilege to play, or manage or broadcast in my case now, but fans are a big part of it. The fans come out to the stadium, but they also watch at home. And America’s never been hungrier for sports and baseball. It is America’s favorite pastime, and I do think America needs its comfort food and that’s baseball."
Contact tracing was performed inside the White House after Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for coronavirus, a senior White House official said.
Everyone who Miller came in contact with tested negative including her husband, Stephen Miller, senior adviser to the President.
More on this: The White House is making sure staff wears masks in the residence. And Covid-19 tests and temperature checks have been boosted throughout the West Wing.
The official also said the entire West Wing is being sanitized more frequently. The official said “it’s not perfect” but they are trying to boost measures to be an example to businesses around the country on how to deal with the virus.
North Dakotans are now permitted to travel to other states without having to quarantine for two weeks when they get home, Gov. Doug Burgum said Friday.
“This allows for people to travel freely within the United States and releases requirements for people returning to our state, even from those areas that were previously defined as high outbreak areas; releases people from having to self isolate or quarantine when they come back. The exception to this is international travelers,” he said.
State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte on Friday amended the previously issued order that required anyone returning to North Dakota to quarantine for 14 days.
“Although the travel quarantine order now allows for domestic travel, the NDDoH (North Dakota Department of Health) continues to strongly recommend that North Dakotans limit travel to essential errands, travel necessary for essential work and to provide medical or home care to others,” Tufte said.
Those traveling for essential work or for essential supplies and services were and continue to be exempt, according to the orders.
A new study is starting to see if adding an anti-inflammatory drug to the antiviral drug remdesivir can help coronavirus patients recover more quickly.
The US National Institutes of Health said it was beginning a randomized, controlled clinical trial of remdesivir plus baricitinib, usually prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Remdesivir has emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for use against Covid-19. One NIH-sponsored trial showed it reduced the duration of illness by a few days. The hope is that adding another drug will help patients improve even more quickly.
Researchers hope baricitinib, sold under the brand name Olumiant, can help control a condition called a cytokine storm in which the body’s immune system overreacts causing severe inflammation. It causes some of the organ damage and failure seen in severe cases of Covid-19.
“We now have solid data showing that remdesivir diminishes to a modest degree the time to recovery for people hospitalized with COVID-19,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “(The study) will examine if adding an anti-inflammatory agent to the remdesivir regimen can provide additional benefit for patients, including improving mortality outcomes.”
The agency said it expects to enroll more than 1,000 people in the double-blind study in the US and internationally.
Half the participants, who must be hospitalized with serious cases of Covid-19 to take part in the study, will receive baricitinib orally and remdesivir intravenously. The other half will receive placebo tablets and remdesivir through an IV, the NIH said.
Researchers are will try and determine if the drug combination leads to a shorter recovery time. They’ll also look for secondary outcomes between the two groups, the NIH said, including death.
A combination of three antiviral drugs plus an immune system boosting drug seemed to help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus infections, doctors in Hong Kong reported Friday.
They said the approach needs more testing but it could offer another treatment possibility for Covid-19 patients. Currently the only authorized treatment is the experimental drug remdesivir, which also shortens the duration of illness but which is in limited supply.
Kwok-Yung Yuen at Hong Kong University and colleagues tested the HIV drug combination of ritonavir and lopanivir along with the general antiviral drug ribavirin and a multiple sclerosis drug called beta interferon.
The patients all had mild to moderate symptoms. Some doctors think treating patients earlier in the course of the infection might be better.
Yuen’s team gave some patients only the HIV drugs, often sold under the brand name Kaletra. Others were randomly assigned to receive the ritonavir/lopanivir combination plus the antiviral drug ribavirin and beta interferon.
The patients who got the cocktail tested negative for coronavirus after seven days on average. Those who just got the HIV drugs were positive on average for 12 days, the team reported in the Lancet medical journal.
The patients given the cocktail also felt better quicker.
“Early triple antiviral therapy was safe and superior to lopinavir–ritonavir alone in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of viral shedding and hospital stay in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19,” the researchers wrote.
According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, at least 77,126 people have died from coronavirus.
The first known US coronavirus-related fatality was Feb. 6, which was 92 days ago.
Kansas now has 6,501 positive coronavirus cases, which represents an increase of 357 from yesterday.
The state also has 152 coronavirus-related deaths, which includes five new deaths from Thursday, said Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Kansas is currently monitoring 76 clusters that account for nearly half of the total number of state's Covid-19 cases, Norman said Friday.
Washington state is allowing five of its 39 counties to move on to the second phase of the reopening plan.
Businesses in Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties will be allowed to offer in-store retail services. Restaurants will also be allowed to serve dine-in customers, but with less than half of their normal capacity. Salons and pet groomers can also operate.
“We recognize COVID-19 is impacting some parts of our state in different ways and some counties will be ready to move forward earlier than others,” Secretary of Health John Weisman said in a written statement.
Although Washington state had some of the first hotspots in the coronavirus outbreak in the US, the five counties have fewer than three confirmed coronavirus cases, and no recorded deaths. Gov. Jay Inslee said he is considering requests from three other counties.