March 30 coronavirus news
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with Covid-19.
The drugs -- which are used to treat malaria and other conditions -- have been called game changers by President Donald Trump.
But thus far, there is little scientific evidence that chloroquine, or its closely-related analogue hydroxychloroquine, are effective in treating Covid-19.
What happened? The authorization came in a letter dated Saturday, but the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged the FDA’s action in a Sunday news release. The FDA limited the scope of its authorization to drugs supplied from the Strategic National Stockpile. The HHS announced that two pharmaceutical companies -- Bayer and a division of Novartis -- had donated the drugs to the stockpile.
Do the drugs work? In its statement, HHS said:
“Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
"The safety profile of these drugs has only been studied for FDA approved indications, not COVID-19."
While there's limited evidence on the efficacy of chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine, the FDA said the drugs’ benefits outweighed their risk. In its letter, the FDA encouraged randomized clinical trials that could assess the effectiveness of the drugs. It also noted that the known and potential benefits outweigh the risks.
Who can the drugs be used to treat? The authorization is limited to patients who are currently hospitalized and weigh at least 50kg, or about 110 pounds. Under the emergency use authorization, health care providers must contact their local or state health department to access the drugs.
The Philippines recorded 343 new coronavirus infections on Sunday -- the largest single-day increase in cases since the outbreak began.
Those cases bring the countrywide number of coronavirus cases to 1,418, according to the country's Department of Health.
The Department of Health also reported three additional fatalities due to the coronavirus, bringing the death toll in the Philippines to 71.
There are only two states in the United States with no reported coronavirus deaths as of 8 p.m. EST Sunday, according to a tally compiled by CNN using official data.
Those states are Hawaii and Wyoming.
On Sunday night, West Virginia reported its first coronavirus death. On Saturday, the state of Rhode Island reported two coronavirus deaths, and on Sunday, it announced a third death.
Mainland China reported 31 new novel coronavirus cases as of the end of day Sunday, bringing the national total to 81,470, according to the National Health Commission.
All but one of the new cases are from inbound travelers.
One case was transmitted domestically in the country's north-central Gansu province. The country's current active cases of Covid-19 now stands at 2,396.
In addition, China reported four new Covid-19 deaths. All four were in Wuhan -- ground zero of the pandemic -- taking the country’s death toll to 3,304.
Of the 81,470 cases in the country, a total of 75,770 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Both Nigeria's largest city and its capital city will be under a "cessation of movement" for 14 days, said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in a Sunday address, which was published on Twitter.
Based on advice from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Buhari issued an order prohibiting all movements in Lagos and Federal Capital Territory for 14 days. The order will go into effect Monday at 11 p.m. local time.
"As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can," said Buhari.
Citizens in areas effected by Buhari's order will be required to stay in their homes and businesses and offices "should be fully closed during this period," Buhari said. Businesses involved in health care, food processing and distribution, petroleum, power and private security are exempt from the order. Workers in telecommunications and the media who prove they are unable to work from home are also exempt.
Nigeria has more than 100 coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
President Donald Trump announced Sunday he is extending social distancing guidelines until April 30.
"We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people," Trump said.
Modeling shows that the peak of the death rate will likely hit in two weeks, Trump said.
"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks, so I will say it again, the peak, highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks.
Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said.
Trump said he hopes the country will be on its way to recovery by June 1.
"We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening," Trump said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters in the Rose Garden Sunday that it’s "entirely conceivable" that more than 1 million people in the US could contract coronavirus, but added that mitigation and extending guidelines through April will hopefully curb those numbers.
"The number I gave out is, you know, based on modeling," Fauci said, explaining the models he discussed on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning.
Fauci said it was possible up to 100,000 could die from the virus.
"What we’re trying to do is not to let that happen," he said.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the decision to extend the mitigation process until the end of April a "wise and prudent decision."
He added that he and Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the plans and that the President accepted their recommendation.
New York City residents who violate social distancing policies will receive a summons and fines ranging from $250 to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
People will be fined if they are told by officers to disperse, keep moving or maintain distance, but they continue to violate policies anyway.
"If you ignore that order … we’re going to have to fine you. We’re going to give people every chance to listen and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point," de Blasio said.
US stock futures were lower Sunday night after President Donald Trump announced an extension of the social distancing guidelines to April 30.
Dow futures were down 371 points, or about 1.7%. S&P 500 futures fell around 1.8% and Nasdaq futures were down around 1.5%.
Stocks turned positive last week, and the Dow even left the bear market after climbing more than 20% from its recent low as lawmakers and central bankers around the world made progress on measures to bolster economies weakened by coronavirus.