HHS announces new funding for health care providers following criticism over delays
From CNN's Tami Luhby
The Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it is taking additional steps to provide federal coronavirus relief funding to health care providers and hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured.
The agency, which has come under fire in recent weeks for delays in distributing the $175 billion in federal support that Congress authorized in late March and April, expects to dole out about $15 billion to providers that participate in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program but have not yet received payments from the relief fund that Congress authorized. The money is intended to compensate those that lost revenue or had increased expenses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The additional funding is expected to support several hundred thousand more providers, including pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, dentists, opioid treatment and mental health specialists, assisted living facilities and other home and community providers.
Also, safety net hospitals that serve a large share of low-income Americans and the uninsured will receive $10 billion this week.
12:19 p.m. ET, June 9, 2020
NYC will expand program that offers low-cost health care to battle Covid-19 disparities, mayor says
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the NYC Care program will expand to Queens and Manhattan four months ahead of schedule in order to help fight health care disparities exposed by Covid-19.
De Blasio said the virus taught “painful lessons” on disparity and lack of equality in the city, adding that Covid-19 did “horrific” damage in communities of color.
The approximately $37.5 million expansion is expected to reach 54,000 residents – with 44,000 in Queens and 10,000 in Manhattan.
The program provides access to low-cost and no-cost primary care for those who are ineligible or can’t afford insurance.
It currently is serving the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
The program is part of the ongoing city's initiative to guarantee health care for everyone regardless of immigration status, according to previous CNN reporting on the health care initiative.
The city will hire 26 providers to ensure a new primary care appointment in two weeks.
There is a strong focus on mental health as well, De Blasio said.
His wife, first lady Chirlane McCray, said NYC will reach 10,000 residents in the hardest hit neighborhoods from July to December working with 270 frontline community and faith-based organizations.
The city will deliver one-hour virtual trainings on mental health and disaster response and coping mechanisms.
12:21 p.m. ET, June 9, 2020
NYC mayor says 1% of people tested citywide were positive for Covid-19, a record low
From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
Calling it an “extraordinary” day for the city, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the percentage of people citywide who tested positive for Covid-19 – which needs to be under the threshold of 15% – is at 1%.
The mayor said this is “unbelievably good news.”
All of the city's markers for indicators of the Covid-19 virus are under their thresholds, de Blasio said Tuesday.
People admitted to hospitals for suspected Covid-19 – which needs to be under the threshold 200 – is at 52. The daily number of people in intensive care units – which needs to be under the threshold 375 — is today at 337.
Masks will still be mandatory in Spain after state of emergency ends
From CNN’s Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Spain
Wearing masks will continue to be mandatory even after Spain’s state of emergency is lifted on June 21, and the country enters a period of “new normality.”
The Spanish Cabinet approved today a health safety measures decree that will be implemented immediately following the end of the state of emergency. The decree law will go to the Spanish Parliament tomorrow, where it's expected to be approved.
In it, Covid-19 is declared an “urgent mandatory notifiable disease,” with an emphasis on prevention, containment and coordination to keep the spread of the coronavirus in check.
Spain’s 17 regions must continue reporting relevant health information to Madrid to guarantee the National Health System’s ability to respond to public health emergencies.
PCR tests must be performed on all suspected Covid-19 carriers as urgently as possible, to contain and prevent any possible future outbreaks. Health officials have said that the current time between noticeable symptoms and a diagnosis has been reduced to just two days on average, far quicker than earlier during the height of the pandemic in Spain.
Provisions to guarantee coordination with the national health system and contingency plans for residences housing seniors and people living with disabilities are to be put in place, in order to facilitate early detection of possible cases among those residents and the workers who take care of them, and to have their contact information readily available.
Obligatory use of masks in public spaces will continue, with possible fines up to 100 euros for not complying with the measure. Spain's prime minister said on Sunday that this would apply to everyone six years and older.
Here's what else to expect, according to the decree:
In workplaces and in public spaces, social distancing measures, along with the wearing of masks will continue.
Airports will have health controls to check international arrivals.
A national reserve of personal protective equipment, PPE, such as masks and hand sanitizers must be available at all times to guarantee supply.
The norms outlined in the decree do not have an expiry date. The government’s chief spokesperson and Finance Minister María Jesús Montero said at a press conference Tuesday, that “Although we have better control of the illness, and we’re better prepared as a country, until we have a vaccine, or an effective treatment, the virus will continue being a threat to our security.”
10:53 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
Human trial begins in China on another potential Covid-19 antibody therapy
From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen
Doctors dosed a healthy volunteer on Monday with an antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly and Chinese company Junshi Biosciences to fight Covid-19.
The trial is underway in China. Lilly will start a complementary Phase one study in the United States in the next few days, the company said.
Scientists will first test to see if this antibody treatment, called JS016, is safe to be used in humans. If so, it will be tested to see if it if effective.
If this first phase is successful, more trials will run to determine how to use it most effectively.
The companies will also experiment to see if the antibody could be used on its own or if it would be more effective used in combination with other antibody candidates. JS016 appeared to neutralize the virus in the lab. Lilly and Junshi scientists are testing other potential antibodies in the lab to see which work best.
This is the second such antibody therapy trial from the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company. Lilly is testing another antibody treatment called LY-COV555 that the company developed with AbCellera.
Junshi Biosciences is leading development in greater China, according to Lilly, and Eli Lilly has exclusive rights to it in the rest of the world.
There are several other companies trying to create antibody therapies to fight Covid-19, including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which has said it expects to begin clinical trials this month.
Some background: Antibodies are proteins your body makes in the thousands that naturally fight off infection. To make an antibody therapy, scientists have to sort through thousands of antibodies to determine which work best to neutralize a particular threat.
Typically, drug developers will pick one and then clone it until there are enough monoclonal antibodies to put in a medicine.
Antibody treatments are currently used to treat some cancers, eye problems, chronic and infectious disease. The treatments can be used to treat symptoms or potentially as a protective medicine to prevent infection in vulnerable populations like the elderly or in health care workers.
11:06 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
WHO says "there's much unknown" about asymptomatic cases after an official suggested they're "rare"
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
The World Health Organization today addressed confusion surrounding an official's comments on Monday suggesting the spread of Covid-19 by asymptomatic people "appears to be rare."
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said yesterday that "it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual."
But then today, during the live Q&A, she clarified that "this is a major unknown."
"We do know that some people who are asymptomatic or some people who do not have symptoms can transmit the virus on — so what we need to better understand is how many people in the population don’t have symptoms," Van Kerkhove said.
She explained further:
"What I was referring to yesterday in the press conference were very few studies who tried to look at asymptomatic cases over time. … And that’s a very small subset of studies, and so I was responding to a question at the press conference. I wasn’t stating a policy," Van Kerkhove said. "Because this is a major unknown, because there are so many unknowns around this, some modeling groups had tried to estimate what is the proportion of asymptomatic people who may transmit."
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, also said during the live Q&A that there is still much to learn about the possible asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.
"Whatever proportion of disease is transmitting from asymptomatic individuals, as Maria said, that is unknown," Ryan said. "There’s much to be answered about this, there’s much unknown."
Ryan added that the virus, a pathogen that is present in the upper respiratory tract, transmits through droplets — such as when someone coughs or sneezes, but some research also suggests it can spread through speaking as well.
Previously, on Monday, Van Kerkhove said that what appear to be asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 often turn out to be cases of mild disease.
"When we actually go back and we say how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we find out that many have really mild disease," Van Kerkhove said on Monday.
Remember: A truly asymptomatic person does not have symptoms and does not go on to develop symptoms of Covid-19. Whereas, the term paucisymptomatic refers to having atypical or very mild symptoms and pre-symptomatic refers to the early stages of an illness, before symptoms have developed.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in planning scenarios that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick.
10:08 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
UN warns people in North Korea are starving during pandemic
From CNN's Anna Kam in Hong Kong
A UN human rights expert says that some people in North Korea are "starving," according to a press statement that was acquired by CNN.
Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur, explains that due to Covid-19 response, North Korea has shut its borders with China and this has "exacerbated the food crisis, devastating cross-border trade and sapping income from merchants."
Quintana encourages the UN Security Council to "reconsider sanctions" on North Korea due to the food crisis occurring in the communist country.
Quintana urges government and international action to ensure food supplies in North Korea to prevent starvation.
"A UN independent expert is alarmed that widespread food shortages and malnutrition in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been exacerbated by COVID-19 measures and has called for urgent Government and international action to ensure food supplies," the statement said.
10:12 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
Global airline industry expected to lose $84 billion in 2020
From CNN's Eoin McSweeney
The global airline industry will lose $84 billion in 2020 and then an additional $15 billion in 2021, according to a new forecast for the International Air Transport Association.
The association said the demand for air cargo and travel will rise sharply in 2021 — but passenger travel will still be nearly 30% lower than in 2019.
“By comparison, airlines lost $31 billion with the global financial crisis and the oil price spike in 2008-2009. So there's no comparable to the dimension of this crisis," Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in a press conference.
8:53 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
UK Department of Health will study coronavirus prevalence in schools
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy
The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a study into the prevalence of Covid-19 in schools.
The study will “assess and monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 among preschool, primary and secondary school pupils and teachers” the DHSC said in a press release.
The voluntary study conducted in conjunction with Public Health England (PHE) will gather data from 100 English schools, including 15 London schools, targeting around 200 staff and students in each school.
At least 40% of schools selected for the study will receive swab tests and antibody tests before the start of the summer holidays. Only a small proportion of the total selected schools will receive antibody tests.
According to the DHSC “generally children have been shown to be asymptomatic” to the virus, saying that this study will help to cement their understanding of the rates of transmission amongst minors.
Purpose of the study: Secretary for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said that the study would help the government to “better understand how common asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19 are so that we can support parents, pupils and teachers”.
Results for this study set be released in the summer will “play an important role in informing wider surveillance planned for educational settings in the autumn term” according to PHE Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr. Shamez Ladhani.