As the number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus passed 45,000 on Tuesday (April 21st), according to the count from Johns Hopkins University, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned there could be a second outbreak of the disease in the country this winter, which could be made worse because it will coincide with flu season. Director Robert Redfield said in a Washington Post interview published yesterday that could overwhelm hospitals and doctors' offices, which are already strained during a bad flu season. He called for states to spend the next few months readying for the next phase by continuing to observe social distancing, scaling up testing and contact tracing, and emphasizing the importance of getting flu shots.
The day after President Trump posted a late-night tweet saying he'd sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration to the U.S. due to the pandemic and the economic fallout, Trump on Tuesday announced a 60-day suspension of issuing green cards, which grant permanent residency, with the goal of limiting competition for jobs. He said there would be exemptions but didn't name them, saying the order was still being written. The order doesn't affect those who come to the U.S. as temporary workers on non-immigrant visas.
Attorney General Bill Barr said yesterday that the Justice Department may take legal action against governors over strict restrictions like stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic that infringe on constitutional rights if they continue even after the crisis improves in their states. Barr said on The Hugh Hewitt Show that such measures are justified up to a point, but states should eventually move to more targeted measures. He said, "We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place, and if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs."
In other developments:
Study: No Benefits, More Deaths from Hydroxychloroquine : The drug hydroxychloroquine, which was repeatedly touted by President Trump as a possible treatment for the coronavirus, showed no benefit in a study of its use in U.S. veterans' hospitals, and there were more deaths in those who were given the drug. In the nationwide study of 368 patients, about 28 percent who were given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 11 percent who just got routine care, and its use made no difference in the need for a ventilator.
Regulators Approve First At-Home Test : U.S. health regulators yesterday approved the first coronavirus test that lets people collect their own sample at home. The test kit includes cotton swabs, a collection tube, an insulated pouch and box to ship the specimen back to LabCorp for processing. A cotton swab is swirled in each nostril to get a sample. The test from LabCorp will initially only be available for health care workers and first respondents under a doctor's orders. The company said they'll be available in the coming weeks.