What We're Reading: Contact Tracers Needed; Coronavirus Vaccine Partnership Formed; Border Medical Facilities Overwhelmed

June 5, 2020

The United States could need up to 100,000 contact tracers to help contain a possible second wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); AstraZeneca is partnering to distribute an experimental COVID-19 vaccine by year-end; California border medical facilities continue to be overwhelmed by cases of the virus.

CDC’s Redfield Predicts US Need for COVID-19 Contact Tracers

To head off a second coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wave in the United States, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, announced yesterday in a hearing before Congress a need for at least 30,000—maybe as much as 100,000—contact tracers, reports The Hill. To ensure these numbers are met by September, Congress is providing state funding, the CDC Foundation is lending a hand, and Redfield hopes AmeriCorps can provide additional staff. This is a stark contrast to the 300,000 former CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said the United States would need.

AstraZeneca, CEPI, Gavi Partnering to Produce Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine

Up to 2 billion doses of an experimental COVID-19 could become available by the end of this year, according to Stat, if the partnership between AstraZeneca, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is successful. The United States could receive 300 million of these doses, and the United Kingdom could get 100 million. An additional licensing agreement between AstraZeneca and SII (the former Serum Institute of India) would distribute 1 billion doses of the vaccine, created by Oxford University, to low- and middle-income countries.

Hospitals and Medical Facilities on California, Mexico Border at Capacity

Emergency departments in hospitals and other medical centers located close to the United States-Mexico border in California continue to be flooded with COVID-19 cases, notes Kaiser Health News. Physicians and hospital officials link this to ongoing travel between the 2 countries of US citizens and legal residents living in Mexico coming to the United States for treatment. Between May 31 and June 2 alone, there was a 25% increase in cases of patients with the virus at these facilities.