What We're Reading: Fla. COVID-19 Cases Lower; Treatment Confusion; CDC Report Withheld

May 7, 2020
AJMC Staff

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has not affected Florida as much as previously thought; despite emergency use authorization, remdesivir distribution is confusing many; a CDC report meant to provide guidance on reopening the country will apparently not be released.

Florida Cases of COVID-19 Lower Than Expected

Numbers coming out of the Sunshine State show Florida is staying ahead of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, reports The Hill. With just 3.9% of COVID-19 cases (1471 of 37,439) resulting in death, the state ranks eighth in confirmed cases of the disease even though it has the third-largest population in the nation. Experts credit local governments who issued stay-at-home orders prior to Governor Ron DeSantis’ statewide lockdown, as well as the elderly population who self-quarantined from the start. Even as the state enters phase 1 of its reopening, testing will continue to expand, with pharmacies now being allowed to administer tests and blood donations being randomly sampled for antibodies.

Remdesivir Distribution Is Confusing to Many

Last week, the FDA issued an emergency use declaration for remdesivir to treat patients with COVID-19, but why certain hospitals were picked to receive it and others passed over concerns many, STAT News notes. Many physicians and medical professionals complain about a lack of consensus surrounding the criteria needed to qualify to receive the drug while those who are set to receive it express concern there won’t be enough for their patients or nearby hospitals and medical centers. Originally developed by Gilead Sciences to treat the Ebola virus, the drug is still considered investigational and is not approved or licensed for use in any country. The supply being used to treat patients with COVID-19 is limited, coming from what is not needed for clinical research.

CDC Guidance to Reopening the Country Will Not Be Released

With some states slowly starting to try and return to business as usual, the CDC’s “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework” will not be available to help guide their decisions, The Associated Press says. Meant to assist businesses, faith leaders, child care providers and educators, among many others, the 17-page document was originally slated for release on Friday, May 1. The report quoted someone close to the the coronavirus task force saying that CDC leadership had not cleared the release of the guidance, which is not mandatory. This news comes as President Donald Trump has deferred to letting states decide when they want to reopen, while those same states are seeking science-backed guidance to help them make the most informed decisions on doing so.