1 Million Americans Infected With Coronavirus

The latest in COVID-19

Quick Take

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has outlined a phased reopening plan starting  May 15th.

  • Dr. Deborah Birx says the US needs a technological breakthrough to screen the U.S. population on a scalable level.

  • IRS makes enhancements to the Get My Payment application, providing an update for millions of Americans left waiting for payment.

  • All patients from the USNS Comfort hospital ship in New York City have been discharged.

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Globally, there are more than 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 207k fatalities. The U.S. has reached a grim milestone of 1 million infections and 55k fatalities.

Middle-Aged People Are Dying Of Strokes

Last week we reported on Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, who shared details about people in their 30’s and 40’s experiencing sudden stroke from coronavirus. Many other hospitals in communities hit hard by the virus have also been reporting strokes in young and middle-aged patients.

Now for the first time, three large U.S. medical centers are preparing to publish data on the stroke phenomenon. There are only a few dozen cases per location, but the data provides new insights into what the virus does to the human body. The analysis suggests that coronavirus patients are mostly experiencing the deadliest type of stroke.

Large Vessel Occlusions (LVO) can damage large parts of the brain responsible for movement, speech, and decision-making. Many researchers suspect strokes may be a direct consequence of blood problems that are producing clots in some COVID-19 patients. Many doctors have expressed worry as the New York City Fire Department was picking up four times as many people who died at home than normal during the peak of infection.

Cuomo Announces Phased Reopening Strategy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has outlined a phased reopening plan enabling certain businesses to open after May 15th, which is when the state’s lockdown order is set to expire.

The reopening will initially be restricted to construction and manufacturing businesses in the least hard-hit regions. The governor suggested that the state’s populous southern section, including New York City and its suburbs, would not reopen any time soon.

The second phase of reopening is going to be up to each individual business who will be given a matrix analysis to determine how risky it would be for them to reopen. Businesses would be responsible for outlining how they will put safety precautions in place. New York reported just 367 deaths over the last 24 hours, its lowest daily death toll since March.

All Patients Discharged From USNS Comfort Hospital

All patients from the USNS Comfort hospital ship in New York City have also been discharged. The USNS Comfort treated a total of 182 patients during the pandemic. Separately, the Javits Center is still treating roughly 84 patients.

U.S. Testing Needs A Technology Breakthrough

White House coronavirus task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said this morning that the US needs a different type of coronavirus test and a technological breakthrough to screen the U.S. population on a scalable level.

Dr. Birx referred to antigen testing, a type of testing technology that is often used for rapid flu and strep tests. Antigens stimulate the body to produce antibodies and provide evidence of an immune response.

In response to the World Health Organization’s recent report that found no evidence that people who have recovered from the virus and have antibodies are protected from a second infection, Dr. Birx said the organization was being just very cautious. 

She acknowledged that the U.S. is not using existing testing capacities to the fullest and said the administration is working with states to identify all testing sites and supply test kits. She added on to say that Americans can expect to see social distancing measures extended through the summer.

IRS Updates Get My Payment App

The federal government has sent millions of stimulus recipients a letter from President Donald Trump, which notes the payment amount and the method in which the payment was sent. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service has sent payments to more than 88 million people, totaling nearly $158 billion. However, roughly 62 million Americans are yet to receive their payments.

If you’re still waiting on your payment, there’s some good news. The US Treasury and IRS announced significant enhancements to the Get My Payment application this weekend. Updates include a payment status update for closed bank accounts, greater app access for taxpayers who filed in 2018 but not 2019 and did not use direct deposit, and the ability to submit a ‘0’ amount for zero income filers. Payment dates have also been added for those who were eligible and added direct deposit information on irs.gov/coronavirus.

Georgia Reopens Restaurants And Theaters

And lastly, crowds flocked over to gyms, barbershops, tattoo parlors, and spas in Georgia this weekend, as the state opened many nonessential businesses on Friday. Several African-American leaders in Georgia, including the mayors of Atlanta, Savannah, and Augusta, criticized the decision by Gov. Brian Kemp to reopen the economy. That stance seemed to put them in agreement with President Trump, who himself said the move was “too soon.”

Restaurants and theaters are also now allowed to reopen the state. So far, four states have implemented reopening measures, including Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.