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Nursing Homes Coronavirus Deaths Represent 43% of Total, at least 54,000 Dead: New York Times: “WHO will send team to China next week to investigate the source of the virus”

2020-06-29

em coronavirus from NIAID– CC license

From the New York Times updates on the coronavirus today:

The New York Times has been keeping a database of coronavirus cases and found that at least 54,000 patients in nursing homes in the US have died from virus, representing 43% of the total deaths in this country.  These deaths are out of 282,000 known cases at 12,000 facilities– deaths are 17% of total cases, versus 5% of cases dying in the overall population.  At least six nursing homes have had more than 70 deaths each.

The WHO plans to send a new delegation to China next week to further examine the origins of the coronavirus, which is thought to have jumped from bats to an intermediate host sometime in the last year, most likely in the fall.  Many of the initial cases were tied to a “wet market” (where live animals are sold for human consumption) in Wuhan, China.  However, it is not clear whether that market was the source of the outbreak or merely its first stop.

“In February, a WHO (World Health Organization) delegation led by Dr. Bruce Aylward, specialist with experience fighting polio, Ebola, and other health emergencies, spent two weeks in China…”

“The US and other countries have criticized China over its initial handling of the outbreak, including delays in reporting the first cases to WHO, and for looking to deflect blame for the epidemic on outsiders.  The WHO has been reluctant to publicly criticize China, and at times it has praised health officials for providing genetic information about the virus and taking strong action around Wuhan to contain it… Tuesday will mark six months since China reported the first cases of the virus to the WHO.”

“Dr. Tedros said that “the worst is yet to come… I am sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”

The price Gilead has set to private insurers, $520 a vial ($3120 for a course) will apply to uninsured or cash-paying patients as well.  Previous reporting about remdesivir has indicated that the drug can be produced for as little as $0.93 a vial in manufacturing costs.  The federal government (and taxpayers) spent roughly $70 million to support the development of remdesivir, which was originally intended to treat the Ebola virus.  Development was scrapped after a more effective drug was found for Ebola, but it remained in the arsenal since 2015.  Here is an article in ACS Central Science  dated May 27, 2020 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that reviews the development of remdesivir and the basics of the coronavirus SARS-COV-2.

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