First Edition: April 7, 2020

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News:
Nursing Homes Have Thousands Of Ventilators That Hospitals Desperately Need

As the number of COVID-19 patients climbs and health officials hunt for ventilators to treat them, nursing homes across the United States have a cache ― about 8,200 of the lifesaving machines, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Most of the machines are in use, often by people who’ve suffered a brain injury or stroke. Some of those residents are in a vegetative state and have remained on a ventilator for years. (Faryon, 4/7)

Kaiser Health News:
Inside Meals On Wheels’ Struggle To Keep Older Americans Fed During A Pandemic

In the best of times, Meals on Wheels faces the herculean task of delivering 200 million meals annually to 2.4 million hungry and isolated older Americans. But this is the time of the dreaded novel coronavirus. With the pandemic bearing down, I wanted to get inside Meals on Wheels to see how it would gear up its services. After all, 79% of its existing clients are 75 or older. There would be more demand now that many more seniors — including those who probably never imagined they’d be stuck inside — are advised it is safest to remain housebound. (Horovitz, 4/7)

Kaiser Health News:
Young People Weigh Pain Of Job Loss Against Risks Of Virus

Emilio Romero, 23, has mixed feelings about losing his job. It’s a major financial setback, but with two previous hospitalizations for pneumonia, a restaurant was not the safest place for the recent college graduate as the COVID-19 pandemic mushroomed. “Working in a restaurant, there’s obviously exposure to a lot of people and dirty plates,” Romero said. “Even before I was officially laid off, I was getting pretty nervous about the way everything was playing out, for my own safety.” (Almendrala, 4/6)

Kaiser Health News:
After COVID-19: Doctors Ponder Best Advice As Patients Recover From Coronavirus

When David Vega fell ill with the novel coronavirus in mid-March, fever, chills and nausea left the 27-year-old Indiana medical student curled up in bed for days. After a test confirmed he had COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, his doctor advised Vega to isolate himself at home for an additional week. The week passed, and Vega improved. His doctor cleared him to get back to his regular routines without additional testing after he had gone three days without symptoms. (Heredia Rodriguez, 4/6)

Kaiser Health News:
Dispatch From A Country Doctor: Seeing Patients Differently In The Time Of Coronavirus

Patients would often stop by River Bend Family Medicine just to gab with staff at the front desk or bring baked goods to Dr. Matt Hahn. “I’m a simple country doctor,” said Hahn, who has practiced in Hancock, Maryland, for 20 years ― the past decade at his River Bend office. “Our waiting room is like a social network in and of itself.” Hahn is also a candidate for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District though he has backed away from campaigning because of the coronavirus threat. (Appleby, 4/7)

Kaiser Health News:
Cancer Patients Face Treatment Delays And Uncertainty As Coronavirus Cripples Hospitals

The federal government has encouraged health centers to delay nonessential surgeries while weighing the severity of patients’ conditions and the availability of personal protective equipment, beds and staffing at hospitals. People with cancer are among those at high risk of complications if infected with the new coronavirus. It’s estimated 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. this year. More than 600,000 people are receiving chemotherapy. (Stone, 4/7)

Kaiser Health News:
Second Time Around? Health Care Issues Trump Might Tackle If Reelected

If President Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House, what health care policies might the nation expect from his administration? Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News’ chief Washington correspondent, examines that issue in the new edition of Washington Monthly magazine. Although changes in health care might not have ranked high on the president’s priorities for a second term ― particularly if Democrats retain a majority in the House of Representatives — external factors such as the coronavirus pandemic could force the White House and Congress to work together to improve the nation’s public health infrastructure. (4/6)

The Hill:
Trump Confronts Most Difficult Week Yet In Coronavirus Battle

President Trump and his administration are confronting the most difficult week yet of the novel coronavirus outbreak as cases are expected to approach peak levels in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country. The administration is facing growing pressure to get medical supplies to states where hospitals fear shortages, and critics say a leadership vacuum has hurt the disbursement of critical resources. (Chalfant, 4/6)

The New York Times:
Trade Adviser Warned White House In January Of Risks Of A Pandemic

A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death. The warning, written in a memo by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade adviser, is the highest-level alert known to have circulated inside the West Wing as the administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront a crisis that had already consumed China’s leaders and would go on to upend life in Europe and the United States. (Haberman, 4/6)

The Washington Post Fact Check:
Trump’s Claim That He Imposed The First ‘China Ban’

President Trump regularly pats himself on the back for announcing travel restrictions on China as the novel coronavirus emerged in January. Before the caseload in the United States exploded, Trump attributed what he considered a small number of cases to that decision. Even as deaths from covid-19 in the United States started to soar, he said he saved lives by imposing what he calls a “ban” on China. (Kessler, 4/7)

The Associated Press:
Trump, Biden Spoke By Phone About Coronavirus Outbreak

“He gave me his point of view, and I fully understood that, and we just had a very friendly conversation,” Trump said at his daily press briefing. The president said he and Biden agreed not to share the details of their conversation, but confirmed an earlier statement from the Biden campaign that the Democrat offered “suggestions” on how to address the pandemic. Biden had previously said he’d like to share with Trump some lessons he learned from dealing with similar crises during the Obama administration. (Jaffe and Miller, 4/7)

The New York Times:
‘Swept Up By FEMA’: Complicated Medical Supply System Sows Confusion

In Massachusetts, state leaders said they had confirmed a vast order of personal protective equipment for their health workers; then the Trump administration took control of the shipments. In Kentucky, the head of a hospital system told members of Congress that his broker had pulled out of an agreement to deliver four shipments of desperately needed medical gear after the supplies were commandeered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado thought his state had secured 500 ventilators before they were “swept up by FEMA.” (Kanno-Youngs and Nicas, 4/6)

How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up On The Auction Block

In July 2006, with an aggressive and novel strain of the flu circulating in Asia and the Middle East, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping pandemic preparedness plan. Using computer models to calculate how a disease could spread rapidly through the city’s five boroughs, experts concluded New York needed a substantial stockpile of both masks and ventilators. If the city confronted a pandemic on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu, the experts found, it would face a “projected shortfall of between 2,036 and 9,454 ventilators.” (Elliott, Waldman and Kaplan, 4/6)

The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Pandemic Spurs Stanford Researchers To Create Hospital Resource Calculator

Responding to the national surge in Covid-19 patients at hospitals, researchers at Stanford University have created online calculators to help policy makers and hospital administrators everywhere better allocate their staff and equipment. Americans were told over the weekend that the worst days are ahead. Confirmed infections in the U.S. stood at more than 357,000 Monday, with the death toll at 10,524, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. (McCormick, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Administration Orders 167 Million Face Masks From 3M For Coronavirus Pandemic

President Trump said the government would buy nearly 167 million masks from 3M Co. over the next three months, resolving a spat with the industrial conglomerate over efforts to ramp up supply of gear for front-line workers confronting the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump criticized 3M’s mask-making efforts last week and invoked the Defense Production Act against the company. That Korean War-era law gives the president power to compel manufacturers to make operational changes in the national interest. Health workers across the country are running short on masks as well as the gowns, ventilators and face shields they need to treat the sickest patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. (Leary and Hufford, 4/6)

U.S. Hospitals Surveyed Plea For More Federal Coordination Of Supplies

Hospitals are trying to make their own disinfectant from in-house chemicals, running low on toilet paper and food, and trying to source face masks from nail salons. Those are some of the findings from a snapshot survey of how America’s hospitals are handling the coronavirus crisis. The survey was done over five days, from March 23-27, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. Ann Maxwell, who oversaw the report as assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections, says it’s “the first objective, independent, national look at how hospitals are addressing the COVID-19 response.” (Simmons-Duffin, 4/6)

Hospitals Face Financial Squeeze As They Prep For Coronavirus

As many cities and regions of the country brace for a surge of coronavirus patients over the next few weeks, hospitals are scrambling to get ready. The increase in costs to convert beds, buy equipment and increase staffing time in order to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients is adding up at a time when revenues are down. And the resources they have to turn to may vary, depending on the demographics of the patients they serve. (Neighmond, 4/6)

The Hill:
Trump Says IG Report Finding Hospital Shortages Is ‘Just Wrong’ 

President Trump on Monday claimed that an inspector general report finding “severe” shortages of supplies at hospitals to fight the novel coronavirus is “just wrong.” Trump did not provide evidence for why the conclusions of the 34-page report are wrong. He implied that he is mistrustful of inspectors general more broadly. He recently fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, which has drawn outrage from Democrats. (Sullivan, 4/6)

The New York Times:
Coronavirus In New York: Despite Staggering Death Toll, Outbreak Could Be Slowing

New York, the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, has begun to show the first signs of controlling the crisis: Its staggering death and hospitalization rates have started to stabilize, according to figures released by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday. But striking a note of optimistic caution, Mr. Cuomo warned that the state’s progress could continue only if New Yorkers maintained a sense of discipline and suppressed their natural impulse to gather in the parks or on the streets, especially as the spring weather starts improving. (Feuer, 4/6)

The New York Times:
When Will N.Y.C. Reach The Peak Of The Outbreak? Here’s What We Know

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said in the past week that he believes the number of coronavirus cases in New York will hit its high point this week, and then hopefully begin to drop. But even he acknowledges the uncertainty of that prediction. “The projection models have a number of alternatives,” he said at a news conference on Monday. “Some suggest basically the curve goes up and then drops precipitously. Some suggest a slight pause at the top. Some suggest there’s a longer pause at the top, which is effectively a plateau effect, or again the straight up and straight down precipitous drop, which is the peak effect. No one can tell you which will occur.” (Goldstein, 4/6)

Outbreak Shows Signs Of Leveling Off In New York, New Jersey, But Vigilance Urged

Although coronavirus cases and deaths continued to mount, the governors cited data suggesting the rates of growth and hospitalizations were slowing, possibly signaling a peak was at hand in three U.S. epicenters of the pandemic. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said statewide deaths from COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the virus, were up 599 from Sunday, on par with an increase of 594 during the previous 24 hours and 630 on Friday. The state’s overall tally of confirmed cases grew by 7% from the previous day to 130,680. But hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care units and the number of patients put on ventilator machines to keep them breathing had all declined, Cuomo said. (Layne and Szekely, 4/6)

The Wall Street Journal:
New York City May Temporarily Bury Dead In Potter’s Field As Coronavirus Takes Toll

New York City is considering using temporary graves in its potter’s field to handle the mounting deaths from the new coronavirus pandemic, city officials said Monday, even as data show that the outbreak in the nation’s hardest-hit state may have peaked or plateaued. The city has a contingency plan to bury people temporarily on Hart Island, depending on the city’s capacity needs as private cemeteries struggle to deal with an increase in interments, the officials said. (Chapman and Honan, 4/6)

The New York Times:
One Final Step For 52 Medical Students, Eager To Join The Fight

From dorm rooms and apartments, 52 medical students watched video of themselves roll across their screens. Miles away, their proud families followed online. Gazing into webcams, the students pledged the Hippocratic oath in frayed unison, dozens of different starts and voices, all coming to the same point. They could get on with doctoring. On Friday, a virtual graduation was held over video chat for nearly half the 2020 class at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. (Dwyer, 4/6)

The Washington Post:
America’s Most Influential Coronavirus Model Just Revised Its Estimates Downward. But Not Every Model Agrees.

A leading forecasting model used by the White House to chart the coronavirus pandemic predicted Monday that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment than previously projected and that some states may reach their peak of covid-19 deaths sooner than expected. … Experts and state leaders, however, continued to steel themselves for grim weeks ahead, noting that the revised model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington conflicts with many other models showing higher equipment shortages, deaths and projected peaks. (Wan and Johnson, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
Modeling Coronavirus: ‘Uncertainty Is The Only Certainty’

A statistical model cited by the White House generated a slightly less grim figure Monday for a first wave of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. — a projection designed to help officials plan for the worst, including having enough hospital staff, beds and ventilators. The only problem with this bit of relatively good news? It’s almost certainly wrong. All models are wrong. Some are just less wrong than others — and those are the ones that public health officials rely on. Welcome to the grimace-and-bear-it world of modeling. (Borenstein and Johnson, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Death Toll From Coronavirus Tops 10,000

The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 10,000 at the start of a week that officials predicted would be America’s most difficult yet during the global pandemic, while the crisis in Britain deepened as the prime minister was moved to intensive care. Confirmed infections in the U.S. were more than double that of any other nation, at nearly 357,000, with the death toll at 10,783, according to data Monday from Johns Hopkins University. (Calfas, Ping and Kostov, 4/6)

The New York Times:
Wisconsin Election Fight Heralds A National Battle Over Virus-Era Voting

Wisconsin voters will face a choice between protecting their health and exercising their civic duty on Tuesday after state Republican leaders, backed up by a conservative majority on the state’s Supreme Court, rebuffed the Democratic governor’s attempt to postpone in-person voting in their presidential primary and local elections. The political and legal skirmishing throughout Monday was only the first round of an expected national fight over voting rights in the year of Covid-19. (Herndon and Rutenberg, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
Pandemic Politics: Wisconsin Primary Moving Forward

The National Guard will help run voting sites across the state after thousands of election workers stepped down fearing for their safety. Dozens of polling places will be closed, but those that are active will open at 7 a.m. CDT. Results were not expected to be released election night. In the wake of a legal battle over whether to conduct the election as scheduled, a court ruling appeared to prevent results from being made public earlier than April 13. (Bauer and Peoples, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Crisis Offers Test For Biden’s VP Shortlist

Joe Biden is expected to begin the vetting process for his running mate this month, as the coronavirus pandemic poses a key test for several potential contenders who have been involved in the response. Mr. Biden, the former vice president who has consolidated much of the party’s support behind him after a string of Democratic primary wins, has said he plans to vet six to 10 women—he has committed to selecting a woman—for the vice presidential nomination. (Parti and Jamerson, 4/7)

The New York Times:
Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy Of Malaria Drug For Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community

President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus. Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. “Yes, the heart stuff,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. Then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway. “So what do I know?” he conceded to reporters at his daily briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.” (Baker, Rogers, Enrich and Haberman, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
White House Pushes Unproven Drug For Virus, But Doctors Wary

Trump held out promise for the drug as he grasps for ways to sound hopeful in the face of a mounting death toll and with the worst weeks yet to come for the U.S. The virus has killed more than 10,000 in the U.S., and measures meant to contain its spread have taken a painful economic toll and all but frozen life in large swaths of the country. But medical officials warn that it’s dangerous to be hawking unproven remedies, and even Trump’s own experts have cautioned against it. (Miller and Riechmann, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Pushes Broader Use Of Hydroxychloroquine Against Coronavirus

At the briefing later that evening, a reporter asked Dr. Fauci for his view on whether there is evidence hydroxychloroquine helps treat coronavirus. The president interrupted before he could answer. “Do you know how many times he’s answered that question? Maybe 15—15 times,” Mr. Trump said, pointing at the reporter. “You don’t have to ask the question.” (Ballhaus and Hopkins, 4/6)

The Washington Post:
‘What Do You Have To Lose?’: Inside Trump’s Embrace Of A Risky Drug Against Coronavirus

Trump’s swift embrace of hydroxychloroquine — as well as azithromycin, which he has hyped as “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” — illustrates the degree to which the president prioritizes anecdote and feeling over science and fact. It also has provoked an ugly divide within a White House already besieged as it struggles to make up for lost time in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The president has frequently clashed with or undercut scientists leading the effort against the virus, from equivocating on whether to wear masks in public to repeatedly pressing to reopen businesses sooner than advised by public health experts. (Rucker, Costa, McGinley and Dawsey, 4/6)

The Washington Post:
FAQ: What You Need To Know About Hydroxychloroquine And The Coronavirus

The lack of vaccines and treatment for the novel coronavirus has allowed it to sweep the planet virtually unchecked. With a regimen of hunkering down and hand-washing the only effective way to slow its path, national leaders are desperate to find a medicine that could have an effect. But President Trump’s cheerleading for anti-malarial drugs has raised hopes beyond what is supported by the scientific facts. (Rowland, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
What To Know About Malaria Drug And Coronavirus Treatment

Some politicians and doctors are sparring over whether to use hydroxychloroquine against the new coronavirus, with many scientists saying the evidence is too thin to recommend it now. HOW IS IT BEING USED? The drug can help tame an overactive immune system. It’s been used since the 1940s to prevent and treat malaria, and to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It’s sold in generic form and under the brand name Plaquenil in the United States. Doctors also can prescribe it “off label” for other purposes, as many are doing now for COVID-19. (4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Scientists Rush To Find Coronavirus Cure—But It Still Isn’t Fast Enough

For drug companies, there is suddenly only one priority: the coronavirus. More than 140 experimental drug treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus are in development world-wide, most in early stages, including 11 already in clinical trials, according to Informa Pharma Intelligence. Counting drugs approved for other diseases, there are 254 clinical trials testing treatments or vaccines for the virus, many spearheaded by universities and government research agencies, with hundreds more trials planned. Researchers have squeezed timelines that usually total months into weeks or even days. (Walker, Loftus and Hopkins, 4/6)

A Cheat Sheet For The Imminent Data On Gilead’s Potential Coronavirus Drug

This month, the world should get the first results from a clinical trial testing the drug remdesivir against Covid-19. They will get a lot of attention. Remdesivir, made by the California biotech Gilead Sciences, is one of the potential Covid-19 therapies that is furthest along in the development process. The results, from studies in China, could signal whether the drug can effectively combat the infection — and under which circumstances. (Joseph, Feuerstein, Garde and Herper, 4/6)

A Former Novartis Exec Wants To Repurpose Generic Drugs To Fight Covid-19

As Covid-19 sweeps the globe, a growing number of efforts are underway to quickly research and develop treatments and vaccines. Yet much of the work is disjointed and widespread access to any medical product is uncertain. One idea, suggested by Costa Rican officials, is for the World Health Organization to create a voluntary pool and collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for product development. (Silverman, 4/7)

The New York Times:
Delays And Shortages Exacerbate Coronavirus Testing Gaps In The U.S.

Three weeks ago, Dr. Elaine Cham, a pathologist at a large children’s hospital in California, had a sense that the nation’s coronavirus testing mess was finally getting under control. She could send tests to a lab at Stanford University Medical Center and get the results within a day. When backlogs grew at Stanford, Dr. Cham starting sending tests to Quest Diagnostics, a major laboratory company that has been ramping up its testing capacity. But the turnaround for results could be 13 days, she said, so her hospital switched to the University of California, San Francisco, for a two-to-three day wait. (Kaplan and Thomas, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
Navy Leader Calls Fired Carrier Captain ‘Naive’ Or ‘Stupid’

In an extraordinary broadside punctuated with profanity, the Navy’s top leader accused the fired commander of the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt of being “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. He delivered the criticism to sailors who had cheered the departing skipper last week. Hours after the remark was widely reported in the news media, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly issued a written public apology, saying he does not believe Capt. Brett E. Crozier is stupid or naive. (Baldor and Burns, 4/7)

The Associated Press:
Congress, White House Reach High For Next Virus Bill

Congressional leaders are jolting ahead with another coronavirus rescue package as President Donald Trump indicated that Americans will need more aid during the stark pandemic and economic shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said another $1 trillion is needed, beyond the just-passed $2.2 trillion effort. She wants another round of direct payments to Americans and more money for companies to keep making payroll. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said in recent days that health care should top the list, signaling his intent to get to work on a new bill. (Mascaro, 4/7)

The Washington Post:
Worried That $2 Trillion Law Wasn’t Enough, Trump And Congressional Leaders Converge On Need For New Coronavirus Economic Package

House Democrats are eyeing a package of spending increases that would “easily” cost more than $1 trillion, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told lawmakers Monday, according to two officials on the conference call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it. Democrats are looking to extend unemployment aid and small-business assistance for additional months, as well as authorize another round of direct checks to taxpayers. Trump has signaled support for some of the ideas that Democrats back, such as expanded help for small-business owners and new bailout checks for households. (Werner and DeBonis, 4/6)

Schumer Taps Warren Aide For New Coronavirus Oversight Commission

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will appoint Bharat Ramamurti, a former Elizabeth Warren aide, to a newly created panel meant to police the Trump administration’s handling of a $500 billion coronavirus relief fund. Schumer described Ramamurti Monday as “ferocious in his desire to protect the public from abuse.” (Levine and Cheney, 4/6)

’Huge, Unprecedented, Devastating Hit’: Warnings Mount About Economic Damage

The nation’s former top central banker called the damage “absolutely shocking.” The head of America’s largest bank said he’s preparing for financial dysfunction similar to 2008. And a gauge of consumer sentiment showed soaring angst across the economy. New warnings mounted throughout Monday, signaling turmoil ahead for the economy despite a surprise resurgence in the stock market. The signs of economic distress point to deeper trouble in the months ahead as the coronavirus crisis worsens in cities outside New York and New Jersey. (Guida, 4/6)

For Jobless Americans, Obamacare Is Still A Potential Lifeline

Millions of Americans losing their jobs may still be able to sign up for Obamacare — but Trump officials haven’t been urging people to grab onto that safety net while they can. People who’ve lost their workplace health insurance during the coronavirus outbreak may qualify for private coverage through Obamacare, along with generous subsidies, despite President Donald Trump’s decision last week not to re-open signups for everyone. Many may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage under Medicaid, especially in the two-thirds of states that joined Obamacare’s expansion of the low-income health care program. (Luthi, 4/6)

The Associated Press:
Virus Puts UK PM In Intensive Care; Hopes Rise In US, Europe

The 55-year-old Johnson, the world’s first known head of government to fall ill with the virus, was conscious and needed oxygen overnight but not a ventilator, Cabinet minister Michael Gove said Tuesday. Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has been designated to take over should Johnson become incapacitated by an illness that can be debilitating even for those with access to the world’s best medical care. (Hinnant and Kirka, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Puts A Prison Under Siege

A Louisiana prison guard sat alongside a sick inmate for more than an hour inside a van and his hospital room, told by a supervisor he didn’t need a mask despite the prisoner’s severe cough and other telltale signs of Covid-19. Within 10 days, the 49-year-old inmate, Patrick Jones, was dead from the coronavirus. The officer, Aubrey Melder, was back at work, having been told days earlier to return, without quarantining, to his duties inside the low-security prison in Oakdale, a lawyer for the union representing prisons employees said. (Gurman, Elinson and Paul, 4/6)

The Wall Street Journal:
First Rikers Island Inmate Dies After Coronavirus Infection

A Rikers Island inmate who had tested positive for the new coronavirus died Sunday, marking the New York City jail complex’s first death of an inmate who fell ill from the disease, officials said. The Rikers Island inmate, identified by his attorneys as Michael Tyson, 53 years old, was moved to Bellevue hospital in Manhattan on March 26 after becoming ill, city Department of Correction officials said. (Chapman, 4/6)

The Washington Post:
Grocery Workers Are Beginning To Die Of Coronavirus

Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country. A Trader Joe’s worker in Scarsdale, N.Y., a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, Md., and two Walmart employees from the same Chicago-area store have died of covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, in recent days, the companies confirmed Monday. (Bhattarai, 4/6)

The New York Times:
U.S. Children With Coronavirus Are Less Hard Hit Than Adults, First Data Shows

Children make up a very small proportion of American coronavirus cases so far and are significantly less likely to become seriously ill than American adults, according to a preliminary report on the first wave of coronavirus cases in the United States. But some have become very sick, and at least three have died. The study, published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also reported that children appear less likely than adults to develop any of the major known coronavirus symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath. That could suggest that many children have mild or undetected cases of the disease and could be spreading the virus to others in their families and communities. (Belluck, 4/6)

‘We Cannot Have A Colorblind Policy’: Lack Of Racial Data Obstructs Coronavirus Fight

The majority of states either aren’t actively ensuring collection or aren’t releasing full racial and ethnic data on those tested and treated for coronavirus. And without that data, two dozen health professionals and policymakers told POLITICO, it will be difficult to provide communities of color the resources to treat and recover from coronavirus — and to diagnose it in the first place. “We cannot have a colorblind policy,” said Stephen Thomas, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Health Equity. “With a colorblind policy — ‘Hey, we’re all in this together’ — we’ll be left with an explosion of Covid-19 concentrated in racial and ethnic minority communities.” (Barron-Lopez, Otterbein and King, 4/6)

The New York Times:
Black Americans Face Alarming Rates Of Coronavirus Infection In Some States

In Louisiana, one of the states most devastated by the coronavirus, about 70 percent of the people who have died are African-American, officials announced on Monday, though only a third of the state’s population is black. In the county around Milwaukee, where 27 percent of residents are black, nearly twice as many African-American residents tested positive for the virus as white people, figures released this week show. And in Chicago, where African-American residents make up a little less than a third of the population, more than half of those found to have the virus are black. (Oppel, Searcey and Eligon, 4/7)

The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Recovery: Hundreds Of Survivors Will Be Left With Physical And Psychological Scars

For people desperately ill with covid-19, getting hooked up to a mechanical ventilator can mean the difference between life and death. But despite officials’ frantic efforts to secure more of the machines, they are not a magic bullet. Many attached to the scarce machines will not make it out of the hospital. Data from China, Italy and the U.S. suggest that about half of those with covid-19 who receive ventilator support will die. (Johnson and Cha, 4/6)

The New York Times:
At 89, She Fears Dying Alone More Than The Coronavirus Itself

Shatzi Weisberger recognized the symptoms of a heart attack. Her chest seized up and pain shot down her left arm. Ms. Weisberger, 89, a retired nurse, did not want to die alone in her apartment. But if she went to the hospital, she was afraid that she would get the coronavirus there and die among strangers, cut off from the people she cared about. “I know I’m vulnerable because I’m almost 90,” she said. “I would not go to the hospital under any circumstances.” (Leland, 4/7)

Even With A Pandemic, Many Older Americans Are Carrying On As Usual

Last week, a 99-year-old New Jersey man who went to an engagement party was arrested in New Jersey for defying the state’s ban on gatherings. In a separate case, a 100-year-old man violated a stay-at-home order by attending a funeral… For a group that’s considered very high risk for contracting coronavirus, they’re carrying on life as usual — much to the worry of their grown children. Talk to a few of them and they’ll tell you there are several reasons why. (Valdes, 4/6)

Social Distancing Can Test If Technology Could Solve The Loneliness Epidemic

As the coronavirus spreads exponentially across the United States, widespread social distancing is thought to be our best weapon against rampant transmission. Minimizing human contact can slow the rate of spread — flattening the curve — and avoid a surge of sick patients that would strain our health care system to a point where it cannot effectively care for them… The conundrum is that these mandates — prudent and necessary as they are — are overlaid against the backdrop of an epidemic of loneliness in the U.S. (Van Groningen, 4/7)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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