The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will spread in the U.S., and hospitals, communities and individuals should ramp up their preparedness efforts, Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said today. “It’s not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

Communities must implement non-pharmaceutical interventions, or community mitigation measures, to slow the spread of COVID-19, Messonnier said. She emphasized that a COVID-19 pandemic would cause major disruptions to people’s lives and that hospitals may need to add telehealth options and delay elective surgeries.

CDC plans to release community mitigation guidelines for the outbreak, including personal, community and environmental non-pharmaceutical interventions that will build on its 2017 guidelines for preventing pandemic influenza. 

The National Institutes of Health today announced a clinical trial that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19 in adult patients at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

State and local labs Monday asked that the Food and Drug Administration allow them to create their own SARS-CoV-2 tests due to issues with a test kit developed by CDC. Twelve labs across the country have a properly working test, and CDC hopes to send new kits to states soon.

The White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday sent Congress a $2.5 billion supplemental budget request for novel coronavirus preparedness and response, including therapeutics, vaccines, personal protective equipment, state and local support, and surveillance, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Senate appropriators today.

For the latest information and resources, visit AHA’s coronavirus webpage.
 

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