National coronavirus updates: Wuhan tests 10 million people, finds few infections

The latest:President Donald Trump announced late Tuesday evening he would seek a new host state for the RNC after North Carolina’s governor called for a scaled-down convention meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus.There have been more than 1.8 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.The U.S. death toll has surpassed 106,000 people, according to Hopkins. The Food and Drug Administration is expanding the kinds of companies that can make hand sanitizer while demand continues to outpace supply.The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year, has tested nearly 10 million people in an unprecedented 19-day campaign to check an entire city.It identified just 300 positive cases, all of whom had no symptoms. The city found no infections among 1,174 close contacts of the people who tested positive, suggesting they were not spreading it easily to others.That is a potentially encouraging development because of widespread concern that infected people without symptoms could be silent spreaders of the disease.”It not only makes the people of Wuhan feel at ease, it also increases people’s confidence in all of China,” Feng Zijian, vice director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV.There is no definitive answer yet on the level of risk posed by asymptomatic cases, with anecdotal evidence and studies to date producing conflicting answers.Wuhan was by far the hardest hit city in China, accounting for more than 80% of the country’s deaths, according to government figures. A city official announced Tuesday that the city completed 9.9 million tests from May 14 to June 1. If those tested previously are included, virtually everyone above the age of 5 in the city of 11 million people has been tested, said Li Lanjuan, a member of a National Health Commission expert team.”The city of Wuhan is safe,” she said at a news conference with city officials.The campaign was launched after a small cluster of cases was found in a residential compound, sparking concern about a possible second wave of infections as Wuhan emerged from a 2 1/2 month lockdown.The industrial city on the Yangtze River in central China spent 900 million yuan (about $125 million) on the tests, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing a Wuhan official.The rapid testing of so many people was made possible in part through batch testing, in which samples from up to five people are mixed together, Xinhua reported. If the result is positive, then the people are individually tested.National resources were also mobilized to help, said Wang Weihua, deputy director of the Wuhan Health Commission, according to Xinhua. Together, these efforts raised Wuhan’s daily testing capacity from 300,000 to more than one million, she was quoted as saying.NASA, Fitbit get FDA approval for ventilators to help virus patientsNASA and Fitbit received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for their ventilators designed to help COVID-19 patients.NASA’s design, dubbed the VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), is a temporary piece of equipment that uses an internal compressor and is meant to last three to four months.Because the VITAL runs on parts that are not typically in the medical device supply chain it shouldn’t have any impact on need for supplies for current ventilators.The FDA also added the Fitbit Flow to its list of authorized ventilators. The device, which has quietly been in the works for some time, is a continuous respiratory support system that also includes an FDA-approved manual resuscitator as part of the machine.The company calls it a “a high-quality, easy-to-use, and low-cost automatic resuscitator that is designed for emergency ventilation.”“COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the healthcare systems caring for them,” said Fitbit CEO James Park.“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for emergency ventilators and help make a difference in the fight against this global virus.”UN urges help for countries near ‘debt distress’ from virusThe president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council called for urgent action Tuesday to help the growing number of countries already facing or at risk of “debt distress” because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.Norway’s U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, head of the 54-nation U.N. body, told a meeting on financing and recovery for the crisis that the decision by the world’s 20 major economic powers to freeze debt service payments for the world’s poorest countries through the end of the year isn’t enough.She said the Group of 20’s freeze will free about $11 billion until the end of the year, but it’s estimated that eligible countries have an additional $20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt combined coming due in 2020. Juul said that means even if the moratorium is extended to 2021, “many countries will have to make difficult choices between servicing their debt, fighting the pandemic and investing in recovery.”Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations and 700 faith communities working for debt relief, was sharply critical of the resistance of private creditors, commercial lenders and banks to participate in debt relief calls — despite calls by the G-20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United States.”Because of the enormity of this crisis and the long-term challenges the markets could face, the fact that some private and commercial creditor blocks are not participating … baffles the mind,” he told the virtual meeting.LeCompte said the U.N. Security Council must act “given that this crisis could devastate all of us, poor countries and the markets.”

The latest:

  • President Donald Trump announced late Tuesday evening he would seek a new host state for the RNC after North Carolina’s governor called for a scaled-down convention meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
  • There have been more than 1.8 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
  • The U.S. death toll has surpassed 106,000 people, according to Hopkins.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is expanding the kinds of companies that can make hand sanitizer while demand continues to outpace supply.

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The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year, has tested nearly 10 million people in an unprecedented 19-day campaign to check an entire city.

It identified just 300 positive cases, all of whom had no symptoms. The city found no infections among 1,174 close contacts of the people who tested positive, suggesting they were not spreading it easily to others.

That is a potentially encouraging development because of widespread concern that infected people without symptoms could be silent spreaders of the disease.

“It not only makes the people of Wuhan feel at ease, it also increases people’s confidence in all of China,” Feng Zijian, vice director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV.

There is no definitive answer yet on the level of risk posed by asymptomatic cases, with anecdotal evidence and studies to date producing conflicting answers.

Wuhan was by far the hardest hit city in China, accounting for more than 80% of the country’s deaths, according to government figures.

A city official announced Tuesday that the city completed 9.9 million tests from May 14 to June 1. If those tested previously are included, virtually everyone above the age of 5 in the city of 11 million people has been tested, said Li Lanjuan, a member of a National Health Commission expert team.

“The city of Wuhan is safe,” she said at a news conference with city officials.

The campaign was launched after a small cluster of cases was found in a residential compound, sparking concern about a possible second wave of infections as Wuhan emerged from a 2 1/2 month lockdown.

The industrial city on the Yangtze River in central China spent 900 million yuan (about $125 million) on the tests, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing a Wuhan official.

The rapid testing of so many people was made possible in part through batch testing, in which samples from up to five people are mixed together, Xinhua reported. If the result is positive, then the people are individually tested.

National resources were also mobilized to help, said Wang Weihua, deputy director of the Wuhan Health Commission, according to Xinhua. Together, these efforts raised Wuhan’s daily testing capacity from 300,000 to more than one million, she was quoted as saying.

NASA, Fitbit get FDA approval for ventilators to help virus patients

NASA and Fitbit received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for their ventilators designed to help COVID-19 patients.

NASA’s design, dubbed the VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), is a temporary piece of equipment that uses an internal compressor and is meant to last three to four months.

Because the VITAL runs on parts that are not typically in the medical device supply chain it shouldn’t have any impact on need for supplies for current ventilators.

The FDA also added the Fitbit Flow to its list of authorized ventilators. The device, which has quietly been in the works for some time, is a continuous respiratory support system that also includes an FDA-approved manual resuscitator as part of the machine.

The company calls it a “a high-quality, easy-to-use, and low-cost automatic resuscitator that is designed for emergency ventilation.”

“COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the healthcare systems caring for them,” said Fitbit CEO James Park.

“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for emergency ventilators and help make a difference in the fight against this global virus.”

UN urges help for countries near ‘debt distress’ from virus

The president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council called for urgent action Tuesday to help the growing number of countries already facing or at risk of “debt distress” because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Norway’s U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, head of the 54-nation U.N. body, told a meeting on financing and recovery for the crisis that the decision by the world’s 20 major economic powers to freeze debt service payments for the world’s poorest countries through the end of the year isn’t enough.

She said the Group of 20’s freeze will free about $11 billion until the end of the year, but it’s estimated that eligible countries have an additional $20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt combined coming due in 2020.

Juul said that means even if the moratorium is extended to 2021, “many countries will have to make difficult choices between servicing their debt, fighting the pandemic and investing in recovery.”

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations and 700 faith communities working for debt relief, was sharply critical of the resistance of private creditors, commercial lenders and banks to participate in debt relief calls — despite calls by the G-20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United States.

“Because of the enormity of this crisis and the long-term challenges the markets could face, the fact that some private and commercial creditor blocks are not participating … baffles the mind,” he told the virtual meeting.

LeCompte said the U.N. Security Council must act “given that this crisis could devastate all of us, poor countries and the markets.”