SATURDAY, Oct. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — President Donald Trump was being treated for coronavirus infection at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, after announcing that he had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday morning.
Trump is struggling with a fever, a cough and nasal congestion, among other symptoms, two officials familiar with his condition told the Washington Post.
“President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”
On Friday, an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. was given to Trump, the Associated Press reported.
The company agreed to supply a single dose, given via IV, for Trump at the request of his physician, Dr. Sean Conley, under “compassionate use” provisions, the AP reported.
Conley said late Friday that Trump had also been given the antiviral drug remdesivir at the hospital, the AP reported. The Gilead Sciences drug has been shown to help some COVID-19 patients recover more quickly. Trump was also taking zinc, vitamin D, an antacid called famotidine, melatonin and aspirin, Conley said.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, all announced that they had tested negative for the new coronavirus. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who debated Trump on Tuesday, also said that he has tested negative for the virus. It was not immediately clear if Trump was infected when he debated Biden, aged 77, although the two never got within 6 feet of each other, The New York Times reported.
While Trump’s age, weight and gender automatically put him in a high-risk category, Conley pronounced Trump to be “in very good health” last year after his last full medical checkup. And, unlike many of those who have succumbed to the virus, Trump will have the best medical care available, the Times said.
Infections surge in Midwest
Meanwhile, coronavirus infections are surging in the American heartland, with Wisconsin bearing the brunt of COVID-19’s relentless spread.
Many Midwestern states are seeing some of the nation’s highest per capita rates of infection, and while federal health officials have again urged some governors in the region to require masks statewide, some Republican governors have resisted, the AP reported.
Wisconsin appeared to be in the worst shape: A record number of people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in that state as of Wednesday. Of 737 patients, 205 were in intensive care, with spikes in cases in northern parts of the state driving up the numbers, the AP reported. Wisconsin health officials reported 2,319 new infections, bringing the total number to 122,274.
The state also reported its highest single-day number of deaths — 27 — pushing the overall death toll to 1,327.
“Over the course of the past two to three weeks we have noticed a marked rise in COVID patients coming into our hospitals in Green Bay,” said Dr. Paul Casey, medical director of the emergency department at Bellin Hospital in Wisconsin, told CNN. “And this comes in the wake of what we thought we were doing well.”
“For the first time in 17 years that I’ve been here, we’ve had to put patients in hallway beds,” Casey told CNN. “I never envisioned having to do that in a small community like Green Bay, but we’ve done it not twice, but three times, in the last 10 days.”
In North Dakota, hospitals are adding extra space amid worries about capacity, the AP reported. Nearly 678 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people have been diagnosed over the past two weeks, leading the country for new cases per capita, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Overall, there have been 21,846 infections and 247 deaths.
The surge has been seen throughout the Midwest. Iowa also reported a spike in people hospitalized with the virus, to 390, the AP reported. Last week, the state had the nation’s sixth-highest rate of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people, according to a recent White House coronavirus task force report. It again recommended Iowa require masks statewide, which Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has said is unnecessary.
Similarly, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has said he won’t impose such a requirement. The task force report found his state is among the worst in the United States for positive coronavirus tests per 100,000 people, up 15% from a week ago.
The Midwest has now overtaken the South for the country’s highest seven-day average of new daily cases per 1 million residents, CNN reported. The Midwest averaged 156 cases per 1 million people, against 124 in the South, 88 in the West and 51 in the Northeast, Johns Hopkins data shows.
Global COVID death toll passes 1 million
The global coronavirus pandemic reached a grim new milestone this week: One million dead.
Americans made up more than 200,000 of those deaths, or one in every five, according to a running tally comprised by Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan, told the AP. He’s an adviser to government officials on how best to handle the pandemic — and he lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.
“It’s people we know,” Markel said. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”
It’s taken the coronavirus just eight months to reach a worldwide death toll that’s meant personal and economic tragedy for billions. Right now, more than 33.6 million people worldwide are known to have been infected with the new coronavirus, the Hopkins tally found.
By Friday, the U.S. coronavirus case count passed 7.3 million while the death toll passed 207,600, according to a Times tally.
According to the same tally, the top five states in coronavirus cases as of Friday were: California with over 824,00; Texas with more than 788,000; Florida with more than 709,000; New York with over 464,700; and Georgia with over 303,000.
Curbing the spread of the coronavirus in the rest of the world remains challenging.
By Friday, India’s coronavirus case count neared 6.4 million, just over one month after hitting the 3 million mark, the Times reported.
Nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients had died in India, according to the Hopkins tally, but when measured as a proportion of the population, the country has had far fewer deaths than many others. Doctors say this reflects India’s younger and leaner population.
Still, the country’s public health system is severely strained, and some sick patients cannot find hospital beds, the Times said. Only the United States has more coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, Brazil passed 4.8 million cases and more than 144,600 deaths as of Friday, the Hopkins tally showed.
Cases are also spiking in Russia: The country’s coronavirus case count has neared 1.2 million. As of Friday, the reported death toll in Russia neared 21,000, the Hopkins tally showed.
Worldwide, the number of reported infections passed 34.3 million on Friday, with over 1 million deaths, according to the Hopkins tally.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the new coronavirus.
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