COVID-19 Update | Thursday, March 19 (PM)
March 19, 2020
- Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the FDA is fast-tracking antiviral treatments for COVID-19 patients.
- The FDA is exploring using drugs that are already approved for expanded uses, including for COVID-19.
- Currently, the vaccine trial is in phase one, and could take 12 months to fully develop.
- Under the recently enacted legislation, state and private labs are required to report testing results directly to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Tens of thousands tests are being performed daily.
- The legislation also allows the sale of industrial masks directly to hospitals (including N95 masks).
- Previously, only a certain amount of masks being produced were available for hospital use.
- Companies such as Honeywell and 3M are increasing their production and are now selling more of their production volume to hospitals.
- Vice President Pence mentioned that Honeywell is repurposing a factory that was set to be moved to Mexico to produce additional masks and that 3M is ramping up production to produce 420 million masks this year.
- The Vice President also discussed that construction companies are donating masks and other personal protective equipment to hospitals.
- Vice President Pence discussed that tens of thousands of ventilators have been identified as being able to be converted to treat patients.
- Dr. Birx once again described that there will be a steep increase in confirmed cases because of the increase in testing that will continue over the next 2-3 days.
- It was clarified that while the President had enabled the Defense Production Act, no specific items had been targeted yet for production under the authorities provided.
- Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison has contacted the President and offered to make ships available to bolster number of beds and use as a possible quarantine location.
- Reports indicate that Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley supports giving taxpayers as much as $1,200 in relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a plan he may release later today.