New coronavirus case counts are going down in almost half of US states. But it’s too soon to celebrate

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First, the good news: In 24 states, the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day is generally going down.

In 17 states, the numbers are holding steady, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. And in nine states, the numbers of new cases are still rising.

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate and take off face masks in public.

As states remove more stay-at-home restrictions, it will take weeks to learn the health effects.

A poll shows most Americans aren’t yet ready to return to their regular routines.

And a new study reveals the virus can be spread just by talking, with airborne particles lingering for eight minutes.

As of Thursday, more than 1.4 million people in the US have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 85,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

FDA investigating complains about fast Covid-19 test

The accuracy of the Covid-19 diagnostic test touted by President Donald Trump is raising concerns, the US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

The agency is investigating 15 “adverse reports” about the Abbott ID NOW test, which shows results in less than 15 minutes and it’s working with the maker to study data that suggests potential false negative results.

In an alert issued Thursday, the FDA said the test can still be used.

“While we understand no test is perfect, test outcomes depend on a number of factors including patient selection, specimen type, collection, handling, storage, transport and conformity to the way the test was designed to be run. ID NOW is intended to be used near the patient with a direct swab test method,” Abbott, the test maker, said in a statement.

The FDA alert comes hours after Rick Bright, the ousted director of a federal office that procures vaccines for the national stockpile, said there’s still not enough testing capability in the US.

“The virus is still spreading everywhere,” Bright told the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday.

Bright was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a government agency that procures vaccines for the national stockpile.

Prepare for a second wave of infection, WHO expert says

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for coronavirus response at the World Health Organization, said the pandemic doesn’t have to be “out of control” if countries are prepared.

“This is a lesson for all countries. The virus likes to find opportunities to resurge, to increase again. And we just all need to be ready for that,” Dr. Van Kerkhove said during CNN’s coronavirus town hall on Thursday.

Van Kerkhove said some countries, including South Korea and Singapore have been successful in suppressing transmission after identifying new outbreaks of the virus.

If a second wave hits the country, she said authorities would not want to bounce between ordering lockdowns and lifting restrictions.

“That would be very, very difficult to maintain,” she said, “because lockdowns are not a long term solution.”

CDC has reopening ‘decision trees’

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released six so-called “decision trees,” aimed at helping workplaces, communities, schools, day cares, camps and mass transit decide when it’s safe to reopen.

Documents posted to the CDC’s website provide step-by-step guidance. For example, employers are advised to encourage social distancing, handwashing and intensified cleaning.

“The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers,” one reads. “It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”

The decision trees are very similar, with small adjustments to account for the differences between schools, for instance, and restaurants.

Wisconsin court strikes down state-at-home order

By Friday, at least 48 states will be partially reopened.

Wisconsin is among the latest after the state Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order Wednesday, calling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable.”

It was a victory for Republican state lawmakers, who said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order to May 26. Those lawmakers said the order would hurt companies and cost residents their jobs.

Less than an hour after the court’s decision, some revelers celebrated by going to bars. Many ignored health officials’ guidance to stay 6 feet away from each other.

“First thought, we flipped it right into the parking lot,” Matt Griffin, a customer at The Buzzard’s Nest in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb, told CNN affiliate WTMJ. “And yeah, we’ve got to get in and have a first drink.”

Not everyone was comfortable opening. The majority owner of the Milwaukee LGBTQ+ bar This is It! told CNN that while he wants to open, he also wants to keep customers and staff safe.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court may be a legal authority, but is not a public health authority,” George Schneider said. “You wouldn’t take medical advice from a butcher, right? You’d go to your doctor.”

States consider reopening summer camps

Some state officials have taken steps toward allowing some typical summer activities in the coming weeks.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced her state would allow summer and youth camps to operate in-person beginning June 29, with strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines, such as keeping children in small groups of 10.

While this is just a goal and subject to change, Raimondo said she believed opening camps was important for kids’ “mental and emotional and intellectual development and health.”

Summer camps in Connecticut are set to open June 29 and youth summer programs in New Mexico will be allowed with some restrictions like daily temperature checks, the states’ governors said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Delaware Gov. John Carney said beaches will be open by Memorial Day weekend, with capacity restrictions and social distancing.

There’s little information about Kawasaki-like illness in children, CDC says

Doctors across the country are being warned by the CDC about a troubling new syndrome that seems to be affecting children after they were infected with coronavirus.

Hospitals and clinics in at least 18 states have reported cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. At least 150 children are under investigation, most of them in New York.

“There is limited information currently available about risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment for MIS-C,” the agency said. “CDC is requesting healthcare providers report suspected cases to public health authorities to better characterize this newly recognized condition in the pediatric population.”

Some children have been affected by the virus while battling Covid-19 or after healing, but experts can’t say with complete confidence that both conditions are linked, Dr. Jake Kleinmahon, a pediatric cardiologist at Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans, who has treated at least one case of the syndrome, told CNN.

But reports from Europe and from several cities in the US show a link, health experts say.

Symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation and poor function in organs such as the kidneys or heart. Children might also have blood vessel inflammation, such as red eyes, a bright red tongue and cracked lips.

The condition has been described as similar to Kawasaki disease — another inflammatory disease most commonly diagnosed in children — and toxic shock syndrome.

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