Morning Consult Health: Trump Administration Reaches Deal With 3M to Purchase About 167 Million Masks

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  • President Donald Trump said his administration will purchase about 167 million masks from 3M Co. over the next three months, a deal that puts an end to the dispute with the company that resulted in Trump invoking the Defense Production Act against 3M to increase mask production. An official said the Trump administration won’t take any more actions against 3M under the DPA in addition to the new deal. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • A coronavirus forecasting model used by the White House and created by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is predicting that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment compared to previous estimates and that some states could hit peak deaths earlier than anticipated. Experts and state leaders have questioned the results of the IHME model compared to other forecasts with higher estimations, and some state officials have raised concerns that the White House could be using the model’s lower estimates to reject their requests for equipment and preparation help. (The Washington Post)
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned as early as January that the coronavirus outbreak could cost the United States trillions of dollars and result in millions of Americans becoming ill or dying, according to a Jan. 29 memo that was sent to the National Security Council and then later distributed among Trump administration officials, people familiar with the events said. Trump was downplaying the potential impact of the coronavirus at the time, but the letter was dated the same day that the president named the task force to deal with the virus and as administration officials were considering a partial travel ban on China. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Politico webcast on how the Trump administration is balancing public health concerns with economic concerns 9:00 am
Kellyanne Conway participates in a Meridian International Center webinar on the short and long-term economic impacts of COVID-19 11:00 am
Asia Society webcast: “Following the Curve: From China to America, A Dialogue with Leading COVID-19 Medical Experts.” 7:30 pm
Politico webcast on major moments in New Jersey related to COVID-19 9:00 am
Transforming Access to Care through a Digital Front Door 1:00 pm
Politico webcast to discuss the latest global trends and developments on the pandemic 11:00 am
American Bar Association webcast: “Public Health Measures in Response to COVID-19.” 1:00 pm
View full calendar

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Boris Johnson remains in intensive care after no change in condition
George Parker and Sebastian Payne, Financial Times

Minister declines to say how many of PM’s powers have been transferred to Dominic Raab.

Worried that $2 trillion law wasn’t enough, Trump and congressional leaders converge on need for new coronavirus economic package
Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

Congressional leaders and the White House are converging on the need for a new assistance package to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic’s economic devastation, fearful that a $2 trillion bailout law enacted last month will have only a limited effect.

U.S. government urged to release race, ethnicity data on covid-19 cases
Vanessa Williams, The Washington Post

A civil rights group and hundreds of doctors are calling on the federal government to release race and ethnicity data on infections and deaths from covid-19, citing reports that the pandemic is affecting African Americans at a disproportionate rate.

White House pushes unproven drug for virus; doctors wary
Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press

President Donald Trump and his administration kept up their out-sized promotion Monday of an malaria drug not yet officially approved for fighting the new coronavirus, even though scientists say more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19.

Virus is mostly mild and rarely fatal for US kids, data show
Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press

The first national data on COVID-19 in U.S. children suggest that while the illness usually isn’t severe in kids, some do get sick enough to require hospital treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday shows that fever, cough and shortness of breath were the most common symptoms in kids, but they occurred less often than in adults.

Former FDA chiefs outline plan to reopen the economy — when broad testing in place
David Lim, Politico

Two former FDA commissioners, both with bipartisan credibility, are working with lawmakers on a framework to gradually restart the economy — as long as the country builds an ample testing and disease surveillance system to rapidly diagnose coronavirus, isolate infected people and effectively quarantine their close contacts.

Martin Shkreli is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic to get out of prison
Damian Garde and Adam Feuerstein, Stat News

Martin Shkreli, currently serving a seven-year sentence for securities fraud, has a pitch to authorities: Let me out of prison and I’ll help stop the novel coronavirus.

When the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Peak in Each U.S. State
Paul Murray, Bloomberg

On March 31, the White House coronavirus task force revealed that the death toll from Covid-19 could total in the hundreds of thousands, their first projection of how many people in the U.S. could die over the next couple months. The total is based, in part, on a University of Washington study that considers data from other outbreak hotspots around the world and local conditions in each state—including social-distancing measures and when they went into effect.

Masks should be prioritized for health workers to avoid shortage against coronavirus: WHO
Stephanie Nebehay and Silke Koltrowitz, Reuters

The World Health Organization (WHO) voiced concern on Monday that the wearing of medical masks by the general public could exacerbate the shortage for health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO says coronavirus vaccine and treatment research has ‘accelerated at incredible speed’
Berkeley Lovelace Jr. et al., CNBC

Research to develop vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus has “accelerated at incredible speed,” World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.

Delays and Shortages Exacerbate Coronavirus Testing Gaps in the U.S.
Sheila Kaplan and Katie Thomas, The New York Times

Testing availability remains a signature failure of the battle against the coronavirus in the United States, despite President Trump’s boast last week that he got a rapid test and results within minutes. And Vice President Mike Pence has repeatedly promised that Americans will be able to get tests at their doctors’ offices, although the timeline for routine access may be months away.

Survivors of Coronavirus Face an Uncertain Road Back to Normal
Daniela Hernandez and Mike Cherney, The Wall Street Journal

Because data on Covid-19 progression is scant and knowledge about the virus that causes it is swiftly changing, guidelines about when patients in recovery can safely resume some aspects of their pre-coronavirus lives vary greatly around the globe, and even within countries. Adding to the uncertainty, some guidelines differ depending on the severity and type of case.

Coronavirus Pandemic Leads to Shunning and Shaming in Small Towns
Douglas Belkin, The Wall Street Journal

Last week, William Zordani and his large family took their Golden Retriever, Sunshine, for a walk near their home in this leafy suburb north of Chicago as they waited out the coronavirus shutdown. That evening, a woman who lives a few blocks away posted a photo of Mr. Zordani, his mother and five of his six siblings on their walk to the town’s Facebook news site, lambasting them for ignoring social-distancing rules and endangering the community.


Feds relax Medicare Advantage regulations amid pandemic
Bob Herman, Axios

Federal payments to Medicare Advantage companies will increase by 1.66% in 2021, and several of the insurance program’s policies are being waived or changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday.

For jobless Americans, Obamacare is still a potential lifeline
Susannah Luthi, Politico

Millions of Americans losing their jobs may still be able to sign up for Obamacare — but Trump officials haven’t been urging people to grab onto that safety net while they can.


Cancer Patients Face Treatment Delays And Uncertainty As Coronavirus Cripples Hospitals
Will Stone, Kaiser Health News

The federal government has encouraged health centers to delay nonessential surgeries while weighing the severity of patients’ conditions and the availability of personal protective equipment, beds and staffing at hospitals.

ER Staffing Company Reverses Benefits Cuts for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus
Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica

Alteon Health, which employs more than 1,700 doctors and other medical workers nationwide, said Sunday it won’t cut medical directors’ stipends by 20%, as planned, and will continue offering paid time off, which it had said would stop. While Alteon will defer matching 401(k) contributions, it won’t eliminate those contributions, as previously announced.

Pharma, Biotech and Devices

The dark side of ventilators: Those hooked up for long periods face difficult recoveries
Carolyn Y. Johnson and Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

For people desperately ill with covid-19, getting hooked up to a mechanical ventilator can mean the difference between life or death. But despite officials’ frantic efforts to secure more of the machines, they are not a magic bullet.

Scientists Rush to Find Coronavirus Cure—but It Still Isn’t Fast Enough
Joseph Walker et al., The Wall Street Journal

For drug companies, there is suddenly only one priority: the coronavirus. More than 140 experimental drug treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus are in development world-wide, most in early stages, including 11 already in clinical trials, according to Informa Pharma Intelligence.

Coronavirus patients rush to join studies of Gilead drug
Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press

Coronavirus patients around the world have been rushing to join remdesivir studies that opened in hospitals in the last few weeks. Interest has been so great that the U.S. National Institutes of Health is expanding its study, which has nearly reached its initial goal of 440 patients. The drug’s maker, California-based Gilead Sciences, is quickly ramping up its own studies, too.

Nursing Homes Have Thousands Of Ventilators That Hospitals Desperately Need
Joanne Faryon, Kaiser Health News

As the number of COVID-19 patients climbs and health officials hunt for ventilators to treat them, nursing homes across the United States have a cache ― about 8,200 of the lifesaving machines, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up on the Auction Block
Justin Elliott et al., ProPublica

In the end, the alarming predictions failed to spur action. In the months that followed, the city acquired just 500 additional ventilators as the effort to create a larger stockpile fizzled amid budget cuts.

Health IT

The Virus Gives AI a Chance to Prove It Can Be a Force for Good
Natalia Drozdiak, Bloomberg Businessweek

The pandemic is opening up a massive opportunity for the tech industry, while it shines a light on calls for more scrutiny of AI innovations being developed faster than regulators are able to devise rules to protect citizens’ rights.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Pharmacy Benefit Managers: Helping to Keep Americans Healthy During COVID-19
JC Scott, Morning Consult

During this public health emergency, it is crucial that every sector of our health care system steps up to the challenge. America’s pharmacy benefit managers have a key role to play.

Research Reports

National Coronavirus Response: A Road Map to Reopening
Scott Gottlieb et al., American Enterprise Institute

This report provides a road map for navigating through the current COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It outlines specific directions for adapting our public-health strategy as we limit the epidemic spread of COVID-19 and are able to transition to new tools and approaches to prevent further spread of the disease.

Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks
Nancy H. L. Leung et al., Nature Medicine

Surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.


U.S. Futures Rally With Stocks While Bonds Retreat: Markets Wrap
Sam Potter, Bloomberg

U.S. equity futures gained alongside stocks in Europe and Asia on Tuesday amid continuing optimism the spread of the coronavirus may be slowing in several major economies. Bonds extended declines and the dollar weakened.

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