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Daily COVID-19 Updates: May 1

May 1, 2020
50% of US Employees Worried About Workplace Exposure; FDA Issues Authorization for Gilead Treatment; CDC: Over 4,000 Meatpackers Infected

April was a daunting month. The first two weeks alone saw manufacturers scrambling to produce personal protective equipment for front-line workers and ventilators for patients, an unprecedented number of new unemployment filings in a single week, and the International Monetary Fund’s prediction that fallout from the viral pandemic would cause the worst economic depression since the Great Depression.

The rate of people claiming unemployment insurance has fallen gradually over the month of April, but remains in the millions. (Before COVID-19, the highest rate of unemployment insurance applications in a single week was 695,000. The lowest recorded week of applications in April 2020 has been 3.8 million.)

At the time, many states set deadlines for when they would consider easing up on quarantine orders for the first of the coming month. May 1 saw many of those orders expire without extensions. 18 states have begun to partially reopen their economies. The worst of the virus is said to have passed sometime during the middle of the month. The more pressing concern for many officials now appears to be the economy, which has been undeniably damaged by efforts to contain the virus, for better or worse.

54% of Employees Worried About Workplace Exposure

According to a poll released by Eagle Hill Consulting, more than half of surveyed employees are concerned they’ll be exposed to the novel coronavirus at the workplace. The survey of 1,000 random employees revealed that 56% of employees said employers have a right to know if their employees test positive, 43% support employers testing employees for symptoms, and a full 71% of employees said their employers would be prepared to bring employees back to the workplace. Read the full story here.

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Gilead Treatment ‘Remdesivir’

A few days after the American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., announced that their experimental antiviral treatment, remdesivir, had shown significant results in a U.S.-run test, the Food and Drug Administration released an Emergency Use Authorization for the drug.

According to Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day, his company is already ramping up production of the drug. “We had estimated that this would be 140,000 treatment courses based on a 10-day treatment duration. The ability to shorten duration for severely ill patients means we can significantly increase the number of courses avilabble, all of which Gilead has committed for donation,” he wrote. Read the full story here.

CDC: Over 4,000 Meatpacking Workers Have Contracted COVID-19

A new report released today by the Center for Disease Control focused on meat processing facilities says that more than 4,193 workers in meat processing and packing plants in the United States have contracted the Novel coronavirus. The cases are spread across 115 plants in 19 states. According to the report, conditions inside the plant and certain “socioeconomic challenges” make preventing COVID-19 transmission difficult. On Thursday, the President, citing dangers to the United States’ supply chain of food, signed an executive order mandating that meat processing facilities remain open. Read the full story here.

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