Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: remdesivir, air filters, national lockdown & more

·4 min read

Each week, McClatchy News offers you a round-up of our noteworthy coronavirus coverage from across the nation.

More than 8.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday, Oct. 23, according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 223,000 people who have died nationwide.

The United States leads the world in both confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

Globally, there have been more than 41.3 million confirmed cases of the highly infectious virus, with more than 1.1 million reported deaths.

Here’s the news you need to know for the week of Oct. 19.

Remdesivir first approved treatment in US

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the U.S. — the first and only approved COVID-19 treatment as of yet.

The drug, named Veklury, was one of the three experimental treatments given to President Donald Trump while infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus driving the pandemic.

Learn more about what the drug does for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir now the first and only COVID-19 treatment approved for use in US, FDA says

Mouthwash and COVID-19

Several studies have found that certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes can inactivate human coronaviruses similar to the novel coronavirus. This suggests some of these products might work against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by reducing the amount of virus in infected individuals.

But no studies to date have tested how rinses actually interact with the novel coronavirus inside a person’s mouth; all of them have been confined to controlled laboratory settings.

So, while some experts say this readily available tool can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, others say there’s virtually no evidence to tell if that’s the case.

Here’s why experts say mouthwash does not protect against the coronavirus or eliminate infection.

No, mouthwash won’t protect you from coronavirus, experts say. And here’s why

Air filters

On top of mask wearing and social distancing, experts say investing in air filters can be a helpful addition to infection prevention plans, despite a lack of significant evidence that air filtration works to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

But there’s one point to keep in mind: “Air purifiers [with filters] are not a magic bullet,” said Tim Peglow, vice president of Patient Care and Patient Facilities at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Continue reading to learn which filters work and how they can keep you and your family safe.

Can air filters help prevent coronavirus spread in your home? Here’s what experts say

Concerns over national coronavirus lockdown

As infections are growing in nearly every state, some are pondering whether former Vice President Joe Biden, if elected president, would consider a national lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But the real question may be: Is it even legal?

Turns out there isn’t much to be done on a federal level; the power is in the states. Legal experts explain why it’s unlikely the U.S. will be shut down.

Is US headed toward national COVID-19 lockdown? Why Fauci, others say that’s unlikely

COVID-19 ‘vaccine hesitancy’

A survey of more than 13,000 people in 19 different countries most affected by the coronavirus found that about 72% of people said they are very or somewhat likely to get a vaccine when one proves safe and effective.

Although that’s over half, the group of international experts says the current levels of willingness are “insufficient to meet requirements for community immunity.”

Here’s why scientists are concerned, and why so many Americans are expressing discomfort with a coronavirus vaccine.

COVID-19 ‘vaccine hesitancy’ has scientists concerned about new survey results

Masks and public transportation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance urging passengers on trains, planes and other public transportation to wear face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC said traveling by public transportation increases the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Continue reading to learn why.

Should you wear masks on public transportation? CDC urges Americans in new guidance

Democratic and Republican COVID-19 leadership

A researcher at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health found a link between which party controls the governor’s office and the legislature in a given state and how many COVID-19 cases have been reported in that area since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read on to learn how COVID-19 cases compare among Democrat- and Republican-led states.

How do COVID-19 cases compare among Democrat- or Republican-led states? Study finds out

‘Darkest’ months of pandemic expected this winter

Health experts say the number of coronavirus cases could rise during the winter months ahead of the flu season because vaccines and other therapeutics still have a long way to go before being given to the public.

Here’s what experts are saying.

‘Darkest’ months of the COVID-19 pandemic could come this winter, experts say

Rural hospitals are overwhelmed

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations are up by at least 5% in 37 states, and now, doctors in many areas are left scrambling to find patient beds as cases jump, according to multiple news outlets.

In South Dakota, the new infection rate in one rural area has swelled to among the highest rates in the country. And in Wisconsin, doctors for the first time aren’t able to bring patients to bigger hospitals.

Learn more about why cases are rising in rural states.

Rural hospitals are being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients across the US

In other coronavirus coverage outside McClatchy...

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