In this COVID19 pandemic it’s become apparent that Donald Trump has only one single idea on how to solve our American healthcare crisis.

US COVID19 death 223,000; states spiking and rural hospitals are filling

By Ciara Linnane

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus illness COVID-19 rose above 223,000 on Friday, after the U.S. recorded its second-highest new daily case tally of more than 75,000 and data showed more than 40,000 people are hospitalized, stretching resources in many rural areas.

The U.S. counted 75,409 new cases on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker, which is the highest number since late July. In the past week, the U.S. has averaged 62,166 cases a day, up 32% from the average two weeks earlier. The U.S. has a total of 8.4 million cases, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and at least 223,289 Americans have died.

NBC counted an even higher total, 77,640 new cases based on their analysis, and said it was a record one-day tally.

There are currently 41,010 Americans in hospitals with COVID-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the highest level since Aug. 28.

New cases are rising at the fastest clip in the Dakotas and neighboring states, which some say are the result of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an event beloved by bikers that attracted a reported 500,000 to the small South Dakota town in August. At the time of the rally, many were filmed freely mixing in bars, tattoo parlors and restaurants without wearing face masks or social distancing.

While the full extent of the transmission rate from the event is unclear, given the failure to fully trace the contacts of bikers who returned to home states across the nation, the Washington Post said it counted more than 330 cases and at least one death directly linked to the rally, based on a survey of health departments in 23 states that provided the paper with data.

That number is understood to be a vast underestimation of the true tally, since asymptomatic spread often goes undetected and many bikers have not been tested.

South Dakota has six out of 10 of the hot-spot counties in the U.S. identified by the New York Times tracker. South Dakota’s overall hospital system is at about 65% capacity, according to the state health of department. In North Dakota, hospitals are at 88% capacity and in some areas, patients are being sent away.

US COVID-19: Bad News and an Ugly Forecast

The problem in rural areas is exacerbated by the fact that so many hospitals in remote areas have shut down in recent years. Since 2005, 174 rural hospitals in the U.S. have closed, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, a unit of the University of North Carolina that tracks the data. Since 2010, 132 rural hospitals have closed, the data shows.

Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency room physician who practices at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, described the problem in an interview with MarketWatch’s Jaimy lee.

“Sometimes people drive in from rural areas three hours away,” she said. “it’s such a big deal for them to get in. And if they’re getting sicker, the last thing they can do is hop in a car and drive themselves back and they don’t have a family member who can bring them back. And we’re sitting there wondering, ‘the full observation period is to day 10. I don’t have enough hospital beds to keep you.’ And yet I’m worried about sending you home, but the standard of care is really to aggressively send people home.”

On the medical front, Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD, +0.19%  won Food and Drug Administration approval for its Veklury COVID-19 treatment for patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 infections.

The antiviral drug, until now called remdesivir, in early May received an emergency use authorization (EUA), which is a less rigorous type of regulatory authorization used during public-health emergencies.

Veklury is the first COVID-19 therapy to receive a full FDA approval during the pandemic and has been considered the standard of care when it comes to treating hospitalized patients since it received emergency authorization.

However, some doctors questioned the approval process, which comes after a batch of mixed data for the drug. A World Health Organization study found the drug had no impact on survival — it does not stop people from dying. At best, it can reduce recovery times in hospitalized patients.

Critics have also questioned why the FDA did not hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss the risks and benefits of the drug. In the traditional FDA approval process, a group of independent clinical experts convene for a public meeting to discuss experimental therapies before an FDA decision. They vote on whether the agency should approve a drug. The FDA isn’t required to follow the committee’s recommendation, but it often does.

Trump has no healthcare plan. Never has. Never will.

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