Even as case tallies continue to rise, state leaders say they still don’t have enough tests to get a clear picture of infections.
“Everything about the tests are very difficult to come by, and there’s no federal plan for this, so every state is on their own,” Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker said. “As I’ve said, it’s the Wild West out here.”
At least 278,458 people in the United States have become infected and 7,159 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s running case count.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the federal government must ramp up its efforts to push for more personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers, saying the state had received some but not all it had requested.
“We’re grateful for these supplies. But to be clear, we’ve gotten just 33% of what we’ve asked for, and they’ve told us not to expect more anytime soon,” he said.
“This pandemic is a war,” he said. “And we need the armor to fight it.”
“Governments at all levels, hospitals, law enforcement and others are competing against each other for a scarce amount of personal protective equipment,” Cooper said.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said officials in his state have tried to boost hospital bed capacity and buy more personal protective equipment.
“We try to buy (PPE),” he said. “It’s really hard. The federal government buys most all of it.”
Beshear called on residents to donate equipment they may have, saying there’s a great need for gloves.
“We believe this is the next area where there’s going to be another big run in the United States,” he said in a statement.
White House announces new face cloth guidelines
“It’s really going to be a voluntary thing,” Trump said. “I’m not choosing to do it.”
The President’s announcement came days after a panel of experts advised the White House on new research that suggests coronavirus could be spread by talking and possibly even just breathing.
“The CDC would not have gone this direction if not for the White House,” the official told CNN. “We would have tried more to understand about asymptomatic transmission. We would have done more studies if we had more time.”
CDC experts were under “intense pressure” to draft the new guidelines quickly, the official said.
Here’s what else happened this week:
• The next two weeks will be “very, very rough” for the US, the President also said. White House experts cited a model this week that showed more than 2,000 Americans could die each day by mid-April.
NY nurse: Patients appear sicker than last week
A New York hospital intensive care unit nurse says the patients she and her colleagues are treating this week appear sicker compared with last week. And it’s not just the lungs, Kelley Bradshaw said. Patients’ heart and kidneys are being affected as well.
“The pathophysiology of this thing is it starts out with the lungs and then a patient may start to have some respiratory insufficiency, meaning they need some oxygen supplementation and then that might not be enough so they need different modalities, i.e. they need a breathing tube and then after that happens, then sometimes different organ systems start to get affected like the kidneys,” she said.
“There’s just a lot of unpredictability with these patients and it just feels like the longer someone battles this virus and the more critically ill they become, the harder our job gets,” she said.
The ICU has expanded to handle more patients, Bradshaw said, and while health workers still have all the protective equipment they need, they’re careful not to exhaust it in case they still have a lot of coronavirus patients three weeks from now.
“They do have to keep it very — it is very regulated, meaning that we can’t just blow through it, because we don’t know what’s coming next,” she said.
Cuomo is asking upstate hospitals to loan up to 20% of their unused ventilators.
“Moreover, when the pandemic wave hits upstate New York, the governor will ask downstate hospitals for similar help,” Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, said in a statement. “We are not upstate or downstate we are one state and we act that way.”
CNN’s Chris Boyette and Athena Jones contributed to this report.