During a press conference on June 19, 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that “[t]he pandemic is accelerating” and that we are now in a “dangerous phase” where the virus is “spreading fast.”   June 22, 2020 saw the largest single day spike in cases, with 183,020 new cases worldwide.   In the United States, nearly half of all states are reporting increases in new cases.

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that in the ten weeks following the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency, there was a 23% drop in individuals seeking emergency care for a heart attack; a 20% reduction in individuals seeking emergency care for a stroke, and a 10% drop in uncontrolled high blood sugar.   The report states that “[c]lear, frequent, highly visible communication from public health and health care professionals is needed to reinforce the importance of timely care for medical emergencies and to assure the public that EDs are implementing infection prevention and control guidelines that help ensure the safety of their patients and health care personnel.”   Additionally, the report concludes that “the striking decline in ED visits for acute life-threatening conditions might partially explain observed excess mortality not associated with COVID-19.”

On June 23, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Oversight of the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The committee will hear testimony from:

  • Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infection Diseases
  • ADM Brett Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Robert R. Redfield, M.D., Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In prepared testimony, the witnesses provide that “’[w]hile it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time.”  They also urge individuals to get a flu shot, stating that the “vaccine is more important now than ever” and “will keep you and your loved ones out of a doctor’s office and hospitals and help conserve scarce medical resources to care for COVID-19 patients.”

Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to provide relevant updates for healthcare providers on the Health Law Pulse related to the COVID-19 pandemic.