Today the United States recorded a total of 206,207 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, for another 20,000-plus-case daily jump, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll stands at 4,540, according to the New York Times.

Yesterday during the White House coronavirus task force briefing, President Trump said healthy Americans may want to consider wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My feeling is, if people want to do it, there’s certainly no harm to it. I would say do it,” Trump said. “But use a scarf if you want, you know? Rather than going out and getting a mask or whatever.”

Though the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of masks by healthy people, and many scientists argue the data do not support mask use (see today’s commentary published by CIDRAP from two leading experts), the health advisers closest to the president have started to signal they may soon recommend homemade masks for Americans in the coming days.

Today US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, echoed the president during an appearance on “Good Morning America.” “We’ve learned there’s a fair amount of asymptomatic spread and so we’ve asked the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to take another look at whether or not having more people wear masks will prevent transmission of the disease to other people,” Adams said.

Yesterday CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, told National Public Radio that as many as 25% of infected people are asymptomatic.

The federal COVID-19 task force also shared models that showed the pandemic could take between 100,000 to 240,000 American lives in the coming months. Deborah Birx, MD, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the numbers came from several different models put out by Harvard University, Imperial College, and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations.

Florida issues stay-at-home order


Credit: Debora Cartagena CDC

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