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April 17 Coronavirus News

FDA approves new swabs that would allow for safer at-home coronavirus testing

People might soon be able to perform their own test swabs for Covid-19 at home with a newly designed, Q-tip-style swab, the US Food and Drug Administration said today.

The FDA said it had worked with US Cotton to design the swabs, which are shorter than the swabs used by technicians, doctors or nurses to collect samples to test people for Covid-19 infection.

The swabs currently used are long and must be directed deep into the nose — a process that is uncomfortable and can make people sneeze potentially infectious particles.

The new swab is shorter and can collect a sample from the front of the nose, the FDA said.

“The type of testing at the front of the nose used in this study is notable because it allows self-collection by patients thereby limiting exposure of healthcare providers; it is more comfortable for patients and it can be performed by a swab that is more readily available and manufacturable at scale,” the FDA said in a statement.

The FDA also said US Cotton plans to manufacture large quantities of these swabs.

Commercially available cosmetic Q-tips are not suitable for use in testing because their cotton fibers absorb too much snot.

Reopening the country will not be “game over” on avoiding risks, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said just because the country may start using the phased plan to slowly reopen the economy, “it’s not game over.”

He said at the daily coronavirus briefing that there are checks built in to each phase to ensure safety above everything else — even if that means things don’t go completely back to “normal.”

“No matter what phase you are in, there are certain fundamental things that we’ve done that are not like it was in September and October,” he said. “You want to call it the new normal, call it whatever you want, but even if you are in phase one, two or three, it is not game over. It’s going to be a way that we protect ourselves.”

Fauci said it is important to continue to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus until there is a vaccine.

“It may very well be that as we go the cycle around there will be this virus that wants to come back to us. I think we will be able to handle that,” Fauci said.

Trump: Some states could open “literally tomorrow”

US President Donald Trump said certain states that are not battling a coronavirus outbreak could open for business as soon as Friday if they meet the criteria laid out by the White House today.

“If you look at Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota — that’s a lot different than New York, it’s a lot different than New Jersey,” Trump said at the coronavirus task force briefing.

The President said the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines should remain in place unless a governor determines it has gone 14 days with a low-enough number of cases to satisfy the new reopening guidelines.

“They’ll be in place, dependent on what the governor wants to do,” he said.

Trump said states could open tomorrow if they retroactively determine they’ve hit the two-week mark, allowing them to move onto the next “phase” of the new guidelines.

“They will be able to go literally tomorrow because they’ve met all of the guidelines,” he said.

Trump noted that if a governor acted too quickly to open its businesses and allow mass gatherings, the administration would be “expressing ourselves very strongly.”

“We have large sections of the country right now that can start thinking about opening,” he said.

The President noted that he asked officials today in meetings why the recommendations included that people wear masks in public, even in an area that has not seen many Covid-19 cases, when things return to a version of normal. He said he was told that is to protect locals “if someone should come in from an area that isn’t so successful” in mitigating the spread of the virus.

Trump said 29 states are “in that ballgame” of being able to consider reopening in the days ahead.


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