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COVID-19 treatment maker to charge hospitals $3,120 per treatment

Gilead Sciences, the maker of the first COVID-19 treatment found to have worked in clinical trials, remdesivir, said Monday it will charge US hospitals $3,120 for the typical patient with private insurance.

Soon after the announcement, the Trump administration said it had secured nearly all of the company’s supply of the drug for use in US hospitals through September, with a contract for 500,000 treatment courses, which it will make available to hospitals at Gilead’s price.

Other developed countries will pay 25 percent less than the United States, a discount Gilead said reflects a need to make the drug as widely available as possible throughout the world.

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The company has licensed generic manufacturers to produce the drug for developing countries which will receive the treatment ‘‘at a substantially lower cost,’’ the company said.

Gilead’s announcement settles a lingering question about a drug that has been shown to have a modest benefit but remains the only therapy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A clinical trial sponsored by the government showed the drug — invented by Gilead but developed largely by taxpayer-funded agencies — sped up hospital recoveries by four days. It had no statistically significant impact on survival for COVID-19 patients.

Washington Post

Jacksonville, Fla., orders face coverings to be worn

The city of Jacksonville, Fla., where mask-averse President Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August, ordered the wearing of face coverings Monday, joining the list of state and local governments reversing course to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Less than a week after Mayor Lenny Curry said there would be no mask requirement, city officials announced that coverings must be worn in “situations where individuals cannot socially distance.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany responded by saying the president’s advice is to “do whatever your local jurisdiction requests of you.”

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Trump has refused to wear a mask during visits to states and businesses that require them.

In recent weeks, the Republicans moved some of the convention pageantry to Jacksonville after Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina objected to the holding of a large gathering in Charlotte without social distancing measures. The convention will be in late August.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has opposed a statewide mask requirement but said in response to Jacksonville’s action that he will support local authorities who are doing what they think is appropriate.

Places such as Texas, Florida, and California are backtracking on reopening, closing beaches and bars in some cases. Other states, such as hard-hit Arizona, are hitting pause on their efforts to reopen.

On Monday, a group of Texas bar owners sued to try to overturn Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s order closing their businesses. They contend Abbott doesn’t have the authority, and they complained that other businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo studios, remain open.

“Governor Abbott continues to act like a king,” said Jared Woodfill, attorney for the bar owners. “Abbott is unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”

But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that Abbott is on the right path, and he added that Trump should order the wearing of masks.

“States that were recalcitrant . . . are doing a 180, and you have the same states now wearing masks,” Cuomo said. “Let the president have the same sense to do that as an executive order, and then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it, because we know it works.”

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Associated Press

New Jersey hits pause on restaurants’ indoor dining

New Jersey will not allow indoor dining in restaurants to resume on Thursday, delaying the state’s reopening plans, Governor Phil Murphy said Monday.

In his coronavirus briefing, Murphy said the state had “no choice” but to hit a pause on Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plans. However, Atlantic City casinos will still reopen with limited capacity.

Murphy said the coronavirus spikes in other states after they allowed indoor dining influenced his decision to postpone it indefinitely.

“Given the current situation in numerous other states, we do not believe it is prudent at this time to push forward with what is, in effect, a sedentary indoor activity — especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly,” Murphy said.

New Jersey reported 90 new cases and 17 fatalities on Monday. The state has totaled 171,272 positive cases since the pandemic began.

Washington Post

Houston hospital seeing more younger virus patients

Hospitalizations at Houston Methodist Hospital have almost quadrupled since Memorial Day, and younger people are becoming the ones in need of care, according to Marc Boom, its chief executive.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Boom said that about 60 percent of coronavirus patients in the hospital system are younger than 50 as infections in Houston continue to surge.

When coronavirus was first affecting the city, about 40 percent of patients in the eight-hospital system were younger than 50.

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In the midst of more coronavirus patients coming through hospital doors, he said there is some positive news about how the virus is affecting hospitalization numbers.

“Even though we have about 200 more patients in house, about double, we only have about three or four more people in the ICU, so that’s encouraging,” he said.

Washington Post

Broadway shows expected to stay shut for rest of year

Broadway will remain closed for at least the rest of this year, and many shows are signaling that they do not expect a return to the stage until late winter or early spring.

The Broadway League said Monday that theater owners and producers are ready to refund or exchange tickets previously purchased for shows through Jan. 3. But, given the unpredictability of the pandemic, the league said it was not yet ready to specify a date when shows will reopen.

Broadway shows went dark on March 12, and already this has been the longest shutdown in history. Thus far three shows, the Disney musical “Frozen,” a new Martin McDonagh play called “Hangmen,” and a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” both of which were in previews, have announced that they will not resume performances when Broadway reopens.

New York Times