This Week in Coronavirus: April 24 to April 30

Every Friday we’ll recap our new coronavirus policy analysis, polling, and journalism. Total cases in the U.S. surpassed 1 million this week. Since last Thursday, actions to ease social distancing requirements went into effect in 14 states: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Here are the latest coronavirus stats from KFF’s tracking resources:

Global Cases and Deaths: This week, total cases worldwide passed 3 million – with approximately 549,000 new cases added between April 23 and April 30. There were approximately 40,000 new confirmed deaths worldwide between April 23 and April 30.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: There have been over 1 million cases in the U.S. There were approximately 200,000 new cases and 13,000 deaths in the United States between April 23 and April 30.

U.S. Tests: There have been approximately 6 million total COVID-19 tests with results in the United States — with over 1.5 million added since last Thursday. 17% of the total tests were positive. There were 19 tests with results per 1,000 people. Our new dashboard highlights the variability by state.

Adults at Higher Risk of Serious Illness if Infected with Coronavirus: 38% of all U.S. adults are at risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus (92,560,223 total) due to their age (65 and over) or pre-existing medical condition. Of those at higher risk, 45% are at increased risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus due to their existing medical condition such as such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, uncontrolled asthma or obesity.

States Easing Social Distancing Measures: 14 states – Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin – have eased some social distancing measures since Thursday, 4/23 Our tracker is updated daily as the quickly changing state responses go into effect. More will go into effect today.

Statewide Actions to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 (includes Washington D.C.):

  • Stay At Home Order: 36 statewide orders, 3 orders for high-risk groups only, other action in 1 state, expired orders in 5 states, no action in 6 states
  • Mandatory Quarantine for Travelers: 14 orders for all travelers, 1 order for all air travelers, 6 for travelers coming from certain states, other action in 1 state, no action in 29 states
  • Non-Essential Business Closures: 24 orders to close all non-essential businesses; 4 orders to close all non-essential retail businesses, 14 to close certain non-essential businesses, open with reduced capacity in 3 states, no action in 6 states
  • Large Gatherings Ban: All gatherings prohibited in 15 states, gatherings of 10+ people prohibited in 25 states, gatherings of 20+ people in 1 state, other actions in 4 states, expired bans in 3 states, no action in 3 states
  • State-Mandated School Closures: Closed in 11 states, closed for school year in 33 states, recommended closure in 1 state, recommended closure for school year in 6 states
  • Bar/Restaurant Limits: Closed except takeout/delivery in 44 states, limited on-site service in 5 states, other action in 1 state, no action in 1 state
  • Primary Election Postponement: Postponement in 14 states, cancelled in 1 state, no postponement in 36 states
  • Emergency Declaration: There are emergency declarations in all states and D.C.

State COVID-19 Health Policy Actions (Includes Washington D.C.)

  • Waive Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment: 3 states require, state-insurer agreement in 3 states; no action in 45 states
  • Free Cost Vaccine When Available: 9 states require, state-insurer agreement in 1 state, no action in 41 states
  • States Requires Waiver of Prior Authorization Requirements: For COVID-19 testing only in 5 states, for COVID-19 testing and treatment in 6 states, no action in 40 states
  • Early Prescription Refills: State requires in 18 states, no action in 33 states
  • Premium Payment Grace Period: Grace period extended for all policies in 11 states, grace period extended for COVID-19 diagnosis/impacts only in 5 states, no action in 35 states
  • Marketplace Special Enrollment Period: Marketplace special enrollment period in 12 states, no special enrollment period in 39 states
  • Paid Sick Leave: 13 states enacted, 2 proposed, no action in 36 states

Approved Medicaid State Actions to Address COVID-19 (Includes Washington D.C.)

  • Approved Section 1115 Waivers to Address COVID-19: 1 state has an approved waiver
  • Approved Section 1135 Waivers: 51 states have approved waivers
  • Approved 1915 (c) Appendix K Waivers: 37 states have approved waivers
  • Approved State Plan Amendments (SPAs): 23 states have temporary changes approved under Medicaid or CHIP disaster relief SPAs, 1 state has an approved traditional SPA
  • Other State-Reported Medicaid Administrative Actions: 51 states report taking other administrative actions in their Medicaid programs to address COVID-19

This week’s blog posts in Coronavirus Policy Watch:   

  • Taking Stock of Essential Workers (Blog)
  • States are Shifting How They Cover Prescription Drugs in Response to COVID-19 (Blog)
  • Public Attitudes Towards the Coronavirus Outbreak in Highly Affected Counties (Blog)

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

COVID-19 in the United States

  • COVID-19 in Rural America – Is there cause for concern? (Issue BriefNews Release)
  • Double Jeopardy: Low Wage Workers at Risk for Health and Financial Implications of COVID-19 (Issue Brief)
  • Public Attitudes Towards the Coronavirus Outbreak in Highly Affected Counties (Blog Post)
  • Data Note: Requirements for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities in Response to COVID-19 Vary Across States (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: State Action to Limit Abortion Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Issue Brief)

Global COVID-19 Response

  • Archived Recording: KFF and Global Health Council Present a Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Archived Recording)
  • Pandemic, Global Warming Can Spur Nations To ‘Rebuild Our World For The Better,’ U.N. SG Says In Climate Dialogue Address (KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report)

Trackers and Tools

  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated May 1, 2020 (Tracker)
  • COVID-19 and Related State Data (State Health Facts)
  • State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus – Updated April 30, 2020 (Issue Brief)
    • This tracker has been updated with a new data dashboard that integrates data on cases, deaths, testing, hospitalizations, and race/ethnicity into a single resource. The tracker also includes new data on cases in long-term care facilities
  • Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19 – Updated April 30, 2020 (Issue Brief)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Trump’s Claim That U.S. Tested More Than All Countries Combined Is ‘Pants On Fire’ Wrong (KHN)
  • Do-It-Yourself Cheek Swab Tested As Next Best Thing To Detect Coronavirus (KHN)
  • California To Widen Pipeline Of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (KHNChico Enterprise-Record)
  • Lost On The Frontline (KHNThe Guardian)
  • KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: SCOTUS Decides An ACA Case. No, Not THAT Case. (Podcast)
  • Free Clinics Try To Fill Gaps As COVID Sweeps Away Job-Based Insurance (KHN)
  • ‘An Arm And A Leg’: If Insurer Bills You For COVID Testing, Talk — And Maybe Tweet — It Out (Podcast)
  • As Coronavirus Strikes, Crucial Data In Electronic Health Records Hard To Harvest (KHNFortune)
  • Trump Says N95 Masks Can Be Sterilized For Reuse. Only In A Pinch, Experts Warn. (KHN)
  • COVID Tests Are Free, Except When They’re Not (KHNNPR)
  • Amid Coronavirus Distress, Wealthy Hospitals Hoard Millions (KHNWashington Post)
  • Telehealth Will Be Free, No Copays, They Said. But Angry Patients Are Getting Billed. (KHNNPR)
  • Health Insurers Prosper As COVID-19 Deflates Demand For Elective Treatments (KHNLos Angeles Times)
  • Widely Used Surgical Masks Are Putting Health Care Workers At Serious Risk (KHNThe Guardian)
  • Lost On The Frontline (KHNThe Guardian)
  • Lawmaker Pushing Mental Health Reform: It’s ‘More Needed Than Ever’ (KHN)
  • Consumer Beware: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Are Still A Work In Progress (KHN)
  • The Challenges Of Keeping Young Adults Safe During The Pandemic (KHN)
  • Fear Of Coronavirus Propels Some Smokers To Quit (CHL)

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