This Week in Coronavirus: May 21 to May 28

Every Friday, we’re recapping the past week in the coronavirus pandemic from our tracking, policy analysis, polling, and journalism. This week, total deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday, May 27. That day ended with approximately 100,400 total confirmed deaths. Total cases in the U.S. are still climbing, and this week increased by 144,000, bringing the cumulative total of cases past 1.7 million. Across 40 states reporting this data as of yesterday, 43% of deaths due to COVID-19 occurred in long-term care facilities.

Meanwhile, since last Thursday, restaurants have reopened to dine-in service in 4 more states, and 4 more states have eased or lifted their gatherings ban. All but two states have eased or lifted at least one social distancing requirement.

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

Global Cases and Deaths: This week, total cases worldwide passed 5.8 million – with approximately 707,000 new confirmed cases added between May 21 and May 28. There were approximately 29,300 new confirmed deaths worldwide between May 21 and May 28.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed deaths in the U.S. surpassed 100,000 this week. There have been over 1.7 million total confirmed cases in the U.S. There were approximately 145,000 new confirmed cases and 6,900 confirmed deaths in the United States between May 21 and May 28.

U.S. Tests: There have been over 15.6 million total COVID-19 tests with results in the United States —approximately 2.6 million were added since May 21. The seven-day rolling average rate of positive tests (between May 21 and May 28) was 10.7%. In the last seven days, 0.6% of the total U.S. population was tested.

State Reports of Long-Term Care Facility Cases and Deaths Related to COVID-19 (Includes Washington D.C.)

  • Data Reporting Status: 47 states are reporting COVID-19 data in long-term care facilities, 4 states are not reporting
  • Long-term care facilities with known cases: 8,286 (across 43 states)
  • Cases in long-term care facilities: 199,477 (across 43 states)
  • Deaths in long-term care facilities: 39,039 (in 39 states)
  • Long-term care facilities as a share of total state cases: 16% (across 43 states)
  • Long-term care facility deaths as a share of total state deaths: 43% (across 40 states)

State Social Distancing Actions (includes Washington D.C.):

  • Social Distancing: 49 states have eased at least one social distancing measure.
  • Stay At Home Order: Original stay at home order in place in 17 states, stay at home order eased or lifted in 28 states, no action in 6 states
  • Mandatory Quarantine for Travelers: Original traveler quarantine mandate in place in 16 states, traveler quarantine mandate eased or lifted in 8 states, no action in 27 states
  • Non-Essential Business Closures: Original non-essential business closures still in place in 2 states, some or all non-essential business permitted to reopen (some with reduced capacity) in 44 states, no action in 5 states
  • Large Gatherings Ban: Original gathering ban/limit in place in 28 states, gathering/ban limit eased or lifted in 22 states, no action in 1 states
  • State-Mandated School Closures: Closed in 7 states, closed for school year in 36 states, recommended closure in 1 state, recommended closure for school year in 6 states, rescinded in 1 state
  • Restaurant Limits: Original restaurant closures still in place in 18 states, restaurants re-opened to dine-in service in 32 states, 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 9 states, grace period extended for COVID-19 diagnosis/impacts only in 5 states, no action in 35 states, expired in 2 states
  • Marketplace Special Enrollment Period: Marketplace special enrollment period still active in 6 states, ended in 6 states, no special enrollment period in 39 states
  • Paid Sick Leave: 13 states enacted, 2 proposed, no action in 36 states

State Actions on Telehealth (Includes Washington D.C.)

38 states overall have taken mandatory action expanding access to telehealth services through private insurers, including:

  • New Requirements for Coverage of Telehealth Services: Parity with in-person services in 6 states, broad coverage of telehealth services in 6 states, limited coverage of telehealth services in 6 states, no action in 33 states
  • Waiving or Limiting Cost-Sharing for Telehealth Services: Waived for COVID-19 services only in 7 states, waived or limited for all services in 9 states, no action in 35 states
  • Reimbursement Parity for Telehealth and In-Person Services: Required for all services in 17 states, no action in 34 states
  • Require Expanded Options for Delivery of Telehealth Services: Yes in 35 states, for behavioral health services only in 1 state, no action in 15 states

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

  • Approved Section 1115 Waivers to Address COVID-19: 1 state (Washington) has an approved waiver
  • Approved Section 1135 Waivers: 51 states have approved waivers
  • Approved 1915 (c) Appendix K Waivers: 45 states have approved waivers
  • Approved State Plan Amendments (SPAs): 38 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

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. Among nonelderly adults — low-income, American Indian/Alaska Native & Black adults have a higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus. In both cases – for race and household income – the higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus is chiefly due to a higher prevalence of underlying health conditions and longstanding disparities in health care and other socio-economic factors.

This week’s posts in Coronavirus Policy Watch:  

  • Josh Michaud: Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Should Not Be the World’s — But Aspects of It Are Worthy of Consideration (CPW Post)

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • Drew Altman: Coronavirus’ Unequal Economic Toll (Axios Column)
  • KFF Health Tracking Poll – May 2020 (News ReleasePoll Findings)
  • Larry Levitt: COVID-19 and Massive Job Losses Will Test the US Health Insurance Safety Net (JAMA Forum)
  • Five Things to Know about the Cost of COVID-19 Testing and Treatment (Issue Brief)
  • N., Canada, Jamaica To Convene World Leaders In Effort To Boost Funding For Developing Countries; AP, Devex Examine Leadership, Key Development Players During Pandemic (KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report)

Trackers and Tools 

  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of May 29 (Interactive)
  • State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus – Updated as of May 28 (Interactive)
  • Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker: Approved State Actions to Address COVID-19 – Updated as of May 28 (Issue Brief)


The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  •  As COVID Cuts Deadly Path Through Indiana Prisons, Inmates Say Symptoms Ignored (KHNNPR) 
  • Lost On The Frontline (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Hate Unmasked In America (KHNLA Times Opinion) 
  • ‘Why Do We Always Get Hit First?’ Proposed Budget Cuts Target Vulnerable Californians (KHN 
  • KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Still Seeking A Federal Coronavirus Strategy (Podcast) 
  • Some Ivory Towers Are Ideal ForA Pandemic. Most Aren’t. (KHN 
  • For Seniors, COVID-19 Sets Off A Pandemic Of Despair (KHNCNN) 
  • Antibody Tests Were Hailed As Way To End Lockdowns. Instead, They Cause Confusion. (KHNTime 
  • My Mother Died Of The Coronavirus — It’s Time She Was Counted. (KHNNew York Times) 
  • COVID-Like Cough Sent Him To ER — Where He Got A $3,278 Bill (KHNNPR) 
  • Nearly Half Of Americans Delayed Medical Care Due To Pandemic (KHN) 
  • ‘An Arm And A Leg’: Tips For Surviving COVID With Your Financial Health Intact (KHN) 
  • Lost On The Frontline (KHNThe Guardian) 
  • Bringing ‘Poogie’ Home: Hospice In The Time Of COVID-19 (KHNWashington Post) 
  • ‘We Miss Them All So Much’: Grandparents Ache As The COVID Exile Grinds On (KHNNPR) 

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