‘Breakthrough’ self swab tests will be available this week in US

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New York:  The Donald Trump administrations coronavirus task force co-ordinator Dr. Deborah Birx today announced that a “breakthrough” solution for self swabbing will be available for Americans later this week so that individuals can do their own tests.

Speaking at a White House briefing Monday evening, Birx quoted mortality data from Europe and reassured American parents that no child under the age of 15 had succumbed to the virus there.

“There was the one 14 year old in China. So we still see that there is less severity in children and so that should be reassuring to the moms and dads out there”, she said.

Speaking to Generation Z and to millennials, Birx said that less than one per cent of all the mortality is in the under-50 age group. Millennials are America’s largest demographic cohort.

Birx called these patterns “reassuring” for all Americans.

Birx said the mortality data from Europe shows that 99 per cent of all deaths there, “in general”, are in the over-50 age group and among those with underlying conditions.

“The pre existing condition piece still holds in Italy, with the majority of the mortality having three or more pre existing conditions”, Birx said.

Birx cautioned that New York City, Jersey City and parts of Long Island now have an “attack rate” of close to one in 1000 which is five times what other areas are seeing.

“We’re finding that 28 per cent of the submitted specimens are positive from that area where it’s less than 8 per cent in the rest of the country”, Birx said.

Birx called on New Yorkers in the COVID19 hotspots to “absolutely social distance and self isolate”.

“Clearly the virus had been circulating there for a number of weeks to have this level of penetrance into the general community”, Birx said.

New York has become the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 99 deaths on Monday, March 23. The US now has nearly one third of global deaths. The Johns Hopkins Hospital tracker puts the US death toll at above 530.

Birx said many of the alarmist projections are based on a situation where preventive social distancing is not in place.

“That’s what would happen if we did nothing at all”, she explained.

At the same briefing, US president Donald Trump confirmed that New York will begin treating some patients with a combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin. Last week, Trump touted anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine as a gamechanger. Trump’s task force has contradicted the president’s claims saying there is only anecdotal evidence of anti-malarials’ efficacy in COVID19 cases.

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