Coronavirus update today: Preparing for two more years, remdesivir approved

As some states begin to reopen, experts on Friday warned Americans to brace themselves for up to two more years of battling the coronavirus.

The US should prepare for another 18 to 24 months of “significant COVID-19 activity,” which won’t let up until about 60 to 70 percent of the population has been infected, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Only then will the country be able to achieve “herd immunity,” researchers say.

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Here’s what else we learned today:

The New York crisis:

  • A nursing home with at least 98 reported deaths could face criminal prosecution if it covered up residents killed by the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned.
  • The first seven miles of pedestrian and bicycle-only streets will open in the Big Apple on Monday. A total of 40 miles of streets will be closed to vehicles to give walkers and riders social distancing space.
  • State health officials shut down an “appalling” Brooklyn funeral home that stacked decomposing corpses in unrefrigerated trucks.
  • Meanwhile, students at New York state’s public schools and colleges won’t be heading back to the classroom during this academic year.

The virus, tests and treatment:

  • The Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of remdesivir, an experimental drug initially developed to treat Ebola in 2015.
  • People with low levels of vitamin D may be more likely to die from the illness, according to a preliminary study.
  • Germ warfare researchers have designed a “game-changer” coronavirus test that quickly identifies carriers of the deadly bug before they become infectious.

Sports update:

  • The NHL is looking into the possibility of playing games in its teams’ home cities instead of its previous plan to reopen the season in four centralized locations.
  • Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver — who had planned to announce plans for the suspended season May 1 — says he still has no clue whether players will hit the court anytime soon.

In other news….

  • Delta, American and United Airlines will require all passengers to wear face masks on flights, with the rule beginning in some cases in mid-May.
  • As an international dispute mounts over where and how the contagion originated, Chinese officials have refused to allow the World Health Organization to take part in an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.

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