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Bleak new record as 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year

71,000 in US died of overdose in 2019

Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, a new record that predates the Covid-19 crisis, which the White House and many experts believe will drive such deaths even higher.

Preliminary numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the trend is driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. Deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine also are rising.

With billions of dollars devoted to ending the opioid epidemic, policymakers had hoped overdose deaths would continue to decline, or at least plateau, after 2018 showed a dip for the first time in three decades.

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After Attacks From Trump Aides, Fauci Says ‘Let’s Stop This Nonsense’ and Focus on Virus

Fauci fights back

As Trump administration officials have increasingly sought to undermine him in recent days, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of the most trusted federal officials working on the pandemic, made his most pointed remarks yet on Wednesday addressing tensions with the White House.

“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with The Atlantic on Wednesday. “I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.”

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Hospitals Ordered to Bypass CDC for Reporting

Hisoutaks irdered ti byoass CDC

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, beginning Wednesday, send all coronavirus patient information to a central database in Washington — a move that has alarmed public health experts who fear the data will be distorted for political gain.

The new instructions are contained in a little-noticed document posted this week on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website. From now on, HHS, and not the CDC, will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, how many beds and ventilators are available, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.

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Republican Gov Debunks Right-Wing Coronavirus Theory In Stirring Call For Masks

Tate Reeves

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is warning his state’s residents not to count on herd immunity for protection from the coronavirus.

Herd immunity is when a virus stops spreading after enough people have antibodies to protect against it, either from a vaccine or from becoming sick. Some ― particularly on the right ― have advocated for a rapid reopening of the economy to allow more people to get sick so the U.S. could quickly reach that level of immunity (although some scientists have warned that antibody protection from infection may not last).

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U.S. sets record for new COVID cases third day in a row at over 69,000

Covid-19 updateNew cases of COVID-19 rose by over 69,000 across the United States on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, setting a record for the third consecutive day as Walt Disney Co stuck to its plans to reopen its flagship theme park in hard-hit Florida.

A total of nine U.S. states - Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin - also reached records for single-day infections.

In Texas, another hot zone, Governor Greg Abbott warned on Friday he may have to impose new clampdowns if the state cannot stem its record-setting caseloads and hospitalizations through masks and social distancing.

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'Pushing the frontiers': Long lines for COVID tests, stressed labs delay results as demand spikes

Covid-19 test shortage

America’s testing system is once again strained and labs are struggling to keep pace as coronavirus rages faster than ever in the South and West.

From Florida to California, large and small labs running 24/7 can’t process samples quickly enough from millions of Americans tested every week. That means COVID-19 test results are delayed a week or longer in hotspot communities, undercutting public health efforts to track, isolate and prevent spread.

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CDC won't revise school opening guidelines after Trump criticism

CDC willl not revise school opening guidelinesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said Thursday the agency will not revise its guidance on reopening schools despite President Trump’s criticism that the guidelines were “very tough and expensive.”

But Redfield said the CDC will be issuing additional guidelines on face coverings and symptom screenings for schools.

“It’s not a revision of the guidelines,” Redfield said on ABC's “Good Morning America.”

“It’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.”

Trump on Wednesday slammed the guidelines CDC has put out over the past several weeks, saying the agency was “asking schools to do very impractical things.”

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