Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

How many Americans have coronavirus? New Reuters poll might offer a hint

The official count of coronavirus infections in the United States sits at about 70,000 cases, but a chronic shortage of tests means only a fraction of the people infected are being counted. So how can we know how many Americans actually might have the disease? A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in the past several days could offer what one behavioral health expert called a "fascinating" hint of the possible numbers.

With obesity and diabetes epidemic, Mexico braces for coronavirus

Four of the six people who have died from coronavirus in Mexico so far had diabetes, raising alarm bells that a country with one of the world's highest rates of the condition may be more vulnerable than its relatively young average age might suggest. The World Health Organization has said people with diabetes and its related health complications are among those most vulnerable to severe cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly illness caused by the new coronavirus, along with the elderly.

Italy suffers setback to hopes its coronavirus epidemic might be in retreat

Hopes that Italy's coronavirus epidemic might be in retreat suffered a setback on Thursday when data showed that both the number of new cases and deaths had ticked higher, underscoring how hard it is to halt the disease. Officials said 712 people died of the illness in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally to 8,215, well over double that seen in anywhere else in the world, while new infections rose by 6,153 to 80,539.

U.S. can avoid lockdowns if coronavirus returns: Fauci

The United States will likely see another cycle of the coronavirus sometime after the current outbreak has ended, but entire cities will not be need to be closed down again because of what is being learned now, the government's top infectious diseases expert said on Thursday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told basketball star Stephen Curry in an interview on Instagram that he expects to see another cycle of the coronavirus, because he cannot "imagine it's just going to disappear."

Turkey limits export of respiratory support gear as coronavirus cases surge

Turkish companies seeking to export medical tools used for respiratory support will need permission from authorities under a decree issued on Thursday aimed a meeting domestic demand as the number of coronavirus cases in the country surges. The death toll from the highly contagious respiratory disease has risen to 59, with 2,433 confirmed cases in Turkey in the last two weeks.

Pope donates 30 respirators to fight coronavirus

Pope Francis has donated 30 respirators to hospitals in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican said on Thursday. A statement from the office of the papal Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, did not say where they would be sent, or if any would go to countries beyond Italy.

ICE deportation planes begin to ship stranded U.S. citizens home

Planes used by the U.S. government to deport Central American nationals will bring back U.S. citizens in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as coronavirus travel restrictions reduce commercial flights. The U.S. State Department is tracking 50,000 Americans abroad it said might seek help to return to the United States, straining the department's resources as it seeks to arrange travel around the spread of the coronavirus.

U.S. preparing guidelines to classify county COVID-19 risk: Trump

President Donald Trump said on Thursday his administration is preparing new coronavirus guidelines that would characterize U.S. counties as high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk. In a letter to U.S. governors, Trump said state and local leaders could use the guidelines to determine social distancing and other coronavirus mitigation measures. The guidelines will aim "to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus," the letter said.

Roche strikes a deal with Britain to increase coronavirus testing: Channel 4 news

Roche has struck a deal with Britain to increase the country's coronavirus testing capacity, Channel 4 News reported on Thursday. Citing health authority Public Health England, Channel 4 said the new machines would allow up to carry out up to 5,000 extra tests a day by the end of April.

Italian scientists investigate possible earlier emergence of coronavirus

Italian researchers are looking at whether a higher than usual number of cases of severe pneumonia and flu in Lombardy in the last quarter of 2019 may be a signal that the new coronavirus might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought. Adriano Decarli, an epidemiologist and medical statistics professor at the University of Milan, said there had been a "significant" increase in the number of people hospitalized for pneumonia and flu in the areas of Milan and Lodi between October and December last year.