Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

U.S. to allow states to distribute Gilead's remdesivir to fight COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Saturday it would allow state health departments to distribute Gilead Sciences Inc's remdesivir drug to fight COVID-19, and the United States would receive about 40% of the drug maker's global donation. Gilead has committed to supply approximately 607,000 vials of remdesivir over the next six weeks in the United States, and the U.S. state health department will distribute the doses to appropriate hospitals in their states, HHS said.

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 31,587

The death toll from coronavirus in Britain has risen to 31,587, an increase of 346 in a 24-hour period, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said at the government's daily news briefing.

Rare syndrome tied to COVID-19 kills three children in New York, Cuomo says

Three children in New York have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday, a development that may augur a pandemic risk for the very young. Both Cuomo and his counterpart in the neighboring state of New Jersey also spoke on Saturday about the pandemic's growing toll on mental health, another factor on the minds of governors as they weigh the impact of mounting job losses against health risks in moving to loosen restrictions on daily life.

Italy's daily coronavirus death toll and new cases fall

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 194 on Saturday, against 243 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases fell to 1,083 from 1,327 on Friday. The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 30,395 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

U.S. CDC reports 1,274,036 coronavirus cases, 77,034 deaths

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 1,274,036 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 25,996 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,557 to 77,034. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on May 8, compared with its count a day earlier.(

FDA grants emergency use authorization to Quidel for first antigen test for COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday approved emergency use authorization (EUA) to Quidel Corp for the first COVID-19 antigen test. The emergency use authorization was issued late Friday to Quidel for the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA, the agency said.

France says total death toll from coronavirus rises by 80 to 26,310

The number of people who have died from coronavirus infections in France rose by 80 to 26,310 on Saturday, the health ministry said, a much smaller daily increase than the previous day when it was 243. The ministry said the number of people in intensive care units - a key measure of a health system's ability to deal with the epidemic - fell by 56, or about 2%, to 2,812. That is less than half the peak of 7,148 seen on April 8.

Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

More than 3.96 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 273,974 have died, according to a Reuters tally, as of 1315 GMT on Saturday. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

Half of Spaniards to see lockdown eased from Monday as daily deaths fall

Spain's daily death toll from the coronavirus fell to its second lowest since mid-March on Saturday, as half the country prepared to move to the next phase of an exit from one of Europe's strictest lockdowns. Spain began to loosen its lockdown this week, but Phase 1 will include a considerable easing of measures that will allow people to move around their province as well as attend concerts and go to the theatre. Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed.

Senior UK medic confident "R" contagion number below 1 across country

Britain's deputy chief medical officer said on Saturday he was confident the coronavirus "R" number, a measure of the rate of contagion, was below 1 across the United Kingdom. "I am confident that our R is less than 1 overall," Jonathan Van-Tam said at the government's daily news briefing.