As United States President Donald Trump continues to push states to reopen their economies despite surging coronavirus cases in the country, one of the largest tech companies has extended its remote work policy to July 2021.
Google’s decision to allow employees to work from home for the next year comes as the start to the much delayed Major League Baseball season was overshadowed by several players from one team testing positive for COVID-19.
Total cases in the country will exceed 4.5 million in a matter of days.
States that continue to lead the case surge – are Florida, California and Texas but several other states across the country are seeing cases rise substantially and with that additional pressure on those at the frontlines saving lives.
In the video below, Update on US COVID-19 cases as Trump continues to open economies: Sherwin Bryce-Pease
Dr Mark Supino is an Emergency Physician at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida says: “It’s extremely busy. So we are full. Our waiting rooms are full, our areas are full. We see a lot of patients that are there for COVID-related symptoms or complications. We also have a lot of patients who come in for completely other reasons and are very sick from other pathologies and so we’re dealing with those patients as well. We have had our numbers significantly increase.”
“So we have our standard population who comes in for all the sort of medical and trauma issues that we’ve always had, in addition to now, all our COVID patients. So it’s definitely a lot of work. It’s a completely different setting than we’ve had in the past. Every day is a new day,” he adds.
A new day too for Major League Baseball with more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff testing positive for COVID-19 with Major League Baseball barely getting its much-delayed season under way – now forcing the league’s Commissioner Rob Manfred to defend their COVID-19 protocols.
“I don’t put this in the nightmare category, I mean obviously we don’t want any player to get exposed, it’s not a positive thing but I don’t see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play, that’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players, and we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
And amid a push from the White House for faster reopenings, including for schools in the weeks ahead, Google’s parent company Alphabet has given its 200 000 employees and contract staff the option to work from home for the next year – despite the optimistic tone from the White House and President Trump about a V-shaped economic recovery.
“If therapeutically we come up with some answers very quickly which I think we will, then you’re going to have a tremendous recovery, likewise with the vaccine, if you do that by the end of the year, that’s ahead of schedule, substantially ahead of schedule and its ahead of anything that’s ever taken place in terms of vaccines before. So I think if those things happen, if just one of those events happen, you’ll go right back to that V, I think you’re in the V anyway. I really do believe that the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening and we’ll see what happens with them but a lot will have to do with the fact that therapeutically you’re going to have some great answers, vaccine wise, likewise,” says Trump.
And as expectations grow for a safe and effective vaccine, the first Phase 3 clinical trial began on Monday in the US, in a collaboration between Moderna and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Moderna’s President Dr Stephen Hoge says: “We’re optimistic, cautiously optimistic is the word others have used, that the vaccine will be successful. The data we published in the New England Journal of Medicine is the basis for that as well as other data we’ve seen in challenge models. So we’re quite encouraged by the progress. The phase 3 trial– I’m sorry– the phase 3 trial is a little bit beyond our control in terms of timing, because it’s a case-driven study but presuming we are able to accrue cases relatively quickly in that study, we would hope in the fall or towards the end of the year we would have data that we could submit to the FDA.”
The company is one of several others in the race to find the immunisation formula that could be a bridge to eradicating the often deadly coronavirus.