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COVID Death Toll Tops 1M Worldwide, US Gov't Deploying Millions of Rapid Test Kits

Image Source: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Image Source: (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The world hit a somber milestone Tuesday as the global death toll from COVID-19 has now topped one million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

America has the most reported deaths - nearly 206,000 - and the most reported cases with more than 7 million people infected.

President Trump announced Monday that the government will begin distributing 150 million rapid coronavirus tests this week.

Of that number, 50 million will go to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice care. Historically black colleges and universities are among the other institutions receiving the test kits. 

Trump explained the testing strategy during a briefing.

"One hundred million rapid point of care tests will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and fast as they can," he said.

The briefing begins at the 41:30 mark in the video.

The new initiative will increase public testing in some of the hardest-hit communities.

CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson spoke on CBN Newswatch about the distribution of 150 million tests and how they are going to help save lives in the most vulnerable areas like nursing homes and schools.

"One hundred million of those are going straight to the schools. Kids are back at school and we know that kids have almost zero percent chance of dying from COVID-19 and a very low percentage of hospitalizations," she said. "We do know that kids get it and spread it. We think about children who take it home to their grandparents. What's going to happen is these kids are going to be tested at school and kids who test positive can be isolated and keep it from spreading."

"The other 50 million are going to be transmitted to other high-risk areas - historically black colleges and universities where minorities disproportionately get COVID-19 and die from it in higher numbers."

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Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said, "It really could not be easier than this, this is a very sophisticated piece of cardboard. We're announcing our plan to distribute 150 million rapid point of care tests. This is going to double the amount of tests performed."

And with flu season approaching, many are concerned that there will be a second wave of COVID cases.

Meanwhile, 33 states are seeing an increase in new cases.

A recent surge was reported in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, so health officials there are considering a lockdown in some neighborhoods.

And the return of students to college campuses has triggered some new outbreaks.

She added that a second wave of the virus could hit the country this fall.

"There's a very large concern about that. Experts say the reason we are seeing this uptick is that people are not doing the mitigation efforts. They're not wearing the masks and they are not social distancing."

Despite a new strand of the virus that appears to be mutating in Houston, Texas, she explained why health officials aren't concerned with the issue.

"We always see viruses mutate...this is what viruses do and we're seeing in Houston 99.9 percent of the cases where this mutated form of the virus," she said. "The good news is that it's less lethal, but it is more contagious which is what we see with the common cold. The big concern about a virus anytime it mutates is that we hope it doesn't mutate so much that it doesn't match the vaccine."

Despite the death toll reaching one million, that number is likely an undercount because some countries don't have the same transparency or levels of testing that the US does.

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, insists that the full magnitude of the virus is still ahead.

"We're only at the beginning of this. We're going to see many more weeks ahead of this pandemic than we've had behind us," Gostin said.

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