Thursday morning news – April 30, 2020

Fauci: experimental drug will be “standard of care” after successful study » A study run by the National Institutes of Health may have a breakthrough in treating the coronavirus. 

At the White House on Wednesday, top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the drug remdesivir shortened patients’ average recovery time by four days. And he added, the results will likely improve. 

FAUCI: We think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating. And I can guarantee you, as more people, more companies, more investigators get involved, it’s going to get better and better. 

He said “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” and he added, “This will be the standard of care.”

Fauci said researchers plan to combine remdesivir with other drugs to try and find ways to further boost its effectiveness. 

The study tested remdesivir against usual care in more than a thousand hospitalized coronavirus patients. The drug is the first treatment to pass such a strict test. 

President Trump said Wednesday that he wants the Food and Drug Administration to move as quickly as it can to approve remdesivir as a standardized treatment. 

Stocks rise despite dismal Commerce report » News of an effective treatment against the coronavirus lifted spirits on Wall Street. Stocks rallied, and the S&P 500 gained almost 3 percent Wednesday. 

Investors also responded to assurances from the Federal Reserve that it will continue working aggressively to boost the economy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday…

POWELL: We’re committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time. We’re going to use them, as I mentioned, forcefully, proactively and aggressively until we’re confident that we’re solidly on the road to recovery. 

The Fed has already announced emergency programs to lend money and buy up debt. Congress has given the Treasury Department more than $450 billion to fund those programs. And Powell said the Fed will leave interest rates at nearly zero for the foreseeable future.  

He spoke as new numbers further illustrated how the pandemic has slammed the economy. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annualized rate. That’s the worst since the Great Recession in 2008. 

And the numbers from the current quarter are expected to be much worse. Many economists predict we’ll see the gross domestic product fall at an annual rate of 30 percent. That would be a drop not seen since the Great Depression. 

Pug is likely first U.S. dog to test positive for human coronavirus » A dog in North Carolina has tested positive for the human coronavirus. 

Heather McLean told CNN that her pug, Winston, recently began displaying mild symptoms. 

MCLEAN: So we think he had a mild cough, and then there was certainly one morning he didn’t want to eat his breakfast. 

Duke University researcher Chris Woods said “To our knowledge, this is the first instance in which the virus has been detected in a dog” in the United States. 

McLean and her family were participating in a Duke study in which researchers tested all members of the family, including their pets. 

Several family members tested positive along with Winston. The family owns two other pets, which were negative. 

Other animals have tested positive for the virus including two cats in New York, two dogs in Hong Kong, and eight lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo. 

But health officials say there is no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to their owners. 

Rep. moves toward third party White House bid » A sitting member of Congress has taken a big step toward launching a third party White House campaign. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan announced that he’s launching an exploratory committee for the 2020 Libertarian Party’s presidential nod.

The Republican-turned-independent was first elected to Congress in 2010. He’s been an outspoken critic of President Trump. And he said on Twitter that the country was ready for new leadership.

Amash wrote that Americans are—in his words—“ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together.”

Amash announced last July that he was leaving the Republican Party, saying he had become disenchanted with partisan politics and was—quote—“frightened by what I see from it.” He drew ire from President Trump when he agreed with Democrats that the president had engaged in impeachable conduct.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

NCAA moving to allow athletes to earn money from endorsements and more » The NCAA is moving forward with a plan to let college athletes earn money for endorsements, personal appearances, social media content, and more. 

The NCAA’s Board of Governors has okayed the change. The next step is for members to draft legislation by October 30th. Plenty of details still need to be worked out, including how to ensure sponsorship deals aren’t used to entice recruits. 

Schools will vote at the next convention in January, and new rules will go into effect by the end of next year.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File ) In this June 12, 2019, file photo, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., listens to debate on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

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