Why doctors are struggling to treat COVID patients with pills, the future of COVID aid, and more COVID news

Here’s a look at COVID news for today, March 21.

Doctors are finding hurdles to using pills to treat COVID-19

High-risk COVID-19 patients now have new treatments they can take at home to stay out of the hospital — if doctors get the pills to them fast enough.

Health systems around the country are rushing out same-day prescription deliveries. Some clinics have started testing and treating patients in one visit, an initiative that President Joe Biden’s administration recently touted.

The goal is to get patients started on either Pfizer’s Paxlovid tablets or Merck’s molnupiravir capsules within five days of symptoms appearing. That can prevent people with big health risks from growing sicker and filling up hospitals if another surge develops. So what’s the issue?

Shanghai Disneyland closes as virus rises

Shanghai Disneyland closed Monday as China’s most populous city tried to contain its biggest coronavirus flareup in two years, while the southern business center of Shenzhen allowed shops and offices to reopen after a weeklong closure.

Meanwhile, the cities of Changchun and Jilin in the northeast began another round of citywide virus testing following a surge in infections. Jilin tightened anti-disease curbs, ordering its 2 million residents to stay home. Read more here:

Biden officials demand Congress fund COVID aid

Congress should provide the $22.5 billion President Joe Biden wants for continuing the battle against COVID-19 without cutting other programs to pay for it, senior administration officials said Monday.

And if Republicans continue to insist that additional federal efforts to combat the pandemic must be paid for by culling spending elsewhere, the GOP should specify what it wants to cut, the officials said.

The remarks came nearly two weeks after a new round of COVID-19 funding was pulled out of a $1.5 trillion government-wide measure after rank-and-file Democrats rejected cuts that party leaders had negotiated to pay for it. Read more here:

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