Apr 2, 2020 - Health

FDA allows blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period

Donated blood is collected at Bloodworks Northwest on March 17 in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Gay men, bisexual men and their female partners can now donate blood after a three-month waiting period, instead of the previously required 12-month span, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

What's happening: The Red Cross says the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused "a severe blood shortage," as more states issue stay-at-home orders and cities enter lockdowns to fight the spread of COVID-19.

  • Roughly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives had been canceled across the U.S. as of March 17, resulting in 86,000 fewer donations.

Details: The new policy is effective immediately, per the agency's guidance, and is "expected to remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic ends," the FDA said.

  • To explain the change, the FDA said Canada and the U.K. did not report safety concerns after installing three-month wait periods for blood donations from gay men.
  • The FDA also said the adjustment is scientifically supported, since "nucleic acid testing for HIV, HBV, and HCV" works "well within a three-month period following initial infection."

Of note: People who have traveled to malaria-endemic countries can now donate blood after a three-month waiting period under the new policy, as well as those with recent tattoos and piercings.

Go deeper: U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 5,000

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Health experts fear that the protests breaking out across the U.S. could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

The state of play: Being outside may limit the danger, but close quarters, yelling, and potential exposure to tear gas, which causes coughing and crying, increase the risk of spread. It's recommended that those who are protesting be tested for the coronavirus.

May 31, 2020 - World

U.S. sends Brazil 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1,000 ventilators

President Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

The White House announced on Sunday that the U.S. has sent 2 million doses of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to Brazil and that 1,000 ventilators will soon be delivered as well as the South American country becomes the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: The situation in Brazil, which has reported over 498,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 28,000 deaths, is threatening to spiral out of control as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro faces mounting criticism for downplaying the severity of the virus.

Increased armed presence planned for D.C. tonight

Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Government officials say plans are in place for a significantly heavier armed presence on the streets of Washington, D.C. tonight in response to the increasingly violent protests linked to the death of George Floyd.

What we're hearing: "Tonight you will see increased presence, both police...other agencies, and National Guard presence," a source familiar with the government's plans said.