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The numbers: Home-price appreciation maintained a steady pace in April, despite the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S., according to a major price barometer released Tuesday.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city price index posted a 4% year-over-year gain in April, up from 3.9% the previous month.

On a monthly basis, the index increased 0.9% between March and April.

Because of the two-month lag in the data included in the price index, this was the first report that accounted for the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the housing market.

What happened: The national index reported as part of the report noted a 4.7% increase in home prices over the past year across America.

Phoenix continued to lead the country with an 8.8% annual price gain in April. Seattle was next, with a 7.3% gain, followed by Minneapolis, where home prices rose 6.4% over the past year. Prices were weaker in the Northeast.

Overall, the pace of price growth increased in 12 of the 19 cities Case-Shiller analyzed — the 20-city list once again didn’t include Detroit this month because transaction records for Wayne County, Mich., were unavailable, the report noted.

“This is, so far, the only directly visible impact of COVID-19 on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices,” Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in the report. “The price trend that was in place pre-pandemic seems so far to be undisturbed, at least at the national level.”

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t put downward pressure on home prices, yet. Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released its monthly home price index, which similarly showed prices increasing on a monthly and yearly basis in April on average nationwide.

Of course, on a regional basis, some parts of the country did see downturns between March and April in the FHFA’s report, including New England and the South Atlantic region, which runs from Maryland to Florida.

Whether this trend will continue will depend largely on the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic. Until now, home-buying demand has remained high relative to a short supply of homes available for sale. As states began reopening in May, home sales activity rebounded across much of the country.

But many of the states that reopened early are now seeing sharp upticks in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. As a result, states have had to reverse some of their reopening plans to slow the spread of the virus, and it’s not clear yet what effect that will have on consumer confidence or those states’ economies.

A recent report from Zillow ZG, +0.98% indicated that a downturn in home prices could be delayed and might come in the second half of the year. “The next question housing will face is whether this growth can continue after demand built up during housing’s brief pause in the pandemic’s early days runs its course,” Zillow senior principal economist Skylar Olsen said in the report. “It’s likely housing will feel the broader economy’s downturn eventually, though to a mild degree, and home values will fall in the coming months.”

What they’re saying: “The housing market is likely benefiting from low mortgage rates, stronger demand for larger spaces as more and more people work from home and a desire to move away from crowded cities to avoid exposure to the coronavirus,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, in a research note.

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Is inhaled steroid budesonide really ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19?

SAN ANTONIO – A West Texas doctor is getting a lot of attention for his claims that the inhaled steroid budesonide is the “silver bullet” for COVID-19.

Dr. Richard Bartlett, a general physician who practices at various clinics in the Midland-Odessa area says he’s had 100% success rate treating dozens of patients with the drug.

Clips from his media interviews have gone viral on social media and some have speculated that other doctors are overlooking a cure.

“It’s like this medicine was made for this pandemic,” Bartlett told News West 9.

We ran this claim through our Trust Index and determined people should be careful.

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KSAT asked Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist at the UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine about claims that budesonide is the key to curing coronavirus cases.

“So this is a premature declaration of a cure,” Berggren said.

She said budesonide is a known medicine with important indications but says it should be studied before it’s widely used.

“Let me tell you something that should cause everyone to press the pause button on this budesonide idea,” Berggren said. “There’s a signal that suggests that if you give steroids, immunosuppressive medications, early in the course of the disease when you need your immune system to be fighting off the virus, you could possibly make things worse.”

Berggren said there was a large randomized trial of another steroid called dexamethasone in the United Kingdom which found that treating patients who had oxygen deficits orally or intravenously with the drug did reduce mortality, but the drug increased the death rate in patients who did not have oxygen deficits.

She said we won’t know if the same holds true for budesonide until it’s studied properly.

“I absolutely think that inhaled steroids need to be studied, and they need to be studied in a prospective randomized blinded fashion so that we can all learn whether they help and then how to use them safely and wisely,” Berggen said.

She warned against off-label use or hoarding of the drug.

“There’s even a possibility that if you use these steroids too early or too much of them, that you could harm yourself and worsen your chances of surviving COVID-19,” Berggren said.

Berggren isn’t the only doctor expressing concern over Bartlett’s claims.

Dr. Rohith Saravanan, the Chief Medical Officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center, told CBS 7, “As of right now, there is no widespread use of budesonide, and that’s not what the NIH recommends.”

“I just want to caution everybody to be careful,” Dr. Larry Wilson, CMO at Midland Memorial Hospital, told CBS 7. “If it’s being described as a silver bullet, if you’re hearing about things that are just so perfect that it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

Watch Dr. Berggren’s interview with KSAT from July 10 below:

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