Click here for continuing updates on April 8
Key updates for Tuesday, April 7, 2020:
- White House Coronavirus Task Force updates public
- The U.S. has more than 368,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 11,000 deaths. The worldwide recovery count is approaching 300,000.
- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey commits $1 billion to world issues, including coronavirus
- 'Pharma Bro' wants out of prison to help fight coronavirus
- Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown
- Union says at least 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19
- US Surgeon General more optimistic about outcomes.
- New York state recorded 731 new deaths - its biggest one-day jump yet
- New York City has now recorded more deaths from coronavirus than 9/11
- A crew member on the hospital ship USNS Comfort test positive for COVID-19
- Starbucks requires employees to wear face covers
- Opera star Andrea Bocelli will live stream Easter concert from empty cathedral
- Kroger will limit number of customers in its stores to 50% of capacity
- MLB may send all 30 teams to Arizona to open season
- India to lift ban on export of hydroxychloroquine, other drugs after Trump threat
- The Netherlands says it will not evict homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages
- Wisconsin will hold its Democratic primary Tuesday after efforts made to postpone or extend absentee voting were blocked the Wisconsin and U.S. supreme courts
- From Monday, April 6 blog: USNS Comfort to treat COVID-19 patients
The United States has 368,196 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of midnight ET Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 10,986 deaths and 19,828 recoveries.
An analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation -- the one most often mentioned by U.S. health officials at White House briefings -- says the U.S. overall should hit its peak need of beds, ICU beds and invasive ventilators the middle of next week. It also suggests that the daily U.S. death toll will peak around then. But, the IHME says that's based on continued social distancing measures.
Worldwide, there have been 1.35 million confirmed cases, nearly 75,000 deaths and more than 277,000 recoveries.
The daily number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide went from more than 101,000 on Friday to fewer than 75,000 on Saturday and fewer than 73,000 on Sunday. It's the first time since March 28 the daily number of new cases has fallen. There were no numbers immediately available for Monday.
In the U.S., the number of new daily cases dropped from more than 33,000 on Friday to about 28,200 on Saturday before moving back up to more than 29,000 on Sunday.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
White House Coronavirus Task Force updates public Tuesday
The White House held a briefing Tuesday afternoon to update the public as the U.S. enters one of the hardest weeks of the quarantine. The pain has been felt in the U.S. and around the globe.
The president began the briefing by giving his well wishes for the people of New York and New Jersey. Trump sent prayers of support to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson was in intensive care with the virus. And Japan declared a month long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other regions.
The devastation wrought by COVID-19 across the developed world in cutting into the financial lifelines for people in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The World Bank estimates that a record $529 billion was transferred to developing countries through official channels in 2018. In China, authorities lifted 11-week-old restrictions in the city of Wuhan, site of a lockdown that served as a model for other countries battling the coronavirus.
Billions more moved unrecorded in cash. Many of those remittances are sent home by people who work in jobs worst affected by the global downtown. With coronavirus shutting down industries, many earners can no longer afford to send their monthly $50, $100 or $200 to Honduras, Somalia or India. The shock waves are pushing their relatives to desperation.
President Donald Trump’s removal of a watchdog tasked with overseeing how his administration spends the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package is his latest challenge of an inspector general community asked to be impartial, above politics and independent of the White House. Trump has fired one inspector general tied to his impeachment, castigated another he felt was overly critical of the coronavirus response and sidelined a third meant to safeguard against wasteful spending of funds for businesses and people in economic distress.
New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Health officials say more than 3,200 people have been killed in the city thus far. That's about 450 more than were killed in the city in 2001 when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey commits $1 billion to world issues, including coronavirus
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says he is moving nearly $1 billion of his personal wealth to help provide global COVID-19 relief. Dorsey is taking nearly 20,000 shares in Square equity and moving it in to Start Small LLC, which he will then use to support charity organizations.
All transfers, sales and grants made from Start Small LLC will be transparently tracked in a Google Sheet. So far a donation of $100,000 was already made to America's Food Fund on April 2.
Dorsey said after the threat of the pandemic passes, the shares will then go to support girl's health and education as well as a universal basic income.
"I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world. UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl’s health and education is critical to balance," Dorsey said in a tweet.
'Pharma Bro' wants out of prison to research coronavirus
Convicted former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli wants out of prison so he can help research a treatment for the coronavirus. Shkreli's attorney said Tuesday that he will be filing court papers asking federal authorities to release Shkreli for three months so he can do laboratory work “under strict supervision.”
In a research proposal online, Shkreli called the pharmaceutical industry’s response to the pandemic “inadequate” and said researchers at every drug company “should be put to work until COVID-19 is no more.” Shkreli was best known before his arrest for drug price-gouging and his snarky “Pharma Bro” persona.
Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown
The lockdown that served as a model for countries battling the coronavirus around the world has ended after 11 weeks: Chinese authorities are allowing residents of Wuhan to once again travel in and out of the sprawling city where the pandemic began.
As of just after midnight Wednesday, the city's 11 million residents are now permitted to leave without special authorization as long as a mandatory smartphone application powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.
The occasion was marked with a light show on either side of the broad Yangtze river, with skyscrapers and bridges radiating animated images of health workers aiding patients, along with one displaying the words “heroic city," a title bestowed on Wuhan by president and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. Along the embankments and bridges, citizens waved flags, chanted “Wuhan, let’s go!” and sang a capella renditions of China’s national anthem.
Union: 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents all flight attendants from American Airlines, said in a letter that approximately 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19.
"WIthout a doubt, that number will increase in the follow days and weeks," the letter sent to flight attendants said.
American confirmed that at least some of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
"The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority. We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety related measures. We continue to look at all ways we can care – and protect – our team during this stressful time," the company said in a statement.
New York records biggest one-day jump in death count
New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus has officially eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, health officials said Tuesday.
At least 3,202 people have died in New York from COVID-19, according to the count released by the city. The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.
New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths Tuesday, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
But in an encouraging sign, he reported that the average number of people newly hospitalized each day is dropping, as is the number of those receiving breathing tubes, indicating that measures taken to make people keep their distance from each other are succeeding.
And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that's a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths appeared to be leveling off.
Opera star to live stream Easter Sunday concert
Italian music icon Andrea Bocelli will perform a special concert on Easter Sunday from an empty Duomo cathedral in Milan.
The performance will be streamed on Bocelli's YouTube channel at 1 p.m. Eastern on April 12.
US Surgeon General Adams touts social distancing
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed optimistic comments by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, saying that if Americans keep practicing social distancing for the rest of April “we can start to slowly reopen in some places.”
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Adams says U.S. officials are watching to see how China and South Korea handle reopening their societies after putting mitigation efforts in place to deal with outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Adams applauded West Coast public health officials for enacting social distancing early in California and Washington state and providing a “blueprint for how we deal with this in the rest of the country.”
Both Trump and Pence have spoken in recent days of seeing optimistic signs in the data.
Navy crew member on NY hospital ship tests positive
The Navy says a crew member on board the hospital ship USNS Comfort in New York harbor tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
The crew member has been isolated from patients and other crew members, and the Navy says the illness will not affect the Comfort’s mission of receiving and treating patients.
The Navy had recently announced that the Comfort, which initially was taking only non-COVID patients, is now accepting trauma, emergency and urgent care patients regardless of their COVID status.
Starbucks requiring employees to wear face coverings
Starbucks has announced that all of its employees are now required to wear "non-medical facial coverings" while at work.
The company said on its website that it will also make thermometers available for all stores so that workers can take their temperatures. Starbucks confirmed to NPR that it has provided employees with a tutorial for how to make their own face masks with supplies available in the store, in case they don't have their own.
Demark to start letting kids go back to school next week
Denmark says it is planning to reopen next week kindergartners and primary schools for pupils aged up to 11 in a gradual lifting of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said late Monday that her government planned opening schools for younger students up until class five first because the requirement to care for them represented a greater burden on society. Reopening is planned for April 15.
She said restaurants, bars and cafes would remain closed for now. Also churches, libraries, sports venues and shopping centers would remain closed until at least May 10.
Struggling Dutch homeowners won't be evicted
The Dutch government says homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages because of the coronavirus crisis will not be evicted.
Banks, housing organizations and the ministry of environment and housing issued a statement Tuesday pledging not to kick people out of their homes in the coming months as restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus wreak a devastating economic toll.
If people whose income has been hammered by the measures are unable to make monthly repayments, “mortgage providers together with homeowners will seek solutions” and not force them to sell their home, the statement says.
The exception to the no-eviction pledge is if a person is found to be running illegal activities in their home, such as a drug lab.
Boris Johnson spends night in ICU, not on ventilator
A British government minister says Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent the night in the intensive care unit of a London hospital, but is not on a ventilator.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said Johnson is being given oxygen. Gove said Johnson is “receiving the very, very best care from the team at St Thomas’ and our hopes and prayers are with him and with his family.”
Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital late Sunday, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the first major world leader to be confirmed to have the virus. He was moved to the ICU Monday after his condition deteriorated.
Kroger to limit customers starting Tuesday
Kroger says it will begin limiting how many customers can come into its stores starting Tuesday to promote social distancing. The stores will allow no more than half of the building's calculated capacity at any one time.
Kroger said it will monitor the number of customers per square foot in its stores using technology it already has to provide a count of customers entering and exiting the store.
Kroger also says it has started testing one-way aisles in some stores to reduce instances of customers passing one another.
The company says its stores will close early for Easter this Sunday so its workers can rest and be with their families.
New Zealand declares Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy essential
New Zealand has decided there is some magic in the world after officially declaring children’s favorites the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are essential workers.
That means they can carry on with their work while others stay at home during a monthlong lockdown.
“You will be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday. “But, as you can imagine at this time, of course, they are going to potentially be quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”
Reports: MLB may open season in Arizona
People familiar with the discussion tell The Associated Press that putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area this season and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.
The sides held a telephone call to talk about paths forward for a season delayed by the new coronavirus pandemic. Ideas are still in the early stage. Arizona’s advantage is 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field all within about 50 miles.
Scott Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent, said it might be the quickest method to start play.
Major League Baseball issued a statement Tuesday morning that said while they've "discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan."
India to lift ban on export of hydroxychloroquine
India says it will lift a ban on some drug exports including hydroxychloroquine after President Donald Trump threatened retaliation if India failed to send the anti-malarial drug to the United States.
Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement Tuesday that having confirmed sufficient supplies for India’s needs, export restrictions “have been largely lifted.”
The White House has been championing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, even though it hasn’t been proven effective against the disease. The drug is officially approved in the U.S. for treating malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and experts warn it can cause heart rhythm problems.
Trump has said that he spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week about lifting the ban, and in a news conference Monday said that he would be surprised if Modi didn’t comply.
“If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be OK, but of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be?” Trump said.
Wisconsin to hold primary Tuesday
Voters in Wisconsin will face a choice Tuesday of participating in a presidential primary election or heeding warnings from public health officials to stay away from large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an order postponing the election for two months, the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday sided with Republicans who said he didn't have the authority to reschedule the race on his own. Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court quickly followed with a ruling blocking Democratic efforts to extend absentee voting.
The decisions leave Wisconsin as the only state with an election scheduled in April that is proceeding as planned. As other states prepare to vote in May or June, Wisconsin will be closely watched for signs that fears of the coronavirus may depress turnout or cause other problems at the polls.
South Korea may put quarantined on electronic monitoring
South Korean officials are considering using electronic wristbands to monitor the growing number of people placed under self-quarantine to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho on Tuesday said such devices were one of several measures discussed by officials as they search for “practical and effective ways” to monitor people isolated at homes and facilities.
Yoon acknowledged that wristbands would come with privacy concerns and didn’t offer a specific answer when asked how likely it was that the government would enforce their use.
Peloton cancels live classes through April
Peloton's CEO has announced the company will cease filming live classes in its New York and London studios According to CNN, an employee tested positive for COVID-19 early April.
The company announced the changes in a blog post on Monday.
The company also introduced two new programs. One would provide relief for bike and tread members by covering two months of membership fees. The other would donate 100 additional bikes to health care workers.