New York governor will issue executive order requiring a mask or face covering in public
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is issuing an executive order that all people in the state must wear a mask or mouth and nose covering in public, whenever they are in a situation where they cannot maintain social distancing of 6 feet or less.
“If you're going to get on public transit, you're going to get on a bus, you're going to get on a subway, you're going to stand on a subway platform, you're going to walk in a neighborhood that is busy, you're going to be on a sidewalk, you're going to pass other people on a sidewalk, you're not going to be able to maintain social distancing, you must wear a mask,” Cuomo said.
There will be a three-day notice period before the order is enforced, allowing New Yorkers to secure masks or face coverings, Cuomo announced Wednesday afternoon.
Local governments should start to enforce it, but there won't be any penalties as of right now, he added.
1:24 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
New York state will send ventilators to Michigan and Maryland
From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph
New York will send 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 to Maryland in an effort to mitigate death rates there, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“I will never forget the generosity people across the country showed our state,” he said.
Now that its health care situation has stabilized, New York is returning the favor to neighboring states.
1:22 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
N95 respirators can be decontaminated and re-used on a limited basis, according to NIH study
From CNN Health’s Arman Azad
A critical piece of personal protective equipment, the N95 respirator, can be safety cleaned and re-used, according to a study published Wednesday by scientists at the National Institutes of Health.
The respirators are designed for single-use, but according to the NIH study, they could potentially be used up to three times if they’re properly decontaminated in between uses.
The study has not been peer-reviewed, but was published on a pre-print server designed to expedite the release of research.
In a statement, NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that a variety of cleaning methods – such as vaporized hydrogen peroxide, dry heat, ultraviolet light or ethanol spray – could successfully decontaminate the respirators.
Some of these methods caused problems with the fit and seal of the masks, but one technique – vaporized hydrogen peroxide – did not result in failures. Masks undergoing that treatment, then, could be re-used three times, NIH said.
The US Food and Drug Administration has now authorized three respirator decontamination systems for use during the coronavirus pandemic, all of which rely on hydrogen peroxide decontamination.
1:33 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
Fauci suggests no fans and weekly testing needed for sports to return
From CNN's Wayne Sterling
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic and a member of President Trump's coronavirus task force, said there is a way for sports to return.
He suggested no fans and weekly testing.
Appearing on Snapchat's Peter Hamby show, "Good Luck America," Fauci said, "There's a way of doing that. Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled ... and have them tested every single week and make sure they don't wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out."
"People say you can't play without spectators. Well, I think you will probably get enough buy in if from people who are dying to see a baseball game, particularly me. I'm living in Washington. We have the world champion Washington Nationals and I want to see them play again," he added.
1:31 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
Idaho governor extends statewide stay-at-home order through April 30
Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Wednesday extended the statewide stay-at-home order until April 30.
Little, speaking at a virtual press conference, said Idaho has at least 1,464 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 39 deaths.
He went on to say that since the stay-at-home order was issued, the state has been "flattening the curve."
1:20 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
Cuomo: "The more testing, the more opening of the economy"
From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking at his daily briefing, said all states are having a hard time bringing coronavirus testing to scale quickly,
"Every governor is now in the same situation," he said, citing conversations with his counterparts across the country.
The states need assistance from the federal government to bring testing to scale, he said, adding “the more testing, the more opening of the economy.”
States need help with testing and tracing, as well as funding from the federal government, Cuomo said.
1:08 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
WHO defends its early actions in fighting the coronavirus
From CNN's Amanda Watts
Members of the World Health Organization on Wednesday defended their early actions when it came to fighting the coronavirus.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program said, “when WHO issued its first guidance to countries, it was extremely clear that respiratory precautions should be taken in dealing with patients with this disease, that labs needed to be careful in terms of their precautions and taking samples, because there was a risk that the disease could spread from person to person in those environments.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious diseases epidemiologist with WHO, said she recently went back and listened to the WHO news conference on January 14, and at the time, there were 41 confirmed cases worldwide.
“All of our guidance that was before we did that press conference was about limiting exposure to people and to prevent transmission, particularly in health care settings,” adding “our guidance that was put out was about respiratory droplets and contact protection,” Van Kerkove said. Noting, that was out on January 10 and 11.
Ryan said health systems around the world, including the United States, began to activate incident management systems during the first week of January.
“In the initial reports, in which there were no mention of human to human transmission, was a cluster of atypical pneumonia or pneumonia or unknown origin," he said.
“The idea of having a defense, at this point, seems rather strange,” Ryan said.
Ryan went on to say that “there are literally millions and millions of cases of atypical pneumonia around the world, every year,” adding, in the middle of flu season, “sometimes it's very difficult to pick out a signal of a cluster of cases. In fact, it's quite remarkable that such a cluster was picked out — 41 confirmed cases ultimately in a cluster in Wuhan.”
“We will be very happy when the after action reviews come in fact, I am very anxious for those after action reviews to come because we do them for every outbreak response and I'll be delighted with our teams and look forward to that engagement to look and see where we can learn to do better, where we can improve our response," Ryan said.
1:13 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
New York state has developed its own coronavirus antibody test
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state's Health Department has developed its own coronavirus antibody test.
"New York state Department of Health developed their own antibody tests, and that test is going to be very important, and it's in our control, because we'd actually do those tests. We don't need a private lab. We don't need anybody else. With those tests, it will go to about 2,000-per-day capacity, and that is a finger prick test, so it's not terribly invasive," Cuomo said today during a news conference.
Cuomo added that the state is pursuing Food and Drug Administration approval that "could get us to 100,000 people per day. To give you an idea, that's then 500,000 a week."
Some context: Antibody tests — also known as serology tests — aren't meant to diagnose active coronavirus infections. Rather, they check for proteins in the immune system, known as antibodies, through a blood sample.
Their presence means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity — although experts are not sure how strong the immunity may be or even how long it will last.
1:01 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020
CDC estimates more than 9,200 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus
From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam
More than 9,200 health care workers have been infected with Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in its first such assessment, published on Tuesday.
The number is likely an underestimate, since most reports of coronavirus cases don’t note whether the person worked in health care.
“This national surveillance article spotlights the large number of health care personnel already infected with Covid-19,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat told CNN. “I think we’ve all learned this virus was a greater threat than we had thought.”
Among the health care workers who had coronavirus, 90% were not hospitalized. There were 184 admissions to the intensive care unit, and 27 people died.
Schuchat added that it is important to focus on making sure that health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need, and that they need to remain vigilant.