Coronavirus pandemic in the US
Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has ended for the day. Follow the latest developments from around the globe here.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the 2020 NFL draft is "going to be fun" despite it being remote due to coronavirus restrictions.
This year's NFL Draft was supposed to be one of the most elaborate productions in NFL history. Instead, the NFL Draft, which kicks off on Thursday night on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, will take place virtually.
“We’re obviously staging this event in a much different way than we anticipated when we started,” Goodell said from his basement, where he will announce picks tonight. “We’re not in Las Vegas, unfortunately, but we’re all in our homes and we’re doing this remotely and we’re doing it within regulations without any exceptions.
He added: “It’s a change for all of us. It’s going to be different, but I think it’s going to be fun, and I think we’ll all experience it together, live essentially, on a different platform than we probably have in the past, but it should be a wonderful night.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that May will be a “decisive” month for New York City, adding, “I feel very good about things getting substantially back to normal by September.”
De Blasio said that “somewhere between, you know, the end of May and the beginning of school is going to be a point where we start to loosen up,” speaking on a radio program Thursday.
The mayor said the reopening process will be done in slow, careful stages.
De Blasio rehashed the city’s “aggressive” plan to get testing done by hopefully the hundreds of thousands, and reiterated that the federal government needs to help the city in terms of testing resources.
The testing sites the city set up in minority communities are seeing a good response, he said, adding that new sites he previously announced will come online soon including those in New York City Housing Authority communities.
De Blasio also added that the “status quo before Covid-19 is not acceptable to me” addressing the racial disparity he says has been exposed by the virus.
Bill Bryan, a senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for Science and Technology (DHS), explained during Thursday’s briefing that experiments with coronavirus samples indicate that the virus does not do well under sunlight, in warm temperatures or in humid conditions.
“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus — both surfaces and in the air. We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus,” Bryan told reporters.
Earlier this month, members of a National Academy of Sciences’ Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats told the White House in a letter that it doesn’t look like coronavirus will go away once the weather warms up.
"There is some evidence to suggest that [coronavirus] may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity; however, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread without the concomitant adoption of major public health interventions," according to the letter.
The letter pointed out that in the real world, the virus is still transmitting in countries with warm weather.
"Given that countries currently in 'summer' climates … are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," according to the letter.
At the briefing, Bryan said that higher temperatures and humidity causes the virus to die more quickly. “The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace just from exposure to higher temperatures and just with exposure to humidity. … You inject sunlight into that, you inject UV rays into that, … the half-life goes from six hours to two minutes,” he said.
Bryan specifically discussed how the droplets of saliva with coronavirus are fairing under warm and humid conditions.
“So in summary, within the conditions we’ve tested to date, the virus in droplets of saliva survives best indoors and in dry conditions. The virus does not survive as well in droplets of saliva — and that’s important, because a lot of testing being done is not necessarily being done, No. 1 with the Covid-19 virus, No. 2, with saliva or respiratory fluids. And third, the virus dies the quickest in the presence of direct sunlight under these conditions,” he said.
Bryan said bleach will kill the coronavirus in five minutes and isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds.
“You rub it and it goes away even faster,” he added.
President Trump said he suggested to Bryan figuring out ways to use UV rays or disinfectant on human beings to treat individuals with coronavirus.
“Suppose that we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light and I think you said that it hasn’t been checked and you’re going to test it,” Trump told Bryan. “Suppose you can bring the light inside the body.”
He added, “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning … it would be interesting to check that.”
President Trump said he's not happy with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to reopen his state's economy during the Thursday White House press briefing.
"I want the states to open, more than he does, much more than he does. But I didn't like to see spas at this early stage, nor did the doctors," he said.
Trump was referring to Georgia's decision to begin allowing fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy businesses to reopen, as well as in-person religious services as early Friday, April 24.
"Frankly, I didn't like to see a lot of things happening, and I wasn't happy with it," Trump added. "And I wasn't happy with Brian Kemp. I wasn't at all happy. I could have done something about it if I wanted to. But I am saying let the governors do it. But I wasn't happy with Brian Kemp."
When asked about Kemp "defying" Trump by a reporter, Trump responded: "No, he did not defy me at all. That is your language. He did not defy me."
He continued: "You know what happened? I said, you make your own decision, I told him that. I said, you are not in the guidelines but I'm letting you make your own decision but I want people to be safe and I want the people in Georgia to be safe. I don't want this thing to flare up because you're deciding to do something that is not in the guidelines ... But if you ask me, am I happy about it? I'm not happy and I'm not happy about Brian Kemp."
President Trump said that he disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments earlier Thursday that he’s not “overly confident” about the US’ testing capacity.
“No I don’t agree with him on that. No I think we’re doing a great job on testing. If he said that, I don’t agree with him,” Trump said when asked about Fauci’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, TIME posted an interview in which Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said that the US needs to “significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them.”
“I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that,” Fauci said in TIME.
Fauci is not in today’s coronavirus task force meeting.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended the state’s current ban on elective surgeries by a week until May 1, according to a statement from the governor’s office today.
He also extended the closure of Department of Motor Vehicle offices by two weeks until May 11.
According to the statement, the ban on elective surgeries will continue while state officials evaluate Virginia’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and how to safely ease restrictions on nonessential medical procedures.
“My top priority is protecting public health, and that includes ensuring that our frontline medical staff have the equipment they need to stay safe as they treat Virginians who are sick,” Northam said.
He continued: “We have increased our supply of PPE, but before we allow elective surgeries to resume, we must first be assured that the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are fighting this virus or conducting emergency surgeries have the necessary supplies. We are working with medical facilities on plans to ensure that we can resume elective surgeries safely and responsibly.”
President Trump was asked Thursday why he has stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic treatment for coronavirus. He disputed that assertion, even though he has not brought up the drug, which he touted repeatedly, for over a week, with one exception Tuesday.
“I haven’t at all. Why do you say I have? We’ll see what happens we had a lot of very good results and we had some results that perhaps aren’t so good, I don’t know. I just read about one but I also read many times good,” he said.
Trump continued: “It’s a great – for malaria, for lupus for other things and we’ll see what it is, but I guess Deborah (Birx), they have many studies going on on that. So we’ll be able to learn.”
He claimed he had “not seen” a study of hundreds of patients at United States Veterans Health Administration medical centers released Tuesday that found that coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine were no less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had higher deaths rates compared to those who did not take the drug.
On Tuesday, Trump was asked about the study.
“I don't know of the report. Obviously, there have been some very good reports and perhaps this one is not a good report. But we'll be looking at it. We’ll have a comment on it as soon,” he said at that briefing.
President Trump said he hopes to sign the roughly $480 billion relief package tonight.
The package would deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand Covid-19 testing. The measure passed the House earlier tonight.
"I'm signing it probably tonight," he said during Thursday's briefing.