Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:33 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020
21 Posts
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11:24 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

There's a coronavirus outbreak on a US Navy destroyer

From CNN's Ryan Browne and Michael Conte

The USS Kidd is seen underway in the Pacific Ocean on May 18, 2011.
The USS Kidd is seen underway in the Pacific Ocean on May 18, 2011. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Crishanda K. McCall/U.S. Navy/Reuters

A US Navy destroyer performing counter narcotics mission has an outbreak of coronavirus, with 18 cases reported, a US Navy official tells CNN.  

The Pentagon has confirmed that there has been a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Kidd, with more than one sailor testing positive. The ship is assigned to the Caribbean/Eastern Pacific mission. 

The first sailor that tested positive was taken off the ship when he displayed symptoms, according to Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman. He tested positive at a medical treatment facility in San Antonio, Texas. There have since been other sailors on the ship who have tested positive. 

“They are preparing to return to port, where they will undertake efforts to clean the ship. They will remove a portion of the crew from the ship. And work to get everybody back to health and get the ship back to sea,” Hoffman said.

A Navy medical team is conducting contact tracing and isolating individuals who may have been exposed, according to Hoffman. 

 

11:27 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Many Tennessee restaurants will be able to reopen Monday

Restaurants, bars and stores sit closed on April 16, in Nashville.
Restaurants, bars and stores sit closed on April 16, in Nashville. Mark Humphrey/AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee outlined today the first steps from the “Tennessee Pledge,” the state’s guidance for reopening businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. These guidelines apply to 89 of the state's 95 counties.

The first industries to receive guidance through the plan include the restaurant and retail industries.

According to the plan....

  • On Monday: Restaurants are able to reopen at 50% occupancy.
  • On Wednesday: Tennessee retailers are able to reopen at 50% occupancy.

The state recommends that employees in both industries wear cloth face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for hygiene and workplace sanitation standards related to the pandemic. You can read the full full guidance offered by the state here.

“Tennesseans pulled together to flatten the curve, and it is time for people to begin to get back to work and back to their businesses,” Lee said. “We are pursuing a careful, measured approach to reopening our economy that does not depend on heavy-handed mandates but instead provides practical tools for businesses of all sizes.”

Previously, Lee said that his administration will work with some of the state's most populated counties and their health departments as they plan their own reopening strategies. This includes counties surrounding Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

11:15 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

At least 50,000 people have died in the US from coronavirus

There are at least 50,031 reported deaths from coronavirus in the US,  according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of deaths in the United States. 

On Friday morning, Johns Hopkins is reporting at least 870,468 coronavirus cases in the United States. 

11:11 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Trump economic adviser says they're working on program to protect some reopened businesses from lawsuits

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks to reporters about the coronavirus, at the White House, April 20, in Washington.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks to reporters about the coronavirus, at the White House, April 20, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration is “pursuing some kind of liability safeguard program” for businesses that reopen that would protect them from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

There would be exceptions for gross negligence, he said during an appearance on Fox Business this morning.

“If you’re just open in business and you conform to the guidelines” and a customer or employee contracted coronavirus, “I don’t think there should be a lawsuit," he said.

Trump said he'd look into this kind of safeguard when asked in a briefing last week.

Kudlow declined to say what he’d like to see in the next round of relief package, but said there needs to be an “incentive-oriented program” to encourage US businesses to work and take risks.

Kudlow projected positive growth in the third quarter and “even more positive growth” in the last quarter of 2020.

11:00 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

FDA warns of serious side effects associated with drugs touted by Trump to treat coronavirus

From CNN's Arman Azad

 

In this photo illustration, tablets of Plaquinol (Hydroxychloroquine) are displayed on April 10.
In this photo illustration, tablets of Plaquinol (Hydroxychloroquine) are displayed on April 10. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned against the use of two drugs that have been touted by President Trump as potential treatments for novel coronavirus.

The agency said the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, should only be used in hospital settings or clinical trials because of the potential for serious side effects.

The agency said it was aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs, often in combination with azithromycin or other medications that can affect the heart. 

“We are also aware of increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions,” the FDA said. “Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.”

Trump has mentioned the closely related drugs nearly 50 times since mid-March, according to a CNN analysis of his public comments.

The President has said the drugs would be a “game changer” in the fight against coronavirus, but a growing body of evidence suggests they may not help Covid-19 patients at all, and may do more harm than good. 

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA said on Friday.

The agency said it was monitoring serious side effects in coronavirus patients who took the drugs, either alone or combined with the antibiotic azithromycin or other drugs.

“These adverse events included abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation, dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, and in some cases, death,” the agency said.

"We understand that health care professionals are looking for every possible treatment option for their patients and we want to ensure we're providing them with the appropriate information needed for them to make the best medical decisions," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.  

“While clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for COVID-19,” he said, “there are known side effects of these medications that should be considered.”

In its statement, the FDA said those risks “may be mitigated when health care professionals closely screen and supervise these patients such as in a hospital setting or a clinical trial,” which is mentioned in an emergency use authorization for the drugs issued last month by the FDA.

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are FDA-approved to treat or prevent malaria,” the agency said, adding that hydroxychloroquine is also approved for certain autoimmune conditions such as lupus.

Patients taking the drugs for their approved indications should continue taking their medications as prescribed, the FDA said. “The benefits of these medicines outweigh the risks at the recommended doses for these conditions.”

 

11:01 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Trump tweets he "never gave" Kemp the OK to open nonessential businesses

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump claims he and Vice President Mike Pence, “never��gave Governor Brian Kemp an OK on those few businesses outside of the Guidelines,” as the state's aggressive reopening plan begins.

“FAKE NEWS!,” Trump wrote on twitter. “Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path, but I told the Governor to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!”

CNN’s previous reporting from Jim Acosta, Kristen Holmes and Dana Bash is that Trump and Pence told Kemp via telephone that they supported his decision on reopening the state and praised his work as governor, according to a separate source with knowledge of the call. 

But the President — around the time Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus task force coordinator, met with Trump — had a second call with Kemp, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

The call was brief and struck an entirely different tone than the first: Trump asked the governor to slow down his reopening plan, to which Kemp said no, according to the sources. The President said he'd call Kemp back later to discuss, but never did.

To the relief of members of the task force, Trump proceeded to say he disagreed with Kemp's decision during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing.

10:47 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Pence says he thinks the coronavirus epidemic will "largely" be "behind us" by Memorial Day weekend

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23. Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Pence said that he thinks “by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us” in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera.

Pence emphasized that the White House’s recommended “phased approach” is the best way to ensure there is not a resurgence of the virus.

President Trump also retweeted Rivera about the interview with Pence, in which the radio host expressed some skepticism over the projection.

"If--as @VP tells me on our radio interview this morning--the worst is behind us & entire epidemic will be largely behind us by Memorial Day--less than a month away. It's @realDonaldTrump Administration's most optimistic projection. Mike Pence sticks his neck out-Hope he's right," Rivera wrote. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday warned that he is “not overly confident” about the current testing capacity in the US, which governors need before they are able to reopen their states.  

10:28 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Michigan will extend the stay-at-home order until May 15

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until at least May 15, according to her spokesperson Zack Pohl.

The governor will hold a news conference to announce the extension at 11 a.m. ET, Pohl said.

10:07 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

White House press secretary says Trump has "repeatedly" told Americans to consult their doctors on treatments

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, attends a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 18.
Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, attends a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 18. Patrick Semansky/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement Friday claiming that President Trump has "repeatedly" said Americans should consult their doctors on coronavirus treatments. 

This comes after fallout from Trump’s comments yesterday, asking if it was possible to treat coronavirus with sunlight or a “injection” of disinfectants.

“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing. Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” McEnany said in a statement.

Some background: Here's what President Trump said yesterday about “cleaning the lungs” with disinfectants: 

“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, if it's ultraviolet or very powerful light. And I think he said that hasn't been checked but he was going to test it. Then I said what it if you brought the light inside of the body which you could do either through the skin or some other way and I think you said you were going to test that, too. Sounds interesting. Then I see the disinfectant, knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning because you see it gets on the lungs. That you're gonna have to use medical doctors. Because it sounds interesting. The way the light killed that in one minute is pretty powerful.”

Following the remarks, the company that makes Lysol urged customers not to consume its cleaning products.