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.
Los Angeles will now offer free coronavirus testing for all residents with or without symptoms, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference today.
Los Angeles is the first major city to do this, according to Garcetti.
Those with symptoms will have the first priority, he added.
Los Angeles has the capacity to conduct roughly 9% of all tests in America, he said.
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it “will invest $75.5 million in Defense Production Act Title 3 funding to increase swab production by 20 million per month starting in May.”
“Puritan Medical Products was awarded the contract, which will quickly establish a new manufacturing facility capable of doubling its current monthly output of 20 million to 40 million swabs,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement.
Some context: President Trump announced Sunday he will compel a US company to make swabs under the Defense Production Act, but Peter Navarro, his trade adviser who Trump tapped to coordinate DPA use, clarified to CNN Monday that the White House plans to use the act to give Puritan Medical Supplies federal funding to boost production.
“As Ben Franklin might have said today ‘For want of a swab, a test was lost.’ This swift DPA action by the Trump administration will help America continue to rapidly build up its testing capacity. It underscores the many and varied uses of DPA authorities to secure our supply chain and onshore production of critical resources in our public health industrial base,” Navarro said in a statement.
The Defense Department said that “Puritan is securing a facility in Pittsfield, Maine where it will build its manufacturing facility. Puritan is also adding 150 employees to staff the new factory which will start production in May.”
“More jobs for Maine is a nice bonus,” Navarro added.
The state of Wyoming announced that its 14-day quarantine directive has been extended, according to a statement from the governor's office.
"Gov. Mark Gordon has extended through May 8 his directive requiring any individual coming to Wyoming from another state or country for a non-work-related purpose to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days," the statement said.
The decision by the governor was made following conversations with county commissioners throughout the state. Gordon also took into consideration the existing guidance in place in neighboring states, the statement added.
"He noted that Colorado continues to discourage nonessential travel and Montana's 14-day self-quarantine directive remains in place," the statement said.
Gordon announced that on May 15, reservation-only camping at the state parks would open.
San Diego County has extended its public health order indefinitely, Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said at a news conference Wednesday.
The order was set to expire tomorrow, April 30.
"As you heard from the governor yesterday, any jurisdiction opening up is contingent upon the guidance and direction from the governor of California," Wooten said. "We cannot open back up until the state gives the green light to do so, so yes, we are extending it tomorrow indefinitely."
The current county health order requires all people to remain in their homes or at their place of residence, except for employees or customers traveling to and from essential businesses or activities. Beginning May 1, all people in San Diego must wear face coverings anywhere in public if they come within 6 feet of another person, the order mandates.
County officials also said they are hoping to relax more restrictions for parks and golf courses by next week if public places and businesses can enforce social distancing.
The county loosened restrictions on Monday to allow swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and kayaking in the ocean and bays. Recreational boating is still banned.
Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice dismissed senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s claim that the administration’s coronavirus response has been a “great success story,” telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the President’s son-in-law’s words were “ridiculous” and would be “laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious.”
“I don’t know how anybody, with a straight face, can call this a great success and declare this a mission accomplished moment when more than 60,000 Americans are dead,” she said.
Rice went on to rebuke Kushner’s claim that much of the country would be back to normal by June and his stated hope that by “July the country is really rocking again.”
“This is the beginning, not the end of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States,” she said. “Dr. Fauci, whose judgment I trust implicitly, has just said that he believes the second wave in the fall is inevitable and that’s the pattern of pandemics of the past.”
Speaking on “Fox and Friends” earlier in the day, the President’s son-in-law painted a rosy picture of the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic calling a “great success story” — less than a day after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States topped 1 million.
When Kushner was pressed on the same program on coronavirus testing levels in the US, he said the question shouldn’t be why did it take so long, but, “How did we do this so quickly?”
There are 964 members of the New York Police Department out sick with the coronavirus, the NYPD announced Wednesday evening.
This figure represents 745 uniformed members and 219 civilian members, according to the NYPD’s daily coronavirus report.
As many as 2,800 members of the NYPD were out sick with the coronavirus on April 14, but it’s unclear if that represents the peak number for the department. CNN has reached out to the NYPD for more information.
As for the overall sick report, 7.7% of the NYPD's uniformed workforce was out sick Tuesday, down from an April 9 high of 19.8%.
There are 4,959 members of the NYPD who have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 3,958 members of the NYPD have returned to full duty after recovering from the disease.
“And let’s remember and pray for the 37 members of the service that have died due to coronavirus-related illness,” the NYPD added in the report.
New Hampshire has recorded 50 new Covid-19 cases and six new deaths due to the virus, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said at a news conference today.
There are now 2,054 people diagnosed with Covid-19 and 66 total deaths in the state, she said. There are 259 people who have been hospitalized in New Hampshire due to coronavirus and more than 19,800 people have been tested.
Shibinette announced that two additional long-term care facilities in the state have reported Covid-19 outbreaks.
One facility is the Hackett Hill Healthcare Center in Manchester, where 22 residents and two staff members tested positive for Covid-19. The other outbreak is at the Mountain Ridge Center in Franklin where 13 residents and two staff members have tested positive for Covid-19.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced the release of funds to assist homeless individuals in New Hampshire during the pandemic.
The Department of Health and Human Services has committed an addition $3 million from the CARES Act to do three things in New Hampshire:
- Provide dollars in the form of staff stipends for eight weeks for the direct care staff working with people experiencing homeless
- Provide additional dollars to shelters
- Provide more dollars to community agencies to support permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness
Looking to the future: Sununu said the state was looking at ways to “phase in” reopening the economy, and said that on Friday he will be making an announcement regarding the stay-at-home order.
The state is looking to be flexible regarding certain areas of the state where they believe they can open in a smart and responsible phased approach that is “always putting public health first,” Sununu said.
All of this has to be done with increased testing, which the state is constantly working on, Sununu said. There are five new testing sites across New Hampshire for individuals who cannot access hospitals or urgent care locations. These new testing sites are located in Lancaster, Plymouth, Tamworth, Rochester and Claremont and the tests sites are up and running now, Sununu said.
Elective medical procedures and outpatient health care operations like dentistry will be permitted to resume beginning tomorrow morning in West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice announced at a news conference today.
“Tomorrow officially opens West Virginia,” Justice declared.
Health providers must have adequate personal protective equipment inventories and are required to follow guidance issued by their boards and associations in order to open.
Justice’s proposal to reopen West Virginia, called The Comeback, is a six-week plan dependent on cumulative positive cases remaining below 3%.
The next phase allows restaurants, churches, and professional services like salons to open with restrictions on May 4.
“We can’t stay where we’re at,” Justice said. “If we stay where we’re at, we’re going to lose way, way, way more."
He also said reopening schools this academic year “is completely off the table.”
Justice was asked to respond to President Trump’s suggestion earlier this week that states consider reopening schools.
“In West Virginia, that’s not going to happen,” Justice said.