Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:54 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020
29 Posts
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12:32 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

The number of people flying into the US has dropped to 2% of last year's arrivals

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Geneva Sands

United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport as the coronavirus pandemic slows air travel on April 22, in Denver.
United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport as the coronavirus pandemic slows air travel on April 22, in Denver.

The number of people flying into the United States has plummeted to just 2% of last year’s arrivals, according to new US government data.  

Figures from Customs and Border Protection show only 218,347 people have entered the country in April, compared to nearly 10.8 million people in April 2019. The figures are through April 28. 

In March, air arrivals dropped by more than half: 5.4 million compared to 11.4 million in 2019. 

In February, slightly more people flew into the US in 2020 than in 2019. 

Airlines have nearly eliminated service between the US and foreign destinations, and are currently flying only about 5% of typical international schedules. 

The number of people on each international flight has started to tick up in the second half of April, according to the airline industry group Airlines for America, though some of that may be due to airlines condensing nearly-empty international flights. The average international flight now carries 28 or 29 passengers, compared to 26 as of last Friday and 24 in the middle of the month. 

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, which is part of a major international flight network, said he expects little or no increase in flying as the summer travel season begins.   

12:30 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

House could come back in two weeks, Pelosi says

From CNN's Haley Byrd and Clare Foran 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 30, in Washington.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 30, in Washington. Balce Ceneta/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House’s current plan is to return the week after next to advance another coronavirus relief package.

“We’re not coming back next week. Our plan is to come back the following week,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference on Thursday. 

But she also said the House is “at the mercy of the virus” and the schedule will depend on guidance from the Capitol attending physician and the sergeant at arms.

In addition to a vote on the next coronavirus relief package, Pelosi said the House will be able to vote on a rules change to allow proxy voting and remote committee work.

Pelosi told reporters that Democrats’ main priority is funding for state and local governments.

She said Democrats may propose three separate dedicated funding streams for states, counties, and municipalities in the next coronavirus relief bill, with around $500 billion for states and a “similar” amount for localities — potentially adding up to $1 trillion over time.

12:27 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Trump says he's in charge of "Operation Warp Speed" to produce coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus response with Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., in the Oval Office of the White House, April 30, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus response with Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., in the Oval Office of the White House, April 30, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump said on Thursday he's in charge of "Operation Warp Speed"— a recently launched project to accelerate the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

During an Oval Office meeting with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy opened up to the press, Trump was asked if he was overpromising on a potential vaccine by accelerating its development through the project.

“I’m not overpromising. I don’t know who said it but whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we’re going to have,” Trump said. “I hope we’re going to have a vaccine, and we’re going to fast-track it like you’ve never seen before, if we come with a vaccine. I think they probably will.”

 Trump was also asked who is in charge of the operation.

“You know who is in charge of it, honestly? I am,” Trump said. “I will say, we’re dealing with, as you know, the general and the admiral. They’re very much in charge. But I think probably, more than anything, I’m in charge. And I’m the one that gets blamed. And I get blamed anyways.”

CNN previously reported that the project has the goal of manufacturing hundreds of millions of doses that can be made available to Americans by the end of the year. No vaccine has been created yet, though multiple projects are in the works around the world.

The effort aims to dramatically cut short the usual development time for a vaccine. It's not clear whether the project could realistically meet that goal.

12:21 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

WHO emergency committee reconvenes to review coronavirus recommendations

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

 

The World Health Organization has reconvened its Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to assess the state of the coronavirus pandemic and review WHO's recommendations on how to respond.

On Thursday, the committee met via teleconference to deliberate what views, information and advice will be provided to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday. 

The last time the committee met was in January when it advised Tedros that the coronavirus outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern and provided temporary recommendations on how WHO and countries can respond. Tedros subsequently declared the public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest level of alarm for the world. 

"At the time, as you may remember, there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China. To be specific, we had 82 cases outside China, and no deaths, when we declared the highest level of international emergency," Tedros said during a media briefing in Geneva on Wednesday.

"It’s almost three months since we declared the highest emergency and that’s what was suggested by the Emergency Committee – to evaluate the evolution of the pandemic, and to advise on updated recommendations," Tedros said. "In the three months since the Emergency Committee last met, WHO has worked day in, day out to sound the alarm, support countries and save lives."

 

12:24 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

New York City subway will suspend service from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. nightly

Passengers ride the subway on April 28, in New York City.
Passengers ride the subway on April 28, in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a plan to suspend New York City subway service for four hours every night to disinfect the trains.

Cuomo said the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will stop train service from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. nightly.

"This is going to be one of the most aggressive, creative, challenging undertakings, the MTA has done," Cuomo said.

"I to 5 are the slow hours," Cuomo said, noting that about 10,000 people ride the system during that period of time.

He said the city and state will provide alternative travel for essential employees who need to get to and from work during those hours. While this is happening, there will be "buses, dollar vans" and, if necessary, "for-hire vehicles at no cost to the essential worker during those hours."

The shutdown goes into effect on May 6, the governor said.

Watch:

12:13 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Gov. Cuomo says state needs a "tracing army" to track coronavirus spread

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Albany, New York, on April 30.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Albany, New York, on April 30. State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said contact tracing — tracking those who came into contact with coronavirus patients — is key to monitoring and controlling the coronavirus infection rate. But unprecedented widespread tracing throughout the state is a hefty undertaking.

“It’s not rocket science to do it on an individual basis. The problem is the scale that we have to do this at,” Cuomo said. 

“It will require, under any estimate, a tracing army to come up to scale very, very quickly,” he added.

Cuomo said the estimate is that 30 contact tracers are needed for every 100,000 people who are in affected areas, which would be about 6,400 to 70,000 tracers, depending on the outcome of projected cases. 

“It’s of a scale never been done before and, by the way, we need it tomorrow,” Cuomo said. 

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins are working together with the state Department of Health to recruit and train tracers. 

Watch:

12:07 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

New York to use smartphone apps to assist with contact tracing

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the state will use three new smartphone apps to assist with coronavirus contact tracing.

The first app will help contact tracers find information and data quickly, he said during a press conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The second app will help the public provide information to the health departments, and the third will allow those in quarantine to access the services they need as well as report symptoms, Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said those hired to do contact tracing will also receive additional training.

"Johns Hopkins has developed a training class which can be taken remotely. It will cover all the basic information of epidemics, contact tracing and privacy. There's also a test at the end of the training which you have to pass in order to be hired," Bloomberg said.

Watch:

11:54 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Cuomo says death rate is "still terrible"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that while the death rate is down, the toll is "still terrible."

At least 306 people died across New York state yesterday, he said. That's down from the 330 who died on Tuesday and the 335 who died on Monday.

"Number of lives lost, still terrible," Cuomo said.
Watch:

11:19 a.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Trump adviser: Unemployment numbers "as startling as anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks about reopening the country, during a roundtable with industry executives, in the State Dinning Room of the White House, on April 29, in Washington.
White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks about reopening the country, during a roundtable with industry executives, in the State Dinning Room of the White House, on April 29, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

Trump economic adviser Kevin Hassett continued to project what his colleagues have referred to as “doom and gloom” regarding the economy following another release of unprecedented unemployment numbers today, continuing his comparison to the Great Depression.

“You know we’ve been pretty frank with the American people that shutting down of our economy was going to give us a few months of really, really startling data. And we’ve been out in front of the data releases, explaining, you know, exactly why the numbers are as bad as they look, and why you should expect that maybe things could turn around quick,” he said, adding, “The fact is that right now we have 30 million people have filed for unemployment insurance. The unemployment rate is probably up around 19%. And those numbers are as startling as anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression.”

Asked by CNN whether it’s realistic, as Jared Kushner said, that the economy could be normal by June and “rocking” by July, Hassett said it’s possible and depends on the virus, but he’s planning for every scenario.

 “If the virus is mostly gone, then everybody will get back to their normal lives and the baseball stadiums will be filled with fans and so on. And if the virus is still lingering or even staying at about the level we see right now, then activity will stay lower. And my instructions, the economic team’s instructions from the President are to have a plan for every eventuality and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.