April 2 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:23 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020
155 Posts
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9:05 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

How to sanitize your groceries


Cheryl from Jacksonville, Florida, asked CNN's coronavirus town hall if Covid-19 can be contracted by ingesting it from produce at a supermarket.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said that since the virus is respiratory, you can't get it from contaminated food.

"It's more of a question of the packaging. You just have to think about, is there any risk of contamination in other ways. But you are not going to get a GI type thing from eating the virus. 

Watch below for a guide on how to sanitize your groceries:

9:05 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Should we be cleaning our cell phones more often?

Wayne Whitcomb, an engineer from North Hampton, New Hampshire, asked CNN's coronavirus town hall participants if cell phones are contributing to the spread of the virus.

"As we touch our phones frequently, but probably don't think to disinfect our phones as often as we wash our hands, I haven't seen any discussion or guidance given on this topic and wonder if you think it's a real concern. How should we properly disinfect our phones as part of our routine precautions?"

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said phones are probably "the most common surface that we touch."

"Cleaning the phone, and wiping the phone ... is a good idea. I've been doing that pretty regularly," he said. Gupta also said that hospital doctors often put their phones in plastic bags to keep them a bit cleaner.


9:07 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Why hasn't California hit its peak after two weeks of social distancing?

At CNN's coronavirus town hall, viewer Robin in Riverside, California, asked top public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci: "If we've been under stay-at-home orders for two weeks, why is the peak still yet to come?"

Fauci, the country's top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic and a member of President Trump's coronavirus task force, said that it's in part because there is a delay in seeing the order's effect, despite knowing that the virus' incubation period can be up to two weeks

"Even when you suppress or stabilize the number of new infections, it's still going to take a little while before you decrease in hospitalizations, a decrease in intensive care and a decrease and deaths. And in fact, deaths are the last thing that lag. So you could be doing well, and having a good effect on mitigation, and still see the deaths go up," Fauci said. "I guarantee, that's exactly what's going to happen in New York City."


8:50 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Will warm weather help stop the spread of Covid-19?

At CNN's coronavirus town hall, a viewer asks Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if warm weather will help slow or stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's what Fauci said:

"In general, viruses that are respiratory-borne tend to peter out a bit as you get into the warmer, moist weather, because viruses like cold/dry versus warm/moist.
"But that's not going to guarantee that that's happening because we have parts of our own country -- you know in Florida, where the weather is warm. Florida is now what Washington, DC, is going to be is in a few months. So we can't count on that. 
"I think there will be some effect. I think when the country, as a country, gets into the summer, that we're going to get some positive effect. But we really can't rely on that being the mechanism where we get out of that. We just have to assume it will not help, and still continue to push on social distancing. 
"Outside the United States, places in the southern hemisphere or that have warm climate year-round are also proving telling examples of whether this theory is true."

Read more about them here:

8:50 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Infectious disease expert says staying 6-feet away from others will help prevent airborne transmission

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic and a member of President Trump's coronavirus task force, said that standing 6-feet (1.8 meters) from other people will help prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

Fauci said tonight during CNN's coronavirus town hall that he would not tell people to change their behavior in terms of outdoor activities.

"This brings up a number of issues. First, it underscores why you should continue to try and stay 6 feet away from someone. That would alleviate that immediately. The other thing it brings up, and that you brought up on this show, is the question on whether the people should be wearing some sort of facial cloth or covering. Not taking masks away from people like health care providers but that clearly generates a question," Fauci said.


8:41 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Top US infectious diseases expert calls for a federally mandated stay-at-home order


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined CNN's town hall Thursday to discuss the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci said he believes that there should be a federally mandated stay-at-home order, something President Donald Trump has been loathe to do.

"I don't understand why that's not happening. As you said, the tension between federally mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don't want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be," Fauci said.

Trump said Wednesday that he does not plan to issue such an order because different states have different levels of coronavirus cases.

“States are different and I understand that the governor of Florida, great Gov. Ron DeSantis issued one today and that’s good, that’s great. But there are some states that are different. There are some states that don't have much of a problem,” Trump said Wednesday afternoon.

The President said there should be some sort of flexibility among the states depending on how bad individual states situations might be.

“You have to look -- you have to give a little flexibility. If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska for example doesn't have a problem, it's awfully tough to say close it down. We have to have a little bit of flexibility,” Trump said.


8:40 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

New York Fire Department thanks medical workers at hospital during shift change


A group of firefighters with the FDNY showed up at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens today to thank and cheer on medical professionals for all their work fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The firefighters showed up during as shift change, correspondent Erica Hill said tonight during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

"The health care workers were visibly moved. The firefighters, so appreciative and moved. I have to say, witnessing it, or it was really quite a moment to see," Hill said.

Some context: Elmhurst Hospital in Queens has become an apocalyptic illustration of a nation in crisis, its doctors and nurses struggling to keep up with a surge of infections.

Watch the moment:

8:08 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Health expert says "not every American is following" social distancing guidelines

Dr. Deborah Birx said she can tell by looking at the US curve of coronavirus cases that not every American is following the guidelines set out by the administration for people to stay home and be vigilant about washing their hands.

“Just to everybody out there across the country — when we say no gatherings of 10, we want to be clear — if you have a family of 10, we don’t want you to be split up,” Birx said, while noting that the guidelines mean people should be having “no dinner parties, no cocktail parties.”

Birx, who serves as the task force's response coordinator, said “I know you’ve seen the slope on the US versus the slope in Italy, and we have to change that slope,” adding, “What it means in the US is not everyone is doing it.”

“So we’re only as strong as every community, every county, every state, every American following the guidelines to a T,” Birx said. “And I can tell by the curve … that not every American is following it.”

8:06 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Trump approves Tennessee's disaster declaration

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Betsy Klein 

President Trump has approved a disaster declaration for Tennessee in response to coronavirus.

This is the 35th such declaration Trump has made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including 30 states, the US Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.