April 3 coronavirus news

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12:52 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Half of the hospitals in Michigan's largest health system are at capacity, CEO says

Half of the hospitals inside Beaumont Health system, which describes itself as Michigan’s largest, are at capacity due to the increasing Covid-19 cases and it faces a crunch that includes its staffing, finances and supplies, CEO John T. Fox told CNN.

The eight hospital system located in the southeast region of the state is currently treating nearly 950 hospitalized, confirmed cases and an additional 91 who are suspected of having the virus as of 3 p.m. Thursday. 

“Our biggest rate limiter is staffing,” Fox said in an interview with CNN. “The politicians are getting on the podium and saying, ‘we're building a 900-bed field hospital over here, 500-bed one over there.’ But those are empty buildings of no value without the staff. They often don't have pharmacies, they don't have labs, they don't have a lot of things and so it becomes a fiction.”

Fox also called on the state of Michigan to do more in terms of load balancing patients between hospitals in the state, as Beaumont has found it difficult to do on their own.

Fox says price gouging among agency nurses factors into the inability to acquire more staff and sucks available funds from the system. Agency nurses are contracted by hospitals at a price to help supplement staff nurses temporarily.

Twenty days ago, agencies would charge $60 an hour for a nurses with everything included. That price has more than doubled, with the agencies bidding hospitals against one another to secure a nurse for $130, sometimes $150 an hour, Fox said.

 

12:43 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Health officials say it's "too soon to say" when UK will hit its peak

Britain’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam says it is still “too soon to say” when the UK will reach the peak of the epidemic.

Earlier on Friday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock had said the deadliest peak of the coronavirus outbreak in Britain could hit on Easter Sunday. “I defer to the scientists on the predictions,” he told Sky News.

During the daily briefing on Friday, Hancock seemed to revise his statement saying “the truth is we don’t know."

12:28 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

12 new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Pennsylvania

There are at least 12 new coronavirus-related deaths in Pennsylvania, which brings the total to 102, according to the commonwealth’s Department of Health.

There are an additional 1,404 positive cases reported, according to a press release issued Friday. The total number of coronavirus cases is now 8,420 in the state.

“The continued rise in cases combined with our increasing deaths from Covid-19 reflects the seriousness of this situation,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We need everyone to listen to the orders in place and to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We know that these prolonged mitigation effects have been difficult for everyone, but it is essential that everyone follows these orders and does not go out unless they absolutely must.”
12:35 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

UK government urges people to stay at home despite weekend warm weather

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus on Friday April 3.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus on Friday April 3. Press Association via AP Images

The British Health Secretary Matt Hancock and health officials in the United Kingdom have called on Britons to continue to stay at home despite an expected rise in temperatures across the country over the weekend. 

“We absolutely cannot afford to relax social distancing measures,” he said. “If we do people will die.”

Hancock went on to say the UK had boosted “the number of critical care beds to care for coronavirus by over 2,500,” without taking into account the additional beds that will be available at several repurposed conference centers across the country, known as NHS Nightingale.

11:48 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

New York governor, health commissioner say masks aren’t substitutes for social distancing

State of New York
State of New York

New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says “there’s no data to support the use of face masks” in protecting the public in the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now, there isn't data…except for those who are ill and those who are health care workers, and that's why we're reserving those for health care workers,” Zucker said. 

He added that they continue to look at data all the time and are examining it on a rolling basis. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he doesn’t want the public to ease up on practicing social distancing if they wear face coverings. 

“I think it's fair to say the masks couldn't hurt, unless they gave you a false sense of security,” he said. "...Might it help? I think it's fair to say yes, but don't get a false sense of security that now you don't have to social distance and you don't have to take the normal precautions because you're wearing a bandana,” Cuomo said. 

Zucker agreed with the governor’s assessment.

11:42 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Head of New York funeral directors group says funeral homes are running out of storage

Michael A. Lanotte, the executive director of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, said deaths have increased dramatically in New York City.

“Since yesterday afternoon I have heard from more and more funeral directors in the city that have reached the capacity to help families,” Lanotte told CNN Friday.

“The biggest enemy is time,” Lanotte said, “You take the volume and the amount of time we have from death to final disposition, there is just not enough time in the day based on the volume. 2+2 does not equal 4 in this situation.”

Lanotte said, “there is a lot of death happening in the hospitals, nursing homes, and in private homes.”

Refrigeration is a big problem, Lanotte said, “In some cases there are funeral homes which have run out of storage, limiting their ability to help additional families.”

“The volume is working against the process because the process takes time, we need extra storage," he said. Efforts are being made to increase mobile morgues, Lanotte said.

 

11:35 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

New York will state take unused medical equipment and give them to hospitals in need, governor says

State of New York
State of New York

In an effort to combat the shortage of medical supplies to treat Covid-19 patients in the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is signing an executive order allowing the state to take ventilators and personal protective equipment from institutions that are not currently using them and "redeploy them to other parts of the state and other hospitals that do need them."

Cuomo said that unused equipment will later be returned and those entities will be reimbursed.

"Those institutions will either get their ventilator back or they will be reimbursed and paid for their ventilator so they can buy a new ventilator. I can't do anything more than that. But I'm not going to be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators in our own state somewhere else." 

Cuomo added: "If you don't get the ventilator back, I give you my personal word, I will pay you for the ventilator." 

Watch:

11:09 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

There are now at least 102,863 cases in New York

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there are now 102,863 coronavirus cases in the state.

More than 14,000 patients are currently hospitalized.

So far, 2,935 people have died in the state — that's up from 2,373, Cuomo said.

"Highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started," Cuomo said.

11:47 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

English Premier League will consider 30% pay cuts for players

English Premier League teams have agreed to discuss the possibility of their players taking 30% pay cuts and suspend the 2019-2020 football season indefinitely.

All 20 clubs in England’s top-flight league and key stakeholders held a videoconference meeting today.

The proposed 30% wage cuts of “total annual renumeration” would be brought about through “a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals,” the league said in a statement.

The proposal will be further discussed by the Premier League, players and club representatives and the Professional Footballers’ Association, which is the trade union which represents professional footballers in England and Wales, at a meeting tomorrow.

The League also agreed to immediately donate £20 million to the NHS to help support communities, families and vulnerable groups in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was also announced that the 2019-20 season would not resume at the beginning of May as originally intended but “only when it is safe and appropriate to do so” adding that “any return to play will only be with the full support of Government and when medical guidance allows.”