April 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:02 a.m. ET, April 4, 2020
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1:20 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

FDA to allow China's KN95 mask to be used in US as alternative for N95 masks

From CNN's Geneva Sands and Cristina Alesci

 Workers produce KN95 face masks at a 3M mask factory in Shanghai, on March 10.
Workers produce KN95 face masks at a 3M mask factory in Shanghai, on March 10. Ren Long/Xinhua/Getty Images/FILE

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday changed its position on a sought-after type of respirator from China, the KN95, announcing that the agency will authorize the mask for use in healthcare settings if it meets certain criteria.

In response to continued respirator shortages, the FDA issued new guidance, authorizing KN95 respirators if certain criteria are met, including evidence demonstrating that the respirator is authentic.

The move comes after conflicting government guidance caused confusion over how these masks should be used and whether they could be imported into the US.

The FDA did not include these masks on its initial guidance for emergency use issued last month, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the KN95 masks are “expected to be suitable alternatives” to the N95 masks during the coronavirus pandemic when supplies are short. 

The differing guidance left suppliers hesitant to ship masks and US buyers wary of purchasing them. 

On March 28th, the FDA listed masks from six countries, including Mexico and Brazil, that it found “appropriate to protect public health or safety,” but left the Chinese masks off the list.

1:12 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

New Jersey has 4,372 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, governor says

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The state of New Jersey has 4,372 new positive cases of Covid-19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced in a press conference. 

To date, 29,895 people across the state have tested positive for Covid-19, Murphy said.  

A total of 646 people have died as a result of Covid-19 in New Jersey. That number includes 113 additional deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours, the governor announced.  

1:08 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Pelosi says it's time to move another stimulus package

From CNN's Manu Raju and Haley Byrd

Liu Jie/Xinhua/Getty Image/FILE
Liu Jie/Xinhua/Getty Image/FILE

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Democrats could put on hold a host of their infrastructure priorities and instead advance a new stimulus measure that mirrors the historic $2.2 trillion stimulus package President Trump signed into law last week.

“The acceleration of the coronavirus demands that we double down on the downpayment we made in CARES by passing a CARES 2 package. We must extend and expand this bipartisan legislation to meet the needs of the American people," she said in a statement on Friday.

She added: “It is imperative that we go bigger and further assisting small business, to go longer in unemployment benefits and provide additional resources to process UI claims and to give families additional direct payments. We must also provide the desperately needed resources for our hospitals, community health centers, health systems and health workers on the frontlines of this crisis. We cannot succeed in defeating this virus unless we more strongly support state and local governments with significantly more resources.”

Earlier on Friday: Pelosi indicated the Democrats’ infrastructure priorities, which they have advocated for as part of another legislative response to the pandemic, could be pushed off for a later bill.

1:05 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

There are at least 257,773 coronavirus cases in the US

Medical workers move a body from the sidewalk into a refrigerator truck outside of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in the borough of Brooklyn on Friday, April 3,  in New York City.
Medical workers move a body from the sidewalk into a refrigerator truck outside of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in the borough of Brooklyn on Friday, April 3, in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

There are at least 257,773 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the country.

There are 6,586 people who have died in the US from coronavirus. 

So far, on Friday, 12,200 new cases and 528 deaths have been reported, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins. 

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. Wyoming is the only state not reporting a death from coronavirus.

12:51 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

London's Heathrow airport will start using just one runway

Fom CNN's Seb Shukla

A sign at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 arrivals warns of coronavirus, in London, Tuesday, March 24.
A sign at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 arrivals warns of coronavirus, in London, Tuesday, March 24. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Heathrow Airport will “transition to single runway operations” due to the “unprecedented impact that the coronavirus outbreak is having on Heathrow’s operation.”

In a statement to CNN, Heathrow said that single runway operations will commence on April 6. The airport will alternate which runway is used on a weekly basis: 27R or 09L. 

The statement continued to say that Heathrow will remain open so that it can “play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during the unprecedented epidemic."

The change is the latest change at all major London airports due to the coronavirus outbreak.

London City airport closed last month to all commercial and private flights. London Gatwick airport also closed the North Terminal.

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

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

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

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

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

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

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

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.