April 6 coronavirus news

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7:22 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Pregnant women with coronavirus don’t experience more severe illness than the general population, unlike in SARS and flu cases, study finds

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Pregnant women don’t seem to be any more susceptible to severe symptoms of Covid-19, compared to the general population and they don’t seem to pass the infection onto their babies, according to a new study,

The small study was published Monday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and looked at data from 43 pregnant women in New York who tested positive for Covid-19 over two weeks between March 13 and 27.

Thirty-seven of the women in the study experienced a mild form of Covid-19, four developed a severe form of the disease and two experienced what researchers called “critical disease.” The percentages are similar to the breakdown of severity in disease in the general population. About 80% experience mild disease, 15% develop severe cases and 5% result in critical cases.

Scientists were interested in the impact of the disease on pregnant women because in prior SARS and H1N1 pandemics, pregnant women were more susceptible to serious forms of the illness and had a greater chance of dying from the infection than the general population.

None of the babies in this study seemed to be infected, based on tests performed on them on the first day of their lives.

7:53 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Birx says she did not visit sick grandchild because of the risk and urged people to stay home

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 6.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 6. Alex Brandon/AP

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, says she did not visit her grandchild despite the 10-month-old having “a fever of 105 this weekend.”

Birx shared her experience during a Monday task force briefing with reporters, while urging people in particularly high-risk areas to stay home as much as possible.

“I’m the doctor. And I couldn’t get there,” she said during the press briefing. “I mean, so I’m trying to explain to my daughter how to listen to her lungs. How to listen to her lungs, how to listen to the baby’s lungs…”

President Donald Trump, standing feet away from Birx, asked, “But you did not get there, you did not get there?”

“I did not go there. Because of you two,” she said, gesturing toward the President and Vice President Mike Pence, who stood nearby. “I mean, you can’t take that kind of risk with the leaders of the country.”

Birx said that her granddaughter is “coming out of it.”

She stopped short of telling people not to go to the grocery store for the next week in high-risk areas, but did recommend consolidating shopping trips and sending one member per family.

Watch the moment:

8:43 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump questions whether politics tinged findings of HHS IG report on coronavirus response

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez  

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 6.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 6. Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump on Monday questioned whether politics tinged the findings of a newly released Health and Human Services inspector general report that found hospitals have been most concerned about a shortage of coronavirus testing supplies and long wait times for test results.

After listening to a reporter citing the report during Monday’s White House press briefing, Trump responded, “It’s just wrong. It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word ‘inspector general'? Really?”

The President also questioned the integrity of the leadership in HHS’ Office of the Inspector General saying, “Well where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name?”

“We’ve had more testing and had more results than any country anywhere in the world. They’re doing an incredible job,” the President continued.

“So give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?” he concluded.

The report was based on interviews with more than 300 hospitals around the country.

Admiral Brett Giroir, who serves as the assistant secretary for health, expressed frustration with the recent OIG report’s findings, saying during Monday’s briefing that the OIG’s office did not adequately communicate with him.

Giroir pointed out that the report was done around March 23 and March 24, which he said was “during a ramp-up period.” 

“It’s hard to interpret the report because it mixes up all kinds of things, but clearly there were complaints by some hospitals of a backlog, had probably sent out tests, and that is true. There were several days of backlog as some of the major labs that have been taken care,” Giroir said.

Watch CNN reporters fact check Trump's claims:

7:56 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Fact check: Trump falsely claims plane and train passengers are being tested for the coronavirus

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Asked about the possibility of restrictions on travel between coronavirus hotspots, President Donald Trump said: “There’s also testing done when people get onto those planes and also when people get off the planes.”

Facts First: There is no evidence that plane passengers in the US are being tested for the coronavirus at all, let alone both when they get on and get off the plane. While it is theoretically possible this is happening under the radar at a particular airport, it is certainly not happening widely.

Trump might have meant to refer to screening -- which involves questioning and sometimes temperature checks -- rather than actual testing, but major US airlines are not doing screening, either. Some plane passengers are being subjected to government screening upon landing, but most passengers are not -- and this screening, unlike testing, cannot conclusively determine whether someone has the virus.

To read a full fact check, read here.

Watch analysis here: 

7:02 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Nissan to furlough about 10,000 workers in Mississippi and Tennessee

From CNN's Kate Trafecante and Peter Valdes-Dapena

Nissan plans to furlough most of its hourly manufacturing employees as its US plants remain closed to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Nissan spokeswoman Lloryn Love-Carter confirmed the company will layoff about 10,000 employees Tuesday at plants in Canton, Mississippi; Smyrna, Tennessee and Decherd, Tennessee.

Nissan asked furloughed employees to apply for enhanced unemployment through at least April 27, when the company will restart production.

Nissan closed its US plants on March 20.

7:34 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump confirms "wonderful, warm conversation" with Biden about coronavirus

From CNN's Ally Malloy

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 during a press event in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 12.
Former Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 during a press event in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 12. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump confirmed his phone call with former Vice President Joe Biden Monday, calling it a “wonderful, warm conversation" about the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump said the phone called lasted “probably 15 minutes” and reiterated that it was a “really good” call.

“He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that,” Trump said at the White House coronavirus task force briefing.

“I appreciate his calling,” the President said.

CNN reported earlier Monday that the Democratic presidential candidate and Trump had spoken by phone.

Watch here:

6:57 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump says he's "going to get involved" in case of ex-Navy commander who sounded alarm

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump said that he’s "going to get involved" in the case of a Navy captain removed from command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

At a Monday briefing, Trump was asked about comments made by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, who attacked Capt. Brett Crozier as either "too naive or too stupid" to be in command.

“I haven’t heard it exactly, I heard they heard,” Trump said, referring to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. “I heard they had a statement that was made, if that were the statement, it’s a strong statement.”

Crozier was relieved of command after a letter he sent to Navy leadership was leaked to the media. The letter flagged his concerns about the Roosevelt's crew of more than 4,000 -- saying in part that "sailors do not need to die"-- and discussed the challenges of trying to contain an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the ship. He urgently requested that sailors be allowed to quarantine on land.

The Navy cited loss of confidence in his command.

“The letters shouldn’t have been sent, and certainly they shouldn’t have been leaked,” Trump said. “This is a military operation. I must tell you I’ve heard very good things about the gentlemen. Both gentlemen, by the way, I will say this. About both gentlemen. And I may look into it from the standpoint of something should be resolved because I’m hearing good things about both of people.”

6:51 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

LA Surge Hospital for coronavirus patients to open next week

From CNN's Sarah Moon

The state of California and the County of Los Angeles has partnered with Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente to open up a “Los Angeles Surge Hospital” for coronavirus patients in the city.

The temporary facility, which will be located on the campus of the former St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, will expand access to additional beds and expand ICU capacity for coronavirus patients in the coming weeks, according to a press release from Los Angeles County.

The hospital is expected to open on April 13 in phases, “ramping up to accept more patients as physicians and staff are hired and supplies and equipment are secured.” When fully operational, up to 266 beds will be available.

6:49 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Masks were ineffective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, small study finds

From CNN's Jen Christensen

A small experiment involving patients with coronavirus who wore cotton and surgical masks showed that both seemed ineffective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus when the patients coughed. Scientists found coronavirus particles in the environment and on the exterior of the mask itself. 

The experiment was published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Scientists tested face masks on four patients infected with the coronavirus at two hospitals in Seoul, South Korea.

They compared the use of surgical masks with reusable 100% cotton masks against patients who were not wearing masks. The researchers placed a petri dish about 7 inches from the patients’ mouths and told the patient to cough five times each onto a petri dish.

Researchers saw greater contamination on the outer surface of the mask, compared to the inner surface. It was unclear if the force of the person’s cough leaked out of the edge of the mask to contaminate the outer surface, or if the particles of the coronavirus were so small that a high-velocity cough penetrated the mask. 

The experiment did not look at the effectiveness of N95 masks, nor did it show if the masks protected against the actual transmission of infection from patients with Covid-19 while wearing different masks. Nor does it show if masks shorten the distance these droplets travel while someone is coughing.

More research will be needed to determine if the masks help prevent the spread of the disease with people who are asymptomatic or people who have Covid-19 and aren’t coughing.