April 8 coronavirus news

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8:51 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

This Chicago jail has one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the US

From CNN’s Omar Jimenez

More than 400 coronavirus cases are linked to one jail in Chicago, local officials said, making the Cook County Jail the largest known source of infections in the US outside of medical facilities.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office said Wednesday that 251 detainees and 150 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Of the detainees infected in the outbreak, 22 are hospitalized for treatment and 31 others have been moved to a recovery facility.

One detainee has died of “apparent” complications of Covid-19, sheriff’s officials said, but an autopsy remains pending.

The jail has created a quarantine “bootcamp” to keep detainees that are infected separate from the rest of the jail population. 

The jail complex currently houses about 4,700 detainees according to the sheriff’s office. Jail officials have previously said they planned to screen and release nonviolent pretrial defendants.

8:30 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Peyton Manning and family donate lunch to Tulane Health System workers

Peyton Manning, on behalf of the Manning family, donated 140 meals from Drago’s Seafood Restaurant to feed health care workers at Tulane Health System in New Orleans on Wednesday.

“I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to the entire team at Tulane Health System,” Manning said in a video message to Tulane Health System employees. “As healthcare workers on the front lines, you are demonstrating great courage and commitment, and making great personal sacrifices to care for the sick during this national crisis. I know I speak for Louisiana and the entire nation when I say how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Thank you. Be well. Stay strong and keep up the great work.” 
8:26 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

New Hampshire governor frustrated over obtaining medical supplies from federal government

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu expressed his frustration with obtaining crucial medical supplies from the federal government during a press conference in Concord on Wednesday.

The state received 15 Abbott rapid-testing devices last week, as part of the Granite State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Sununu.

However, the Republican governor said they received only a limited number of the cartridges required to perform the tests, and a portion of those must be used for training and calibration purposes.

Sununu hoped to stock two machines with cartridges and get them into the field “fairly quickly,” but when the state requested additional cartridges for the remaining 13 machines, he was told to expect approximately 15% of his requested cartridges.

“Why would you send out 13 machines to a state and not give them any ability to use it? Like none,” Sununu said Wednesday. “There’s literally nothing you can do with this machine if you don't have the proprietary stuff from CDC and FEMA.”

Sununu also said he doesn’t know when to expect that portion of cartridges

“It’s incredibly frustrating because there's a lot of talk about this device, there was a lot of hype on it nationally, how it was it wonderful, and when they showed up, expectations were set really high, as they should be,” the governor said. “But to actually have 13 of these devices and have no way to use them. I'm banging my head against the wall. I really am. It’s really frustrating.”

8:19 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Department of Homeland Security warns faith community about increase in online hate speech 

From CNN's Geneva Sands

Ahead of Passover and Easter, the Department of Homeland Security warned the faith-based community about an "increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence" or use the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation as an excuse to spread hatred.

In a letter to community members Wednesday, the department reminded houses of worship to review security plans and procedures ahead of congregant gatherings, acknowledging that many people are worshipping remotely at this time. 

"[T]here has been an increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence or use the ongoing situation as an excuse to spread hatred," read the letter from the department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, obtained by CNN. 

Additionally, stressors caused by the pandemic may contribute to an individual’s decision to commit an attack or influence their target of choice, according to DHS.

The letter is aimed at providing the faith community with guidance for planning of "restoration of normal operations, whenever that may be."

Some context: Officials at DHS have been grappling with how to address concerns about targeted violence amid the ongoing health crisis. The department is trying to balance resources needed to respond to Covid-19 across the country and the need to remind people to be vigilant of potential violence, a DHS official said. 

Social distancing creates opportunity to become isolated, more glued to the TV and computer and less social engagement, said the official, adding "no doubt we are all experiencing stress."

Officials are concerned that someone who is already vulnerable could easily be recruited by violent ideologies or that the situation becomes precursor to them carrying out attack.

In addition, the department is aware of individuals using Covid-19 to propagate conspiracy theories, said the official. 

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

Prestigious scientific panel tells White House coronavirus won't go away with warmer weather

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen

A prestigious scientific panel told the White House on Tuesday that it doesn't look coronavirus will go away once the weather warms up. 

President Donald Trump has claimed that "when it gets a little warmer [the virus] miraculously goes away." 

In their letter to the White House, members of a National Academy of Sciences committee said data is mixed on whether coronavirus spreads as easily in warm weather as it does in cold weather, but that it might not matter much given that so few people in the world are immune to coronavirus. 

"There is some evidence to suggest that [coronavirus] may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity; however, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread without the concomitant adoption of major public health interventions," the letter stated.

The letter noted, for example, that a study of the outbreak in China showed that even under maximum temperature and humidity conditions, the virus spread "exponentially," with every infected person spreading it to nearly two other people on average.  

The scientists sent the letter to Kelvin Droegemeier at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The letter from the NAS scientists notes that some laboratory studies have shown reduced transmission of the virus under warmer and more humid conditions, but that it's still a concern.

The letter points out that in the real world, the virus is still transmitting in countries with warm weather. 

"Given that countries currently in 'summer' climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," the letter said.

8:09 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

CDC issues new guidelines for essential workers who have been exposed to coronavirus

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield issued new guidelines for essential workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus, saying individuals would need to be asymptomatic to return to work

The guidelines, he said, are aimed at keeping essential workers including first responders, health care workers, employees in the food supply chain and others at work -- even if they might have been exposed to someone who has coronavirus. 

“These are individuals that have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case so that they can, under certain circumstances, they can go back to work if they are asymptomatic,” Redfield said. 

Redfield said those individuals could return to work if they take their temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing at work. 

He reiterated that individuals should stay home if they feel sick, they should not share items used on or near their face and they should refrain from congregating in break rooms and other crowded places.

The CDC’s new guidelines also outlined steps employers should take, including checking temperatures before employees start work, sending anyone who becomes sick home and cleaning commonly touched surfaces more frequently, among others.

7:54 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Pompeo says "this is not the time" for a leadership change at WHO

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that it was not the time for a leadership change at the World Health Organization, but did not dispute President Donald Trump’s earlier call to potentially scale back funding for the organization.

“This is not the time to be doing that kind of change,” Pompeo said at the White House briefing. “There will be a lot of time to look back and see how the World Health Organization performed."

“In the meantime what our task is is to preserve and protect the American taxpayers to make sure that our resources don’t go to places that aren’t going to deliver on behalf of the American people and the world,” Pompeo continued. “And President Trump and I are determined to do that.”

Some context: In a Wednesday interview with “The Wendy Bell Show,” Pompeo said that “it’s pretty clear that the World Health Organization hasn’t lived up to its billing, it hasn’t been able to achieve what it was designed to achieve, and we just can’t continue to permit that to go on.”

“It performs important functions, important global health and pandemic functions, and we can see in this case we haven’t been able to deliver on that,” he said on the radio show. “So we need a global health organization that can achieve that and if this one can’t do it, then it’s not appropriate for American taxpayer dollars to go towards it.”

Despite Pompeo’s suggestion that the US is not looking to replace WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for the time being, a senior administration official on Wednesday said that WHO’s leadership was part of their problem.

“The problem is not the WHO system. The system has good people… It’s about comments made from the leadership—which went beyond what I am told their own staff wanted to say,” the official said.

 

 

8:10 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Coronavirus death count conspiracy theories "are nothing but distractions," Fauci says

From CNN[s Maegan Vazquez 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci pushed back on conspiracy theories suggesting that coronavirus deaths in the US are being inflated, especially among those dying with existing underlying conditions.

“We’ve made it very clear, every time I’ve been up here, about the comorbidities,” Birx said Wednesday during the White House press briefing. “This has been known from the beginning. So those individuals will have an underlying condition but that underlying condition did not cause their acute death when it’s related to a Covid infection.”

“Having an underlying condition and getting this virus, we know, is particularly damaging to those individuals,” Birx added.

Fauci took things a step further, saying, “You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises. They are nothing but distractions.”

“I would just hope that we just put those conspiracy stuff — and let somebody write a book about it later on, but not now,” he continued.

7:31 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Health expert says drop in US death projection is due to change in American behavior

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said models projecting the number of American deaths from coronavirus have dropped dramatically in recent days because Americans have drastically changed their behavior. 

Birx said the US was doing "much better in many cases than several other countries, and we're trying to understand that." 

"We believe that our health care delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary," she said, but added that the models were based on "what America is doing." 

"I think what has been so remarkable I think to those of us that have been in the science field for so long," Birx continued, "is how important behavioral change is, and how amazing Americans are at adapting to and following through on these behavioral changes."  

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, later said the changing models proved that social distancing steps are working. 

"We know that mitigation does work. The reason that we know it works, is the question that was asked about the numbers...why they came down with the projections," Fauci said. "What you do with data will always outstrip a model. You redo your models depending upon your data."

"Our data is telling us that mitigation is working," Fauci said. "Keep your foot on the accelerator, because that is what's going to get us through this."

Some context: As CNN previously reported, an influential model tracking the coronavirus pandemic in the United States now predicts that fewer people will die and fewer hospital beds will be needed compared to its estimates from last week.

As of Wednesday, the model predicted the virus will kill 60,000 people in the United States over the next four months. That's about 33,000 fewer deaths than the model estimated last Thursday.

While the US is still expected to face a shortage of about 16,000 hospital beds, it will need 168,000 fewer beds than previously expected, according to the new analysis.