April 8 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:35 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
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5:26 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Fauci says handshakes could become a thing of the past in post-coronavirus world

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The nation’s top infectious disease expert told a reporter that the handshake, a customary American greeting, could become a thing of the past as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States.

Asked about the country getting back to normal, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Sinclair Broadcast Group’s political reporter Scott Thuman that “it depends on what you mean by 'normal.' ”

“I think what we’re going to have embedded and imprinted in us forever is the realization that something as catastrophic as what the world is experiencing now can happen," Fauci said. “And just as a society, just forget about shaking hands. We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom because, as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness.” 
5:16 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

FDA sends warning letter to company for marketing "fraudulent and dangerous" coronavirus treatment

From CNN Health’s Wes Bruer

The US Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to a firm marketing a product that falsely claims to “cure, mitigate, treat, prevent, or diagnose Coronavirus and/or Covid-19 in people,” according to a press release from the agency.

The letter was sent to Genesis II Church of Health and Healing and multiple websites associated with the firm. It targeted the “Miracle Mineral Solution” -- a chlorine dioxide product -- which was marketed as prevention and treatment for coronavirus.

The FDA has issued previous warnings that chlorine dioxide poses a significant risk to health and is not shown to be safe and effective for any health use.

“The sale of these products can jeopardize a person’s health and delay proper medical treatment,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement. “We continue to take action and keep up our efforts to monitor for fraudulent treatments during this public health emergency and remind the public to seek medical help from their health care providers.”

The recipient of the warning letter has 48 hours to provide documentation that misleading claims have been corrected, along with outlining what steps are being taken to prevent future recurrences. Failure to do so “may result in legal action, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” according to the letter sent Wednesday. 

CNN has reached out to Genesis II Church of Health and Healing for comment.

5:24 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Georgia governor signs executive order extending state’s public health emergency through mid-May

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the state's public health emergency through May 13.

Kemp signed an executive order Wednesday extending the public health emergency in an effort to help contain the coronavirus.

“This measure will allow us to deploy more resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers and keep preparing as we brace for potential patients in healthcare facilities,” the Republican governor said.

Kemp also announced Wednesday the state will extend the shelter-in-place order through April 30 in accordance with public health recommendations.

Kemp added he has signed an executive order to activate an additional 1,000 national guard members to assist in the novel coronavirus emergency response. 

5:15 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Minnesota governor: “We have flattened the curve more than any other state”

From CNN's Pamela Wessman

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz held a news conference today extending the state’s stay-at-home order and public accommodation order to May 4.

The governor said they plan to use the time to expand testing, and went on to say that “we have flattened the curve more than any other state.”

When asked about schools, the governor said, “It’s unlikely students will go back to school on May 4, but I won’t close the door on that.”

Walz said school is “likely done for the year.”

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said there were 85 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, raising the number to 1,154. There were also five new deaths, for a total of 39.

Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said there was good news on the unemployment insurance front.

Grove said he believes Minnesota is the first, or among the first states, to process the $600 from the Federal Cares Act. The recipients could see that money as early as later this week, Grove added.

5:30 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Oregon cancels in-person school classes for rest of academic year

An empty playground at Forest Hills Elementary school in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
An empty playground at Forest Hills Elementary school in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/AP

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that schools will continue to be closed statewide for the rest of the academic year. 

Brown, a Democrat, says all high school seniors who were “on track to graduate” before schools were closed will receive passing grades. 

“I refuse to punish students … because they could not attend classes for a little over two months,” Brown said in a press conference.

5:02 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

South Carolina governor signs executive order aimed at furloughed workers

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed an executive order Wednesday which allows furloughed employees to receive “Covid-19 Support Payments” from their employers and still qualify for unemployment benefits, his office said.

“Every day, our primary objective is to protect South Carolinians, but we also must act to protect the state’s economy,” said McMaster. “This order does both. It allows our businesses to take care of their employees as best as they can and will help our economy recover from this unprecedented time."

South Carolina has 2,417 confirmed coronavirus cases and 51 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

4:54 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Rhode Island courts extend closure for all non-essential business through May 17

Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced that the courts extended their closure for all non-essential business through May 17. She also asked the people of Rhode Island to wear a cloth mask every time they leave their house. 

The governor explained today that eviction is a court procedure, saying, "you cannot be evicted anytime for any reason between now and May 17 because the court is closed."

The governor also spoke about people who are struggling to pay their full mortgage, saying, "we are working on ways to provide relief around that, and I hope to have an announcement in the next few day or next week to help you get some forgiveness. Because I know it is impossible to pay your mortgage if you and your family are out of work." 

4:42 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Washington state will close a coronavirus field hospital

From CNN's Andy Rose

Military personnel set up a field hospital at CenturyLink Event Center on March 31.
Military personnel set up a field hospital at CenturyLink Event Center on March 31. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

As confidence grows that the state may be nearing its peak of new coronavirus cases, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday they are giving back a military field hospital that was intended to deal with a surge of patients. 

The hospital – set up at an event center adjacent to the CenturyLink Field sports stadium in Seattle – will be available to FEMA to be redeployed to another state.

"We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded with Covid-19 cases,” Inslee said in a statement

The decision to return it was made with the approval of the leaders of the Seattle and King County governments. Inslee said the state still has the ability to increase its hospital capacity by 1,000 beds quickly in case of a surge, even without the military hospital.

The decision comes three days after Inslee returned more than 400 ventilators the state received from the Strategic National Stockpile back to the federal government. At the time, Inslee said Washington had a sufficient supply of ventilators on its own, while states like New York faced a bigger immediate need.

4:31 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

170 Detroit police officers have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Jennifer Henderson 

170 Detroit police officers that have tested positive for coronavirus, Mayor Mike Dugan said today. 

Denise Fair, Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Detroit, said Detroit has 5834 confirmed cases and 240 confirmed deaths.

The city saw an increase of 333 positive cases and 26 deaths since yesterday.