April 9 coronavirus news

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10:22 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Los Angeles mayor orders all city parks closed for Easter to prevent coronavirus spread

From CNN’s Jenn Selva

Pedestrians walk around Echo Park Lake wearing face masks on April 8, in Los Angeles.
Pedestrians walk around Echo Park Lake wearing face masks on April 8, in Los Angeles. Rich Fury/Getty Images

All parks in Los Angeles will be closed on Easter Sunday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus amid the city’s stay-at-home order, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in a news conference Wednesday night.

Many families have traditionally used the parks for Easter egg hunts and gatherings, but the mayor said the events now present too great a risk to public health.

“This is such a fun moment for our kids, this is such a great tradition that many families have, but we can’t afford to have one cluster of just even a few people together, it could spread this disease to more people and kill them,” he said.

The parks will be closed from the evening of Saturday, April 11 through the morning of Monday, April 13, Garcetti said. Park rangers and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department will be patrolling the facilities on Sunday to enforce the closures. 

Garcetti asks for help for undocumented immigrants: The LA mayor has also called for the federal government to provide benefits to undocumented immigrants who are now out of work due to the coronavirus outbreak and shuttering of non-essential businesses.

Garcetti estimated there are 2.5 million undocumented workers in California, with 650,000 of those living in Los Angeles County.

"They are an integral part of our city, they pay taxes,” Garcetti said. “That is why Congress needs to come back to the table.”
10:14 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Guatemalan President orders mandatory wearing of face masks

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias and CNNE’s Marlon Soto in Atlanta

Everyone in Guatemala will be required to wear a face mask from Monday, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said Wednesday during a news conference.

Those circulating on the streets who do not wear a mask are “putting everyone else at risk and therefore will be sanctioned,” Giammattei said.

The government of Guatemala will be providing at least 3 million masks to citizens on Monday, the President said.

10:05 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

China's Xi warns of "new difficulties and challenges" amid rising risk of a second wave

In this photo released by state-run Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a symposium on poverty alleviation in Beijing on March 6.
In this photo released by state-run Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a symposium on poverty alleviation in Beijing on March 6. Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against the risk of a second wave of infections in the country as the global pandemic continues to spread, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

In a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party's top decision-making body Wednesday, the Politburo Standing Committee, Xi said that amid growing downward pressures on the global economy, "unstable and uncertain factors" were increasing.

China's outbreak of the coronavirus is apparently under control, with few new locally transmitted infections or deaths announced in recent weeks. On Wednesday, the epicenter of the original outbreak, Wuhan, officially ended its lockdown.

"New difficulties and challenges have emerged for China's work resumption and economic and social development," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

Xi urged Chinese authorities to carefully watch for imported cases from abroad and prevent a resurgence of the outbreak at home, Xinhua reported.

9:44 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

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

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

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 their jobs if they take their temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing at work. 

He reiterated that people should stay home if they feel sick, should not share items used on or near their face and 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.

9:11 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.

9:31 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Nearly 80% of US hotel rooms are empty

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper

The parking lot is nearly at a Hampton Inn hotel on March 24 in Rockford, Illinois.
The parking lot is nearly at a Hampton Inn hotel on March 24 in Rockford, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Only 21.6% of hotel rooms in the United States were occupied last week, according to new data from hospitality analytics company STR. 

That’s down slightly from the week before and down more than 68% from the same week last year.  

Only 7% of the rooms in Oahu Island, Hawaii, are occupied, the lowest rate for any market in the country and down more than 90% from the same week last year. 

Across the board, economy hotels and lodging in suburban areas tended to have more people staying than other hotels, according to STR. 

New York City posted about 18% occupancy last week, which was a slight increase from the just over 15% posted for two weeks ago. 

9:00 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases pass 1.5 million worldwide

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.5 million people and killed over 88,000 worldwide, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 429,052 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 14,739 people have died from the disease in the country.

9:38 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Trump criticizes WHO's response to coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the coronavirus at the White House on April 8 in Washington.
US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the coronavirus at the White House on April 8 in Washington. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his attacks on the World Health Organization after the head of the organization asked him not to “politicize the virus.” 

At a news conference earlier on Wednesday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded to attacks from Trump about how his organization handled the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Please don’t politicize this virus ... If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. My short message is: Please quarantine politicizing Covid," Ghebreyesus said.

At Wednesday's White House briefing, Trump declared it was Ghebreyesus who was politicizing the coronavirus and said he believes the organization favors China.

“I can't believe he's talking about politics when you look at the relationship they have to China. So China spends $42 million, we spent $450 million and everything seems to be China's way. That's not right, it’s not fair to us and honestly it's not fair to the world,” Trump said.

Trump implied that there would have been fewer coronavirus deaths if the WHO gave a “correct analysis.”

“I think when you say more body bags, I think we would have done, and he would have been much better serving the people that he’s supposed to serve if they gave a correct analysis,” Trump said.

Watch:

9:39 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

President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Wednesday, April 8, in Washington.
President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Wednesday, April 8, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

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 US 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.