April 9 coronavirus news

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9:27 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Here are some of your questions, answered

At the ongoing CNN town hall on coronavirus facts and fears, medical experts and officials answered questions from the audience. Here are a few:

What's the racial breakdown of coronavirus deaths?

"The data that we have now clearly does show that minority populations appear to be having a greater risk for complications," said US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield.

The virus "does not discriminate who it infects" -- but racial minorities including African Americans are at higher risk of complication because of health disparities. Groups with larger proportions of pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, obesity, and more are going to be most vulnerable.

President Trump has promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine. Can this treat coronavirus?

It's too early to tell, Redfield said -- there are clinical trials underway on this, but we just don't have the data yet to tell what's effective or not.

"At this stage, this moment in time, we're not recommending it, but we're not not recommending it," he said. "The way to do this is to do the appropriate trials and get the answer."

How do I clean a cloth face mask and keep it virus-free?

Here's how to do it, according to Dr. Celine Gounder, clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU Medical School.

  • When you come home, remove the mask using the ties behind your ear -- don't pull it off your face from the front. Assume that the exterior of the mask is contaminated with the virus, and avoid touching it, she said.
  • Have your washing machine open when you come home so you can throw it directly in the wash.
  • If you have several cloth face masks, you could wash them altogether in a load so you don't need to wash them every day.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows how to make your own mask:

9:10 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

The US has “under-invested” in public health, CDC director says

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

The US hasn’t budgeted enough to fight disease, said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield during CNN's ongoing town hall on the coronavirus.

“I think we have to be direct and honest about it. Over the last 10, 20, 30 years, we’ve under-invested in public health in this nation,” Redfield said.

“We’re in the position now of preparing a significant expansion of local public health capacity so that we can operationalize this."

The CDC now has more than 500 people in all 50 states, Redfield said, and the agency plans to expand that number substantially to have a public health response team that can manage when someone tests positive for coronavirus.

Some experts have said that the country will need at least 300,000 people around the country for adequate contract tracing, but Redfield disagreed.

“I don’t think that’s the estimates that we have right now,” Redfield said. “I think if we were trying to do this in the midst of a massive transmission period, it may be more substantial. I do think it’s going to take a substantial enhancement, but I don’t think that’s quite the magnitude that we think at this moment in time.”

8:55 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

China reports 42 new cases and one new death

From CNN’s Anna Kam in Hong Kong and Larry Register in Atlanta

Commuters wear face masks to protect against the spread of new coronavirus as they walk along a street in Beijing on April 9.
Commuters wear face masks to protect against the spread of new coronavirus as they walk along a street in Beijing on April 9. Mark Schiefelbein/AP

China reported 42 new confirmed coronavirus cases and one new death at the end of Thursday, according the country's National Health Commission.

This raises the national total to 81,907 cases and 3,336 deaths, according to the NHC.

This case total doesn't reflect the number of active cases, but rather the total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic. Of those total cases, 77,455 patients have now recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Out of the 42 new cases, 38 were imported from overseas. In a separate count, 47 new asymptomatic infections were reported, including 14 imported cases. There are now 1,097 asymptomatic cases under medical observation.

8:48 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Next year will be “another challenging time” with coronavirus, says CDC director

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen and Wesley Bruer

CNN
CNN

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said he is thinking ahead to prepare for what could happen next year with the coronavirus.

It "will be another challenging time," he warned during CNN's ongoing coronavirus town hall. “I want to be able to have it so we respond to it next year with the fundamentals of public health, early case identification, isolation contact tracing.

Those proactive steps would change the way the country could deal with another outbreak. That way, “we don’t have to go through the serious mitigation steps that we’re taking to get us under control,” Redfield said.

8:48 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Cuba will suspend all public transportation

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

All public transportation in Cuba will be suspended starting Saturday to stop the virus from spreading across the island, officials announced today.

This means buses, taxis and other forms of public transit will cease to operate, said Cuban Transportation Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila on state-run television.

Only state employees deemed essential to national interests will be allowed to take special buses to their workplaces, he said. Those employees will need to wear face masks and maintain social distancing from other passengers.

Most Cubans rely on public transportation to travel, often packing into buses and vintage American cars that operate as communal taxis.

Cuba has 515 cases and 15 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

##Daily Life

8:36 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

CDC director says the most powerful weapon against coronavirus is social distancing

CNN
CNN

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield praised the American people for largely adhering to social distancing guidelines, which he described as among the most important "weapons" wielded against the pandemic.

Redfield made these comments Thursday night during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

"We have one of the most powerful weapons against this virus. We're not defenseless. And that weapon was the social distance and is the social distancing. This virus has a very significant weakness. It can't swim 7 feet. If we can just maximize that social distancing, we can limit this virus's ability. Many people didn't predict and the modelers didn't predict for sure that the majority of American people would embrace that social distancing. And what I've said, when all of us try to do behavior modification, whether it's what we eat, exercise, you know, whether cigarette smoking, whatever it is for our own health, we're not very good at that," Redfield said.

He added: "But I can tell you, I've been really unbelievably amazed and gratified by the commitment of the American people."

8:07 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Honolulu announces nighttime curfew Easter weekend

From CNN's Andy Rose

The city of Honolulu, Hawaii, is instituting a "pilot" curfew for the city into place to try to avoid the spread of coronavirus over the coming Easter weekend.

Police Chief Susan Ballard announced in a press conference that most people will not be allowed to use any vehicles – “anything with a wheel,” she said – from 11 p.m. local time until 5 a.m. each day, as police patrols are increased. 

Although it is currently in effect only for the upcoming weekend, Ballard says it may be extended through the rest of the month if it’s considered a success.

The mayor also announced a new campaign called “No Butts on Beaches,” encouraging people not to use public beaches for sunbathing. 

Caldwell says socially distant surfing is still allowed, but with no mingling afterward.

“When you come out of the water, maybe you rinse off, but you go home,” Caldwell said.

8:03 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

CNN's coronavirus town hall has begun

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are hosting a two-hour special tonight on the coronavirus pandemic.

There is no audience tonight due to ongoing concerns around the coronavirus.

8:02 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Vermont governor announces coronavirus-related death of former state representative

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Melissa Alonso

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott today announced the passing of former Vermont State Representative Bernie Juskiewicz, who was a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, according to the governor’s office.

“Bernie served the people of Cambridge and Waterville with distinction in the House of Representatives, always placing their interests first. I had the privilege of working with him during his time in the legislature and saw firsthand just how committed he was to his community,” Scott said in a statement.

Scott added: “Although this terrible new disease took Bernie from us, the impact of his service will live on. My heart goes out to Suzan and the rest of his family during this difficult time."

Scott has ordered the Vermont state flag to fly at half-staff on April 13 in the late lawmaker's honor.