April 25 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Tara John, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, April 25, 2020
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9:20 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

The CNN and Sesame Street coronavirus town hall has begun

CNN has partnered with Sesame Street for a special town hall on coronavirus that is focused on kids and parents.

"The ABC's of Covid 19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents" will tackle issues including education, anxiety, screen time and playdates.

The 90-minute town hall will feature experts and Sesame Street characters — including Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Rosita and Grover — answering questions submitted by families.

Big Bird will join CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill to moderate the event.

How to watch: The town hall will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. It will stream live on CNN.com's homepage and across mobile devices via CNN's apps, without requiring a cable log-in. You can also watch on CNNgo, and subscribers to cable/satellite systems can watch it on-demand.

8:29 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

Pompeo says a global recession is "not safe or secure for the American people"

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

In his first comments on reopening the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaned into the necessity for the US to reopen for the sake of the economy in a radio interview with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro Friday night.

“A massive global recession is not safe or secure for the American people,” Pompeo said. “We’ve got to get our country and others back open as quickly as we can.”
8:41 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

UK government denies that Johnson advisors are on scientific committee advising Covid-19

From CNN's Luke McGee and Lindsay Isaac

The British government has denied media reports in the United Kingdom that two of the prime minister’s most influential political advisors are sitting on a key scientific committee advising it on Covid-19. 

Membership of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has been kept a secret, though it is said to be made up of “leading experts” in order to provide “scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers during emergencies," the SAGE website says.

10 Downing Street described the scientists as being “among the most eminent” in their fields. 

Some context: Boris Johnson’s chief political advisor Dominic Cummings and data scientist Ben Warner, both of whom had leading roles in the Vote leave campaign for Brexit, are named on a list of members leaked to the Guardian.

Neither Cummings or Warner have a scientific background and their inclusion has prompted fears of impartiality as they could be advising Johnson on coronavirus measures. 

On Saturday, a government spokesman denied the two are on the committee but admitted they do attend some meetings and ask questions.

“It is not true that Mr Cummings or Dr Warner are 'on' or members of SAGE,” the spokesperson told CNN.

But, he said Cummings and Warner have attended "some” SAGE meetings and “listen to some meetings now they are all virtual,” though only in the capacity to “understand better the scientific debates concerning this emergency.” 

The two “occasionally” ask questions or “offer help” to scientists on the committee on navigating the government, the statement said. 


7:49 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

What happened on board the last cruise ship still at sea

From CNN's Francesca Street in London

Passengers Yolanda and Carlos Payá, posing on Easter Island during an early port call.
Passengers Yolanda and Carlos Payá, posing on Easter Island during an early port call. Courtesy Carlos Páya

In January 2020, the gigantic Costa Deliziosa cruise ship slipped its moorings in the Italian city of Venice and headed out into the Adriatic Sea on an around-the-world voyage. Around 2000 passengers were on board for what they hoped would be the trip of a lifetime.

The Deliziosa's experienced crew, captained by veteran seafarer Nicolò Alba, looked ahead to a long journey. They knew they'd be working hard to keep guests happy as they traversed the world's oceans, but they weren't expecting it to be that different from the many other excursions they'd completed.

Instead, as the coronavirus pandemic spread, the Deliziosa would unwittingly sail into history.

When it set off on its trip, the 965-feet long vessel was among thousands of cruise ships plying the world's oceans. By the time the Deliziosa arrived back to Italy this week, it was the last cruise ship still at sea carrying significant numbers of passengers.

Those on board who completed the voyage have been revealing what it was like to cruise around the planet while the world descended into crisis -- as destination after destination was struck from their itinerary, amid mounting fears the virus would climb aboard and wreak havoc.

Find out what they did in this exclusive piece.

7:26 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

Over a quarter of the world's coronavirus deaths are in the United States

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

As health officials race to get the virus under control, state leaders are setting the date they'll begin reopening their economies.
As health officials race to get the virus under control, state leaders are setting the date they'll begin reopening their economies.

Less than three months since the first known coronavirus death in the US, the country's fatalities make up more than quarter of the global death toll.

Nearly 52,000 Americans have died from the virus so far -- a number that increases daily as a result of new fatalities and states reviewing previous deaths that had not been tied to the disease.

The virus has killed at least 197,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, limited testing in early February was part of the reason California officials did not count two earlier deaths as coronavirus-related. This week, they confirmed the two victims -- a 57-year-old woman who died February 6 and a 69-year-old man who died February 17-- are the earliest known US victims.

New efforts by some states to trace more cases will give officials a better idea of the magnitude of the pandemic in the country. That, in addition to testing -- which experts say is still not where it needs to be.

More testing needed: The US has conducted about 5.1 million tests but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading epidemiologist, said this week the nation needs to increase testing. Two new reports from public health experts and economists highlight that in order to safely reopen states, the country needs to conduct millions of tests per week.

And as health officials race to get the virus under control, state leaders are setting the date they'll begin reopening their economies -- decisions that President Donald Trump has said are entirely up to governors.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday opened some businesses, including barber shops and hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys. The state has recorded more than 22,491 infections and at least 899 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Read the rest of the article here.

7:35 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

Spanish football league asks to delay Covid-19 tests for players

From CNN's Al Goodman and Isabel Tejera in Madrid and Claudia Rebaza in London

 La Liga said it won’t start testing the players
La Liga said it won’t start testing the players

Spain’s football league had told its clubs on Friday it will delay testing of all its professional football players for Covid-19 “because the resumption of training sessions is going to be delayed.”

In a letter sent to the clubs, obtained and published by Spanish media, La Liga said it won’t start testing players, coaches and medical staff for the virus until the Spanish government approves a protocol for that.

All league football, including for the giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, stopped when Spain’s state of emergency went into effect on March 14.

La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed sending the letter to the clubs to CNN. In a video press conference on Friday night, he said: “If we consider that we’ll have the protocol in the coming days, maybe next week, well, from April 28 until May 11, 12, 13, or 14, to start the training again, that’s a lot of days for the players” to wait, after testing.

Prioritize frontline workers: La Liga’s announcement came hours after the Spanish Footballers Association (AFE) said it sent two more letters to the government, “again expressing the concern” of first and second division team players about the Covid-19 tests and a resumption of training.

The association said the players think those decisions should be made by the government and it added the players “consider there are other groups that need the tests more at this time, along with access to health care supplies.”

Jordi Figueras, player for Racing Santander in the second division, told CNN the decision was the right one. His team issued a statement last Thursday stating their priority was to finish the tournament, but added that tests should first be available for frontline workers.

“Without knowing when training would exactly resume, there is no point to get tested soon," he said.

Some Spanish media reported that La Liga had hoped to start Covid-19 testing of players as early as next week, as a first step before a resumption of training.

Spain’s state of emergency is due to end on May 9, after almost two months. But government officials said re-opening the country will be a gradual process so as to avoid a second wave of infections.

6:44 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

Daily confirmed cases slows for the second day in Germany

From CNN's Lauren Kent

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned warned against moving too fast in easing some of the social distancing restrictions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned warned against moving too fast in easing some of the social distancing restrictions

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,055 to reach 152,438, said the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious disease on Saturday.

It is however only the second day of case numbers going down, following three days of acceleration in new confirmed cases. 

Germany's coronavirus death toll stands at 5,500. 

The institute previously said the number of daily Covid-19 infections needs to fall to a few hundred per day before lockdown measures can be lifted.

Germany has been easing its lockdown: Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid out a list of steps the country would undertake to begin lifting its lockdown, and on Monday stores up to 800 square meters in size began reopening, as long as they have hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

Bookshops, car dealerships and bike stores can also now reopen regardless of their size. Restaurants, bars and gyms will remain closed.

Merkel also announced that the country would increase its contact tracing efforts, deploying a team of five officers for every 20,000 people in the population to trace those who may have come into recent contact with every confirmed case.

Read more about the lifting of lockdowns here.

7:37 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

India's most populous state bans gatherings until end of June

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Police personnel block a street in Allahabad, India, on April 24.
Police personnel block a street in Allahabad, India, on April 24. Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images

The government of India’s most populated state, Uttar Pradesh, has announced a ban on gatherings until June 30.

It is the first state to have issued a ban on gatherings beyond the end of the nationwide lockdown, which is May 3. 

Its Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued strict instructions to officials about the extended gathering ban, according to a tweet by state media advisor Mrityunjay Kumar. The decision has been taken to combat the spread of coronavirus, he added.

The country entered a nationwide lockdown on March 25, which was further extended to May 3. The Indian government has gradually relaxed some of the restrictions, allowing crop harvesting and for some shops to open.  

Uttar Pradesh has recorded 1621 positive cases, including 25 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

5:19 a.m. ET, April 25, 2020

Aides and allies making concerted effort to get Trump to stop doing daily briefings

From CNN's Jim Acosta, Kristen Holmes, Dana Bash and Gloria Borger

US President Donald Trump at a daily press briefing.
US President Donald Trump at a daily press briefing.

There has been a concerted effort among aides and allies to get President Donald Trump to stop conducting the daily coronavirus briefings, multiple sources tell CNN.

After weeks of briefings that sometimes last more than two hours, there is some agreement in the West Wing that some of the news conferences have gone on too long, resulting in a situation where Trump and administration officials simply run out of coronavirus-related questions. The result, aides have noticed, is that the briefings stray into politics instead of the matter at hand.

Axios was first to report potential changes to the coronavirus task force news briefings.

Friday's coronavirus task force news briefing was the shortest since the pandemic began, clocking in at 22 minutes. Trump had also taken questions from the press while signing a coronavirus relief spending bill earlier in the day. The previous shortest briefing was 32 minutes.

Read the rest of the article here.