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April 25 coronavirus news
By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Tara John, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN
Hawaii seeing a 98% decrease in travelers arriving at airports since quarantine rule put in place
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
Hawaii has seen a 98% decrease in travelers arriving at airports since the state's 14-day quarantine rule was put in place, Gov. David Ige said during a press conference Saturday.
About 100 travelers are still arriving every day which is why the extension of the quarantine order for visitors to the state was necessary, Ige said.
The screening process for visitors includes a temperature check and verification of hotel accommodations while at the airport. Each visitor must provide a phone number for their hotel accommodations and they will not be allowed to leave the airport if their accommodation isn't confirmed by an employee at the hotel, Ige said.
Vaccine group suggests manufacturing coronavirus vaccines even before they are fully tested
From CNN's Gina Yu
It might be necessary to start manufacturing coronavirus vaccines even before they have been fully tested to see if they can protect people from infection, said Richard Hatchett, the CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
CEPI is a non-profit put together organization formed to speed the development of vaccines.
Manufacturing could begin even while some of the Covid-19 vaccines are in the first phase of human clinical testing, which are designed to demonstrate only safety, Hatchett said Saturday.
This plan could cut time without cutting corners or sacrificing efficacy or safety, Hatchett said on a National Academy of Sciences Covid-19 Update webcast.
Large-scale manufacturing doesn’t usually start until after a vaccine has passed all three phases of clinical trials, a process that usually takes years. CEPI first published outlines of the plan to accelerate the process in The New England Journal of Medicine in March.
It may be more expensive to do things this way, Hatchett said.
"If we want to deliver vaccine at scale within … our stipulated targets of 12 to 18 months from the initiation of the program, we’re going to have to be comfortable with those risks," he said. He estimated that tens of billions of dollars will be spent over the next several years for vaccine delivery.
"If we shorten the pandemic by a month, we’re saving hundreds of billions of dollars. And that’s the calculus the elected leaders need to make," Hatchett said.
CEPI has funded several Covid-19 vaccine research projects, including all three of the vaccines currently being tested in people. Two of the vaccines are in phase one clinical trials – vaccines from Moderna and Inovio – and only China’s CanSino Bio vaccine advanced to the second phase of clinical trials earlier this month.
Moderna already intends to use funding from the US federal government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to help fund a scale-up of its manufacturing process, according to a statement from the company earlier this month.
Hawaii governor extends stay-at-home and quarantine orders until May 31
From CNN's Hollie Silverman
The statewide stay at home order for Hawaii set to expire April 30 has been extended until May 31, Gov. David Ige announced during a press conference Saturday.
Ige said he has extended the order that travelers quarantine for 14 days after their arrival to the state until May 31.
Army to proceed with West Point graduation
From CNN’s Ryan Browne & Barbara Starr
The Army will proceed with this year’s graduation ceremony at the US Military Academy, or West Point, according to a statement from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.
McCarthy said the Army is "putting the appropriate measures in place to respond to the Covid-19 crisis and to protect our Force, Cadets and Families."
President Donald Trump said earlier this month that he would be attending the ceremony.
I'm doing it at West Point, which I look forward to. I did it last year at Air Force. I did it in Annapolis. I did it at the Coast Guard Academy and I'm doing it at West Point. And I assume ... they'll have (social) distancing. They'll have some big distance, so it'll look very different than it ever looked," Trump said.
Below is the full statement from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy:
"After careful consideration of the steps the Army can take to mitigate risk, I made the decision to proceed with the West Point graduation. We are fully committed to the health and safety of our Cadets and believe we can safely conduct the graduation ceremony and associated activities. Over the next couple of days, West Point leadership will communicate the plan. We are putting the appropriate measures in place to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and to protect our Force, Cadets and Families."
Number of NYPD uniformed members out sick continues to decline
From CNN's Laura Ly
Approximately 9.8% of the New York Police Department's uniformed workforce -- or 3,554 members -- were out sick on Saturday. This is down from a high of 19.8%, according to a daily coronavirus report from the NYPD.
As of Saturday, 3,363 members of the NYPD have returned to work full-time after recovered from a positive Covid-19 test, while 1,098 uniformed members and 325 civilian members are still out sick with a Covid-19 diagnosis.
In total, 4,820 NYPD members have tested positive for Covid-19 to date, the NYPD said.
The coronavirus stimulus needs to be a 'hell of a lot better' than $2 trillion, Joe Biden says in Politico interview.
From CNN’s Sarah Mucha
In a fiery interview with Politico centered on the stimulus and economic recovery after the pandemic, Joe Biden unloaded on banks and big businesses and said that the coronavirus stimulus needs to be a "hell of a lot better" than $2 trillion dollars.
He accused the Trump administration of already "wasting a hell of a lot of money" and expressed indignantly why he believes there needs to be more oversight in the implementation of the CARES Act.
In the article, Politico senior staff writer Michael Grunwald writes that Biden repeatedly unloaded on big business and big banks, noting that "this is the second time we’ve bailed their asses out," accusing the Trump administration of managing the stimulus for their benefit.”
In talking about President Trump firing the Pentagon inspector general chosen to oversee the stimulus package, Biden leaned into his hiring of Earl Devaney to oversee the Recovery Act as contrast, saying, "I wanted to bring in the toughest son-of-a-bitch in the country—I really mean it, I’m not joking—because we wanted to make sure we did it by the numbers with genuine oversight," Biden said. "Right now, there’s no oversight. [Trump] made it real clear he doesn’t have any damn interest in being checked. The last thing he wants is anyone watching that $500 billion going to corporate America, for God’s sake."
Grunwald wrote that in his interview with Biden, "he denounced corporate America as 'greedy as hell,' echoing the structural critiques of the modern economy that fueled the Sanders and Warren campaigns."
Continuing his critiques of big banks and big businesses, Biden said, "We knew from the beginning that the big banks don’t like lending to small businesses." He continues in the article, "I'm telling you, though, if Main Street businesses don’t get help, they’re gone."
IRS requesting several thousand employees to return to work
From CNN's Kevin Bohn and Gregory Clary
The Internal Revenue Service is requesting, but not requiring, several thousand employees to return to work to help open mail, process paper returns and perform several other duties, according to a statement released by the IRS on Saturday.
The statement said employees who return to work will be offered "incentive pay" and will be required to wear face coverings. The IRS statement said the agency is working to obtain personal protective equipment and expects many items to be delivered as soon as this weekend.
"Bringing employees back to work is essential to address mission-critical needs for the nation, and the IRS is an essential component to our country's whole-of-government approach to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide American taxpayers, including the most vulnerable, with the services they expect, it is essential that the IRS resumes a number of key responsibilities, including opening mail that has been held for a number of weeks, processing of paper tax returns that may offer refunds to taxpayers, working on returns with refundable credits, answering taxpayers' questions on our toll-free lines, and performing Income Verification Express Service and certain lien/levy functions. The IRS will continue to do everything possible to protect employees while also providing important services and assistance to the nation's taxpayers," the statement read.
UK government launches mobile testing units for workers on the front lines
From CNN's Robert Iddiols
Mobile testing units will travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing, the government announced in a statement on Sunday.
The network of testing units will be operated by the military and target vulnerable sites such as care homes, police stations and prisons.
“Everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one. New mobile testing units will travel the country to provide vital frontline workers with tests so those testing negative to safely return to work," Testing Minister Lord Bethell said. “Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus. We now have the ability to provide more people with the certainty they need to get back to the front line when it is safe to do so.”
The Department of Health statement said the new units will operate alongside existing drive-through test sites in order to “rapidly increase the number of tests done each day.”
Specially trained military personnel will collect swabs at the mobile sites, before they are sent to mega-labs for processing. Those tested will receive results within 48 hours.
Rapid expansion of a network of mobile test units is now underway, according to the statement, with new units being fielded in the coming weeks and at least 96 ready to be deployed by the start of May.