April 30 coronavirus news

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9:29 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Bill Gates: Asia's testing and contact tracing ability is far better than that of the US

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta talk with Bill Gates.
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta talk with Bill Gates. CNN

Speaking at CNN's coronavirus global town hall, Bill Gates said the United States' ability to conduct mass testing and contact tracing is not yet at the same level as many countries in Asia that have been battling the pandemic for months now. 

"The United States does not prioritize who gets tested, and the United States does not make sure you get answers within 24 hours. We haven't authorized kiosks or home testing. That's still a regulatory thing that's tied up. So our testing numbers should never be compared," said Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- one of the world's biggest charities and public health donors. 

"Our system fails to have the prioritization that would give us an accurate picture of what is going on," he added.

The case of South Korea: The East Asian country has garnered significant praise for its handling of the pandemic, because of its early emphasis on mass testing, contact tracing and social distancing. 

To date, South Korea has recorded fewer than 11,000 Covid-19 cases and fewer than 250 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of new cases have been steadily decreasing, and authorities in Seoul reported no new locally transmitted cases local yesterday, the first time that has happened in weeks.

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9:11 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

At-home coronavirus testing is needed, Bill Gates says

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates believes at-home coronavirus testing is crucial in fighting the pandemic.

The philanthropist and founder of Microsoft shared this insight Thursday night during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

"You should be able to get a test at home if you're symptomatic, then very quickly all of your contacts, which would include your household, they should be tested. That's a perfect example where you need an answer very quickly so people know who should isolate instead of being at work. This becomes very important as we're doing these 'opening up' policies," Gates said.

Some context on current testing: Gates said on April 26 that new testing machines and methods should soon be able to get the United States up to between 400,000 and 500,000 tests per day, though that's "just barely enough for really doing the tracking."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, estimated on Saturday that the country is conducting approximately 1.5 million to 2 million Covid-19 tests per week and said it is likely the testing capacity could be doubled within the next several weeks. So far, the United States has only performed about 4 million coronavirus tests.

9:13 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Boeing says it will not need US federal aid after raising $25 billion

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Boeing announced Thursday that it will not seek US federal funding to prop up its suffering business after a successful $25 billion bond offering. 

The company said in a statement it now does “not plan to seek additional funding through the capital markets or the US government options at this time.” 

As CNN reported last month, lawmakers set aside $17 billion of the $2 trillion stimulus law for the aerospace company. But it was unclear whether the firm would apply for and take the funds, considering the Treasury Department had asked some other recipients for warrants.  

The company on Wednesday reported $1.7 billion in losses in the most recent quarter and plans to cut around 16,000 jobs.  

9:05 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Should you change your clothes after coming home from outside?

Dr. Leana Wen.
Dr. Leana Wen. CNN

One viewer asked CNN's global town hall if people should change their clothes after coming home from public places like the grocery store to lower the chance of infection.

Dr. Leana Wen, the former health commissioner for the City of Baltimore, said the chances that someone transmitted the virus onto someone else's clothes is "very low," with the exception of healthcare workers or other people who may risk exposure at work.

"Then it makes sense to come home, change your clothes, leave your shoes outside," she said.

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9:00 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Why was a vaccine never finished for SARs and MERS?

A viewer asks CNN's town hall: Why was a vaccine never finished during original SARS and MERS outbreaks?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta said that vaccines for those viruses were started and "some of the techniques they used for those vaccines are actually being built upon now."

But the vaccines weren't fully developed for those outbreaks because "we were able to make those epidemics, pandemics fizzle out," he said.

"A vaccine wasn't as necessary and vaccines cost money. As things started to die down with the other infections, the vaccine plans they were working on sort of went away."

The 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak infected more than 8,000 people, and killed 774 in Asia. There have been sporadic outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) since it was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

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8:58 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Why one model is predicting an increase in US coronavirus deaths

 Dr. Chris Murray.
Dr. Chris Murray. CNN

A coronavirus model relied on by the White House task force is projecting that about 72,000 people in the United States will die from the virus by early August -- an increase from earlier estimates.

Dr. Chris Murray, who leads the team that did the modeling at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN's global town hall that the number has gone up "because we've seen these protracted peaks in some place," citing New York City as an example.

"It took awhile for New York, for example, to come off the peak of deaths. Now fortunately it's on its way down. But we've seen that phenomena in a number of places," he said.
"We've seen states adding presumptive deaths to their deaths counts. Not all states are doing that. We're in this funny zone where we have confirmed deaths and states adding in quite a large number of presumptive deaths where people couldn't get tested before they passed away."
"There's no doubt as people lessen social distancing, the deaths will go up," he said.

How reopening factors in: Murray said the model assumes that many people will continue to practicing social distancing until the end of May. It does not yet account for certain states and cities partially reopening.

Murray said his team is working on factoring that in, but it's not simple.

"We know mobility is a driver of transmission, but at the same time we're seeing states ramping up their testing. The more you test, the more you find infectious individuals or even asymptomatic individuals and get them to isolate, the more you tamp down transmission," he said. "The good thing is the US Is double testing. Not in all states. We have to balance out how those two courses will play out. But certainly our numbers will go up once we take that whole into account."
8:55 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Fauci: Coronavirus second wave will likely lack "explosive" quality of first outbreak

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta speak to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta speak to Dr. Anthony Fauci. CNN

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci struck a hopeful note tonight, telling CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that a second wave of the virus would likely lack the speed and ferocity that characterized the initial outbreak that hit some major metropolises in the United States.

"You don't know for sure, but I don't think that you will see something as explosive as we saw in New York because of the special characteristics of that city, which made them vulnerable or even in New Orleans which had a very sharp peak and then came down very nicely," Fauci said at CNN's global town hall.

Earlier in the week, Fauci said he was "almost certain" the virus would return, warning, "how we handle it ... will determine our fate."

Speaking this evening, Fauci also predicted a second phase of the virus could hit locations where social distancing is especially challenging such as nursing homes, factories and prisons.

8:42 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

A vaccine could be ready by January "if everything falls into place," Fauci says

Dr Anthony Fauci.
Dr Anthony Fauci. CNN

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN's town hall that "if everything falls into place right" there could be a coronavirus vaccine by January -- but there are "a number of situations that could go wrong."

An assumption of safety: "It may all of a sudden have a safety signal," he said. "If it doesn't work, it doesn't protect people. I've been involved in vaccine work for decades. Not every vaccine we went after worked. That's an assumption that it's going to be safe, that it's going to be effective and we're going to be able to do it quickly. I think each of those are not only feasible, but maybe likely. That's what I mean when I say by January we'll do it. But I can't guarantee it." 

Doing things differently: Fauci said that developing a vaccine without knowing it works first is "risky" but he said it "certainly is worth the risk given what's at stake."

"What's being done now that's different than some situations are, before we know a vaccine works, we're going to have to make the vaccine. When you ultimately prove it works, you don't have to wait five or six months to scale up to get enough doses to give to a meaningful number of people. That's a risky financial circumstance, but it certainly, certainly is worth the risk given what's at stake," he said.
8:45 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Fauci says he's concerned that some US states and cities are "leapfrogging" guidelines

Dr Anthony Fauci runs the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and sits on the White House's coronavirus task force.
Dr Anthony Fauci runs the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and sits on the White House's coronavirus task force. CNN

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is concerned that some areas in the United States are "leapfrogging" important steps in their virus control efforts by not waiting until they see 14 continuous days of a decrease in cases before starting to reopen their economies and societies.

"You're taking a really significant risk if you do that and you don't have in place the absolute clear-cut capability of identifying, isolating and doing the contact tracing," Fauci said on CNN's global town hall.

Federal guidelines for social distancing are set to expire tonight, and some states and cities are planning on partially reopening.

"There's no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation, you're going to start seeing cases crop up here and there. And if you're not able to handle them, you're going to see another peak, a spike. And then you almost have to turn the clock back to go back to mitigation," said Fauci, who runs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and sits on the White House's coronavirus task force.

Regional differences: Fauci said that some states and regions may be able to go back to normal quicker than others because they will see 14 days of decreasing cases quicker than other areas, but he cautioned that regions should not attempt to start reopening if the number of cases are still on the rise or have just plateaued.

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