April 16 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020
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12:54 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

FDA authorizes fourth antibody test for emergency use

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Arman Azad

The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization Wednesday for a new coronavirus antibody test developed at a Mount Sinai laboratory.

With this new test, there are now four coronavirus antibody tests that have been granted emergency use authorizations from the agency — and even more tests are expected to come through authorization, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said during a live video interview with The Washington Post on Thursday.

"We expect more to come through the regular emergency use authorization," Hahn said. "We're working very actively."

The specifics: The Mount Sinai test, called the Covid-19 ELISA IgG Antibody Test, is authorized for use on blood serum or plasma specimens from patients suspected of prior infection with the coronavirus. It measures antibodies in those specimens that were generated as part of the patient's immune response to a novel coronavirus infection. The test can help determine whether someone had a prior infection or not.

A positive result from the Covid-19 ELISA IgG Antibody Test indicates that antibodies were detected and the patient potentially has been infected with the coronavirus. The test specifically measures IgG antibodies — and that's in contrast to the other tests that the FDA has authorized, which detect both IgG and IgM. Those tests can detect the class of antibodies called IgM antibodies, which are present earlier in infection.

"IgG antibodies develop later than IgM antibodies following infection, and generally do not begin to appear until 7 – 10 days after infection," according to an FDA fact sheet about the test. "When IgG antibodies are present it, often indicates a past infection but does not exclude recently infected patients who are still contagious."

12:48 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

New York's MTA is asking Congress for $3.9 billion in emergency funding

From CNN's Anna Sturla

MTA cleaning staff disinfect the 86th St. Q train station on March 4, in New York City.
MTA cleaning staff disinfect the 86th St. Q train station on March 4, in New York City. Yana Paskova/Getty Images/FILE

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is asking Congress for an additional $3.9 billion in emergency funding, MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said in a news conference Thursday.

The money is needed "to stop the immediate financial hemorrhaging in the in the MTA's 2020 operating budget," he said.

A study by the MTA and McKinsey and Company now estimates the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the agency's 2020 budget to be between $7 billion and $8.5 billion, "dwarfing" its original estimate of $4 billion, Foye added.

What the numbers say: Ridership is currently down to about 95%, according to the chairman, with bridge and tunnel crossings down by 62%.

Foye noted that the initial $4 billion estimate was a conservative one made in the middle of March, when ridership was not quite as far down as it is now.

Foye also noted that the MTA’s disinfection costs have risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic, and that the agency expects them to continue to rise as ridership returns. Currently, 2020’s disinfection costs are expected to be in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

There are 68 MTA employees who have died due to the pandemic, according to MTA spokesperson Michael Cortez.

12:44 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Cuomo to critics of mask requirement: "I will bring you to see the 600 people" who died yesterday

From CNN's Elise Hammond

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to a question about those criticizing his order to require New Yorkers to wear masks in public as a symbol of government control saying, "To them I say, if you don't think 600 people died yesterday and if you don't think that's a problem, I disagree with you."

Earlier in the news conference Cuomo announced 606 people died in the state on Wednesday.

That is down from 752 people across the state who died the day before.

"I understand that people do not like it," he said at a news conference today. "If you doubt that 600 died, I will bring you to see the 600 people," Cuomo added.

He said that while he understands the opposition, there is a personal responsibility to protect other people if you are sick.

"If you have the virus, you can infect other people. And you have a liability of responsibility not to infect me because you are sick. That's when a mask would help," Cuomo said.

About the executive order: Starting on Friday, people — 2 years old and older — must wear a mask or cloth over their nose and mouth when riding on public transportation systems, private transportation carriers and for-hire vehicles, Cuomo said.

Operators of public systems, private carriers, and for-hire vehicles must wear a mask at all times, he added. 

12:33 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

White House adviser wants American businesses back open "starting tomorrow"

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Steve Moore, who is one of many people advising the White House on reopening the economy, issued a statement on the jobless claims urging companies to open starting "tomorrow."

"The new unemployment numbers with more than 20 million Americans losing their jobs should be a five-alarm wake-up call for Washington and the nation's governors to end the government-mandated impoverishment of our citizens. Starting tomorrow, we need to let American businesses open up their doors and allow tens of millions of workers back earning a paycheck. If we do not act soon, hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from economic depravation and hopelessness," Moore said.

By the numbers: Another 5.2 million workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, according to the US Department of Labor, bringing the total number of Americans who have filed initial jobless claims to around 22 million, or roughly 13.5% of the labor force, since March 14.

Overall, the last four weeks have marked the largest and most dramatic rise in claims on record since the Labor Department started tracking the data in 1967. 

Other jobs crises have played out far more slowly. In the Great Recession, for example, it took two years for 8.6 million Americans to lose their jobs. 

This time, mass layoffs and furloughs came suddenly as states enacted lockdowns of all but essential businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

12:33 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Mexico extends stay-at-home measures until May 30

From CNN’s Natalie Gallón

Mexico will extend its stay-at-home measures until May 30 as the country continues mitigation efforts against the spread of coronavirus, Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Hugo López-Gatell said during the daily morning press briefing today.

Ongoing safety measures include keeping schools closed, practicing safe distance and protecting the high-risk population. He said government officials will extend safety measures in areas with low coronavirus transmission to May 17, López-Gatell said.

“In all cases, on June 1, we will recover in a staggered manner, in an organized way, the activities, economic, social and public life,” López-Gatell said adding that this all depends on the projections at the time and on citizens continuing to comply with the safety protocols.

Mexico has 5,847 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 449 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

12:28 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

UK extends coronavirus lockdown for at least another three weeks

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac and Nada Bashir

Dominic Raab, the UK's Foreign Secretary
Dominic Raab, the UK's Foreign Secretary Pool

Britain’s Covid-19 lockdown measures have been extended for “at least” another three weeks, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Speaking at a today's government coronavirus press briefing, Raab, who is filling in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from Covid-19, said while there are “indications” the measures have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, overall the infection rate has not dropped as much as needed.

“The very clear advice that we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus. That would threaten a second peak of the crisis and substantial increase in the number of deaths," he said.

“It would undo the progress that we have made to date, and would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures," Raab added.

12:23 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Hilton says 16% of its global hotels are "temporarily" closed 

From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/FILE
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/FILE

Hilton announced that it has temporarily shut down 16% of its hotels worldwide during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, the hotel chain said that travel restrictions and stay-at-home directives “have resulted in cancellations and significantly reduced travel around the world."

Hilton, which has roughly 6,000 global hotels, said occupancy rates in North America are hovering around 17% and 13% in Europe and the Middle East.

However, it's seeing early recovery in Asia: Occupancy levels have grown to 22%, up from 9% in early February.

In total, Hilton expects revenue per room to decline as much as 25%. On Tuesday, Marriott issued similarly dire numbers.

1:54 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Social distancing plan extended to May 15 in New York, governor says

New York's social distancing plan to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus will be extended “in coordination with other states” to May 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.

“What happens after then, I don’t know. We will see depending on what the data shows,” Cuomo said.

Watch:

12:03 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Cuomo: "We've controlled the beast. We brought the rate of spread down"

State of New York
State of New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York has gotten control of the spread of coronavirus in the state.

"We've controlled the beast. We brought the rate of spread down," Cuomo said today.

Cuomo discussed infection rate models shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention early on during the pandemic and how they have not come to fruition.

"If their rate of spread actually happened, we would have been in a much, much worse situation and we would have been in a really bad place. I mean their projections were staggering and it didn't happen because we slowed the models," he said.