April 15 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:17 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020
20 Posts
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12:12 a.m. ET, April 15, 2020

More than 26,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the US

Parked ambulances sit on the street at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center on April 13, in New York City.
Parked ambulances sit on the street at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center on April 13, in New York City. Scott Heins/Getty Images

The US has recorded 26,033 deaths from the novel coronavirus after the most fatalities in a single day since the epidemic began were reported on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 2,405 new deaths linked to Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday, along with 26,633 additional cases of the virus.

Some 609,240 infections have been confirmed in the United States since the outbreak began in January.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

12:01 a.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Two hospitals tested all pregnant patients for coronavirus. Here's what they found

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Most of the pregnant women in New York who tested positive for the novel coronavirus -- one in eight -- were asymptomatic at time of delivery, according to a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday.

The research was conducted between March 22 and April 4 at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.

The center put a universal testing policy in place for all women admitted for delivery after the medical centers had two novel coronavirus cases confirmed among their patient population.

Asymptomatic cases suggest universal testing important: Of the 215 pregnant women who delivered at these hospitals, four who tested positive for Covid-19 when they were admitted for delivery had a fever or some other symptoms of the coronavirus.

There were 29 others who tested positive for Covid-19 but did not have fever or any other symptoms of the disease.

The authors argue that this research shows that there are real potential benefits to conducting a universal test on patients.

Knowing if someone is infectious would help the hospital determine where to place the patients so they won’t get other people sick, and would help guide the hospital’s decisions on what personal protective equipment the staff may need.

12:15 a.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Peru coronavirus cases spike as testing ramped up

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Doctors disinfect each other after visiting a home to conduct a coronavirus test, in Lima, Peru, on April 14.
Doctors disinfect each other after visiting a home to conduct a coronavirus test, in Lima, Peru, on April 14. Rodrigo Abd/AP

Confirmed infections of coronavirus have more than tripled in Peru over the past week, the South American country's health ministry reported on Tuesday.

A total of 10,303 cases have been confirmed in the country -- a jump from 2,954 reported by authorities on April 7.

On Monday, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said the rapid increase in cases is due to more people being tested across the country.

The goal is to reach 12,000 tests a day, said Vizcarra, adding that more than 87,000 tests have been administered so far. 

As of Tuesday evening, 230 people have died from coronavirus in Peru, according to the health ministry.

11:31 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

FBI warns companies of employees faking coronavirus test results

From CNN’s Josh Campbell

As US companies struggle to remain in operation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FBI is warning that American businesses now have something else to worry about: fraud by employees seeking to take advantage of the pandemic. 

In a report sent to companies across the nation Monday, and obtained by CNN, the FBI’s Office of Private Sector notified members of private industry they should be on the lookout for fake doctors' notes and falsified documentation from employees claiming positive Covid-19 test results. 

The bureau report warned that the steps a company must take to stop business operations and sanitize work spaces could lead to significant financial loss. 

Alleged scam costs company $175,000: The FBI report described an incident in March where an employee working for an unidentified “critical manufacturing company” told their bosses they had tested positive for Covid-19 and submitted what appeared to be documentation from a medical facility. 

“In response, the company shut down the affected manufacturing facility to disinfect the location, ceasing production and halting delivery of necessary materials to the plant,” the FBI report stated. “The company notified all employees at the facility, including four workers who had close contact with the reportedly infected employee and were required to self-quarantine.”

Upon subsequent close review of the employee’s medical documentation, supervisors became suspicious. 

The letter indicating the positive Covid-19 testing was not on official letterhead from a medical facility. A call to a telephone number listed on the documentation revealed the number was not actually associated with a location that conducted coronavirus testing at the time the letter was written.

In total, the FBI estimates the victim company incurred over $175,000 in lost productivity due to the alleged scam. 

Read more here:

11:15 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Alaska to allow elective medical procedures to resume

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Source: KTUU

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said elective medical procedures would be allowed again soon, as a first step towards reopening the economy in the wake of coronavirus.

"We feel we're at the point now that we're getting a handle on the (supply of personal protective equipment),” Dunleavy said in a Tuesday evening news conference. “We came to the conclusion that society is better off if we open up this sector sooner than later.”

Once it is lifted, the restriction on elective procedures could be put back into place if medics find that it is compromising their ability to treat Covid-19 cases, Dunleavy said. “We may be back here in four or five days and say there was an outbreak here or an issue there that will now make it necessary for us to throttle back,” he said.

If allowing more medical procedures goes well, the governor said authorities would then consider whether more retail businesses can be opened. But he warned Alaskans not to take it as a sign that ordinary life is just around the corner. 

“This is not a full-blown, open, everything is back to normal,” Gov. Dunleavy said. “That's not the case.”
11:00 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

It's just past 8 p.m. in Washington and midday in Seoul. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A voter wearing plastic gloves to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus casts a vote for the parliamentary election at a polling station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, April 15.
A voter wearing plastic gloves to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus casts a vote for the parliamentary election at a polling station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, April 15. Ahn Young-joon/AP

This is what you need to know:

  • Nearly 2 million cases worldwide: A total of 1,980,003 coronavirus infections have been recorded globally, including 126,557 Covid-19 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. This doesn't represent the total number of active cases, but rather the number of infections since the pandemic began.
  • Trump pulls WHO funding: The US President said US financing for the World Health Organization will stop while a review into its handling of the pandemic is conducted. Trump has previously called the WHO "China-centric" in its response to the virus.
  • UN says WHO must be "supported": UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement after Trump's withdrawal of funding that now was not the time to reduce the global health watchdog's resources to fight the pandemic. "Now is the time for unity," he said.
  • US reports most deaths in a single day: At least 2,353 fatalities were reported in the United States on Tuesday. More than 608,000 cases have been recorded in the country, including nearly 26,000 deaths
  • Study rules out coronavirus drug: A French study has found that hydroxychloroquine doesn't help coronavirus patients and was associated with heart complications. The drug, usually used to prevent and treat malaria, has been touted as a "game changer" by US President Donald Trump.
  • South Korea heads to the polls: With its coronavirus epidemic increasingly under control, the East Asian nation is holding a legislative election today. Voters are being temperature tested and must stand one-meter away from each other.
10:38 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Utah governor says he will decide when to reopen, not the federal government

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, April 7, in Salt Lake City.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, April 7, in Salt Lake City. Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via AP

Utah's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said policies to reopen states will be put in place mainly by the states and governors, and not the federal government, at a news conference Tuesday.

"I'm a 10th amendment guy and power is not given to the federal government under our constitution; it remains with the states and the people," he said.

But Herbert said that it was a "partnership" between the federal government and the states and that they would get through this "together."

"They're providing resources and monetary help to help on all sides of this equation. And I appreciate them stepping up. The policies will be put in place mainly by the States and by the governors," he said.

Tenth amendment: The 10th amendment is part of the Bill of Rights -- the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. It outlines the division of power between the federal government and state governments, stating: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

10:26 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

New York City Health Department now reporting "probable" Covid-19 deaths

The New York City Health Department is now reporting “probable” Covid-19 deaths of people who have not been tested for the coronavirus but are presumed to be positive.

The new and supplemental data reflects “probable” deaths from March 11 through April 13 and is listed separately from the confirmed deaths in New York City, according to the city website.

Through April 13, there have been 6,589 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 3,778 “probable” deaths, according to the city website. The total number of confirmed and “probable” coronavirus deaths is 10,367.

10:13 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Los Angeles files 10 prosecutions of businesses not complying with health order

A spa, a beauty parlor and a vape shop are among 10 businesses that Los Angeles has filed prosecutions against for failing to comply with the safer at home order after being warned, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced in a news conference Tuesday.

This is in addition to four prosecutions filed previously and there are more filings yet to come, Feuer said.

Feuer also announced that his office has successfully defended the safer at home order against a push to block enforcement of the order regarding gun shops.

“There have been teams of gun rights activists and others who have sought to open gun shops,” Feuer said. “The mayor’s order is clear that all non-essential businesses must close. Gun shops and all other non-essential businesses must close.”
“This will enable us all to flatten the curve and my office is deeply committed to continuing to defend, as well as enforce the order,” he added.

LA offers same or next day testing: Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced there is now rapid testing available for anyone with coronavirus symptoms across Los Angeles.

Previously the vulnerable population was being prioritized but now anybody with symptoms can be tested regardless of age or pre-existing health conditions. Some 9,400 people a day can be tested, Garcetti said.