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
103 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:13 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

New York state has developed its own coronavirus antibody test

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state's Health Department has developed its own coronavirus antibody test.

"New York state Department of Health developed their own antibody tests, and that test is going to be very important, and it's in our control, because we'd actually do those tests. We don't need a private lab. We don't need anybody else. With those tests, it will go to about 2,000-per-day capacity, and that is a finger prick test, so it's not terribly invasive," Cuomo said today during a news conference.

Cuomo added that the state is pursuing Food and Drug Administration approval that "could get us to 100,000 people per day. To give you an idea, that's then 500,000 a week."

Some context: Antibody tests — also known as serology tests — aren't meant to diagnose active coronavirus infections. Rather, they check for proteins in the immune system, known as antibodies, through a blood sample.

Their presence means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity — although experts are not sure how strong the immunity may be or even how long it will last.


1:01 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

CDC estimates more than 9,200 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam

More than 9,200 health care workers have been infected with Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in its first such assessment, published on Tuesday.

The number is likely an underestimate, since most reports of coronavirus cases don’t note whether the person worked in health care.

“This national surveillance article spotlights the large number of health care personnel already infected with Covid-19,” CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat told CNN. “I think we’ve all learned this virus was a greater threat than we had thought.”

Among the health care workers who had coronavirus, 90% were not hospitalized. There were 184 admissions to the intensive care unit, and 27 people died.

Schuchat added that it is important to focus on making sure that health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need, and that they need to remain vigilant.

1:03 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

New York governor says there needs to be a "bridge" built to reopen economy 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said reopening the economy requires a metaphorical bridge. 

“Where we're going, it's not a reopening in that we're going to open what was. We are going to a different place,” Cuomo said in his daily coronavirus briefing. “And we should go to a different place and we should go to a better place. If we don't learn the lessons from this situation, then all of this will have been in vain.”

Cuomo said people need to be prepared for a “new normal” as the situation continues to evolve. 

“We're going to have a new normal in public health … the way we have a new normal in the environment, a new normal in economics, a new normal in civil rights, a new normal in social justice, right? This is the way of the world now. We're moving to a new place, more challenging place, but also potentially a better place,” he said. 

Cuomo said the coronavirus threat won’t be fully over until there is a vaccine.


12:55 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Hospitalizations are down in New York, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations across New York are down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

“You see the flattening of the curve,” he said, but cautioned, “we’re not out of the woods … but we can control the spread.”

The pandemic is still a serious public health issue, but the “health situation has stabilized,” Cuomo said.


12:50 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

752 people died in New York in the past 24 hours, governor says

New York state saw a slight drop in coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, according to remarks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo moments ago during a news conference.

"Lives lost yesterday, 752, which is the painful news of our reality day after day, and they are in our thoughts and prayers. You see 707 in hospitals, 45 in nursing homes," Cuomo said.

The state recorded 778 deaths on Monday, Cuomo added.


12:55 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Northwell Health will prioritize coronavirus testing for New York City's MTA frontline employees

From CNN's Sonia Moghe

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

New York City’s MTA is partnering with Northwell Health, a large private healthcare provider in New York, to prioritize Covid-19 testing for frontline workers who run the city’s public transportation system, the two entities announced Wednesday.

The testing would be made available at Northwell Health’s 52 urgent care locations in the New York City area and would be prioritized for symptomatic workers. 

“We remain relentlessly committed to doing everything we possibly can to keep our frontline workers safe,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said. “We will continue working to identify any and all solutions we can deploy to help protect our employees. The region simply cannot function without the essential and heroic workers of this pandemic.”
12:30 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

People might be most infectious with coronavirus before they show symptoms, study suggests

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

People might be most infectious with the novel coronavirus before they show symptoms, according to a study published Wednesday.

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, adds to a growing body of evidence showing that seemingly-healthy people are spreading the virus.

“We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset,” the researchers wrote. 

They found that viral shedding – when people may be able to infect others – could begin two to three days before symptoms appeared. The amount of virus given off, though, appeared to decline after people began feeling sick.

Researchers warned that people may be spreading the virus before they show symptoms, public health interventions – such as contact tracing – will need to be adjusted. 

Not only will investigators need to identify those who were exposed to symptomatic people, but they may also need to look retroactively – tracing contacts from when people still felt healthy.

“More inclusive criteria for contact tracing to capture potential transmission events 2 to 3 days before symptom onset should be urgently considered for effective control of the outbreak,” the researchers wrote.

More details: The study did have limitations. Namely, it relied on patients’ memories of when their symptoms first appeared, which could have been fuzzy.

Still, the research is consistent with other findings, which suggest that people who don’t feel sick are in fact contributing to the spread of the virus.

Based on that growing body of evidence, the White House has recommended that healthy people wear face coverings outside to reduce the risk of infecting others.

12:39 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

New York City will invest $170 million to combat food crisis

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a bag of produce packed at a food shelf organized by The Campaign Against Hunger in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, on April 14.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a bag of produce packed at a food shelf organized by The Campaign Against Hunger in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, on April 14. Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $170 million initiative to battle food insecurity, an existing problem in the city amplified by economic woes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are literally asking 'where's my next meal coming from?' That's something painful to consider in the greatest city in the world but it's what's happening," he said Wednesday, noting, “somewhere in the neighborhood of a half million New Yorkers have lost their livelihood in just the last few weeks.”

De Blasio added: “We are dealing with an unprecedented challenge in terms of people needing food, so we're going to create an unprecedented response. Today, I'm announcing $170 million initiative to make sure every New Yorker gets what they need and no New Yorker goes hungry."

The mayor mapped out his plan to tackle the city’s food insecurity which includes accounting for 10 million meals in April for people who need them.

12:08 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

There have been at least 26,069 coronavirus deaths in the US

There are at least 609,995 cases of coronavirus in the US and 26,069 deaths from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the country. 

On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins reported 755 new cases and 36 reported deaths.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.