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
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1:31 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Idaho governor extends statewide stay-at-home order through April 30

Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Wednesday extended the statewide stay-at-home order until April 30.

Little, speaking at a virtual press conference, said Idaho has at least 1,464 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 39 deaths.  

He went on to say that since the stay-at-home order was issued, the state has been "flattening the curve."

1:20 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

Cuomo: "The more testing, the more opening of the economy"

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking at his daily briefing, said all states are having a hard time bringing coronavirus testing to scale quickly,

"Every governor is now in the same situation," he said, citing conversations with his counterparts across the country.

The states need assistance from the federal government to bring testing to scale, he said, adding “the more testing, the more opening of the economy.”

States need help with testing and tracing, as well as funding from the federal government, Cuomo said.


1:08 p.m. ET, April 15, 2020

WHO defends its early actions in fighting the coronavirus

From CNN's Amanda Watts 

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, speaks during a press briefing on Covid-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, speaks during a press briefing on Covid-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the World Health Organization on Wednesday defended their early actions when it came to fighting the coronavirus.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program said, “when WHO issued its first guidance to countries, it was extremely clear that respiratory precautions should be taken in dealing with patients with this disease, that labs needed to be careful in terms of their precautions and taking samples, because there was a risk that the disease could spread from person to person in those environments.”  

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious diseases epidemiologist with WHO, said she recently went back and listened to the WHO news conference on January 14, and at the time, there were 41 confirmed cases worldwide. 

“All of our guidance that was before we did that press conference was about limiting exposure to people and to prevent transmission, particularly in health care settings,” adding “our guidance that was put out was about respiratory droplets and contact protection,” Van Kerkove said. Noting, that was out on January 10 and 11.

Ryan said health systems around the world, including the United States, began to activate incident management systems during the first week of January. 

“In the initial reports, in which there were no mention of human to human transmission, was a cluster of atypical pneumonia or pneumonia or unknown origin," he said.

“The idea of having a defense, at this point, seems rather strange,” Ryan said. 

Ryan went on to say that “there are literally millions and millions of cases of atypical pneumonia around the world, every year,” adding, in the middle of flu season, “sometimes it's very difficult to pick out a signal of a cluster of cases. In fact, it's quite remarkable that such a cluster was picked out — 41 confirmed cases ultimately in a cluster in Wuhan.” 

“We will be very happy when the after action reviews come in fact, I am very anxious for those after action reviews to come because we do them for every outbreak response and I'll be delighted with our teams and look forward to that engagement to look and see where we can learn to do better, where we can improve our response," Ryan said.
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.”