Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:15 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020
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2:24 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Jacksonville mayor on reopening beaches: "The community is responding well" to guidelines

From CNN's Tina Burnside

People walk down the beach on April 19 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
People walk down the beach on April 19 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Just days after reopening beaches in Duval County, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said the community is responding well to the limitations and social distance guidelines put in place by the city. 

Curry drew criticism over the weekend for opening the beaches too soon during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Curry said he has been in constant contact with law enforcement and mayors who have "been strong in the face of national, international news running sensational headlines without understanding our city." 

He said the limited beach reopening is the first step in a returning back to normal, but noted that they all must "be mindful of the risks." 

Keep reading.

Beachgoers talk to CNN as Jacksonville beaches reopen:

1:37 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Pennsylvania governor urges protesters to "please stay safe"

People take part in a "reopen" Pennsylvania demonstration on April 20 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
People take part in a "reopen" Pennsylvania demonstration on April 20 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf had a message for protesters at the Capitol today: “Please stay safe.”

“Obviously this a democracy everyone has a right to express their opinions I’m just hoping that they like every other Pennsylvanian recognizes that we want to keep each other safe so social distancing is part of that proposition," he said.

He added: “We want you to be safe. That’s what we’re trying to do here. We want to make sure that we do everything we can to keep Pennsylvanians safe — that includes you.”

Resentment has been growing across the country as stay-at-home orders keep the economy shut down and prohibit people from getting back to work and providing for their family.

1:31 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Federal aid is "critical" in solving Georgia's fiscal crisis, report says

From CNN’s Kevin Conlon

In a newly released report, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute outlined the dire fiscal crisis that state is facing due to the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic.

The report says that federal fiscal relief is critical in staving off what they calculate to be a $3 billion budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

"Without bold and aggressive action, Georgia’s leaders could face a difficult road to make up ground lost in the months and years ahead," the statement said.

The report provides some pretty sobering employment figures: According to GBPI, the state lost approximately 338,500 jobs during the last recession. As of today, the state is more than 2.5 times that level.   

The report makes a handful of policy recommendations such as a tax hike on tobacco, and, perhaps most notably for Atlanta, scaling back tax breaks for the film industry.

"In order to address the effects of the coronavirus, Georgia leaders must prioritize long-term recovery with investments in health, education, the safety net and other key programs and services," the statement said.

1:16 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Last major cruise ships at sea to dock Monday and Tuesday

From CNN’s Mia Alberti

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen docked in Fremantle Harbour near Perth, Australia, on March 24.
The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen docked in Fremantle Harbour near Perth, Australia, on March 24. Richard Wainwright/AAP Image/Reuters

The last three major cruise ships in the world are docking Monday and Tuesday, leaving none at sea, Cruise Lines International Association said.

The Pacific Princess is due in Los Angeles within hours, CLIA said.

The MSC Magnifica docked in Marseille, France, earlier today, the Marseille Tourism office told CNN.

The final major cruise ship still due to be sailing, the Costa Deliziosa, is currently docked in Barcelona, Spain, but will depart for Genoa, Italy, later on Monday, CLIA said.

When it arrives in the Italian port on Tuesday, there will be no cruise liners associated with CLIA at sea anywhere in the world. The organization covers 95% of all cruise ships, including those operated by the world’s largest cruise lines.

“Pacific Princess should be arriving in Los Angeles in the next couple of hours,” CLIA told CNN in a statement. 

Some background: The Pacific Princess departed from Port Everglades, Florida, on January 5, according to an April 6 statement. The ship disembarked most guests in Fremantle, Australia, on March 21.

"However, not all guests onboard met the International Air Transport Association (IATA) fitness standards for air travel or were unable to return home by aircraft due to individual medical conditions unrelated to Covid-19," the company explained. There are currently 115 guests onboard.

The Costa Deliziosa docked at the Barcelona port on Monday to disembark some passengers, mainly of Portuguese and Spanish nationalities.

The ship will then continue its journey on Monday evening towards Genoa, its final destination, where it is expected to arrive on April 21. 

1:05 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Industry group asks Congress for more than $200 billion for the restaurant industry

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

Customers get served takeout food from Oli Vine restaurant on April 19, in New York City.
Customers get served takeout food from Oli Vine restaurant on April 19, in New York City. Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

An industry group representing more than 380,000 restaurants sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday asking for a comprehensive grant program of $240 billion.

According to the letter from the National Restaurant Association, the money would go towards:

  • Supporting operating expenses
  • Debt obligations
  • Rehiring and retraining employees
  • Providing a lifeline to reopen and readjust to new standards of increased distancing and safety standards 

By the numbers: In a survey of 6,500 restaurants, the organization found that the industry has lost roughly two-thirds of its workforce or more than 8 million employees as a result of coronavirus-related closures.

The survey also notes that restaurants lost $30 billion in March, are on track to lose $50 billion in April and are likely to lose more than $240 billion nationwide by the end of the year.

12:48 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

White House task force walks governors through testing

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Jason Hoffman 

Several members of the White House Coronavirus task force talked to the nation's governors on the phone today about testing, the supply chain and contact tracing, according to a source familiar with the call.

The administration wants to get the states the resources they need to ramp up testing, the source said. The administration said “it’s a partnership," the source said.

At the same time, White House aides are trying to figure out how to fix problems with the testing supply chain in order to get the needed elements to the states, a separate source familiar tells CNN.

They are also considering how to accelerate the production of testing supplies like they did with ventilators, the source said.

Meanwhile, President Trump is again insisting on Twitter that it should be the states, not the federal government, doing the testing as he accuses Democrats of playing politics.

Trump did, however, also tweet today that the federal government “will work with the Governors and get it done. This is easy compared to the fast production of thousands of complex Ventilators!” 

Democrats over the weekend pushed back against Trump’s claims that they had the capacity to conduct more testing.

Read the tweet:

12:41 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Deal on small business funding not expected to be finished by today

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

A deal to provide additional aid for small businesses is not expected to be finished by the Senate’s pro forma session today, according to at least three sources familiar with the negotiations.

Talks continue, but disagreements still exist over testing and hospital funding disbursement.

More on this: On Thursday morning, the $349 billion emergency small business lending program officially tapped out. The Small Business Administration officially ran out of money for the Paycheck Protection Program, according to a message for lenders posted on the administration's website.

12:31 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg commits to paying every staff member whether they can work or not

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells CNN’s Poppy Harlow that her staff, including contractors, will get paid regardless of whether they are able to work or not during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have a responsibility to slow the spread and our jobs can be done at home,” she said.

Sandberg added that all Facebook offices will be closed until “at least the end of May and possibly longer.”

In a candid interview, Sandberg and Harlow talked about dealing with loss in their personal lives and shared tips on building resilience in the face of the current coronavirus crisis.


12:33 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine test results will be sent to CDC and FDA today

From CNN’s Mark Morales

Tablets of Plaquinol (Hydroxychloroquine) are displayed on April 10.
Tablets of Plaquinol (Hydroxychloroquine) are displayed on April 10. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Hospitals across New York are expected to deliver results from hydroxychloroquine tests to the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

About 20 New York hospitals administered the tests, and “they should be sending the first tranche of results today,” he said.

Some background: President Trump has said that hydroxychloroquine shows "tremendous promise" and has made it sound like the drug is harmless.

Physicians have warned that while Trump is enthusiastic about the drug, it still needs to be studied to see if it works and if it's safe.