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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8:34 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Trump takes swipe at Maryland and Illinois governors

From CNN's Matthew Hoye


Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump took a swipe at two governors at today's coronavirus press briefing.

Trump said Vice President Mike Pence outlined testing capacity during his call with governors earlier in the day, providing each state’s governor with a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of labs with additional testing capacity.

He claimed Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, “didn’t understand” the list.

“Some of the governors, like, as an example, the governor from Maryland, didn’t really understand the list. He didn’t understand too much about what was going on,” Trump said.

He then criticized Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat.

“Pritzker from Illinois did not understand his capacity (to test), not simply ask the federal government to provide unlimited support,” he said.

Trump also praised comments from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding his state’s testing capacity, noting that Cuomo will be traveling to Washington tomorrow and will meet with him in the Oval Office “with some of his people.”

Cuomo's spokesperson Dani Lever confirmed the meeting will take place tomorrow afternoon, but had no further details about the visit or attendees. 

The President said during the briefing that Vice President Mike Pence explained existing coronavirus testing capabilities to governors on a call earlier Monday. 

“Through the public-private partnerships and deregulation, the federal government has already made immense testing capabilities available, but some states need to take action fully utilize it,” Trump said. 

“We’ll be doubling our number of daily tests if the governors bring their states fully online through the capability that they have. They have tremendous capability already out there, existing and we explained that to the governor(s) today,” Trump told reporters. “Mike and all the people explained it very strongly to the governors. They really get it now, I think.” 


5:55 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Trump and Pelosi hint deal is close on bailout legislation 

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Manu Raju 

Source: CNN
Source: CNN

President Trump suggested today that there could be a Senate vote on a supplemental small business package Tuesday. 

“Hopefully, tomorrow the Senate’s going to be able to vote. A lot of progress has been made on that, tremendous progress, great plan,” Trump said.

“We hope to have a vote, maybe tomorrow, in the Senate,” he reiterated. 

Trump said his administration is pushing for an additional $75 billion for hospitals and other health care providers in the deal.

The Senate will try to pass a deal as soon as tomorrow afternoon, according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sources tell CNN House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats that a deal could be reached as soon as tonight and said if there's a deal tonight, the vote in the House will be Wednesday. If the deal comes together Tuesday, she said, the House vote will be Thursday. 

6:01 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Iowa beef plant reopens one day after coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

Iowa Premium National Beef Plant in Tama has resumed operations today, just one day after state health officials said at least 177 of its employees had tested positive for Covid-19 and the governor reported the plant as a "new outbreak" location at today's news conference.

An employee who answered the phone at the plant Monday afternoon told CNN that "we are back online as of today, we did a kill today." 

The plant originally closed on April 10.  

CNN has reached out to National Beef for comment but has not heard back.

The bigger picture: Several major meat processors across the US are starting to shut down plants as employees are getting infected by coronavirus.

Consumers are unlikely to see any shortages because of production disturbances. But the closures are devastating for some meat producers, which have remained open during the pandemic. Food suppliers are essential businesses.

The United States has a large enough meat inventory to prevent shortages for consumers, explained Christine McCracken, senior analyst of animal protein for Rabobank. Processors that were previously servicing restaurants or cafes have started to sell to retailers. And some restaurants are selling groceries, including meat, directly to customers.

6:05 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Protesters rally at California state capitol against stay-at-home order

From CNN’s Augie Martin and Dan Simon

Source: KCRA
Source: KCRA

Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Sacramento today, voicing their displeasure with California’s stay-at-home order instituted by health officials and the governor to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

While the protesters had obtained a permit to stage the demonstration, organizers had said initially that they intended to practice the social distancing guidelines being promoted, and simply drive around the state capitol in their cars, honking their horns.

However, aerial video from CNN affiliate KCRA showed dozens of protesters gathering and walking along the sidewalk, outside of their vehicles.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson for the Capitol Protection Division said it is too early to tell how the protest will evolve since it is still underway.

The Sacramento protest, permitted for 500 people, mirrors protests in other American cities in recent days.

Some background: The event was promoted on social media from an organization called Freedom Angels, which called it a “family friendly event.”

“You have a choice to either participate in the gridlock by remaining in your vehicle or join us by foot as we assemble on the West Steps of the Capitol," the group said on Facebook.

5:48 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Michigan governor announces she is taking a pay cut and asks senior staff to do the same

From CNN's Pamela Wessmann


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she will be taking a 10% pay cut to her salary during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a news conference, she said she asked her senior executive staff to also take a 5% cut.

Whitmer went on to say the state is facing a tough budget.

Michigan has at least 32,000 cases of Covid-19, the fifth-highest number in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:40 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Illinois governor could consider reopening parts of the state on a regional basis

From CNN's Chris Boyette 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Source: Pool


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters that as he considers changes to the statewide stay-at-home order scheduled to expire at the end of the month, he could consider different guidelines for reopening certain parts of the state. 

“There's a lot of distance, as you can imagine, between people's homes in rural areas of Illinois. And so the idea of people going outside and wearing a mask on a property of theirs that might be 100 acres, or 10 acres, is much different than the prospect of somebody you know on the north side or the west side of Chicago," he said.

But Pritzker said the decision on how and when to open what is not simple.

“I think the important thing is that that we want to keep people safe and also give them the ability to do as much as possible without spreading the virus. And so those are the complications,” he said. “None of this is done on a whim.”

5:45 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Protection equipment from China goes to private distributors to sell — not local governments, governor says

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Pool

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the White House is taking credit for bringing badly needed personal protection equipment into the country, but that when it arrives, it rarely goes straight to state governments to disperse themselves.

Pritzker said an airplane brings goods, like personal protection equipment, from China back to the United States.

"Which sounds terrific except for one thing,” the governor said. “When they land at O'Hare Airport, those goods don't come to the state or to the cities. They go to distributors. Some of it goes to the White House and the federal government and they keep it, but some of it — much of it — goes to the distributors."

He said the distributors then decide where those goods go, not the government.

“So what they're taking credit for, the White House, is that the distributors have customers in Illinois, that they're sending goods to, because those customers ordered those items,” Pritzker continued. “So that's a far cry from delivering to the state so that we can distribute to, for example, a nursing home that has an outbreak."

"That's not what's happening by them. What they're doing is delivering to for profit businesses that are selling for profit to their prior customers who have ordered things from them," he added.

5:32 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a deal could happen as soon as tonight

From CNN's Manu Raju

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats that a deal could be reached as soon as tonight on the small business package, according to three sources on the call.

She said if there's a deal tonight, the vote in the House will be Wednesday. If the deal comes together tomorrow, she said the House vote will be Thursday. 

The Senate will try to pass a deal as soon as tomorrow afternoon, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

5:38 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

There were nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases since yesterday, Connecticut governor says

From CNN's Laura Dolan

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. Source: CT-N

Connecticut has 1,853 new coronavirus cases and 204 new deaths since yesterday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Monday.

There is now at least 19,815 coronavirus cases and 1,331 coronavirus deaths in the state.

Lamont said the jump can be attributed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changing the way cases are classified to include people who died of Covid-like symptoms or complications related to coronavirus.

Lamont said more testing is still needed before the state can reopen. He said some parts of the state might be able to reopen earlier than others.

“Perhaps some things can open on a local basis,” said Lamont, although he wants to wait a few more weeks before making a decision.

The state has also ordered tens of thousands of “fever-meters” thermometers, which Lamont says will be “incredibly helpful” when people go back to work. The thermometers can be used at big manufacturers to check workers before they enter the building, he said.