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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8:29 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Miami-Dade does not plan to reopen beaches anytime soon

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has not made an announcement on how and when the county will reopen; but he made one thing clear during a virtual town hall Monday: opening beaches is not in the works.

Gimenez announced that his decision to reopen the county will be guided by the advice of medical experts. When the time comes, it will require social distancing, face coverings and groups of more than 10 people will not be allowed to convene.

During the virtual town hall, the mayor heard recommendations from members of his work group teams on reopening parks, waterways, golf courses and beaches.

They recommended that beaches in Miami-Dade not reopen at this time. If and when beaches reopen, the mayor’s team recommended that all beaches in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties coordinate reopening at the same time. Reopening should start during a weekday to ease into the weekend, per the recommendations.

The parks, waterways and golf course groups recommended strict rules for reopening those areas, including no group activities and strict distancing.

Gimenez stressed that when his county reopens zero-tolerance will be enforced.

8:11 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

World Series of Poker postponed because of coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Jill Martin


Chips of a competitor of the World Series of Poker Europe tournament on October 18, 2011 in Cannes, southern France.
Chips of a competitor of the World Series of Poker Europe tournament on October 18, 2011 in Cannes, southern France. Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

The 51st edition of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was announced on the organization’s website Monday.

The WSOP was scheduled to begin May 26 from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It is now targeted for the fall, with exact dates and events to be determined.

“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” Ty Stewart, executive director of the World Series of Poker, said on the WSOP website.

“In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on and through partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes," Stewart added.

7:56 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Georgia governor's decision to reopen some businesses is "reckless," Savannah mayor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Source: CNN
Source: CNN

Savannah, Georgia, Mayor Van Johnson said Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to allow some businesses in the state to reopen as early as Friday is "not based in any type of science or best practices."

"I am beyond disturbed," Johnson told CNN's Erin Burnett. "In my mind, it's reckless, it's premature and it's dangerous."

Johnson said Kemp did not talk to him or other local municipalities before announcing his decision Monday.

He said local mayors would "have the best information here on the ground."

"Our reality here in Savannah is our numbers are still going up. We still have not done expanded testing and we do not have the 14 decline. So this just blows our minds that here in Georgia that we would have these types of rules being lifted in a time when people are still suffering," Johnson said.

Kemp said earlier Monday that no local ordinance can restrict the openings, which will be implemented statewide. Johnson said because there is nothing he can do on a local policy level, he is encouraging people in Savannah to "follow common sense."

"This is still a dangerous time, and it's not the time for people to take their feet off the gas. Not the time to think we're lulled into a false sense of security. This is still a dangerous world and Covid is still killing people," he said.


7:52 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Trump estimates US coronavirus death toll will be lower than earlier projections

From Maegan Vazquez 


President Trump said during Monday’s White House press briefing that 50,000 to 60,000 people in the US are expected to die from coronavirus — far less than earlier projections made by the administration.

“Now we’re going toward 50 — I’m hearing, or 60,000 people. One is too many. I always say it. One is too many, but we’re going toward 50 or 60,000 people. That’s at the lower — as you know the lower (end of the projections) was supposed to be 100,000 people,” he said.

“If we didn’t do what we did, we would have had, I think, a million people, maybe 2 million people, maybe more than that (dead),” he added.

Late last month, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's "State of the Union" that based on models, 100,000 Americans or more could die from the virus.

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, at least 41,575 people have died in the US from coronavirus. 

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

Trump says Hogan didn't need to get coronavirus tests from South Korea

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez, Betsy Klein and Alex Marquardt 

President Trump and senior members of his administration suggested during Monday’s White House briefing that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan did not need to secure coronavirus tests from South Korea.

Hogan, a Republican, has been pressing the federal government for more coronavirus testing capacity, and announced that the tests had been secured from South Korea earlier Monday. 

Admiral Brett Giroir told reporters during the briefing, “I don’t know what the governor of Maryland is doing in South Korea, but there is excess capacity every day. If he wanted to send 30 or 40,000 tests to LabCorp and Quest, that could be done. That could be done tomorrow.” 

Vice President Mike Pence said he would follow up with Hogan’s office. He also pointed to a slide that showed testing facilities “just in the state of Maryland.”

“I don’t know when the governor placed the order from South Korea. I wouldn’t begrudge him or his health officials for ordering tests. But the capacity for all the different laboratories and number of machines across Maryland is part of what we were communicating today,” Pence said, adding that governors were assured access to federal testing facilities.

The President was more pointed in his response to Hogan’s decision to get tests from South Korea, saying, “Take a look at that map. The governor of Maryland could have called Mike Pence, could have saved a lot of money.” 

“I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea. I think he needed to get a little knowledge would’ve been helpful,” he added.

Following the President's comments, Hogan's spokesperson tweeted a copy of a letter from Hogan, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam that "specifically asked for a federal testing site in the region." 

Hogan announced Monday that Maryland took delivery of 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea in a deal brokered with help from his South Korean born wife, Yumi.

A Boeing 777 landed at BWI on Saturday, part of what Hogan dubbed “Operation Enduring Friendship.” The coronavirus kits come from LabGenomics and Hogan says the half million kits are “equal to the total amount of testing which has been completed by four of the top five states in America combined.”

“I want to sincerely thanks our Korean partners for assisting us in this fight against our common hidden enemy,” Hogan said.

“The state of Maryland owes an incredible debt of gratitude to the people of South Korea,” he added.

7:34 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Trump does not clarify if the Defense Production Act will be invoked to produce testing swabs

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House in Washington on April 20.
President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House in Washington on April 20. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said "we really don't need" the Defense Production Act to manufacture more supplies for coronavirus testing.

Trump was asked at Monday's White House briefing when the act will be invoked to compel a medical supplies company to make more testing swabs, and said, “We really don’t need it…sometimes all they have to do is see it coming.”

The President did not provide more clarity about when or whether the act would be invoked.

Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health and the unofficial coronavirus task force testing czar, said there are two sides to the act — a “force” side and “a hand up” to companies. 

“The company that we’re talking about has done everything to support this effort and have ramped up production,” he said. “This is the hand up. This is the government coming in and saying how can we help you expand your lines.”

Trump announced Sunday he will compel a US company to make swabs under the Defense Production Act, but Peter Navarro, his trade adviser who Trump tapped to coordinate DPA use, clarified to CNN Monday that the White House plans to use the act to give Puritan Medical Supplies federal funding to boost production.


7:32 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Governors can "decide for themselves" on reopening states, Birx says

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Monday, April 20, in Washington.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Monday, April 20, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that while governors have been asked to follow the federal guidelines around reopening state economies, each governor is able to “decide for themselves." 

“We have asked every governor to follow the guidelines,” Birx said, responding to a question from CNN's Kaitlan Collins about what she thought of South Carolina beginning to reopen without reaching federal guidelines.

Birx then added though that “each of the governors can decide for themselves whether they’ve reached specific guidelines.”

She noted that states need to publicly make available their data on coronavirus cases and specifically applauded Florida for their website.

Birx also noted that Jacksonville, Florida, opened before the rest of the state and said that it makes sense because the city has had less than 20 cases a day — far less than southern parts of the state.

“When you inform the public and give them the information that they need, then they can make decisions along with the local officials and government,” Birx said.

States starting to reopen: In addition to South Carolina loosening restrictions, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that certain businesses in the state would be able to reopen this week in “a small step forward” out of the social distancing measures. 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also made a similar announcement today, saying the economy would start to reopen by May 1.

Democratic governors of Illinois and Louisiana also signaled Monday that different parts of their states could reopen in the near future.

7:13 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Detroit mayor: "Science does not support" Georgia's plan for partial reopening

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Detroit’s Democratic Mayor Mike Duggan reacted to Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp’s announcement that certain businesses in the state could reopen later in the week, saying it may be premature according to the science.

“The science does not support that, at least certainly not in Michigan,” said Duggan, when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer of Kemp’s plan to prioritize the opening of businesses including gyms and hair salons. “...In the city of Detroit ... we have knocked down the rate of this dramatically ... by making a commitment as a city to care for each other.

Duggan was commended over the weekend by Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, for his effort to get coronavirus testing for everyone in the city, which has been among the hardest hit in the US by the pandemic.

7:09 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Coronavirus cases will likely increase with reopening, Georgia governor says

From CNN's Kevin Conlon

Source: WSB
Source: WSB

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he felt that the state “was in a good spot to move forward” with the reopening of certain businesses, but acknowledged that with more people are out, cases will likely go up.

“Now, I will say that, you know, we have more people moving around, we're probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up, but we're a lot better prepared for that now than we were over a month ago. We have the hospital bed capacity. We have the community knowledge. We have a lot of things in place now," he said.

Kemp continued: "I believe we'll be able to stay on top of it. If we have an instance where a community starts becoming a hot spot, then, you know, I will take further action. But right now feel like we're in a good spot to move forward. “

When asked about the political implications of his decision today, Kemp said bluntly, “I don’t give a damn about politics right now.”  

Earlier today: Kemp announced some businesses in the state can reopen as early as Friday.

This would include places like gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair salons and estheticians. Theaters and restaurants can open on April 27.

All businesses that reopen must follow social distancing guidelines and screen employees for illness, the governor said.