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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5:51 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

California will send 70,000 laptops and tablets to students this week

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Michelle Hansen, principal at Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School, hands a laptop computer to the parent of a student that attends the school in Sacramento, California, on April 10.
Michelle Hansen, principal at Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary School, hands a laptop computer to the parent of a student that attends the school in Sacramento, California, on April 10. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California will send approximately 70,000 laptops and tablets to students in the next week in an effort to close the technology gap that is creating an obstacle in distance learning.

Gov. Gavin Newsom detailed the tech boost, which provides Apple iPads, Google Chromebooks, along with Microsoft Surface Pros and Lenovo devices, to students. He said the need is quadruple what’s currently being done.

Seven buses will also be converted into mobile hotspots as part of a pilot program, Newsom said. If successful, the buses will be rolled out statewide.

4:12 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

US stocks finish sharply lower

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

US stocks finished lower on Monday, amid a historic selloff in the oil market.

US oil futures settled in negative territory for the first time in history as demand for the commodity remains thin and storage capacity in the US is at its limit. The May futures contract is also about to expire, which made trading more erratic.

Here's where things stand: 

  • The Dow closed 2.5%, or 592 points, lower. It was the worst day for the index since April 1.
  • The S&P 500 finished down 1.8%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed 1% lower.

Remember: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

4:16 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Businesses in Tennessee are allowed reopen on May 1, governor says

From CNN's Erica Henry

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, center, visits a storm-damaged area Tuesday, April 14, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, center, visits a storm-damaged area Tuesday, April 14, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mark Humphrey/AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced today the order for Tennesseans to remain at home will expire April 30, with the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties allowed to reopen on May 1.

“Our Economic Recovery Group is working with industry leaders around the clock so that some businesses can open as soon as Monday, April 27,” said Lee. “These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business.”

The administration said they will work with individual counties to plan their own reopening strategies.

“While I am not extending the safer at home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible,” said Lee.

“Social distancing works, and as we open up our economy it will be more important than ever that we keep social distancing as lives and livelihoods depend on it," he added.
4:01 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

New Jersey governor: I respect protesters' rights, but "I literally don't agree with them"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia and Rebekah Riess

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's removes his mask before giving his daily press briefing at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey on Saturday, April 11. 
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's removes his mask before giving his daily press briefing at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey on Saturday, April 11.  Chris Pedota/The Record/AP

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that while he respects the rights of protesters rallying against stay-at-home orders, he doesn't agree with them.

“While I respect their right to protest, I wish they would do it virtually from home and responsibly, No. 1, and No. 2, I literally don’t agree with them," he said.

“We want people to stay home,” he added, “and to stay away from each other.”

He said based on facts, data, and science the course of direction for the state is “unmistakable” and “unambiguous.” The facts are “overwhelmingly on the side of doing what we’re doing," Murphy said.

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged anyone gathering to protest to be safe.

When asked about the protesters at the Ohio capitol today, DeWine said, “I have full respect for protesters, but I just ask them to be safe.” 

“My job is to listen to the people of Ohio and guide us in a way that gets us through this, by losing as few people as possible, while trying to put our economy back together,” the governor added.

 

3:53 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

As Covid-19 cleaning increased in the US, so did poisonings with cleaners and disinfectants

From CNN's Gina Yu

A Maryland Cleaning and Abatement Services employee prepares a Virucidal disinfectant before preforming a preventative fogging and damp wipe treatment at an office building on March 21 in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
A Maryland Cleaning and Abatement Services employee prepares a Virucidal disinfectant before preforming a preventative fogging and damp wipe treatment at an office building on March 21 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The number of reported poison exposures to cleaners and disinfectants from January through March this year was higher than in the same period in recent years, according to a report released Monday. 

The data can’t show a definite link between exposures and Covid-19 cleaning efforts, the report said, but there appears to be a “clear” association with the timing of increased use of the products in the United States.

The data, published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, comes from the National Poison Data System, which collects the number of US poison center calls regarding exposures to poisons, chemicals, drugs and medications. From the beginning of January through March, there were 45,550 calls related to cleaners and disinfectants, which is a 20.4% increase from the number of calls from January through March 2019 and a 16.4% increase for the same period in 2018.  

Although the data do not show a definite link between chemical exposures and Covid-19 cleaning recommendations, “the timing of these reported exposures corresponded to increased media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports of consumer shortages of cleaning and disinfection products, and the beginning of some local and state stay-at-home orders,” the report said.

Bleaches accounted for the largest percentage increase in calls from 2019 to 2020, among all cleaner categories. Among exposure routes – or the ways people came into contact with hazardous substances — inhalation had the largest percentage increase from 2019 to 2020. 

The daily number of calls related to both cleaners and disinfectants increased sharply at the beginning of March 2020. The number of reported exposures to cleaners and disinfectants combined increased in all age groups from 2019 to 2020, and children 5 years or younger made up the largest proportion of calls this year.

“To reduce improper use and prevent unnecessary chemical exposures, users should always read and follow directions on the label, only use water at room temperature for dilution … avoid mixing chemical products, wear eye and skin protection, ensure adequate ventilation, and store chemicals out of the reach of children,” the report said.

3:47 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Boston mayor: "The worst is yet to come for a lot of people"

From CNN's Ganesh Setty

Mayor Marty Walsh gives his daily press conference on the steps of Boston City Hall on April 20.
Mayor Marty Walsh gives his daily press conference on the steps of Boston City Hall on April 20. Blake Nissen/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said "the worst is yet to come" for many during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that the worst is yet to come for a lot of people. I think even when we’re beyond the surge, we’re still gonna have positive cases of coronavirus,” Walsh said during a news conference. “We’re still gonna have loss of life, and I think that in theory, we may be on the other side of the curve, but for families that devastation of losing a loved one’s gonna continue to happen for the foreseeable future.” 

Walsh’s comments came as he was asked to respond to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker saying that the commonwealth is in the midst of the surge. 

The mayor continued to stress social distancing guidelines after a string of violent incidents last week, and reports of residents playing at closed golf courses. 

Walsh said children will not go back to school on May 4 as once planned, and he said they likely will not return in June. For this fall semester, Walsh added that school may look very different. 

The city reported 116 new cases, bringing the total up to 5,516, Walsh said. There were 17 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in Boston to 175.

3:44 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

West Virginia hospitals will restart general care and elective surgeries, governor says

From CNN's Laura Dolan

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has issued an executive order that will allow hospitals to begin providing general and elective surgeries. 

Hospitals can submit plans to expand general care starting on April 27, in what the governor said is part of early steps to reopen the economy.

On nursing homes: During his briefing Monday, Justice also said he’s directed the National Guard to test all 28,000 nursing home residents by the end of the week. At least 22,000 nursing home residents have already been tested.

That plan comes after 55 residents and 16 staff members at a nursing home in Jackson County tested positive for coronavirus. At least four residents died.

At least 24 people have died from Covid-19 in West Virginia.

3:39 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Chicago mayor slams Florida governor's coronavirus response

From CNN's Jessica King

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ coronavirus response at a news conference Monday, following a question on protests advocating for the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions.

“His leadership has been wholly lacking in this pandemic,” Lightfoot said. “And then he re-opened the beaches. God help us all."

More on this: DeSantis was criticized back in March for his handling of spring break and not closing the beaches sooner. As a result, he issued a "Safer at Home" order that went into effect April 3 and is in effect until April 30. The order limits movement outside homes to providing or getting essential services or carrying out essential activities and applies to interaction with other people outside of residents' homes.

On Friday afternoon, beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida.

DeSantis supported the idea of reopening beaches, parks and other public spaces as long as social distancing is practiced, WJXT reported.

"You look at how this disease is transmitted, it's transmitted overwhelmingly when you are in close, sustained contact with people, usually in an indoor environment," DeSantis said. "Going forward, we got to be promoting people to get exercise, do it in a good way, to do it in a safe way."

3:35 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Opening Ohio businesses has to come with "some sense of safety," governor says

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

In this Thursday, February 27, file photo, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus in Cleveland.
In this Thursday, February 27, file photo, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gives an update at MetroHealth Medical Center on the state's preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus in Cleveland. Tony Dejak/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke today about plans for businesses to reopen in the state saying, “ if we expect anybody to go there, there's got to be some sense of safety.”

“The challenge is not just is there a state order that says you can't do something, and we take off that state order, that does not necessarily mean that that retail business is going to be flooded with people or get back to normal,” the governor said. “So, part of the reason we're doing it so carefully, is number one to protect the public.”

According to DeWine, Ohio is working with their business advisory group and different industries and retail establishments to make sure that when the order to reopen takes place, an assurance can be made to people that businesses have been made as safe as possible.

“If we do that, then the consumer confidence, will go up. If we fail to do that, and are inconsistent in doing that, then people are not going to have that back confidence,” DeWine said.