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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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.


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

Indiana governor extends stay-at-home order through May 1

In this March 24 file photo, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb answers questions at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
In this March 24 file photo, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb answers questions at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Michael Conroy/AP


Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 1 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

However, some businesses, such as nurseries, garden centers, and pet grooming, will be allowed to reopen.

At least 11,686 people in Indiana have tested positive for coronavirus and at least 569 people have died, according to the statement.

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.