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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3:17 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

New York City has more than 13,000 coronavirus deaths and probable deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 9,101 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,582 probable coronavirus deaths, according to the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines "probable deaths" as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 13,683.

There have been at least 132,467 coronavirus cases and more than 34,000 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated today at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to the website.

3:07 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

North Carolina coronavirus deaths surpass flu season deaths in one month

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

North Carolina now has more coronavirus deaths in one month than flu deaths for the whole flu season.

The state currently has 179 coronavirus deaths, compared to 167 flu deaths, according to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

Cohen said the state has been keeping the flu tally since September of last year. The state had its first coronavirus death in March. 

She said the state has been effective at slowing the virus but that it is too early to tell when it will be safe to re-open the state. Cohen said North Carolina must increase its testing capacity before discussing reopening.

2:59 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

New Jersey governor: "Your inconvenience pales in comparison" to lives lost

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said while the coronavirus situation may be frustrating, that inconvenience "pales in comparison" to those who have died during the pandemic.

He was not addressing any particular person or group in making this statement at a ongoing news conference. He tweeted a similar message:

Murphy said reopening today would result in a spike in cases. He added that a second wave is possible even if the state does everything right.

Murphy added that he had a one-on-one conversation with the President today to relay his strong belief the US needs to direct cash assistance to states. Trump indicated it was his hope that that could be part of the next round of stimulus, the governor said. 

“We can’t wait another minute longer,” Gov. Murphy said. 

3:01 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Pandemic will cost Los Angeles schools $200 million

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Schools grounds stand empty at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex before the new restrictions went into effect at midnight as the the coronavirus pandemic spreads on March 19, in Los Angeles, California.
Schools grounds stand empty at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex before the new restrictions went into effect at midnight as the the coronavirus pandemic spreads on March 19, in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images

 Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said he expects the coronavirus pandemic to cost the district an additional $200 million.

Beutner estimated the district's total spending is $390 million, but he added that he expects $191 million will be reimbursed from state and federal sources.

Safety and supplies are biggest additional expenditure, followed closely by meal service and technology. The district, the second largest in the nation, will make a $50 million investment in summer school in an effort to keep students on track.

“We owe it to every child to provide them with the education they deserve. The cost to children and society if we don’t, far outweighs the investment we need to make now,” Beutner said in a video conference posted to the school district website. 

Schools will reopen “as soon as we can, when it’s safe and appropriate,” Beutner said, noting that LAUSD schools were closed before there were any known cases of the virus in schools.

“It seems to have made a difference,” he said.

Despite the budget challenges, Beutner does not anticipate significant staff cuts for the coming school year.

 

2:46 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Republicans will decide later this summer if August convention plans need to be adjusted

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

In this July 21, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his family acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
In this July 21, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his family acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign and the host committee are moving “full steam ahead” in planning the GOP convention later this summer, but will determine in late June or early July if contingencies need to be made, GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday. 

“We are full steam ahead planning a traditional convention, working with our team on the ground, (2020 Convention CEO) Marcia Lee Kelly, to conduct a traditional convention. We do not think at this time we have to switch to an alternative plan, but of course, we will monitor circumstances and adjust accordingly,” McDaniel told reporters on a briefing call. 

She continued,

“We don’t build out our convention until July. So I think we have at least until the end of June or early July to make a decision if we have to switch from a traditional convention to something scaled back. But we will have to have an in-person convention. Those are the bylaws of the RNC and so currently, going forward, we’re planning on a full-scale convention.”

The convention is currently scheduled for August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Asked whether campaign rallies would resume this summer, McDaniel said there were “no plans right now,” nor are any rallies being scheduled, but it is officials' hope that rally campaigning can resume. 

“We’re going to take into account the three phases of opening the government and make sure that everybody’s safety is in place and we’re following the guidelines with the federal government, the state government, the local governments are laying out. Hopefully we can rally again, hopefully we’ll get to a place where we can campaign again,” she said. 

Her comments come days after President Trump told reporters in the briefing room he also hopes to resume rallies but wouldn’t want to do so if 6-feet social distancing protocols needed to be followed: “It loses, to me, a lot of flavor.”

Earlier this month, Democrats announced they would push their convention, scheduled for mid-July, back to mid-August.

2:41 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

WHO says CDC officials have been working with them since the pandemic started

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working with the World Health Organization since the pandemic started, WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.

"Having CDC staff means there is nothing hidden from the US. For WHO, it’s open we don’t hide anything. It’s open. Not only for CDC — them sending messages or others— we want all countries to get the same message immediately, because that helps countries to prepare well and to prepare quickly," he said at a media briefing in Geneva.

Tedros continued: "We have CDC personnel, but not only the US, all countries get information immediately. Of course their presence doesn’t give them more advantage than others because we’re open and we give information to everybody. Since our CDC colleagues also know we give information immediately to everyone, they also can pass information to their institution no problem."

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, said 15 US government employees had been embedded in the WHO's Covid-19 program since Jan. 1.

"We’ve had as I said a very close working relationship with many institutions around the world," he said.

Why this matters: US and international officials told the Washington Post a group of US officials working at the WHO headquarters transmitted real-time information about the novel coronavirus directly to the Trump administration.

The reported line of communication undercuts President Trump's assertion that the virus' spread in the US largely stems from a lack of communication from WHO.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Caitlin Oakley, confirmed to CNN on Sunday that 17 staff members from HHS were working at WHO in the outbreak's early days. In January 2020, she said, HHS had 17 staffers at WHO — including 16 from the CDC.

Some of these "embedded" experts, but not all of them, were working on Covid-19, Oakley said.

She pushed back on the Washington Post reporting, however, calling it "misleading."

2:41 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

There have been more than 700,000 coronavirus cases in the US

There have been at least 766,212 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 40,905 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

As states begin to include “probable deaths” in their counts, so will JHU. In the upcoming days, these changes may show as surges of deaths in the United States. 

On Monday, Johns Hopkins reported 6,745 new cases and 228 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. 

2:35 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Ohio schools will not go back to in-person classes this school year

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

A row of school buses rests in a parking lot, on Tuesday, April 7, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
A row of school buses rests in a parking lot, on Tuesday, April 7, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Tony Dejak/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that for the remainder of this school year, K-12 students will continue learning remotely.

DeWine said while Ohio has flattened the curve, the virus remains dangerous. According to the governor, many educators also expressed that going back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left wouldn't be a good idea even if the health situation was resolved.

"Not only do we have to be concerned about the risks to students, but also obviously teachers," DeWine said.

DeWine added that a decision about school in the fall has not been made.

“I know parents, teachers, and administrators are anxious about an answer about the fall, but we're not in the position to make that decision yet," he said.

According to the governor, the possibility of a blended system for the fall has been discussed, where some distance as well as some in-person learning would take place.

2:27 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020

Lab group urges White House to provide "access to vital supplies" for testing 

From CNN"s Drew Griffin, Curt Devine and Nelli Black

A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site run by George Washington University Hospital on April 6, in Washington.
A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site run by George Washington University Hospital on April 6, in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A group representing tens of thousands of laboratory workers is urging the White House coronavirus task force to address the “critical needs of America’s clinical laboratories,” namely the lack of testing supplies and protective equipment at labs across the country, saying “significant barriers” ​remain that limit labs’ abilities to meet demand.

“At this point, the biggest barrier to testing is not capacity, but access to vital supplies,” wrote Carmen Wiley, the president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in an April 16 letter to Dr. Deborah Birx, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force.

The group represents more than 50,000 lab and diagnostic professionals.

The letter stated that nasal swabs for specimen collection as well as other test components remain in short supply. 

“Unless and until these supply chain issues are resolved, the nation’s laboratories will remain stymied in their attempts to maximize their testing capacity,” Wiley wrote.

Wiley added that lab professionals who collect and process specimens are frontline workers who require protective equipment, including gowns, masks, gloves, and face shields, and therefore increased production and disbursement of such items “is vital to ensuring the safety of those individuals.”

In an interview with CNN, Wiley said she felt it was important for the voices of the actual lab workers to be heard, “because we felt there was a disconnect between the theoretical capacity of tests that can be run and what we're actually experiencing.”