Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:35 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020
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4:49 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Louisiana could be under a new order after current stay-at-home order expires, governor says

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state could implement a new order after it's current stay-at-home order expires on May 1.

“I know you are waiting for more details on what comes after April 30. We don’t know yet,” he said at a news conference this afternoon.

Edwards said that they are working to figure out where the state is in terms of the threshold criteria to reach a phase one reopening — part of the White House's guidelines.

Yesterday, Edwards said he hoped the state could reach phase one “sooner, rather than later.”

In phase one, the state would continue social distancing and limit social gatherings to less than 10 people. Schools would remain closed as well as visits to senior living facilities and hospitals.

Large venues as well as gyms, movie theaters and places of worship would be allowed to operate under social distancing protocols. Bars and clubs would remain closed.

“I don’t bet very often, but if you made me bet a dollar, I would bet that on May the first we would be under a different order than we are under now, that we won’t just continue. But that really does depend on what happens over the next week or so,” he said.
4:54 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Gov. Cuomo and Trump talk testing and state funding during White House meeting

From CNN's Betsy Klein

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he had a “productive” meeting with President Trump at the White House today.

“The meeting went well and I think it was productive. The big issue was testing as everybody knows that’s going to be the next step as we go forward. And how do we separate the responsibilities and the tasks on testing vis-a-vis a state and the federal government and the acknowledgement that we will need to work together on this. It has to be a real partnership. And I think we had a very good conversation,” he said via phone on MSNBC.

The state should regulate labs, follow up on tracing and determine where tests are taken, he said, but the federal government’s role is to “make the supply chain work for manufacturers.”

He said it is their goal to double testing in New York state from 20,000 to 40,000 per day.

The two leaders also spoke about the need for state government funding. Cuomo went on to say that Trump seemed “very open and understanding of that” and said he would be open to that in the next round of legislation.

4:38 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Former Ohio governors will lead state coronavirus testing team

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Former Ohio Govs. Richard Celeste and Bob Taft will led a Testing Strike Team, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced today.

“Testing is vital as we work to get our economy restarted and keep Ohioans safe and healthy,” DeWine said.

The former governors will work with Ohio leaders from business, academia, and public health to be part of the effort to help Ohio source critical testing items such as reagents, according to DeWine.

Asked about making testing widely available in Ohio’s nursing homes, DeWine said the goal for the state is to be able to test throughout the facilities.

“That's our goal, to be able to surge in when we see that there is a problem,” DeWine said. “And I don't want to underestimate the importance of that hospital in that community. We have asked every hospital to really take ownership and a sense of responsibility to reach out to the nursing homes within their area, their natural area, and establish those relationships.”

4:32 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

New Hampshire has "a ways to go" before it reopens, governor says

A sign on the front door of a culinary store lists their "Covid-19" business hours, with every day shown as closed, in Concord, New Hampshire on Monday, April 20.
A sign on the front door of a culinary store lists their "Covid-19" business hours, with every day shown as closed, in Concord, New Hampshire on Monday, April 20. Charles Krupa/AP

Coronavirus numbers in New Hampshire have stabilized but the state still has “a ways to go,” before it reopens, Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday afternoon.

“This is not an open/close situation, it just isn’t, nor should it be,” he said. “We’ve always said public health has to be preeminent, has to be one of the key factors that we are looking at when we take any step.” 

New Hampshire may take a phased approach to the loosening of the state's stay-at-home order at some point, Sununu said. He went on to say that certain geographic and demographic conditions may mean some people might remain on the stay-at-home order longer than others.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan cautioned that while coronavirus numbers have stabilized, they haven’t declined yet. He said people should continue to practice social distancing, stay home and only go out for essential items.

“When people are out, we recommend that they wear a cloth face covering if they are in public settings where they cannot avoid close contact, such as in grocery stores," Chan said.

The state, he said, is continuing to work aggressively to increase testing and its capacity.

4:21 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

San Francisco closes some streets to allow more space for social distancing

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

 'Slow Streets' that will be partially shut down this week in San Francisco.
 'Slow Streets' that will be partially shut down this week in San Francisco. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Twelve city streets in San Francisco will be temporarily closed to cars in order to be used as a shared space for foot and bicycle traffic to make it easier to maintain social distancing, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced today.

"Sometimes it is difficult to maintain 6 feet of social distance on many sidewalks, park paths, and bikeways," SFMTA said in a statement. "Many pedestrians are choosing to walk in the street, exposing themselves to swiftly moving vehicle traffic."

The new program called Slow Streets will go into effect this week to manage traffic speeds and create a safe network for essential walk and bike travel while transit service levels are reduced, SFMTA said.

Streets will not be closed completely, and local vehicle access is permitted. There will be no changes to parking or driveway access for residents, according to the statement. 

Oakland city officials put a similar strategy in place earlier this month.

4:13 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

California governor: Coronavirus "numbers will go through the roof" if restrictions are lifted too soon

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned some counties that are starting to loosen restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic that doing so could lead to a rise in cases.

“I caution those elected officials that practicing physical distancing has worked to keep those numbers relatively modest in terms of growth, but if we pull back too quickly, those numbers will go through the roof,” Newsom advised. 

The governor said his office is in contact with local officials and counties. Newsom said counties can start to reopen as long it doesn't conflict with current state guidance.

Newsom will give an update on Wednesday on what he describes as the state’s “Road Map to Reopening.”

The plan focuses on six key indicators:

  • Testing and tracking
  • Protecting vulnerable populations
  • Hospital preparedness
  • Developing treatments
  • The ability to continue physical distancing
  • The ability to reinstate stay home orders if needed
4:18 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Mayor of one Georgia community: "We don’t feel safe"

From CNN's Keith Allen

Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz.
Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz. CNN via Cisco Webex

Kelly Girtz, who serves as the mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, said that despite Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to open certain businesses on Friday, many business owners in the community are saying they don't feel safe and they won't return to work.

“These are all high contact environments and places where there are many hands and individuals who come in contact with the same surfaces, and we know it is important to restrain individuals who come into contact with places like this," Girtz continued.

The Democratic mayor said that he understands peoples’ frustrations and wants to support small businesses, but the safety of his constituents comes first.

“There’s nothing that makes me happier than a good morning at the gym, but I’m subsisting here at the house, and I recommend those across the state and across the nation take the same posture right now," Girtz said.

Girtz also said he had no advance notice of Kemp’s order to reopen certain Georgia businesses, nor has he had any contact with the governor’s office about changes set to take place next week.

“Right now I’m going directly to the public, and so I’m speaking to residents of Athens-Clark County, I’m speaking to business owners, and many are saying, just as I feel, we’re not going to frequent businesses right now because we don’t feel safe, we’re not going to return to work," he said.


3:55 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

33% of new Covid-19 cases linked to meat processing facilities, Iowa governor says

From CNN's Gregory Lemos 

Tyson Waterloo Plant in Black Hawk county, Iowa.
Tyson Waterloo Plant in Black Hawk county, Iowa. Source: WHO

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said 33% of Iowa's 482 new Covid-19 cases have been linked to meat processing facilities.  

Asked why she has resisted calls to close down these plants, particularly the Tyson plant in Blackhawk that is currently experiencing an outbreak, Reynolds urged those workers to coordinate with the Department of Public Health to get tested and said most people were going to get Covid-19 eventually.  

"Fifty to 70% of the nation’s population are projected to get this. So people are going to get it. It is very contagious, especially in large gatherings," she said. "We are working with the facilities to make sure they are taking all of the precautions to protect their workforce."    

CNN has previously reported that Iowa has seen outbreaks in several meat processing facilities including Premium National Beef and multiple Tyson plants. Two workers at the Tyson plant in Columbus Junction died.  

3:28 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Nearly 8,000 people applying for small business loans involved in data breach

From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

Nearly 8,000 people were involved in a data breach while applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the Small Business Administration said in a statement Tuesday.

The breach happened on March 25 according to a letter from the SBA obtained by CNN. The letter, dated April 13, was sent to an individual whose information may have been breached.

“The website may have led to the inadvertent disclosure of personally identifiable information to other applicants,” the letter stated.

“Personal identifiable information of a limited number of Economic Injury Disaster Loan applicants was potentially exposed to other applicants on SBA’s loan application site. We immediately disabled the impacted portion of the website, addressed the issue, and relaunched the application portal,” the Small Business Administration said.

Several personal pieces of information that could have been shared as part of the breach include social security numbers, addresses, citizenship status, income and financial information, according to the letter.

The SBA said it notified those who were impacted and offered them one year of free credit monitoring. The SBA said in the letter there is no evidence to suggest their personal information has been misused.