Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 10:39 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020
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5:15 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

New York reports 6,244 new cases of coronavirus

The state of New York is reporting an additional 6,244 coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 263,460, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a statement.  

Behind New York is New Jersey with 95,914 coronavirus cases and 1,080 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

 

5:20 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Covid-19 is now the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Los Angeles Country Health Director Barbara Ferrer
Los Angeles Country Health Director Barbara Ferrer Pool

Covid-19 has now become the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County, according to Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

An average of 44 people die of coronavirus in the county each day.

“More people are dying each day from Covid-19, than from other diseases that we track and get information on,” Ferrer said.

There were 68 new deaths reported in Los Angeles today, bringing the county’s total to 797.

Heart disease is usually the leading cause of death in L.A., and is typically the cause in an average of 31 deaths each day, Ferrer said. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema are responsible for eight deaths each day, while five people die from the flu each day.

Los Angeles has recorded 17,508 coronavirus cases to date, accounting for nearly half of all confirmed infections in the state of California.

5:02 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Tyson Food closing Tennessee plant for cleaning

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Tyson Foods will be closing their plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee, for a deep cleaning and sanitation, according to a company spokesperson.

In a news conference yesterday, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercy said the state was aware of coronavirus cases at the Tyson Foods Shelbyville plant, but neither the state nor company has released the number of positive cases associated with the facility. 

More than 120 cases of Covid-19 were reported at the Tyson Foods plant in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, according to Nashville Health Director Dr. Michael Caldwell. He said USDA inspectors are at the plant full-time.

Caldwell, who visited the plant yesterday, said he was satisfied with Tyson's mitigation efforts to minimize disease transmission.

Earlier today: Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, announced on Thursday that the company will “temporarily stop” production at a beef processing facility in Washington state.

Tyson also announced yesterday that it is suspending operations at its Waterloo, Iowa, pork plant after nearly 200 coronavirus cases were linked to the facility.

4:53 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Some Minnesota businesses can reopen next week, governor says

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday he will allow some businesses to reopen, beginning April 27, which will allow 80,000 to 100,000 people in the industrial, manufacturing and office settings to go back to work.

“Today’s order was developed with consultation with hundreds of businesses, with labor groups, with worker’s organizations, and with public health experts,” he said. “None of this would be done without a sign-off of independent health experts."

To reopen, businesses must create, share and implement a Covid-19 preparedness plan that outlines measures they are taking to ensure social distancing and worker hygiene, the governor said.

He added that businesses must also engage in health screenings of employees and make ensure that sick workers stay home.

4:52 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Idaho could start to ease restrictions May 1 if benchmarks are met, governor says

From CNN’s Andy Rose

A new recovery plan from the Idaho governor’s office says many nonessential businesses could reopen in just over a week, as long as progress in fighting the coronavirus does not backslide.

“Like everyone, I want our economy back up and running as soon as possible, but we simply cannot open everything all at once and reverse the good work we have done collectively over the past month to slow the spread of coronavirus,” Gov. Brad Little said in a press release. 

The state’s stay-at-home order is currently effective through April 30.

The plan calls for easing economic restrictions in four stages, with two weeks in between each stage. However, stages could be postponed if the state begins to see the Covid-19 case rate go up or hospital capacity go down.

  • The first phase: Bars, gyms and theaters would remain closed and restaurants would continue carryout service, but some other businesses and places of worship could open with social distancing plans.
  • The second phase: Restaurant dining and salon businesses would be permitted, although gathering would still be limited to fewer than 10 people.

Idaho’s plan says, even under the best-case scenario, bars and theaters would not be allowed to reopen until June 13 at the earliest.

4:42 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Tests show 21% of New York City residents may have coronavirus antibodies

From CNN's Eric Levenson

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today revealed the preliminary results of a statewide antibody testing study. The tests were performed on 3,000 random adults who were outside of the home, he said, so it was not an entirely random sample.

The results found that 13.9% of people tested statewide and 21% of people tested in New York City had antibodies for the virus.

What this means: If those rates hold for the state’s 19.5 million people and the city’s 8.4 million people, then about 2.7 million people in the state and about 1.8 million people in the city had the virus — numbers that are multiple times higher than the official state counts.

4:45 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

North Carolina extends stay-at-home order until May 8

From CNN’s Dan Shepherd

NCDPS
NCDPS

North Carolina will extend their stay-at-home order until May 8, Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Thursday.

The governor said his state isn’t ready to lift restrictions despite progress they have made in flattening the coronavirus curve. 

Cooper said that despite successes in social distancing, “we’re not quite there yet” and that they need “more time to slow the virus.” 

Cooper unveiled a three-part plan to open up after May 8, if trends continue in a downward trajectory:

  • With phase 1, stay-at-home orders would remain, but some businesses would be allowed to open. 
  • Phase 2 would actually lift stay-at-home orders vulnerable populations would be encouraged to stay home. Places of worship, bars and restaurants could operate with reduced capacities.
  • Restrictions for vulnerable populations would lessen during phase 3 but also allow increased capacities at businesses and public gatherings. 

If infection rates spike or trends move in the wrong direction, North Carolina says they’re prepared to move to a previous phase so as to protect the public’s health.

And since North Carolina is the “Home of NASCAR," Cooper said that they are looking at a plan that would allow racing, but not allow fans in the stands. They will also announce plans tomorrow for North Carolina school districts and their semesters. 

4:41 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Chicago mayor on reopening: "We're just not there yet"

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Chicago Mayor's office
Chicago Mayor's office

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she agrees with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's extension of the stay-at-home order until May 30.

Lightfoot, speaking at a news conference Thursday, said it is not safe to remove all restrictions.

"We're just not there yet," Lightfoot said of a full reopening. 

Lightfoot said she also agrees with telling people to wear masks when they are not able to socially distance, but said the city will not arrest or charge people who do not use masks.

"I don't believe in giving mandates to people without giving (them) tools to be successful," Lightfoot said.

4:34 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

How one nurse is bringing coronavirus patient's families into the emergency room

From CNN's Anna Sturla and Connor Spielmaker

Courtesy Jeanna Barbieri
Courtesy Jeanna Barbieri

A Massachusetts emergency room nurse is helping patients affected by her hospitals' no-visitor policy by printing out family photos.       

Jeanna Barbieri came up with Pictures for Patients after a high school friend thanked her for working at Lowell General Hospital, where his father was being treated for coronavirus.

Barbieri offered to bring family photos to decorate his room.

"Just to see how excited they were to have that piece of comfort with him, it made me realize I want to do more of that," Barbieri said. "I never imagined in a million years it would turn into anything other than a small project."

Now, the program has a dedicated hospital email address and a social media hashtag. Barbieri even purchased a printer for completely virtual delivery. 

Barbieri says she has organized at least 22 photograph deliveries as of April 23, including a surprise pregnancy announcement for a family member.

"Jeanna has done a wonderful thing," said Rae Russo, the wife of Barbieri's first photo recipient. "It's made all of us have peace on mind."

The photographs also help medical personnel staff working grueling shifts during the pandemic, according to Barbieri.

"I think it's good for the nurses to bring in something positive," Barbieri said.