Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:33 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020
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8:41 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Georgia is reopening some businesses today

From CNN's Faith Karimi

Closed businesses are seen in the Little Five Points section of Atlanta on April 23.
Closed businesses are seen in the Little Five Points section of Atlanta on April 23. Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

Undeterred by a barrage of criticism, Georgia state officials moved ahead today with plans to allow some nonessential businesses to reopen, even as coronavirus deaths increase statewide.

Gov. Brian Kemp was one of the last state leaders to issue a stay-at-home order, effective April 3, to combat the spread of Covid-19.

These are some of the businesses allowed to reopen today:

  • Gyms
  • Barber shops
  • Hair salons
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Bowling alleys

What the experts are saying: Georgia should not even begin to reopen until June 22, according to the model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which assumes states will implement aggressive testing, contact tracing, isolation and crowd-size limits to prevent more infections.

7:43 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Following Trump's comments, Lysol maker says its products should not be injected or ingested

The maker of Lysol issued a statement Friday clarifying that under no circumstances should its products be administered into the human body, after US President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectants to treat the coronavirus.

Manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser said that the range of disinfectants and cleaners must not enter the body "through injection, ingestion or any other route.”  

“We have a responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts,” the company said.

The statement followed remarks from President Trump on Thursday on the use of disinfectants.

"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning ... it would be interesting to check that," Trump said.  “It sounds interesting to me,” he added.

CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was quick to point out that this is simply wrong.

“He also said it needs to be studied. Actually, it doesn’t. I mean we know the answer to this one,” he said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday. 

“I think everybody would know that that would be dangerous and counter-productive.”

The US Food and Drug Administration regularly warns the public against drinking bleach, or even inhaling fumes from bleach. It's also irritating to skin.

On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said calls about poisonings with cleaners and disinfectants had increased more than 20% in the first three months of 2020 -- as coronavirus cleaning increased -- than from the same period a year earlier. Among cleaners, bleaches accounted for the largest percentage increase in calls from 2019 to 2020.

The CDC recommends using soap and water or bleach on surfaces to kill the virus. Rubbing alcohol that's at least 70% alcohol will also kill it on surfaces; 60% for your hands.

6:29 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Trump is peddling dangerous cures for coronavirus

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23. Alex Brandon/AP

Roll up for Donald Trump's old West traveling medicine show.

He's marketed steaks and real estate, board games and vodka, but nothing the incorrigible salesman has tried to hawk measures up to his latest routine as he speculated on a possible new cure for Covid-19.

For most of his life as a pitchman, Trump has only had his own reputation on the line. But now, in the middle of a generational health crisis, lives are at stake.

In an eye-popping moment, Trump doubled down on his claim that sunlight and the festering humidity of high summer could purge the virus in his latest grab for a game-changer therapy.

Then, he asked aides on camera whether zapping patients with light or injecting disinfectant into the lungs to clean sick patients from inside could cure them of the disease.

"Maybe you can, maybe you can't. Again I say maybe you can, maybe you can't. I'm not a doctor. I'm like a person who has a good you-know-what," Trump said, pointing to his head.

It's easy to mock Trump. But he also has the world's largest megaphone, appears to be openly mulling a treatment that could cause people to poison themselves if they adopted it and has a record of deflecting from the grave reality of the virus to peddle optimism that may not be matched by the facts.

He also seems to have little time for the rigorous clinical testing and factual deduction that is at the heart of generations of advances in clinical science and is the bedrock of ethical medicine.

Read the full analysis here: Trump, ever the salesman, is peddling dangerous cures for coronavirus

5:15 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Fauci is "not overly confident right now" about testing capacity in the US

From CNN's Caroline Kelly

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 17.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 17. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he was doubtful of the country's current testing capability, which is a key resource as several states and cities look to partially reopen their economies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

During a Time 100 Talks interview, Fauci — the nation's top infectious disease expert and a White House coronavirus task force member — was asked how confident he was that the country currently has sufficient capability to handle the potential increased coronavirus testing needs in order to inform leaders looking to reopen hard-hit areas.

"We absolutely need to significantly ramp up, not only the number of tests but the capacity to actually perform them," Fauci said.

That way, he continued, "you don't have a situation where you have a test, but it can't be done because there's not a swab, or not an extraction media or not the right vial -- all of those things got to be in place."

"I am not overly confident right now at all, that we have what it takes to do that," Fauci added.

Some context: Fauci's comments run counter to President Donald Trump's regular assurances that American coronavirus testing is on solid footing, including on Wednesday when he told reporters "we're doing more testing, I think, than probably any of the governors want."

Trump and his political allies have touted the total number of coronavirus tests conducted in the US but the country still lags behind Italy in per capita tests performed.

5:13 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

House Democrat says she plans to probe the dismissal of director of key vaccine agency

From CNN's Manu Raju

Rep. Anna Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House’s Health subcommittee, is seen on Capitol Hill on February 26.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House’s Health subcommittee, is seen on Capitol Hill on February 26.  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Anna Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House’s Health subcommittee, told CNN she plans to call in Dr. Rick Bright to testify before her panel as she reviews the circumstances of his removal from a key position after he raised concerns about the safety of a drug that President Trump touted as a potential vaccine to coronavirus.

“I think the American people deserve to hear Dr Bright’s story,” Eshoo told CNN. “He really has worked for the American people — they are the ones who have paid his salary. A thoroughbred professional — and to set him aside in one of the most key positions to develop vaccines in the midst of the pandemic? The story doesn’t make sense to me. So I think it deserves examination.”

Eshoo said she also wants to call Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Bob Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, to testify before her panel.

“I don’t know where this began, why, who where, when, why,” said Eshoo, whose subcommittee falls under the Energy and Commerce full committee. “But I think it deserves to be examined and the story told.”

Eshoo said she wants to have hearings as soon as it’s “feasible” and said she’s willing to return to Washington to probe the matter.

“I’m willing to come here, I think others will as well,” she said Thursday.

Eshoo appears to have backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Asked by CNN about the Bright situation, Pelosi directed an inquiry to Eshoo.

Some context: Bright had led BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, since 2016 until Tuesday, when he was reassigned to a narrower position.

"I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit," Bright said in a lengthy statement issued Wednesday. "I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way."