Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:33 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020
16 Posts
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11:01 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Trump tweets he "never gave" Kemp the OK to open nonessential businesses

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

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. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump claims he and Vice President Mike Pence, “never gave Governor Brian Kemp an OK on those few businesses outside of the Guidelines,” as the state's aggressive reopening plan begins.

“FAKE NEWS!,” Trump wrote on twitter. “Spas, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, & barber shops should take a little slower path, but I told the Governor to do what is right for the great people of Georgia (& USA)!”

CNN’s previous reporting from Jim Acosta, Kristen Holmes and Dana Bash is that Trump and Pence told Kemp via telephone that they supported his decision on reopening the state and praised his work as governor, according to a separate source with knowledge of the call. 

But the President — around the time Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus task force coordinator, met with Trump — had a second call with Kemp, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

The call was brief and struck an entirely different tone than the first: Trump asked the governor to slow down his reopening plan, to which Kemp said no, according to the sources. The President said he'd call Kemp back later to discuss, but never did.

To the relief of members of the task force, Trump proceeded to say he disagreed with Kemp's decision during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing.

10:47 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Pence says he thinks the coronavirus epidemic will "largely" be "behind us" by Memorial Day weekend

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 23. Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Pence said that he thinks “by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us” in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera.

Pence emphasized that the White House’s recommended “phased approach” is the best way to ensure there is not a resurgence of the virus.

President Trump also retweeted Rivera about the interview with Pence, in which the radio host expressed some skepticism over the projection.

"If--as @VP tells me on our radio interview this morning--the worst is behind us & entire epidemic will be largely behind us by Memorial Day--less than a month away. It's @realDonaldTrump Administration's most optimistic projection. Mike Pence sticks his neck out-Hope he's right," Rivera wrote. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday warned that he is “not overly confident” about the current testing capacity in the US, which governors need before they are able to reopen their states.  

10:28 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Michigan will extend the stay-at-home order until May 15

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until at least May 15, according to her spokesperson Zack Pohl.

The governor will hold a news conference to announce the extension at 11 a.m. ET, Pohl said.

10:07 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

White House press secretary says Trump has "repeatedly" told Americans to consult their doctors on treatments

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, attends a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 18.
Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, attends a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 18. Patrick Semansky/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement Friday claiming that President Trump has "repeatedly" said Americans should consult their doctors on coronavirus treatments. 

This comes after fallout from Trump’s comments yesterday, asking if it was possible to treat coronavirus with sunlight or a “injection” of disinfectants.

“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing. Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” McEnany said in a statement.

Some background: Here's what President Trump said yesterday about “cleaning the lungs” with disinfectants: 

“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, if it's ultraviolet or very powerful light. And I think he said that hasn't been checked but he was going to test it. Then I said what it if you brought the light inside of the body which you could do either through the skin or some other way and I think you said you were going to test that, too. Sounds interesting. Then I see the disinfectant, knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning because you see it gets on the lungs. That you're gonna have to use medical doctors. Because it sounds interesting. The way the light killed that in one minute is pretty powerful.”

Following the remarks, the company that makes Lysol urged customers not to consume its cleaning products.

9:42 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

US stocks open higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks opened in positive territory despite all three major stock indexes on track to finish the week lower.

During the coronavirus pandemic, stocks have tended to lose steam into the weekend. Investors are reluctant to hold onto their positions while exchanges are closed, experts say.

Here's where things stand now:

  • The Dow kicked off 0.7%, or 174 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 opened up 0.6%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.4% at the opening bell.

 You can follow live updates on the markets here.

9:40 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Beaches in Sarasota, Florida, will reopen Monday

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

Public Beaches in Sarasota County, Florida, will reopen on Monday for "essential" recreational activities, according to Nicole Rissler, director of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources in Sarasota County.

Sarasota County commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to reopen beaches for...

  • Fishing
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Surfing

Playgrounds, tennis/basketball courts and beach pavilions will remain closed. No coolers, tents, umbrellas or chairs will be allowed. Congregating is also banned, and all parking near beaches will remain closed.

The city of Jacksonville reopened beaches last weekend. Meanwhile, a Florida Task Force is expected to issue recommendations to Governor DeSantis today for reopening the state of Florida.  

9:21 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Coronavirus antibodies are not a license to stop social distancing, infectious disease experts say

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The Infectious Diseases Society of America warned that we don’t know enough about antibody testing to assume immunity.

“We do not know whether or not patients who have these antibodies are still at risk of reinfection with Covid-19. At this point, I think we have to assume that they could be at risk of reinfection," Dr. Mary Hayden, spokesperson for IDSA and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center, said at a briefing today.

“We don't know even if the antibodies are protective, what degree of protection they provide, so it could be complete, it could be partial, or how long the antibodies last,” Hayden added, “We know that antibody responses wane over time.” 

The society is “recommending that people with antibodies not change their behavior in any way and continue social distancing.

“Having antibodies is not a license to stop the mitigation guidelines and rules that are affected in many states,” Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski, spokesperson for IDSA and chief of infectious diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center said.

“We need to stay inside if we're not essential workers, we need to stay six feet away from people and we cannot cluster and having an antibody is not a license today on April 24, to break with that policy,” Pirofski said. 

Some background: A preliminary study of 3,000 New Yorkers found that 13.9% tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said yesterday. And 21% of people tested in New York City had antibodies for the virus.

9:13 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Beaches in another Florida county are opening today

A policeman drives along the beach in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on April 19.
A policeman drives along the beach in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on April 19. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The beaches in Bay County, Florida, are officially back open as of today with limitations during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The beaches reopened just one day after the Bay County Board of Commissioners approved an emergency order allowing recreational use of county beaches during the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET, according to the ordinance.

The commissioners said beachgoers should still follow all strict social distancing rules while enjoying the sun. 

Last week, beaches in Jacksonville, Florida, reopened with similar limitations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis supported the idea of reopening beaches, parks and other public spaces as long as social distancing is practiced, WJXT reported.

"You look at how this disease is transmitted, it's transmitted overwhelmingly when you are in close, sustained contact with people, usually in an indoor environment," DeSantis said. "Going forward, we got to be promoting people to get exercise, do it in a good way, to do it in a safe way."

9:02 a.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Atlanta mayor is advising people not to inject Lysol: "We're living in the twilight zone"

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she feels like "we're living in the twilight zone" as she now has to advise people not only to stay at home but to also not inject themselves with Lysol. 

"In a normal world, we'd be able to look to our President and to the White House and receive sound guidance and advice, but instead we're now telling — having to tell people not to ingest and inject your body with household cleaners," she said on CNN's New Day this morning.

"These are strange times that we're living in. And I just hope that people will exercise common sense," she added.

What this is about: Yesterday, President Trump suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectants to protect people from coronavirus.

"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 at a briefing.  “It sounds interesting to me,” he added.

Remember: The maker of Lysol issued a statement today clarifying that under no circumstances should its products be administered into the human body.

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)," the company said in a statement.

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