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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4:22 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Boston mayor: We're not at the coronavirus peak yet

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh listens to a question at a press conference on March 13, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh listens to a question at a press conference on March 13, in Boston, Massachusetts. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

As of yesterday, Boston coronavirus cases were up by at least 398, for a total of 6,958, Mayor Marty Walsh announced.

This is the city’s largest one-day increase so far in the pandemic, he said. The city had 11 new coronavirus deaths for a total of 232.

“These are certainly big increases, and we’re approaching the peak of the coronavirus but we’re not there yet,” Walsh said. 

He added: “We do know that the measures we are taking in Boston are working. These numbers would be much higher if we had not taken very strong steps and if the folks in the communities haven’t been social distancing, physical distancing, staying at home and doing everything that they have been for the last, say, six or eight weeks here."

4:15 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Maryland is not ready to reopen yet, governor says

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House April 17, in Annapolis, Maryland.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House April 17, in Annapolis, Maryland. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Because Maryland has yet to hit its Covid-19 peak and cases are still on the rise, the state is not ready to open back up for business, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a news conference this afternoon.

Hogan said that the federal guidelines issued by President Trump last week called for states to meet specific gating metrics before considering lifting restrictions, including a 14-day downward trend in key numbers.

“Here in Maryland we took some of the earliest and most aggressive actions in the nation to slow the spread of Covid-19, because of those efforts of everyone, we have far fewer cases, hospitalizations and deaths than all of the models were calling for," Hogan said.

Maryland has not seen a “spike” in Covid-19-related illnesses and it is not ready to open, Hogan said.

“We have been successful in flattening and lengthening the curve in our state, and we have not had the very high spikes that you have seen in other states. But that is also why we are several weeks behind those other states who spiked earlier, and the number of new cases of Covid-19 is still rising here in Maryland and throughout the Maryland, DC, and Virginia region, and by the federal standards instituted last week, and under the guidance given in the studies and reopening plans that we cited Maryland is not yet able to lift our restrictions," Hogan said.

4:15 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Tens of thousands of Miami-Dade residents carried Covid-19 and showed no symptoms

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during a press conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center on April 8, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez speaks during a press conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center on April 8, in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A new study revealed that tens of thousands of Miami-Dade residents had Covid-19 and didn’t even know it, Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced during a news conference Friday.

Gimenez said a random antibody testing study of some of the county’s 2.8 million residents was recently conducted. About 1,800 people participated.

The data showed 6% of the sample tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, which would be about 165,000 residents, he said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, there are 10,701 coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade. That means that the actual number of cases, according to the study, is 16.5 times the number reported by the state, Gimenez said.

Gimenez pointed out that this means a significant number of people were carrying coronavirus while being asymptomatic. He emphasized that social distancing restrictions are working.

“Identifying the number of asymptomatic individuals is critically important for public health,” Gimenez said. “Like I have said before those are the folks who can pass on the virus to the most vulnerable.” 

The data also shows that black Americans might be twice as likely to be infected with Covid-19 than other racial groups, he said.

4:00 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

New Jersey will allow tenants to use security deposit on rent

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tours an emergency field hospital being prepared at the Meadowlands Expo Center on April 2, in Secaucus, New Jersey.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tours an emergency field hospital being prepared at the Meadowlands Expo Center on April 2, in Secaucus, New Jersey. Michael Mancuso/Pool/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will sign an executive order to support renters, the governor announced during a Covid-19 news conference today. 

The order will allow renters to use their security deposit to pay their rent, the governor said.  

There will be a question and answer portal for tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities.

3:58 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Fact check: Trump lies that he was being "sarcastic" when he talked about injecting disinfectant

From CNN's Daniel Dale

President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House on April 23.
President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House on April 23. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump lied Friday when he said he was being "sarcastic" when he asked medical experts on Thursday to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about the comments during a bill signing on Friday, he said, "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen."

He then suggested he was talking about disinfectants that can safely be rubbed on people's hands. And then he returned to the sarcasm explanation, saying it was "a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside."

A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to look into it. Trump responded: "No, no, no, no — to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us."

Facts First: Trump was not being "sarcastic" on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to "check" the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks.

Here's what Trump said Thursday while looking in the direction of coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Department of Homeland Security science official Bill Bryan:

"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me," Trump said.

What happened on Thursday: Bryan, the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, outlined tests in which he said disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the coronavirus on surfaces. Bryan also spoke about how the virus was found to be negatively affected by exposure to UV rays and higher temperatures.

Trump first spoke about the possibility of using light as a treatment for people who already have the coronavirus, musing that a "very powerful light" could be used to "hit the body" or be brought "inside the body...either through the skin or in some other way."

Trump said Bryan had said he is going to "test that." (Experts said this idea does not make sense; when Trump asked Birx if she has heard of the use of heat or light related to the virus, she said, "Not as a treatment.")

Bryan said he would "get to the right folks" who could do testing. Trump then began his comments about disinfectant, which he concluded by saying "it sounds interesting to me."

Reminded by a reporter on Friday that he had been looking at Birx when he made these Thursday comments, Trump said he was looking at Bryan, Birx, but also "some of the reporters." In fact, the video shows he was looking in the direction of Birx and Bryan for almost the entirety of his musings about disinfectant, glancing forward at reporters only very briefly.

Later in the Thursday briefing, when a reporter asked Bryan if there is any scenario in which household cleaners could be injected into a person, Bryan said, "No, I'm here to talk about the findings that we had in the study. We won't do that within that lab and our lab."

Trump then interjected: "It wouldn't be through injection. We're talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't work. But it certainly has a big effect if it's on a stationary object."

Trump can argue that he walked back his comments during the briefing. But even in this more cautious follow-up, he offered no indication that he had been anything less than completely serious.

The White House's initial statement on Friday about the disinfectant remarks did not say the President had been sarcastic. It only alleged that the media had taken him out of context.

Watch:

3:41 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Action sports event X Games cancels July event

From CNN's David Close

The annual summer action sports and music festival X Games has been canceled.

Originally set to take place July 17-19 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, X Games organizers blamed the ongoing concerns of Covid-19 for the cancellation.

X Games host Jack Mitrani announced the news via a video on Twitter.

Watch:

3:36 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Local elections in Virginia postponed

From CNN’s Will Brown

 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaking at Alexandria City Hall on March 26, 2019.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaking at Alexandria City Hall on March 26, 2019. Shutterstock

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order postponing the state's local elections until May 19, he announced today.

The two-week postponement is the maximum that Northam is constitutionally allowed after the state Senate declined to delay the elections further. 

“Elections are vital to democracy and so is the right to vote, but Virginians should not have to choose between their ballot and their health,” Northam said at news conference Friday.

The governor’s statewide stay-at-home order is currently set to expire on June 10, which means the election might happen while the state is still under lockdown. Northam strongly encouraged voters to use absentee ballots and drew a comparison to Wisconsin when expressing his frustration with the situation.

“The last thing that we want in Virginia is a scene like what we saw when Wisconsin held an election a few weeks ago. People waiting in line for hours, trying to social distance, just in order to vote,” Northam said.

The elections will decide local positions like mayors, town council members and school board members.

3:46 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Veterans Affairs says they continue to use hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 in patients

From CNN's Zachary Cohen and Arman Azad

 

Bottles of hydroxychloroquine pills to be distributed in hospitals in San Salvador, El Salvador on April 21.
Bottles of hydroxychloroquine pills to be distributed in hospitals in San Salvador, El Salvador on April 21. Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said it is continuing to use hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus cases after the Food and Drug Administration made clear Friday that the drug has not been shown to be “safe and effective for treating or preventing Covid-19,” and carries “known risks” of potentially deadly heart complications.

The VA said it would the drug in a manner “consistent with current FDA guidance.”

"While clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for COVID-19," the FDA said on Friday, "there are known side effects of these medications that should be considered."

The FDA said those risks "may be mitigated when health care professionals closely screen and supervise these patients such as in a hospital setting or a clinical trial," which is mentioned in an emergency-use authorization for the drugs issued last month. 

Asked whether the VA believes veterans should use hydroxychloroquine going forward, VA spokesperson Christina Noel said the department is using “it to treat COVID-19 in cases where Veteran patients and their providers determine it is medically necessary, and in a manner consistent with current FDA guidance.” Noel pointed to a part of the FDA guidance that allows the drug to be used for treatment temporarily during the pandemic in hospitalized patients.

CNN previously reported coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine were no less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had higher deaths rates compared to those who did not take the drug, according to a study of hundreds of patients at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers.

The study, which reviewed veterans' medical charts, was posted Tuesday on medrxiv.org, a pre-print server, meaning it was not peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia.

"In this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19," the authors wrote.

There are currently no products approved by the FDA to prevent or treat Covid-19, although research is underway on many drugs.

 

3:35 p.m. ET, April 24, 2020

Rhode Island reports a "big increase" in 911 calls for domestic abuse

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Governor of Rhode Island Gina Raimondo speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Governor of Rhode Island Gina Raimondo speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc) Paul Morigi/Fortune/Getty Images

There has been a "big increase" in 911 calls for domestic abuse in the past few weeks, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said during a news conference on Friday.

"Not everybody is safe at home and unfortunately that seems to be doubly true now," Raimondo said.

She encouraged people who are not safe to reach out for help and said that those who are safe need to pay attention to their communities. 

The state is reviewing data and resources to help combat this uptick in domestic violence, Raimondo said.