Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond, Mike Hayes and Emma Reynolds, CNN

Updated 9:03 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020
37 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:26 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

There are now eight antibody tests approved by the FDA

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized a coronavirus antibody test from Abbott Laboratories on Sunday, bringing the total number of FDA-authorized antibody tests to eight.

The Abbott test looks for a class of antibodies – called IgG antibodies – that are produced in the later stages of infection. Other tests can detect antibodies produced earlier.

“A negative result may occur if you are tested early in your illness and your body hasn’t had time to produce antibodies to infection,” the FDA wrote in a fact sheet accompanying the Abbott test

Still, the new test could be useful in identifying who has been previously infected with coronavirus, even if they showed little or no symptoms at the time.

The importance of antibodies: Most experts believe that people who have recovered from the virus will have some sort of protection against re-infection, but it’s unclear how strong immunity might be or how long it might last.

“We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection,” the World Health Organization wrote in a series of tweets Saturday.

“What we don't yet know is the level of protection or how long it will last," another tweet said.

Read the WHO's tweets:

1:40 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Wisconsin must expand testing capacity before it can reopen, state official says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Mandela Barnes speaks during a campaign rally in Milwaukee on October 22, 2018, before taking office as Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin.
Mandela Barnes speaks during a campaign rally in Milwaukee on October 22, 2018, before taking office as Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

While some states are already allowing certain businesses to reopen, Wisconsin extended its stay-at-home order until May 26.

"Part of the criteria [to reopen] is making sure we have adequate testing so we can get about 80,000 tests per week," Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said. "We don't have that yet.

With this testing capacity, the state can build contact tracing and find out where the concentration of outbreaks are. This would help get the virus under control, Barnes said.

Barnes said the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the need for Medicare for All as the state remains under stay-at-home orders, forcing businesses to stay closed and pushing more people on unemployment rolls.

"I think that the case is making itself right now as people are losing their jobs," he said.

"People had health insurance plans they liked and they thought they could keep it. Unfortunately, a lot of people haven't been able to keep their jobs in the middle of this crisis. So health care in America is something we need to be working on as a whole," he added.

1:09 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Grocery stores could see shortages of pork by next week

From CNN's Manu Raju

Hogs are raised on a farm near Osage, Iowa on July 25, 2018.
Hogs are raised on a farm near Osage, Iowa on July 25, 2018. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Farmers will have to kill tens of thousands of pigs a day because of closed processing facilities across the country, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said Monday.

Peterson said the nation's pork supply is now at serious risk because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With three of the nation's largest pork processing plants temporarily shut down, Peterson said that farmers now have a massive oversupply of pigs that must be euthanized — estimating that there are roughly 60,000 to 70,000 pigs a day that need to be killed in order to make space at farms. 

This has created a logistical nightmare for farmers to figure out a way to move the pigs from their locations to other facilities, where they can be euthanized and then to find places to dispose of the carcasses, Peterson said.

"It’s just not easy to kill that many pigs and then find out what to do with them," Peterson told CNN.

Peterson predicted this move will have a serious impact on the nation's food supply, saying Americans could experience a significant shortage in pork in grocery stores by next week.

"I think you are going to see some grocery stores have shortages of pork next week," Peterson said, adding that if plants remain shuttered, "you can end up running out of pork completely."

Peterson said that he is having bipartisan talks with leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture panels to authorize more funding for the Agriculture Department's Commodity Credit Corporation, which distributes aid to farmers.

Peterson predicted without aid and if they can't get some of the plants up and running again, "hundreds of farmers could go bankrupt."

1:03 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

More than half of coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts occurred in nursing facilities, governor says

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said today 56% of the state’s coronavirus deaths have come in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Baker said at least 10,031 residents and staff at those facilities have tested positive for coronavirus.

“The numbers are tough to comprehend but they illustrate the lethal threat Covid-19 can have on seniors and especially those with underlying health conditions," he said.

12:48 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York does not have enough money to pay unemployment benefits, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York does not have enough money to pay for unemployment as more and more people continue to file for benefits, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news briefing Monday.

“We’re out of money now,” Cuomo told a reporter when asked when the state would run out of money to provide unemployment benefits. “We are now running a $10 to 15 billion deficit, so we’re out of money now," he added.

“That’s why the federal government has to provide funding – because we don’t have the money,” he said.

As of Friday, New York has paid out $3.1 billion in unemployment benefits, said Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.

Some context: A $480 billion coronavirus relief package was signed into law earlier this week, but didn't include money state leaders could use for basic operations — something several governors have spoken out against.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN yesterday there will be another federal emergency relief bill that will include money for state and local governments that are facing budget deficits, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he did not want to issue more federal aid.

12:44 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

CDC issues new coronavirus guidelines for meat processing plants

From CNN's Dan Shepherd, Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

Workers process around 200,000 chickens a day for Costco at the Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska on February 27.
Workers process around 200,000 chickens a day for Costco at the Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska on February 27. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register/USA Today/Reuters

New, interim guidelines were issued Sunday advising meat and poultry processing facilities to create a Covid-19 assessment and control plan, along with suggestions for what that plan should include. 

The guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration come after some of the country's largest processing plants have been forced to cease operations temporarily after thousands of employees have tested positive for the virus.

The CDC says that these workplaces should identify an on-site coordinator who is responsible for coronavirus assessments and control planning. This coordinator should be knowledgeable in virus prevention and make sure all employees know how to contact them with any concerns.

All safety and health plans should apply to anyone entering and working in the plants, and facility management should reach out to state and local public health officials to make sure they are communicating up-to-date and relevant information to share with workplace coordinators.

The CDC also encourages stronger engineering controls be put in place to minimize exposure to the virus.

These controls include:

  • Setting up physical barriers between workers
  • Staggering shifts and break times
  • Installing fans for adequate ventilation
  • Adding clock-out stations and hand sanitizers
  • Minimizing the sharing of sharing tools, if possible

Companies can also encourage keeping working groups together to limit the number of exposures, limiting car-pools, adding overnight shifts and increasing education towards the virus’s spread, amongst several guidelines.

1:26 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York state is providing $25 million for food banks and providers impacted by coronavirus

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

People wait in line at a food bank on the Barclays Center plaza in Brooklyn, New York, on April 24.
People wait in line at a food bank on the Barclays Center plaza in Brooklyn, New York, on April 24. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

As unemployment skyrockets across the country, an increasing number of Americans are reliant on food banks.

To address this demand, New York is providing $25 million from the state's Special Public Health Emergency Fund for food banks and providers impacted by coronavirus, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

There is about a 200% increase in demand at food banks in Westchester County, a 100% increase in New York City, a 40% in Long Island and a 60% in upstate in New York, Gov. Cuomo said.

He also asked philanthropies to help with funding.

Some farm cooperatives are dumping milk because the market can't consumer it, he added.

"This is just total waste to me. We have people downstate, who need food. We have farmers upstate who can't sell their product. We have to put those two things together. It's just common sense."

In addition, the state is launching the Nourish New York initiative to connect product upstate and the need for food downstate, Cuomo announced.

Companies such as Chobani, Upstate Niagara and others have partnered with the state to buy the excess milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and give it to the food banks downstate.


1:34 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Seniors in Florida isolated by coronavirus are getting robotic therapy pets

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

A robotic dog, 'Aibo', created by Sony Corp. pictured at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) in Chiba, Japan, on October 16, 2019.
A robotic dog, 'Aibo', created by Sony Corp. pictured at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) in Chiba, Japan, on October 16, 2019. Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Since the coronavirus outbreak, strict visitation rules imposed at nursing homes in Florida have left some seniors feeling isolated.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs announced today that it’s providing 375 therapeutic robotic pets to socially isolated seniors and adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a news release issued by the agency.

“We know social isolation disproportionately affects older adults, and Covid-19 has required people with dementia and their caregivers to remain alone for extended periods of time,” the release said.

The pets help the seniors combat social isolation and depression by improving their overall mood and quality of life, the agency said.

“The robotic pets offer an alternative to traditional pet therapy, and research shows they have similar positive effects. They are designed to respond to motion, touch, and sound. Robotic cats and dogs are usually given to people with ADRD, but data has shown that using pets to decrease social isolation for older adults is highly successful,” the release said.
12:01 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York governor says temporary hospitals will stay open through the fall

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he spoke to President Trump about keeping open temporary medical facilities that the federal government built.

Cuomo said four temporary facilities, which were built by the Army Corps of Engineers to increase hospital capacity during the surge, would stay open through the fall. The governor said this decision was made in part out of caution in case there is a possible second wave.

"We're now talking about the possibility of a second wave of the Covid virus or Covid combining with the regular flu season in September, which could be problematic again for the hospital capacity," Cuomo said. "So the facilities that were built, I spoke to the President about leaving them in place until we get through the flu season."

Cuomo said the federal government did a "phenomenal job" getting the facilities built in New York.

"But I want to thank, again, the Army Corps of Engineers did a fantastic job. And President Trump got it done, and he got it done very quickly."