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
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2:00 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New Jersey governor prefers statewide reopening plan to regional

 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy updates the state on the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference on April 24.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy updates the state on the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference on April 24. Chris Pedota/Pool/The Record/AP

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said while it’s too early to tell whether reopening will be on a regional or statewide basis, he prefers the latter.

“My bias will be leaning toward making state decisions — statewide decisions," he said, adding “unless we see a real unique reason to do otherwise, or unless we see a really bifurcated reality in terms of the virus and its impact on the state.”

The reopening will begin in work places and venues where the state has a “high degree of confidence” that social distancing and other related norms can be effectively executed.

While Murphy did not have a clear picture of what would come back online first, he mentioned the “food chain” and other essential elements. He added that as much as he loves music, concerts are not going to be coming back “anytime soon.” 

Murphy noted that some decisions will likely be made in harmony with other states, giving the example that he does not imagine that a restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey, would have a different protocol than one on the lower west side of Manhattan.

 

1:47 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

There is not enough research yet to determine coronavirus immunity, WHO official says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove speaks during a daily press briefing at the WHO headquaters in Geneva, Switzerland on March 9.
World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove speaks during a daily press briefing at the WHO headquaters in Geneva, Switzerland on March 9. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the coronavirus response with the World Health Organization, said there isn’t enough research yet to determine if someone is immune to Covid-19 once they recover from the virus.

"At the present time, four months into this pandemic, we’re not able to say that an antibody response means that someone is immune," Van Kerkhove said.

“Right now, there are no studies that evaluate the antibody response as it relates to immunity, so we can’t say that an antibody response means that someone is immune,” she said, adding there are a number of studies underway.

Van Kerkhove said officials expect that people infected with Covid-19 will have some level of protection. "What we don’t know right now is, how strong that protection is and if that’s seen in everybody that is infected, and for how long that lasts," she said.

Early results from several countries “suggest that a large proportion of the population remains susceptible," Van Kerkhove said. She added that it is "an important feature because that means that there still are people that this virus can infect."

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

More than 55,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There have been at least 972,969 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 55,118 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins reported 7,184 new cases and 237 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

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.