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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11:56 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York's hospitalization rate is flat, and that's "not great" governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his press briefing about the coronavirus crisis on April 17 in Albany, New York.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his press briefing about the coronavirus crisis on April 17 in Albany, New York. Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the hospitalization rate is flat — but he'd prefer to see it decline.

"It's basically flat. Flat is not great," he said at a news conference.

11:51 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Trump and Pence still tested weekly for coronavirus

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence listens during a news conference in the White House on April 24.
President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence listens during a news conference in the White House on April 24. Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Trump, Vice President Pence and the senior staffers who regularly interact with them are still being tested weekly for coronavirus, two people familiar tell CNN. The White House is continuing to use the rapid Abbott Labs test. 

Guests are also still being tested, and temperature checks are still administered for everyone who enters the grounds. 

The New York Times reported last week that Trump and Pence are tested weekly. 

10:56 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York City is hiring 1,000 contact tracers

From CNN’s Mark Morales

New York City is hiring 1,000 contact tracers to build a network that will trace the spread of coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a press conference this morning.

“That’s what we’re going to build in the month of May: a contact-tracing network in this city like never been seen before on a vast scale. Every time somebody tests positive, immediately we can swing into action, figure out who were their close contacts, get those people tested too, isolate anyone who needs isolation," he said.  

Here's what the job entails: Contact tracers will do interviews to determine key contacts of New Yorkers who test positive for Covid-19, follow up with those contacts and arrange for their testing and potential isolation. 

“They’ll help make sure that the steps that are needed are glued together,” he said.

The city is looking for “talented, experienced, health workers” to “lend their talents to this fight” and work alongside current city healthcare personnel and others trained from a variety of city agencies.

“We are hiring immediately and we are hiring through the month of May,” de Blaiso said.

11:10 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Georgia coroner to residents: "You're playing Russian roulette" every time you leave home

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Michael Fowler, a coroner in Georgia, said he is frustrated to see some residents take the coronavirus pandemic lightly as they walk outdoors without masks and gather in groups.

“I know people are going to have homicides and suicides and stuff like that, but this virus is something we can prevent,” he says. “It’s frustrating sometimes.”

“Every time you walk out of the house or go to a place without a mask and practice social distancing you're playing Russian roulette. There's a chance you might catch the virus," he added.

With Georgia allowing some businesses to reopen, including salons, gyms and restaurants, Fowler discouraged people from going out.

“I think you can go a little longer without getting your hair cut. I think your life is more important. You need to worry about your insides, not just your outsides at this present time," he said.

His neighbors have also been victims to the virus and it’s upsetting, he said, adding that he wishes the skeptics of coronavirus could see the situation in the hospitals and morgues.

“I wish they could walk the hospital halls here and see the number of people and friends and neighbors that we have hooked up to ventilators, that are hooked up to IV. They can come to the morgue and see the different ones stacked up there.”

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11:22 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New York City will start self-swab testing this week, mayor says

From CNN’s Mark Morales

A One Medical Group Inc. nurse practitioner places a swab inside a test tube after swabbing a patient at a Covid-19 testing center in Brooklyn, New York on April 20. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images
A One Medical Group Inc. nurse practitioner places a swab inside a test tube after swabbing a patient at a Covid-19 testing center in Brooklyn, New York on April 20. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Self-swab testing for coronavirus will be available at NYC Health + Hospitals clinics this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning. 

“There is a better way to do testing. There is an easier way to do testing, and there is a safer way to do testing, and we’re going to start that this week … This means the health-care worker explains to the person there for the test how to administer the test themselves,” he said.

Here's how it works: The patient submits their own nasal swab and saliva sample to the health professionals. "Those two samples provide enough information for the testing to be done," de Blasio said.

He called the new testing method "simpler but also safer, especially for that health-care worker."

The health-care provider the sends the sample to labs for testing.

The self-swab method will increase capacity of tests at sites from 15 per hour to up to 20 per hour, de Blasio said.

“This is something we're going to start using aggressively,” said de Blasio.

10:28 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

There won't be a White House briefing today, press secretary says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

A podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 26.
A podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 26. Patrick Semansky/AP

There will be no White House daily press briefing this afternoon, according to the press secretary.

“Today we're not tracking a briefing,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News.

She also said that there will be a media availability with retail CEOs later today.

“We will have briefings this week,” she added.

Some background: At Thursday's briefing, Trump suggested sunlight and ingesting disinfectants could help cure coronavirus. Medical experts say bleach should not be ingested. Trump's bizarre comments even prompted the company that makes Lysol to urge customers not to consume its cleaning products.

A day later, the President held a record short briefing, abruptly ending it after 22 minutes of statements without taking any questions from the press. There was no briefing this weekend.

10:16 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Americans traveling by plane is up slightly, TSA says

From CNN’s Pete Muntean and Gregory Wallace

Passengers wait to disembark a plane upon their arrival at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia on April 23.
Passengers wait to disembark a plane upon their arrival at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia on April 23. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Americans traveling by plane is climbing slightly, according to Transportation Security Administration data, reaching a three-week high as some states begin reopening. 

The 128,875 people who passed through airport security checkpoints on Sunday was the most screened since April 3, according to the agency’s data. 

The trend “is happening at every airport across the country, regardless of airport size,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told CNN. She declined to provide statistics for individual airports.  

However, it was still only about 5% of the 2.5 million people screened on the equivalent day in 2019. 

But data from the TSA and airlines are now showing passenger counts trending upwards over the last 10 days, after sinking to lows not seen in decades.  

The average domestic flight now carries 12.5 passengers – up from a low of about 10 passengers. 

The uptick comes as some states begin re-opening businesses that have been shuttered for weeks, and may reflect restlessness in the traveling public as summer approaches and flights are inexpensive.   

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA on Thursday urged the US departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services "to take further action to limit the spread of the virus by restricting air travel to only that necessary to continue essential services."

10:11 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Ohio mayor says her city is ready to reopen "if it's gradual enough"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton, Ohio, speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol on September 9, 2019.
Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton, Ohio, speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol on September 9, 2019. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to announce his plans to reopen the state. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says the city is ready to reopen if the transition is “gradual enough.”

“We, I think, are ready for manufacturing and distribution, with tight rules, to be opened. We're a little more nervous about retail because we need to make sure we continue this social distancing,” she explained, adding that testing still needs to ramp up.

Unemployment has deepened as businesses remained shut across the state, including restaurants and small businesses. Mayor Whaley said it’s “incredibly painful” to tell owners to wait longer but reemphasized gradual reopening is the right way to go about reopening for the “long-term viability of this economy”

“They can't afford to keep on opening and closing so we really have one chance to get it right.”

10:14 a.m. ET, April 27, 2020

These states are starting to reopen today

Shannon Stafford styles the hair of Ebony Housey at her salon in Savannah, Georgia, on April 24.
Shannon Stafford styles the hair of Ebony Housey at her salon in Savannah, Georgia, on April 24. Russ Bynum/AP

Several states over the weekend began plans to reopen. Georgia allowed barber shops and hair salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and bowling alleys to reopen on Friday. In Oklahoma, salons, barbershops, spas and pet groomers took appointments also on Friday.

Alaska, Texas, Michigan and South Carolina allowed some businesses in some areas to open up as well.

Here's a look at how some states are beginning to reopen today:

  • Arkansas: Simple elective surgeries will be allowed beginning today.
  • Colorado: Retail businesses with curbside delivery can reopen and elective medical procedures can resume starting today. Businesses such as personal training and dog grooming can reopen with social distancing.
  • Kentucky: The state is starting phase one today, which will include restarting diagnostic, radiology, non-urgent, in-person, office and ambulatory visits.
  • Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz says he will allow some businesses to reopen today. The governor said to reopen, businesses must create, share and implement a Covid-19 preparedness plan that outlines measures they are taking to ensure social distancing and worker hygiene.
  • Mississippi: Gov. Tate Reeves signed a new “safer-at-home” executive order that takes effect today, replacing the state’s shelter-in-place order. The new safer-at-home order urges all Mississippians to stay home except for essential travel. The most vulnerable people — elderly people with pre-existing conditions and those with compromised immune systems — will have to shelter-in-place.
  • Montana: Main street and retail businesses can become operational today if they adhere to requirements to limit capacity and maintain strict physical distancing, Gov. Steve Bullock said.
  • Tennessee: Gov. Bill Lee said restaurants will be allowed to open today, and retail outlets on Wednesday at 50% capacity.

Use this tool to see where your state stands on reopening.

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