Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:37 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020
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3:47 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Some businesses in West Virginia will open Thursday

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks at the Covid-19 briefing on April 28.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks at the Covid-19 briefing on April 28. Office of Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a press conference Tuesday that his administration plans to reopen local businesses Thursday.

Justice announced 37 people have died due to coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, but said the positive test result rate was under 3% Monday and today.

Should the positive testing rate fall under 3% again tomorrow, certain healthcare-related businesses will be permitted to open Thursday, Justice said.

Those qualifying businesses include pharmacies, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, physical therapists, social workers and others. Daycare workers will be tested for the virus beginning this week and will reopen should all working personnel test negative. 

All businesses reopening will require personnel to sanitize, physically distance and wear face coverings.

Phase two: If this week continues on track, more businesses will be permitted to open next Monday, Justice said.

This second phase will include small businesses with less than 10 employees, outdoor dining at restaurants, salons and dog groomers. 

Places of worship are also expected to be included in that second phase but capacity will be restricted.

3:26 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Woman on packed flight where passengers weren't wearing masks says it was a "scary experience"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

A view of an American Airlines jet at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas.
A view of an American Airlines jet at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Erin Strine was flying home to be with her family after her grandmother passed away and was shocked to be on a packed American Airlines flight with people who were not wearing masks.

Strine, who took video of the packed flight, said an announcement was made after she boarded that passengers would not be able to move their seats and would not be able to social distance because the flight was full.

“It was a scary thing to experience,” Strine told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.

“I would’ve felt a little better knowing that everyone had been required to wear masks,“ she said.

American Airlines announced today that the company would require flight attendants to wear face masks starting May 1.

This comes after JetBlue became the first airline to require passengers to wear face coverings starting May 4.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said while face masks alone aren’t enough, requiring them on flights does keep “everyone safer.”

Nelson added that coronavirus safety requirements should be consistent and that there needs to be a federal mandate for aviation policy regarding the virus across the board.

She said that the rest of the world is “heads above” where the US currently is.

“Canada put this in place a week ago. Other countries around the world have had this in place for several weeks and months and we need to be leaders again among the world and take the best precautions for our health and safety,” Nelson said.

3:16 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Schools might not recover if they don't reopen in the fall, university president says

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

University Hall pictured on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 30, 2019.
University Hall pictured on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 30, 2019. Shutterstock

Brown University President Christina Paxson said opening colleges and universities in the fall is key for viability.

Financial stressors existed before the pandemic during the last decade for higher education, Paxson told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

“Those colleges and universities depend on tuition. If they can’t bring students back safely, which is very important, then they are going to be under severe financial stress and I don’t know how all of them will recover,” she said.

Brown is making a plan, but Paxson doesn’t know if it will be implemented, echoing what she wrote in her New York Times op-ed Monday. She said it will depend on what happens with the pandemic in the coming months.

Testing, tracing and separating those who are exposed or sick are all part of the plan, Paxson said.

“It won’t be, if we can do this, a normal academic year, it will be different. We are going to have to spend a lot of times working with our students helping them understand what they need to do to responsibly keep themselves and their community safe,” she said.

Watch:

2:53 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

There has been nearly 12,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths in New York City

From CNN's Rob Frehse

A public safety officer stands behind the gates of temporarily closed park at a crowded viewing point for a flyover by the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds of the New York City skyline in Weehawken, New Jersey, on April 28.
A public safety officer stands behind the gates of temporarily closed park at a crowded viewing point for a flyover by the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds of the New York City skyline in Weehawken, New Jersey, on April 28. Seth Wenig/AP

New York City has had at least 11,820 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 5,395 probable coronavirus deaths, according to the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 17,215.

There have been 157,713 coronavirus cases in the city and approximately 40,578 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

2:50 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Tripadvisor lays off 25% of its staff

From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky

Tripadvisor announced today that it will lay off 900 employees, or roughly 25% of its workforce, because of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on demand for travel.

More than 600 employees working in the US and Canada and nearly 300 employees working outside those two countries will be affected.

The company also said it would put a "number" of employees on furlough for an unspecified time and shutter its San Francisco and Boston offices.

"All of these actions, while difficult, will give TripAdvisor greater financial flexibility and enable us to better manage the business through this time of incredible uncertainty and instability," CEO Steve Kaufner said in an open letter.

TripAdvisor's stock is down 40% for the year.

2:44 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Colorado receives more than $10 million in federal funding for coronavirus research

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Healthcare workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for Covid-19 on March 12, in Denver, Colorado.
Healthcare workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for Covid-19 on March 12, in Denver, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Colorado received more than $10 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide additional funding for epidemiological work and lab testing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the Colorado State Joint Information Center.

The funding is part of various federal aid programs which provide assistance to states dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have our work ahead of us to slow the spread of Covid-19, and this additional funding will allow us to bolster our testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak investigation work at a critical time," Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist said in a statement.

The CDC will provide further guidance on the specific spending parameters later this week, but generally the money is for a two-year period and is intended to go towards programs that "enhance case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response, especially in high-risk settings and among at-risk populations," for example, the statement said.

3:00 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Mike Pence is the only one visible not wearing a mask during Mayo Clinic tour

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

  

Vice President Mike Pence is touring the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, today, speaking with health care workers and plasma donors. He’s currently touring a coronavirus testing lab and getting an explanation of its capabilities. 

Strikingly, Pence is the only person visible in the video not wearing a face mask. Dr. Stephen Hahn with the Food and Drug Administration is touring the facility along with the Vice President, and he, unlike Pence, is wearing a mask. 

Mayo Clinic tweeted that Pence had been notified of its "masking policy" before today's tour, but then later deleted the tweet.

Watch:

2:10 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

More than a million cases of coronavirus reported in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts

 

A medical professional works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Hospital on April 28, in Somerville, Massachusetts.
A medical professional works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Hospital on April 28, in Somerville, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There are at least 1,002,498 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

The number of confirmed US coronavirus cases topped 500,000 on April 10, according to Johns Hopkins’ tally.

2:05 p.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Trump to order meat processing plants to stay open

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Shoppers browse in the meat section at a grocery store on April 28, in Washington, DC.
Shoppers browse in the meat section at a grocery store on April 28, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump is expected to sign a five-page executive order under the Defense Production Act today that compels meat processing plants to remain open, CNN has learned. 

Trump is expected to sign the order after some companies, like Tyson, were considering only keeping 20% of their facilities open. The vast majority of processing plans could have shut down, which would have reduced processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%, an official familiar says. 

By signing the order, Trump will declare these plants as a part of critical infrastructure in the US.

The administration is also working with the Labor Department on issuing guidance about which employees should remain home. This is to protect facilities that are required to stay open from liability issues.

Trump previewed the order earlier today during an Oval Office spray with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying that he expects to sign an executive order later in the day related to the food supply chain.

“We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump told reporters. 

The President also underscored that “there’s plenty of supply. It’s distribution.”

“It was a unique circumstance because of liability,” he added.