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
22 Posts
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11:28 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

There have been at least 56,000 coronavirus deaths in the US

A person wearing a face shield and a mask walks in the streets in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens on April 28, in New York City.
A person wearing a face shield and a mask walks in the streets in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens on April 28, in New York City. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

There are at least 989,357 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 56,386 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States,

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

 

11:17 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

House reverses plan to come back to DC next week

From CNN's Haley Byrd

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer speaks to members of the media on March 13, in Washington, DC.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer speaks to members of the media on March 13, in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on a phone call with reporters today that Democratic leaders came to the judgment late Monday that the House will not come back next week, a reversal from the plan they advanced yesterday afternoon.

Hoyer said the attending physician's points that the numbers in D.C. are still going up and the surrounding area is a hotspot, as well as the fact that the next coronavirus relief package will “not be definitely ready to be considered next week” contributed to the decision.

10:38 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

New York City high school seniors will have a virtual graduation

From CNN’s Mark Morales and Elizabeth Joseph

All New York City high school seniors are going to be celebrated in a citywide virtual graduation, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning.

“We’re going to do one big citywide virtual graduation ceremony, we’re going to do one big celebration of New York City’s high school seniors. We’re going to make it something very special. You may not have the traditional ceremony that you were looking forward to, we’re going to give you something you’re going to remember for the rest of your life and you will cherish,” he said, speaking directly to students and their parents during a virtual press conference.

The city will bring together “some very special guests” to celebrate the graduating class, he said. "Expect it to be something very special and very memorable,” de Blasio added. 

Additional details are expected in the weeks ahead.

10:38 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Dr. Fauci on a second wave of coronavirus: "I'm almost certain it will come back"

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House on April 22.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House on April 22. Alex Brandon/AP

Top US infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said today "I'm almost certain it will come back" when he was asked about the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 hitting later this year.

"In my mind, it's inevitable that we will have a return of the virus," Fauci said while speaking to the Economic Club of Washington on a Zoom call.

He said that the virus has "globally spread" — noting that we are starting to see cases in parts of Southern Africa. "It's not going to disappear from the planet," he said.

Fauci said that if the virus returns later this year, "how we handle it...will determine our fate."

He said that if "countermeasures" that are being discussed are executed, "we should do reasonably well," otherwise the country could see a "bad fall" and "bad winter."

10:22 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Farmers are "in peril" as plants close due to coronavirus concerns, pork producer says 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

The Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is seen on April 20.
The Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is seen on April 20. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Farmers are facing a crisis as meat plants close during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Iowa pork producer and president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council Jen Sorenson. 

“We're in complete peril. … We need help, we need direct payments, we need support, and we need indemnification and support as we look to euthanizing a large number of hogs, which is inevitably what we have to do if we can't keep our plants open,” Sorenson said. 

As plants producing 33% of the nation’s pork supplies have closed, Sorenson said farmers are on the brink of bankruptcy.  

“We’re in a downward spiral. If we don't do something quickly, we'll see further consolidation and loss of thousands of family farms,” she told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. 

Three of the nation's largest pork processing plants have been temporarily shut down because of coronavirus concerns among workers. House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said yesterday that farmers now have a huge overstock of pigs that must be euthanized — estimating that there are roughly 60,000 to 70,000 pigs a day that could be killed in order to make space at farms. Peterson said the country could see pork shortages in grocery stores by next week, but Sorenson says the biggest crisis is on farms right now.  

 “The crisis is our hogs that are backing up, they have no place to go, we have new hogs coming into our barns. And we need a solution, we need our county, state and federal, local officials to work together and wrap our arms around the food chain and try and keep these plants open,” she said. 

9:59 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Farmers are concerned about the US meat supply. Here's what it means for consumers.

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

Shelves normally stocked with meat sit empty at a Giant grocery store in Dunkirk, Maryland, on March 13.
Shelves normally stocked with meat sit empty at a Giant grocery store in Dunkirk, Maryland, on March 13. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Concerns about the health of the US meat supply continue to grow, as more meat processing plants shut down due to coronavirus outbreaks. 

Hog farmers are sounding the alarm: They have too many hogs and nowhere to send to them due to the plants closing down. House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said Monday that farmers will have to kill roughly 60,000 to 70,000 pigs a day in order to make space at farms.

What this means for shoppers: Experts still tell CNN that, while the food supply chain is vulnerable, consumers will be the least impacted — a lack of variety and some temporary scarcity in certain types of meat, but do not predict not an overall "meat shortage"

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Occupational Safety and Health Administration, published new, interim guidelines on 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 CDC said that these workplaces should identify an on-site coordinator who is responsible for Covid-19 assessments and control planning, be knowledgeable in virus prevention, while also making sure all employees know how to contact them with any concerns.

9:48 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Military hospital at NYC's Javits Center will end its mission around May 1

From CNN's Ryan Browne

A temporary hospital is set up at the Javits Convention Center in New York on March 27.
A temporary hospital is set up at the Javits Convention Center in New York on March 27. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

The US military field hospital at the Javits Convention Center in New York City will end its mission "on or about May 1," according to the Defense Department.

"The Javits Center is in the process of transferring patients to local hospitals with an expected completion of mission on or about May 1," the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.

About the hospital: The field hospital at the Javits Center has treated 1,093 patients and is still treating 74 of last night, according to Northwell Health spokesperson Terry Lynam.

The Army Corps of Engineers converted the Javits Center to treat coronavirus patients but the field hospital along with the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort have been operating significantly below capacity as the absence of hospital bed space has not been as much of a challenge as was originally anticipated. 

Hundreds of military medical personnel have been assigned to the Javits field hospital. 

The USNS Comfort has already discharged its last patient and is expected to depart New York in the coming days.

9:42 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

US stocks open higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks opened higher for a second day in a row as investor confidence remains high in this earnings-heavy week.

Here's how the markets opened on Tuesday:

  • The Dow opened up 1.5%, or 365 points. The index could tack on a fifth-straight day of gains today, which would be its longest winning streak since January. 
  • The S&P 500 opened 1.5% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1%.

You can follow live updates on the markets here.

10:09 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Treasury Secretary says any companies taking loans over $2 million will face audits

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looks on as President Donald Trump signs the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House on April 24.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looks on as President Donald Trump signs the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House on April 24. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin criticized big companies – including the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team — taking loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, and warned that others following suit will undergo a full audit. 

“I never expected in a million years that the Los Angeles Lakers, which, I’m a big fan of the team, but I’m not a big fan of the fact that they took a $4.6 million loan. I think that’s outrageous and I’m glad they returned it or they would have had liability,” Mnuchin said during an appearance on CNBC.

He continued, “And let me just say I’m going to be putting out an announcement this morning that for any loan over $2 million, the SBA will be doing a full review of that loan before there is loan forgiveness, so we will make sure that what was the intent for taxpayers is fulfilled here.”

He later described that review as a “full audit of every loan over $2 million,” noting that the “certification was very clear in saying that if people had other sources of liquidity they could not take this loan.”

Mnuchin said it was “unfortunate” that a “small number of companies,” including Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, have “created a lot of publicity.”

“I think it was inappropriate for most of these companies to take the loans. It was clear that there was a certification,” he said, noting that Treasury is “encouraged” by the businesses that have paid those loans back.