Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:07 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
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1:54 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New Jersey governor to sign an executive order to reopen parks and golf courses

From CNN’s Sheena Jones

An aerial view of a golf course in New Jersey.
An aerial view of a golf course in New Jersey. FotosForTheFuture/Shutterstock

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted today that he will sign an executive order reopening state parks this weekend.

All state parks, golf courses and county parks will reopen at sunrise on May 2, Murphy announced.

“Social distancing will continue to be mandated,” he tweeted.

Murphy, speaking at a news conference today, said Covid-19 numbers in the state are "headed in the right direction."

At least 6,770 people have died of coronavirus, and at least 116,264 people have tested positive for the virus, he said.

 

1:42 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Texas Tech University announces plans to reopen campus by fall 

From CNN's Gregory Lemo

Texas Tech University Seal in Lubbock, Texas on January 13, 2016.
Texas Tech University Seal in Lubbock, Texas on January 13, 2016. IrinaK/Shutterstock

Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec announced Wednesday he intends to reopen campus by fall "using a phased return approach."  

In a letter to the community, Schovanec wrote the university will resume residential life and in-person teaching, although learning will be a mix of online and face-to-face. He said that while the first summer session of school will be online, he is considering opening the campus for in-person learning for the second session "to test the protocols and policies that will guide the re-opening of campus in the fall."  

"We need to recognize that campus life will be different when we return in the fall," Schovanec wrote, noting that social distancing, masks, testing and contact tracing will be a part of the new normal. "There will be inconveniences, but they will be necessary for us to get back to our campus, colleagues, and friends in a safe and responsible way." 

Schovanec said the university is working through plans to reduce density of people, a practice that will extend to sporting events and special events as well.  

1:21 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Fauci: Mortality rate trended "better" with possible coronavirus treatment remdesivir

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC on April 9.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC on April 9. Oliver Contreras/SIPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said remdesivir coronavirus trial showed that the mortality rate trended "towards being better" with patients who took the drug.

Fauci, speaking at the White House alongside President Trump, added he was told that the data shows the drug has a "clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery."

About the trial: Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences said today it is "aware of positive data emerging from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) study of the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19."

Remember: The World Health Organization said it’s too early to comment on the remdesivir trial results released today.

1:13 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Iowa takes steps to reopen some businesses

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

A church member prays during a Good Friday service at a church in Des Moines, Iowa on April 10.
A church member prays during a Good Friday service at a church in Des Moines, Iowa on April 10. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced some church services, elective surgeries and farmers markets will reopen Monday. 

There were 467 new Covid-19 cases reported on Wednesday, for a total of 6,843 positive cases in the state, Reynolds said at a briefing. 

1:01 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

WHO says it's too early to comment on possible Covid-19 treatment remdesivir

From CNN's Amanda Watts

 

Dr. Michael Ryan talks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva, Switzerland on March 11.
Dr. Michael Ryan talks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva, Switzerland on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program, said it’s too early to comment on the remdesivir trial results released earlier today. 

“It's always very important that we consider all publications related to them, it can sometimes take a number of publications to determine of the ultimate impact of a drug is,” Ryan said.

“I think a lot more data will come out, we're all hoping, and fervently hoping, that one or more of the treatments currently under observation and under trial will result in altering clinical outcomes and improving clinical outcomes,” he added. 

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the coronavirus response with WHO, explained the agency generally pulls together all the evidence from several studies, will review it and critique it. 

Currently, WHO is conducting “living reviews” on about 30 topics right now, in peer-reviewed journals and publications.

“Typically, you don't have one study that will come out that will be a game changer,” Van Kerkove said.  

If one proves to be a game changer, WHO will adjust its guidance, Van Kerkhove said, “But there is a process for this to take place and we're really grateful for all of the scientists and experts that work with us to, to help us develop this guidance and understand all of this research that's coming out.”

What this is about: Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences said today it is "aware of positive data emerging from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) study of the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19."

12:54 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New York's Empire State Building will glow blue tonight to honor MTA workforce

The Empire State Building illuminated in blue for Health Workers movement in New York City on April 09.
The Empire State Building illuminated in blue for Health Workers movement in New York City on April 09. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The Empire State Building will be lit up with blue lights tonight to honor workers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It starts at 7:51 p.m. ET.

“Our employees are working tirelessly to keep the city moving and get essential employees to where they have to go during the COVID-19 pandemic,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said in a statement. 

He added: “They are among the heroes of this moment in history. We honor them every day for their dedication and tonight everyone within view of the Empire State Building will know others are joining us in honoring and thanking our employees.”

The building's tower lights will display different colors each night to honor essential workers and first responders.

Blue is the official color of the MTA, according to an MTA statement.

12:38 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Washington, DC

From CNN's Nicky Robertson and Alex Marquardt 

Washington, DC, officials held a news conference this morning to give updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the city.

Here's the latest from the nation's capitol:

  • The latest numbers: There have been 4,106 confirmed cases and 205 deaths in Washington DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
  • Hiring contact tracers: The DC government is posting contact-tracing jobs today. They will be 13-month term positions, and there will be three types of jobs: Investigators, lead investigators and program managers. Last week, Bowser announced that the district will eventually need up to 900 contact-tracers.
  • Michelle Obama on the phone: Bowser said on CNN's New Day yesterday that former first lady Michelle Obama would record a robocall public service announcement for the city. DC Attorney General Karl Racine said he received it — and it was like a “good cup of coffee and a warm hug."
12:42 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Cuomo says he ordered MTA to come up with a plan to disinfect trains at night

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

An empty MTA subway train in Queens, NY during coronavirus pandemic on April 27.
An empty MTA subway train in Queens, NY during coronavirus pandemic on April 27. John Nacion/NurPhoto/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he told the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which is responsible for public transportation in the state, to come up with a plan by tomorrow on how to disinfect trains and buses. 

“Any essential worker who shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before. We want them to show up. We don't want them to stay home. We owe it to them to be able to say the train you ride, the bus you ride, has been disinfected and is clean,” he said.

In yesterday’s briefing, Cuomo called the state of subway cars "disrespectful.”

“To let homeless people stay on the trains in the middle of a global health pandemic with no masks, no protective equipment, you're not helping the homeless. Letting them endanger their own life and endanger lives of others is not helping anyone,” Cuomo added in today’s briefing. 

When pressed further on a specific schedule for cleaning, Cuomo said the agency is responsible for that.

"I told the MTA, give me a plan whereby you will clean and disinfect every train every night so that I can say to the essential workers who are killing themselves for our state, we're keeping the subways open for you, and when you get on the subway in the morning or in the afternoon, know that that car was disinfected the night before," he said. "... I'm not going to do a cleaning schedule. I don't do that."

Cuomo said the state today will begin testing of transit workers to further determine the spread of the coronavirus.

12:15 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Vermont reports no new cases of coronavirus since Monday

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Vermont hasn’t reported a new case of coronavirus since Monday, according to the data from the state's health department.

Vermont reported 862 cases of coronavirus on April 27 and the number of cases hasn’t risen since.

This marks the first time the state has reported zero new cases since the state health department reported its first cases in March.