Customers should wear face coverings at Ohio businesses, official says
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said customers should wear face coverings when they visit businesses, but will not be required to do so.
Workers, however, will be required to wear face coverings, he said.
According to Husted, there are exceptions to that mandate. They are...
An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job.
Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices.
Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes.
If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies.
An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace.
There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee.
Husted said if any of these exceptions apply to a certain business or an employee, written justification must be provided when requesting an exemption from the mandate.
3:19 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Pig farmer says he may be forced to euthanize hogs as meat processing plants struggle during pandemic
From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury, Ann Colwell and Rob McLean
President Trump signed an executive order requiring meat processing plants to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, but plant workers are concerned about their safety and say they’re not going to show up.
This stall in the meat producing pipeline is having a ripple effect and impacting farmers.
According to one estimate from the National Pork Board, more than 1.5 million hogs will have to be destroyed in the coming weeks as farmers run out of space to maintain them.
Minnesota based pig farmer Mike Patterson told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin that he will soon be forced to euthanize hogs on his farm.
Patterson said he has about 3,000 hogs on his farm and was scheduled to start selling to Smithfield Foods, Inc. in Sioux Falls on April 15, but still hasn't sold any hogs.
“At some point, there's … no way we're going to be able to handle the backlog because the plants won't even be at full capacity when they do get running,” he said.
On Tuesday, Trump signed the order after some companies, such as Tyson Foods, were considering only keeping 20% of their facilities open. The vast majority of processing plants could have shut down — which would have reduced processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%, an official familiar with the order told CNN.
2:53 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Elective surgeries will resume in Virginia on Friday
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
Elective surgery and dental procedures in Virginia can resume on Friday when the state's public order expires, according to Gov. Ralph Northam.
Hospitals and dental facilities will restart non-emergency procedures safely, Northam said at a briefing Wednesday.
"These are safe, clean places to go," Northam said.
Northam has partnered with the governors of Maryland and Delaware following President Trump's act requiring meat packing facilities to remain open.
The governors in the tri-state area are working with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to assess plants and "reconfigure spaces" to ensure "workers are able to be separated and protected," Northam said.
"The majority of these workers have low incomes and are from communities of color; these factors place them at a higher risk," Northam said. "If we declare that workers at meat processing plants are essential, then it is imperative that we continue to support their health and well being," Northam said.
Virginia has 14,961 total cases with 622 new cases and 30 new Covid-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours, health officials said.
3:14 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
New York Times: FDA expected to issue emergency authorization for remdesivir
From CNN’s Arman Azad
The US Food and Drug Administration plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for remdesivir, according to the New York Times.
The authorization for the investigational coronavirus treatment could come as soon as Wednesday, the Times reported, citing a senior administration official.
In a statement to CNN, the FDA on Wednesday said it is in discussions with Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, about making the drug available to patients.
“As part of the FDA’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in sustained and ongoing discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate,” said Michael Felberbaum, an FDA spokesperson.
The FDA’s expected move comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, announced encouraging results from a remdesivir trial in a White House meeting with President Trump. When compared to patients who received a placebo, remdesivir was shown to shorten the duration of Covid-19, but there was no statistically-significant difference in whether patients died. The full study has not yet been released, and the research has not been peer-reviewed.
An emergency-use authorization would be notable because remdesivir is not currently approved to treat any disease – unlike some other drugs that have been used for coronavirus patients, such as hydroxychloroquine.
2:40 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
More than 1,000 people have died of coronavirus in Detroit
From CNN's Anna Sturla
Detroit now has more than 1,000 deaths due to Covid-19, Mayor Mike Duggan announced at a news conference Wednesday
He said 1,008 residents have died due to complications related to the virus.
2:37 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
New York's transit system is launching a new cleaning plan in light of criticism
New York's Metropolitan Transit Association (MTA), which is responsible for public transportation in the state, said it will launch a new plan to clean more frequently. The plan will be delivered to the governor when it is complete.
Ken Lovett, the senior adviser to the MTA chairman and CEO, issued the following statement Wednesday:
“We fully agree that we must do everything we can to keep our system and trains and buses as clean and as safe as possible. Following on our aggressive plan of disinfecting our stations twice each day and our full fleet every 72 hours, we are completing a plan to further enhance and increase the frequency of our cleaning. We will deliver that plan to the governor as he requested.”
What is this about: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier today he told the MTA 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.
During Tuesday’s coronavirus 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."
2:13 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Fed leaves rates at zero but will use its "full range of tools" to help the economy
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged near zero and said it would deploy its "full range of tools" to support the US economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the US economy.
"The coronavirus outbreak is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world," the committee said in a statement. "The virus and the measures taken to protect public health are inducing sharp declines in economic activity and a surge in job losses."
Policymakers agreed following their two-day meeting in Washington to maintain rates as they continued to see signs of a badly damaged economy.
The decision to refrain from dropping rates into negative territory, as some other central banks have done, had been widely expected by investors after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and several other Fed board members spoke out against negative rates.
2:14 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
New Jersey has lost more people during coronavirus than these wars and tragedies combined
From CNN’s Sheena Jones
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy took a brief moment of silence during today's news conference for the more than 6,000 people who have died from coronavirus across the state.
The governor said the 6,770 people who died from the virus in New Jersey is more than the number of residents who died in World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, both gulf wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — Superstorm Sandy and 9/11 combined.
Murphy also announced the state will create its own face masks and gowns, and that the state has distributed more than 21 million pieces of personal protective equipment statewide.
New Jersey will send 200,000 surgical masks to New York and 50 ventilators to Massachusetts, the governor added.
2:08 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Nevada governor says stay-at-home order will be extended
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said that he is planning on easing some of the state's restrictions as part of his state's reopening plan today on an ABC special about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governor said that his plan, Nevada United Roadmap to Recovery, will "ease some of the restrictions that we had previously as it relates to retail, curbside pickup, some of our outdoor activities."
However, Sisolak noted that "we're going to have to extend the stay-at-home order a little bit." He did not give details as to how long the order will be extended.
Sisolak also explained that the reopening of the state's casinos is still a long way off.
"The opening of the casinos and the gaming enterprises will probably come into third or fourth phase of what we're going to end up doing," Sisolak explained.
"We're just not quite ready yet to handle that type of a volume," he added.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has drawn attention and scrutiny with her calls to allow casinos and most other local businesses to reopen immediately.
"It's not something as simple as flipping a switch and suddenly everybody's going to come back to Las Vegas," Sisolak said after being asked about her remarks. "We've got to work on the travel part of this."
Sisolak said that he will formally unveil his state's reopening plan tomorrow.