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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2:37 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New York's transit system is launching a new cleaning plan in light of criticism

Chains separating the back half of a public bus from the driver's space hang to protect MTA bus drivers from COVID-19 exposure, on Friday, April 24, in the Bronx borough of New York.
Chains separating the back half of a public bus from the driver's space hang to protect MTA bus drivers from COVID-19 exposure, on Friday, April 24, in the Bronx borough of New York. John Minchillo/AP

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 speaks during a news conference on the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 17. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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.

2:10 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

There are more than 4,000 coronavirus cases in Washington, DC

From CNN's Alex Marquardt and Nicky Robertson


There have been 4,106 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Washington, DC, and 205 deaths, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced at a news conference today.

The DC government is also looking to hire contact tracers. Contact tracers use a variety of methods, including phone calls, emails and social media messaging.

Bowser announced last week that the city will likely eventually need up to 900 contact tracers. The three types of positions they are currently hiring for are: investigators, lead investigators, and program managers.

1:53 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Remdesivir is not a cure, but appears to help

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed optimism regarding a study of the antiviral drug remdesivir for treatment of coronavirus.

CNN’s Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen cautioned: “This is not a cure.”

“Terribly sick people did not jump out of their hospital beds and start walking around. That didn’t happen. This is not a cure, but it does appear to help and it does appear to have a proof of concept and we can go from here to expand on that,” Cohen told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.

According to the study, the mortality rate for patients on remdesivir was 8% compared to 11% to for those on a placebo.

The duration of illness was 11 days for those on remdesivir compared to 15 days for those on the placebo.

“Remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Dr. Fauci said about the drug. “It is a very important proof of concept because what it is proving is that a drug can block this virus.”

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.

1:50 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Trump says US coronavirus cases are high because of testing capabilities

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Trump commented on the United States reaching 1 million coronavirus cases, the most in the world, and said that the number is so high because of the testing capabilities in this country.

“So we reached a million cases, that’s a tremendous amount, and the reason is because of testing, because other countries don’t test. If you don’t test you’re not going to find cases,” Trump said. 

Trump said that other countries “don’t have the ability to do what we’re doing” and that while the 1 million cases sounds bad, it is “an indication that our testing is so superior.”

The President again cast doubt that the US has more cases than China and said that the difference between the countries lies not only in testing, but also in transparency.

“The transparency is much different. Transparency is like from day and night. We are totally transparent, whatever it is, it is,” Trump said.

Trump concluded by saying that if other countries did the type of testing that the US does, “you’d see numbers that would be much different.”

1:40 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

White House looking at Trump traveling in the near future

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Sarah Westwood

President Trump has been telling advisers he wants to get out of Washington soon, according to two sources familiar.

White House planners have been instructed to look into potential travel for Trump in the near future, where he could showcase economic recovery and the White House’s pandemic response efforts. 

According to a senior administration official, advisers last week had been thinking the President should not hit the road any time soon, as a general advisory against non-essential travel remains in place for most Americans. 

However, aides knew it would be hard to keep him off the road due to his growing desire to leave the White House halls where he has been confined for weeks.

Outside allies have been appealing to the President directly to leave Washington, arguing that it would amplify his message in the weeks ahead that some of the county is opening for business.

Some are arguing the President could help restore a measure of public confidence in resuming travel and public outings if people saw him personally get back on the road. Vice President Mike Pence has begun to resume a travel schedule, hitting the battleground states of Minnesota this week to tour the Mayo Clinic and Wisconsin last week to tour a ventilator plant. 

Sending the President into those crucial states for limited official events could also allow the White House to score attention in key local media markets. And it could allow the President to focus more fully on the economic recovery side of the pandemic response rather than the medical side; his attempts to message the science behind his administration’s efforts have recently caused stumbles, and aides have said they expect Trump to shift his focus to the economy in the days ahead.

Trump has been signaling publicly and privately for weeks that he wants to leave the White House. As far back as a month ago, he was lamenting the fact that he could not travel to New York for the opening of the field hospital in the Javits Center — something he really wanted to do but was advised against.

Pence’s recent travel is a potential model for what Trump’s travel could look like: visits to factories or plants, roundtables, and no crowds.

1:57 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Louisiana reports 350 new Covid-19 cases as hospitalizations continue to decline

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

The Louisiana Department of Health reported today that the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state rose by 350, bringing the total there to 27,636. At least 1,802 deaths were reported.

The total number of hospitalizations have continued to decline and Jefferson Parish, one of the hardest hit in the state, reported no new deaths in the past day.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards met with President Trump and the White House coronavirus task force earlier today to discuss the state's response to the pandemic. 

"We’ve turned the corner in Louisiana," Edwards said. "We’re in a much, much better place than we were five-six weeks ago."