Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:54 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020
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1:16 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Washington, DC, reports largest one-day increase in Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Austen Bundy 

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Pool

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday morning that there have been 19 new coronavirus deaths in the District – the largest one-day increase in Washington. This brings the total deaths in the District to 224.

In the past, the number of daily deaths have been 15 or fewer. Bowser noted 80% of DC deaths have been African-American residents.

There were 217 new positive Covid-19 cases in Washington, DC, bringing the total to 4,323.

District officials continue to talk with the White House task force to ensure they know how much testing supplies they'll need to combat Covid-19 in the coming months.

Bowser reaffirmed that the DC economy will not reopen until the District meets the White House's requirement of 14 days of sustained decreases in cases.

1:00 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Massachusetts governor says hospitalization rates have been flat for two weeks

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Hospitalization rates have been flat for about 15 days in a row, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said during a news conference. 

As of yesterday, 3,856 patients were hospitalized in Massachusetts with Covid-19, he said.

Massachusetts had the largest single-day increase of Covid-19-related deaths yesterday. At least 252 people died, Baker said.

12:57 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Contact tracers need the right tools, head of training program says

From CNN's Amanda Watts


Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health at the Bloomberg School, said contact tracers need to be properly trained for the system to work. 

“These calls can be complicated; and it’s important to make sure that folks have the tools and the training that they need to be able to handle them well,” Gurley said today.

Basic introduction training for becoming a contact tracer takes four to five hours, Gurley said.

“That prepares you for more specialized training at the local jurisdiction level, and that can take up to a day or two, because a lot of it is on the job training and intense supervision," she added.

Gurley, who is leading the program to build an online curriculum and training for the state of New York, said contact tracing is being done every day “to protect the public from people who could be infectious.” 

“There are many ways that technology can support this public health function and contact tracers,” Gurley said. “It can help them be faster, it can help them organize data, it can help cases in contacts respond in a quick way about their signs and symptoms.”  

Gurley warned technology should never be used in place of a public health worker saying, “it never takes the place of that personal interaction that will have to happen if this is going to be effective.”

12:55 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Iowa opens some businesses in areas with little "virus activity," governor says

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Iowa is preparing to ease restrictions in areas with little or no "virus activity," Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a news briefing today.

There were 14 new Covid-19-related deaths Thursday — the largest one-day jump in the state.

"Covid-19 isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. The virus will continue to be in our communities and unfortunately, people will still get sick until a vaccine is available," Reynolds said.

"Keeping businesses closed for weeks or months longer won't change that fact and it simply is not sustainable. It's not sustainable for Iowans their livelihoods, or our economy," Reynolds added. 

Reynolds lifted limits on nonessential surgeries, farmers' markets and other nonessential business this week in a "phased" approach.

According to Reynolds, 89% of the state's 7,145 cases are from 22 counties. Restrictions will remain in place in those counties, she said.

12:59 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

New York Department of Health investigating after dead bodies were found in trucks outside a funeral home


The New York State Department of Health is investigating the discovery of dozens of bodies in trucks parked outside a Brooklyn funeral home, Health Commissioner Howard A. Zucker told journalists during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s news briefing Thursday.

He said there hasn't been any formal complaints lodged against that specific funeral home in the past.

Some context: On Wednesday, 60 bodies were discovered after someone reported fluids dripping from four trucks parked outside the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home, a law enforcement official told CNN.

The home was overwhelmed and ran out of room for bodies, which were awaiting cremation, and used the trucks for storage, a second law enforcement source said Wednesday.

12:45 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Former White House adviser: We need a national center for epidemic forecasting

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Dylan George
Dylan George CNN

“Outbreak science” that uses technology better to alert, track and monitor outbreaks can help the US better prepare for future pandemics, said Dylan George, who worked in the Bush and Obama administrations tracking biological threats.

He advocated to create a national center for epidemic forecasting and analytics as part of a national strategy to respond to pandemics.

“When a hurricane is coming barreling down on the East Coast, we don't scramble to ask a handful of random people to actually understand what the hurricane is doing, figure out how to mitigate it and preposition materials and personnel across the East Coast. We have a unified response in how to move this forward," he said.

The same applies for pandemic response, he said. “We need to figure out a national plan and national strategy.”

A national center for epidemic forecasting and analytics is going to be really critical, he added.

The focus on vaccines may be a good long-term solution but it provides a marginal market in public health for private sector innovation, he said. 

“Data technologies have transformed our society but they have not transformed public health or health care.”
12:32 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Golf courses and other recreational activities to reopen in Dallas

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The city of Dallas, Texas will reopen its golf courses and other outdoor facilities tomorrow, May 1st, according to a release from a city spokesperson, Andrea Hawkins.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s "strategic plan to Open Texas" includes the reopening of golf and outdoor sports, "provided that the sports do not include contact with other participants, and no more than four participants play the sport at any time," Abbott said in a tweet Thursday.  

"Dallas Park and Recreation operates six 18-hole golf courses, five full-service tennis centers" and a shooting range which are set to reopen with "strict physical distancing," the Dallas release said. 

Equipment and golf carts will be sanitized between users, the release said. The gun range will open every other shooting range for social distancing, the release said.

Dallas parks and trails remain open but amenities like the restrooms, pavilions and water fountains remain closed, the release said. 

At midnight on Friday, Texas malls, museums, restaurants and movie theaters can open at up to 25% capacity, according to Abbott's executive order.

12:32 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

The number of people flying into the US has dropped to 2% of last year's arrivals

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Geneva Sands

United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport as the coronavirus pandemic slows air travel on April 22, in Denver.
United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport as the coronavirus pandemic slows air travel on April 22, in Denver.

The number of people flying into the United States has plummeted to just 2% of last year’s arrivals, according to new US government data.  

Figures from Customs and Border Protection show only 218,347 people have entered the country in April, compared to nearly 10.8 million people in April 2019. The figures are through April 28. 

In March, air arrivals dropped by more than half: 5.4 million compared to 11.4 million in 2019. 

In February, slightly more people flew into the US in 2020 than in 2019. 

Airlines have nearly eliminated service between the US and foreign destinations, and are currently flying only about 5% of typical international schedules. 

The number of people on each international flight has started to tick up in the second half of April, according to the airline industry group Airlines for America, though some of that may be due to airlines condensing nearly-empty international flights. The average international flight now carries 28 or 29 passengers, compared to 26 as of last Friday and 24 in the middle of the month. 

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, which is part of a major international flight network, said he expects little or no increase in flying as the summer travel season begins.   

12:30 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

House could come back in two weeks, Pelosi says

From CNN's Haley Byrd and Clare Foran 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 30, in Washington.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 30, in Washington. Balce Ceneta/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House’s current plan is to return the week after next to advance another coronavirus relief package.

“We’re not coming back next week. Our plan is to come back the following week,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference on Thursday. 

But she also said the House is “at the mercy of the virus” and the schedule will depend on guidance from the Capitol attending physician and the sergeant at arms.

In addition to a vote on the next coronavirus relief package, Pelosi said the House will be able to vote on a rules change to allow proxy voting and remote committee work.

Pelosi told reporters that Democrats’ main priority is funding for state and local governments.

She said Democrats may propose three separate dedicated funding streams for states, counties, and municipalities in the next coronavirus relief bill, with around $500 billion for states and a “similar” amount for localities — potentially adding up to $1 trillion over time.