April 1 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Tara John, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:37 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020
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2:11 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Most US hotel rooms are empty, new data shows

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

More than three-quarters of hotel rooms across the US were empty last week, according to new data from analytics and research group STR. 

The national occupancy rate for the week of March 22 was 22.6%, down 67.5% from the same time last year. 

It’s the worst week yet for national occupancy since the coronavirus crisis started. The week of March 15 posted 30.3% occupancy, while the week before was at 53%.

STR projects 2020 will be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy, even with an anticipated rebound after the crisis passes. 

Oahu Island in Hawaii posted the steepest drop in occupancy last week, down 86.4% from last year with just 10.5% of the rooms rented. 

In other hard hit areas, occupied hotel rooms in New Orleans fell nearly 85%, New York dropped nearly 82%, while Seattle plummeted more than 76% from last year.

3:05 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Florida stay-at-home order goes into effect on Friday

From CNN's Dan Shepherd

An aerial drone view shows the empty boardwalk on March 31, in Hollywood, Florida.
An aerial drone view shows the empty boardwalk on March 31, in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday. 

According to 2019 Census data, the population of the state has over 21 million people.

Florida has 6,946 confirmed coronavirus cases and 86 deaths, according to CNN's tally.

Hear more:

1:58 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Coronavirus surge is beginning in northern New Jersey, health commissioner says

The Covid-19 surge is beginning in northern New Jersey, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

Some hospitals in the northern part of the state have asked ambulances to not bring patients to the hospital. Two hospitals called to say they needed ventilators, Persichilli said. 

Officials are looking at possible alternative sites, Persichilli said.

The field hospital will begin being staffed next week, she said.

At least 93 of the long-term facilities across New Jersey are reporting at least one positive Covid-19 case, she said.

About 5,200 healthcare professionals have volunteered to assist with the fight against the pandemic.

New Jersey currently has 22,255 coronavirus cases and 355 deaths, according to CNN's tally.

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

Nevada governor issues stay-at-home order

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas on March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas on March 17. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a formal stay-at-home directive for Nevadans and extended the non-essential business, gaming and school closures today, according to a statement from his office. 

The stay-at-home order goes into effect at midnight Wednesday, according to the statement.

The closure of non-essential business, gaming establishments and schools is extended to April 30, according to the statement.

1:49 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

There are 2,900 New York City Fire Department members currently out sick

From CNN's Mark Morales

There are 2,900 New York City Fire Department members currently out sick, Jim Long, a spokesperson for the department, told CNN.

The 2,900 number is an overall count and it includes members who do not have illnesses or symptoms related to Covid-19, Long said.

So far, 282 members of the FDNY have tested positive for Covid-19. This figure includes firefighters, EMS personnel and civilians.

On Tuesday, FDNY EMS responded to 6,010 medical calls, Long said.

1:49 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Madrid is using its hotels to treat more than 700 coronavirus patients

From CNN's Laura-Perez Maestro in Madrid and Mia Alberti in Lisbon.

Eleven hotels in the Spanish capital of Madrid are being used to treat 704 coronavirus patients, the regional government said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"The main purpose of these hotels is to house patients that present a positive evolution of the illness, but cannot continue the quarantine in their houses, for family or social reasons", the statement said.

The city's health department is working alongside Madrid's Hotel Owners Association and a 12th hotel is set to start receiving patients from local hospitals by the end of Wednesday.

Around 4,400 graduate doctors are responsible for the care of these patients.

"With this measure, the Health Department can free rooms in the hospitals, which can be used by other patients that need treatment for other illnesses," the regional government said.

2:03 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Pelosi says Trump and McConnell "should not try to hide behind" impeachment excuse over coronavirus response

From CNN's Clare Foran


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "should not try to hide behind an excuse" in response to the suggestion from both the President and the Kentucky Republican that impeachment distracted the US government from the growing coronavirus crisis.

"I think that's an admission that perhaps the President and the majority leader cannot handle the job," Pelosi told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview.

"We have a life and death situation in our country and they should not try to hide behind an excuse for why they did not take action, but it does admit that they did not take action," Pelosi said, adding, "Right now we have to work together to get the job done." 

Some context: In an interview on Tuesday with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said that the crisis "came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day was all about impeachment."

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump echoed that argument, saying that impeachment "probably did" distract him from responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did (distract me)," Trump said. "I mean, I got impeached. I think, you know, I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it."


1:43 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Florida drive-thru coronavirus testing site booked nearly 2,000 appointments in one day

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The first Covid-19 drive-thru testing site in Palm Beach County, Florida, opened yesterday and has already stopped taking calls to their screening hotline, according to a statement from the county.

Nearly 2,000 appointments have been made through Saturday, according to a press release.

"The goal is to reopen the phone lines tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. if Palm Beach County receives additional test kits," the release says.

By county, Palm Beach has the third most cases in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

1:41 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Florida governor will sign executive order telling people to stay at home

From CNN's Dan Shepherd, Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt and Jamiel Lynch

The Florida Channel
The Florida Channel

In a press conference this afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will be signing an executive order directing all Floridians to limit actions outside of their homes.

DeSantis has been one of the governors who has not yet issued a stay-at-home order for the their state.

Florida has reported over 6,900 cases and 86 deaths.