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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5:19 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Florida religious services exempt from stay-at-home executive order

From CNN's Stephanie Gallman

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference in Miami Gardens, Florida, on March 30.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference in Miami Gardens, Florida, on March 30. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship are “essential business” and therefore exempt from this stay-at-home executive order announced this afternoon. 

The stay-at-home order issued by 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.

Some context: Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne said he wouldn't close the doors of his Tampa, Florida, megachurch until the End Times begin. The police weren't willing to wait that long.

On Monday, Florida sheriff's deputies arrested the evangelical pastor, who has continued to host large church services despite public orders urging residents to stay home to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Howard-Browne has been charged with two counts: unlawful assembly and a violation of health emergency rules. Both are second-degree misdemeanors, Chronister said at a press conference Monday.

5:27 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Gun retailers deemed "essential service" by federal government

From CNN's Kelly Mena

People wait in line at Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City, California, on March 24.
People wait in line at Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City, California, on March 24. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

As states around the country issue "stay-at-home" orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, firearm and ammunition retailers have been designated an "essential service," according to updated guidance from the federal government. 

Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, identified "firearm and ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges" as critical infrastructure in the updated "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce" advisory, which was issued over the weekend.

The list is intended to be advisory and not to be considered "the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the Covid-19 response across all jurisdictions."

"Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion," the advisory states.

Some context: The Covid-19 health crisis has prompted at least 30 states and the District of Columbia to issue stay-at-home orders that force the closure of "non-essential services."

Firearm retailers haven't been specifically mentioned in some states' lists of essential businesses, so they're assumed to be non-essential.

5:22 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Georgia governor announces state-wide shelter-in-place to go into effect Friday

From CNN’s Lindsay Benson

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp held a press conference Wednesday afternoon and announced that a state-wide shelter-in-place will go into effect on Friday.

"Tomorrow, I will sign a state-wide shelter-in-place order, which will go into effect on Friday, and run through April 13, 2020. This date is in line with our public health emergency order," Kemp said.

Kemp also added that public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year.

"I will sign an executive order today closing K through 12 public schools for the rest of the school year," Kemp said.

He added that "online learning will continue."


4:54 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

California reports 1,200 more coronavirus cases

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

More than 8,000 people in California have coronavirus, and 171 people have died as a result of the virus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a virtual press conference.

Today’s count adds 1,223 more Covid-19 patients to California’s tally – an increase of more than 17% from yesterday — for a total of 8,155 cases in the state.

The governor is keenly focused on how many coronavirus patients are hospitalized, especially in intensive care units.

There are 774 patients in ICU beds. That number has quadrupled in the past six days. Hospitalizations from the virus have tripled in that same time frame and currently stands at 1,855 people.

Los Angeles County has 513 new cases and 11 deaths, state Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced today. In a matter of 48-hours, more than 1,000 more coronavirus cases have been confirmed in L.A. County.

4:40 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

New York City hospitals need millions more N95 masks and surgical masks by Sunday, mayor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New York City hospitals still need 3.3 million N95 masks, 2.1 million surgical masks, 100,000 isolation gowns and 400 ventilators by this coming Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference today.

He estimated that the city needs an additional 2,500 to 3,000 ventilators over the course of next week.

De Blasio has been warning for roughly the past week that Sunday, is a crucial day for New York, as he expects the demands to continue to increase in the following weeks.

5:41 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Former NYPD commissioner will oversee distribution of coronavirus medical supplies across NYC hospitals

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Former New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill in New York City on August 19, 2019.
Former New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill in New York City on August 19, 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former NYPD commissioner James O’Neill has been appointed to oversee the supply and distribution of personal protective equipment and medical equipment within New York City hospitals as the demands continue to grow as a result of the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a press release on Wednesday.

In this role, O’Neill will “create, operationalize and manage a supply inspection regime within the hospitals to ensure the rapid turnaround of new supplies and verify each hospital is pushing needed equipment to frontline health care workers,” according to the mayor’s office.

4:29 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

This has been the deadliest day for the US so far in the coronavirus pandemic

Today represents the deadliest day to date by a CNN count of coronavirus deaths.

The current total of 4,669 deaths represents an increase of 835 cases. Yesterday was the previous high, with 830 deaths.

4:25 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

UN climate conference postponed because of coronavirus

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

The UN climate change conference COP 26, which was planned for November in Glasgow, has been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A new date for the conference, hosted by the UK and other partners, has yet to be decided on and will be announced following discussions between the parties.

4:25 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Connecticut governor says hunt for protective equipment is "not going that well"

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont asked how the battle for personal protective equipment and ventilators is going with the national stockpile depleted. “It’s not going that well” Lamont said.

“We’re down there fighting every day” adding that a team of at least 40 people is sourcing down every protective gear lead it can coming from all over the world.

“We’re scrambling at this stuff” the governor said.

Lamont described the frustrating process that his state is going through.

“We’ve got it on the tarmac, then it's rerouted we have it ready for delivery and then it's put off for another week and it’s a bit of a mess out there, and you’re playing with people’s lives” Lamont said, echoing his previous sentiments on CNN’s Sit Room this week.