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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4:15 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Additional US troops will shore up US-Mexico border crossings

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The general who oversees US military operations in North America said Wednesday there “is actually an increased demand signal, not a decreased demand signal for securing the southern border,” regarding possible migrants who test positive for coronavirus coming across the border

As such, General Terrance O’Shaughnessy said the military is “increasing our presence on the southern border.”

O’Shaughnessy, who is commander of US Northern Command, made the comments to reporters over the telephone.

In the same briefing, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, the commanding general, US Army North, said there would be an 540 additional troops sent and they would be arriving “very soon.”

Some context: CNN reported Monday, that the Pentagon approved a Department of Homeland Security request for additional personnel on the southern border to help DHS cope with potential coronavirus related issues, a US defense official told CNN.

The number of additional troops is expected to be about 540. The US military personnel will be performing similar missions to those currently being performed by forces on the US-Mexico border.

4:34 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

New York's Central Park field hospital is now open and has taken in its first patient

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

A Samaritan's Purse crew and medical personnel work on preparing an emergency field hospital in New York's Central Park on Tuesday, March 31.
A Samaritan's Purse crew and medical personnel work on preparing an emergency field hospital in New York's Central Park on Tuesday, March 31. Mary Altaffer/AP

The field hospital in Central Park is now open and has taken in its first patient, Melissa Nystrom, a spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse told CNN.

Samaritan's Purse is the group that is operating the 68 bed makeshift hospital.

New York has reported 83,712 coronavirus cases and 1,941 deaths, according to CNN's tally.

3:56 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Indiana reports 16 deaths in the last 24 hours from coronavirus

From CNN's Jessica King

Gov. Eric Holcomb
Gov. Eric Holcomb State of Indiana

So far 16 people have died in Indiana from Covid-19 in what the governor says is the most deadly day since the pandemic began.

“Families are mourning and grieving and will be for a long, long time” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a press conference today in Indianapolis.

A total of 65 people have died in the state from the virus, and there have been 2,565 total positive cases, the Indiana State Department of Health reported earlier Wednesday.

The governor announced the launch of a social distancing initiative called #INThisTogether, joining pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Pacers and others.

While speaking as part of that announcement, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said their plants in Indiana are running full time and getting medicine they manufacture to your counter is “not something to worry about.”

Indiana says that it has received three shipments from the national stockpile and is taking inventory and repacking from the most recent shipment, according to the State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.

Separately, Box also said they’d been told that all states will receive rapid tests and they are expected to get 15 machines to process them, but did not elaborate.

Holcomb issued a somber warning that even if you’re healthy, Covid-19 “will use you to kill others.”

“Don’t gamble with your life and don’t gamble with others’,” he added.
3:38 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Pennsylvania reports nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases

Pennsylvania has nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases since yesterday, and the governor has extended his stay at home order until April 30.

“This virus is spreading rapidly. It’s in every corner of our state. It’s gotten into our nursing homes and our prisons and it’s filing up our hospital beds,” Gov. Tom Wolf announced today.

Wolf addressed the public in blunt terms Wednesday, saying residents must stop the spread of the coronavirus and comply with his stay at home order.

“Some of you might think a month is too long to go without seeing your friends or family but if we don’t do everything we can to slow the spread of Covid-19, there are some people who you will never see again.” Wolf said.

He added that “74 people in Pennsylvania have already lost their lives to Covid-19, and it’s up to us to decide if we’re going to let that number skyrocket."

Wolf said that residents should assume that "everyone has the virus, including yourself."

“Avoid leaving your house like someone’s life depends on it, because ultimately, someone’s life does depend on it.”
3:44 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Rent deferred for thousands in Chicago public housing

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Gov. Lori Lightfoot
Gov. Lori Lightfoot Pool

The Chicago Housing Authority will defer rent "for thousands of tenants in public housing," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at briefing Wednesday. 

Rent will be deferred through the end of the month, while the stay-at-home order remains in effect, she said. 

Lightfoot said she is working with county and state officials to explore options for residents "who are in need."

the housing authority serves more than 63,000 low-income families, according to its website. 

3:39 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Florida's emergency officials were not told stay-at-home order was coming

From CNN's Paul Murphy

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order today.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order today. The Florida Channel

A Florida county emergency operations director told CNN they were not given a heads up that the Gov. Ron DeSantis was issuing the stay-at-home order today.

Even on today's 11:15 a.m. ET state emergency operations center call, which involves all county-level emergency operations directors and staff, it was not discussed.

That call is held daily when the state emergency operations center is activated.  

The director told CNN they are now scrambling to figure out what this order means or says.

3:33 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Italy extends lockdown until April 13

From CNN's Valentina di Donato in Rome and Mia Alberti in Lisbon

Municipal police officers patrol by the Spanish steps in central Rome on Wednesday, April 1.
Municipal police officers patrol by the Spanish steps in central Rome on Wednesday, April 1. Filippo Monterforte/AFP/Getty Images

Italy will extend the current lockdown measures it has in place until April 13, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an address to the nation today.

“I am really sad to say, we will continue over the Easter holiday,” Conte said. "We are seeing the positive effects of the restriction measures but we cannot change perspective now."

“We realize we are making you commit another sacrifice but this has to be understood by everyone: if we stop following the rule, all our efforts would have been in vain,” he added.

Conte assured Italians the government continues to follow the scientific advice on the evolution of the pandemic and will start discussing ways to ease restrictions at the appropriate time.

“As soon as we see that the statistics are consolidated and the council of experts will allow us, we will continue to slow down the measures,” the Italian prime minister said in his address, but cautioned: “I cannot tell you [it will happen on] April 14."

Italy first went into a national lockdown on March 10.

2:59 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Miami ICU nurse: We all feel "so defeated by this virus"

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland

A Miami ICU nurse told CNN their colleagues are “doing everything possible” to treat patients, but the loss of life and fear of becoming sick has worn on them.

The nurse, who requested anonymity and that their hospital not be named because the nurse is not authorized to speak to the media, said as of Wednesday, none of the other nurses or doctors in their hospital have tested positive for Covid-19 as far as this person knows, but there’s fear among the staff.

“We’re scared. We don’t have the appropriate PPE… I literally cried last Friday. The emotions just got the better of me after losing a [coronavirus] patient, a patient we tried really hard to save. The team worked together perfectly, and we still lost a patient. We all felt so defeated by this virus.”

But this nurse says that their hospital is doing everything possible to treat Covid-19 patients, saying it’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.

“They’re trying all the drugs others are using, even combining them," the nurse said.

This nurse says their ICU unit was the first Covid-19 unit in the hospital last week.

“In my unit and the second ICU unit, we had about 21 Covid-19 patients. In my unit specifically, we had 11 Covid patients. Eight of those patients were on ventilators and three were on high flow oxygen," the nurse said.


2:31 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020

Trump approves North Dakota disaster declaration

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Betsy Klein 

President Trump has approved a disaster declaration for North Dakota in response to coronavirus.

This is the 30th such declaration he has made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including 27 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.

North Dakota has 142 coronavirus cases and three deaths, according to CNN's tally.