April 2 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:23 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020
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8:41 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Top US infectious diseases expert calls for a federally mandated stay-at-home order


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined CNN's town hall Thursday to discuss the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci said he believes that there should be a federally mandated stay-at-home order, something President Donald Trump has been loathe to do.

"I don't understand why that's not happening. As you said, the tension between federally mandated versus states rights to do what they want is something I don't want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be," Fauci said.

Trump said Wednesday that he does not plan to issue such an order because different states have different levels of coronavirus cases.

“States are different and I understand that the governor of Florida, great Gov. Ron DeSantis issued one today and that’s good, that’s great. But there are some states that are different. There are some states that don't have much of a problem,” Trump said Wednesday afternoon.

The President said there should be some sort of flexibility among the states depending on how bad individual states situations might be.

“You have to look -- you have to give a little flexibility. If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska for example doesn't have a problem, it's awfully tough to say close it down. We have to have a little bit of flexibility,” Trump said.


8:40 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

New York Fire Department thanks medical workers at hospital during shift change


A group of firefighters with the FDNY showed up at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens today to thank and cheer on medical professionals for all their work fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The firefighters showed up during as shift change, correspondent Erica Hill said tonight during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

"The health care workers were visibly moved. The firefighters, so appreciative and moved. I have to say, witnessing it, or it was really quite a moment to see," Hill said.

Some context: Elmhurst Hospital in Queens has become an apocalyptic illustration of a nation in crisis, its doctors and nurses struggling to keep up with a surge of infections.

Watch the moment:

8:08 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Health expert says "not every American is following" social distancing guidelines

Dr. Deborah Birx said she can tell by looking at the US curve of coronavirus cases that not every American is following the guidelines set out by the administration for people to stay home and be vigilant about washing their hands.

“Just to everybody out there across the country — when we say no gatherings of 10, we want to be clear — if you have a family of 10, we don’t want you to be split up,” Birx said, while noting that the guidelines mean people should be having “no dinner parties, no cocktail parties.”

Birx, who serves as the task force's response coordinator, said “I know you’ve seen the slope on the US versus the slope in Italy, and we have to change that slope,” adding, “What it means in the US is not everyone is doing it.”

“So we’re only as strong as every community, every county, every state, every American following the guidelines to a T,” Birx said. “And I can tell by the curve … that not every American is following it.”

8:06 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Trump approves Tennessee's disaster declaration

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Betsy Klein 

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

This is the 35th such declaration Trump has made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including 30 states, the US Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.

8:01 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

CNN's coronavirus town hall has begun

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are hosting a two-hour special tonight on the coronavirus pandemic.

There is no audience tonight due to ongoing concerns around the coronavirus.

7:50 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

SOON: CNN's coronavirus town hall

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta will host a two-hour special tonight focusing on the coronavirus.

The town hall will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

7:42 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Disney furloughs employees "whose jobs aren't necessary at this time"

From CNN’s Jason Farkas and Frank Pallotta

A lock hangs on a gate at the entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim, California on March 16.
A lock hangs on a gate at the entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim, California on March 16. Jeff Gritchen/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Facing a complete standstill across its entertainment empire due to the coronavirus crisis, the Walt Disney Company notified its employees that it would furlough employees "whose jobs aren't necessary at this time" starting on April 19.

Disney has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. Its theme parks around the world have shuttered, its cruise line is suspended and many of its biggest films of the year have been delayed. Live sporting events, the lifeblood of the Disney-owned ESPN, have also been suspended.

Shares of Disney have plummeted more than 30% year to date.

The impact is hitting Disney's theme park employees especially hard. All of Disney's 12 theme parks have been shuttered since March 12, after which the company committed to paying salaries through April 18.

In the statement, the company said there was "no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses," and that it was "forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees." 

Among those impacted would be the Disney Parks' storied "Imagineers," the designers of the parks, rides and hotels.

The furloughed workers would remain employees of the company and keep their health benefits, while also being able to access federal and state aid like unemployment benefits. 

7:43 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Brazil's third consecutive day reporting more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

A volunteer worker disinfects a public bus station in Curitiba, Brazil on April 1.
A volunteer worker disinfects a public bus station in Curitiba, Brazil on April 1. Daniel Castellano/AFP/Getty Images

For third day in a row, Brazil's health authorities reported a consecutive spike of more than 1,000 new novel coronavirus cases in a single day.

During a press conference on Thursday, 1,074 new cases were announced, bringing the country's total number of cases to 7,910 and 299 deaths.

Some context: On Wednesday, Brazil reported 1,119 new cases, and on Tuesday, 1,138 were announced.

8:01 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

US health expert says the coronavirus task force is still missing 50% of testing data

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House's coronavirus task force, said the task force is missing 50% of the testing data for coronavirus tests that have been conducted.

Birx said that part of the economic stimulus measure, that was signed into law, requires that all tests conducted get reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but said she has not received that data yet.

“Well I'm telling you, I'm still missing 50% of the data from reporting. I have 660 (thousand) tests reported in. We've done 1.3 million, so there is, and it could be those sites, so we do need to see, the bill said you need to report. We are still not receiving 100% of the tests," she said.

When pressed about the possibility that one in three tests had produced false negatives, Birx said, “I haven't seen that kind of anomaly.”

Birx added that “the number of positive tests is tracking very closely with a number of cases diagnosed.”