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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12:05 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

"Covid only" temporary hospital to open in Staten Island, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

State of New York
State of New York

A “Covid only” temporary hospital in Staten Island is expected to open next week, New York Gov. Cuomo said.

Construction has started at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in New York City as well, he added.

The facility – expected to be open to patients next week – will have 750 beds.

12:04 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

21,000 out-of-state health care workers are volunteering in New York

State of New York
State of New York

About 21,000 health care workers from out-of-state have volunteered to help in the coronavirus outbreak in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

"I thank them. I thank their patriotism," Cuomo said. "These are beautiful, generous people, and New Yorkers will return the favor."

Cuomo said New York health care workers will be ready to deploy to other states after the apex is reached in the state.

"We'll get the experience, and we will return the favor. When your community needs help, New Yorkers will be there. And you have my personal word on that," he said.

1:22 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

New York governor says models show coronavirus apex in 7 to 30 days

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the apex for coronavirus cases in the state is anywhere “from 7 to 21 to 30 days,” according to all of the models.

The variable depends on how a specific model rates how effective social distancing is, he said. 

“The models that think social distancing is going to be more effective at slowing the rate have a longer timeframe for the apex,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said state experts believe that “it is closer to the shorter end of the range” but admits the window “makes it difficult to plan, frankly.”

Cuomo said that all of the models show that New York would come down from the apex quickly, but about 16,000 New Yorkers could die from coronavirus, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model cited by Dr. Anthony Fauci and the White House.

Watch Here:

12:22 p.m. ET, April 2, 2020

There are more than 92,000 coronavirus cases in New York

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there are at least 92,381 cases of coronavirus in the state. He said there has been 8,669 of them are new cases.

At least 2,373 people have died — up from 1,941, Cuomo said.

At least 13,383 people are currently hospitalized and 7,434 patients have been discharged.

"Number of people coming out of the hospital is going up," he said.

Watch here:

11:40 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Navy hospital ships in NYC and L.A. are treating patients

From CNN's Ryan Browne:

The USNS Comfort docked at Pier 90  in New York, on Monday, March 30.
The USNS Comfort docked at Pier 90 in New York, on Monday, March 30. Kathy Willens/AP

The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy, which is docked in Los Angeles, has treated 15 patients so far. Five of them have since been discharged, according to Capt. John Rotruck, the ship’s medical facility commanding officer.

Rotruck said the Mercy was treating patients recovering from traumatic accidents, heart and lung problems, and gastrointestinal issues.

USNS Comfort docked New York City is treating “about three” patients according to Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the Comfort’s commanding officer.

Remember: The ships are not treating coronavirus patients. Instead, they are being used for relocating shore-based patients undergoing treatments that are not coronavirus-related.

Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, radiology services, a medical lab, pharmacy, optometry lab, a CAT-scan and two oxygen producing plants, according to the Navy.

11:28 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

US food officials: There's "no evidence" coronavirus can spread through groceries

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Amanda Watts

A man shops at a grocery store in Brooklyn amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 31.
A man shops at a grocery store in Brooklyn amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 31. .Braulio Jatar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration wants to remind the public that there is no evidence of the coronavirus pandemic posing a threat to food safety.

"The food supply remains safe for both people and animals. There is no — and I emphasize no — evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of Covid-19," Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, said during a call with reporters today.

Yiannas said it's "much more likely that an infected person will spread the virus through person-to-person transmission than from contaminated food or food packaging."

He added that if a person who works in a food facility tests positive for Covid-19, the FDA does not anticipate that there would need to be a massive recall or withdrawal of food products from the market. 

"Specifically for consumers, we advise you that you follow many of the same guidelines that you heard before the spread of the disease," Yiannas said. 

 He urged people who go grocery shopping to "adhere to good hygiene practices such as disinfecting grocery cart handles with the wipes often provided by retailers."

"Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth. After shopping, wash or sanitize your hands," he said.

When asked if consumers should wipe down food packaging when they bring it home, Yiannas said, “Again, we don’t believe that food packaging is a common route of transmission.” 

“I personally do not sanitize the exterior of food packages when I bring them into my home,” Yiannas added, “If you feel so inclined you can always wipe the surface of the packages when you get home with a disinfectant wipe and then air drying them.” 

11:31 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

UK ice rink will be converted into a mortuary

From CNN’s Simon Cullen

Planet Ice in Milton Keynes, where work has begun to turn the ice rink into a temporary mortuary capable of holding hundreds of bodies on Wednesday April 1.
Planet Ice in Milton Keynes, where work has begun to turn the ice rink into a temporary mortuary capable of holding hundreds of bodies on Wednesday April 1. Joe Giddens/PA Wire via AP

An ice rink in the British town of Milton Keynes will be converted into a makeshift mortuary.

The local Milton Keynes council said Planet Ice will be prepped "as a precaution should it be needed to support local operations."

"As part of sensible planning we are considering what additional temporary mortuary facilities may be needed in Milton Keynes if funeral directors are unable to cope with a rise in deaths from Covid-19," the council told CNN.

The Milton Keynes council did not say when the makeshift mortuary would go into operation or when they expected regular mortuary facilities in the city to reach capacity.

10:52 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Russia extends "non-working" period until the end of the month

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images
Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended the paid “non-working” period in Russia until April 30 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

"The threat is still there, the specialists suggest that the pandemic has not peaked yet worldwide, including in our country,” Putin said in a televised address. “Therefore I've decided to extend this non-working period until April 30."

According to Putin, this time frame will be revised in case the epidemiological station in the country changes.

“Of course the situation can unfold differently across the country as we have a very big country with varying population density. There are places where the coronavirus already poses a serious threat to its residents, like in Moscow, where, despite the regional and federal efforts, we so far have not succeeded in turning the tide,” Putin said. 

So far, the country has not proclaimed the state of emergency or called a nationwide quarantine, instead imposing "a paid holiday" week, which was due to end on Friday. However, the majority of regions independently have imposed self-isolation regimes and ramped up measures to urge Russians to stay home.

10:49 a.m. ET, April 2, 2020

Conditional approval reached for cruise ships to dock in Florida

From CNN’s Denise Royal, Sara Weisfeldt and Rosa Flores

Holland America's cruise ship Zaandam, left, and the Rotterdam cruise ship are seen in Panama City bay on March 28.
Holland America's cruise ship Zaandam, left, and the Rotterdam cruise ship are seen in Panama City bay on March 28. Ivan Pisarenko/AFP/Getty Images

Conditional approval has been reached to allow the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships to dock in Port Everglades in Florida.

The agreement includes a plan for passengers to go home. Final approval of the plan is expected to happen this morning, according to Broward County Commissioner Dr. Barbara Sharief. 

The ships are in sight of Port Everglades and the passengers are due to disembark at 1 p.m. ET, per Sharief.

According to the five-page conditional agreement, passengers who are healthy will be allowed to go home and passengers who are sick will remain on the ship to continue treatment. At this time, no one on board is in need of a hospital bed, Sharief said — but if a passenger needs a hospital bed, Broward Health has indicated capacity will not be an issue. 

The healthy people will be transported by a private bus from Port Everglades to airports, which could include the Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports. They will go directly to their chartered flights, and they will not linger at the airport to avoid possible community spread. 

Sharief says that after passengers began exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the ship received 200 rapid blood test kits to test for Covid-19. Eleven guests were tested and nine people tested positive for the coronavirus. Four men over the age of 70 — two of whom who had been diagnosed with coronavirus — died. One had a heart attack and the other had a pre-existing illness.

About the passengers: There are 311 US citizen passengers on board, representing 46 states, including 52 Floridians. The 26 Broward County residents on board have been in isolation for 14 days, and they have agreed to isolate for another 14 days at home.

The passengers on the ships are from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Ireland, Switzerland, among others.