April 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:02 a.m. ET, April 4, 2020
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6:10 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Five infants in Maryland test positive for Covid-19, including a one-month-old

From CNN's Keith Allen

Five infants have tested positive for coronavirus in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

The youngest of the infants is just one-month-old, Hogan said.

“The reality is that this disease does not discriminate, and no one is immune," he said.
6:05 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

NYC's Central Park field hospital at half capacity, expected to max out in the next few days

From CNN’s Erica Hill and Elizabeth Stuart

Medical personnel work at the Samaritan's Purse field hospital in New York's Central Park, on April 1.
Medical personnel work at the Samaritan's Purse field hospital in New York's Central Park, on April 1. Mary Altaffer/AP

New York's Central Park field hospital is already at half capacity on its third day treating Covid-19 patients, according to the director of the facility.

There are currently 34 patients being treated there, including four in their ICU, and it's expected the pop-up hospital will reach its 68-bed capacity in the next few days, according to Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, director of the international heath unit for Samaritan’s Purse.

Tenpenny says that while all the patients are adults, they are comprised of all ages, and many of them have severe shortage of breath and a need for oxygen. 

“It’s worse than I expected to see,” Tenpenny said.

The patients are from Mt. Sinai hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens, whose emergency rooms were overrun with patients with nowhere to go. 

Tenpenny says the patients will likely take 2-3 weeks to recover.

5:59 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Arkansas governor denies need for statewide stay-at-home order, citing CDC

From CNN’s Will Brown

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a press conference on March 23 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at a press conference on March 23 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defied calls to put his state under a stay-a-home order, one of only nine states remaining without such a directive. 

He argued that his “targeted approach” is “a good approach for Arkansas.”

“It’s understandable that (Dr. Anthony Fauci) looks at that as a solution, a nationwide shutdown order. What’s important is that has not been given. The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) — I watch their guidelines regularly — and they have not indicated that’s an appropriate or necessary step across the country. And so we’ll continue to look at those guidelines that’s offered from the federal level.”

Arkansas currently has at least 687 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least 12 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

5:55 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Trump says he's invoking the Defense Production Act against PPE exports

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump said he’s invoking the Defense Production Act “to prohibit export of scarce health and medical supplies by unscrupulous actors and profiteers.”

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will work together through this directive “to prevent the export of N95 respirators, surgical masks, glove and other personal protective equipment,” Trump said during a White House press briefing.

“We need these items immediately for domestic use. We have to have them,” Trump added.

Peter Navarro, the White House’s Defense Production Act policy coordinator previewed this action on Thursday.   

Watch:

5:50 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Small business owners frustrated with SBA loan program

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Lenders aren't the only ones frustrated with the rollout of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program on Friday — small business owners reported that they were having a hard time finding a bank to approve their loan applications, according to one industry group.

Adam Temple, the vice president of Public Affairs at the National Federation of Independent Business, told CNN that for the entire day Friday, his group had been inundated with stories about small business owners who were struggling to find a bank that would accept their loan application. 

With some banks choosing not to process the loans or delaying their rollout, some business owners were forced to go to a new bank to get a loan, and then finding that those new bank had a requirement that they already had to be an existing customer.

The process was anxiety inducing for business owners who were watching the Treasury Secretary tweet out every few hours how much money had already been distributed by the loan program, Temple said. 

“In many cases, the bank where they are a customer tells them they’re not doing it, forcing them to try elsewhere and they’re running into that issue – that they’re not an existing customer. So they can’t get anywhere,” Temple said. “ We did a webinar at noon and had 7,000 small business owners log in. They’re also calling us directly, almost all with some version of the same issue."
5:50 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Trump announces new face mask recommendations

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump announced new guidance from the White House on Friday afternoon, saying the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were advising the use of "non-medical cloth based" face coverings.

Trump emphasized the recommendations were voluntary and that he, for one, would not partake.

"I don't think I'm going to be doing it," Trump said.

After weeks of insisting Americans should not wear face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus — and even suggesting their use could increase the chance of infection — administration officials this week engaged in a heated internal debate over reversing course, according to people familiar with the matter.

Behind the scenes, officials were divided about the wisdom of advising Americans to cover their faces in public, which some fear could cause a lapse in the social distancing efforts that remain officials' best hope of preventing further spread.

Watch:

5:40 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Trudeau to Trump on blocking 3M mask shipments to Canada: "It could hurt Americans as much as anybody else"

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the coronavirus pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on April 2.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the coronavirus pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on April 2. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a blunt warning to the Trump administration on Friday saying that forbidding 3M from shipping crucial supplies of N95 masks to Canada "could hurt Americans as much as anybody else." 

“We’ve been working very closely with the Americans to highlight what Canadians know very, very well; that the level of integrations between our economies goes both ways across the border," he said during his daily press conference. "That we are receiving essential supplies from the United States, but the United States also receives essential supplies and products and indeed healthcare professionals from Canada very single day." 

The United States and Canada mutually agreed to close the border to all except essential traffic and commercial trade in March. 

5:34 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Delta Airlines CEO: "We still haven't seen the bottom" of current crisis

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines expects revenue over the next three months to be down 90% with no end of the industry's troubles in sight.

"Even as Delta is burning more than $60 million in cash every day, we know we still haven't seen the bottom," CEO Ed Bastian warned employees in a memo on Friday.  

He said April's schedule will be "at least 80% smaller than originally planned, with 115,000 flights canceled."

As an example of the drop in traffic, Bastian said that on March 28, Delta carried only 38,000 customers. Normal late-March Saturday traffic is 600,000.

"I wish I could predict this would end soon, but the reality is we simply don't know how long it will take before the virus is contained and customers are ready to fly again," Bastian said.

He confirmed that on Friday, Delta filed for its share of $25 billion in federal grants allocated to the airline industry and approved by Congress last week.

5:32 p.m. ET, April 3, 2020

NYC mayor asks Trump to start national enlistment effort for medical personnel

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called upon President Trump during a Friday press conference to start a “national enlistment effort” for medical personnel across the country and to have the US military coordinate that effort.

“Right now there are doctors and nurses and other medical professionals all over the country going about their normal lives and they’re doing good work. But a lot of them could be freed up in a crisis to help save lives. And the lives to be saved are right here in New York City,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio called for an effort “to recruit doctors, nurses, and medical professionals from all over the country, send them rapidly where they're needed most and then move them rapidly to the next biggest problem, the next biggest challenge. And what we will do, and I know every other city and state will do the same, is we will then offer our personnel to go to the next front to help as well.”

De Blasio said the US military could organize the effort because they have “the ability to put together a national structure to mobilize these medical personnel and ensure they get where they need to go rapidly and to make sure the priorities are right.”

De Blasio said: "It's time for the commander in chief to give the order. If we’re fighting a war, let’s act like we’re fighting a war. Right now, there’s a peacetime approach in Washington and that won’t cut it."