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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8:46 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Fauci: Masks should not be a "substitute" for social distancing

(From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci takes part in the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, i at the White House on April 1.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci takes part in the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, i at the White House on April 1. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

As US officials continue to re-examine whether the general public should wear masks, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, emphasized that masks should not be viewed as a substitute for continuing to practice social distancing.

"The most important thing is to keep this six-foot physical distance from individuals, but it's become clear that even when you try to do that with certain necessities of life — going out to get food or going to a pharmacy to get your medications — that you may inadvertently come into closer contact," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning.

He added:

"Because of that and because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing, the better part of valor is that when you're out and you can't maintain that six-foot distance to wear some sort of facial covering ... So this is an addendum and an addition to the physical separation, not as a substitute for it."
8:55 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

If you're sick, wear a medical mask — but not an N95, world health official says

A person wearing a protective mask walks in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 2. (
A person wearing a protective mask walks in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 2. ( Matt Rourke/AP

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the World Health Organization's Covid-19 response, said people who are sick and their caretakers should wear face masks — but stressed that N95 masks need to be reserved for health care workers.

"What we recommend is that people who are sick wear masks — medical masks, not N95 masks with respirators. Those must be reserved for our frontline workers who are caring for patients," she said at a CNN town hall on coronavirus last night.

"We also need people who are caring for those who are sick to be wearing the masks," she added.

She said right now, it's crucial that personal protective equipment in short supply be reserved for medical workers.

"We have to prioritize the use of masks for frontline workers, if that is one thing I can stress. Medical masks, respirators, gloves, gowns, these are people who are putting their lives on the line to help us, to care for other people and they must be protected," she said.

Some background: The WHO has been one of the strongest holdouts when it comes to recommending the widespread use of masks. US health officials recommended the same — but they may be shifting course.

On Monday, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, told NPR that his organization was reviewing its guidelines and may recommend general mask use to guard against community infection. Trump said the US plans to release new recommendations on face masks in the coming days.

When asked about President Trump's suggestion that people use facial coverings like scarves, Van Kerkhove said the WHO is investigating.

"We are constantly looking at evidence, all the time, for the use of masks for anything that is related to this and related to health issues. We are talking with scientists around the world, including US CDC scientists," she said.

8:18 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

More than 1,000 US service members have coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

At least 1,052 US service members have tested positive for Covid-19 as of this number. This includes one death announced earlier this week. 

There are now at least 1,752 positive cases across the Department of Defense.

8:13 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

NYC mayor: "Next week is going to be much tougher"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says this Sunday is “D-Day” — the day when the city will run out of ventilators and health care workers will really feel the strain of the battle against coronavirus.

“We predict by something like Monday or Tuesday, 5,000 people in our ICUs intubated fighting for their lives with Covid cases. 5,000. Then that number will grow. That's a staggering number. Every one of those people will need a ventilator,” de Blasio said to CNN’s John Berman. 

De Blasio said he asked the federal government over a week ago for more doctors and health care workers, but hasn’t seen any action yet. He called for the the military to mobilize doctors and nurses to come to New York City to ease the strain on the city’s medical personnel. 

“What I've said to every one of our national leaders is we need to get on a wartime footing,” de Blasio tells CNN’s John Berman. “Right now, essentially the country is still on a peacetime footing. But we're fighting a war against an invisible enemy that's increasingly taking the lives of Americans in vast numbers. This is just the beginning. 

"Next week is going to be much tougher," he added.

De Blasio also urged New Yorkers to wear face coverings when they go outside and are near other people. He says coverings are not necessary if practicing social distancing.

Watch more:

8:01 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Boris Johnson still has coronavirus symptoms and will stay longer in self-isolation

From CNN's Rob Picheta and Luke McGee

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside Downing Street in London on April 2, during a nationwide "Clap for Carers" NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside Downing Street in London on April 2, during a nationwide "Clap for Carers" NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Handout/Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will stay in self-isolation because he is still showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Friday was expected to be Johnson's final day in self-quarantine, after he tested positive for the virus last week.

But Johnson said he still has a temperature and will remain isolated, as per the country's guidelines.

The UK has told people with symptoms or who test positive for Covid-19 to stay in self-isolation for seven days, or longer if they are still symptomatic. The World Health Organization's guidelines, by contrast, state people must stay in self-isolation for 14 days after they develop symptoms.

Johnson has been leading his country's coronavirus response from home while in quarantine. His Health Secretary Matt Hancock also tested positive last week, but he has now come out of self-isolation.

In a video posted to Twitter, Johnson also urged people not to go outside as good weather arrives in the UK over the coming days. "Everybody may be getting a bit stir-crazy," he said. "Please, stick with the guidance," he said.

7:36 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

China advises foreign embassies to suspend diplomatic rotation in and out of Beijing

From CNN's Steven Jiang

China has advised foreign embassies to stop sending diplomats to Beijing for work or rotation, amid growing concerns over imported coronavirus cases and continuously tightening regulations targeting international arrivals.

A foreign ministry official said Friday the move was purely in response to global developments of the pandemic, as well as out of concern for the health and safety of foreign diplomats. She said it is also in line with advice from the World Health Organization and other experts.

“The virus is an equalizer – while diplomats enjoy immunity, they are not immune from the virus,” said Hua Chunying, a ministry spokeswoman, at a regular press briefing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks at a press conference in Beijing on March 30.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks at a press conference in Beijing on March 30. Kyodo News/Getty Images

Hua said there had been confirmed cases among foreign diplomats who recently arrived in China. She added that, of the 84 foreign diplomats who arrived in China in the past week, 66% of them had become close contacts of confirmed cases.

She emphasized that all of China’s containment measures treat Chinese and foreign citizens equally and fairly.

China has already drastically cut the number of international flights and diverted all Beijing-bound international flights to other Chinese cities. Last weekend, the country shut its borders to most foreigners – although diplomats have been exempted.

7:05 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Prince Charles opens massive new field hospital in London, calling it a "shining light" in dark times

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Prince Charles opens the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London – via video-link from his Scottish residence, Birkhall.
Prince Charles opens the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London – via video-link from his Scottish residence, Birkhall. Pool

Prince Charles has officially opened the UK’s huge temporary hospital for coronavirus patients, describing its rapid construction as a “spectacular and almost unbelievable feat.”

London's ExCeL conference center has been transformed into a massive health care facility, named the Nightingale Hospital, in under two weeks.

“(It’s) an example – if ever one was needed – of how the impossible could be made possible,” Charles, the heir to the British throne, said via video-link from Scotland.

The hospital will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, though thousands more will soon be ready.

“In this dark time, this place will be a shining light,” Prince Charles said. “It is symbolic of the selfless care and devoted service taking place in innumerable settings, with countless individuals throughout the United Kingdom.”

Prince Charles says the hospital offers an “intensively practical message of hope” to those who need it most. The prince has been self-isolating in Scotland after being diagnosed with the coronavirus last month.

“I was one of the lucky ones to have Covid-19 relatively mildly,” he said.

“But for some, it will be a much harder journey. I am therefore so relieved that everyone can now have the reassurance that they will receive all the necessary technical care they may need and every chance to return to a normal life.”

 

Boris Johnson also thanked those involved in building the new hospital on Friday, calling it an "immense effort."

7:00 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Austria will randomly test people for coronavirus to get a better idea of its spread

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A Red Cross employee takes a swab from a motorist to test for coronavirus at a drive-in testing station in Schuettdorf, Austria on March 26.
A Red Cross employee takes a swab from a motorist to test for coronavirus at a drive-in testing station in Schuettdorf, Austria on March 26. JFK/APA/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities in Austria say they will carry out randomized coronavirus testing to get a better idea of its spread in the country. 

Until now, only those who are seriously ill with symptoms have been tested. But the government has decided to change its approach.

“By means of representative random sample tests, the government wants to gain a better overview of the infection of the entire population. To this end, 2,000 tests are to be carried out,” Austria’s federal ministry for social affairs, health, care and consumer protection said in a statement to CNN.

The statement added: “In addition, focus tests have been and are being carried out on specific groups, such as medical staff, nurses or supermarket employees. These are PCR tests and the samples are selected to be representative.”

Currently, the number of confirmed cases in Austria stands at 11,171. The death toll is 158.

6:36 a.m. ET, April 3, 2020

Spain reports another vast death toll, with 932 new fatalities

From CNN's Tim Lister and Max Ramsay

Paramedics disinfect a stretcher outside the Burgos Hospital in northern Spain on April 2.
Paramedics disinfect a stretcher outside the Burgos Hospital in northern Spain on April 2. Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

A further 932 people have died from coronavirus in Spain, the country's health ministry said on Friday, bringing the country's death toll closer to Italy's world-high total.

Friday's figures mean that 10,935 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in Spain. It is the second-highest daily number since the pandemic began in Spain, but slightly smaller than the increase announced Thursday.

For several days, however, Spanish health officials have spoken optimistically of reaching the peak of infection.

The Ministry’s data shows there are now 76,262 active cases in Spain, an increase of 2,770 from Thursday – but also the smallest daily rise since March 20.

The Spanish Health Ministry also reports that 30,513 have now recovered from the virus – nearly 4,000 more than the number reported Thursday.

A total of 6,416 people have been admitted to intensive care units since the pandemic began, but the rate of new infections has slowed dramatically compared to the dire situation the country was facing in the middle of March.