April 5 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Peter Wilkinson, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:30 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020
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8:18 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Pence announces hydroxychloroquine trial in Detroit hospital

From CNN's Nikki Robertson

A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Hydroxychloroquine will be used in a trial of 3,000 patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and the results will be tracked in a formal study, Vice President Mike Pence announced Sunday.

Pence added that they are "more than prepared" to make hydroxychloroquine available to doctor's offices and pharmacies in the Detroit area "as they deem appropriate."

Rear Adm. John Polowczyk of the Supply Chain Logistics Task Force said that the government is working to put out millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine into areas with increasing number of coronavirus cases.

President Donald Trump has frequently claimed the drug has high efficacy against Covid-19 despite no evidence the drug is effective and safe for preventing or treating the coronavirus.

However, there is no "definitive information to be able to make any comment" on whether the drug can be used to treat coronavirus, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the White House briefing on Saturday. There are currently no products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent Covid-19.

8:12 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

VA to begin opening beds to civilians in multiple states

From CNN's Gregory Clary

The Department of Veterans Affairs will open about 1,500 beds at hospitals in multiple states to civilians to alleviate the burden on civilian hospitals, according VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

"We provide a bridge from the federal government to states and localities during these emergencies," Wilkie said.

In the metropolitan New York area, the VA is opening up approximately 100 beds in Brooklyn, Manhattan and East Orange in New Jersey, Wilkie said.

Louisiana will gain access to the VA medical center in Shreveport, Wilkie said.

In Michigan, access to hospital beds will be provided in both Ann Arbor and Detroit as as providing a pharmaceutical trailer for the state's use, Wilkie said.

Wilkie said the VA will help Massachusetts officials "in their efforts to protect the most vulnerable citizens in two of their nursing homes."

7:52 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Trump: 'We see light at the end of the tunnel'

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

President Donald Trump showed optimism during a press briefing Sunday evening about the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We see light at the end of the tunnel. Things are happening, things are happening. We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully in the not too-distant future, we’ll be very proud of the job we all did," Trump said.

In an interview this morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said the government is struggling to get the coronavirus under control.

8:11 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Italy records lowest coronavirus death rate in two weeks

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Italy has recorded its lowest death rate in a 24-hour period with 525 deaths, the Italian Civil Protection Ministry said Sunday.

A total of 15,877 people have died of Covid-19 in Italy. There was a small decrease in patients in critical condition with hospital intensive care units reporting 17 fewer patients. A total of 2,972 new cases have been diagnosed, another decline, bringing the total active cases to 91,246. 

A total of 21,815 people have recovered from the coronavirus, an increase of 819. There are now almost 130,000 coronavirus cases in Italy.

Italy has been in a lockdown for almost four weeks now.

8:11 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Trump claims 1.6 million people in the US have been tested and received results

From CNN's Nicky Roberston

Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that 1.6 million people in the United States have been tested for coronavirus and been given results.

"That's far more than any country’s been able to do," Trump said.

He also said that Abbott Laboratories will produce 1,200 of its new 15-minute coronavirus test weekly. Abbott's test was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on March 27.

7:15 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

British Prime Minister expected to stay in the hospital overnight

From CNN’s Duarte Mendonca

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to stay in the hospital overnight, a Downing Street source told CNN on Sunday.

Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night in what Downing Street said in a statement was a "precautionary step" given that the "Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus."

Johnson was diagnosed with coronavirus on March 27.

US President Donald Trump wished Johnson well during a Sunday night press briefing.

"I want to express our nation’s well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus," Trump said. "All Americans are praying for him. He’s a friend of mine, he’s a great gentleman and a great leader."

"I’m hopeful and sure that he’s going to be fine," Trump said. 

7:02 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

Trump administration considering new air travel restrictions for cruise ship passengers

From Evan Perez and Jeremy Diamond 

Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship as it docks in Miami, Florida, on April 4.
Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship as it docks in Miami, Florida, on April 4. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are finalizing new restrictions that are expected to prohibit cruise ship passengers and crew arriving in the US from boarding domestic commercial flights, according to a person briefed on the matter and an administration official.

The restrictions would apply even to people not showing symptoms and would require 14-day quarantines for cruise passengers and crew. 

While officials are working on the new protocols, they have not been finalized, according to the sources.

These new protocols would likely be agreements between cruise ship companies and the government, requiring that they be followed for these ships to dock at specific ports, the administration official said.

The official said that there could be a range of exceptions and specific circumstances that would divert from the new protocols, specifically as it relates to foreigners on the ships.

If adopted, the new restrictions would limit cruise passengers and crew to flying on charter aircraft. 

The US Coast Guard said Saturday there are 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, either in or near US ports and waters.

This includes 73 cruise ships, with 52,000 crew members, moored or anchored in US ports and anchorages. Another 41 cruise ships, with 41,000 crew members, are underway and still in vicinity of the United States. The cruise industry has an ongoing obligation for the care, safety and welfare of their seafarers.

7:03 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

1 million rapid coronavirus tests to be distributed among Spain's autonomous regions

From CNN's Abel Alvarado 

The first batch of 1 million rapid tests to detect coronavirus are set to be distributed among autonomous regions in Spain between Sunday and Monday, according to a statement from the country's government. 

"Spain will substantially increase the diagnostic capacity to confirm or rule out the presence of COVID-19 in the population," the statement read.  

"Fifteen thousand to 20,000 tests are being performed daily, but this daily diagnostic capacity needs to be increased," the statement added.

The rapid tests will complement the standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and will especially target hospitals and vulnerable groups like nursing homes. 

The key part of the diagnostic strategy will continue to be the PCR tests, according to the statement.

As of Sunday, according to the ministry's data, there are 80,261 active cases and 12,418 people have died in Spain

6:50 p.m. ET, April 5, 2020

New York subway system has lost 22 workers to coronavirus

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

An empty New York City subway car.
An empty New York City subway car. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

At least 22 New York City subway employees have died of complications due to coronavirus, according to Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan.

Of about 74,000 workers, 1,092 have tested positive for the virus, Donovan said Sunday.

There are 5,430 MTA employees that are on home quarantine, which includes the 1,092 members who have tested positive, Donovan said.