April 6 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:18 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020
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6:55 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump says he won't take steps to distance from Pence in light of Boris Johnson situation

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

President Donald Trump on Monday said he won't take steps to physically separate from Vice President Mike Pence to protect the continuity of government in light of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's worsening condition.

"No I don't think so," Trump said when asked about potential new steps he might take after the top US ally fell seriously ill from coronavirus.

Trump said he would likely ramp up testing of people around him given the relative ease and speed of new testing kits.

"I think we’ll probably, just because of questions like that, I think we’ll probably have maybe quite a few tests," he said. 

Standing alongside Trump, Pence said he was tested earlier Monday and that it came back negative.

Neither Trump nor Pence nor other members of the White House coronavirus task force wore masks to Monday's briefing, despite updated guidance from the federal government suggesting face coverings in settings where social distancing is difficult.

Watch here:

6:14 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump approves Cuomo's request to be able to treat Covid-19 patients inside hospital ship

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Ryan Browne 

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus pandemic at the White House on April 6.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus pandemic at the White House on April 6. Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump said Monday he would be granting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request to convert a hospital ship docked off of Manhattan to treat coronavirus patients.

Cuomo, a Democrat, told members of the press earlier Monday that he was “going to call the President this afternoon and ask him to shift the (USNS) Comfort from non-Covid to Covid.” 

Trump, speaking at a White House press briefing Monday afternoon, said he “was informed that Gov. Cuomo has already told you and announced he called me up a little while ago and asked whether or not it would be possible to use the ship with respect to fighting the virus.”

“We hadn’t had that in mind at all, but we’re going to let him do it,” Trump remarked.

The President also confirmed that the ship has been approved to treat New Jersey patients.

6:30 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Who is Dominic Raab? The Brexiteer ex-lawyer deputizing for Boris Johnson

From CNN's Luke McGee

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives for a meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street on March 11.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives for a meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street on March 11. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into intensive care on Monday evening with worsening coronavirus-related symptoms, he asked his Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab to deputize for him “where necessary.”

While now is a time of great uncertainty for the British public, Johnson’s handing over of some duties to Raab should be relatively seamless and is unlikely to affect any immediate government business.

Less clear is what will happen if Johnson is incapacitated for more than a few days. There’s no clear “Plan B” in Britain’s constitution or in the Cabinet Manual – which lays out the rules for running the government – for who should take over if Johnson isn’t able to lead the country, experts told Reuters. 

One thing that should help in terms of continuity: Unlike in the United States, where a President might hail from a different party than leaders in Congress, the UK government is entirely comprised of members of Parliament from Johnson’s party, which won the most seats in December’s election – meaning it operates as one entity.

An ardent Brexiteer 

Raab, a 46-year-old former lawyer, was elected to Parliament in 2010, and spent his entire political career on the same wing of the party that secretly yearned for Johnson to have a serious go at taking the reins.  

Like Johnson, Raab is a longstanding advocate of Brexit who was willing to be a thorn in his own party’s side when it had more pro-European leadership.

Despite his euroskeptic leanings, his qualities were noticed by that pro-European leadership, and when then-Prime Minister David Cameron won reelection in 2015, Raab was offered a job in government. At the time, Raab was seen as a rising star within the party, and his promotion was seen as a way for Cameron to bolster his own euroskeptic credentials.

Raab previously served in Theresa May’s cabinet as the Brexit secretary, only to resign in protest at the deal she eventually struck with the EU. And despite running against Johnson in last summer’s Conservative leadership contest, he has been extraordinarily loyal to the Prime Minister ever since. 

While Raab is perhaps less socially liberal than Johnson, it is highly unlikely he would depart radically from the Prime Minister’s agenda in the short-term -- not just because there simply isn’t enough time to change government policy during a time of national crisis, but also because the UK cabinet works on the principle of collective responsibility. 

6:08 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump announces deal with 3M to ship additional 55-million N95 masks to US for next several months

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Donald Trump announced the United States has reached an agreement with 3M that will see the company supply 55 million additional N95 respirator masks to the US each month.

"Because of my actions under the (Defense Production Act) I can also announce today that we have reached an agreement — very amicable agreement with 3M — with the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high quality face masks each month," Trump said during a Monday press conference. 

The agreement comes just days after Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to force the company's hand.

Under the deal, 3M will ship an additional 55 million masks per month to the US from its overseas factories for the next three months, a senior administration official said, which will help alleviate shortages in personal protective equipment for medical workers. The overwhelming majority of the masks will come from 3M's Chinese factories, the official said.

A senior administration official said the government's decision to use the Defense Production Act was key to shifting the trajectory of negotiations between the two sides and forcing 3M's hand.

6:21 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Washington State extends school closure for remainder of academic year

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee prepares to speak about additional plans to slow the spread of coronavirus before a televised address from his office in Olympia, Washington, on March 23.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee prepares to speak about additional plans to slow the spread of coronavirus before a televised address from his office in Olympia, Washington, on March 23. Elaine Thompson/AP

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that the state’s ban on in-person school classes will continue for the remainder of the school year. 

Despite signs that the increase in coronavirus cases may be leveling off in many places, “we cannot risk losing the gains we have made after the peak of this pandemic presumably will have passed,” Inslee said.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said reopening schools too soon would be even more disruptive than at-home instruction, since a single Covid-19 case in a school would force that building to be closed again for days, at least, until contacts could be traced and the building deep cleaned. 

Reykdal acknowledged they are not certain at this point that school buildings in Washington will be able to open as normal in time for the beginning of the new academic year this fall.

6:05 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Trump on Boris Johnson: "I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

US President Donald Trump said he and several pharmaceutical companies have contacted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s doctors in London to see if they can help after he was admitted to an intensive care unit Monday for coronavirus.

“I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine and a friend of our nation Prime Minster Boris Johnson. We’re very saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive care ... a little while ago,” Trump said. “He’s been a really good friend. He’s been really something very special. Strong. Resolute.”

Trump said he held a teleconference with pharmaceutical companies about therapies for coronavirus patients earlier Monday.

“We have made tremendous progress on therapeutics,” he said. “I’ve asked two of the leading companies… I’ve asked them to contact London immediately.”

He said his administration has contacted Johnson's doctors.

“We’ve contacted all of Boris’ doctors, and we’ll see what is going to take place, but they are ready to go,” the President said. “When you are brought into intensive care that gets very, very serious.”

He added: "We are working with London with respect to Boris Johnson."

6:00 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Minnesota governor announces help for veterans

From CNN’s Pamela Wessmann

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced help for veterans, as well as for Asian Americans who are facing discrimination amid the coronavirus outbreak, in a press conference Monday.

Starting Monday, Minnesota veterans who are impacted by the novel coronavirus can apply for financial assistance grants from the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs.

Walz also announced the lieutenant governor was leading the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and launching a discrimination helpline for calls of xenophobia and racism, specifically aimed at Asian American community.

Minnesota has 986 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 31 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

6:06 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

Doctor shares what it's like inside New York hospitals

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A New York doctor said Monday that hospitals in the state are overwhelmed as more patients arrive with coronavirus.

Dr. Craig Spencer, the director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, said emergency rooms are being converted into intensive care units and morgues are filling up.

"We have trucks outside to hold bodies, those are getting filled," Spencer told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

He said while data shows the number of new infections is decreasing, there is a lag time between when people get sick and when they come to emergency rooms.

"In the best case scenario, it may be another week or two before we have a decrease in the really, really sick patients," he said.

Spencer said social distancing is still very important and is the best way to continue to battle the virus and continue to decrease numbers.

"Instead of peddling a bunch of treatments that we don't know whether they work or some magic bullet, we know what does work -- if you stay home, you will not get infected with this virus. If you do not get infected with this virus, you will not show up sick in the emergency room," he said.

Hear his message:

6:11 p.m. ET, April 6, 2020

South Carolina governor issues stay-at-home order

From CNN's Jessica King

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at a Covid-19 briefing in West Columbia, South Carolina, on April 3.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at a Covid-19 briefing in West Columbia, South Carolina, on April 3. Meg Kinnard/AP

One of the last states in the nation to not have a stay-at-home order will now have one starting tomorrow.

South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mandatory stay-at-home order in a press conference Monday. The order goes into effect Tuesday April 7 at 5 pm ET.

South Carolina residents should stay home unless they are working, visiting family, recreating outdoors, or obtaining necessary goods or services, he said.