April 7 coronavirus news

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

Updated 9:24 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020
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4:54 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Detroit mayor says the mortality rate is slowing for cases in the city

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

There are 25 more deaths in Detroit along with 469 more cases, according to Detroit Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair.

Detroit's mortality rate has begun to slow, according to Mayor Mike Duggan, who said the length of time it takes for the daily death toll to double has lengthened from two days in late March to every five to six days. 

Since Detroit began implementing 15-minute tests for city employees, 450 firefighters and police officers have returned to service.

Detroit will begin rapid testing nursing home residents. So far, 14 nursing homes in the city have some rate of infection, with 12 reported deaths, Duggan said.

Starting tomorrow, Wayne State University medical students will go out and collect samples from nursing home residents. Then, after the rapid testing lab closes to live samples at 9 p.m. local time, the students will stay until midnight or 1 a.m., testing samples from nursing home residents. Nursing homes will be informed the following morning.

Following the notable death of a bus driver who took to social media to complain about a passenger coughing without covering her mouth, Mayor Duggan said Detroit buses will now have boxes dispensing masks as passengers board.

The city also expects to run a deficit of more than 100 million dollars, the mayor said.

4:46 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

US stocks finish lower

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After a day of gains, US stocks lost steam into the close and finished the day lower.

Here's where they ended up:

  • The Dow finished 0.1%, or 26 points, lower. At its highest point, the index was up 937 points.
  •  The S&P closed down 0.2%. 
  • The Nasdaq Composite finished 0.3% lower.

It's a shortened trading week for US markets, which will remain closed for Good Friday.

Remember: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

4:27 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

California now has more than 15,000 coronavirus cases

Los Angeles Fire Department officials deliver testing kits to motorists at a drive-through testing center in Elysian Park on Thursday, April 2.
Los Angeles Fire Department officials deliver testing kits to motorists at a drive-through testing center in Elysian Park on Thursday, April 2. Damian Dovarganes/AP

There are now 15,865 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference today.

An additional 31 more people have died, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 374.

Newsom reminded residents to practice social distancing and to stay at home to help bend the curve.

Newsom also announced that the state is putting out new guidelines and guidance to help people deal with stress during the crisis. It will have a checklist for adults, caregivers, and children. 

At least 16 hotlines are also available for people to help support residents.

4:20 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Illinois reports more than 70 deaths in the last 24 hours

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker today announced that in the last 24 hours, the state had 73 Covid-19 related deaths, their largest single-day increase to date. 

The governor also said a member of his office has learned they have coronavirus, he announced at a news confernece today.

According to the governor, the individual began to feel unwell on March 26th and was immediately sent home. Everyone in the governor's office was sent home the same day as well. 

The person who tested positive "continues to self isolate at home, and it has now been 12 days since that person left the office. And none of our remaining in-office staff have demonstrated symptoms," Pritzker added. 

4:08 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

This nurse was the only family member allowed to visit her dying mother-in-law

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A New Jersey nurse who treated three of her family members with coronavirus said she was fortunate to have the opportunity to be with them while they were sick, while many other patients with the virus cannot see their loved ones.

Michele Acito, the director of nursing at Holy Name Medical Center, said her mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law were diagnosed with coronavirus. Her brother-in-law and sister-in-law are recovering, but and her mother-in-law, Edna, died.

Acito said she was able to celebrate her mother-in-law's 89th birthday in the hospital. Other doctors and staff sang to her and gave her a piece of cake.

"Having the ability to be with my mother-in-law during the last days was special for me," Acito said. "The rest of the family was happy to know she was not alone and she was being celebrated with her last birthday here on Earth," she later added.

Because no visitors are allowed in hospitals, Acito said it is important for nurses and medical staff to be the stand-in family for patients.

"It is so important to let them know you're here while you're in the room," Acito said "If they can communicate, to ask them about their family, to offer them the opportunity to FaceTime with their family. It just brings more meaning every time you walk into a patient room," she said.


4:00 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

More than 12,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

At least 12,021 people have died in the US from coronavirus according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 383,256 cases of coronavirus in the US

3:55 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

At least 90 passengers are still on a cruise ship off the coast of Florida

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship in Miami, Florida, on April 4.
Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship in Miami, Florida, on April 4. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 90 passengers are still onboard the Coral Princess after the cruise ship docked Saturday, according to Princess Cruises.

New CDC guidelines, which require cruise travelers to fly on charter planes or take private transportation, are making it more difficult for those individuals to get home. 

The 90 passengers still onboard the Coral Princess are international guests who remain on the ship because of current travel restrictions, Princess Cruises said. They are awaiting clearance from their home countries, the cruise line told CNN. 

In response to CNN’s request, Princess Cruises is looking into whether or not any Americans remain on the ship.

Additionally, another 93,000 crew members remain at sea on 114 cruise ships that are in and around US waters, according to the US Coast Guard. 

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez expressed frustration with the new CDC guidelines during a virtual press conference, saying that these passengers and crew need to get off the ships and get home. 

Gimenez said he asked the cruise lines to allow crew members to go home and keep skeleton teams on the ships to minimize the risk of an outbreak. 

According to the US Coast Guard, the majority – about 90 – of the cruise ships with tens of thousands of crew members on board are in Miami’s area of responsibility.

3:53 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

How the coronavirus pandemic could shape how Americans vote

Analysis from CNN's Harry Enten

People wait in line to vote in Wisconsin's presidential primary election at Riverside High School in Milwaukee on April 7.
People wait in line to vote in Wisconsin's presidential primary election at Riverside High School in Milwaukee on April 7. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

The utter mess that the Wisconsin primary became shows how the coronavirus pandemic can interfere with our normal election routine.

Wisconsin is voting in its primary election in the middle of a pandemic. Meanwhile, every other state with an election scheduled for April postponed their contest or shifted it to by-mail voting only.

But most voters and election boards are not used to people voting by mail. If we want them to for the November elections, we need to prepare now. 

In 2016, about 59% of all votes were cast in-person on Election Day, and about 17% voted early in-person.

This means that only about 24% had their ballots mailed to them. Of these, 18% voted absentee (i.e. they had to request their ballot). The other 6% voted in all mail elections (i.e. ballots were automatically sent to them). 

Most states, however, do allow for voters to receive their ballot by mail without an excuse. In total, 33 states allow no excuse require absentee voting (28 states including Wisconsin) or have all mail voting (5 states). These states consist of 65% of all the electoral votes in the electoral college. Of the closest 15 states in 2016, 91% of all electoral votes are allotted to states that allow no excuse absentee voting or are all mail.

There are some notable exceptions that don't allow no excuse absentee voting like New York and Texas (where there have been efforts to expand voting by mail), but they are not the rule.  

This leaves the majority of states with two choices. Obviously, there could be drastic moves to shift states to all mail voting (a step Maryland has been taking).

An easier path is working within the framework of no excuse absentee voting. It's about ensuring that voters understand that they need to request a ballot in most states to get a ballot sent to them. It's about getting election boards the funds and manpower to count ballots that were sent through the mail. 

Without those steps, we could end up with what we're witnessing in Wisconsin.

3:38 p.m. ET, April 7, 2020

5 Barnes & Noble workers diagnosed with coronavirus in New Jersey

From CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn

An employee operates a forklift at the Barnes & Noble Distribution Center in Monroe, New Jersey, in 2006.
An employee operates a forklift at the Barnes & Noble Distribution Center in Monroe, New Jersey, in 2006. Mark Lennihan/AP

At least five Barnes & Noble employees at a distribution center in Monroe, New Jersey, have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Employees at the facility received a letter from management this morning telling them as many as nine of their coworkers are currently suffering from Covid-19 symptoms, according to a spokesman for the Laundry Distribution and Food Service joint board union, which helped organize a planned protest by Barnes & Noble workers Tuesday.

Only five of the nine alleged Covid-19 cases have been confirmed by doctors, Barnes & Noble director of communications Alex Ortolani told CNN Business.

"The other [four] cases are employees with reported symptoms," Ortolani told CNN Business.

The company said it has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the matter, noting that the Monroe facility is cleaned daily and will receive an additional "deep cleaning" when it closes for Good Friday. Until then, the facility will remain open for business, Barnes & Noble said.

"We have been working with employees at our Monroe, New Jersey, facility to keep everyone safe during this difficult time," the company said in a statement  "We prioritize keeping our working environment as safe as possible and, on learning of the positive cases and those suffering symptoms, we closed the facility and had conducted a thorough clean. ... We appreciate all the hard work and efforts of our staff, and will continue to listen to their concerns and work with them to make a safe and secure work environment."