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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8:21 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

US Surgeon General says 90% of Americans are "doing the right thing" with social distancing

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on April 3.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on April 3. Win McNamee/Getty Images

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said that the majority of people in the United States are "doing the right thing" by staying home, social distancing and following other mitigation measures to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"Over 90% of the country is actually doing the right thing right now," Adams told ABC's George Stephanopoulos during an appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday.

"I want the American people to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel and we feel confident if we keep doing the right thing for the rest of this month that we can start to slowly reopen in some places," Adams said Tuesday morning.

The US coronavirus death toll is nearing 11,000 as the country prepares for what the President said will be a "difficult" week and a half. But White House officials say they are encouraged by parts of the country that leaned in heavily to social distancing measures and are now seeing a slowdown in the rate of growth of coronavirus cases.

"I'm seeing mitigation work," Adams said Tuesday. "I am so impressed. I know I've said it a couple times with Washington and with California. Their public health officials there should be applauded because they've given us the blueprint for how we deal with this and the rest of the country."

8:20 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

The Italian mafia is taking advantage of the coronavirus lockdown, police warn

From CNN's Livia Borghese, Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac

Police in Italy say they are concerned about criminal organizations, or Mafia, infiltrating "basic needs" sectors of industry and society under financial pressure during the coronavirus lockdown.

"The danger is high because mafia organizations have already started investing in sectors that are still essential during the Covid-19 lockdown: the agriculture-food chain, the supply of medicines and medical equipment, road transport, funeral services, cleaning, sanitation and waste disposal companies", the head of Italian Police, Franco Gabrielli said.

Head of Italian Police Franco Gabrielli addresses a press conference in Rome, Italy, in July 2018.
Head of Italian Police Franco Gabrielli addresses a press conference in Rome, Italy, in July 2018. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

These are sectors that don't require a lot of specialization, so "criminal groups can easily be able to offer services at competitive prices because the companies they control do not comply with environmental, social security and safety at work regulations.”

According to Gabrielli, mafia organizations, in particular the ‘most dangerous’ of them, the ‘Ndrangheta, "could finance the liquidity crisis of large companies, but also of small and medium-sized enterprises, which may not be able to meet their payments due to the lockdown."

By the end of the emergency lockdown, the criminal associations could have polluted the economy, controlling companies previously not infiltrated,” he warns.

8:10 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

School closures may only have a small effect on stopping coronavirus, study says

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in London

Schools around the world have been shut to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, but one team of scientists is questioning whether the havoc the closures are causing to millions of people is actually worth it — suggesting that the impact on the pandemic might be smaller than previously thought.

A new study by researchers at University College London said recent modeling studies of Covid-19 suggest that school closures alone would prevent only 2% to 4% of deaths — far fewer than other social distancing interventions.

The research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health medical journal late on Monday, reviewed 16 studies looking at past epidemics of SARS, MERS and seasonal flu, as well as others modeling the spread of the novel coronavirus, and found that the evidence to support national closures of schools to combat Covid-19 is "very weak."

8:09 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

US Surgeon General: We'll have "a different normal whenever we do re-open"

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

 

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said the US can "get back to some sense of normalcy" when a strong public health infrastructure is put in place, including widely available testing. 

"We know that normal is going to be a different normal whenever we do re-open. We know that once we get a vaccine we can get more back to the way we treat flu season," he said in an interview on “Good Morning America" today.

"We've got promising therapeutics, hundreds of trials going on across the country and we know that once we get testing out there more widely available ... and once we have a strong public health infrastructure in place to follow up positive tests and isolate case contacts that we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy," Adams told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. 

Adams added US officials are "closely" watching how China and South Korea are reopening after strict coronavirus lockdowns. 

8:06 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in stable condition and good spirits

From CNN's Luke McGee

British police officers stand on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital in London, where Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care, on April 7.
British police officers stand on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital in London, where Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care, on April 7. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The British Prime Minister has been in stable condition overnight and “remains in good spirits,” his spokesperson said on Tuesday. 

Boris Johnson is getting standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without assistance, the spokesperson added. 

Addressing speculation over Johnson’s condition, the spokesperson said: “He has not required invasive or non-invasive support,” and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia

Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit yesterday after his condition with coronavirus symptoms "worsened," his office has said.

7:59 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Crew member of USNS Comfort tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The USNS Comfort navy hospital ship is seen docked at Pier 90 in New York City on April 3.
The USNS Comfort navy hospital ship is seen docked at Pier 90 in New York City on April 3. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

A crewmember of the USNS Comfort tested positive for coronavirus, and has been isolated from patients and other crew members, a Navy spokesperson said Tuesday.

The US Navy hospital ship is currently docked in New York City harbor and had originally been designated as a space for non-coronavirus patients to alleviate the pressure from New York hospitals. On Sunday, President Trump said it could be used for coronavirus patients if needed.

 There is no impact to Comfort’s mission, and this will not affect the ability for Comfort to receive patients. The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board,” Navy spokesperson Lt. Marycate Walsh said.

Walsh said the crewmember had no contact with patients.

A US defense official tells CNN, “those who had contact with the crew member who tested positive have been tested and will remain in isolation for several days regardless of the test result, out of an abundance of caution."

The US military announced Monday night that the Comfort will take patients regardless of whether they tested positive for Covid-19. “Effective immediately, USNS COMFORT will accept trauma, emergency and urgent care patients without regard to their COVID status. The Javits New York Medical Station continues to be DoD's [the Department of Defense] primary facility for COVID-19 patients,” Walsh said.

A Navy official told CNN that the directive to treat coronavirus patients means the Comfort will now have half the capacity it would otherwise have, because of the need to separate COVID and non-COVID patients. 

7:50 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

El Salvador extends nation-wide quarantine

From CNNE’s Gerardo Lemos and CNN’s Hira Humayun in Atlanta

A municipal worker sanitizes a quarantined homeless shelter in San Salvador, El Salvador, on April 2.
A municipal worker sanitizes a quarantined homeless shelter in San Salvador, El Salvador, on April 2. Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

El Salvador is extending its nation-wide quarantine another 15 days amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a tweet from the Press Secretary of the Presidency late Monday.

Earlier, President Nayib Bukele announced a 30-day quarantine period starting Saturday, March 21 until April 20. With the 15-day extension, the period now extends to May 5.

In a separate tweet, El Salvador’s Presidential House said the country’s National Civil Police is complying with Bukele’s orders to be more strict with those who do not follow quarantine orders.

The Presidential House said those who do not comply will be sent to contingency centers, where they will have to spend 30 days in quarantine.

7:40 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

Putin to chair coronavirus meeting Tuesday

From CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Darya Tarasova in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, April 6.
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, April 6. Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a high-level meeting Tuesday on efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in Russia, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

The meeting, to be held by teleconference, will include representatives of Russian research institutes and medical centers that are working on vaccine development and drug-treatment regimens, Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. Ministerial-level officials will also take part, he added.

Putin has been working remotely from his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow.

Putin wishes UK Prime Minister speedy recovery: The Kremlin on Tuesday released the text of a letter from Putin to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently in intensive care undergoing treatment for coronavirus. In the letter, Putin told Johnson his "energy, optimism and sense of humor" will help defeat the illness.

7:42 a.m. ET, April 7, 2020

WHO says Iran's new coronavirus cases 'flattening off'

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran. Alert written by Hira Humayun in Atlanta

Women make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in Tehran, Iran, on April 5.
Women make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in Tehran, Iran, on April 5. Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran has been seeing a “flattening off” of the number of new coronavirus cases, the WHO East Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"Due to an impressive scaling up of many of the control measures, we have seen a flattening off of the number of cases in Iran and in fact, some suggestion, in recent days of perhaps a decline in the number of new cases,” said Richard Brennan, Acting Regional Emergency Director for WHO EMRO.

Iran confirmed 133 more coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 3,872 according to Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpoor on state TV.

Iran is the worst affected country in the Middle East, with the highest case count and death toll.

Jahanpoor said there are 2,089 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 62,589.