From CNN's Betsy Klein, Nikki Carvajal and Jason Hoffman
President Trump approved a disaster declaration for Vermont due to Covid-19.
This is the 52nd disaster declaration approved by the President in response to the coronavirus pandemic: 47 states, the US Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have all declared disasters.
Only Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming have not declared disasters. The US has never had a 50-state disaster.
2:38 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
On a county level, officials lament "an inadequate and chaotic federal response" to Covid-19
From CNN's Donald Judd
In a call with reporters Wednesday, local and county officials with the National Association of Counties raised the alarm that the federal response to Covid-19 has left counties in the lurch and without resources.
Much of the challenges they’re facing involve meeting budgets and hitting revenue targets, which have been sorely hit by states closing businesses nationwide.
Cook County, Illinois, Board President Toni Preckwinkle was among the county officials who was on the call. Preckwinkle said they have “faced some tremendous challenges around personal protective equipment ... there's been, I can only say, an inadequate and chaotic federal response to this.”
“Our purchasing folks in our Office of Emergency Management have been scouring the marketplace to try to find, particularly the N95 masks that we need, but, personal protective equipment more broadly," she said. "I think that's been one of the most kind of the biggest challenges for local units of government in the fact that we haven't had a comprehensive and coherent effort at the federal level to stockpile and distribute this equipment.”
Mark Poloncarz, who serves as the county executive for Erie County, New York, echoed that sentiment.
“We've had a number of orders that we processed with reputable partners to get N95 masks and the like, almost all of these are made overseas, and of course, there have been delays. We've heard the stories about where vendors are processing an order and then your order comes back a few days later and you've been told you're not getting it anymore, primarily because they're selling it to someone else. So, we are all kind of in the same boat with regards to this across the country," Poloncarz said.
2:30 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
New York governor launches social media campaign to encourage people to stay home
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a social media campaign to encourage New Yorkers to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He announced the campaign — using the hashtag #IStayHomeFor — after his daily news conference.
“Who are you staying home for? It's not about staying home for yourself. Stay home for others, stay home for the vulnerable people … stay home for the health care worker in the emergency room because you don't want to infect anybody else who puts a greater load on the health care system. Who are you staying home for? I'm staying home for my mother,” he said during a press briefing Wednesday.
Read Cuomo's tweet:
2:28 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
White House coronavirus task force is working on a framework to get America back to normal, Fauci says
From CNN's Lauren Fox
Dr. Anthony Fauci told lawmakers today that the White House coronavirus task force is working on establishing a framework for how Americans will be able to return to normalcy, according to a source.
Fauci held a call today with Democratic House members. On it, he was asked about antibody testing and tracking that the White House task force has been working on in terms of developing a timeframe toward normalcy.
Fauci told lawmakers that the White House task force was working on it last night.
But remember: This is an ongoing conversation.
Another source said that Vice President Mike Pence was very complimentary on the call of governors — including Democrats — for helping to slow the spread of the disease. Pence cited local and state leaders in Washington and California as having made a significant contribution in helping to slow the spread.
2:09 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
NJ records more than 7,000 hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases
From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield
There are 7,026 hospitalizations in New Jersey which include Covid-19 positive patients and persons under investigation for coronavirus, according to Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
There are 1,617 people in critical care and 97% of those patients in critical care, 1,576, are on ventilators.
Overall, of the more than 7,000 individuals in hospitals, about 22% are on ventilation, Persichilli said.
Of the seven laboratories sending their testing results to the governor’s office, 94,525 tests have been performed to date in New Jersey and 41,550 are positive, for a rate of 44%, which Murphy said has “crept up slowly.”
Among the deaths in the state, 61% people are white, 22% are black, 6% are Asian and the state is still reviewing 112 cases, according to Persichilli.
Additionally, there are now 231 long-term care facilities in the state that have reported at least one Covid-19 case, Persichilli said.
2:04 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
More than 13,000 people have died in the US from coronavirus
From CNN's Amanda Watts
There are at least 402,923 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.
At least 13,007 people have died in the US from coronavirus.
The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. Wyoming is the only state or territory that is not reporting a death from coronavirus.
So far on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins has reported 4,114 new cases and 112 reported deaths.
1:36 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
New Jersey governor announces additional restrictions to construction, essential businesses
From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all non-essential construction across the state to cease indefinitely, effective at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
Exceptions to this order include projects at hospitals and schools, building of affordable housing and emergency services, among other limited instances, Murphy announced in Wednesday’s press conference.
Additionally, the governor is ordering all essential retail-grocery stores and pharmacies to indefinitely limit their number of customers in their stores to 50% of their current approved capacity, and ordered that customers and employees must wear face coverings.
Stores must also provide special shopping hours for high risk individuals.
The restrictions are to be implemented across the state.
“There is one set of rules for everyone in New Jersey,” Murphy said.
1:26 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
How US coronavirus deaths compare to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic
From CNN’s Michael Nedelman and Amanda Watts
More people in the United States have died from coronavirus than during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
The CDC estimates there were 60.8 million H1N1 cases across the United States during that year. To date, there are more than 400,000 novel coronavirus cases reported in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
The CDC’s numbers on H1N1 are estimates they tallied during the yearlong span in which H1N1 blanketed the US. Johns Hopkins has been collecting data directly from state and local health officials since the first case appeared in the United States in late January.
1:12 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
Cuomo says New York will do more coronavirus testing in minority communities
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
Data suggests that coronavirus infection rates are higher for black and Hispanic residents of New York, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In New York City, 34% of deaths from coronavirus are Hispanic while 28% of deaths are black. Respectively, those numbers are 14% and 18% for the rest of the state.
The figures are disproportionate as compared to each population in the state. Cuomo said that the state is going to immediately start more testing in minority communities.
Cuomo referenced how minority communities are affected in natural disasters, such as in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
“Why is it that the poorest people always pay the highest price? But let's figure it out. Let's do the work. Let's do the research. Let's learn from this moment and let's learn these lessons and let's do it now,” he said. "Let's actually get research and data that can inform us.”