April 8 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:35 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020
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12:15 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Boris Johnson is sitting up and engaging with medical team while in intensive care

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak Pool

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains in intensive care with Covid-19, “has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team,” Chancellor Rishi Sunak said. 

The prime minister's situation is improving.

"The news about the prime minister reminds us how indiscriminate this virus is,” Sunak added.

12:11 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Bernie Sanders says coronavirus shows how "absurd" US health care system is

Sanders campaign
Sanders campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders said today that the "horrific" coronavirus crisis "has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is." 

Speaking during a live-streamed address where he announced he was dropping out of the presidential race, Sanders pointed out that "the current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance."

Sanders continued:  

"While Americans have been told over and over again how wonderful our employer-based private insurance system is, those claims sound very hollow today as a growing number of unemployed workers struggle with how they can afford to go to the doctor or not go bankrupt with a huge hospital bill." 

"Health care must be considered as a human right, not an employee benefit," he added.

12:09 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Trump criticized WHO's handling of the crisis. The organization just spelled out the steps it took.

From CNN's Amanda Watts

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus AFP/Getty Images/FILE

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus laid out the organization’s response to the coronavirus since early January.

"Tomorrow marks 100 days since WHO was notified of the first cases of ‘pneumonia with unknown cause’ in China,” Tedros said. 

Here's the timeline he laid out:

  • Tedros said, on Jan. 1, “just hours after we were notified of the first cases, WHO activated its Incident Management Support Team, to coordinate our response at headquarters, regional and country level.”
  • Days later, on Jan. 5, WHO notified all member states about the new outbreak and published news of the outbreak on its website, Tedros said.
  • Then, on Jan. 10, WHO issued a “comprehensive package of guidance to countries” on how to detect and test potential cases. 
  • In late January, after the first cases of community spread were reported outside of China, WHO “declared a public health emergency of international concern, our highest level of alarm,” Tedros said. Adding, at the same time, “an international team of experts from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Singapore, and the United States of America visited affected provinces in China,” in an effort to learn more about the virus. 
  • In early February, the United Nations crisis management team was activated, Tedros outlined. 

Some context: During a White House press briefing yesterday, President Trump criticized WHO, saying it had mishandled the coronavirus.

Tedros did not mention President Trump in his initial comments about WHO’s response.

11:29 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

New York City needs more military medical help in hospitals, mayor says

NYC Media
NYC Media

Nearly 300 military medical personnel have been deployed throughout New York City’s public hospitals, but additional help is needed “quickly,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press briefing today.

“We just need more help, particularly when it comes to personnel,” de Blasio said, reiterating his request of 1,450 medical military personnel from the federal government.

“The front line healthcare workers have gone through hell, but they’ve held the line, they’ve been heroes in every way.”

There are 291 highly trained and effective medical personnel, “many of them with the kind of military experience that makes them very, very ready to handle the toughest situations” are deployed in the city’s public hospitals. 

The Navy has deployed personnel to Elmhurst, Bellevue, Woodhull and Kings County hospitals, and the Air Force has sent members to Lincoln, Jacobi, and Queens hospital.

“Very grateful that our armed forces have come forward to help our public hospitals, but we will need more help and we need it quickly,” de Blasio said.

11:09 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Dick's Sporting Goods is furloughing a "significant number" of its 40,000 employees

From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky

Al Bello/Getty Images/FILE
Al Bello/Getty Images/FILE

Dick's Sporting Goods is furloughing a "significant number" of its roughly 40,000 employees beginning Sunday. Affected employees will still continue to receive their benefits. 

Dick's said in a regulatory filing that because of coronavirus, it's "increasingly evident" that its more than 800 stores aren't going to reopen anytime soon. 

It will keep on a small number of employees to fulfill online orders and curbside pickups.

"It is our goal that when this crisis subsides, we will welcome back our teammates, open our doors and get back to the business we love of serving athletes and our communities," the company said. 

The closure of gyms, social distancing rules and most state governments telling people to stay at home has zapped demand for what Dick's sales of athletic goods.

Dick's stock is up 5% in Wednesday trading. It has lost half of its value so far this year.  

A number of retailers have put their employees on furlough because of the coronavirus pandemic has forced stores to temporarily close. 

11:04 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Man sentenced to 3 months in jail for stealing surgical masks from London hospital

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam

A man has been sentenced to three months in jail for stealing surgical masks from a south London hospital as demand for personal protective equipment surges to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Lerun Hussain, 34, was detained by King's College Hospital security staff after he stole three face masks on Sunday, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Hussain was arrested on suspicion of theft and also detained for being in breach of a court order. He was jailed for three months after pleading guilty to theft.

10:43 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Argentina extends nationwide quarantine through April

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez

A worker disinfects the street outside Congress during a government-ordered lockdown t in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, April 8.
A worker disinfects the street outside Congress during a government-ordered lockdown t in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, April 8. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina's nationwide quarantine will continue through April, Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez announced in a televised interview today.

Fernandez said the decision was made in order to contain the spread of the virus because the number of infections is expected to peak sometime in mid-May. 

The government had previously decreed "mandatory preventive social isolation until April 12. However, the president said he met with governors and that they agreed that everyone should continue with the quarantine. 

Argentina has recorded 1,715 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 60 deaths, according to the Argentine Ministry of Health.

10:38 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

276 NYPD officers who tested positive for coronavirus have returned to work, mayor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

At least 276 New York Police Department officers who had tested for positive for coronavirus have returned to duty, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference this morning.

At least 1,310 New York Fire Department EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters who tested positive for, were exposed to or were suspected of having coronavirus have also returned to duty, he added.

“I’m not for a moment forgetting we have lost some of our first responders – their families are grieving – but thank god for the vase majority. They’ve come through quickly, and they come through well,” de Blasio said.

10:30 a.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Here's the racial breakdown of coronavirus victims in New York

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

The New York State Department of Health’s Covid-19 website has been updated to include data on the victims, including their race, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Wednesday.

The preliminary data, last updated yesterday, includes information on 90% reporting for New York State, excluding New York City, and information based on 63% reporting for New York City, as provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Here's the breakdown of deaths across New York state, excluding New York City:

  • Hispanic – 14% (11% of the population)
  • Black – 18% (9% of the population)
  • White – 62% (75% of the population)
  • Asian – 4% (4% of the population)

And here's the data from New York City, with 63% reporting:

  • Hispanic – 34% (29% of the population)
  • Black – 28% (22% of the population)
  • White – 27% (32% of the population)
  • Asian – 7% (14% of the population)