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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12:30 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

World Health leader says "focus should be on fighting this virus" after Trump's criticism

From CNN's Amanda Watts

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressed President Trump’s claims that WHO mishandled the coronavirus, saying right now, “the focus should be on fighting this virus.” 

"Not only that we said we have been doing everything we can, but we will continue to do everything — day and night like we have been doing to save lives. We don’t want to waste time," Tedros said

Tedros said, when you’re confronted with a new and dangerous serious public health concern like coronavirus, WHO does an after-action assessment, “so we will do our assessment identifying the strengths and weaknesses,” WHO wants to learn from our mistakes and strength and move forward, Tedros said.

Some background: During the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing yesterday, President Trump said WHO had mishandled the coronavirus.

“We'll be looking into that very carefully. And we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see,” he said.

Later in the briefing he clarified that he wouldn’t freeze funding, but “I said we’re going to look at it.” 

 

12:22 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

US Senate leader takes initial steps to move ahead with next stimulus bill

From CNN's Manu Raju

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has started the process to move for quick passage Thursday of the $251 billion for additional small business loans — without including the list of Democratic demands outlined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, according to GOP sources.

McConnell has checked with senators to determine whether any of them will object to moving just the $251 billion package. 

Democrats are expected to object to passing the $251 billion package if their demands aren't met. Those requests include hundred of billions of dollars for hospitals and state and local governments, according to Democratic sources.

That means we could see on the floor tomorrow morning dueling efforts by both sides to pass their bills — with both expected to fail, according to a source involved in the talks.

Talks are expected to occur today to see if any deal could be reached to avoid a stalemate.

12:22 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

There are more than 400,000 coronavirus cases in the US

There are 401,166 coronavirus cases in the United States, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins is currently reporting 12,912 deaths in the United States from the disease.

12:24 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Pennsylvania is reporting 70 new coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, April 7.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, April 7. State of Pennsylvania

There are 70 additional deaths in Pennsylvania, bringing the statewide total to 310, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

There are also 1,680 new cases, which the state says brings its total to 16,239.

“Now more than ever, as we continue to see Covid-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

She continued: “Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and our healthcare workers and frontline responders.”

12:18 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Canada's Trudeau says coronavirus measures will be in place for many more weeks

From CNN’s Paula Newton

CTV Network
CTV Network

Canada’s national lockdown will continue “for many more weeks” as the nation studies how best to resume some economic activity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

He added that things "won’t be back to normal."

"The current measures will be in place for many more weeks so we have time to get that right and to look what other countries that might be earlier in their phase do that is successful,” he said.

Trudeau said his government is looking at different scenarios, but it's still too early to think about relaxing any social distancing measures.

“It’s going to be very, very, important to do it in a measured, graduated way that allows for economic activity to begin while preventing severe spikes in COVID transmissions.”

By the numbers: Canada has reported 17,984 cases of Covid-19 and 391 related deaths. Per capita, Canada has less than half the reported coronavirus cases than in the United States and a lower death rate. Testing for the virus in Canada has been rigorous, although testing per capita has slipped in recent days.

12:15 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Coronavirus death toll in UK tops 7,000

The UK on Wednesday reported 938 deaths in hospitals from Covid-19 – its highest death toll in a single day so far – taking the total deaths to 7,097.

Of the 232,708 people who have been tested, at least 60,733 people have now tested positive for coronavirus, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Twitter.

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.