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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4:09 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

US stocks surge higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended higher today, buoyed by investors’ optimism about slight improvement in new coronavirus infections data.

Here's where things closed:

  • The Dow closed up 3.4%, or 780 points. It was the index’s first close above 23,000 points in nearly a month.
  • The S&P 500 finished 3.4% higher. 
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed up 2.6%. 

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

 

3:53 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Aircraft maker cuts back production as airlines defer deliveries

From CNN’s Chris Isidore 

A worker prepares to install an engine on an Airbus SE A220 plane on the assembly line at the Airbus Canada LP assembly and finishing site in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, on February 20.
A worker prepares to install an engine on an Airbus SE A220 plane on the assembly line at the Airbus Canada LP assembly and finishing site in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, on February 20. Valerian Mazataud/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

European aircraft maker Airbus announced Wednesday it would cut production by about a third, as the troubled airline industry is being forced to defer deliveries due to the plunge in air traffic.

Airbus said the reduced schedule was designed "to adapt to the new coronavirus market environment." The company delivered only 122 of the 182 planes it built during the quarter because of "customer requests to defer deliveries," it said.

It will now build about 40 of the A320 each month, down from 60 per month of its best-selling single-aisle jet. The A330 will produce two a month from nine, and the A350 production has been scaled back to six a month from between nine and 10.

Airbus has temporarily halted production at numerous plants in Europe and North America due to health concerns. The reduced production schedule will be in place when the plants resume work. Rival Boeing, which reports its deliveries and orders next week, also has temporarily stopped building commercial jets as well.

More than half the 22,000 planes in the global commercial airline fleet have been grounded in the crisis, according to tracking firm Cirium, and that number is climbing as airlines slash their schedules, or cancel all flights in some cases, due to a combination of travel restrictions and passengers' health concerns.

3:53 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Massachusetts reports more than 1,300 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Massachusetts reported 1,365 new cases of Covid-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 15,202.

At least 81,344 tests have been conducted so far in Massachusetts, Baker said, and the state continues to see a rise in the percent of people testing positive.

On Monday, about 30% of all tests conducted were positive and on Tuesday that number was similar at 28%. 

The state expects to see the peak in cases occur sometime between April 10 and April 20, Gov. Baker said.

4:00 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Arkansas records lowest positivity rate for coronavirus in a 24-hour period to date

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Nurse Mandy Stuckey reaches into a vehicle to administer a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing center in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Nurse Mandy Stuckey reaches into a vehicle to administer a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing center in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Thomas Metthe/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/AP

Arkansas recorded its lowest positivity rate for coronavirus in a 24-hour period to date on Tuesday, Dr. Nathaniel Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said Wednesday. 

“Yesterday, we received results from 1,436 test and we had a 1.6% positivity rate so this is the greatest number of test results we've received in a 24-hour period to date,” Smith told reporters in Little Rock.

The vast majority of the tests were reported from commercial labs, Smith said.

3:51 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Pennsylvania reports more than 1,600 new coronavirus cases

Pennsylvania today is reporting 1,680 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the state total to 16,239 cases, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

According to Levine, these numbers include 760 healthcare workers who have tested positive, 831 individuals who are in 157 long-term or personal care facilities and 309 deaths.

There are currently 1,892 patients hospitalized in Pennsylvania due to Covid-19, which represents 11 percent of the total count, Levine said.

Approximately 51% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and 70% of the state’s ventilators, are available at this time, according to Levine.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also announced that the state will be launching a hospital preparedness dashboard, that will let anyone see a county-by-county breakdown of key equipment availability and usage.

3:21 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Delta will stop booking middle seats

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

Delta said it will no longer book the middle seat on flights through the end of May in an effort to allow for social distancing.

Delta said it is also pausing automatic, advance seat upgrades.

"These will now be processed at the gate – still in priority order – to allow gate agents to determine how to best seat customers while considering social distancing and aircraft weight-and-balance restrictions," said the airline.

Some context: Delta and other airlines have already been slashing schedules and reporting a low level of passenger traffic on flights.

For example, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told Delta employees that it would be reducing its schedule by 80% in April due to the lack of demand, that it expects second quarter revenue to be down 90% and that on March 28, it carried only 38,000 customers, versus its normal late-March Saturday traffic of 600,000.

3:11 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

More than 13,800 people have died in the US from coronavirus

There are at least 404,352 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

At least 13,829 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 today, Johns Hopkins has reported 5,543 new cases and 934 reported deaths. 

3:22 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Florida governor says 150,000 coronavirus tests to be completed by the end of the day

From CNN's Angela Barajas

Pool
Pool

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said today that the state will be able to complete over 150,000 tests by the end of the day, making Florida as "one of the top states for testing."

DeSantis toured the Miami Beach Convention Center today which is being turned into a temporary hospital to treat Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. 

The governor said the facility, scheduled to open April 20th, would start off with 400 beds and 50 others for ICU with the capacity to significantly expand. 

“I would much rather be prepared for the worse and the worse not come here," said DeSantis.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county has 3,000 vacant beds and 300 ICU vacant beds. More than 700 ventilators have yet to be used according to Gimenez. 

DeSantis reminded Floridians to keep social distancing rules when applying for unemployment and commended the City of Hialeah for instituting a drive-thru following yesterday's long lines.

3:00 p.m. ET, April 8, 2020

Chicago imposes curfew on liquor sales as city looks to curb gathering of groups

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a 9 p.m. curfew on liquor sales in Chicago effective Thursday.

Lightfoot said at a press conference today that the curfew was prompted by the fact that "too many individuals and business were violating the stay at home order" at the press conference that was provided to CNN by affiliate WGN.

"Far too many have been congregating at stores that sell alcohol, especially in the evening hours," Lightfoot said.

The new order gives city police the power to "further curb non-compliance" through fines, arrests, and the revocation of liquor licenses, Lightfoot announced.

The city has already issued "significant citations" to eight businesses for violations of existing orders, Lightfoot said.

Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Charles Beck said that the city's officers have dispersed over 2,000 groups since the start of the city's public health orders.

"Last night was our zenith, our highest level of dispersals, at over 300," Beck said at the press conference.

"We've done enforcement, we've done warnings, we've written tickets, and we've made arrests, now its time to limit opportunities," Beck explained.