April 9 coronavirus news

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

Updated 0236 GMT (1036 HKT) April 10, 2020
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11:43 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Fed chairman expects a "robust" economic recovery

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

The US economy should rebound fairly quickly when businesses reopen after the coronavirus lockdown ends, said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this morning.

Just how quickly the economy can reopen following the outbreak, however, is dependent on the path of the virus, Powell said on a Brookings Institute webinar this morning.

One way or another, the second quarter will be a weak one, he said: "We do expect to see very low economic output and big increases in initial claims and unemployment."

While the Fed has no influence on the government's fiscal policies, Powell said we are likely to see more fiscal support from Washington.

This is what the great fiscal power of the US is for, to protect the people the best we can from the hardships they're facing," Powell said. "At the Fed, we do all we can to shepherd the economy through this difficult time."

This morning, the central bank announced another $2.3 trillion loan package.

The Fed is flexible on when all of its support programs will end, Powell said. Once they get wound down, this would be done gradually.

11:31 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Epidemiology expert on keeping restrictions in place: "This is frustrating, but lives are at stake"

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Anne Rimoin, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA
Anne Rimoin, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA

Some experts are worried that reopening the economy and relaxing restrictions on stay-at-home orders would cause the number of coronavirus cases to rebound.

This is because the population does not have immunity to the virus yet, according to Anne Rimoin, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA.

"We've made so many gains by having a really good national effort at social distancing and doing everything we can to flatten the curve. But if we start to open up, we're going to see these numbers rebound. We don't have a population immunity to this virus," Rimoin said to CNN's John King.

Other factors that make it dangerous to relax guidelines right now is the lack of a vaccine, other therapeutics and the ability to conduct wide-spread testing, Rimoin said.

"This is frustrating, but lives are at stake. We're seeing the impact of the lack of social distancing and the lack of early action throughout the country at this point and throughout the world. We have to let the global data speak," she said.

11:12 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Florida will begin drive-through testing at the Daytona Speedway

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland

Beginning tomorrow, AdventHealth Centra Care will test for Covid-19 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the company announced in a press release Thursday.

The tests will be available to anyone who meets the criteria for testing, as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the release said.

A doctor’s order in not required for testing.

“Making tests available is one of the most important things we can do to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe,” said Dr. Scott Brady, president and CEO of AdventHealth Centra Care. “We’re asking people to stay home and practice social distancing, so bringing testing closer to where they live is essential.”
11:01 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Trump preparing to announce second task force focused on economic recovery

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, Jim Acosta and Vivian Salama

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE

President Trump is preparing to announce a second coronavirus task force solely focused on reopening the nation's economy, multiple sources tell CNN.

Senior aides such as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow have been solely focused on the issue of restarting a wounded American economy for weeks, along with a coterie of aides.

But in recent days, inside and outside advisers have appealed to Trump to formally create a separate task force in order to streamline the process so it can focus primarily on reopening the economy. This task force would likely include senior staff from the Treasury Department, the National Economic Council, the Labor Department and the Department of Commerce.

But it wouldn't only have administration officials involved. There has been outreach to figures such as Gary Cohn, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Art Laffer and even major sports teams and well-known athletes.

Other Trump allies have proposed naming a recovery "czar" from the private sector to oversee efforts to revive the consumer economy and address unemployment after coronavirus forced the closure of businesses across sectors.

Influential conservatives have floated Laffer as the leader of the task force, and he has presented some ideas to senior White House aides on a plan to revive the economy. His plans have included a proposal to tax nonprofits, cut the pay of some public officials and offer a payroll tax holiday.

Trump awarded Laffer a presidential medal of freedom last year, but the White House hasn't yet offered him a position on a new panel, according to a senior administration official.

10:45 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Pennsylvania schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.

 "Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible," a release from the governor’s office said. 

Students and families may continue to pick up meals at designated sites, according to the release.

10:39 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

NYC mayor: Federal government isn't "doing everything to get us the testing we need"

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the federal government for not helping New Yorkers gain access to coronavirus testing.

He reiterated the call from the city and state for widespread testing:

"This has been the underlying challenge from day one and we've never had a satisfactory answer from the federal government. Not one single day since this began have I felt that the federal government has proven to us they are doing everything to get us the testing we need because if they had done it, we would be in an entirely different situation and bluntly, I'm not going to let bygones be bygones to say the least, but I can tell you we still need them to produce in a way they have not done because if we could get widespread testing it would start to change the entire strategy and allow us to do so much more."
10:40 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Why the total number of coronavirus cases was revised down

Earlier today, Johns Hopkins University said there were about 1,480,000 coronavirus cases reported across the world.

Hours before this, however, the university said the global case count had surpassed 1.5 million.

What's behind the discrepancy: Johns Hopkins told CNN that as researchers reviewed the data, they noticed some duplications in France.

Here's how Johns Hopkins explained this in a statement:

“During our verification process we determined that some of the recently reported cases in French nursing homes may be duplicated. We will continue to investigate the data from France to determine the true number of cases. Once we confirm these cases we will adjust the number accordingly. In the interim, we refer to the numbers reported by the French government."

As of 10:15 a.m. ET, Johns Hopkins University is reporting more than 1,502,000 cases across the world.

10:36 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Chicago opens refrigerated warehouse to hold more than 2,000 bodies

From CNN’s Omar Jimenez


The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Chicago announced the opening of its surge center Thursday to expand capacity and ease overcrowding at hospital morgues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 66,000-square foot refrigerated warehouse will have the capacity to hold more than 2,000 bodies, according to a release from the county.

“While my hope is that we have made plans that we will not have to utilize, I realize that my administration has a responsibility to prepare for a surge in deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “We are working diligently to ensure that the victims of this virus are treated with dignity while under our care.”

The county has also acquired 14 refrigerated trailers and is in the process of securing six more to support the surge center. The trailers will be prepositioned at hospitals that are experiencing surges so their morgues are not overwhelmed.

In a statement Thursday, the Medical Examiner’s Office said they plan to scale up their existing case management system to accommodate the caseload at the surge center.

“We are the last physicians these individuals will ever have and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar. “We treat these patients with dignity and respect. We treat them the way we would want our loved ones to be treated.”

10:33 a.m. ET, April 9, 2020

More US Navy ships report coronavirus outbreaks

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Jennifer Hansler

USS Ronald Reagan
USS Ronald Reagan Mass

There are now cases of coronavirus affecting US Navy ships beyond the USS Theodore Roosevelt. 

In addition to the Roosevelt, the USS Ronald Reagan — which is currently in Yokuska, Japan, in maintenance — has 15 positive cases. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten also said Thursday that there is a “small outbreak” of coronavirus on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

“But it’s not a huge breakout, it’s not a big spike at this point. There’s been physical separation of sailors on that ship,” he said at a Pentagon briefing. Hyten said they are watching it “very closely before the Nimitz goes out.”