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
162 Posts
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8:48 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Next year will be “another challenging time” with coronavirus, says CDC director

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen and Wesley Bruer


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said he is thinking ahead to prepare for what could happen next year with the coronavirus.

It "will be another challenging time," he warned during CNN's ongoing coronavirus town hall. “I want to be able to have it so we respond to it next year with the fundamentals of public health, early case identification, isolation contact tracing.

Those proactive steps would change the way the country could deal with another outbreak. That way, “we don’t have to go through the serious mitigation steps that we’re taking to get us under control,” Redfield said.

8:48 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Cuba will suspend all public transportation

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

All public transportation in Cuba will be suspended starting Saturday to stop the virus from spreading across the island, officials announced today.

This means buses, taxis and other forms of public transit will cease to operate, said Cuban Transportation Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila on state-run television.

Only state employees deemed essential to national interests will be allowed to take special buses to their workplaces, he said. Those employees will need to wear face masks and maintain social distancing from other passengers.

Most Cubans rely on public transportation to travel, often packing into buses and vintage American cars that operate as communal taxis.

Cuba has 515 cases and 15 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

##Daily Life

8:36 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

CDC director says the most powerful weapon against coronavirus is social distancing


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield praised the American people for largely adhering to social distancing guidelines, which he described as among the most important "weapons" wielded against the pandemic.

Redfield made these comments Thursday night during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

"We have one of the most powerful weapons against this virus. We're not defenseless. And that weapon was the social distance and is the social distancing. This virus has a very significant weakness. It can't swim 7 feet. If we can just maximize that social distancing, we can limit this virus's ability. Many people didn't predict and the modelers didn't predict for sure that the majority of American people would embrace that social distancing. And what I've said, when all of us try to do behavior modification, whether it's what we eat, exercise, you know, whether cigarette smoking, whatever it is for our own health, we're not very good at that," Redfield said.

He added: "But I can tell you, I've been really unbelievably amazed and gratified by the commitment of the American people."

8:07 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Honolulu announces nighttime curfew Easter weekend

From CNN's Andy Rose

The city of Honolulu, Hawaii, is instituting a "pilot" curfew for the city into place to try to avoid the spread of coronavirus over the coming Easter weekend.

Police Chief Susan Ballard announced in a press conference that most people will not be allowed to use any vehicles – “anything with a wheel,” she said – from 11 p.m. local time until 5 a.m. each day, as police patrols are increased. 

Although it is currently in effect only for the upcoming weekend, Ballard says it may be extended through the rest of the month if it’s considered a success.

The mayor also announced a new campaign called “No Butts on Beaches,” encouraging people not to use public beaches for sunbathing. 

Caldwell says socially distant surfing is still allowed, but with no mingling afterward.

“When you come out of the water, maybe you rinse off, but you go home,” Caldwell said.

8:03 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

CNN's coronavirus town hall has begun

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are hosting a two-hour special tonight on the coronavirus pandemic.

There is no audience tonight due to ongoing concerns around the coronavirus.

8:02 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Vermont governor announces coronavirus-related death of former state representative

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Melissa Alonso

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott today announced the passing of former Vermont State Representative Bernie Juskiewicz, who was a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, according to the governor’s office.

“Bernie served the people of Cambridge and Waterville with distinction in the House of Representatives, always placing their interests first. I had the privilege of working with him during his time in the legislature and saw firsthand just how committed he was to his community,” Scott said in a statement.

Scott added: “Although this terrible new disease took Bernie from us, the impact of his service will live on. My heart goes out to Suzan and the rest of his family during this difficult time."

Scott has ordered the Vermont state flag to fly at half-staff on April 13 in the late lawmaker's honor.

8:02 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Amazon says it's working to develop coronavirus testing capacity

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amazon has reassigned a group of employees to build a lab meant for coronavirus testing, the e-commerce giant said Thursday. 

The company hopes to begin testing “small numbers of our front line employees soon” for the virus, and left open the possibility that the testing could be made more widely available.  

Some context: The move comes amid mounting pressure on Amazon to protect its workers, as more have fallen ill.

More than a dozen Amazon facilities have been hit by the pandemic, and many workers claim that the true number is far higher. 

“We’ve begun the work of building incremental testing capacity,” Amazon said in a blog post Thursday. “A team of Amazonians with a variety of skills – from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers – have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative.”

7:53 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Governor signs order allowing funeral directors from around the US to practice in New York

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order that allows for licensed funeral directors around the country to practice in New York state, a move that will make it easier for more funeral directors to assist with the high number of coronavirus deaths.

The governor said earlier today that he was planning to sign this type of order.

The order also allows for the New York State Registrar to register death certificates and issue burial and removal permits, as well as allowing for individuals deputized by the Health Commissioner to be agents who, after being authorized by a funeral director, can be present and supervise and arrange for the removal or transfer of a deceased individual.  

7:45 p.m. ET, April 9, 2020

Labor secretary addresses delay in federal unemployment payments

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 9.
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 9. Andrew Harnik/AP

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said some states are already distributing the additional $600 benefit to unemployment applicants provided through the latest stimulus package, but acknowledged that there are still lags in other states’ computer systems preventing them from distributing the payments.

“I’m pleased that a number of states are now making those $600 additional weekly payments. More states will follow in the coming days. How long it takes will vary by states. Some states’ systems will take longer. But we at the department will continue to support them,” Scalia said during Thursday's White House briefing.

Some context: Scalia’s comments come amid skyrocketing unemployment claims across the country.

Scalia added the federal government has “already dispersed half a billion dollars to states to help them with their systems and making these payments. We have another half a billion dollars that we’re ready to release."