April 11 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Amy Woodyatt, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT) December 27, 2020
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10:21 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

There are now more than half a million coronavirus cases in the US

The US has 500,399 cases of the novel coronavirus, passing the grim half-million milestone late Friday local time.

The national death toll has passed 18,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

New York remains the epicenter of the country's outbreak, with 174,481 cases statewide and 7,884 deaths.

New Jersey has the next highest number of cases, at 54,588.

Wyoming is the only US state yet to report a coronavirus death.

Check out CNN's live case tracker here:

10:11 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

Anonymous donor gives every household in a small Iowa town $150 in gift cards

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Like most of the world, the residents of a small town in Iowa are stuck at home, feeling isolated, alone and trying their best to stay positive during the coronavirus pandemic.

So when an anonymous donor gave everyone in Earlham $150 worth of gift cards for food, the community received something more valuable than money: hope.

It started on March 26, when Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie received a call from a friend who told him there was a donor interested in injecting money into the town's economy. Earlham, population 1,450, is 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Des Moines.

At first, the donor, who did not reveal their identity to the mayor, said they would buy 100 gift cards from three local businesses. An hour later, his friend called Lillie again and said the donor was bumping the number up to 250. An hour after that, the number was raised to 500.

"I said to him, 'At 500, you're darn near giving a gift card to every single household in Earlham'," Lillie said. "When I told him there were 549 households in town, he said 'Done.' And that was it. I was ecstatic because it made sure everyone would get a card."

But what Lillie didn't know was that the donor wasn't going to buy 549 cards in all -- they were buying 549 gift cards from each of the three businesses. In total, they donated $82,350, meaning each business received more than $27,000.

Exactly one week later, every person in town woke up to a surprise in their mailbox: An envelope containing a letter from the city and three $50 gift cards to West Side Bar and Grille, Hometown Market, a grocery store, and Trostel's Broken Branch, a restaurant and coffee shop.

Read the full story here:

10:03 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

Federal judge denies emergency request to release Illinois inmates

From CNN's Andy Rose

Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago, Illinois.
Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago, Illinois. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge is declining to order the immediate release of thousands of inmates in Illinois due to concerns over potential exposure to the coronavirus. 

Judge Robert Dow says civil rights advocates who filed suit against the state Department of Corrections and Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not show that a mass release was the only reasonable response.

“Plaintiffs are correct in asserting that the issue of inmate health and safety is deserving of the highest degree of attention,” Dow wrote. “And the record here shows that the authorities in this state are doing just that.”

The 10 inmates named in the lawsuit – convicted on a range of felonies including murder – argued that keeping them incarcerated in the face of a pandemic amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. 

Although Dow is keeping the case open – and encouraged state officials to work their hardest to preserve the health of prisoners – he refused to order the state to release, by his estimate, “at least 12,000 inmates, almost one-third of the prison population in Illinois.”

9:50 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

Colorado meat-packing plant closed after outbreak

From CNN's Steve Almasy and Raja Razek

A meat-packing plant in Colorado where dozens of employees have contracted the coronavirus is closed for deep cleaning, and all workers will be tested before they can return to their jobs, officials said Friday.

The union that represents 3,000 employees at the JBS plant in Greeley said in a letter to state, county and company officials that two of its members have died.

The union says at least 50 employees are infected with the virus. The company, which is headquartered in Greeley, put the number of infected workers at 36.

The company said it was spending $1 million on test kits.

Union president Kim C. Cordova said the plant should be shut down for seven days.

"We fully understand the seriousness of a plant closure and its economic impact. However, safety must take precedence over profits," Cordova wrote in her letter. "One death is a tragedy -- two deaths at the same plant is simply beyond human understanding."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told CNN's Erin Burnett the plant was closed and the state government was working with federal and local officials to reopen next week.

Read more here:

9:37 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

The US had its largest single-day jump in coronavirus deaths today

The US had 1,953 coronavirus deaths today -- the biggest single-day jump in deaths since the pandemic began.

That brings the national death toll to 18,637, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

9:37 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

Los Angeles records smallest single-day increase in cases for second straight day

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

A driver receives a Covid-19 test kit at Lincoln Park in Los Angeles, California, on April 10.
A driver receives a Covid-19 test kit at Lincoln Park in Los Angeles, California, on April 10. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles had a 6% increase in coronavirus cases for the second day in a row on Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced at a news conference this evening.

It equalled the smallest single-day increase since LA County started tracking statistics.

There were 474 new coronavirus cases in LA on Friday, bringing the total number in the county to 8,430. There were also 18 new deaths, for a total to 241.

"We can see the rate of increase slowing but we're still doubling the number of cases and increasing the overall number," the mayor said. 
9:37 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

Model projects some states have passed their peaks. Others are weeks away

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a makeshift morgue at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City on April 9.
Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a makeshift morgue at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City on April 9. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The most recent version of an influential coronavirus model – which is often cited by the White House – projects that some states, such as New York and New Jersey, have passed their peaks in terms of daily deaths.

New York’s peak number of deaths, for example, is listed as April 9 on the model. New Jersey’s peak is listed as April 8.

Other large states are now approaching their peaks, according to the model, which was developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

California is expected to hit peak daily deaths within a week, on April 15. The state is expected to see 66 deaths that day. 

Pennsylvania is expected to follow a similar trajectory, hitting peak deaths on April 17, when 63 people are projected to die. 

For other large states – such as Florida and Texas – the worst is expected to come later. on April 27 and 28 respectively.

Some context: While it’s unclear when exactly the state expects to return to normal, lifting social distancing measures too soon – before the peak, for example – could reignite transmission of the virus and cost lives.

The current version of the model says it expects social distancing until the end of May, and assumes that states will enact other measures – such as mass screening and contact tracing – that will prevent any resurgence of the virus.

The institute previously told CNN that the projections assumed social distancing until August, as the model’s FAQ had stated in now-deleted language.

But on Thursday, the institute’s director, Chris Murray, said that was not actually the case – despite what a professor behind the model and an institute spokesperson had both said earlier.

9:37 p.m. ET, April 10, 2020

New York City reports 651 more coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New York City has reported 6,684 more coronavirus cases and another 651 deaths, according to the city’s website.

It now has a total of 94,409 cases and 5,429 deaths.

In recent weeks, there have often been differences in state and city numbers. In response to this, the city has posted an explainer on its website of how it reports data on Covid-19 fatalities compared with New York state.