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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4:50 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Pentagon is using Defense Production Act authority to ramp up N95 mask production

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The Pentagon is executing its first project under the authorities granted by the Defense Production Act (DPA) in order to produce more than 39 million N95 masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“On the evening of April 10, the Department of Defense received approval from the White House Task Force to execute the first DPA Title 3 project responding to Covid-19,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement. “The $133 million project will use these authorities to increase domestic production capacity of N95 masks to over 39 million in the next 90 days."

The names of the companies involved were not immediately announced.

Some context: N95 masks have been seen as a critical resource and the Defense Department has already pledged 10 million such masks from its own stockpiles to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Last week, President Trump separately authorized the Defense Production Act to be used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to obtain N95 masks from 3M.

4:51 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Texas waives physicians-in-training regulations to combat coronavirus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks on April 6.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks on April 6. Eric Gay/AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is waiving regulations on physicians-in-training (PIT) permit holders to increase health care capacity to fight coronavirus in the state.

With restrictions waived, PIT permit holders will be able to work at any Texas hospital or facility associated with the Graduate Medical Education (GME) training program. They will also be able to practice in areas outside their GME training program with physician oversight.

For example, under these temporary waivers, residents in a surgical residency program can assist in an Emergency Department if a surge of patients is experienced. These waivers will increase the availability of medically trained individuals to help assist the coronavirus response.

"These temporary waivers will expand the staffing capacity of our hospitals and medical facilities, ensuring Texans will have access to the care needed during the response to Covid-19," Abbott said. "I am grateful for all the frontline health care workers across the state serving their fellow Texans during this challenging time."

Texas has 12,398 confirmed coronavirus cases and 248 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

4:52 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

550 crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is seen docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is seen docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10. Tony Azios/AFP via Getty Images

There are 550 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who have tested positive for coronavirus as of Saturday, according to a statement from the US Navy.

So far, 92% of the sailors have been tested and 3,696 of them have now been moved ashore.

Some context: CNN reported on Thursday that a sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who had tested positive for coronavirus was admitted to an intensive care unit in Guam after being found unresponsive.

4:53 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Florida and Idaho families can now use EBT cards online to buy food

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida and Idaho families who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are now allowed to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards online due to the coronavirus pandemic, an announcement from US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release Saturday.

The approval allows states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing by stores that are already authorized to take SNAP benefits, according to the release.

People who receive such benefits should be able to use them for online retailers later this month, the release said.

4:55 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Air Force medically evacuated three contractors from Afghanistan due to coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The US Air Force medically evacuated three contractors who tested positive for Covid-19 from Afghanistan to Germany on Friday, according to a statement from Air Mobility Command spokeswoman Rose Ripley.

This is the first time the Air Force has medically evacuated someone sick from coronavirus, and marks the first operational use of the "Transport Isolation System," according to the statement. 

The system was developed during the Ebola outbreak and is designed to move patients ill with an infectious disease. 

4:57 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

714 members of the New York Fire Department have tested positive for coronavirus

The New York Fire Department says 714 members have tested positive for the coronavirus, FDNY spokesman Jim Long told CNN. This figure includes firefighters, EMS and civilian personnel.

Overall, 2,700 members are currently out sick or on medical leave. This includes all injuries and other illnesses, in addition to coronavirus cases.

On Friday, EMS received 4,459 medical calls. FDNY tweeted on Saturday urging people to only call 911 if it's a real emergency.

See FDNY's tweet:

4:58 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Coronavirus death toll in New Jersey surpasses 2,100

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New Jersey has recorded 3,599 new coronavirus cases bringing the statewide total to 58,151, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy said 251 with the virus have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the state total to 2,183.

“We’re slowing the rate at which new cases are doubling,” Murphy said.

“The curve is flattening,” but “were not in the end zone folks, we cannot spike any footballs, we're not even first in goal," he added.

In a series of announcements made on Twitter, Murphy called on all NJ Transit and "private carriers to cut the capacity on all trains, buses, light rail vehicles, and paratransit vehicles to 50% of their maximum."

Murphy is also "expanding the requirement to wear a face covering to ALL customers heading into one of the restaurants and bars that remain in operation as they get their takeout orders," he said in a tweet.

Red Murphy's tweets:

1:14 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

Queen Elizabeth II shares Easter message of hope in the face of coronavirus

From Max Foster and Simon Cullen

An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her historic television broadcast commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are displayed on a big screen behind the Eros statue and a London underground train station entrance at Piccadilly Circus in London on April 9.
An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her historic television broadcast commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are displayed on a big screen behind the Eros statue and a London underground train station entrance at Piccadilly Circus in London on April 9. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The Queen has used her Easter message to encourage hope in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, saying it “will not overcome us."

In a written message released from Windsor Castle, she said that Easter is a time of “light overcoming darkness."

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn't cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever,” she said. “The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this."

The Queen added: “We know that coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be — particularly for those suffering with grief — light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.”

 

5:02 p.m. ET, April 11, 2020

United Kingdom launches domestic violence campaign amid coronavirus restrictions

From Rob Iddiols in London

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks from Downing Street in London on April 11.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks from Downing Street in London on April 11. PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images

The United Kingdom government is launching a campaign to support domestic violence victims during the coronavirus restrictions, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced Saturday.

“Coronavirus has opened Britain’s enormous heart,” Patel said. “I am now asking this nation to use that amazing compassion and community spirit to embrace those trapped in the horrific cycle of abuse.”

The campaign, under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, will aim to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that support services remain available.

The government has asked members of the public to show their solidarity by sharing a photo of a heart on their palm, and then asking others to do the same. This aims to “show victims that they are not alone and to convey to perpetrators that domestic abuse is unacceptable in any circumstances,” the home secretary said in a statement.

Advertisement aimed at raising awareness of where people can seek help will run across social media, and materials will be made available to a wide range of partners including charities and supermarkets.

Citing a surge in calls to domestic abuse charities, the Home Secretary pledged an additional $2.4 million (£2 million) to immediately bolster domestic abuse helplines and online support. 

Speaking from Downing Street at the daily press briefing, Patel also addressed other crime-related issues, such as fraud, during the nationwide response to the pandemic.