April 13 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Amy Woodyatt, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:11 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020
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6:39 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Trump says he is not going to fire Fauci

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump said he is not going to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of his administration's coronavirus task force, despite retweeting a call to fire Fauci this morning.

At his daily coronavirus press briefing, a reporter asked Trump if he noticed the #FireFauci hashtag when he retweeted the post. The President acknowledged he saw it and responded "I retweeted somebody" and then added "that is somebody's opinion."

"I was immediately called upon that and I was like, no I like him. I think he's terrific," Trump said.

The President said that him and Fauci are on the same page saying, "we have been from the beginning."

Watch:

6:19 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Fauci attempts to clarify comments about Trump "pushback" on mitigation against coronavirus

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a key member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, told reporters he didn't mean to suggest anything during his interview with CNN's Jake Tapper that President Trump was at fault for not intervening in the coronavirus pandemic sooner in the year.

"I had an interview yesterday where I was asked a hypothetical question. And hypothetical questions sometimes can get you into some difficulty because it's what would have or could have. The nature of the hypothetical question was if in fact we had mitigated earlier, could lives have been saved? And the answer to the question, as I always do and I'm doing right now, is yes," Fauci said. "I mean obviously, mitigation helps. I have been up here many times telling you that mitigation works. So if mitigation works and you initiate it earlier, you will probably have saved more lives. If you initiated it later, you probably would have lost more lives. You initiate at a certain time. That was taken as a way that maybe somehow was at fault here."

When asked by a reporter on receiving "pushback" from Trump about the recommendation to mitigate, Fauci responded he didn't mean to use that word to describe it.

"That was a wrong choice of words. When people discuss, they say this will maybe have a harmful effect on this or that, it was a poor choice of word," he said.

Fauci was referencing comments he made Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" where he suggested the United States should have responded earlier in the year to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives," Fauci said on "State of the Union" when asked if social distancing and stay-at-home measures could have prevented deaths had they been put in place in February, instead of mid-March.

"Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those decisions is complicated," added Fauci. "But you're right, I mean, obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."

Trump's initial handling of the crisis has come under increasing scrutiny as it's been revealed that administration and health officials were sounding alarms for weeks before Trump took decisive actions such as calling for social distancing measures.

Trump has disputed his administration was slow to respond and has called for the economy to be reopened quickly, potentially by the beginning of May, despite health officials' warnings that doing so could risk a resurgence.

Watch:

6:11 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Kansas religious gathering tied to 4 coronavirus deaths, state officials say

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, answers questions about the coronavirus pandemic with Gov. Laura Kelly during a news conference on Monday, March 23.
Dr. Lee Norman, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, answers questions about the coronavirus pandemic with Gov. Laura Kelly during a news conference on Monday, March 23. John Hanna/AP

A Kansas health official says the state’s first outbreak tied to a religious gathering resulted in four deaths and 46 positive cases.  

Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said at a news conference today the outbreak started in Wyandotte County and has since spread into nine other counties.

Norman says his agency is monitoring 23 outbreaks in Kansas — five of those are tied to religious gatherings, 12 are in long-term care facilities, three have been tied to big businesses, one to a correctional facility and two have been tied to group living arrangements.  

Some context: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an order before Easter Sunday that temporarily banned mass gatherings of 10 or more people meant to limit religious gatherings.

5:54 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Today is the peak for daily deaths in the US, coronavirus model says

From CNN's Arman Azad

An influential coronavirus model cited by the White House said that today is the peak day for daily deaths in the United States.

About 2,150 Covid-19 deaths are projected for today and deaths are expected to decline moving forward, according to model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

A total of 68,841 people are now expected to die in the US by August, which is up from Friday’s projection of 61,500 deaths.

The model predicts the pandemic will peter out in May, but experts have questioned its assumption that there will be no resurgence of the virus in the summer months

According to the model, the US hit “peak resource use” three days ago, on Friday. The latest update of the model says the US faced a shortage of 7,369 intensive care beds on that date, but it’s unclear whether that occurred.

Hard-hit New York hit its peak number of deaths three days ago, according to the model, but hundreds of deaths are still expected daily for the coming weeks. 

Some states are still expected to be weeks away from their peak numbers of deaths: Florida, for example, is expected to hit peak deaths on May 6, when 128 people are projected to die. Texas, for its part, is predicted to hit peak deaths on April 30, when 71 people are estimated to die.

The country’s largest state, California, is projected to hit peak deaths in six days, on April 19, when about 50 people are estimated to die.

5:46 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Pompeo: "There’ll be a time for recriminations" over the novel coronavirus

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Asked Monday whether China should “pay for the damage done” by the novel coronavirus, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed any immediate punitive action against Beijing and stressed the need for global cooperation to prevent a recurrence of the pandemic.

He also said “there’ll be a time for recriminations” in the future. He did not specifically say that those recriminations would be aimed at China.

“There’ll be a time to make sure that we all understand what happened and that those who are responsible are held accountable for that,” Pompeo said in an interview with German BILD-TV on Monday. “I’m very confident that that process will take place.”

Pompeo said the administration was focused on “looking forward,” noting “we’re trying to find our path to making sure that we reduce risk as we move forward in the days and weeks and months ahead.” 

“For the moment, I think it’s absolutely essential that we focus on the task ahead of us, getting systems in place such that we can reopen the American economy, and ultimately the global economy as well. There’ll be a time for recriminations,” he said.

Pompeo said there needed to be “more than a global debate” about whether the Chinese government should be held accountable for the pandemic.

“It’s important to understand how this began, where this began, where it originated, and that’s science,” he said. “We’ve seen these stories about Chinese wet markets, we’ve seen stories about precisely where this virus originated, and it’s important that the whole world gets this.”

5:59 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Cuomo says federal government would need to "do a 180" to reopen states

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

CNN
CNN

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" the Trump administration would need to "do a 180" if it wants to reopen businesses in the country.

“The first phase was the federal government punting to the states," he said. "If the federal government now wants to do a 180 and say we’ll take responsibility, just tell me how."

He continued: “They would have to not just proclaim, they would have to say this is how we're going to do it which we have not heard to date."

Cuomo, who has been dealing with the the largest outbreak of coronavirus in the United States in his home state, said most of the responsibility for buying personal protective equipment and ventilators has been left to the states.

“I’m not going to say I don’t want help from the federal government, I do,” he added. “The more the federal government can do, the less I have to do, God bless — but then the federal government has to do it.”

Watch:

5:39 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Pentagon awards $415 million contract to reuse N95 masks

From CNN's Ryan Browne

N95 particulate respirators.
N95 particulate respirators. Justin Chin/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Pentagon announced a major contract for 60 decontamination units that will allow millions of N95 masks to be reused as the critical masks continue to be sought after by medical professionals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The $415 million contract will allow for the acquisition of “60 Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination Systems (CCDS), that can decontaminate up to 80,000 used N95 respirators per system per day, enabling mask reuse up to 20 times,” according to a statement from the Pentagon.

The Defense Department said six units have already been delivered to multiple US cities including two to New York, and one each to Columbus, Ohio, Boston, Chicago and Tacoma, “providing the ability to sterilize 3.4 million masks a week, reducing the need for new masks by the same number.”

“All 60 systems will be available by early May for prioritization and distribution by FEMA and HHS. Once all are delivered, these 60 units will allow 4.8 million masks to be sterilized per day, almost 34 million per week,” the statement added. 

The location of where the remaining units will be delivered has yet to be determined.

5:37 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Colorado governor says meat packing plant in his state will be closed for"as long as it takes"

From CNN's Raja Razek

JBS Greeley Beef Plant in Greeley, Colorado, on Friday, April 10.
JBS Greeley Beef Plant in Greeley, Colorado, on Friday, April 10. Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said the JBS meat packing plant in Greeley will stay closed for "as long as it takes" after dozens of employees have contracted novel coronavirus.

Polis said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about the issue.

"I spoke with the president three times over the weekend with the goal of the minimum disruption to our national food supply," he said. "We also want to protect workers and staff ... The vice president said they are giving us tests and personal protection equipment for that facility because of its importance," the governor said.  

JBS is speaking with its employees about quarantine and testing to ensure that they can reopen as soon as possible, Polis said. 

The governor said he prioritized the Colorado National Guard to provide logistical support for testing so that they can safely start up again. 

There will be an aggressive testing and containment strategy so they can continue as soon as possible, he said.

5:28 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Nearly 1,000 prisoners in Washington state may be released early

From CNN's Andy Rose

A 2016 file photo of Monroe Correction Complex in Monroe, Washington. Seven inmates at the complex have tested positive for Covid-19.
A 2016 file photo of Monroe Correction Complex in Monroe, Washington. Seven inmates at the complex have tested positive for Covid-19. Elaine Thompson/AP

Washington state’s Department of Corrections says they are likely to release “approximately 600-950 incarcerated individuals beginning in the coming days” in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

"The goal in releasing individuals from state correctional facilities is to provide more physical distancing within the state’s correctional facilities," the Department of Corrections said in a statement.

The new details come in a report ordered by the state Supreme Court after five inmates filed a lawsuit which said being in close quarters with other prisoners was endangering their health.

Seven minimum security inmates at the Monroe Correction Complex tested positive for Covid-19, sparking a brief cellblock riot last week.

In a 153-page response filed today, the state says they will focus on furloughing non-violent inmates who are on work release or already due to be released within 75 days, as well as certain medically vulnerable prisoners who are scheduled to get out within the next eight months. 

In some cases, the furloughed inmates may be required to submit to home monitoring for the remainder of their sentences.

The statement said the Department has developed and had been implementing new protocols and directives specifically aimed at combatting the coronavirus pandemic since the beginning of March — including supplying face coverings to all inmates and quarantining those with coronavirus symptoms, but the high court said those actions alone were not sufficient.