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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3:27 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Los Angeles models show 95% of residents will be infected if stay-at-home order is dropped now

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A model by Los Angeles County predicts that 95% or residents will be infected with coronavirus if the stay-at-home order is lifted now.

If current levels are maintained, about 30% of the county’s 10 million residents will contract the virus, the model shows. What the model does not address is how long the physical distancing needs to remain in place.

In order to drop the infection level to just over 5%, even stronger physical distancing measures will need to be implemented, according to the model.

3:26 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

How the CDC plans to expand a "public health force" at state level

From Nick Valencia

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Planning is now underway for a federally supported "public health force" to carry out the state-level epidemiology "that's going to be necessary to open the country back up," a federal health official with knowledge of the planning told CNN.

The official, who is directly involved in the day-to-day national coronavirus response, told CNN the plan was part of discussions of next steps by the White House Task Force. The Task Force did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

 "Hundreds of millions of dollars are going out to the state health departments right now,” the official said. “They are who are going to hire people to do this work. This is to beef up our public health infrastructure through individuals that the [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] hires and places in state health departments, as well as the state health departments themselves hiring people. This plan would really beef up capabilities for if in fact we reopen and we start to see a re-emergence of cases."

The source is essentially providing further detail on what CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN during a Global Town Hall last week.

"We're in the position now of preparing a significant expansion of local public health capacity so that we can operationalize," Redfield told Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper.

"The CDC has well over 500 people in the 50 states. We're planning to expand that substantially to have a public health response team that can facilitate when diagnoses are made, that aggressive contact tracing, that's going to be so important when we begin to open up to make sure that we open up for good,” Redfield continued.

Currently, state health departments don't have enough staff to do the level of contact tracing desired by the White House Task Force, according to the official.

The federal health official told CNN that the "large-scale" push for epidemiology is part of the recent initiative led by eight "community protection" CDC field teams deployed in recent weeks. Those CDC teams were sent to states where transmission rates are low to assist state and local health departments with contact tracing and testing.  

A CDC spokesperson did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

3:23 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Proposed voucher program would benefit farmers and food banks, groups say

From CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Farmers around the country are tossing out food by the tons, while food banks are running low. 

The American Farm Bureau and Feeding America are teaming up to call on the USDA to connect farmers lacking customers with food banks in desperate need for food during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As you are aware, food banks are under tremendous pressure to meet the skyrocketing demand,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America CEO and Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau in a letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The letter continued: “At the same time, however, we are seeing literally tons of agricultural goods being discarded because of the shutdown of so much of the economy."

A win-win: The two organizations are proposing a voucher program that would increase the relationship between farmers and food banks, allowing them to work directly with one another. Usually, both sides go through a third party which can often delay food getting to food bank shelves.

This USDA-run voucher system would send farm products to food banks while helping farmers and ranchers recoup costs from lost markets, such as restaurants and tourism businesses shuttered by the pandemic. It would also get farm-fresh products quickly to families in need.

“This is an opportunity for USDA to act quickly to produce a win for food banks and a win for farmers. It is a chance for government to serve as a facilitator while clearing bureaucracy and red tape,” the letter states.
3:22 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Models that estimate the pandemic duration are all over the place. Here's why.

Analysis from CNN's Harry Enten

It's at the top of most people's list of coronavirus questions: "When will I be able to go outside regularly?"

It's not an easy question to answer for the same reason that trying to figure out how many people will die from the virus is difficult to know — modeling this thing is hard.

There are loads of different models (more on that from CNN's Daily DC podcast last week). And each has its own assumptions about many things, including how much social distancing there will be and how quickly the virus can spread from one person to another.

That's why you've been seeing the projected number of people die change, as we've done more social distancing and more information becomes available. 

CNN's Arman Azad notes in a piece out earlier today that one of most prominent models — the one from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — says we'll have no more deaths after June 21. As the piece details, that seems quite unlikely. The same model has peak deaths occurring right about now. The model makes a lot of assumptions, which are necessary to model. Some of those are likely to be wrong. 

Other models, like one the state of California uses, differ greatly. It suggests deaths in California won't peak until mid or late May. A number of experts think that is too pessimistic.

All models are dependent on how much distancing we do. Looking at a host of models won't give you all the answers, though it can given a fuller picture:

  • First, the peak (depending on the state and region of the country) could be in the next few weeks to a month. 
  • Second, deaths may slow over the summer, though it's quite unlikely we'll hit zero. 
  • Third, there is a real chance of some sort of resurgence this fall. 
3:24 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

White House task force still weighing different benchmarks for reopening

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House coronavirus task force officials are still weighing potential benchmarks that would lead to phased reopening of states but have yet to settle on specific targets, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In meetings of the task force over the weekend, discussions centered on how and when states could be advised to reopen certain businesses and allow larger gatherings. But officials haven't yet settled on a specific set of criteria and some have argued that blanket recommendations might not work for every state.

For example, rural states or states with older populations may need a different set of criteria than more densely populated ones. And states where the virus has already peaked may also see a different set of benchmarks.

Officials said decisions on those benchmarks were still pending as task force members debate their merits.

As part of the discussions, officials have been closely pouring through testing data from individual states to try and determine where more resources are needed. While President Trump said last week that an ability to test every American isn't a prerequisite for any reopening announcement, administration officials say monitoring and surveillance are key to any plan.

Task force officials, led by Drs. Deborah Birx and Brett Giroir, are working to determine which states are a priority for testing and working with governors and labs to scale up areas which have lagged behind.

Broadly, the benchmarks being eyed by the task force include a set time period where confirmed cases decrease and hospitals return to normal conditions. As part of the effort, officials have studied hospital bed capacity in individual states.

Some of the ongoing efforts are expected to overlap with the "Opening our Country Council" that Trump is preparing to announce on Tuesday. It's not yet clear how the two panels will interact but one official said the reopening council would likely focus more on additional economic measures to stimulate the economy and less on public health.

While Trump claimed in a tweet Monday "it is the decision of the President" when to reopen states for business, officials concede that governors will ultimately decide when to reverse their stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. Those officials said that discussions in the task force have focused on what recommendations the federal government would offer to states on when reopening is advised.

2:57 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

People in these 4 US cities are listening to stay-at-home orders, CDC report says

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Wes Bruer

Pedestrians cross 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York, on April 12.
Pedestrians cross 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York, on April 12. Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/AP

People in New York City, Seattle, New Orleans and San Francisco are listening to orders to stay home, according to a report issued Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"When you put in these social distancing measures, they do seem to work," said study coauthor Kathleen Ethier, leader of the CDC's community mitigation task force for the Covid-19 response. 

While there are early indications that social distancing has helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, experts warn that if people don't continue to adhere to the orders, the virus could surge again in some areas. 

The CDC report looked at data in New York City, Seattle, New Orleans and San Francisco, four cities with substantial numbers of coronavirus patients early in the outbreak that mandated people stay at home in mid- to late-March.

The report found that, in all four cities, the percentage leaving home was close to 80% on February 26. By April 1, that declined between 20% and 40% in each city, with mobility decreasing each time a new social distancing order was issued, starting with bans on mass gatherings, and then later restaurant and school closures and finally stay at home orders. 

"They didn't leave their home at any point for any reason. They didn't go outside. That's significant," Ethier said. 

 The CDC tracked mobility by looking at whether devices such as cell phones were brought more than 500 feet from the places they usually spend the night. Using anonymized publicly available data from a company called SafeGraph, the CDC looked at phones, tablets and watches belonging to between 3.6% and 6.4% of the population in each city.

2:45 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

These six Northeast states will work together on a reopening plan

Six states in the Northeast are working together to design a coordinated plan that would allow businesses to reopen following the coronavirus shutdown.

The six governors — New York's Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey's Phil Murphy, Connecticut's Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf, Delaware's John Carney and Rhode Island's Gina Raimondo — announced today they're forming a working group to develop the plan.

Each state will name a public health official and an economic official who will sit on the group. Each state's chief of staff to the governor will also be in the group.

Connecticut Gov. Lamont thanked Cuomo for getting together the governors.

He referenced transportation as a main issue, as many from his state commute to New York. He noted the “commuter corridor” has become the “Covid corridor," and stressed that it’s important to “make sure you don’t pull the trigger too early.”

“Working together makes the most sense,” he added.

2:41 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

All 50 US states have reported a coronavirus death

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has confirmed the state's first coronavirus-related death. The state had been the last one in the US to not have a confirmed death from the disease.

The US has at least 568,176 confirmed coronavirus cases and 22,861 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

2:36 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Italy's coronavirus death toll surpasses 20,000

 From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo and Barbie Nadeau

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

The number of people who died with Covid-19 has risen to 20,446; an increase of 566 since the day before, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said Monday.

The number of active cases in the country on Monday was 103,616. There were 1,363 more people infected since Sunday, one of the lowest increase in the last week. 

The number of patients in ICU continues to drop. There are now at least 3,260 people receiving intensive care.

The total number of cases in Italy is at least 159,516. 

The United States surpassed Italy for the first time last Saturday with the highest total number of confirmed deaths in the world. As of Monday, the total number of deaths in the United States reached 22,861 according to Johns Hopkins University.