April 13 coronavirus news

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4:46 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Results of large hydroxychloroquine study to be released next week

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen

A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers in New York will announce new week the preliminary results of a study on hydroxychloroquine, a drug often touted by President Trump as a “game-changer” for coronavirus patients.

The announcement could offer one of the first scientific hints as to whether the drugs are helpful against the virus. 

Since hydroxychloroquine is already on the market for malaria, lupus and other diseases, doctors are free to prescribe it “off label” to patients with coronavirus. Doctors can also prescribe chloroquine, a similar drug, and azithromycin, an antibiotic that’s sometimes paired with the two drugs. 

The New York study will review hundreds of medical records from hospital patients across New York state with coronavirus to see if the drugs are helping them or hurting them.

“We wanted to get an immediate sense of this,” said David Holtgrave, dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health, who is running the study. “Time is so much of the essence here.” 

A recent chloroquine study in Brazil was halted because study subjects who were taking a high dose of the drug had a higher risk of potentially deadly heart problems.

Because of those cardiac concerns, a Swedish government agency has issued a warning that that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of clinical trials for Covid-19.

The Albany researchers will review hospital charts to see if patients who are taking the drugs have different outcomes compared with those who are not. They’ll be comparing mortality rates, and rates of admission to the intensive care unit as well as any side effects of the drugs.

The researchers hope to study 1,600 patients divided equally into four groups: those taking hydroxychloroquine; those taking hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin; those taking chloroquine; and those taking none of the drugs, as a comparison group.

Holtgrave said he hopes to have final results at the end of the month. He said doctors shouldn’t make prescribing decisions based on the results of his study alone. Rather, he said doctors should look at his results together with the results of clinical trials, which are considered more rigorous.

In clinical trials, which are considered the gold standard in medicine, doctors give the drugs to a group of patients and then give placebo pills to another group of patients, and compare how the two groups fare. There are more than a dozen clinical trials underway in the US right now but results for most of them won’t be published for months.

The Albany medical records study is being conducted in partnership with the New York Department of Health, which is funding the study.

4:27 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

NY Federal Reserve scaling back emergency intervention into financial markets

From CNN’s Matt Egan

The New York Federal Reserve is scaling back its emergency intervention into jittery financial markets.

The NY Fed said Monday it will reduce the frequency of its repo operations "in light of more stable" market conditions.

The Fed began pumping in vast amounts of money into the overnight lending markets last fall as borrowing rates spiked.

That rescue was accelerated last month as chaos erupted on Wall Street. The NY Fed offered to pump in up to $500 billion in the morning and another $500 billion in the afternoon.

But starting May 4, the NY Fed said it "intends" to scrap that afternoon repo operation, leaving just the morning one.

Likewise, the NY Fed said it will reduce the frequency of three-month repo operations to once every two weeks instead of once a week.

Of course, this plan could change should market conditions deteriorate again.

The NY Fed promised to adjust repo operations "as appropriate" to "support the smooth functioning" of funding markets.

4:28 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

Treasury says 80 million people will receive stimulus payments this week

From CNN’s Katie Lobosco

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Treasury Department said Monday that 80 million people will receive their stimulus payments via direct deposit this week.

The payments are being made first to eligible people who have already filed their 2019 or 2018 tax returns, and authorized a direct deposit.

Other people — including those who haven't filed returns, authorized direct deposits, or receive Social Security – will have to wait longer for their payments. 

Treasury said Monday that it expects a “large majority of eligible Americans” will receive their payments within the next two weeks.

The timeline keeps the first payments on the schedule promised by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said April 2 that the payments would begin going out within two weeks. He had earlier pushed for distributions, part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress in March, to start as early as April 6.

For those low-income people who are not normally required to file their returns, the Treasury has set up a new online tool to make it easier for them to input basic information in order to receive their payment. 

Treasury is also expected to roll out a separate tool this week that will allow people who have filed their returns, but not authorized a direct deposit, to upload their bank account information so that they can receive their payment faster than waiting for a paper check to be mailed. 

4:17 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

ESPN asks commentators to take a 15% pay cut because of coronavirus

From CNN’s Frank Pallotta

Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN
Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

With the sports world on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN is asking its commentators to take a pay cut.

The move would affect 100 of the network's highest-paid commentators, and would be a 15% cut over the next three months.

"We are asking about 100 of our commentators to join with our executives and take a temporary salary reduction," the sports network said in a statement today. "These are challenging times and we are all in this together."

ESPN did not say how many commentators have agreed to the reduction in pay. The pay cut follows executives at the network having their pay reduced by 20% to 30% depending on title.

These measures are designed to ward off further furloughs at the network.

Executives at ESPN's parent company, Disney, have also taken pay cuts with the company's executive chairman, Bob Iger, forgoing all of his salary. Disney announced earlier this month that it would furlough employees "whose jobs aren't necessary at this time."

The coronavirus outbreak has hit ESPN particularly hard since the virus has forced major sports the lifeblood of the network's programming to shut down.

The NBA suspended its season, the NCAA canceled the men and women's college basketball tournament better known as March Madness and Major League Baseball delayed Opening Day.

ESPN has scrambled to fill its air without sports in the meantime. 

4:14 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

West Coast states make pact to work together on reopening based on health outcomes

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California, Washington and Oregon are joining forces in a plan to slowly lift stay-at-home orders.

Governors in the three states will join forces on their approach to getting back to business “in a safe, strategic, responsible way,” California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.

“We will be driven by facts. We will be driven by evidence. We will be driven by science. We will be driven by pub health advisors,” Newsom said.

Newsom said he would unveil California’s plan tomorrow.

4:13 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

US stocks end mixed

 From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended mixed on Monday as investors gear up for the start of earnings season this week.

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to show up in companies’ first-quarter report cards, even though the virus didn’t shut down the US economy until mid-March.

 Here's where things ended today:

  • The Dow finished 1.4%, or 329 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 fell 1%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite finished 0.5% higher and recorded its third gain in a row.

Remember: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

4:08 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

New Jersey law school grads can temporarily practice law without taking the bar, court rules

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Some law school graduate students in New Jersey will be able to temporarily practice law under the supervision of experienced attorneys.

The state's bar exam has been rescheduled for September because of the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced today.

The exam is now scheduled for September 9 and 10, but that date remains tentative, subject to public health conditions later this year. The test will be offered at multiple sites, in keeping with the Judiciary’s ordinary administration of the exam.

Under these relaxed rules, graduates will be able to enter appearances, draft legal documents and pleadings, provide legal services to clients and engage in negotiations and settlements discussions.

The temporary ability to practice law will lapse if the graduate does not sit for the reschedule exam in September or apply for an extension.

Candidates should go to the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners’ website for further information regarding their applications and the upcoming exam.

4:04 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

More than 17% of the New York police force is out sick

From CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz

John Nacion/Star Max/IPx/AP
John Nacion/Star Max/IPx/AP

At least 6,380 uniformed members of the New York Police Department are out sick — or 17.7% of the department, according to a law enforcement official.

The number has been slowly going down for three days now.

A total of 936 members who have been positive for coronavirus have been cleared and have returned to work. 

3:36 p.m. ET, April 13, 2020

More than 130,000 unemployment claims filed in the last three weeks in Kansas, governor says

Kansas has seen more than 130,000 unemployment claims within the last three weeks, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said at a briefing Monday.

"Last week, we had 50,000 people file initial claims, the week before, we had over 55,000 initial claims," Kelly said. "Over the year, initial claims are up by 3,400%."

The increase in claims, she said, " has caused strain on our system."

"We will continue to build capacity for those seeking to make unemployment claims and we will look to finally address those information technology challenges once and for all," Kelly said.

Some background: About 16.8 million American workers, making up about 11% of the US labor force, have filed initial claims for jobless benefits in just the prior three weeks alone.