April 19 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh, Laura Smith-Spark, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 10:02 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020
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1:16 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Louisiana is in a "much better place today than we thought we were going to be," governor says

From CNN's Carma Hassan

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks on April 15.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks on April 15. Travis Spradling/The Advocate via AP

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news conference today that even though the number of coronavirus cases is growing, the state has less people in the hospital and less people using ventilators.

He also said the number of deaths “is a lagging indicator” and “it still appears that we are trending in a good direction and that’s a good thing.”

The state reported 348 new cases of Covid-19 which brings the total to 23,928. There were 29 new deaths which brings the total number of deaths in Louisiana to 1,296, Edwards said.

“Now the number of cases and the number of deaths are lower than they have been for the last number of days, that’s a good thing, but I would caution everybody that typically on Sunday the numbers go down,” Edwards said. “It’s just a function of when the labs report and so forth, so what we would like to see is a continued downward trajectory tomorrow and Tuesday and on through the week.”

“We’re in much, much better place today than we thought we were going to be,” Edwards said, adding that Louisiana citizens are taking the stay at home order seriously and sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Edwards doesn’t think life will go back to normal until there is a vaccine for coronavirus, but they will take some steps in the meantime.

“As always, I want to remind everyone that it’s going to take all of us working together and for some period of time to defeat this virus, get back to life as normal,” Edwards said. “We’re not going to see that for a while and I suspect we won’t fully see it until after there’s a vaccine that’s administered to the entire population.”

1:12 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

"The beast can rise up again" if the economy is opened too quickly, Gov. Cuomo says

From CNN's Elise Hammond


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations is "purely contingent on what we do" and reopening the economy too quickly without a specific plan could cause the numbers to increase again.

"If we went through this, and lost all of these people and forced the essential workers and the hospital workers to do unbelievable tasks to get us through this crisis, and we recreate the crisis, then shame on us," Cuomo said at a news conference today.

"We can control the beast. Yes, but the beast is still alive. We did not kill the beast –– and the beast can rise up again," Cuomo added.

On antibody testing: Cuomo said said the FDA has approved the state's antibody tests.

“Now that we have the approved test we’re going to be rolling it out to do the largest survey of any state population that has been done,” he said.

Cuomo said the state can conduct 2,000 antibody tests per day, or about 14,000 per week. He mentioned that while this sounds like a large number, it is only a small percentage of New York's population of more than 19 million people.

Cuomo said this is the first real statistical number on exactly “where we are as a population,” and will provide a true “baseline.”

“We have not had hard data on where we are," Cuomo said.

1:10 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Michigan governor responds to criticism over stay-at-home order

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to criticism about how detailed and specific the state's stay-home orders.

"You know my stay-home order is one of the nation's more conservative, but the fact of the matter is, it's working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten. And that means we're saving lives," Whitmer told CNN today. "Who among us wouldn’t rather forgo jet skiing or boating right now if its going to save your grandparent or your neighbors life and that’s precisely what the tradeoff is at the moment."

The democratic governor extended Michigan’s stay-home order through April 30. The stringent order includes restrictions like prohibiting most people from traveling between residences unless they're taking care of a relative or dropping off a child.

When asked whether Michigan has enough tests, Whitmer said, “governors are doing the best we can with what we got. We could use some assistance to make sure the supply chain issues are addressed and we can do the robust testing that every epidemiologist in our country tells you is essential as we prepare to think about reengaging sectors of our economy.”

Some context: Whitmer said Michigan has the third highest death count in the country and is the 10th largest state, she told CNN.

“This means we have a uniquely hard issue here because it’s disproportionately hurting our state and that’s why we need to take a uniquely aggressive action to protect people," she said.

12:46 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

New York to start "aggressive" antibody testing, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

State of New York
State of New York

New York state will undertake the “most aggressive” statewide antibody testing survey in the nation over the next week, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo said they will sample thousands of people across the state to find out if they have antibodies.

“That will tell us for the first time what percent of the population actually has had the coronavirus and is now at least short term immune to the virus," he said.

“This will be the first true snapshot of what we’re really dealing with," Cuomo added.

The New York State Department of Health will be running the tests over the next week.

The state will have to work with the White House to assist with the supply chain and coordinate private labs, Cuomo said.

12:36 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

"This is halftime" in the coronavirus battle, New York governor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

State of New York
State of New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said "this is only halftime" in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

The governor said at his daily press conference today that the battle has not been won yet and any plan to reopen the economy has to be based on data and testing.

Cuomo said New York needs to learn from this experience and focus on rebuilding.

"Let's take these lessons forward and how do we build back better than before," Cuomo said. "We have to open for a better future than we have ever had. We have to learn from this."

Cuomo said the second phase of the state's plan to reopen the economy will require New Yorkers to do no harm, be smarter and develop new testing and learn the lessons to build back better.

Cuomo also thanked the 95,000 medical professionals from inside and outside the state that have helped with coronavirus response efforts, saying it reminds him of the help the state received after 9/11.

He said just as it did then, the support gives us “confidence” that “were not in it alone.”

Cuomo has spoken to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and told him that if they have to scramble, New York is going to “be there for you.”

New York has identified 400 ventilators to bring over to Massachusetts “on 24 hours notice” should they need it, Cuomo said.

12:25 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

507 people have died in New York over the past 24 hours

There are 507 New Yorkers who have died due to coronavirus across the state over the past 24 hours, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Nursing homes continue to be a source of "really disturbing situations," Cuomo said today during a news conference.  

"The worst news for us to live with every day, and an everyday tragedy, we lost another 507 New Yorkers. Those are not just very large numbers we see. That's every number is a face and a family and a brother and a sister and mother and a father and people who are in pain today and will be in pain for a long period of time. So we remember them in our thoughts and prayers," Cuomo said.

At least 540 people died Friday in New York, the governor said as a news conference yesterday.

12:22 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

New York governor: "We are past the high point and all indications at this point is that we are on the descent"

State of New York
State of New York

Speaking today at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared Sunday that hospitalizations across the state are on the decline.

"The total hospitalization rate is down again in the state of New York. We're down to 16,000. If you look at the numbers, we're at 18,000 people hospitalized for a period of time. It flattened there for awhile then went down to 17,000. This is a low from our high point of 16,000. The question of whether we have been passed the apex, past the high point, and turned out the high point wasn't a point, but it was a plateau. We got up to a high point and we just stayed at that level for awhile," Cuomo said at a news conference.

Cuomo added: "If the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point and all indications at this point is that we are on the descent. Whether or not the descent continues depends on what we do but right now we're on the descent."

12:18 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Treasury secretary thinks the US economy will recover in months

From CNN's Nicky Robertson


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNN that he thinks it will only be months, not years, before the US economy recovers from the impact of the coronavirus.

“I think it will be months,” Mnuchin said today. “I definitely don't think it will be years.”

Mnuchin said that once the economy reopens he believes there will be a “big rebound.”

Some economists are very skeptical of any claims of a quick economic recovery.

12:01 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Cabinet minister says Boris Johnson has "absolutely been leading" coronavirus effort in UK

From CNN’s Nada Bashir in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 25.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 25. Peter Summers/Getty Images

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has “absolutely been leading our nation’s effort to combat the coronavirus” since the moment “it became clear that there were challenges in terms of coronavirus developing in China,” Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said at the Downing Street press conference Sunday.

In response to a question over Johnson’s lack of attendance at five Cobra meetings in January and February, Williamson said Johnson has been “making sure that resources and money is not an issue or concern for any department, especially for health services." Cobra refers to interdepartmental government meetings called in times of crisis.

“Many Cobra meetings take place and I have spent many hours attending Cobra meetings where it is actually led by the departmental minister,” Williamson said.

Johnson first chaired a coronavirus Cobra meeting on March 2.

“But the focus that the prime minister was putting on this, and has continued to put on this, has meant that this is the whole government effort,” he added.

Williamson responded to criticism about the government’s response to acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE). He said the government has been trying to secure PPE “from the first moment” scientific advice highlighted “we were facing a real challenge in terms of the coronavirus."

“What we have seen over the last few months is an enormous effort – it’s a national effort, but also an international effort to secure PPE from right around the globe,” he added.