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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3:26 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

There have been at least 40,000 coronavirus deaths in the US

The United States now has at least 40,585 reported coronavirus deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 742,442 cases of the virus in the US, according to the university.

2:50 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Tyson Foods issues statement on coronavirus safety after roughly 100 workers test positive

From CNN's Carma Hassan

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tyson Foods says it is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Agriculture and health departments after some of its team members tested positive for coronavirus.

Earlier today, CNN reported that 90 plant workers in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, tested positive for coronavirus, but there have been no deaths

Tyson Foods Senior Vice President Hector Gonzalez said in a video statement that the company is requiring workers to take their temperatures at the start of each shift and wear face coverings. The company has also expanded work spaces by erecting tents. 

“We're extremely grateful for the work our team members are doing and for the role they play in the critical supply chain that extends from farm to fork,” Gonzalez said.

Tyson Foods spokesperson Worth Sparkman said in a statement the company is also sanitizing plant production areas and has deep cleaned other areas of the facility, including employee break rooms and locker rooms.

"We have team members dedicated to constantly wiping down and sanitizing common areas. In some cases, this additional cleaning involves suspending a day of production," Sparkman said.

2:28 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

There are at least 742,442 coronavirus cases in the US

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the US, there are at least 742,442 cases of coronavirus in the country and at least 39,291 people have died from the disease.

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. 

2:30 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

100,000 people gather for funeral in Bangladesh, defying coronavirus lockdown

From Abir Mahmud in Bangladesh and Jaide Garcia 

Masuk Hridoy/AP
Masuk Hridoy/AP

More than 100,000 people defied Bangladesh's lockdown order on Saturday to attend the funeral of a senior leader of the Islamist party in the district of Brahmanbaria, according to the prime minister's special assistant, Shah Ali Farhad, and the Brahmanbaria police spokesperson Imtiaz Ahmed. 

The funeral for Maulana Zubayer Ahmad Ansari, an Islamic teacher, broke the country's ban of no more than five people attending prayers at one time, sparking fears of a new coronavirus outbreak emerging from the event. 

Tens of thousands of people flooded the roads to Brahmanbaria district, walking from the surrounding areas to attend the funeral, according to Mohammad Mamunul Haque, the joint secretary general of the Islamist party. 

The police were unable to control the crowd, resulting in the officer in charge and assistant superintendent being withdrawn from the event and a "three-member probe committee" being formed to start an investigation into the congregation activity, according to Sohel Rana, the Bangladesh Police Central spokesperson.

Bangladesh has a recorded total of 2,456 positive cases of coronavirus, with 91 deaths as of Sunday, though critics say the true number is higher and still unknown due to lack of testing kits. 

2:16 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak in Austria is "under control," chancellor says

From CNN's Nada Bashir

A view of a shop in Vienna, Austria, on April 17.
A view of a shop in Vienna, Austria, on April 17. David Visnjic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak in Austria in "under control," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Sunday, crediting the positive development as a result of the government's early implementation of strict containment measures. 

"We were one of the first countries in Europe which decided to have a complete lockdown, and I think it was extremely important that we were faster than others and our reaction was tougher than in other countries," Kurz told CNN. "It was good that we did it because now the situation in Austria is under control. We only have about 100 new infections every day," he added. 

According to the Austrian leader, the number of new in-country coronavirus cases continues to go down, prompting the government to look towards a gradual relaxation of the nationwide lockdown. 

"What we are trying is to re-open very slowly and very carefully. We are doing this step-by-step, always with two weeks in between," Kurz said. "It is important that we always have two weeks in between, which gives us the opportunity to watch the numbers very carefully and slow down our re-opening plan and, if necessary, pull the emergency brake."

Kurz outlined that the government expects to allow small shops to open on Monday, extending to all shops by May 1; by mid-May, the government will look to extend this measure further to include restaurants, he added. 

"Of course, we will still have restrictions like social distancing…people in shops and also, in the future, people in restaurants and elsewhere will have to wear masks," Kurz said. 

1:56 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Cuba records more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus 

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana 

Cuba has reported 1,035 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to health officials on Sunday.

This is the first time the total number of infected people has topped 1,000 on the island. 

Cuba has enacted some of the region’s toughest restrictions as officials combat the spread of the disease, suspending nearly all domestic and international travel. Citizens who return from abroad are required to spend 14 days at government isolation facilities and anyone suspected of having coronavirus must immediately go to hospital for treatment.

The economic impacts of the pandemic have led to longer lines for food and other basic items, complicating efforts to stem the spread of the infection. 

As of Sunday, the death toll stands at 34, according to Dr. Francisco Durán García, Cuba’s national director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health. 

1:27 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Pelosi suggests she would support a proposal to allow proxy voting during the pandemic

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press on March 27.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press on March 27. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested she could back a proposal from other Democratic congressional leaders to allow proxy voting during the coronavirus pandemic — a possible solution to the logistical issues facing members of Congress as they attempt to navigate the challenge of working on complex legislation from afar. 

Pelosi said on Fox today that relevant committee chairs had arrived at the idea of proxy voting after she tasked them with considering ways to keep up with House business while members adhered to federal guidelines recommending against travel and gathering in groups.

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.