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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6:35 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

12,000 coronavirus testing kits in Washington recalled because of possible contamination

From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

About 12,000 coronavirus testing kits distributed by the Washington Department of Health have been recalled because of possible contamination, according to a news release from the health department.

Friday, University of Washington Medicine notified the state health department that there may have been a quality control issue after a small number of vials of viral transport media (VTM) fluid appeared to have an unusual color, according to the release.

The testing kits in question were sent to local health jurisdictions, tribal nations, and state agency partners across the state, the news release said.

Jurisdictions that received the kits are encouraged to contact the health department for a new shipment of swabs and VTM transport tubes, according to the release.

A large shipment of swabs and VTM from a different vendor are expected to arrive in the state this week, the release said. 

6:16 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

There are at least 755,533 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

There are at least 755,533 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 40,461 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

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

View CNN's interactive map tracking the coronavirus in the United States.

5:26 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Despite larger capacity, Illinois still struggling to complete all testing due to lack of resources

From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that while the state has machines to complete coronavirus testing, it doesn't have all of the resources needed to analyze all tests on a larger scale.

Testing kits are available and machines are available, but there are key components needed to analyze all collected samples, Pritzker said. 

Such components include swabs, viral transport mechanisms to send swabs for testing, reagents, RNA extractors and available lab technicians to complete testings, according to Pritzker.

5:18 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

Nearly 1,000 patients have been treated at NYC's Javits Center field hospital since opening

From CNN’s Sarah Boxer

The inside of the Javits Center set up as a field hospital on March 30.
The inside of the Javits Center set up as a field hospital on March 30. Liao Pan/China News Service/Getty Images

A total of 995 patients have been treated at the Javits Convention Center field hospital in New York since it opened at the end of March, according to Northwell Health spokesman Terry Lynam.

Of those 995 patients, 254 remain hospitalized, Lynam said.

About 172 patients have been treated on the USNS Comfort since the ship arrived in New York Harbor on March 30, Lynam said, and 63 patients remain on board.

5:11 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

MTA says shutting down mass transit could lead to even more deaths

From CNN's Laura Ly

A person waits for the train at a subway station in New York City on April 17.
A person waits for the train at a subway station in New York City on April 17. Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to work better with the New York Police Department on social distancing and monitoring the number of people that can be on each car.

His comments Sunday came after he was asked about some city council members urging the governor to shut down the subways to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.  

The mayor also said he doesn’t know another way people could get around if trains were shut down.

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek released a statement Sunday saying "even with subway ridership down more than 90 percent, we are making it possible for doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery and pharmacy workers, and other essential personnel to get to work and save lives."

Shutting down mass transit during this unprecedented crisis would be dangerous and could lead to even more deaths."

Tarek also said "MTA has led the nation in its efforts to protect its employees and customers, disinfecting its stations and full fleet of rolling stock and even breaking away from federal guidance and providing hundreds of thousands of masks to our heroic workforce before the CDC recommended it.”

4:55 p.m. ET, April 19, 2020

UK government spokesman refutes 'untrue' and 'sloppy' Sunday Times critique of its early response to Covid-19

From CNN's Luke McGee and Nada Bashir

A UK government spokesman has refuted wide-ranging claims made by The Sunday Times in a damning article that criticizes the government’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing Sunday that the article contains a “series of falsehoods" that "misrepresent" the government's actions.

This article contains a series of falsehoods and errors and actively misrepresents the enormous amount of work which was going on in government at the earliest stages of the coronavirus outbreak," the government’s spokesman said in a statement. 

"The Prime Minister has been at the helm of the response to this, providing leadership during this hugely challenging period for the whole nation," the statement added. 

The spokesman’s response comes after Cabinet minister Michael Gove acknowledged that -- as reported by the Sunday Times -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not attend five national security COBR meetings focused on coronavirus in January and February.

According to the government’s spokesman, it is "entirely normal and proper" for such meetings to be chaired by the relevant secretary of state, as opposed to the Prime Minister. 

“It is ridiculous to suggest that coronavirus only reached the UK because the Health Secretary and not the PM chaired a COBR meeting,” the spokesman said. 

Additionally, The Sunday Times reported that a number of opportunities to reduce the impact of the pandemic had been missed by the UK government in January, February and March, claiming that UK officials "sleepwalked into disaster" and "played down the looming threat" of coronavirus. 

The government’s spokesman rejected such claims, asserting the government "started to act as soon as it was alerted to a potential outbreak" of coronavirus. 

“The suggestion that the government’s attitude was nonchalant is wrong. Extensive and detailed work was going on in government because of coronavirus," the spokesman said. 

"The government’s scientific advisory groups started to meet in mid-January and (Health Secretary Matt) Hancock instituted daily meetings to grip the emerging threat. We have taken the right steps at the right time guided by the scientific evidence," the spokesman added. 

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.