April 19 coronavirus news
President Donald Trump said Sunday the US still wants investigators to go to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.
The US has previously made requests, which have been rebuffed. The White House has continually accused China of withholding accurate information about the extent of the virus within the country.
“We are talking to China. We spoke to them a long time ago about going in. We want to go in,” Trump said Sunday at a coronavirus task force briefing.
About 14% of the New York Police Department were out sick on Sunday -- that’s down from a high of 19.8%, according to a daily NYPD report.
To date, 4,371 members of the NYPD have tested positive for Covid-19. Of those, 2,270 members have recovered and returned to work, and 2,073 are still out sick, the report said.
Those out sick include 1,706 uniformed members and 367 civilian members.
President Donald Trump said he is planning to use the Defense Production Act again, this time to help with the production of swabs needed to conduct coronavirus tests.
Trump said the administration is close to finalizing a deal with a company that will convert its plant to produce 10 million swabs per month, but that he would use the DPA to force another company to do the same.
“We also are going to be using and preparing to use the Defense Production Act to increase swab production in one US facility by over 20 million additional swabs per month. We’ve had a little difficulty with one so we'll call in -- as we have in the past, as you know -- we are calling in the Defense Production Act and we'll be getting swabs very easily,” Trump said.
Trump did not name either company.
Governors on both sides of the aisle have complained that one of the reasons states cannot conduct enough coronavirus tests is that they lack the materials needed to conduct such tests, including swabs.
Trump said last week 5 million swabs were going to be sent to the states but did not provide specifics.
President Donald Trump opened Sunday’s coronavirus task force briefing by saying negotiations over adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the Paycheck Protection Program are continuing to make progress, and that a deal could be announced Monday. Trump said he thinks the sides are getting close to a deal.
“I would like to begin by saying we are continuing to negotiate with the Democrats to get our great workers and small businesses all over the country taken care of. I think we are getting close to a deal. It could happen. It could happen. A lot of good work has been going on and we could have an answer tomorrow and we are going to see what exactly does take place,” Trump said.
The President also said there will additional aid in the package. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier Sunday that $75 billion will be included for hospitals.
“We are also looking at helping our hospitals and our rural hospitals who have been hurt very badly. The rural hospitals for a long time have not been treated properly. We are looking to help them and beyond. So we are looking at hospitals also as part of the package” Trump said.
Trump said he had just gotten off the phone with Mnuchin and concluded by saying, “I think you will have a nice answer tomorrow.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”