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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10:37 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

More than 38,800 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

There are at least 734,552 coronavirus cases in the Unites States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

At least 38,835 people have died.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

CNN’s map, which uses JHU data, refreshes every 15 minutes:

10:26 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

Laura Bush and Michelle Obama appear from home on Global Citizen TV concert

From CNN's Kelly Mena

On Saturday night, former first ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama appeared on the Global Citizen "One World: Together At Home" televised concert from their own homes, sharing messages of thanks and hope.

"Laura and I want to express our overwhelming gratitude to the medical professionals, first responders and so many others on the front lines risking their lives on our behalf," said Obama. 

"And we're thankful for our pharmacists, the veterinarians, the police officers, the sanitation workers, and those of you working in grocery stores or delivering food or supplies to our homes. You're the fabric of our country and your strength will carry us through this crisis," said Bush. 

Obama finished the message off by saying:

"The coming days will not be easy, but this global family of ours is strong. We will continue to be here for one another and we will get through this crisis. Together. Thank you." 

The event was organized to raise funds for the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.

Read the full story here.

10:09 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for election to be postponed because of the virus

From CNN’s Osmary Hernandez in Caracas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a televised announcement, at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 26.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a televised announcement, at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 26. Jhonn Zerpa/Venezuelan Presidency/AFP via Getty Images

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants the country’s top court to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled for December this year until January 2021.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Maduro said the pandemic is the priority and it would be irresponsible to carry out elections in that environment.

Maduro said it would be up to the Supreme Justice Tribunal to make the decision. 

Today it would be irresponsible on my part to say elections should be held everywhere," Maduro said. 

Maduro added that the controversial pro-government National Constituent Assembly could extend its mandate past December.

9:52 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

Watch CNN's "The Color of Covid" special at 10 p.m. ET

CNN
CNN

CNN anchor Don Lemon and political commentator Van Jones will host the "The Color of Covid," an hour-long special on the unique challenges black and brown communities are facing during the coronavirus crisis, putting a spotlight on their struggles and providing viewers with ways they can help.

Notable guests include Sean "Diddy" Combs, Lin-Manuel Miranda, W. Kamau Bell, America Ferrara, Charles Barkley, former Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, and Will.i.am, among others.

"African Americans helped to build this country and make this country great," said Diddy in a taped message. "We don’t deserve to be in this position. We don't deserve to always be thought of last ... Let’s not wait on nobody to save us. Let’s use this as a reset. Let's use this as a time to start loving ourselves."

"Color of Covid" will air April 18, at 10 p.m. ET exclusively on CNN.

It can also be viewed on CNN.com, CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone, and iPad, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, SamsungSmart TV, Chromecast and Android TV). The special will also be available on demand to subscribers via cable/satellite systems.

9:47 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

Coronavirus cases top 10,000 in Japan

By CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Medical staff prepare to screen potential coronavirus patients at Kawakita General Hospital on April 17, in Tokyo, Japan.
Medical staff prepare to screen potential coronavirus patients at Kawakita General Hospital on April 17, in Tokyo, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 10,000 in Japan on Saturday. On March 1, the country had 243 cases.

As of Saturday, Japan had 10,296 confirmed cases, including 222 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. That tally included people who tested positive during airport quarantine checks and health officials.

In recent weeks, Japan's coronavirus cases have spiked -- dashing hopes that the government's initial virus response had succeeded. 

The sharp increase has led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to extend the state of emergency from seven prefectures to the entire country. On Friday, he promised to provide medical equipment, such as surgical masks, gowns and face shields, to struggling hospitals.

Earlier this week, government experts warned that Japan could have more than 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths if measures such as social distancing were not implemented.

9:28 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

It's 9 p.m. in New York and 10 a.m. in Tokyo. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic

Healthcare workers collect samples at a drive-through coronavirus testing center at the University Hospital in Burgos, Spain, on April 18.
Healthcare workers collect samples at a drive-through coronavirus testing center at the University Hospital in Burgos, Spain, on April 18. Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

Global death toll rises to 159,000: Covid-19 has killed more than 159,500 people, as the total number of infections rises to 2.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Opening up the US: The US CDC released new details on how communities can contain the virus, as part of the White House Task Force’s plan to "get and keep America open." Meanwhile, President Donald Trump says the response to the coronavirus “…should not be a partisan witch hunt" but attacked three Democratic governors, who he said "have gotten carried away" with social distancing. Protesters gathered in several US states to oppose stay-at-home orders. At least 732,197 people have coronavirus in the US including 38,664 people who have died.

More testing needed: The US needs to conduct at least 500,000 tests for Covid-19 every day to be able to successfully open the economy and stay open, according to three Harvard researchers. Currently, about 150,000 tests per day are completed, and about 20% of those tests have been positive. The positive test rate needs to fall to 10%.

Japan cases surge: Reported cases have surpassed 10,000 as medical workers warn the country's health system isn't prepared for an outbreak. The spike has led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to extend the state of emergency from seven prefectures to be nationwide.

Spain to extend lockdown: Another 15 days of lockdown are looming, with the restrictions set to extend until May 9. That means Spain will have endured eight week of strict lockdown and comes after deaths in the country surpassed 20,000.

9:18 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

CDC publishes new guidelines to get America open

From CNN’s Nick Valencia

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new details on community mitigation, as part of the White House Task Force’s plan to "get and keep America open."

The guidelines, posted overnight Friday on the CDC website, outline steps persons can take to help slow the transmission of the virus.

New concepts include emphasizing personal responsibility and tailoring strategies to target specific populations.

"Mitigation strategies can be scaled up or down depending on the evolving local situation," the CDC said on its website. "When developing mitigation plans, communities should identify ways to ensure the safety and social well-being of groups that may be especially impacted by mitigation strategies, including individuals at increased risk for severe illness."

Regarding financial resources, the CDC said it has awarded nearly $730 million in funding to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications and other preparedness and response activities.

The CDC says it has "500 existing field staff embedded in state, tribal, local and territorial health agencies, most of whom have pivoted to support the COVID-19 response."

Community protection teams are being sent to eight states to conduct contact tracing. The eight states include:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Rapid testing on a wide scale and contract-tracing to quickly isolate outbreaks are widely considered to be necessary to reopen the economy.

When asked in what capacity the CDC teams would be working, a federal health official with knowledge of the community protection initiative said they will be "testing new technologies," including "having people do self-swabbing and evaluating how effective that is. They are also looking at some mobile technology to look at contact tracing."

8:53 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

There are at least 732,197 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston 

Coronavirus has infected at least 732,197 people and killed a minimum of 38,664 in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

Track coronavirus cases in the US using this interactive CNN map.

9:15 p.m. ET, April 18, 2020

America needs to test half a million people a day before it can reopen, experts say  

From CNN's Gina Yu

A medical worker prepares to test a patient for coronavirus on April 15, in Woodbridge, Virginia.
A medical worker prepares to test a patient for coronavirus on April 15, in Woodbridge, Virginia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US needs to conduct at least 500,000 tests for Covid-19 a day to safely open the economy and stay open, according to three Harvard researchers.

Currently, about 150,000 tests per day are completed, and about 20% of those have been positive. More testing is necessary to properly understand who is infected and might put others at risk, researchers said.

The current percentage of tests that come back positive in the US is too high, researchers said. The World Health Organization has suggested that the positive test rate should be between 3% and 12%, while the US rate is around 20%.

To achieve a 10% test positivity rate by May 1, about 580,000 people per day would need to be tested, research shows. 

The researchers include:

  • Dr. Ashish Jha, faculty director of the Harvard Global Health Institute
  • Dr. Thomas Tsai, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Benjamin Jacobson, research assistant at the Harvard Global Health Institute

Jha wrote in an email to CNN that a formal write-up of their research will be available soon.

“If we can’t be doing at least 500,000 tests a day by May 1, it is hard to see any way we can remain open,” the researchers wrote.

President Donald Trump told reporters the US has conducted more than 3.78 million coronavirus tests to date at a Friday White House briefing.