April 21 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 9:13 p.m. ET, April 21, 2020
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6:39 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Coronavirus could double number of people facing food crisis

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Volunteers from a Sikh temple in New Delhi, India, distribute free food to homeless people during the government-imposed nationwide lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus on April 15.
Volunteers from a Sikh temple in New Delhi, India, distribute free food to homeless people during the government-imposed nationwide lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus on April 15. Prakesh Singh/AFP/

The number of people suffering acute hunger could almost double to more than 265 million because of the economic impact of coronavirus, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) is warning.

In a statement released Tuesday, the WFP said “swift action” was needed to stop this becoming a reality.

“Covid-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread. It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage,” WFP’s Senior Economist Arif Husain said.

“Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock – like Covid-19 – to push them over the edge. We must collectively act now to mitigate the impact of this global catastrophe.”

The latest report from the WFP says that in some countries, those most vulnerable to food insecurity have “very limited” capacity to cope with the shock caused by the pandemic. 

“These countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the coronavirus to have them die from hunger,” the report warns.

6:31 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Doctors and nurses in India are being "abused and beaten up," says healthcare body

Doctors and medical staff of Narayan Swaroop Hospital in Allahabad hold placards on April 16 to protest against recent assaults on health care workers in India.
Doctors and medical staff of Narayan Swaroop Hospital in Allahabad hold placards on April 16 to protest against recent assaults on health care workers in India. Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

Health care workers in India need to be protected by a nationwide law after a spate of violence against doctors and nurses, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Monday.

The group issued a statement saying that "doctors have been abused, beaten up, denied entry and residence."

"IMA has maintained utmost restraint and patience in spite of extreme provocations," the statement read.

"We demand a special central law against violence on doctors, nurses, health care workers and hospitals," added the statement. The IMA has asked health care workers across the nation to light a candle as a form of protest on Wednesday. 

If the government does not formulate a central law on violence against health care workers, the IMA has called for a "black day" to be observed on Thursday where doctors will work with black badges. Further decisions will be taken if the government still does not act, according to the statement issued by IMA.  

Doctors in India continue to face several challenges with the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of equipment, cases of doctors being attacked, and lack of adequate living facilities for doctors remain a problem according to doctors associations across the country. 

"Earlier there was definitely a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), but now even though they are available the standard of quality is low," said Adarsh Singh, President of the Resident Doctors Association at All India Institute of Medical Science. 

Over 100 healthcare workers have tested positive in Delhi alone, according to Singh. Delhi with 2,081 positive cases of coronavirus, including 47 deaths, has the second-highest number of cases in the country, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

"With cases on the rise, there needs to be capacity building. Hospitals are not equipped to handle cases if the numbers continue to rise at the current rate and doctors are already working round the clock," Singh added.

Maharashtra has the highest number of cases in the country with 4,666 positive cases of coronavirus including 232 deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. 

"Many doctors have tested positive for the virus already and those of us working on the frontlines at government hospitals live in hostels where effective social distancing is not possible," a Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) spokesperson said.

At least 100 nurses have tested positive in Mumbai, according to Akash Pillai, general secretary of the Maharashtra United Nurses Association. 

The Mumbai municipal corporation has begun providing hotel accommodation for doctors, especially those who live with their families, so that they don't have to go home. However, this provision is much less than is required, according to the MARD spokesperson. 

"All we want is adequate PPE to protect health care workers, [assurance] that we will be safe in discharging our duties and won't be attacked, and proper living facilities," Singh said. 

According to the Indian Ministry of Health, India currently has 18,601 confirmed cases of coronavirus including 590 deaths. 

6:09 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

5-year-old daughter of first responders dies from coronavirus

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Skylar Herbert, 5, died after developing rare complications following a coronavirus diagnosis.
Skylar Herbert, 5, died after developing rare complications following a coronavirus diagnosis. WXYZ

The 5-year-old daughter of two Detroit first responders has died of complications from coronavirus.

Skylar Herbert died Sunday at Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital after being on a ventilator for two weeks, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported. She tested positive for coronavirus last month and developed a rare form of meningitis and swelling on the brain, according to WXYZ.

"The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy," Beaumont Hospital said in a statement obtained by WXYZ. "We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar's family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus."

Skylar's mother has been a Detroit Police officer for 25 years and her father has worked as a firefighter with the Detroit Fire Department for 18 years, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a Monday news conference.

"They've been on the front line and they've served with honor and integrity and they did not deserve to lose their child to this virus," Whitmer said. "Nobody does."

Read more here.

8:08 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

England's true Covid-19 death toll 41% higher than previously reported

From CNN's Rob Picheta and Simon Cullen

Vans back into drop-off pods at a temporary morgue on Wanstead Flats in London, England, on April 15.
Vans back into drop-off pods at a temporary morgue on Wanstead Flats in London, England, on April 15. Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The true number of deaths from Covid-19 in England and Wales was significantly higher in the period up to April 10 than had been previously reported by the government, new figures show.

At the time, the official figures stated that 9,288 people had died from Covid-19. But figures released Tuesday by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found the real number was 13,121. That's 41% more.

The discrepancy is because the initial government figures only record those who died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19. The more complete ONS numbers reflect everyone whose death certificate records a case of Covid-19 -- even if it is only suspected, and whether or not they died in hospital.

The new figures also show that 1,043 coronavirus deaths in the UK have taken place in care homes. Concerns have been raised in recent weeks over the lack of protective equipment and testing in those facilities.

Watch:

5:31 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

America's black and Hispanic communities are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

America has an inequality problem and the coronavirus crisis is making it worse.

The pandemic is leaving few people untouched, but America's weakest demographic groups are shouldering the worst burden through job losses and frontline work, against a backdrop of a higher risk of infections and lower savings.

Lower earnings: The average black and Hispanic families are already bringing in less income, earning between 71 cents and 74 cents for each dollar earned by the median white family, according to a new report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

Fewer safety nets: Minority families also have a smaller buffer of liquid assets like savings and investments, meaning they have a much thinner cushion to fall back on to weather the storm of economic shocks.

Vulnerable to layoffs: Black and Hispanic workers are also more likely than white workers to be in jobs that pay by the hour, making them more susceptible to layoffs. 

A total of 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the past month.

"As families face job loss and income uncertainty resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, this report shows that black and Hispanic families will bear the brunt of this economic crisis," said Diana Farrell, president and CEO of the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

Read more here:

5:19 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

The UK has "very, very significant" gaps in PPE, junior doctor says

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Paramedics check their personal protective equipment during a training exercise while on emergency standby at the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance base in Coventry, England, on April 20.
Paramedics check their personal protective equipment during a training exercise while on emergency standby at the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance base in Coventry, England, on April 20. Leon Neal/Getty Images

British doctor Katie Sanderson says there are some “very, very significant gaps” in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for treating coronavirus patients.

Referencing a Doctors' Association UK survey with more than 1,100 responses in 250 settings, Sanderson told BBC radio that 38% of doctors had no eye protection, 38% who need FFP3 masks do not have access to them and 47% do not have access to long sleeve gowns.

Sanderson, who works as a junior doctor in north London, also said the government should provide reassurance to families of medical workers that they won’t face financial ruin if the health worker dies at work.

“All of us are more or less worried about dying as a result of being infected with coronavirus at work,” Sanderson said, adding that for migrant families, there is the extra stress of their visa situation.

5:02 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

A hiker is sheltering from the virus on a deserted Scottish island

From CNN's Tamara Hardingham-Gill and Temujin Doran

What happens when you're nearly three years into the middle of a 8,700-mile hike, you've given up your home, you have no money -- and then coronavirus stops the world in its tracks?

That was the dilemma facing Christian Lewis when his quest to walk every twist and turn of the British coastline to raise money for charity was suddenly derailed by the arrival of the pandemic.

Lewis began his journey from Swansea in South Wales, in the summer of 2017 with just $12 in his pocket. Picking up a companion -- a dog named Jet -- along the way, he arrived on the remote Scottish Shetland islands in March just as the UK was placed under restrictions.

With no home to go to and only a flimsy tent for protection in one of the most northerly and windswept parts of the country, he could've been in trouble.

Instead, thanks to the kindness of complete strangers, he's found himself in arguably one of the best places on the planet to sit out the crisis -- a cottage on a tiny island all to himself.

"It is just super. I couldn't be in a better place for a lockdown," Lewis tells CNN from Hildasay island. "There's nothing here but a few sheep and an array of birds."

Some Shetlanders lent him a boat to go to the island, and a local fisherman brings Lewis deliveries of water. He makes the occasional boat trip to the mainland for other supplies, but mostly forages for his food.

"I can walk down now, and I'll have a whole plate full of mussels if I want them, so I've got no worries there," he said.

Read more here:

Hiker shelters from virus on deserted Scottish island
RELATED

Hiker shelters from virus on deserted Scottish island

Story by Tamara Hardingham-Gill and video by Temujin Doran

4:53 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

A 12-year-old girl died after trying to walk 200 miles home during coronavirus lockdown

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A 12-year-old girl in India, who embarked on a 200-mile journey home on foot during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, died just an hour away from her house, according to local officials.

Jamlo Madkam worked in chili fields in Perur village, in the southern state of Telangana. The nationwide lockdown was supposed to end on April 14 -- but was extended until May.

On April 15, Madkam and 11 others, including her brother-in-law, began the journey to their home state of Chattisgarh in central India. They decided to walk home because they were out of work, and weren't sure when the lockdown would end, said Dr B R Pujari, the chief medical health officer of Madkam's home district.

Three days later, she died before she could make it home.

"They walked through mountainous terrain to avoid police barricades, for three whole days. We were told that Jamlo hadn't eaten anything that morning because of a stomach upset and had been vomiting. We suspect that an electrolyte imbalance along with the exhaustion led to her death," Pujari said. 

The remaining 11 migrant workers have been quarantined at a government facility for 14 days, and their samples have been sent for testing. Madkam's postmortem report showed that she did not have coronavirus.

The nationwide lockdown has been in place since March 25, and will continue through May 3. 

Once the lockdown came into effect, thousands of workers attempted to walk home as they were left without work and a means of transport to travel back home. 

4:36 a.m. ET, April 21, 2020

Virgin Australia enters voluntary administration. Its founder says it's "not the end" for the airline

From CNN's Michelle Toh

A Virgin Australia flight taking off from Sydney International Airport in March.
A Virgin Australia flight taking off from Sydney International Airport in March. Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Virgin Australia has collapsed into administration, one day after billionaire founder Richard Branson made a last-ditch appeal for government support for the country's second biggest airline.

The carrier is the industry's latest casualty as the coronavirus pandemic continues to eliminate global demand for travel.

The company said today that it had entered voluntary administration as it looked for money to revive its business, and that it eventually hoped to "emerge stronger on the other side of this crisis."

Virgin Australia is the first major airline in Asia Pacific to succumb to the loss of business from the pandemic, which has caused carriers to rip up their flight schedules, ground planes and put staff on unpaid leave. Last month, UK budget carrier Flybe also collapsed, saying its financial challenges were too great to withstand in the context of the pandemic.

For now, the Brisbane-based carrier plans to continue operating all scheduled flights, "which are helping to transport essential workers, maintain important freight corridors, and return Australians home," the airline said in a filing posted on the Australian stock exchange.

In a message addressed to employees today, Branson called out the Australian government, saying "this is not the end for Virgin Australia."
"In most countries federal governments have stepped in, in this unprecedented crisis for aviation, to help their airlines. Sadly, that has not happened in Australia," he wrote.

Read more here.