April 24 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 0137 GMT (0937 HKT) April 25, 2020
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:34 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

The world is "weeks to months" away from a drug that fights Covid-19, WHO says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

CNN's Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and WHO technical lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.
CNN's Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and WHO technical lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove. Source: CNN

The world is "weeks to months" away from knowing what drugs will work to fight Covid-19, said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the World Health Organization's coronavirus response.

The WHO is tracking a number of studies that are trying to determine exactly how many people have been infected around the world, Van Kerkhove said.

According to one study in Germany, the number of people who have antibodies that show they've had the coronavirus infection ranges from 2% or 3% up to 14% of the population, she said during CNN's coronavirus town hall earlier tonight.

"What’s interesting about this is that these numbers, this seroprevalence, is a lot lower than some of the earlier models had predicted that would have suggested that this virus was circulating a lot more, and that much more of the population was already infected." Van Kerkhove said. "So these studies right now are not actually showing us that."

Seroprevalence is the number of people in a population who test positive for a disease.

The WHO is also closely monitoring the hundreds of Covid-19 drug trials.

"Everyone in the world wants to know which drugs, which medications are going to work, which medications are going to save lives," Van Kerkhove said. "Unfortunately, right now, we don't have any evidence one works, yet."

It’s critical that the studies are done and done well, Van Kerkhove said.

"So we can get to the answer that everybody needs," she said. The results, she added, "can't come soon enough." But the world is "weeks to months" from knowing what works.

10:17 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Wuhan, the first city in the world to go under coronavirus lockdown, is slowly opening up

From CNN's Ben Westcott

The first city in the world to go into lockdown due to the coronavirus is slowly returning to something that might be described as normal, after months of fear and anxiety.

But the scars of the viral outbreak which for 76 days shut down the Chinese city of Wuhan, and much of the surrounding Hubei province, lie just beneath the surface, with many citizens worried about a second outbreak and businesses still struggling to get back on their feet.

CNN international correspondent David Culver, now in Wuhan, joined CNN's global town hall earlier Thursday to talk about the city's reopening.

"You will notice, looking at the windows here, many of those stores are still closed. They still have these steel garage door-like gates down ... There is concern from the customer side of things that they can walk into a store without facing any potential exposure," he said.

Fewer than half of the stores he saw had reopened, and major brands that have resumed business did so with some modifications, Culver said. The stores have moved products to the front, and changed their procedures, to reduce interactions between customers and staff and keep stores as uncrowded as possible.

Read more here about Wuhan's reopening:

10:16 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

Ecuador's coronavirus cases nearly double due to backlog of tests

From Ana Maria Cañizares and Flora Charner

The number of coronavirus cases reported in Ecuador nearly doubled Thursday, from 11,183 to 22,160, according to the country’s health minister.

The sharp increase was not caused by a new outbreak, health minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said during a news conference on Thursday. Zevallos said it was due to a backlog of tests in the country's laboratories, which left thousands of tests unprocessed.

Ecuador is one of the countries that has been hit hardest by coronavirus in Latin America. The country has the second highest number of cases behind Brazil, where more than 49,000 cases have been confirmed, including 3,313 deaths.

10:32 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

The US has approved a $480 billion package to help small businesses and hospitals

From CNN's Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Haley Byrd

The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to approve a roughly $480 billion package to deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand Covid-19 testing -- the latest attempt by lawmakers to blunt the devastating impact of the pandemic.

The vote was 388-5 and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The measure passed the Senate earlier this week and will now go to US President Donald Trump, who has expressed support for the legislation and indicated that he will sign it. 

Where the money is expected to go: $310 billion will go to the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up to help small businesses struggling from the economic deep freeze triggered by coronavirus.

Funding for the program ran dry earlier this month, prompting an outcry from the business community.

Some $75 billion will go to hospitals and health care providers to address coronavirus expenses and lost revenue, and $25 billion to facilitate and expand Covid-19 testing.

The increased funding for testing comes at a time when there is widespread recognition that testing capacity must increase and improve as states consider when to reopen businesses and lift lockdowns.

Referred to as an "interim" measure by lawmakers, the legislation is the latest historic effort by Washington to prop up the economy on the heels of a more than $2 trillion rescue package along with other relief measures already approved by Congress.

10:35 p.m. ET, April 23, 2020

26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past month

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

For the fifth week in a row, millions of American workers applied for unemployment benefits, seeking financial relief as businesses remained closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 4.4 million in the week ending April 18, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, said the US Department of Labor.

In total, 26.5 million people have filed first-time claims since mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic is forcing businesses to close and lay off workers.

Numbers at that level reflect a devastating blow to workers, indicating roughly 16.2% of the US labor force is suffering from layoffsfurloughs or reduced hours during the coronavirus pandemic.

Early studies have shown lower-income workers are particularly affected by job losses, and minorities, specifically black and Hispanic families, are expected to bear the brunt of the economic cost of this crisis.

Read more: