April 26 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Jenni Marsh, Tara John, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:44 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020
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9:58 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

New York City mayor: "We are going through a lot"

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Scott Heins/Getty Images
Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York City will come back stronger than ever, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Sunday morning. 

The recovery will take the next 20-months of his administration and far beyond that, de Blasio said.

The mayor reminded people of 9/11 and how the city fought back.

“We will rebuild and we will be stronger,” de Blasio said.

We are going to build something new and something better, de Blasio said it will be fair and for everyone. 

The mayor said the city has to fight back against the disparities made clear during Covid-19.

De Blasio will launch several councils to talk about reopening, these councils are set to start meeting on May 1.

There will be separate councils for education, small business, large businesses, public health, labor and the arts, among others.

9:54 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Michigan governor says "it's outrageous" for McConnell to suggest bankruptcy for states

From CNN’s Annie Grayer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked about the oversight committee set up in the Michigan legislature to oversee her actions, and if believes she has gone too far with her stay at home restrictions.

“No, I know that what we have done the vast majority of people in Michigan agree with and have done the right thing. Because of that what was looking to be just, you know an astronomical increase and predictions with regard to how many people would lose their lives from Covid-19, we have flattened that curve because people are doing the right thing. And people recognize the value of the order that I’ve issued” Whitmer said told ABC.

When discussing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that states should consider filing for bankruptcy, Whitmer said not only is default not an option for Michigan, but also, “it’s outrageous for Mitch McConnell to even suggest that.”

“For Senator McConnell to suggest that is incredibly dangerous, and I don’t think the vast majority of governors in this country, Republican and Democrat, would agree with him. He’s wrong and we need Congress to help states” Whitmer said, potentially setting up the next battleground for the coronavirus relief effort, namely how much support states receive from Congress in the next relief package.  

10:44 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Another federal relief bill would provide money to states in a "very significant way," Pelosi says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there will be another federal emergency relief bill that will include money for state and local governments that are facing budget deficits, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he did not want to issue more federal aid.

"We will have state and local and we will have it in a very significant way," Pelosi told CNN on Sunday.

Some context: A relief package was signed into law earlier this week, but didn't include money state leaders could use for basic operations –– something several governors have spoken out against.

"State and local governments have done their job magnificently. They should be impatient. Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number," Pelosi said.


9:21 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Republican senator proposes a $500 billion bail out for state and local governments

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a republican from Louisiana, is proposing a $500 billion bill that would give emergency relief funds to state and local governments as several of the nation's governors say they need federal money to continue daily operations.

One-third of the money would be awarded based on population size, one-third based on the number of coronavirus cases in the state and one-third based on the state's revenue loss, Cassidy said.

He said supporting local governments means supporting small businesses.

"Your city is going bankrupt because they rely upon sales tax, hotel bed tax, tourism to keep the police, to keep the fire, to keep the sanitation," he told CNN Sunday morning. "The city's bankrupt because a federally ordered lockdown has happened and now you don't have the police, the sanitation. What is your restaurant going to do? It's going to close its doors. Garbage piling up in front, and rats running in the garbage, is not what brings people through your doors."

He said supporting the system of city workers who help businesses thrive, is important to the reopening of the economy.

"This is about supporting those small businesses by supporting the cops, the firemen, the sanitation workers who allow those small businesses to stay in business. We have an ecosystem, we need to support it," Cassidy said.

Some background: Some states say they are facing billion dollar budget deficits because of spending needed to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated the possibility of states declaring bankruptcy rather than receive more federal aid.

While Republicans are in general agreement with McConnell that they should hit pause on any new funding, some GOP senators like Cassidy are publicly and privately expressing an openness toward a new round of aid to cash-strapped state and local governments

President Trump signed a more than $480 billion coronavirus relief package into law earlier this week –– but it did not include money for state governments.

9:58 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Children in Spain are allowed out of the house as coronavirus deaths continue to decline

From CNN's Claudia Dominguez, Al Goodman and Claudia Rebaza

Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images
Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

Children were allowed out of the house in Spain's capital Madrid on Sunday.

Parents and their kids started to appear on the streets shortly after 9 a.m. local time today –– the official start for easing the confinement for kids under 14 years old. 

Accompanied by their parents, it was the children’s’ first time out of the house in six weeks since the state of emergency began.

A 9 year-old-boy told CNN he has been “bored” staying at home so long, as he walked with his 6-year-old sister and their father, next to El Retiro Park. This park and others in the country, and playgrounds, too, remain closed.

The government now allows kids to go out once a day, for one hour, within about half a mile of their homes, with one adult who lives with them. Up to three kids can go with each adult.

There was 288 deaths due to coronavirus on Sunday, according to data released by Spain's Ministry of Health. This is the lowest number of deaths since March 20, but was a slight increase of 1.3% from the previous day.

Spain’s Director of Health Emergencies Fernando Simon told journalists that despite today's good news statistically, there's still a need for caution.

"The data shows a clear descending trend, it is true that because it is the weekend we need to analyze it carefully but the scale of the descent is important," he said.
8:36 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Investigation launched into Texas mayor's visit to nail salon despite stay at home orders

From CNN's Hira Humanyun and Alta Spells

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in Texas is investigating Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames’ trip to a nail salon, Pat Knauth from the DA’s office told CNN affiliate KFDM.

According to the affiliate, the investigation comes at the request of the county judge, Jeff Branick. 

This comes after a photo was posted to social media of Ames soaking her nails in a bowl on Tuesday. Ames and the nail salon owner told KFDM that the mayor was not having her nails done but was "soaking them in acetone to remove the powdered nails to avoid infection."  

"I had them put on several weeks ago and they hurt. I was trying to get them off and I texted my nail lady. She said the only way to get them off is with a solution. You have to do it a special way," Ames told KFDM. 

The mayor said she went to the closed salon, and planned to pick up solution that would be left outside the door in order to take it home and remove the artificial nails. She said the owner had her come in for a matter of minutes to show her how to do the process, and that they were alone, both wearing masks and at least six feet apart, and then she left within minutes, according to KFDM 

Ames issued an apology on Thursday, for entering the nail salon despite stay at home orders that were still in place for businesses like salons, calling it a “lapse in judgement.”  

On Thursday, Texas governor Greg Abbott previewed his upcoming announcement on Monday for how Texas will further reopen the economy, saying "so many different types of businesses," including hair salons, will open up. 

8:22 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

More than 7,000 coronavirus deaths reported in Belgium

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

More than 7,000 people have died after being infected by the novel coronavirus in Belgium, the country’s crisis centre said in a statement on Sunday.

“A total of 7,094 people have died, an increase of 178 in the last 24 hours,” the statement said. “With regard to these 178 deaths, 75 have occurred in hospital and 103 in a rest and care home.”

Belgian Health authorities say the number of hospitalized patients is “slowly decreasing,” with only 204 new patients admitted in the past 24 hours — a total of 3,959 people have been admitted since the outbreak began.

The number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) went down by 43 in the past 24 hours. There are now 891 patients in ICUs across the country.

“The number of new hospitalizations is stabilizing, but remains fairly high. So persevere and follow the general measures, take good care of yourself and of others,” the statement added, cautioning however that the number of infections in the country is “still increasing.”

In the past 24 hours, 809 new cases were reported, bringing the total of confirmed infections to 46,134.

8:17 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

What you need to know about coronavirus this Sunday

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in London.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus helms the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus helms the World Health Organization (WHO).

You can catch the virus more than once.

The World Health Organization has warned against the idea that coronavirus immunity passports can provide a safe way out of lockdown.

Many countries were hoping to start issuing risk-free certificates to people who have had the disease, allowing them to return to work, travel and go about their business. The plan was based on the assumption that Covid-19 survivors develop immunity.

But yesterday, the World Health Organization said no evidence exists that people who have recovered from the disease and developed antibodies are protected from catching it again.

The organization went further, warning that the use of immunity passports could lead to a spike in new infections. That's because people who assume they are immune are more likely to ignore public health advice.

In the wake of the WHO's alert, it becomes apparent that global efforts must focus on the only other way to gain protection: a vaccine.

More grim milestones

The coronavirus has now killed more than 200,000 people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

But official statistics are only capturing confirmed cases. With most countries struggling to test everyone who shows symptoms, the number of Covid-19-related deaths is likely much higher. These people might have died at home, in nursing homes, or in hospitals where testing was unavailable.

The United Kingdom yesterday became the fifth country in the world to record more than 20,000 deaths, after Italy, the United States, Spain and France. Just weeks ago, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said that limiting deaths to around 20,000 would be a "good outcome."

The US, meanwhile, is nearing 1 million cases. More than 53,600 Americans have died so far, with New York state alone recording more than 22,000 coronavirus deaths.

Trump calls time on briefings

President Trump did not hold a daily coronavirus update yesterday, tweeting that briefings are "not worth the time & effort." The media, he added, asks "nothing but hostile questions" and "then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately."

Trump's tweets came after he was widely criticized last week by health experts for his dangerous suggestion that research should be done into whether disinfectants can serve as a potential coronavirus treatment. On Friday, amid the outcry, Trump staged a short briefing and did not allow questions from the media.

A senior administration official, meanwhile, said discussions are under way to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar following criticism of the early federal response to the epidemic.

Read the rest of our newsletter here.

7:48 a.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Indian man buys 28 tons of onions and drives 869 miles disguised as an onion seller to beat lockdown

From Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap in New Delhi

India's lockdown rules allows vehicles delivering food items to cross state borders.
India's lockdown rules allows vehicles delivering food items to cross state borders. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

In a desperate attempt to reach home during India’s strict coronavirus lockdown, a man traveled more than 800 miles home disguised as an onion seller, only to be sent to quarantine by the local police after reaching his destination.

According to police, Prem Murti Pandey, an employee at Mumbai's airport, loaded a truck with 28 tons of onion and traveled around 1,400 kilometers (869 miles) from Mumbai to his home in Prayagraj, northern India.

“I was stuck in Mumbai. Given the number of cases being reported in the city, I was scared and hence I had no option but to return home,” Pandey told CNN, speaking from the quarantine center. 

So Pandey decided to rent a truck, hire a driver and disguise himself. "We bought the onions from a vegetable market near Mumbai, and using the excuse of produce delivery, we crossed three states to finally reach home on Friday after traveling for three days," according to Pandey.

India's lockdown rules allows vehicles delivering food items to cross state borders. Pandey was sent to quarantine after his actions surfaced on Saturday, Arvind Kumar Singh, a senior police official in Prayagraj told CNN.

“He has not shown any symptoms of coronavirus but he has been kept in a quarantine center as a precautionary measure for two weeks,” the police official added.

Maharashtra -- home to India's financial capital Mumbai -- is the worst-affected state in the outbreak, with more than 28% of the country's coronavirus cases reported there.