April 27 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Emma Reynolds and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:03 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020
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10:17 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

US beef plant closes after nearly 200 coronavirus infections

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

The exterior of the JBS USA plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 17.
The exterior of the JBS USA plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 17. Sarah Kloepping/Green Bay Press-Gazette/USA Today Network

A US beef production plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin will temporarily close after 189 coronavirus cases were linked to the facility, the company announced Sunday.

The Green Bay beef plant employees 1,200 people and "feeds nearly 3.2 million Americans every day," according to JBS USA.  

A planned reopening date was not given in the initial announcement. 

Brown County, where the plant is located, has at least 776 confirmed cases and two deaths related to the virus as of Sunday, according to the county health department.

The Green Bay beef plant is the fourth JBS meat plant to close due to Covid-19. 

Greeley, Colorado reopened at a reduced capacity on Friday. A JBS beef plant in Pennsylvania opened back up a week ago. The JBS pork processing facility in Worthington, Minnesota remains closed down indefinitely. 

Read more:

10:00 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

It's just past 7 p.m. in Los Angeles and 10 a.m. in Hong Kong. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Health workers tend to a Covid-19 patient in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit, on April 24, in Stamford, Connecticut.
Health workers tend to a Covid-19 patient in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit, on April 24, in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected almost 3 million people, including 206,495 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. If you're just joining us, here's what has been happening over the past few hours.

  • Testing in the US: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that the US will need a breakthrough in testing to help screen large numbers of people.
  • Italy to lift restrictions: These include the loosening of some travel restrictions, increased access to parks and gardens, and the ability to hold funerals with up to 15 attendees, but they won't take effect until May 4.
  • NYPD deaths: 37 members of the New York Police Department have died due to complications from Covid-19. New York City has recorded more than 11,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 5,000 probable deaths from the disease.
  • A presidential letter: The US government is sending stimulus payment recipients a signed letter from President Donald Trump.
  • Plasma promise: Physicians in Orlando have used convalescent plasma transplants in 12 patients and are seeing “drastic improvements” in at least two of them. The process involves doctors testing the plasma of people who recovered for antibodies to the virus and then injecting that plasma, or a derivative of it, into a sick person.
  • Heartburn drug: A major New York hospital network has given high doses of an over-the-counter heartburn drug to patients with Covid-19 to see if it works against the coronavirus.
  • Spain eases restrictions: The country's children can finally leave their homes for the first time in over six weeks.
9:44 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

China reports 3 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong

Medical personnel take coronavirus test swabs at a health services center, in Suifenhe, China, on April 24.
Medical personnel take coronavirus test swabs at a health services center, in Suifenhe, China, on April 24. STR/AFP via Getty Images

China reported three new cases of the novel coronavirus and no new deaths on Sunday, the National Health Commission announced today.

The three cases include two imported from overseas and one local infection from Heilongjiang, China's northernmost province that borders Russia.

There has been growing concern over cases coming into China from Russia, amid fears they could spark a new outbreak in the north as most of the country returns to normal.

In addition, 25 new asymptomatic cases were also reported. Some 974 asymptomatic patients are still under medical observation around the country. China previously did not include those patients not showing symptoms in some of its tallies.

The total number of confirmed cases to date is 82,830, the NHC said.

Of those confirmed cases, 77,474 have recovered and been discharged.

The country's official death toll stands at 4,633. 

9:31 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

The virus hunters who search bat caves to predict the next pandemic

From Julie Zaugg for CNN

EcoHealth Alliance's team take samples from a bat. Over the past decade, they have collected 15,000 bat samples.
EcoHealth Alliance's team take samples from a bat. Over the past decade, they have collected 15,000 bat samples. Smithsonian institute

Before entering the cave, the small team of scientists pull on hazmat suits, face masks and thick gloves to cover every inch of their skin. Contact with bat droppings or urine could expose them to some of the world's deadliest unknown viruses.

Equipped with headlights, they set their nets up at the entrance of the dark opening overhung with bamboo trees, which is part of a vast system of limestone caves in China's south-western Yunnan province.

Then they patiently wait for dusk. When the sun sets, thousands of bats fly out of the caves, looking for food -- and straight into their nets.

Peter Daszak is a virus hunter. He presides over EcoHealth Alliance, an American NGO which specializes in detecting new viruses and pandemic prevention.

Over the past 10 years, he has visited over 20 countries trying to prevent the next big pandemic by searching bat caves for new pathogens. More specifically, new coronaviruses. 

The findings of Daszak, and others like him, inform an open-source library of all known animal viruses, from which scientists can forecast which strains are most likely to spill over to humans, in order to ready the world for a new pandemic like Covid-19. 

"We (have) collected more than 15,000 bat samples, which led to the identification of around 500 new coronaviruses," he says.

And one of those, found in a cave in China in 2013, was a possible ancestor of Covid-19.

Read the full story:

9:31 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Some scientists are using sewage to measure the prevalence of coronavirus in their communities

From CNN's Alec Snyder and Susannah Cullinane

As the need for widespread Covid-19 testing grows, officials are looking to flush out hidden cases of the virus by examining sewage.

Groups of scientists around the world are using wastewater testing as a non-invasive way to measure the prevalence of coronavirus in their communities.

Local governments in the US are also turning to the tests, which detect traces of coronavirus genetic material -- known as RNA -- in fecal matter.

The data can be used to gain a sense of how many people may have had the virus asymptomatically and are passing it through, in addition to those testing positive because they are outwardly sick, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer told CNN.

Read the full story:

9:29 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

Italy to lift funeral ban, but church leaders are unsatisfied

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo and Leoan Siaw

A priest conducts a funeral service for a coronavirus victim on April 24, in Cuneo, Italy.
A priest conducts a funeral service for a coronavirus victim on April 24, in Cuneo, Italy. Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Sunday that the country's funeral ban will be lifted on May 4. 

Speaking at a news conference, Conte confirmed that funerals will be allowed -- preferably outdoors -- with a maximum of 15 family members in attendance, adding that he understands "the suffering of not being able to exercise freedom of worship."

He went on to say that other religious ceremonies will require the approval of the scientific committee.

In a statement, Italian Bishops complained, saying that the Prime Minister's decree "arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people."

"In the next few days, a protocol will be studied which will allow the faithful to participate in liturgical celebrations as soon as possible in conditions of maximum safety," the Prime Minister's office said in response.
9:28 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

37 NYPD members have died from coronavirus

From CNN's Laura Ly

An NYPD car is seen in Canal Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City.
An NYPD car is seen in Canal Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Two additional members of the New York Police Department have died due to complications from Covid-19, bringing the total number of NYPD deaths to 37, according to a daily NYPD coronavirus report.

Principal Administrative Associate Josephine Hill dedicated 33 years to the NYPD, the last 19 assigned to the Manhattan Tow Pound Unit. Associate Traffic Enforcement Agent Mohammad Ahsan served 15 years with the police department, most recently assigned to the Bronx Traffic Enforcement Unit, the NYPD said.

Both were members of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau, the report said.

About 8.8% -- or 3,166 members -- of the NYPD’s uniformed workforce were out sick on Saturday, down from a high of 19.8%, according to the NYPD.

As of Sunday, 3,530 members of the NYPD have returned to work full-time after recovering from a positive Covid-19 test, while 953 uniformed members and 317 civilian members are still out sick with a Covid-19 diagnosis.

In total, 4,837 NYPD members have tested positive for Covid-19 to date, the NYPD said.

9:26 p.m. ET, April 26, 2020

The US has recorded more than 965,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

At least 965,426 cases of coronavirus, including 54,614 related deaths have been reported in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases and those in the US military, veterans hospitals and federal prisons.  

CNN has an interactive map tracking coronavirus cases across the country: