April 28 coronavirus news

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2:33 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Future pandemics will be deadlier if we don't change our behavior, leading scientists say

From CNN's Helen Regan

Smoke billows from a steel plant in Inner Mongolia, China on November 4, 2016.
Smoke billows from a steel plant in Inner Mongolia, China on November 4, 2016. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Future pandemics are likely to be more frequent, deadly, and will spread more rapidly, unless we stop the widespread destruction of our environment, a group of four leading scientists say.

"There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic -- us," the group said in a guest article published on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)'s website.

"We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones."

Professors Josef Settele, Sandra Diaz and Eduardo Brondizio and Dr. Peter Daszak drew on research from their IPBES Global Assessment Report last year -- considered the most comprehensive assessment of global nature loss ever -- which concluded 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction in coming decades.

A perfect storm for disease: "Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development, as well as the exploitation of wild species have created a 'perfect storm' for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people," the scientists said,

"This often occurs in areas where communities live that are most vulnerable to infectious diseases."

The authors warn that this is just the beginning: About 1.7 million unidentified viruses of the type known to infect people are believed to still exist in mammals and water birds.

What they recommend:

  • Strengthen and enforce environmental regulations -- "and only deploy stimulus packages that offer incentives for more sustainable and nature-positive activities."
  • Adopt a 'One Health' approach to decision-making -- "recognizing the complex interconnections among the health of people, animals, plants and our shared environment."
  • Health systems need to be properly funded in countries with disease hot spot risks. They recommend mobilizing international finance to build clinics and surveillance programs, and partner with indigenous peoples and local communities.
2:12 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

US federal courts begin to consider guidelines for reopening amid pandemic

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc and Ariane de Vogue

Federal courts across the United States are beginning to consider guidelines for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, contingent on local decision-making.

The Administrative Office of the US Courts has distributed guidelines to courts "for restoring operations that rely heavily on conditions in local communities and on objective data" from public health officials, according to a news release Monday. 

A group of chief judges and court executives has also been created to develop protocols for how to safely resume grand jury and trial proceedings.

The guidelines come as more states plan phased reopenings of businesses and other gathering places. In response to the pandemic, courts across the country have suspended juries because of the difficulty of impaneling representative samplings of the communities.

Read more:

1:53 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story

From CNN's Emma Reynolds

Sweden has been an outlier during the coronavirus outbreak.

The country has not joined many of its European neighbors in imposing strict limits on citizens' lives, and images of people heading to work on busy streets, or chatting at cafes and bars have raised eyebrows.

Younger children have continued to go to school, although universities and schools for older students have switched to distance learning. Businesses -- from hair salons to restaurants -- have remained open, although people have been advised to work from home where possible.

Among Nordic countries -- which share similar cultural, geographical and sociological attributes -- the contrast with Sweden is great. 

  • Finland declared a state of emergency, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 16.
  • Denmark announced widespread closures on March 11, and was among the first countries in Europe to close borders, shops, schools and restaurants.
  • Norway began introducing travel restrictions in mid-March, and has since closed schools and businesses such as hair and beauty salons.

The death rate in Sweden has now risen significantly higher than many other countries in Europe, reaching more than 21 per 100,000 people, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, controlled for population.

By contrast, Denmark has recorded more than seven deaths per 100,000 people, and both Norway and Finland less than four

Read the full story on Sweden's approach to handling the pandemic:

1:46 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Trump returns to the stage with underwhelming testing promises

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

US President Donald Trump speaks at a news briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 27 in Washington.
US President Donald Trump speaks at a news briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 27 in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

US President Donald Trump couldn't resist the stage -- despite warning he was done with his contentious White House briefings amid the uproar over his musings last Thursday about injecting disinfectant.

So he was back with a new, sweeping promise to revolutionize the testing that America needs to safely open its economy -- though on closer inspection the initiative looked as underwhelming as many previous vows on overhauling the dysfunctional system for diagnosing the coronavirus.

Trump celebrated saving more than a million lives with his "good decisions" and boasted that "there's a hunger for reopening" the nation and it's "happening faster than people would think," while leaving a misleading impression that the virus is all but defeated in the nation's great cities.

"We are deploying the full power of the federal government," Trump said even as he unrolled a plan complete with a glossy power point presentation that falls well short of the level of testing -- several million a day -- that some experts say is needed to keep the pathogen at bay.

While stepping up federal involvement, the blueprint also enshrines ultimate responsibility for testing with states that have struggled to get sufficient test kits, swabs and reagents to perform diagnoses.

Read the full analysis:

1:15 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

US deaths spiked as coronavirus spread, new analysis finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Deaths across America spiked as Covid-19 began its spread, and many were never attributed to the coronavirus, researchers reported Monday.

"Notable increases" in deaths were seen in March and early April, the team led by the Yale School of Public Health found. This was especially true in New York and New Jersey, states hard-hit by the pandemic.

The study was first reported by the Washington Post.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the team found about 15,000 excess deaths from March 1 to April 4.

During the same time, states reported 8,000 deaths from Covid-19.

"That is close to double," Dan Weinberger, who studies the epidemiology of infectious diseases at Yale, told CNN.

The team could not show whether the increased deaths were due to coronavirus, Weinberger said. But there are strong indications that they were.

Read the full story:

1:49 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Hong Kong civil servants will return to work next Monday

From journalist Vanesse Chan in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a news briefing on Monday.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a news briefing on Monday. Reuters

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that civil servants will start returning to work and public services will resume next Monday.

The government will also begin loosening some Covid-19 anti-epidemic measures, after the city reported no new confirmed cases for the fourth time in eight days on Monday.

In a news conference today, Lam described the approach of handling the pandemic as a “suppress and lift” policy.

"It means we have to suppress the epidemic when it is serious. We have been successful as we can see the new confirmed cases have been driven down to a low level. On the other hand, we can loosen the reins when the situation is stable. This is the ‘lift’ measure," she said.

Starting May 4:

  • Most civil servants will return to work, except staff at public schools
  • Public services will resume normal office hours, including receptions, registrations, and inquiry services. 
  • Public facilities -- such as libraries, playgrounds, and museums -- will be open, but under the limitation of the current gathering ban, which prohibits more than four people in a group.
"We are trying to resume the services gradually," Lam said.

No word yet on other measures set to expire: Additional anti-epidemic measures -- including the ban on groups of more than four people -- are set to expire on May 7, but Lam was not able to announce next steps for those at this time. 

12:35 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

The first medical doctor to play in the NFL went from a Super Bowl win to the coronavirus front line

From CNN's Amir Vera

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was playing in the biggest game of his life less than three months ago, bringing home the Kansas City Chiefs' first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.

The Chiefs right guard -- who is also the first medical doctor to play in the NFL -- is now on the front line with other medical professionals in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Duvernay-Tardif is working at a long-term care facility near Montreal in what he described as a "nursing role," according to an article he wrote that was published Monday in Sports Illustrated.

"My first day back in the hospital was April 24," Duvernay-Tardif wrote. "I felt nervous the night before, but a good nervous, like before a game."

Read the full story:

1:33 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

Pandemic model increases predicted US coronavirus death toll to 74,000

From CNN's Carma Hassan

Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Stamford Hospital on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut.
Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Stamford Hospital on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Help Metrics and Evaluation, told CNN Tonight that they’ve adjusted their scientific model to increase the predicted death toll from the novel coronavirus to 74,000.

“Our forecast now is for 74,000 deaths. That’s our best estimate. The range is pretty wide because there’s a lot of unknown factors there, but our best estimate is going up, and we see these protracted, long peaks in some states,” Murray said.
“We’re also seeing signs in the mobility data that people are getting more active, and that’s also feeding into our assessment.”

The model had previously forecast 60,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Murray said this data would also impact their recommendations on when social distancing could be relaxed on a state-by-state basis. He said their recommendations would shift out past the mid-May to early June dates they had previously suggested.

Murray said he thinks that states are opening too early.

“If you’re focused on trying to protect people’s health, then the answer is absolutely. It’s a safer strategy to get the number of infections in the community down to a really low level and then testing and contact tracing and isolation can work,” Murray said.

More than 56,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Watch:

12:10 a.m. ET, April 28, 2020

This is where all 50 US states stand on reopening

Jason Godbey hangs a banner over the entrance of Madison Chop House as they prepare to shift from take out only to dine-in service on April 27 in Madison, Georgia.
Jason Godbey hangs a banner over the entrance of Madison Chop House as they prepare to shift from take out only to dine-in service on April 27 in Madison, Georgia. John Bazemore/AP

As the number of of reported coronavirus cases in the United States nears 1 million, several states have begun to loosen stay-at-home restrictions.

More than 988,000 people have tested positive for the virus and at least 56,200 have died in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Alaska allowed salons and restaurants to reopen in most parts of the state on April 24. On the same day, Oklahoma permitted some personal-care businesses to reopen for appointments. Even in Californiasome beaches that had been closed, reopened for public use, though with limitations.

Georgia's reopening has been the most aggressive so far. Gov. Brian Kemp allowed the reopening of hair and nail salons, gyms, bowling alleys, tattoo studios and massage therapists on April 24, and theaters and restaurants reopened on Monday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that businesses such as retail stores, restaurants and theaters can reopen Friday, but they must limit customers. The order will allow libraries and museums to open. Abbott expects barbershops, salons, gyms and bars to open by mid-May. 

But New York state -- the epicenter of the US outbreak -- won't be lifting restrictions this week, despite declines in the rates of hospitalization, intubation and deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday. The earliest the state will begin its first phase of reopening is May 15, but only in places that have seen a 14-day decline in hospitalizations.

For a full list of where all 50 states stand on reopening read here: