April 28 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Emma Reynolds and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 3:31 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
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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.


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:

11:48 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

China is installing surveillance cameras outside people's front doors ... and sometimes inside their homes

From CNN's Nectar Gan

A surveillance camera was installed outside Ian Lahiffe's front door the morning after he returned to Beijing.
A surveillance camera was installed outside Ian Lahiffe's front door the morning after he returned to Beijing. Ian Lahiffe

The morning after Ian Lahiffe returned to Beijing, he found a surveillance camera being mounted on the wall outside his apartment door. Its lens was pointing right at him.

After a trip to southern China, the 34-year-old Irish expat and his family were starting their two-week home quarantine, a mandatory measure enforced by the Beijing government to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

He said he opened the door as the camera was being installed, without warning. 

"(Having a camera outside your door is) an incredible erosion of privacy," said Lahiffe. "It just seems to be a massive data grab. And I don't know how much of it is actually legal."

Although there is no official announcement stating that cameras must be fixed outside the homes of people under quarantine, it has been happening in some cities across China since at least February, according to three people who recounted their experience with the cameras to CNN, as well as social media posts and government statements. 

China currently has no specific national law to regulate the use of surveillance cameras, but the devices are already a regular part of public life in the country: they're often there watching when people cross the street, enter a shopping mall, dine in a restaurant, board a bus or sit in a classroom.

But the pandemic has brought surveillance cameras closer to people's private lives: from public spaces in the city right to the front doors of their homes -- and in some rare cases, surveillance cameras inside their houses.

Read the full story:

11:32 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

WHO says it "can only give advice" and "each country takes its own responsibility"

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. WHO

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency “can only give advice, but one thing should be clear -- we don’t have any mandate to force countries to implement what we advise them.”

“It’s up to the countries to take our advice, or reject it,” Tedros said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday, adding the organization gives advice based on “the best science and evidence.”  

On January 30, the WHO declared the highest level of global emergency. “During that time, as you may remember, there were only 82 cases outside China,” he said. 

"The world should have listened to WHO then, carefully,” Tedros said. “Every country could have triggered all its public health measures possible.”  

At the time, the WHO advised the world to find, test, isolate and contract trace for each case.

“You can check for yourselves, countries who followed that are in a better position than others. This is fact," Tedros said.
“At the end of the day, each country takes its own responsibility.”

11:18 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Australia opens Bondi Beach to surfers and swimmers

Surfers arrive at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 28.
Surfers arrive at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 28. Rick Rycroft/AP

Australia's iconic Bondi Beach reopened for surfers and swimmers today but the beach remains off limits to everyone else.

Waverly Council, home to Bondi Beach, said in a statement that the water can be accessed for "the sole purpose of exercising for surfers and swimmers between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays commencing Tuesday 28 April."

"The Council will review these measures on an ongoing basis, including whether to provide access on weekends," it added.

But all land-based activities on the beach, such as jogging, sunbathing, and social gatherings, will continue to be suspended.

In March, Bondi beach closed down after thousands of beachgoers ignored the advice from officials to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing. 

“Our Council recognises how important exercise is for health and wellbeing, and we’ve worked hard to come up with these strict measures as a way of helping people exercise safely in the water and manage strict social distancing,” Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said.

People can also swim and surf at nearby Bronte beach and surf only at Tamarama and Mackenzies Bay.

11:06 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

What are antigen tests, the "breakthrough" that Dr. Deborah Birx says we need?

From CNN's Arman Azad

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, says current technology makes it impossible to test every American for coronavirus. The United States, she says, will need a "breakthrough" in testing to screen large numbers of people.

According to Birx, that breakthrough is antigen testing.

What antigen tests do: Often used to check for the flu and strep, antigen tests look for pieces of a virus -- often the proteins that cover its surface.

How that differs from most coronavirus tests: These look for the virus' genetic material and require a number of chemicals to run, many of which are in short supply. The tests can also take hours to run.

A quicker solution? Antigen tests are simpler -- and potentially less reliable -- but they can provide results in as little as 15 minutes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why doesn't the US already have multiple tests? For starters, the tests are not easy to make, and validating their accuracy can be time-consuming and expensive. For another, there hasn't been a big market for them before now.

WHO cautions against them: While some companies claim to have developed rapid antigen tests, the World Health Organization is cautioning against their use -- at least for now, until more is known.

Read more about how antigen tests work:

11:15 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

New Zealand's Ardern says next level of recovery doesn't mean country is "out of the woods" 

From CNN's Jaide Garcia and Sol Han

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand is "not out of the woods," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as the country entered its first day of transitioning to Alert Level 3 from the toughest lockdown restrictions of Level 4.

"As I have said before it is a recovery room of sorts to assess the incredible work that New Zealanders have done at level 4, to break the virus's chain of transmission and prevent further community outbreak," Ardern said in a news conference today.

Ardern said Alert Level 3 represents the move toward getting the country and its economy up and running again. 

 "We must continue to stay home where possible, including for work and education ... Please stay regional and limit non-essential travel," she said.

Ardern warned that the country must stay vigilant to protect the progress made so far.

"If you're sick, stay home and contact your GP or health line and get tested," she said. 

What Level 3 means: New Zealand is still essentially under lockdown, but restrictions have eased. Schools can open. People can buy takeaway food, and take part in more recreational activities, such as swimming at the beach. Up to 10 people can gather for weddings and funerals. 

Alert level 3 does not permit more social activity, but allows more economic activity.

Ardern said:

  • Business restarting at Level 3 will see around 400,000 more New Zealanders back at work.
  • That means about 1 million in total working. 
  • At Level 3, around 75% of the economy is operating, with key sectors like building and construction, forestry, manufacturing and contactless retail restarting. 
  • Major infrastructure projects also start up again today. Over 1,000 roads and rail construction workers are back on major projects.
10:44 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Missouri to allow businesses to reopen on May 4

From CNN's Andy Rose

Gov. Mike Parson conducts his daily coronavirus briefing on April 27, in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Gov. Mike Parson conducts his daily coronavirus briefing on April 27, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Jeff Roberson/AP

The US state of Missouri’s restrictions on businesses will be lifted on May 4, following a new plan put in place by Gov. Mike Parson.

In a news conference Monday, the governor said the state will be ready to begin reopening the economy next week. 

“Our plan is working, the healthcare system is not overwhelmed and we are winning the battle,” Gov. Parson said.

Under the new plan, any business will be able to reopen as long as 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained. Indoor retail businesses will also have to limit their number of customers to no more than 25% of normal capacity. Local communities will be allowed to have stricter rules if they choose.

The governor’s order does not distinguish between essential and non-essential work. “All of Missouri’s businesses, employers, and employees are vital to our state’s economy and well-being,” Gov. Parson said in a written statement.

Missouri has recorded at least 7,305 coronavirus cases and 343 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

10:29 p.m. ET, April 27, 2020

Japan reports 191 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

A doctor holds a sample collected from a patient at a drive-through coronavirus testing center in Fujisawa, Japan on April 27.
A doctor holds a sample collected from a patient at a drive-through coronavirus testing center in Fujisawa, Japan on April 27. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s health ministry reported 191 new coronavirus cases and 25 deaths across the country on Monday.

That brings the total number of infections to 14,288, including 389 deaths. The total includes 712 cases and 13 deaths linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Japan has spiked in the past month -- dashing hopes that the government's initial virus response had succeeded in controlling its spread. 

On Sunday, Japan reported 199 new coronavirus cases and three deaths.

On March 1, the country had reported 243 cases.