April 14 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:38 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020
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5:25 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

102 people have coronavirus at one of San Francisco's largest homeless shelters

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

A man sleeps beneath a lamp post outside the MSC South homeless shelter in San Francisco, California, on April 13.
A man sleeps beneath a lamp post outside the MSC South homeless shelter in San Francisco, California, on April 13. Ben Margot/AP

An official at San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management told CNN 102 people at MSC South shelter have coronavirus.

Ninety-two of the cases are among homeless individuals and 10 are among staff members.

This is an increase of 11 more positive cases from the 91 that were reported at the shelter Monday.

MSC South shelter can typically accommodate as many as 340 people per night, an official at the department said. 

5:19 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Mississippi schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, governor says

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

Cherye Graves, a teacher at Eastside Elementary school in Clinton, Mississippi, walks out of her empty classroom on March 23. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.
Cherye Graves, a teacher at Eastside Elementary school in Clinton, Mississippi, walks out of her empty classroom on March 23. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday schools will remain closed through the end of the school year. Julio Cortez/AP

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.

"I know how hard teachers, students, all staff, and parents have been working during this dangerous time," he said at a news conference. "You have my deep respect and sincere admiration. It has been so encouraging to see the efforts of our education community to protect the people of Mississippi while ensuring learning takes place."

"I know our education community will do whatever it takes to make sure Mississippi kids don’t fall behind," he said.
5:03 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

US Treasury says airlines will accept stimulus funds

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Major US airlines have accepted the government’s terms to receive billions of aid and keep hundreds of thousands of employees on the payrolls, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.  

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines are among those who have accepted the offer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. 

It did not specify the exact terms of the agreement, but in recent days, the carriers and government have been discussing terms that include 30% of the aid coming as low-cost loans.  

Mnuchin said the department “is also working to review and approve applications for smaller passenger air carriers as quickly as possible,” and would take up discussions with cargo carriers “very soon.”  

The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus aid package President Trump signed last month includes more than $58 billion to prop up the aviation industry — half of it to help airlines fund employee payroll costs through September.   

In exchange for accepting the funds, airlines must agree to prohibitions on stock buybacks and layoffs, and limits on executive compensation. Airlines must also provide at least a minimum level of service — as few as one flight weekly — to the destinations currently served.   

The Transportation Department on Tuesday separately announced how it would allocate around $10 billion in aid to airports around the nation. 

4:55 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Prominent scientists spoke to White House about coronavirus antibody testing in the US

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

On an April 6 phone call, members of a prestigious scientific committee told members of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy there are issues with the availability and reliability of the antibody tests in the United States right now. 

"In three words: Work in progress," said Dr. David Relman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences committee who was on the call. 

A few days after the phone call, the NAS scientists wrote a letter to the White House frankly apprising them about the quality of antibody tests. Antibody tests check to see if a person has previously been infected with Covid-19, an indication that they've had the virus and now could be immune to it. 

Results from antibody tests "should be viewed as suspect until rigorous controls are performed and performance characteristics described, as antibody detection methods can vary considerably, and most so far have not described well-standardized controls," according to the letter.

There are good tests in the midst of the bad ones, but they're not yet widely and easily available throughout the country.

It’s not entirely clear that having antibodies to Covid-19 means that you truly have immunity and won't get the disease again.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy did not respond to requests from CNN to describe what it learned on the April 6 call or how officials plan to use the information the scientists gave them.  

Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of the NAS committee, who was also on the phone call with the White House, said he felt that the White House officials paid close attention on the call. 

"That's the brilliance of Kelvin Droegemeier, to elicit this kind of input and turn to the academics in the first place," Fineberg said, referring to the director of the White House policy office. "They're genuinely trying to widen their aperture for advice, and I think so far it's working." 

4:40 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

ICE releases nearly 700 people due to coronavirus concerns 

From CNN's Geneva Sands

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released nearly 700 people from custody after conducting medical reviews stemming from concerns about coronavirus, according to Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli.

The move comes amid lawsuits calling for the release of ICE detainees, as well as newly introduced legislation to require the release of most people in ICE detention during a national emergency related to a communicable disease. 

ICE reviewed its cases to identify people who would be eligible for release, including detainees who are 60 years old and over and those who are pregnant. The agency later expanded its review to include all people in ICE custody to assess those who have “medical fragility," Cuccinelli said.

As of April 10, ICE has identified 693 people for release after evaluating medical history, as well as other factors such as criminal records, flight risk and national security concerns. When the assessments for release began, ICE had around 37,000 people in detention, according to Cuccinelli. 

There are now fewer than 34,000 people in detention. However, that decrease is due to a slower pace of intake and ongoing deportations, not just medical releases. 

Detainees who are released are put on "alternatives to detention," which could include an ankle monitor, but not always. 

 When individuals rooms aren't available, ICE separates detainees by group following exposure to someone with an infectious disease, said Cuccinelli. This could include asymptomatic detainees for the duration of the incubation period. 

ICE has also made changes to its enforcement operations, legal and family visitation and detention operations due to Covid-19.  


4:44 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

FDA tightens standards on Covid-19 antibody tests

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen and Devon Sayers

Mirimus, Inc. scientists work to validate antibody tests in Brooklyn, New York, on April 10.
Mirimus, Inc. scientists work to validate antibody tests in Brooklyn, New York, on April 10.  Misha Friedman/Getty Images

After loosening restrictions on antibody tests, the US Food and Drug Administration has decided the government will review data on lab tests that claim they can detect if someone has antibodies to Covid-19, according to the CEO of a lab association who was on a call with FDA officials this morning. 

On March 16, the FDA loosened its standards and allowed companies to sell antibody tests without submitting any evidence that they worked. 

That led to “crappy” tests flooding the market, according to Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

Becker said he hopes the scientific review of the tests, which will be performed by the National Cancer Institute, will lead to the distribution of tests that actually work properly.

Why this matters: A false positive — telling someone they have antibodies when they don’t — could have grave consequences, since that person would then think they’re immune to Covid-19 when they’re not.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn has talked about the need to review the tests.

“I am concerned that some of the antibody tests that are on the market that haven’t gone through the FDA scientific review may not be as accurate as we’d like them to be,” Hahn said on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “I can assure the American people that what we’re doing is using data and science to look at those tests to make sure they’re valid, they’re accurate, and they’re reproducible.”

The FDA did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

4:38 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Rio de Janeiro's governor tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Flora Charner in Atlanta and journalist Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota

Wilson Witzel speaks during a press conference on March 30.
Wilson Witzel speaks during a press conference on March 30. Wagner Meier/Getty Images

Rio de Janeiro state governor Wilson Witzel confirmed Tuesday that he tested positive for coronavirus.

In a video on his official Twitter account, Witzel said he hadn’t been feeling well since last Friday and decided to get tested.

“I had a fever, my throat was hurting, weakened sense of smell and, thank God, I am feeling okay,” he said in the video message.

Witzel reiterated his call for people to stay at home, emphasizing anyone can fall ill to the virus. 

More than 25,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Brazil and at least 1,532 people have died, according to the latest statistics released by the Brazilian Health Ministry Tuesday.

The state of Rio de Janeiro has the second highest number of cases, with at least 3,410 cases and at least 224 deaths.

4:30 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

New Hampshire will give workers at long-term care facilities a weekly stipend

From CNN's Taylor Romine

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed an executive order that will provide a $300 a week stipend to frontline health care workers, specifically at long-term care facilities.

The money for the program will come out of the state fund originally but will be backfilled by federal dollars, according to Sununu.

The money will go to health care providers, but 100% of the money has to be given to frontline workers. The program is designed to try to retain workers in this area and so these older populations have continuity of care.

The program, which will go through June, will hopefully be taken over by the federal government, Sununu added. 

4:33 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Trump meets with hospital executives at White House

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images
Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

Just a few hours after meeting in person with recovered COVID-19 patients, President Trump on Tuesday hosted a small group of hospital executives in the Cabinet Room. 

Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, Jared Kushner and Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, were also present, among others, for what Trump described as a “big discussion today having to do with costs and hospitals” and a partnership to establish the “dynamic ventilator reserve.”

“Hospitals throughout the country currently have more than 60,000 unused ventilators,” Trump said, adding that while “we’re building thousands of them right now,” many hospitals have made commitments to lend unused, surplus ventilators to hospitals with immediate needs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services are supporting the initiative, he said. 

“Other countries,” Trump said, have also been asking the US for ventilators, noting that he just got off the phone with French President Emanuel Macron and the US has been asked by “everybody” for ventilators. He said the US has an “obligation” to help other countries, including, Italy, France, Spain, “and a lot of other countries” acquire ventilators. 

He acknowledged that there is a “need” for ventilators and he had heard “fears” from the nation’s governors about shortages.

"When the virus struck our nation, governors raised fears that people who needed ventilators would not get the ventilators. My administration has used the Defense Production Act and that’s really had a big impact on companies and companies wanting to get them done and get them done quickly. We're preparing ventilator capacity for any and all scenarios. Initiatives like the dynamic ventilator reserve will help us to achieve that goal. We need ventilators, but now we're pretty well stocked,” Trump said.

All of the executives went around the table. Trump asked one of the attendees, Rick Pollack of the American Hospital Association, about the differing qualities of ventilators.