April 14 coronavirus news
The US may have to keep social distancing measures — such as stay-at-home orders and school closures — in effect until 2022, unless a vaccine becomes available quickly, researchers projected today.
Their findings, published in the journal Science, directly contradict research being touted by the White House that suggests the pandemic may stop this summer.
Instead, the team at the Harvard School of Public Health, used what’s known about Covid-19 and other coronaviruses to create possible scenarios of the current pandemic.
“Intermittent distancing may be required into 2022 unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or a treatment or vaccine becomes available,” they wrote in their report.
One important factor: Whether people become immune to the new coronavirus after they have been infected. That’s not yet known.
New Zealand reported four deaths from Covid-19 today, bringing the death toll to nine and making it the country's largest number of novel coronavirus deaths reported in a single day.
According to the health ministry, three of the newly reported fatalities are linked to a cluster of cases in Rosewood Resthome and Hospitals, an assisted living facility in Christchurch.
The other death is a Wellington man in his 70s associated with overseas travel.
“I want to acknowledge all these families and offer New Zealand’s sympathy and support,” New Zealand Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said. “Whether husbands, partners, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins or friends — wherever they fit in their wider whanau, we are thinking of them and of you.”
The New Zealand government reported 17 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the country's total to at least 1,366. Government officials also extended the national state of emergency by seven days.
The country's low death toll has led some to regard it as a potential model country for how to combat coronavirus.
Public health experts have credited widespread testing and tight border restrictions for New Zealand's ability to contain the outbreak.
There are at least 584,073 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 23,709 people have died in the from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.
Drug giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi have announced they will collaborate to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, with clinical trials expected to begin in the second half of 2020, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
“Sanofi and GSK today announce that they have signed a letter of intent to enter into a collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies, to help address the ongoing pandemic,” the two companies said in the joint statement.
“The companies plan to initiate phase I clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, if successful and subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021,” the statement added.
The unprecedented pairing between two of the world’s largest vaccines companies will see the establishment of a “Joint Collaboration Task Force,” which will seek to mobilize resources from both companies to accelerate the development of a vaccine.
“As the world faces this unprecedented global health crisis, it is clear that no one company can go it alone. That is why Sanofi is continuing to complement its expertise and resources with our peers, such as GSK, with the goal to create and supply sufficient quantities of vaccines that will help stop this virus,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said Tuesday.
“By combining our science and our technologies, we believe we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a vaccine to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” GSK CEO Emma Walmsley added.
In their joint statement, GSK and Sanofi both affirmed that they are committed to ensuring that any vaccine that is developed through their collaboration would be made “affordable to the public and through mechanisms that offer fair access” in all countries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said President Trump has offered medical supplies to Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a mutual cooperation between Washington and Moscow to fight Covid-19.
Earlier this month, Russia sent a plane load of medical supplies to New York to aid hospitals and communities battling the pandemic. In a video conference with reporters, Lavrov said Russia was open to additional requests for aid.
“If there are further requests from the American side about the supply of one type of protective equipment or another, then of course, we will consider them,” Lavrov said.
“President Trump also stressed that if Russia has additional requirements, then the United States, when they have production of the relevant equipment in sufficient volumes up and running, will be prepared to send such supplies to our country. I think that it's a typical, cooperative approach and one that deserves support."
Denmark will speed up lifting Covid-19 restrictions after the latest numbers of new cases proved lower than expected, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said today.
Speaking at a press conference, Frederiksen said because the numbers of admissions is “better than expected,” they will expand the so-called phase 1 of re-opening, that starts tomorrow, with the partial reopening of schools for younger students.
Denmark has said before it plans to send children back to school and kindergarten from April 15 if coronaviruses cases remain stable.
It is not yet clear what other restrictions will be eased. Prime Minister said she will discuss this with other government leaders this evening.
Denmark is one of the few western countries that is gradually easing the restrictions. Read more on how they are doing it here.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that anyone entering Canada without what authorities determined to be a "credible" quarantine plan will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for at least two weeks.
“If it is inadequate, they will [be] required to quarantine in a hotel. Examples of things that could be inadequate for example, if their plan is to go stay in a place where there are many elderly family members at risk of Covid-19 or whether they don’t have a set destination,” said Trudeau during his daily news conference in Ottawa.
The new enforcement of the Quarantine Act will take effect midnight Tuesday at all land, sea and air borders. Trudeau was not specific about how the new order will be enforced but earlier this month the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said its officers would help to enforce the Quarantine Act including carrying out in-person surveillance if and when necessary.
The US-Canada border remains closed: Trudeau also said the US-Canada border would remain closed for non-essential travel for weeks to come.
Travel was to be restricted across the border until at least April 19 but Trudeau said discussions were underway with the Trump administration to extend the border measures.
“In regards to the American border, we recognize that travel restrictions are going to remain extremely important in terms of containing the spread of Covid-19 in Canada and we’re going to continue to work with the Americans and people around the world to ensure that we continue with these restrictions,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister also refused to say when the country’s lockdown might end. He added that any reopening of the economy would be phased in and might be different in various parts of the country.
"The reality is it is going to be weeks still. We recognize that it is going to be important to get our economy going and that we are going to have to do it in phases,” Trudeau said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the massive amount of testing needed to assess the coronavirus threat remains a major challenge.
"The capacity does not exist," he said.
Private-sector companies that perform testing can produce about 60,000 tests per month, Cuomo said, which is "not enough."
Cuomo called for government and technology leaders to work together to put together a testing system within a matter of weeks.
"Figure out how to do testing. Figure out how to use technology to do tracing," he said.
However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier today that he is working with an Indiana company to get 50,000 testing kits per week.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed Trump's assertion that the President has "total authority" to decide when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
"That is not an accurate statement in my opinion," Cuomo said today at a news conference.
Remember: The President does not have "total" authority over coronavirus restrictions. You can read CNN's full fact check here.
Cuomo said he refuses to engage in a fight with Trump, saying, "This is too important for anyone to play politics."
"If he wants a fight, he's not going to get it from me," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that ver the past month he "worked very hard to be in partnership with the federal government." He said he plans to still plans to be in contact with Trump and federal officials.
"I have always had an open line of communication with him," he said of Trump. "I just want to my position clear: I am not going to fight with him."
Earlier today, Cuomo said he wouldn’t follow a possible order from Trump to ease coronavirus restrictions in the state if it put public health at risk.
Here's what he told CNN this morning:
“If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn't do it,” Cuomo said. “That would be the worst possible thing he could do at this moment would be to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way.”