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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5:53 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

Connecticut governor says other state leaders find Trump's May 1 reopening "very premature"

From CNN's Keith Allen

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont CNN

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that he and a number of his gubernatorial counterparts think President Trump is off-base with his desire to reopen the nation’s economy by May 1.

“President Trump has put out the date of May 1, which I think most of the governors think is a very premature,” Lamont said at a news conference. “I just showed you that hospitalizations are going up and infections are going up, and this is no time to take our eye off the ball.”

Lamont instead reiterated the May 20 date he offered on CNN's New Day Tuesday morning as more of a realistic timeframe when he could make an informed decision about when to reopen the state.

“I said we're not gonna be reopening schools before May 20, but by May 20 we're gonna have a lot of our testing in place by then, we'll have a lot more of the PPE, the protective gear,” Lamont said. “And that will give us a lot stronger indication about who and when and how people can start getting to work.”

5:50 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

California health director: "We are not out of the woods yet"

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

CNN
CNN

California’s health director told CNN that the state is not completely ready to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but we are cautiously optimistic,” Dr. Sonia Angell, California’s health director, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

“This is the right time to start talking to Californians about what it might look like as we start loosening restrictions," she added.

Angell noted that there are a number of quick indicators that will help leaders make decisions to proceed and that it’s time to start modifying orders in a way that's safe for Californians.

"We're not sure this is the end of it, but it's a good moment to take stock and look at what it might look like as we get back to normal," Angell said.

The new normal will be about creating space for people to safely leave their home but keeping those with greater risk at home, she said.

Watch:

5:41 p.m. ET, April 14, 2020

French study finds hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help patients with coronavirus

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam

A pharmacist shows a bottle of the drug hydroxychloroquine on Monday, April 6, in Oakland, California.
A pharmacist shows a bottle of the drug hydroxychloroquine on Monday, April 6, in Oakland, California. Ben Margot/AP

A drug that’s been touted by President Trump as a “game changer” didn’t help hospitalized patients with coronavirus, and was associated with heart complications, according to a new study. 

“This provides evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not apparently treat patients with Covid-19,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Even worse, there were side effects caused by the drug – heart toxicities that required it be discontinued.”

The study was published Tuesday on a pre-print server and was not peer reviewed.

In the study, among the 84 patients who took hydroxychloroquine, 20.2% were admitted to the ICU or died within seven days of inclusion. Among the 97 patients who did not take the drug, 22.1% went to the ICU or died. 

The difference was determined to not be statistically significant.

Looking just at deaths, 2.8% of the patients who took hydroxychloroquine died, and 4.6% of the patients who did not take it died. That difference was also found to not be statistically significant.

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.  

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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.