April 14 coronavirus news

Florida squash farmer Sam Accursio
Farmer had to destroy his crop amid food shortage fears
01:54 - Source: CNN

What you need to know

  • Covid-19 has infected more than 1.9 million people and killed at least 119,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • US economy will bear scars through 2021, IMF’s chief economist said.
  • The US is “not there yet” in regard to reopening the country, top infectious disease doctor said.
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Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

Nebraska outlet mall plans to fully reopen this month despite pandemic, owner says

The Nebraska Crossing Outlet shopping mall is seen in Gretna, Nebreska, Tuesday, April 14.

Nebraska Crossing Outlets says it will fully open its doors on April 24 for brick and mortar shopping.

The outlets will allow its more than 80 tenants to invite customers to shop in what it called a “soft opening.”

Nebraska Crossing Outlets, near Omaha, would become one of the first malls to fully open back up across the country.

Owner and developer Rod Yates told CNN his tenants, which include several global retail brands, asked to use his outdoor outlet as a case study to see what best practices are necessary to start opening storefronts across the country and globe. 

“At some point here, we got to start thinking about how brick and mortar is going to interact with retailers and customers and so we found an opportunity here to kind of do that,” Yates said in an interview with CNN.

“We’ll experiment, we’re going to walk, we’re going to be very, very cautious,” he added.  

The mall has largely been open for individual stores to fulfill curbside pick-up orders but haven’t let customers actually inside the stores. This soft opening would change that. The outlet mall is home to retailers like Nike, Adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade among others.

Some background: Nebraska is one of seven states in the US to have no official stay-at-home order. With less than 1,000 cases statewide, Gov. Pete Ricketts ordered businesses like hair salons, tattoo parlors and strip clubs to be closed until May 31 but only “urged” individuals to practice social distancing guidelines without making them mandatory.

The state’s peak is expected around May 2, eight days after the outlet mall reopens.

Yates said he’s communicated with Ricketts about the outdoor mall opening, saying the governor cautioned against creating any mass opening events — leading to the “soft opening” that will gradually transition to a full opening in May, according to a letter sent to stores.

As a precaution, Yates said the mall bought 100 of infrared forehead thermometers to give to each store, encouraging them to take the temperatures of employees and possibly even customers. But the use is not mandatory. Covid-19 can be contagious even when those infected don’t have fevers.

Yates said he will also leave crowd size regulation up to individual stores. The outdoor mall sits on more than 40 acres of land, Yates said, but shop sizes vary so creating a one-size fits all mandate for stores isn’t ideal. He does not expect all stores will participate in the opening. 

Florida governor says state is receiving 1 million N95 masks

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that the state will have access to 1 million N95 masks.

“Today, in consultation from the White House, we have received or will receive a total of 1 million N95 masks, those are probably the most sought after piece of PPE right now, there’s obviously been a worldwide run on that. Working with the White House, they’ve earmarked us a million,” DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.

He said Florida’s Emergency Management Department will also be delivering 1.2 million​procedure masks, 100,000 face shields, 500,000 gloves, 60,000 containers of hand sanitizer, and 35,000 gowns.

In total, DeSantis said the state will have distributed:

  • 8 million masks
  • 5.5 million gloves
  • 564,000 shoe covers
  • 615,000 face shields
  • 300,000 gowns
  • More than 100,000 containers of hand sanitizer
  • 47,000 goggles
  • 22,000 coveralls

This post was updated to accurately reflect the number of gowns.

Trump's trade adviser defends WHO funding halt

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro at the White House on Thursday, April 2, in Washington.

President Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared on Fox News after the White House briefing to defend the President’s WHO funding halt and discuss how it could impact US-China relations.

“The World Health Organization is a single failure during this epidemic. They basically hid information from the public, they failed to call this a pandemic long after others had rightfully done so. There is blood on their hands. I think President Trump is absolutely correct to have a full investigation of how that happened and what China’s role might’ve been to that,” Navarro said.

Pressed on how this could impact future trade negotiations with China, he called those “interesting questions” but went on to talk about supply chains.

Asked again later in the interview how coronavirus will impact the US-China relationship, Navarro said, “We have to find out where it originated. We have to understand why China did not tell us for six weeks in which we lost precious time preparing for a pandemic.”

He continued: “This is something we will not forget: China was basically vacuuming up the world’s PPE around the world so that we didn’t have it in New York and people didn’t have it in Milan. That’s a question that has to be answered. The question going forward is will they provide the PPE to the world as we go through this crisis without strings?”

Honolulu will require everyone to wear facial coverings in public businesses

A woman wears a mask as a precaution against the coronavirus in Honolulu on Tuesday, April 7.

Honolulu will begin requiring people to wear facial coverings when visiting essential businesses starting Monday. 

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the new requirement applies to businesses like grocery stores. People will not be required to have a commercially-produced mask, he said.

The mayor said the order does not apply to people working in offices that are not open to the public, although facial coverings are still recommended at those businesses. People also must cover their faces when riding public transportation.

To avoid confusion, Caldwell said there is one major exception to the rule: no one should wear a mask in a bank.

“Usually when people go into a bank with a mask, it’s not a good outcome,” Caldwell said.

30 food and grocery store workers have died from coronavirus, union says

The headquarters of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) in Washington, DC.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents over 900,000 grocery workers, said today that 30 union members have died from coronavirus.

UFCW said another nearly 3,000 food and grocery workers “have been directly impacted by COVID-19,” based on reports from local unions.

“The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest health and safety crisis that America’s grocery and food workers have ever faced. Since the beginning of the outbreak, these workers have been on the front lines of this terrible pandemic,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement.

Perrone continued: “While tens of millions of Americans were told to work from home for their safety, grocery store and food workers have never had that option. More must be done to protect them and our food supply now.”

The directly impacted workers include those who have tested positive for Covid-19, missed work due to self-quarantine, are awaiting test results, have been hospitalized or are symptomatic, the union said. 

The UFCW says it representing 1.3 million people in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries and has members in all 50 US states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

American Medical Association calls Trump's move to put a hold on WHO funding "dangerous"

The largest professional association of physicians, the American Medical Association, labeled President Trump’s announcement that he will put a hold on funding for the World Health Organization as “dangerous.”

AMA President Dr. Patrice A. Harris issued a statement today in response to Trump’s announcement.

Here’s a portion of her statement:

“During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating Covid-19 easier.
Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data. Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world. The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider.”

What we know: During a White House press briefing today, Trump announced he will halting funding while a review is conducted.

Illinois governor says it's a "good thing" Trump is leaving reopening economy to the states

Governor Pritzker.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker praised President Trump for saying during the White House press briefing that it was up to the states to decide when to reopen their economies.

“Well, it’s a good thing that the President finally recognized that it’s the Constitution that authorizes the governors to have the power to reopen their states. And so I appreciate that,” he said.

He added: “I think (New York) Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo had it right when he said that the President is not a king. He’s President of the United States of America. And so we’re looking forward to evaluating what it is that we’re going to do going forward. The most important thing that we’ll do is focus on the safety and health of the people of our states. In my case, you know, I’ve made it clear, we need testing, tracing, contact tracing, and we need a treatment. Put that together with readily available PPE, and then you can start to talk about how you will reopen an economy.”

On the issue of acquiring supplies, Pritzker said he isn’t relying on the federal government for help.

“We’ve gotten very little help from the federal government,” he said. “It’s fine. I’ve given up on any promises that had been made. I hope something will get delivered from the federal government, but I don’t expect it anymore.”