April 16 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT) December 27, 2020
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4:17 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Los Angeles County reports 55 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest in one day so far

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

Los Angeles County has reported 55 Covid-19-related deaths today, the highest in one day so far, Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced at a news conference Thursday.

"This is the highest daily total we've reported," Ferrer said. "After reporting high totals both yesterday and the day before, it really reflects the devastating power of Covid-19."

The total number of cases in Los Angeles County is now 10,854 and the mortality rate of those infected has climbed to 4.2%, Ferrer said.

4:14 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

White House gives governors guidelines on reopening economy

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Kevin Liptak

On a call with the nation’s governors today, state officials were given a packet outlining proposed measures for reopening the economy in three phases, according to state officials and a GOP source.

The packet also outlines the “Proposed state or regional gating criteria” for each phase. It includes when to reopen restaurants, bars, gyms and public spaces and gives guidance for employers, as well as phasing in nonessential travel.

According to one state official, it was a much more conservative and reasonable approach than they thought would come out of today’s call. 

The new federal guidelines dictate when states should begin a phased reopening of certain businesses, including a sustained decrease in cases over a 14-day period and a return to pre-crisis conditions in hospitals.

States should have the “ability to quickly set up safe and efficient screening and testing sites,” the guidelines read, and “quickly and independent supply sufficient Personal Protective Equipment” in hospitals.

The phased approach encourages all individuals to continue good hygiene practices like washing hands and “strongly consider” using face coverings in public.

The document encourages employers to enact social distancing, temperature checks, testing and sanitation practices.

In the first phase of reopening, the document suggests schools that are currently closed should remain so. Large venues can operate under strict social distancing protocols. Gyms can open as long as they maintain social distancing guidelines, but bars should remain shuttered.

4:21 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

US stocks finish higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

US stocks closed higher on Thursday, clinging to gains despite a row of weak economic reports.

Weekly jobless claims showed another 5.2 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of initial claims to around 22 million since mid-March.

Here's where things stand: 

  • The Dow finished up 0.1%, or 33 points.
  • The S&P 500 closed 0.6% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.7%.

Remember: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

 

4:13 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Portugal extends state of emergency until May 2

From CNN's Mia Alberti in Lisbon

Jorge Mantilla/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Jorge Mantilla/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Portuguese government has extended a state of emergency over Covid-19 until May 2, when it will then ease some of the restrictions in place.

"I hope this is the last extension," Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said during an address on Thursday.

He explained the extension aims to further protect those in care homes, to keep the stabilization of the number of hospitalized and to give time for the government to prepare "the gradual opening" of society and the economy in May. 

In May the government plans to gradually reopen schools, daycare, and in-person appointments in public departments. During that month, the country will allow more commerce and restaurants to reopen, Prime Minister António Costa told parliament on Thursday. Beauty shops will also reopen under "specific hygiene rules."

Without specifying a date, the prime minister also mentioned the slow reopening of cultural and sports venues, as well as outdoor shows.

"We are starting to look to the future after a decisive month to contain the pandemic without killing the economy, know we have to ensure we can revive the economy without letting the pandemic out of control," Costa said.

 Portugal has reported at least 18,841 cases of coronavirus and at least 626 deaths.  

3:47 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

At least 100 ICE detainees test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

There were 100 people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody today who tested positive for coronavirus, ICE told congressional staff. 

The individuals “have been medically isolated and are receiving care,” ICE said in its notice.

Detainees were being held in facilities in Pennsylvania, California, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Arizona.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli told reporters this week that ICE has released nearly 700 people from custody after conducting medical reviews stemming from concerns about the coronavirus.

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. 

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

5:48 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Brazil's health minister says President Bolsonaro fired him over coronavirus differences

From CNN’s Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo

Brazil's Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is seen during a press conference on April 3.
Brazil's Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is seen during a press conference on April 3. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta tweeted Thursday that he was fired by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro after weeks of infighting and threats.

"I just heard from President Jair Bolsonaro the notification of my discharge as Health Minister," he said, thanking his colleagues and wishing success for his replacement.

The outgoing minister has been one of Brazil’s biggest proponents of social isolation, supporting governors’ decisions to shut down schools and businesses. It had put him at odds with Bolsonaro who has repeatedly downplayed Covid-19 as a "little flu" and insisted that the economic fallout from isolation could be worse than the virus itself.

Some context: The decision comes as coronavirus continues to spread quickly through Latin America’s biggest country: beds in intensive care units are filling up in Brazil’s biggest cities and in the northern Amazon region, authorities warn the health system is already collapsing.

3:22 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Deaths spike in Canada as outbreaks in long-term care facilities continue, officials say

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images
Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s two largest provinces are reporting a spike in deaths as seniors in long-term care homes continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, said the sharp increase in deaths in his province did not occur over the past 24 hours, but he said there was a need to more accurately represent the true death toll. He indicated there was a change in methodology and that led Quebec to report 143 deaths in a single day, today. 

“We wished to have the true number of deaths of Covid-19, tested or not, and I think that it is important to be transparent,” Legault said at a news conference.

Premier Doug Ford announced that medical "swat teams" redeployed from hospitals would step in and provide care at facilities that are low on staff. 

Protecting older Canadians: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is working with provincial leaders to try and contain outbreaks in hundreds of long-term care centers across the country. Nearly half of all deaths in Canada are related to seniors’ residences. 

“I think one of the things we’ve seen over the past number of weeks is a far more severe impact on seniors residences and long term care centers than we had certainly hoped for or more than we feared. And therefore we need to take more measures to protect our seniors,” Trudeau said at his daily news conference in Ottawa.

Canadian public health officials say the number of people admitted to hospitals and those in the ICU is stable — a sign they say that the epidemic curve is slowing in the country.

Today Canada reported 30,436 cases of Covid-19 and 1,229 deaths.

3:07 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Georgia hospital system reports death spike while admissions plateau 

From CNN’s Angela Barajas

Southwest Georgia's Phoebe Putney Health System, which services the Albany area, announced a plateau in their number of Covid-19 cases at their hospitals. However, most of the patients admitted to their emergency rooms are critically ill. 

Putney said it is reporting an additional nine deaths of positive patients equaling "the highest number of deaths we have reported on any single day since this public health emergency began."

Two of Putney's hospitals are reporting 76 deaths combined. The hospital system has reported nearly 2,000 positive Covid-19 results. 

In the statement, Putney cautioned to keep vigilant during the continuing public health emergency given the deaths in the area.

"That fact alone should be a wakeup call to anyone who thinks he or she is safe from this virus. Covid-19 is a vicious illness that continues to claim lives in our community, and we must all take the threat seriously," the hospital said.
3:05 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Switzerland easing restrictions as epidemic slows down 

From CNN's Mia Alberti

 

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The Swiss government has said it will ease some of the emergency measures imposed five weeks ago, since the number of Covid-19 cases is slowing down. 

"Five weeks after announcing the restriction measures, the government has decided which measures to remove. The measures we took allowed us to slow down the epidemic, today, the epidemic situation allows us to start to look at the next steps," Alain Berset, the head of Internal Affairs, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Berset said the first phase of the epidemic "is behind" Switzerland and the next steps will happen in three phases. First, on April 27, hospitals, health centers, dentists, physiotherapy and massage salons can receive non-urgent treatments again. Hairdressers, beauty and tattoo shops and gardening shops will also reopen.

On May 11, the government plans to allow schools to reopen for "mandatory grades," which includes pre-school through ninth grade. Shops and markets will also be allowed to reopen.

Professional schools and universities will be allowed to reopen on June 8, as well as museums, libraries, botanic gardens, and zoos.

The government said social distancing rules must remain in place throughout this period and added that there is no timeframe for when that could stop.

"We want to avoid having to reintroduce the restrictions," said Simonetta Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Federation.

"We do not want to endanger all the work we've done so far, thanks to the support of the population. That's why the government invites everyone to continue to respect distancing and hygiene measures," she added.