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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11:43 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

606 people died in New York on Wednesday, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 606 people died in the state on Wednesday.

That is down from 752 people across the state who died the day before.

11:40 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic will be "way worse" than the trade war, Illinois farmer says

From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on farm production will be “way worse” than the trade war, said Brian Duncan, Vice President of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

American farmers have weathered a nearly two year trade war with China – who put tariffs on US farm products in retaliation to the US’s tariffs on Chinese goods. But Covid-19 has had a more dramatic and faster effect. 

 “Prices for most commodities have fallen 30-60%. It was swift and sudden,” said Duncan, who is also a soy, corn and hog farmer in Polo, Illinois.

The impact of the coronavirus is particularly bad on farmers and ranchers who produce livestock and dairy. Unlike corn and soy farmers, those sectors were not previously helped by the federal government in bailout programs related to the trade war.

Hog prices are down nearly 50% and milk down 36% since January according to the American Farm Bureau.

“What's happening to livestock futures prices for hogs, cattle, and dairy due to Covid-19 is like catching a falling knife,” said John Newton, Chief Economist with the American Farm Bureau.

In the meantime the Trump administration has allocated $16.5 billion for farmers as part of the CARES Act, and Secretary Perdue said the aide will be distributed soon.

“It’s not going be enough,” said Duncan. “It’s a good start but the longer this goes on, the more money we will need.”
11:29 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

There are at least 640,014 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Medical workers prepare to transport a patient from Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center while wearing masks and personal protective equipment on Thursday, April 16, 2020 in Andover, New Jersey.
Medical workers prepare to transport a patient from Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center while wearing masks and personal protective equipment on Thursday, April 16, 2020 in Andover, New Jersey. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

There are now at least 640,014 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US.

So far, 31,002 people have died due to the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

As states begin to include “probable deaths” in their counts, so will Johns Hopkins. In the upcoming days, these changes may show a surge of deaths in the US.

Johns Hopkins has reported 1,903 new cases and 158 reported deaths today.

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases. 

11:17 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

White House calls on Congress to "immediately" renew emergency funding for small businesses

From CNN's Jason Hoffman with reporting from Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly

The White House is calling on Congress to "IMMEDIATELY increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program," according to a tweet sent Thursday morning following news that the $349 billion in emergency funding for small businesses had been depleted.

The tweet says a one page bill will get the job done and there should not be any “liberal pet projects.”

The tweet concludes by saying that “the Trump Administration is doing its part to get it to them. Why isn’t Congress?”

Some context: CNN has reported that the Small Business Association is out of money for the Paycheck Protection Program as of this morning.

Negotiations on Capitol Hill have yet to generate a path forward to replenish the money, as the US economy continues to stagger under the pressure of near-nationwide closures.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democrats will reconvene Thursday to try and reach agreement on a package that will immediately increase funding for the program.

Read the tweet:

11:14 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Connecticut governor says state leaders will make their own decisions on reopening states

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that while he will listen to the federal government’s guidance on reopening the economy, the decision will ultimately be up to individual states. 

“The feds can get the reagents, the feds can get the testing kits, the feds can tell us what type of antibody testing is approved so we can roll that out, and then at the end of the day, I think it's the governors who are going to get it done," Lamont said.

Lamond said Connecticut is still trying to obtain supplies such as reagents and masks from the federal government stockpile.

"That's been really hit or miss," Lamont said about getting necessary supplies from the government. "It's really important that the federal government act as the central purchasing authority. Everything from masks to reagents, and then get that distributed based on need. And then we'll get the job done."

President Trump is expected to issue guidance today on reopening the country’s economy.

Lamont says they will weigh his guidelines, as well as ones from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, but in the end, governors will make their own decisions for their states. 

"I think a lot of my regional governors are out there on their own," Lamont said. "We can't simply wait for the federal government's guidance. But I'll listen when it comes."

Lamont said he won’t recommend opening businesses and schools before there is broad testing available.

“I think that would be really dangerous,” he said. 

Lamont also said he will be issuing guidelines in the coming days for wearing masks in the state to stop the spread of coronavirus. He said he wants people to wear masks whenever they aren't able to socially distance, including at the grocery store. 

Watch the interview:

11:33 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

The $349 billion in emergency funding for small businesses is officially tapped out

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly

Screen grab from the Small Business Association website.
Screen grab from the Small Business Association website.

The Small Business Association has officially run out of money for the Paycheck Protection Program, according to a message for lenders on the SBA's website posted Thursday morning. 

"The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding," the notice on the SBA's website read. "Similarly, we are unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time."

What it means: The Small Business Administration sent a notice to banks yesterday night making clear the allocated funds for the program were on the verge of being exhausted, according to a copy sent to CNN.

"Once the authorization limit is reached, SBA will not be able to accept any new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program," the update to lenders states.

Also of note: "SBA is unable to maintain a queue for PPP applications."

SBA also sent their own release Wednesday urging lawmakers to renew the funding.

“The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible. We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need," the release said.

Some context: With the SBA program out of funds, negotiations on Capitol Hill have yet to generate a path forward to replenish the money –– all as the US economy continues to stagger under the pressure of near-nationwide closures.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democrats will reconvene today to try and reach agreement on a package that will immediately increase funding for the program. 

11:05 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Spain doubles daily coronavirus tests and defends counting method

From Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Spain, Max Ramsay and Claudia Rebaza in London

Health workers carry on a stretcher two elderly residents of a nursing home who tested positive for the new coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 1.
Health workers carry on a stretcher two elderly residents of a nursing home who tested positive for the new coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 1. Felipe Dana/AP/FILE

Spain has doubled the number of daily coronavirus tests to 40,000, resulting in an increase of figures since the start of the pandemic, said Fernando Simón, the country’s director of health emergencies.

Even though the total overall number is up because of expanded testing, Simón said, the number of active cases is in decline, at less than 1%, Spain’s Health Ministry records show. 

He said this is due “in part to increased testing, including the rapid tests that look for antibodies, and for the even more reliable PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which look for the virus itself."

Simon called the testing an “enormous effort across the nation to locate the virus.” 

Minister of Health Salvador Illa has said he wants to increase testing numbers to 50,000 a day.

By the numbers: Spain continues to see a “progressive decline in the number of new hospitalized people and new intensive care admissions” Simon said, citing 1,003 new hospital admissions, “a 1.7% increase with respect to the previous day."

Simon said 79 new cases were admitted into intensive care units, ICUs, “a 1.4% increase with respect to the day before.”

When asked why the large increase of deaths and infections reported by Catalan regional health authorities late Wednesday were not included in the national count, Simon defended the Spanish Health Ministry’s figures, saying “we are counting all those infected who die and have a test in which coronavirus is detected."

Some context: The Spanish region of Catalonia may have twice the official number of deaths reported so far by the Spanish government, according to new data from the region’s department of health.

“We have a lot to discuss with them [Catalan Health Department] still about what the real significance of these new cases coming from the funerary services or from the elderly people’s homes is, because we don’t have certainty and we need to evaluate with them whether they had a previous diagnostic coronavirus confirmation or not,” Simon added.

Spanish government health authorities have repeatedly said their counting methods are in line with international protocols, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC).

10:59 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Portugal to ease lockdown as coronavirus death toll passes 600

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Municipal workers spray disinfectant during a cleaning operation at Rato station of the Lisbon Metro in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday, April 15.
Municipal workers spray disinfectant during a cleaning operation at Rato station of the Lisbon Metro in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday, April 15. Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Portuguese government may ease lockdown measures as the number of people killed by the novel coronavirus in the country surpassed 600 on Thursday.

According to the Portuguese Health Directorate, 629 people have died since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country; 30 of those deaths were reported in the past 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases also jumped to 18,841 with an increase of 750 new cases.

Despite the grim milestone, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has put forward a decree extending the state of emergency until May 2, which includes provisions paving the way for the country to ease the social distancing measures it has in place.

The gradual reopening of certain businesses and reinstatement of certain workers rights are included in the legislation.

The decree has been approved by the country’s government and sent to the Portuguese parliament where members of parliament will debate it today. They will vote on whether to approve the decree following the debate.

10:58 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

New York City mayor calls on the federal government to "save" his city

From CNN's Elise Hammond

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling on the federal government to "save" his city as coronavirus continues to spread.

He said the city, and others across the country, need to be able to do the basics before the economy will be able to successfully restart.

"There has to be a really clear understanding –– if we can't provide the basics for our people, then you can kiss your recovery goodbye," de Blasio said at a press conference today.

He said he supports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's proposed bill for the next round of emergency funding. It includes $150 billion for state and local governments, $100 billion for hospitals and community health centers and more money for food stamp programs and small businesses.

"I would ask the President and Leader [Mitch] McConnell in particular, in the Senate, to remember the first thing you should be thinking about is the human cost," de Blasio said. "That should be the moral question. That should be the straightforward question."