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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10:35 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

More than 570,000 people in Massachusetts filed for unemployment in the last month

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

There have been a total of 571,304 initial claims for unemployment since March 15 in Massachusetts, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

More than 100,000 people filed an initial claim for unemployment insurance in less than a week, with 102,828 people filing between April 5 to April 11, the release said.

These figures reflect a decrease of 26% from the previous week, as most people who were laid off due to coronavirus related work closures filed claims in the previous weeks, according to the release.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has paid unemployment compensation to 315,000 claimants, the release said.

To help deal with the increase in claims, nearly 800 employees have been added to DUA, according to the release.

10:31 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

PGA Tour to return June 8 without live audiences

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

The PGA Tour has announced that the professional golf tour will start tournament play again starting June 8.

On Thursday, the PGA Tour unveiled a new schedule modifications for the 2019-2020 season which was postponed in March due to Covid-19 pandemic. Within the announcement, the PGA stated that the first four tournaments of the revised schedule will be held without spectators.

“For health and safety reasons due to Covid-19, today’s announcement delays that timeline three weeks – to June 8, starting with the Charles Schwab Challenge – with additional tournaments being repositioned between then and the season’s conclusion, which is the Tour Championship, ending on Labor Day (September 7),” the PGA said in a press release.

Some context: The PGA Tour had previously aimed to restart the season during the of May 18 – 24, which were the initial dates for the Charles Schwab Challenge. That event was canceled due to the Players Championship being canceled on March 12 amid health safety concerns.

With the new adjustments, the season now consist of 36 events, including three FedExCup Playoffs events concluding with the Tour Championship over Labor Day weekend, where the 2020 FedExCup Champion will be crowned.

10:21 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

FDA asks people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate blood plasma

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday put out a call for recovered Covid-19 patients to donate blood plasma which could potentially be used to help ill patients fight the disease.

The idea is that convalescent plasma, the liquid part of blood, from recovered patients contains antibodies that could help strengthen the immune response of other patients still battling infection.

Patients who are fully recovered from Covid-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma, the FDA said. 

Recovered patients can contact their local blood or plasma collection center to schedule an appointment to donate. The FDA noted in its announcement that it has launched a new webpage with information on blood and plasma collection centers, and the American Red Cross also set up a website for interested donors. 

"Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by Covid-19. It is important that we evaluate this potential therapy in the context of clinical trials, through expanded access, as well as facilitate emergency access for individual patients, as appropriate," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in the announcement. "Those individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 could have an immediate impact in helping others who are severely ill. In fact, one donation has the potential to help up to four patients."

Some context: According to the FDA, more than 1,040 sites and 950 physician investigators nationwide have signed on to participate in an effort led by the Mayo Clinic to expand access to plasma. 

The FDA also noted in its announcement that several clinical trials are underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma and the FDA has granted several single patient emergency investigational new drug applications as well.

10:01 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

There are now more than 100,000 coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

More than 100,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the United Kingdom, according to new data from the Department of Health.

Of the 327,608 people who have been tested, 103,093 have coronavirus, the department said on Twitter Thursday.

The total number of hospital deaths in the UK stands at 13,729.

Read the Department of Health's tweet:

10:11 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Analysis of UK coronavirus deaths reveals that 91% of people had pre-existing conditions

From CNN's Mick Krever in London

Hospital workers wheel a concealment trolley, typically used for transporting bodies, to the mortuary at Lewisham Hospital on April 16, in London.
Hospital workers wheel a concealment trolley, typically used for transporting bodies, to the mortuary at Lewisham Hospital on April 16, in London. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

An analysis of United Kingdom deaths in March involving the novel coronavirus revealed that pre-existing conditions are present in 91% of cases, with the most common pre-existing condition being heart disease, the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) said in a report Thursday. 

According to the report, of the 3,912 deaths involving Covid-19 that occurred in England and Wales (excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland) in March, there was at least one pre-existing condition in 91% of cases.

"Ischaemic heart disease was the most common main pre-existing condition found among deaths involving Covid-19 and was involved in 541 deaths (14% of all deaths involving Covid-19)," the report said. 

Gender and age also played a major factor in the rates of death, according to the ONS analysis. 

"Across all age groups, males had a higher rate of Covid-19 deaths compared with females," said the report. "The rate was double that of females."

"The rate of death due to Covid-19 increased significantly in each age group, starting from age 55 to 59 years in males and age 65 to 69 years in females; overall, one in five deaths were in age group 80 to 84 years," the report said.

Overall, Covid-19 was the third most frequent underlying cause of death in March, behind "dementias and Alzheimer disease" and "ischaemic heart diseases."

Some context: The overall mortality rate in March was significantly lower than the five-year average from March 2015 to March 2019.

"This could, in part, be because of the colder winters experienced in 2015 and 2018, which led to a higher number of deaths in the winter months," said the report.

The number of deaths for March and February are likely to increase as the Office of National Statistics receives more death registrations.

9:37 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Video diaries from 2 NYC doctors capture what it looks like on the front lines

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Two doctors shared what it looks like inside New York City hospitals as health care workers continue to battle coronavirus.

“Every day has been stressful,” Dr. Matthew Bai of Mount Sinai Queens hospital said in a video. “Things just happen one thing after another …One patient comes in, has a cardiac arrest, and you work on them, and they get pronounced and then you have no time to process this and have to move on to the next patient.” 

Bai said that patients all have rooms now, whereas some were previously in hallways. Dr. Erick Eiting documented his night shift at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital through video footage, saying before his shift he was “looking forward to trying to make a difference.” 

Eiting noted the varying ages of coronavirus patients, with some in their 20s and others in their 80s. 

“I think the most interesting or most bizarre presentation was somebody who came in with leg cramps and turns out they have coronavirus. So we're just seeing people with all kinds of symptoms,” Eiting added. 

Bai said he looks forward to “the day that things are somewhat back to normal and I get to see my family in person, give my wife and 17-month-old daughter a big hug.”

Watch the videos from both doctors:

9:44 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Africa are rising, Red Cross official says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Health workers get dressed in protective gear as they prepare to takes samples during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Abuja, Nigeria on April 15.
Health workers get dressed in protective gear as they prepare to takes samples during a community COVID-19 coronavirus testing campaign in Abuja, Nigeria on April 15. Kola Sulaimon/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in Africa are on the rise, according to Dr. Simon Missiri, regional director for Africa, International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC).

"We are watching Africa climbing the curve,” Missiri said.

Missiri said the initial phase of messaging and fighting rumors about the coronavirus is over, “now it’s time to move to response.”  

Africa is now reporting more than 17,000 cases and about 900 have lost their lives, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, said.

A number of countries have seen a rapid increase in the last week and "we understand very well, the impact on Africa will be very severe," Moeti said.

Moeti also said President Trump’s funding cut to the WHO will hurt more than just the fight against coronavirus. The US helps fund polio eradication, HIV treatment and malaria programs, Moeti added.

The US is also an "important strategic player,” guiding Africa through decision making, Moeti said. 

“We value relationship with the US,” she said.

9:27 a.m. ET, April 16, 2020

There have been more than 30,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the US

There are at least 639,664 cases of coronavirus in the US and 30,985 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the country.

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.

On Thursday, Johns Hopkins has reported 1,553 new cases and 141 reported deaths. 

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

2:12 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Facebook put warning labels on 40 million posts in March to fight coronavirus misinformation

From CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan

Facebook put warning labels, but did not remove, 40 million posts on its platform in March that contained false or misleading claims about the coronavirus, a Facebook vice-president revealed Thursday.

The company has in recent months has also “removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm” like false claims that “drinking bleach cures the virus and theories like physical distancing is ineffective in preventing the disease from spreading,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice-president of integrity, wrote in a blog post released Thursday.

Facebook is working with a network of 60 fact-checking organizations around the world that review posts in more than 50 languages, Rose said.