April 16 coronavirus news
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last month he had obtained more than 1,000 ventilators to help California hospitals treating patients infected with the coronavirus, an effort Gov. Gavin Newsom hailed as “heroic.”
Now, more than three weeks later, the governor’s office says none of the promised ventilators have been received by hospitals.
At a March 23 news conference, Newsom said the devices, which can provide life-saving support to patients infected with the virus, had already arrived in Los Angeles and were on their way to hospitals in need.
"I told you a few days ago that he was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week," Newsom said. "They've arrived in Los Angeles, and Elon Musk is already working with hospital association and others to get those ventilators out. It’s a heroic effort."
Shortly after the dramatic announcement, Musk said in a tweet: “China had an oversupply, so we bought 1255 FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators on Friday night & airshipped them to LA. If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!”
But despite the claims, none of the ventilators promised by Musk have been delivered to hospitals, according to the governor's office.
“Elon Musk and his team told the state that he had procured ventilators and wanted to distribute them directly to hospitals with shortages,” a spokesperson for the California governor’s Office of Emergency Services told CNN on Wednesday. “The Administration is communicating every day with hospitals across the state about their ventilator supply and to date we have not heard of any hospital system that has received a ventilator directly from Tesla or Musk.”
Spokespersons for Tesla did not return CNN requests for comment. The news was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
Some background: Major US companies like Ford and Apple have also announced plans to produce ventilators and donate face masks for health care workers treating patients infected with the virus.
Last week, Newsom reassured residents that California now has enough ventilators to meet its projected needs, after some questioned his decision to lend 500 machines to other states in crisis.
UPDATE: After this post was initially published, Elon Musk responded on Twitter. CNN has more reporting on this story here.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned again Wednesday that the national lockdown would continue for weeks to come even though the country has, so far, been spared the worst of Covid-19.
"If we reopen too soon, everything we're doing now might be for nothing,” Trudeau said during his daily news conference in Ottawa.
Canada reported 28,205 cases on Wednesday and 1,008 deaths. Nearly half of those deaths were related to outbreaks in long-term care facilities. Still, per capita, Canada has had fewer cases and deaths than the United States and most European countries.
But Trudeau says that doesn’t mean the country is reopening anytime soon, and certainly not by May 1.
"It would be terrible if we were to release restrictions too early and find out we're suddenly back in another big wave of Covid-19," he said, adding that any reopening would happen in phases.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN's Wolf Blitzer concerts and sporting events will not be allowed in the city until 2021.
“It wasn’t a secret plan that got leaked,” Garcetti said on "The Situation Room," referring to an internal letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Garcetti said unless there is a vaccine or a pharmaceutical intervention, there won't be mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events in Los Angeles until next year.
Dairy farmers in California are being forced to dump milk due to an enormous decrease in demand with schools and restaurants remaining closed during the statewide stay-at-home order.
As the shelter-in-place orders increased throughout March and restaurants were forced to close, 50% of the customer base was eliminated almost overnight, according to Western United Dairies CEO Anja Raudabaugh, who represents over 860 dairy farm families in California.
Restaurant chains like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s are huge customers of the dairy industry, but they stopped placing orders in the middle of March, Raudabaugh said.
The demand also significantly decreased with school closures and lunch programs shutting down. While schools are still delivering drive-through meals, the demand is not even close to what it was, Raudabaugh said.
California dairy farmers saw the biggest impact from these two sectors and it caused a tremendous amount of distribution challenges.
Plants are now running at about 150% of their capacity, according to Raudabaugh.
“They have milk coming out of their eyes and ears," she said.
US stock futures were down in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the Dow and S&P logged their worst trading day since April 1.
Dow futures were down 157 points, or about 0.6%. S&P 500 futures were down about 0.7% and Nasdaq futures were down about 0.7%.
Stocks plummeted on Wednesday following a plethora of negative economic data and weak earnings.
The Dow dipped 445 points, or 1.9%. The S&P dropped 2.2% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.4%, paring its longest four-day winning streak since early February. Both the Dow and S&P 500 logged its worst day since April 1.
Bank of America and Citigroup saw weak bank earnings as they prepare for loan defaults incurred from the pandemic. Bank of America's first quarter profits dropped by 45%. The bank announced on Wednesday it has set aside $4.8 billion for credit losses linked to the virus.
Economic data released on Wednesday also saw sharp declines. Retail sales in March tumbled 8.7%, the worst monthly decline since the department began tracking data in 1992.
Thursday's weekly jobless claims report is expected to post another 5.1 million people who have filed for unemployment benefits.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she thinks any discussions on reopening the US economy must be based on health care and science.
"The numbers are staggering but each individual story is heartbreaking to hear. So as we have discussions about how we open up our economy, this or that, we understand that this is an assault on the lives and the livelihoods of the American people, and that any decision to open up would be one that should be science-based and health-care-based," she told CNN.
Pelosi went on to say that's why testing is critical. She added that the US still doesn't have "the appropriate, adequate testing" to identify the challenge.
"So really we have been delinquent. We have to have a change in that," she said. "It's one thing to say well, it wasn't done right. But there's no excuse for us to not do it right as we go forward. It's so obvious. Almost sinful."