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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6:35 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Trump announces three-phased plan to reopen the country

From CNN's Elise Hammond

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Thursday, April 16, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Thursday, April 16, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump announced a proposed measure to reopen the economy in three phases at today's daily coronavirus briefing.

"We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time," Trump said.

Earlier today Trump gave state governors the proposed plan.

CNN reported on the recommendations sent to governors earlier Thursday. 

The plan 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.

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.

The President said that because states are all different, governors will make decisions based on individual needs.

"If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that. If they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task and very, very quickly depending on what they want to do," he said.

The phased plan also encourages employers to enact social distancing, temperature checks, testing and sanitation practices.

"Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war which we are calling opening up America again. And that’s what we are doing. We are opening up our country," Trump said.


6:00 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

South Carolina governor proposes legislature returns late June

From CNN's Dan Shepherd 

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday, April 13, in West Columbia, South Carolina.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday, April 13, in West Columbia, South Carolina. Meg Kinnard/AP

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has proposed the state legislature come back in late June, since coronavirus is expected to peak in mid-May.

By June, coronavirus will be on the downside of its’ peak and businesses should be opening around that time, McMaster said.

“We expect to be back in business by then. That way the government won’t shut down and no one needs to have any concerns about the government shutting down. We will not let the government shut down and it will continue into the next fiscal year,” he said.

McMaster said South Carolinians cannot let their guard down and asked that they continue to follow stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols.

“It’s too early to celebrate, we’ve got to keep the lid on ourselves. Contain your enthusiasm, because we still have to get out of it, but we will get out of it, and it will be sooner, rather than later," he said.
5:53 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Trump expected to announce new "contact tracing" initiative 

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

As part of his unveiling of new reopening guidelines, President Trump is expected to announce Thursday a new effort to bolster contact tracing in states, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The effort will include the hiring of hundreds of staffers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform tracing in states and helping states pay for new teams to contact people who have tested positive to see who they have interacted with.

The effort is meant to prevent new outbreaks in places as they begin to reopen. The new workers would supplement existing contact tracing efforts in state and local health departments.

Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have cited contact tracing — along with testing and isolating cases — as essential to reopening efforts.

Earlier, CNN reported that teams from the CDC are being sent to the eight states — New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio — to bolster contact tracing efforts in order to help contain Covid-19.

5:56 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

NYC mayor announces $20 million relief for immigrant workers

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday a new program that will provide emergency monetary relief for up to 20,000 “immigrant workers and their families, who have largely been excluded from federal COVID-19 relief programs.”

New York City is partnering with the Open Society Foundations to establish the $20 million fund, according to a statement from de Blasio’s office.

5:55 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

33 residents at a New Jersey nursing home died from Covid-19

From CNN's Kevin Brunelli

One of the two buildings of Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, in Andover New Jersey, on April 15.
One of the two buildings of Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, in Andover New Jersey, on April 15. Gregg Vigliotti/The New York Times/Redux

Thirty-three people died from coronavirus at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II, one of New Jersey's largest nursing homes, the state Department of Health told CNN in a statement.

New Jersey previously said there were 19 deaths related to coronavirus at the facility.

Andover Police on Monday evening received a tip that led them to the facility's morgue, where they found 17 bodies, one of the responding officers told CNN.

"The staff was clearly overwhelmed and probably short-staffed," Andover Police Chief Eric Danielson, one of the responding officers, told CNN. "The residents were expiring. Why? We're not sure if it's from Covid-19 or from other diseases, but we tried our best to ease the burden."

This post has been updated with the latest figures.

5:23 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

There are more than 650,000 coronavirus cases in US

There are at least 654,301 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 31,628 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

On Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported 16,190 new cases and 784 reported deaths. 

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

5:22 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

New Hampshire governor says schools will continue remote learning for the rest of the year

From CNN's Janine Mack

All public and private schools in New Hampshire will remain closed for the rest of the school year and students will continue remote learning, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said at a news conference on Thursday. 

Sununu said the decision was made to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. 

"What we know now that we didn't even realize, appreciate to a level that we appreciate now is that the asymptomatic transmission of this virus is very prevalent," he said. "You could have an entire classroom of kids passing coven back and forth without a single symptom, without a sniffle or you wouldn't even know. And for those kids, luckily it doesn't seem to affect the younger population, um, as severely as it does the older population. But we know those kids would likely be taking it home to their parents, to their grandparents, and causing another surgeon at the outbreak."

Sununu called for developing innovative ways to handle graduation and summer programs. 

5:18 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Germany's health minister says country will not be "like it was before" due to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Nada Bashir

German Health Minister Jens Spahn speaks to the media during the coronavirus crisis on April 9, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. 
German Health Minister Jens Spahn speaks to the media during the coronavirus crisis on April 9, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.  Omer Messinger/Pool/Getty Images

Germany will begin adjusting to a “new normal” as the government lifts some restrictions previously imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday.

He cautioned that the country will not be “like it was before."

“The number of new infections in Germany is down, and this has given us a chance to reopen, step-by-step. And that is important – step-by-step to a new normal. This won’t be like it was before,” Spahn told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. 

“This needs a step-by-step approach, of that I am very much convinced. This is a new virus, this is a new situation and, because of that, we are very cautious,” Spahn said. 

Spahn said citizens would need to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks for "months" to come. 

“What we need to find is the right balance. It’s not public health, or the health of people, versus the economy, because they are both very much interlinked…you cannot have a well-equipped health system without a strong economy,” he continued, adding that German citizens will “need to learn to live with the virus” as the world continues to grapple with the pandemic. 
5:13 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Pentagon now says 2,889 service members have coronavirus

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne

The Pentagon building.
The Pentagon building. AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Defense has revised their figures for Covid-19 cases across the department with a slightly lower figure.

As of 5 a.m. ET Thursday, 2,889 service members tested positive for Covid-19, including two US service members who have died from coronavirus. This figure is lower than Tuesday when the figure was higher at 3,022 service members.

Two Pentagon officials said the discrepancy was due to miscounting in the Army but the Army has not yet responded with an on-the-record response.

"We strive to release information as quickly and accurately as possible," the Pentagon said in a statement. "The Department of Defense will continue to refine our reporting to the public.”

There are now at least 4,695 positive cases across the entire Department of Defense.