April 17 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:40 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020
16 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:15 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Wuhan coronavirus death toll revision adds nearly 1,300 fatalities

From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing

Medical workers check information as they take swab samples from people to be tested for the coronavirus in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on April 16.
Medical workers check information as they take swab samples from people to be tested for the coronavirus in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on April 16. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Wuhan city officials said they have revised the coronavirus death toll on Friday and added 1,290 new deaths.

The new death toll for Wuhan as of end of day Thursday is 3,869, the city government said.

Wuhan also revised the confirmed number of coronavirus cases by increasing its total number by 325, bringing the total to 50,333 cases.

Officials said they revised the figures to show “accountability to history, to the people and the victims,” as well as to ensure “open and transparent disclosure of information and data accuracy” -- and the new data is the result of extensive work involving numerous government agencies and institutions.

Official said the reasons for the discrepancies are:

  • During the initial stage of the outbreak, some patients died at home due to lack of medical resources;
  • During the peak of the outbreak, medical workers were overwhelmed and focused mostly on treatment, resulting in late reporting, omissions and misreporting of data;
  • There was a rapid increase in the number of designated medical facilities, which were run by different levels of governments or private businesses, resulting in delayed reporting from certain medical institutions;
  • Incomplete information on certain death cases resulted in repetitive reporting or misreporting.

China has faced increased scrutiny this week by the United States to be transparent in its reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. 

This post was updated to focus on the Wuhan death toll.

12:36 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

44 migrants deported from US to Guatemala test positive for Covid-19

From CNNE’s Michelle Mendoza in Guatemala City, CNN’s Natalie Gallón in Mexico City and Priscilla Alvarez in DC

The Incienso Bridge in Guatemala City on March 24.
The Incienso Bridge in Guatemala City on March 24. Carlos Alonzo/AFP/Getty Images

At least 44 migrants who were deported from the United States to Guatemala tested positive for Covid-19, two Guatemalan government sources told CNN on Thursday.

The migrants were returned to Central America on a Monday flight from Brownsville, Texas, the sources said.

During a live televised address Thursday, Guatemala’s presidential spokesman Carlos Sandoval said both countries were working closely “to revalidate the health status of Guatemalans returned in recent days."

Covid-19 tests “would be carried out again on the cases that tested positive and also on the people who tested negative” in both countries, he said.

An ICE spokesperson told CNN Thursday that:

“The health and welfare of detainees in ICE custody is of the highest priority to the agency. ICE closely follows CDC guidance as a standard practice and particularly in response to the changing dynamic of this global pandemic. Currently, CDC is on the ground in Guatemala to review and validate the COVID-19 tests performed on those arriving from ICE Air flights. Once results are available, ICE will determine whether to re-evaluate current medical procedures with CDC guidance to ensure that any newly necessary practices are implemented.”

Joaquín Samayoa, a spokesman for Guatemala’s foreign affairs ministry, told a WhatsApp media group Thursday that flights will be suspended between Guatemala and the US until further notice. He said the decision was agreed upon by both countries.

12:20 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Japan reports more than 500 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Japan's health ministry reported 503 new coronavirus cases and 12 deaths on Thursday.                                             

The total number of infections recorded across the country now stands at 9,879, of which 712 were linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

A total of 161 people have died.

12:10 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

India reports more than 13,300 coronavirus cases

At least 13,387 cases of coronavirus have now been recorded in India, according to the country's health ministry on Friday morning.

A total of at least 437 people have died from the virus.

The number of infections reported on Friday rose by 1,007 from the day before, with 23 additional deaths.

11:59 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

It's just past 9 p.m. in Los Angeles and midday in Beijing. Here's the latest on the coronavirus

Military personnel stand wearing face masks aboard the USNS Mercy Navy hospital ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 15, in San Pedro, California.
Military personnel stand wearing face masks aboard the USNS Mercy Navy hospital ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 15, in San Pedro, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The numbers: Covid-19 has infected more than 2.1 million people and killed at least 144,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 671,151 cases have been recorded in the United States, including 33,268 deaths.

US reopening: President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines meant to help states loosen social distancing restrictions, telling governors it was their decision on when and how to reopen. It's a three-phase approach, with the first including a sustained decrease in cases over a 14-day period and a return to pre-crisis conditions in hospitals.

China's economy slumps: The world's second largest economy experienced its worst three-month period in decades as the pandemic forced weeks of shutdowns. The economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a year earlier, according to government statistics.

World leaders "not warned": President Trump seemed to suggest during today's news briefing that world leaders were not adequately warned about the severity of the coronavirus, saying he was “angry” because he and fellow G7 leaders were out of the loop.

Biden on CNN town hall: Former Vice President Joe Biden said during a CNN coronavirus town hall that the US will have to look at the economy "totally differently than we have before" and that it was a "false choice" to have to choose between the economy and peoples' health.

Germany's new normal: As the government lifts some restrictions previously imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country will not be "like it was before." The reopening will happen "step-by-step" he said.

Michael Cohen release: President Trump’s former personal attorney will be released early from prison due to the pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter and his lawyer. Cohen is serving a three-year sentence at the federal prison camp in Otisville, New York, where 14 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for the virus.

11:44 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Venezuela's Juan Guaido says he will pay health workers extra money to help fight coronavirus

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido talks to the media on March 9, in Caracas, Venezuela.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido talks to the media on March 9, in Caracas, Venezuela. Carlos Becerra/Getty Images

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido announced on Thursday that his office will pay health workers $100 per month for the next three months as a measure to help them fight the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It is not clear how Guaido intends to get the money directly to the health care workers.

In a video statement posted on Twitter, Guaido said the money will come from foreign assets recovered by international allies, although he did not specify how much in total his plan will cost. 

The background: Since 2019, Guaido has been recognized as the legitimate Venezuelan head of state by more than 50 countries, including the US and the Organization of the American States (OAS). 

Seized assets: To that end, foreign countries including the United States have seized Venezuelan assets previously controlled by the government of President Nicolas Maduro and transferred those assets under the control of Guaido. 

Earlier this month, Guaido announced his office "recovered" more than $200 million and he intended to spend the money on fighting coronavirus in Venezuela. 

Virtual wallet: Guaido, who does not exercise any rule in Venezuela, did not explain how his office will pay the health workers, but announced the funds will be transferred through a "virtual wallet" set up by the OAS.

Bonus is a significant amount in Venezuela: Most public health workers earn a minimum wage of 250,000 Venezuelan Bolivars, or less than $2 per month. 

So far, 204 cases of coronavirus and nine deaths have been recorded in Venezuela, according to statistics released by the Maduro government.

11:29 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Here's a catch up on CNN's coronavirus town hall

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx. Source: CNN

CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosted a global town hall on coronavirus with guests including former Vice President Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

Here's what was discussed:

Testing and capacity: Birx said that it's important for states to match need with capacity as they ramp up widespread testing -- an important lesson learned during the HIV/AIDS crisis. When asked about widespread testing, she said it was unrealistic to expect that every worker in the US would get tested.

Guidelines to reopen the US: Birx said the guidelines issued by the White House today were “fairly strict" to give states the time to set up exactly how they’re going to contact trace. Testing, contact tracing and surveillance will need to be done as a partnership between the states, local leaders and the federal government, Birx said.

Social distancing measures: Dr. Chris Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said cell phone data anonymized and shared with his research team shows that people by and large are following social distancing policies.

Three steps to reopening: Dr. Leana Wen, the former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, said that three things need to happen before economies and society can reopen safely:

  1. Widespread testing capacity
  2. Infrastructure for contact tracing and surveillance
  3. A stabilized health care system

Economy vs health: Former US Vice President Joe Biden said it was a "false choice" to have to choose between the economy and peoples' health. Biden said it was important that small businesses stay open and said, "We should think about how we do the economy in a different way."

Opportunity to change mindsets: Biden said the way to get through the pandemic is to stimulate the economy and deal with the recovery. "And the way you deal with recovery is you think much bigger than we have before," he said. "I think we have an opportunity now to significantly change the mindset of the American people, things they weren't ready to do, you know, even two, three years ago."

Zuckerberg on Facebook: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said employees of the social media giant will return to work in a staggered fashion and shouldn't expect to be back in their offices until at least the end of May. He also said the company will hold off on hosting "any internal or external physical events that have 50 people or more in them" through June of next year.

11:12 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

Los Angeles sees 95% drop in plane travel

From CNN's Sarah Moon

The LAX Gateway Kinetic Light Pylons are seen lit up in blue near Los Angeles International Airport, on Friday, April 10, in Los Angeles.
The LAX Gateway Kinetic Light Pylons are seen lit up in blue near Los Angeles International Airport, on Friday, April 10, in Los Angeles. Mark J. Terrill/AP

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference today that 95% of plane travel has stopped in the city -- the biggest drop in flights in the airport’s history, he added.

During the 9/11 terrorist attacks, plane travel dropped by about 55% and it took 10 years to come back, Garcetti said.

Los Angeles International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the world, with 87.5 million passengers in 2018.

Relief loans: LA is expected to receive more than $323 million from the CARES Act, which issues coronavirus relief loans. This will help maintain vital infrastructure and keep employees working as the city recovers from the crisis, Garcetti said.

In addition, airlines and their contractors are receiving $29 billion in federal funds from the legislation. Garcetti explained that a condition of these funds will be to retain almost all of their employees through September 30. 

Expanding testing capabilities: Los Angeles has expanded its coronavirus testing capacity and is now able to test 11,000 people per day. By the end of today, approximately 61,000 people across all testing sites will have been tested.

10:54 p.m. ET, April 16, 2020

China's economy shrank last quarter for the first time in decades as the coronavirus took its toll

From CNN's Laura He

Shipping containers at the Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang City, east China's Jiangsu Province.
Shipping containers at the Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang City, east China's Jiangsu Province. Geng Yuhe/Xinhua via Getty

China's economy has just experienced its worst three-month period in decades as the coronavirus pandemic forced much of the country to shut down for weeks on end. 

The world's second largest economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a year earlier, according to government statistics released Friday.

That's even worse than the 6.5% decline that analysts polled by Reuters predicted.

The plunge is the worst for a single quarter that China has recorded since it started publishing such figures in 1992. It's also the first time China's economy has shrunk since 1976, when Communist Party leader Mao Zedong's death ended a decade-long social and economic tumult in China.

The country where the coronavirus outbreak started was almost completely shut down in late January as the government sought to stem the spread of the virus. 

Read the full story here.