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
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10:53 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Mississippi governor extends shelter-in-place order

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves discusses how the state is responding to COVID-19 during a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, Monday, April 6.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves discusses how the state is responding to COVID-19 during a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, Monday, April 6. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that he will be extending the state's shelter-in-place order an additional week to continue flattening the curve of coronavirus cases.

The state's current stay-at-home order was set to expire on Monday but will now go through April 27, Reeves said during a news conference Friday morning.

Reeves said he'd "hoped and prayed" that he would be able to lift the current order based on metrics issued by the White House on Thursday, but said the state wasn't there yet.

Reeves says they will take the next seven days to study the guidance and do what works best for resident of Mississippi.  

Reeves said he will begin relaxing some of the restrictions on non-essential businesses by allowing them to offer services via drive-thru, curbside or delivery. 

As of Friday morning, the state of Mississippi has recorded 3,624 coronavirus cases with 129 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

10:55 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Former CDC director says we need to "box in" coronavirus in order to reopen America

From CNN's Amanda Watts


Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said sheltering in place is “just a strategic retreat” but we are “not fighting the virus.” 

Speaking on Friday during a Vital Strategies webinar, Frieden said we are currently “trapped in our home, wrapped in our fears, isolated in our hospitals.”  

In order to reopen America, Frieden said we need to “box it in," utilizing a four-cornered approach of testing, isolating, quarantining and finding the virus.  

“This is the essence of the box-in strategy — creating a closed loop. So that with each wave of infections, there are fewer and fewer secondary infections boxing the virus in, and opening more and more space in society are safe movement,” Frieden said.


10:41 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Without a coronavirus vaccine, US could face a "new normal," former CDC director says

From CNN's Health Jacqueline Howard and Gisela Crespo

Thibault Savary/AFP/Getty Images
Thibault Savary/AFP/Getty Images

Experts have estimated that a coronavirus vaccine could take 12 to 18 months before it is available for the public — and without a vaccine, people will still have to maintain some physical distancing measures to keep the virus from spreading, Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on MSNBC this morning.

"We don't know when a vaccine will come," Frieden told MSNBC Friday.

"Anyone who is not afraid of the devastation this virus causes is not taking it seriously enough and that can be a deadly error," Frieden added. "This is a highly infectious virus. It's spreading like a super SARS — all of the way SARS spread and more."

Due to this, Frieden said the United States could be facing a "new normal."

"What we're going to need to see is a gradual loosening of the faucet. A step wise return to not normal, but a new normal, where no one who is sick goes out, where we stop shaking hands for a while, where we cover our mouth and for a while wear face masks," Frieden said.

Frieden said that while individuals can do a lot to reduce the risk of transmission, people who are vulnerable "are going to have to shelter in place for longer. Maybe not that long, but longer."

On a public health level, Frieden emphasized that people need to get tested when they're at risk and isolate when they're infected. It is also important to track contacts to determine who may have been exposed and quarantine them, Frieden said.

"This is the way we can try to keep the virus at a simmer instead of boiling over," Frieden said.


10:38 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

All New York City events in May will be canceled, mayor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

NYC Media
NYC Media

All events in New York City will be canceled for the month of May, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Friday morning news conference.

The mayor said his office will not issues any permits. Events like the Brooklyn half marathon will be canceled, de Blasio said.

The mayor said his office is currently talking to event planners for the month of June.

10:48 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus drug trial investigator: Patients are improving though it's too early to draw conclusions

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Some patients severely infected with Covid-19 are recovering quickly after taking an experimental drug called remdesivir, according to a report from STAT News, which obtained a video of a conversation about a clinical trial at the University of Chicago.

The drug, made by Gilead Sciences, was tested against Ebola with little success, but several studies in animals show it could both prevent and treat viruses related to Covid-19. 

Gilead is expecting results from their own trial later this month.

“We had a lot of our patients improving and going home and I think that we're all really pleased to see that,” says infectious disease physician Dr. Leila Hojat, principal investigator on the Gilead study. “It is hard to know at this point if that's related to the study drug or not, but we're expecting results…a little bit later this month at least on the first several hundred patients that were studied.” 

In an interview with CNN, Hojat explains that the drug works by preventing the virus from making copies of itself, which prevents the infection from progressing. 

“Part of the benefit of this having gone through trials in Ebola is even though it wasn't able to show efficacy there, at least we got a lot of data in terms of its safety,” Hojat said, also noting that patients did not have any major side effects after taking the drug.

9:55 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus deaths in United Kingdom hospitals continue to rise

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Alberto Pezzali/AP
Alberto Pezzali/AP

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in United Kingdom hospitals has reached 14,576 as of Friday, according to the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

That's an increase of 847 from Thursday.

Some context: Britain made a decision to extend Covid-19 lockdown until May 7. 

Speaking at a daily government coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, the UK Foreign Secretary said while there are “indications” the measures have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, overall the infection rate has not dropped as much as needed.

Read the tweet from the health department:

9:42 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

US lacks sufficient testing capabilities needed to reopen, medical association warns

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Al Bello/Getty Images
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) says the US needs to ramp up effective and proactive testing before the country can reopen. 

Dr. John Lynch, IDSA board member and associate medical director at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said the US needs broad and easy access to testing.

“We need to find a way to have testing accessible in a public health forum — an approach where it's widely, easily accessible, it is agnostic to your insurance status, and it is ahead — it is aggressive, it is out in front, where there are potentially no cases," Lynch said. "We have to recognize this virus is not going anywhere. There is a distinct risk that we will just bump straight back up and we'll see a brisk increase in the number of infections. As we relax these, we have to be able to respond to that."

Lynch said, “Social distancing is very, very effective. It has been amazing.” He called it a “lifesaving tool.”

9:27 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Testing and maintaining mitigation will play key roles in reopening the country, CDC director says

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield attends the daily briefing at the White House on April 8.
CDC Director Robert R. Redfield attends the daily briefing at the White House on April 8. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Certain jurisdictions in the US are "very close" to having testing capabilities in place in order to reopen, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an appearance on NBC Friday morning. 

"People have to look at what the real strategic role of testing is and at this point it's to make that rapid early diagnosis, which then you can affirm and then isolate and then do the contacts then test, figure out of the contacts who's infected, isolate those individuals then do their contacts — it's really the traditional public health approach for containment," Redfield said. "I think there's a number of jurisdictions that are very close to having that capability. We're going to work with them."

This does not mean the American public can "let up" on the mitigation strategies that include frequent handwashing and physical distancing, Redfield said.

"This new opening up — which has that requirement of early case diagnosis and isolation and contact tracings — is really embedded, as you'll see in the phases, with still maintaining that personal vigilance, that personal mitigation so that we can continue to limit and protect the vulnerable in this nation," Redfield said. 

Redfield added: "So it's important not to let up at all, but do this in a prudent, gradual way as we go through the different phases and really maintain those mitigation strategies of handwashing, social distancing, wearing a face covering when you're in public if you're in an area where there's still significant ongoing transmission like we still see in New York, Boston, obviously Baltimore, Washington, different parts of our nation."


9:25 a.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Schumer says negotiations on more aid for small businesses will continue through the weekend

From CNN's Alex Rogers and Nicky Robertson

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on MSNBC that he has had “good conversations” with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about how to extend a small business lending program that has run out of money, while also expanding coronavirus testing and providing more assistance for hospitals and local governments.

Schumer said the talks will continue through the weekend.

“We're making progress,” said Schumer. “We can get this all done hopefully very, very soon.”

Schumer said that Democrats have proposed $100 billion for hospitals, $30 billion for a testing program and assistance for local governments in addition to more funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

“It's vital we do this,” said Schumer. “It’s vital we help small business, but if we don't deal with the testing and health care problems, if we don't deal with the local government problems, small business may have enough money to get back, although we got to fix that program, but people won't go out on the streets.”

Schumer also said the Paycheck Protection Program needs to be reformed as the federal government gives it more money, saying that many small businesses are having trouble getting approved for loans.

Schumer also said that the plan to reopen the country President Trump outlined on Thursday is “a little more measured than what the President has said in the past,” but the New York Democrat also voiced concerns over the lack of testing.