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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3:59 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

California is in "pandemic-induced recession," governor says

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Pool/KCRA
Pool/KCRA

California is “now in a pandemic-induced recession,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

Unemployment currently stands at 5.3% in the state with a whopping 3.1 million people filing claims in just the past four weeks.

“These are sober and challenging times,” he said.

“As California goes, so goes the nation,” the governor added.

Newsom also announced a new advisory committee that designed a series of plans for economic recovery.

The advisory includes four former governors — Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson and Democrats Gray Davis and Jerry Brown. The council chair is former presidential candidate Tom Steyer. 

3:43 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Chef Wolfgang Puck says testing is key to reviving restaurant industry

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck said more coronavirus testing is needed to get customers back into restaurants and halt the restaurant industry’s financial bleeding.

“There has to be more testing,” Puck told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “And I don't understand — we have the smartest people in this country, we have the best doctors. … I think we really have to look and get somehow, some testing going sooner rather than later.” 

Puck said he’d love to open his restaurants again, but he predicts that even if he could, not many people would feel safe going out to eat in large groups yet. He said he is most worried about the future of small mom-and-pop restaurants. 

“We employ the most people in the country next to the government, and we are the backbone of America,” Puck said.  

He also wants to see insurance companies getting involved with helping restaurants, in addition to the federal government.

Watch:

4:32 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

At least 24 states have mandated school closures through the end of the school

From CNN's Allison Flexner

A public school stands closed on April 14, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
A public school stands closed on April 14, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

At least 24 states have mandated the closure of schools through the end of the academic year. 

Officials in at least five other states have recommended statewide closures. 

Maine's Department of Education is starting to examine going back to school in the fall.

"100% brick and mortar is very ambitious," Maine's Education Commissioner Pender Makin told CNN.  

3:38 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Some states could begin opening back up as early as May 4, influential model says

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

Honolulu's Ala Moana Center is deserted on March 23, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Honolulu's Ala Moana Center is deserted on March 23, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kyodo News/Getty Images/FILE

Some US states may be able to relax some aspects of social distancing measures as early as May 4, according to the researchers behind an influential model often cited by the White House.

The relaxations could come so long as “robust containment strategies” are implemented to prevent a second wave of infections, according to a statement from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (IHME).

The states that could open as early as May 4 include Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii.

However, other states – including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas and Oklahoma – may need to wait until late June or early July, according to IHME.

Strategies for safely relaxing some social distancing include widely implemented testing, contact tracing and isolation of confirmed cases, and restricting large gatherings, according to the researchers.

The modelers cautioned that decisions by states to relax social distancing should be informed by meeting critical metrics closer to these dates, including a very low number of estimated infections in the community – less than one estimated infection per 1 million people.

More data: The researchers announced that the peak number of daily deaths in the US may have peaked two days ago, and the model is now estimating 60,308 (estimated range of 34,063 to 140,381) deaths across the US by August 4, down from 68,841 as predicted on April 13.

The estimates for total US deaths have been revised downward based in part on newly available cell phone data that provide a window on mobility patterns, according to IHME.

“We are seeing the numbers decline because some state and local governments, and, equally important, individuals around the country have stepped up to protect their families, their neighbors, and friends and coworkers by reducing physical contact,” IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement.

3:26 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Covid-19 has infected up to 85 times more people in Santa Clara County than reported, study says

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

A staff member at the Stanford Radiology department takes a blood sample during a coronavirus antibody study at Mountain View's First Presbyterian Church in Mountain View, California, on Friday, April 3.
A staff member at the Stanford Radiology department takes a blood sample during a coronavirus antibody study at Mountain View's First Presbyterian Church in Mountain View, California, on Friday, April 3. Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images

Between 50 and 85 times more people may have been infected with Covid-19 than have been confirmed by health officials in Santa Clara County, California, according to a study released Friday as a preprint.

The study used an antibody blood test to estimate how many people had been infected with Covid-19 in the past. Other tests, such as those performed with nasal swabs or saliva, test for the virus' genetic material, which does not persist long after recovery, as antibodies do.

"We found that there are many, many unidentified cases of people having Covid infection that were never identified with it with a virus test," said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the paper's authors. "It's consistent with findings from around the world that this is disease, this epidemic is further along than we thought."

What the numbers say: The study estimated that 2.49% to 4.16% of people in Santa Clara had been infected with Covid-19 by April 1. This represents between 48,000 and 81,000 people, which is 50 to 85 times what county officials recorded by that date: 956 confirmed cases.

Similar efforts to estimate local antibody prevalence have launched in places like Miami-Dade County, Florida; San Miguel County, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California. The National Institutes of Health has a similar effort underway, as well.

Bhattacharya said information from these studies will not only give researchers a better idea on antibody prevalence, but they will also vastly improve projections and disease modeling. Experts have said it's clear there have been more people infected than we've tested for, but it's unclear how much higher that number could be.

"All of the projection models have this as an input: how many people have been infected today," Bhattacharya said.

3:21 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

New Jersey students could wear masks when school reopens, governor says

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he believes that students will wear masks when school schools reopen in the state.

“I would bet the answer is yes, kids will be in masks when we return to school,” Murphy said when asked about makes at a news conference. 

Murphy stressed that it is not a mandate, but his rather his opinion

3:22 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

New York City has 7,890 confirmed coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 7,890 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,309 probable coronavirus deaths, according to the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test but their death certificate lists the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent. 

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 12,199.

There have been 122,148 coronavirus cases in the city and approximately 32,843 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

3:23 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

School closures in Maryland have been extended through May 15

From CNN’s Anna-Maja Rappard

About 200 school buses are parked at the Montgomery County Schools Clarksburg Bus Depot, idled by the closing of schools across Maryland in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, on March 16, in Clarksburg, Maryland.
About 200 school buses are parked at the Montgomery County Schools Clarksburg Bus Depot, idled by the closing of schools across Maryland in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, on March 16, in Clarksburg, Maryland. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/FILE

Schools will remain closed through the rest of the academic year, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced at a news conference Friday.

“After extensive consultation with the State Board of Education and leading public health experts in the state. I am extending the closure of schools, through May 15,” Salmon said.

Plans for the summer and beyond are still being assessed.

“We will use this time to examine every option and continue to develop a long term plan for recovery,” Salmon said.

3:24 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Canadian prime minister says Trump administration agrees border won't reopen "anytime soon"

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

CTV Network
CTV Network

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government and the Trump administration are "aligned" and that the US-Canada border will remain closed to all but essential travel for weeks to come.

“As I have said we do not feel that opening the border anytime soon is likely. My responsibility is to ensure the protection and safety of Canadians, that is what we will continue to do. The conversations with the Americans have been extremely aligned and extremely productive,” Trudeau said Friday during a press briefing.

Some context: President Trump indicated earlier this week that the border may reopen soon, along with other parts of the American economy. 

“Our relationship with Canada is very good — we’ll talk about that. It will be one of the early borders to be released,” Trump said.

“Canada’s doing well, we’re doing well — so we’ll see,” he said during a press briefing Wednesday.

The two countries negotiated a mutual ban on non-essential travel in late March. Since then, border traffic has decreased dramatically except for commercial goods and essential workers.

As the President has discussed the reopening of the US economy, anxiety has been building in Canadian border towns that have not been as severely affected by Covid-19 as their cross-border neighbors.

"Trudeau should say no right away," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Thursday. "Until we have this under containment, we need to have our borders closed."