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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1:28 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled due to the pandemic

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Comic Con International has canceled its premiere event in San Diego due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post on the event’s official website.

Organizers initially held out on cancellation with hopes that the July event could still go on.

Passholders will have the option of being refunded, or using their badges for admission to next year’s event, scheduled for July 22-25.

San Diego’s Comic-Con has been held annually for 50 years, and hosts approximately 130,000 attendees.

1:19 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Most pregnant women at a Chinese hospital had mild cases of coronavirus, study says

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

In one Chinese hospital, most pregnant women with Covid-19 had a relatively mild form of the disease, according to research published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Looking at a hospital in Wuhan, China, researchers found that 109 women – out of 118 total – had a "mild" form of coronavirus. That’s about 92% of the women, who were considered to have Covid-19 based on a positive test result or a CT scan of the chest.

Nine women – 8% of those in the study – had severe cases of coronavirus, with abnormally low levels of oxygen in their blood. One patient required a noninvasive form of mechanical ventilation, which researchers considered to be “critical” form of the disease.

Severe cases of coronavirus developed most often after women had given birth, developing after delivery in six of the nine women. There were no deaths, according to the study.

Researchers also tested eight newborns, none of whom were positive for the virus. And breast-milk samples from three mothers also tested negative.

The role of gender: The researchers pointed out that women in general seem to have lower rates of severe Covid-19 compared to men. And pregnant women tend to be younger, too: the median age of the women in the study was 31 years old, and Covid-19 is often more severe in people who are older.

“The present data,” researchers said, “do not suggest an increased risk of severe disease among pregnant women, as has been observed with influenza.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about coronavirus and pregnancy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But based on available information, the agency says “pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant.”

It’s also unlikely that women will pass the virus to their children during childbirth, according to the CDC. “Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.”

1:11 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Trump tweets that states like Michigan and Minnesota should be liberated

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Trump has been tweeting that states should be liberated which may be in reference to stay-at-home orders that he feels are overly restrictive.

Trump tweeted about three states so far, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, all of which have Democratic governors.

Michigan had a large protest earlier this week over its stay-at-home order. Trump has sparred with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump was asked if he would urge those protesting to listen to local authorities at yesterday’s coronavirus task force briefing. He said that the protesters “seem to be protesters that like me” before adding that he thinks just about all of the governors share his opinion that they want to open the country.

“I think they're listening. I think they listen to me. They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion. And my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors,” Trump said at the briefing. “They all want to open. Nobody wants to stay shut, but they want to open safely. So do I. But we have large sections of the country right now that can start thinking about opening."

Read Trump's tweets:

1:16 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Spain will exit lockdown in two phases

From CNN's Max Ramsay, Isa Tejera and Mia Alberti

Madrid's Gran Via street is seen empty of pedestrians on Thursday, April 16.
Madrid's Gran Via street is seen empty of pedestrians on Thursday, April 16. Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

The Spanish government is planning to exit the current lockdown measures to resume regular activity in two stages; the summer and then the end of the year, the country's labor and social economy minister said Friday.

"What we are doing from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy is to work in two stages: a first stage that will likely embark in the productive sectors and therefore in workforce until the summer, and another stage that will last until the end of the year. We are going to follow a gradual process of reincorporation," Yolanda Diaz said during an interview with the broadcaster TVE on Friday.

Diaz said all decisions will be based on advice from health authorities but added that "normalcy...will not be the same as before."

Speaking at a daily news conference, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Friday that going forward the government needs to study the available data "with more precision."

"We have to differentiate between a positive [case] diagnosed through a PCR test, and those who were [diagnosed] through a quick test, and check if they had symptoms or not," he said.

1:06 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

UK government reviewing guidance on face masks

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Nada Bashir in London

A man wearing a mask walks in front of the closed Grand Pier around midday on Easter Sunday at Weston-super-Mare, on Sunday April 12.
A man wearing a mask walks in front of the closed Grand Pier around midday on Easter Sunday at Weston-super-Mare, on Sunday April 12. Ben Birchall/PA/AP

The British Government is reviewing its guidance on wearing masks for the general public, the UK's chief scientific adviser said at a briefing on Friday.

“The evidence is quite variable around masks. It’s not easy to really get a firm position on some of it, and there aren’t very good trials of masks,” Patrick Vallance said, adding that the government was currently following World Health Organization guidelines by not recommending the usage of face masks by the general public.

“We’re looking at the evidence now – we looked at it this week twice, we will look at it again on Tuesday, and hope to be able to make some advice around whether any changes are needed or not,” he said.

Vallance also suggested it was necessary to keep a steady supply to medical facilities.

“It’s absolutely crucial that masks are available in hospitals,” he said.

12:58 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

660 sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The USS Theodore Roosevelt docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt docked at Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor on April 10. Tony Azios/AFP/Getty Images

Roughly 94% of USS Theodore Roosevelt crew members have been tested for Covid-19, with 660 testing positive and 3,920 negative, the Navy said Friday.

Seven sailors are hospitalized in the US Naval Hospital Guam. One of those sailors is in the intensive care unit.

12:47 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Italy continue to rise at a slower pace

From CNN's Barbie Nadeau and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

Ambulance and doctors at the Cotugno hospital emergency room for infectious diseases, in Naples on Friday, April 17.
Ambulance and doctors at the Cotugno hospital emergency room for infectious diseases, in Naples on Friday, April 17. Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The number of active novel coronavirus cases in Italy continued to rise on Friday, despite the deceleration trend seen in the fast few weeks.

On Friday, there were 106,962 active cases of Covid-19 in Italy, 355 more than Thursday. That's an increase of 0.3%, the lowest since the beginning of the crisis. 

The Italian Protection Agency said at least 22,745 deaths have been registered so far, an increase of 575 since Thursday.

The total number of cases in Italy, including deaths and recoveries on Friday, stands at 172,434. 

12:49 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

Iowa schools will remain closed through the rest of the academic year

From CNN’s Anna-Maja Rappard


Schools in Iowa will remain closed through the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced at a news conference in Johnston on Friday. 

“We still haven't actually peaked at this point. And we just don't have the data that I think that we need to start to have the conversation about opening them up so you know we just we made the decision yesterday,” Reynolds said. 

There are now 2,323 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Iowa and four additional deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 64 in the state, Reynolds said.


12:29 p.m. ET, April 17, 2020

UK government announces coronavirus vaccine task force

From CNN’s Nada Bashir in London

UK Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma
UK Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma Pool


The British government has set up a novel coronavirus vaccine task force, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, announced at a daily briefing on Friday.

“I can announce today that the government has set up a vaccines task force to coordinate the efforts of government, academia and industry towards a single goal: to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine,” Sharma said. “This task force is up and running, and aims to ensure that a vaccine is made available to the public as quickly as possible.”

The task force will work to support “progress across all stages of vaccine development and at pace.”

“[The task force] will back Britain’s most promising research, positioning the UK as a leader in clinical vaccine testing and manufacturing,” he said.