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Coronavirus updates from April 19, 2020

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Americans worried states will reopen too soon
Most Americans concerned states will reopen too soon 02:24

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More than 40,000 people in the U.S. have been killed by COVID-19 since the outbreak began, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 750,000 cases have been confirmed. Meanwhile, demonstrators in several states continued balking at stay-at-home orders.

Detailed information from the CDC on coronavirus treatment and prevention.


Congress, White House near deal on $350 billion in additional small business aid

The Trump administration and Congress expect an agreement Monday on an aid package of up to $450 billion to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and to add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.

As talks continued, President Trump said there's a "good chance" of reaching a bipartisan agreement with Democrats. "We are very close to a deal," Mr. Trump said Sunday at the White House.

Along with the small business boost, he said the negotiators were looking at "helping our hospitals," particularly hard-hit rural health care providers.

The Senate is scheduled for a pro forma session Monday, but no vote has been set. The House announced it could meet as soon as Wednesday for a vote on the pending package, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The emerging accord links the administration's effort to replenish small-business aid with Democrats' demands for more money for hospitals and virus testing. It would provide $300 billion for the small-business payroll program and $50 billion would be available for a small business disaster fund. Additionally, it would bring $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing, according to those involved in the talks.   

By The Associated Press

California reports first prison inmate death from virus

California reported the first prison inmate death from COVID-19 on Sunday as the state steps up efforts to prevent outbreaks among vulnerable populations, including people living in nursing homes, on the streets or in homeless shelters.

The inmate died at a hospital after contracting the coronavirus at the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

No further details were released to protect the inmate's medical privacy, and next of kin was notified. Statewide, 115 inmates and 89 corrections employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, corrections officials said.

By The Associated Press

Skiers and snowboarders donate goggles to doctors fighting coronavirus

Skiers and snowboarders donate goggles to doctors fighting coronavirus 02:21

Ski season was cut short this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, skiers and snowboarders are donating their goggles to be used by doctors fighting the outbreak. Carter Evans reports.


Cruise ship with 1,831 passengers to make first port-of-call after 35 days of continuous sailing during pandemic

For Spanish traveler Carlos Payá, being on an around-the-globe luxury cruise while the rest of world scurried into their homes for fear of the COVID-19 pandemic was beyond surreal. It was "a stroke of good luck."

Now, his trip inside the virus-free bubble that the Costa Deliziosa cruise ship became on its 15-week odyssey is coming to an end. The boat is steaming toward Barcelona, Spain, where it will make its first port-of-call on Monday after 35 days of continuous sailing with no human contact with the outside world.

The 58-year-old Payá, a sports writer travelling with his wife, said when news started to reach the boat of the rapid spread of the coronavirus in their native Spain, their first desire was to get home to their two grown children in their hometown of Valencia.

But with ports denying the boat entry, they have had to temper their concern with the amenities on board.

This Sunday, April 19, 2020, photo provided to The Associated Press by passenger Alejandro Mezcua shows a group of fellow Spaniards on board the Deliziosa Costa cruise ship. They are set to arrive Monday in Barcelona, Spain.

Unlike other cruise ships that suffered outbreaks and and were often put in quarantine to protect port cities, the Deliziosa has found no cases of the COVID-19 virus, according to its owner, Italian cruise company Costa Crociere. So the boat's 1,831 passengers were free to use the ship's facilities and entertainments.

"Of course, for those of us who have children in Spain, we would have preferred to return," Payá said. "Other passengers, on the other hand, given their old age wanted to stay on board knowing that the boat was safe and secure." 

Read more here. 

By The Associated Press

Truckers risk their health delivering essential supplies during pandemic

Truckers risk their health delivering essential supplies during pandemic 02:12

Truck drivers are risking their health and safety delivering critical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. But many rest stops are closed, making it difficult to find bathrooms and food along the way. Kris Van Cleave reports.


Ventura County in California easing restrictions in modified stay-at-home order

Ventura County is extending its stay-at-home order until May 15, but the county is starting to ease its restrictions in hopes of reopening soon, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The new order, which went into effect Sunday, allows some business that were formerly considered "nonessential" to operate with 10 employees. This includes bike shops, car dealerships and golf courses.

All businesses, according to the order, must maintain social distancing inside. In addition, social gatherings are now being allowed with up to five people.

Read more here.


Researchers in California look at using UV light to disinfect protective gear

Researchers in California are using the power of light to help fight the coronavirus, CBS Los Angeles reports. The UV-LED project at UC Santa Barbara started with developing new ways to create more efficient lighting. But the same technology can be used to kill germs, including COVID-19.

Now, researchers are working on a new system to disinfect personal protective equipment used in hospitals, and they are hoping their technology can help other companies join that same fight.

Read more here.


CBS News presses Trump over coronavirus response in February

CBS News presses Trump on February response to coronavirus 02:44

At Sunday's Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang pressed President Trump on his remarks earlier this week that China should have warned the U.S. sooner.

"Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you: That you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people," Jiang said. "Why did you wait so long to warn them and why did you not have social distancing until March 16?"

Mr. Trump did not directly answer her question, instead insisting "that if you look at what I did in terms of cutting off China," he was "very early" in response. 

Jiang pushed him on how coronavirus was already in the states when the president issued the ban and on March 23, he said he knew it was going to be a pandemic. When she asked "so do you acknowledge you didn't think it would spread," Mr. Trump said "keep your voice down." He continued by saying "I believe there were zero deaths at the time I closed up the country, nobody was there, and you should say thank you very much for good judgment."

By Caroline Linton

Chicago-area student athletes help domestic abuse survivors during pandemic

Some Chicago-area student athletes showed their generosity during the coronavirus pandemic Sunday, helping survivors of domestic abuse.

"I also realized how important it is to use my voice and skills to bring attention to important causes and empower those in need," Eduardo Rodriguez, a senior at George Washington High School on the Southeast Side, told CBS Chicago.

The students made a surprise delivery to a West Side facility that helps abused women and children.

They showed up at Connections for Abused Women and their Children with a truckload of boxes with necessities such as toiletries, books and toys.

Read more here.


U.S. farmworkers put their lives on the line during COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. farmworkers put their lives on the line during COVID-19 pandemic 02:10

Farmworkers throughout the U.S. continue to show up to work despite a lack of personal protective equipment and the inability to social distance. The nation's food supply depends on these workers, who are at great risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Manuel Bojorquez reports.


Pence says White House will be calling all 50 governors to discuss testing

Pence says White House will be calling all 50 governors to discuss testing 07:06

At the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing Sunday, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence promoted the production of tests and masks. Pence said the White House would be talking to all 50 governors Monday to discuss the implementation of the Defense Production Act for producing testing swabs.

Pence said he believes the testing now available will allow states to "move into phase one" of reopening.

Mr. Trump showed a swab used in the testing and that thanks to the Defense Production Act, the U.S. will be getting swabs "very easily."

Coronavirus Task Force briefing — Sunday, April 19, 2020
President Donald Trump, left, hands a swab that could be used in coronavirus testing to Vice President Mike Pence during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, on Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Washington. Patrick Semansky / AP
By Caroline Linton

Latest COVID-19 cases inside federal prisons

At least 16 more federal inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 nationwide in the last 24 hours. A total of 495 federal inmates and 309 staff members of the Bureau of Prisons have contracted the virus. Meanwhile, 155 inmates and 29 BOP staff have recovered.

There have been 22 federal inmate deaths linked to COVID-19 disease.

Among inmates and staff, these are the top three BOP facilities with the most open cases:

  • Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Elkton, Ohio: 88
  • United States Penitentiary in Lompoc, California: 81
  • FCI Butner Medium I in North Carolina: 77
By Clare Hymes

Hospice program sets up unit for families to visit loved ones with coronavirus

Hospice program sets up unit for families to visit loved ones with coronavirus 02:14

Part of the strain of the coronavirus pandemic is the inability of families to visit their loved ones in the hospital. Now, a hospice agency has opened a unit in a Louisiana hospital that allows families to say goodbye safely. Mireya Villarreal reports.


Washington state recalls 12,000 COVID-19 test kits due to possible contamination

The Department of Health in Washington state announced Sunday that it has recalled approximately 12,000 COVID-19 test kits, according to a press release. Officials said the kits "may have a quality control issue."

The state's health department was alerted by UW Medicine on Friday about the potential contamination.

"Though the quality control issue has only been observed in a small number of tubes of viral transport media, we adhere to the highest quality standards for COVID-19 testing in Washington state," said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. "We are working with our partners to have them discard the product and will work to replace them as quickly as we can."

Officials said some vials containing a fluid ("viral transport media") used to preserve a test specimen during transport — such as one collected by a nasal swab during a COVID-19 test — had an unusual color.

"DOH officials believe there is no health risk to patients, as the VTM does not come in contact with patients during a COVID-19 test," the press release said.

Read more here.

By Peter Martinez

Protests against stay-at-home orders across the U.S.

Most Americans concerned states will reopen too soon 02:24

Groups have gathered in several states to protest the ongoing stay-at-home order in their area during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are some scenes from the protests Sunday:


Colorado coronavirus protest
Protesters wave placards during a car protest against the stay-at-home order issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to stem the spread of the new coronavirus Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Denver. David Zalubowski / AP
Colorado coronavirus protest
A protester waves a placard during a protest against the stay-at-home order issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to stem the spread of the new coronavirus Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Denver. David Zalubowski / AP


Tennessee coronavirus protest
Protesters rally at the Tennessee state capitol to speak out against the state's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee is under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus outbreak except for essential workers. Mark Humphrey / AP
Tennessee coronavirus protest
A driver displays an alternate opinion as she passes protesters demonstrating at the Tennessee state capitol to speak out against the state's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. Mark Humphrey / AP

Washington state

Washington state coronavirus protest
Demonstrators begin to gather at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Washington. Elaine Thompson / AP
By Peter Martinez

Florida releases names of nursing homes stricken with coronavirus

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has released the names of long-term care facilities and nursing homes where residents have tested positive for COVID-19, CBS Miami reports. The station said there are 39 facilities in Broward and 54 in Miami-Dade counties with cases of coronavirus.

There were no facilities in Monroe County on the Florida Department of Health's list, which can be seen here.

DeSantis said he released the information so that family members of people living there are informed. He added that he's expanding the number of strike teams going into nursing homes and doing testing.

Read more here.


Video tribute honors Oklahoma bombing victims amid pandemic

Survivors and loved ones of the 168 people who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing were not able to gather Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the attack, but that did not stop them from remembering.

Because the annual remembrance ceremony was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions, those the victims instead were honored with a video tribute that included the reading of the names of those who died followed by 168 seconds of silence.

25th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony by Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on YouTube

It was "extremely difficult" to not be able to attend in person, said Ryan Whicher, whose father, U.S. Secret Service Agent Alan Whicher, was killed in the bombing. "I'm not with my sisters today, I'm not with my mother today," in Oklahoma City, he said by phone from Baltimore, where he now lives.

The prerecorded video, which included remarks by former President Bill Clinton, who was president at the time of the bombing, U.S. Senator James Lankford, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Tony award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenowith, an Oklahoma native, drew praise from Whicher and state District Judge Cindy Ferrell Ashwood, whose sister, U.S. Housing and Urban Development attorney Susan Ferrell, died in the blast.

Read more here.

By The Associated Press

Coronavirus pandemic fueling rise in anti-Asian discrimination and harassment, says NYC Commission on Human Rights

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has formed a COVID-19 response team to look into harassment and discrimination related to the coronavirus outbreak, CBS New York reports.

There have been 248 reports of harassment and discrimination related to the outbreak since February, the commission said in a statement. Some 40% of the incidents targeted Asians. By way of comparison, the commission received just just five reports of anti-Asian discrimination at the same time last year.

"In this time of unparalleled crisis, the NYC Commission on Human Rights is dedicated to responding to and investigating reports of bias, harassment and discrimination related to the COVID-19 outbreak in our city," said NYC Commission on Human Rights chair Carmelyn Malalis. "Our team of Law Enforcement Bureau and Community Relations Bureau staff are synchronizing their efforts to track and respond to these reports quickly, intervening immediately where possible, and filing cases where necessary. All New Yorkers are facing extraordinary levels of stress right now; discrimination and harassment should not be among them."

Read more here.


Italy's death toll hits one-week low

Italy's one-day coronavirus death toll continued to drop, with a reported 433 deaths on Sunday. It's the lowest daily death rate in a week, according to Reuters.

On Saturday, 482 people died, a drop from Friday's total of 575.

The number of new cases Sunday also slowed to 3,047 from a previous 3,491, the Civil Protection Agency said.

At one point, Italy had the highest death toll of any country in the world, but it has since been overtaken by the U.S. Since the crisis began, more than 23,000 people in Italy have died from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins.

Italy has been on lockdown since March 9, according to Reuters, and there's no clear plan yet as to when it will reopen.

By Caroline Linton

Massachusetts governor calls on other states to develop robust contact tracing

Massachusetts governor says there's "value" in phone call contact tracing 06:29

As states begin looking to revive their economies, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urged governors to implement contact tracing programs like Massachusetts has to identify residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those they have come into contact with the virus so they can isolate themselves and contain the illness.

"I think it's going to be critical for every state that wants to get open and back to something like a new normal to put some kind of mechanism like this in place," Baker said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

Massachusetts is working with the organization Partners in Health, which Baker described as the "gold standard," to conduct contract tracing. The state will hire 1,000 people in all, tasking them with calling Massachusetts residents who tested positive for COVID-19 and those they have had close contact with, asking them to self-isolate.

"For us to get back on our feet and start thinking about reopening, we have got to have better knowledge and better understanding and support for people who are dealing with this virus and those they've come in close contact with, and this is going to be a big initiative," he said.

When pressed on why Massachusetts is using phone calls to reach people instead of digital technologies, Baker said he believes there will be a role for both.

"I don't think it's an either/or. I think it's a both/and," he said. "But just based on this stuff we started doing already, there's tremendous value in having conversations with people who are COVID-19 positive, not just in terms of who they've been in contact with, but also what it's going to take to help them stay isolated and, you know, manage their way through the virus themselves."

Public health experts say contact tracing will be a key pillar of the coronavirus response.

By Melissa Quinn

Chamber of Commerce chief expects deal in Congress on small business loans

Head of U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects deal in Congress on small business loans 05:19

Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Sunday that she believes a deal to provide an additional $250 billion to ailing small businesses will be reached by Congress this week.

"The $250 billion is just another really important step on getting aid to the front lines as fast as possible. I do think it will get done this week, and the Chamber is delighted about that," Clark said on "Face the Nation," adding that the viability of small businesses and ensuring American workers have a paycheck "requires getting back to work, of course, safely and sustainably when the public health officials say it's OK to do so."

The Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money Thursday, which Clark said is indicative of the "great pain out there," and said she expects the program will work better for small businesses that had issues submitting applications initially.

"We know that the banks, you know, this didn't make different banking regulations go away. So they had to deal with people they did business with. They had to deal with anti-money laundering rules, et cetera. So it was easier to do business with people that they knew," she said. "But we know now, as other non-traditional lenders get into this space, that they are ready to give the money and make it easier for small businesses to access as soon as that fund is replenished."

By Melissa Quinn

Cuomo announces launch of "aggressive" antibody testing program in New York

Cuomo says New York will start aggressive antibody testing 14:10

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will implement the "most aggressive" antibody testing program in the country over the next week. 

Cuomo held a press conference at Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, which he said was "leading the parade" on testing for the antibodies produced by the virus. 

"Nobody has done testing on this level ever," Cuomo said. 

But Cuomo emphasized the need to work in partnership with the federal government. 

The governor said any plan to reopen the state includes knowing how many have been infected. He insisted the state should "learn about these horrific experiences" and "build back better than before."

"I don't want to have gone through all this and then say, 'We're reopening,'" Cuomo said. "We have to reopen for a better future than we've had."

Cuomo said 507 people in the state died from coronavirus on Saturday, another decrease from the day before.

By Caroline Linton

Gottlieb says U.S. not yet "out of the woods"

Gottlieb says U.S. not yet "out of the woods" of coronavirus pandemic 06:20

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday the country is not "out of the woods" yet despite a leveling off in the number of new coronavirus cases in some areas of the country and as governors come under pressure to begin reviving their economies.

"The parts of the country that were later to enter their epidemic portion of this crisis, I think still are going to come out of it later, and you still have to be concerned about that," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation." "And then really any part of the country is vulnerable, even rural parts of the country, saw that with South Dakota. Once a case gets into a situation where you have people tightly packed indoors, it can spread very quickly. You see these super-spreader situations, as you saw in South Dakota. So I don't think anyone's out of the woods right now."

Gottlieb said people "still need to be worried" about the Southeast and the Sun Belt, where parts of Florida, Georgia and Texas may see a spike in cases.

Read more here.

By Melissa Quinn

Birx emphasizes "community by community" approach to testing

Birx says White House taking "community by community" approach to coronavirus testing 07:24

As the White House comes under criticism for testing capacity amid pressure for states to restart their economies, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the federal government is approaching coronavirus testing on a "community by community" basis.

"What we're trying to do is look at this in a very data-driven, granular scientific methodologies to predict community by community the testing that is needed," Birx said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "At the same time, working with every laboratory director across the country that have these multiple platforms to really understand and find solutions for them on their issues related to supplies."

The Trump administration last week rolled out guidance for governors in determining when and how they should reopen their economies, which details three phases of criteria for areas to begin to return to normal. But before sending Americans back to work, public health experts have called for a significant increase in testing capacity. 

Read more here.

By Melissa Quinn

Pence says U.S. conducting 150,000 coronavirus tests per day

Vice President Mike Pence told "Fox News Sunday" that the U.S. is conducting 150,000 tests per day and has conducted more than 4 million tests since the coronavirus outbreak reached the U.S.

"We believe the testing that we have today, Chris, across the country, once we activate all of the labs that can do coronavirus testing, is sufficient for any state in America to move into phase one," Pence said, referencing the Trump administration's newly released guidelines for governors regarding reopening the economy. "We're doing about 150,000 tests a day, and you remember a month ago, we had done 80,000 tests total. Now we've cleared 4 million overall."

Pence said he believes testing capacity can increase with the help of governors.

"In 150,000 tests a day, we think we can double that number by working with governors to activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country that can do coronavirus testing," he said.

As the Trump administration starts looking toward a return to normalcy in the U.S., public health officials say more testing will be crucial before any reopening of the economy.

By Melissa Quinn

Mnuchin says negotiators "very close to a deal" on small business loans

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed optimism that he and Democratic leaders in Congress are nearing a deal to provide more funding for small businesses weathering the devastating economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union," Mnuchin said he and Democrats are "very close to a deal today."

"I'm hopeful that we can reach an agreement, that the Senate can pass this tomorrow and that the House can take it up on Tuesday and Wednesday we'd be back up and running," he said.

The Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic, ran out of money Thursday. The Trump administration asked Congress for an additional $250 billion for the program, but congressional Democrats want an emergency measure to include more money for hospitals and state and local governments.

By Melissa Quinn

Tech giants collaborate on digital contact-tracing tools

Tech giants on the trail of COVID-19 07:34

Read the story here.


LA County sees deadliest day yet

Los Angeles County on Saturday reported the highest number of deaths in a single day so far with 81. Officials also said the total number of coronavirus-related deaths almost doubled this past week, CBS Los Angeles reports.

"Today marks a very sad milestone for our county," said Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.

By Jordan Freiman

Federal judge blocks Kansas governor's order banning religious gatherings of 10 or more

A federal judge on Saturday issued a limited temporary restraining order against Kansas Governor Kelly's Laura executive order banning religious gatherings of 10 or more people. The ruling only applies to the two churches that filed the lawsuit, CBS News affiliate WIBW reports.

"This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis," Kelly said following the ruling. "This ruling was just a preliminary step. There is still a long way to go in this case, and we will continue to be proactive and err on the side of caution where Kansans' health and safety is at stake."

Kelly's executive order was initially blocked by the state's Legislative Coordinating Council. Kelly filed a lawsuit, and the state Supreme Court ruled in the governor's favor, reinstating the ban on the eve of Easter. The oral arguments and the decision in that case were conducted entirely via video teleconferencing software for the first time ever.

By Jordan Freiman

19 more migrants deported by the U.S. to Guatemala have tested positive

Guatemala's president announced Saturday that 19 more migrants deported by the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus. A spokesperson for Guatemala's public health ministry confirmed the official count of coronavirus cases among deportees now stands at 36.

On Saturday, 22 total new cases were reported in Guatemala. There are currently 257 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. At least 36 — or 14% — of Guatemala's 257 cases stem from tests conducted on people recently deported from the U.S.

On Thursday, Guatemala put an indefinite halt to receiving deportation flights from the U.S.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez
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