Pence says he didn't wear a mask at Mayo Clinic because he wanted to look personnel "in the eye"
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Tuesday that he didn’t wear a face mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota because he’s tested for coronavirus regularly. “As Vice President of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. And when the CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask, it was their recognition that people that may have the coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask,” Pence said. “Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here … and look (personnel) in the eye and say thank you,” he continued. CNN previously reported that while Pence didn’t wear a mask, everyone around him did. Pence was told of the new rules before he visited, the clinic said on Twitter, a post that was subsequently deleted.
Fauci: Federal government and states need to have "productive partnership"
From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper today that there needs to be a “productive partnership” between the federal government and states on testing. “The federal government has to provide strategic guidance as well as technical assistance,” Fauci said. He added that one of the problems has been getting the test to people who need them, “we’re not connecting the dots.” He said states can’t be left on their own on the one hand and on the other hand “the federal government can’t do it by its self.”
Connecticut reports its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in weeks
From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield
Connecticut reported an increase of 315 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest number of new infections reported “in weeks,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news conference. There are at least 26,312 cases of Covid-19 in the state. Hospitalizations were slightly down on Tuesday. There were 1,732 hospitalizations in the state, a decrease of 26 since Monday. The big curves in the state — which occurred mostly in the southern portion — are continuing to “bend down,” the governor said, though he, and the state's Public Health Department’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Matthew Carter, stressed that the numbers are still high. Lamont also noted that the unemployment rate in Connecticut is currently north of 20% — the likes of which the state hasn’t seen “since the Great Depression.”
Trump says he thinks coronavirus is "going to go away"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump said the worst of the coronavirus is over in the United States during an event at the White House Tuesday, and when pressed by reporters, once again said he thinks the virus is going to “go away.” In remarks at an event celebrating the second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, the President said, “our experts believe the worst days of our pandemic are behind us.” He was asked later how he could be so sure when the country is only beginning to reopen. “I think what happens is it’s going to go away. This is going to go away,” the President responded, “and whether it comes back in a modified form in the fall we’ll be able to handle it. We’ll be able to put out spurts. And we’re very prepared to handle it.” Trump significantly walked back his certainty that a vaccine would be developed quickly. “I think that like other things, we’re going to hope we’re going to come up with a vaccine. You never know about a vaccine,” he said. “Tremendous progress has been made we think on a vaccine. You always have to say think, and then you have to test it, and that takes a period of time.”
Utah to provide free masks for residents
From CNN's Shawn Nottingham
A new program would provide masks to as many Utah residents as possible, the state's Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said at a news conference today. The “mask for every Utahan” program will allow residents to request a mask from the state free of charge. The masks will be manufactured by Utah-based businesses, according to Cox. He said in addition to providing masks for residents, the program will save at least 200 jobs in the state. Cox said that once the initial mask order is placed, it could take up to three weeks to have them delivered.
Trump says he's lost three more friends to coronavirus
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
President Trump said Tuesday that in addition to his friend Stanley Chera, he’s lost three other friends to coronavirus. The President also said he’s spoken to at least three families of other individuals who have died from coronavirus. “I’ve spoken to three, maybe four families (of individuals who have died of coronavirus) unrelated to me. I lost a very good friend. I also lost three other friends,” Trump said during an event in the East Room of the White House. He added: “Two of them I didn’t know as well, but they were friends, people I did business with.”
Illinois reports its most Covid-19 deaths in 24-hour period
From CNN's Chris Boyette
A runner and two women wearing protective masks take advantage of a break in cold, damp weather and temperatures reaching the 60s on April 27, in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP The past 24 hours have seen more people in Illinois die due to Covid-19 than any other day yet, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced at a news conference Tuesday. Ezike announced 144 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the state death total to 2,125. The state has seen 2,219 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. This brings the state total to 48,102 cases, Ezike said.
US stocks end day lower
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks lost steam after a buoyant market open, finishing the day lower. Here's what happened today:
The Dow snapped a four-day winning streak, its longest since February. The index finished down 0.1%, or 32 points.
The S&P 500 fell 0.5%.
The Nasdaq Composite was the worst performer of the three major benchmarks as tech stocks fell. It ended down 1.4%.
"Every situation is different" when reopening schools, Dallas superintendent says
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, said that despite the President Trump's comments suggesting schools should open for just a few weeks, “we really have to listen to our local businesses our local leaders and how we work together here in Dallas. Every situation is different.” He told CNN's Kate Bolduan he is grateful to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for closing schools. Hinojosa said he is very concerned about a potential spike in the virus.
“Parents will forgive us for a few things, but they won’t forgive us if something happens to the health of their students under our care, custody, and control," he said.
The district is considering a split schedule for students, staggering arrivals and classroom lunches among the changes. Plan A is everyone who shows up with no restrictions, but Hinojosa admitted, “it’s very unlikely that Plan A will ever happen.” Requiring all students and teachers to wear masks is another option, he said.
Trump: The number of coronavirus cases "will go down to zero, ultimately"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump stood by his comments that the number of coronavirus cases would go to zero in the United States, a claim he once made while trying to downplay the virus. CNN’s Jim Acosta asked the President how the United States got to the grim milestone of one million coronavirus cases, from the President’s prediction back in February that 15 US cases would turn to zero. “It will go down to zero, ultimately,” he said Tuesday. At least 57,266 Americans have died of coronavirus. “You have to understand when it comes to cases, we do much more testing than any other country,” the President said. “We’re going to show more cases because we’re doing much more testing.” He went on to repeat claims that, “many very good experts, very good people too, said this would never affect the United States.” “The experts got it wrong. A lot of people got it wrong and a lot of people didn’t know it would be this serious,” Trump said.
Navy hospital ship will leave New York City on Thursday
From CNN's Elise Hammond
The USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship is docked at Pier 90 in Manhattan on April 27, as seen from Weehawken, New Jersey. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship that was docked in New York City to assist with the city's coronavirus response, will depart on Thursday, according to a press release from the US military. The Comfort will return to Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, where it will wait for "future tasking for Covid-19 operations in support of FEMA," the release said. The USNS Comfort arrived in New York City on March 30 and was originally tasked with providing care to non-coronavirus patients, but quickly started treating all patients regardless of their Covid-19 status.
Maine extends stay-at-home order until the end of May
From CNN's Joe Sutton
Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced today that the state will extend its stay-at-home order until May 31. “Today, I am announcing that I will extend the stay at home order, in the form of a new stay safer at home executive order. This order will be effective through May 31," Mills said. She said the order, "will allow Maine people to continue to engage in activities that are already permitted such as occasional grocery shopping, exercise; but it will also be modified to allow us to participate in the safe and gradual reopening, restarting of our economy.”
California governor floats idea of school restarting in July
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses an outline for what it will take to lift coronavirus restrictions during a news conference in Rancho Cordova, California on April 14. Rich Pedroncelli/AP As California moves closer toward lifting restrictions, Gov. Gavin Newsom is floating the idea of starting the next school year in late July or early August. Newsom cited a significant loss in learning during the virtual model implemented by districts across the state. “We have to make up for those gaps that may have occurred over this time,” State Health Director Sonia Angell said, explaining the plan to move forward Reopening schools and child care will take more planning, Angell said, and precautions, including face coverings and physical distancing, must remain in place.
Some businesses in West Virginia will open Thursday
From CNN's Lauren del Valle
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks at the Covid-19 briefing on April 28. Office of Jim Justice West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a press conference Tuesday that his administration plans to reopen local businesses Thursday. Justice announced 37 people have died due to coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, but said the positive test result rate was under 3% Monday and today. Should the positive testing rate fall under 3% again tomorrow, certain healthcare-related businesses will be permitted to open Thursday, Justice said. Those qualifying businesses include pharmacies, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, physical therapists, social workers, and others. Daycare workers will be tested for the virus beginning this week and will reopen should all working personnel test negative. All businesses reopening will require personnel to sanitize, physically distance, and wear face coverings.
Phase two: If this week continues on track, more businesses will be permitted to open next Monday, Justice said. This second phase will include small businesses with less than 10 employees, outdoor dining at restaurants, salons, and dog groomers. Places of worship are also expected to be included in that second phase but capacity will be restricted.
Woman on a packed flight were passengers weren't wearing masks says it was a "scary experience"
From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury
Erin Strine was flying home to be with her family after her grandmother passed away and was shocked to be on a packed American Airlines flight with people who were not wearing masks. Strine, who took video of the packed flight, said an announcement was made after she boarded that passengers would not be able to move their seats and would not be able to social distance because the flight was full. “It was a scary thing to experience,” Strine told CNN’s, Brooke Baldwin. “I would’ve felt a little better knowing that everyone had been required to wear masks,“ she said. American Airlines announced today that the company would require flight attendants to wear face masks starting May 1. This comes after JetBlue became the first airline to require passengers to wear face coverings starting May 4. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said while face masks alone aren’t enough, requiring them on flights does keep “everyone safer.” Nelson added that coronavirus safety requirements should be consistent and that there needs to be a federal mandate for aviation policy regarding the virus across the board. She said that the rest of the world is “heads above” where the US currently is. “Canada put this in place a week ago. Other countries around the world have had this in place for several weeks and months and we need to be leaders again in the world and take the best precautions for our health and safety,” Nelson said.
Schools might not recover if they don't reopen in the fall, university president says
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
Brown University President Christina Paxson said opening colleges and universities in the fall is key for viability. Financial stressors existed before the pandemic during the last decade for higher education, Paxson told CNN's, Brooke Baldwin. “Those colleges and universities depend on tuition. If they can’t bring students back safely, which is very important, then they are going to be under severe financial stress and I don’t know how all of them will recover,” she said. Brown is making a plan, but Paxson doesn’t know if it will be implemented, echoing what she wrote in her New York Times op-ed Monday. She said it will depend on what happens with the pandemic in the coming months. Testing, tracking, and separating those who are exposed or sick are all part of the plan, Paxson said. “It won’t be, if we can do this, a normal academic year, it will be different. We are going to have to spend a lot of time working with our students helping them understand what they need to do to responsibly keep themselves and their community safe,” she said.
There have been nearly 12,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths in New York City
From CNN's Rob Frehse
New York City has had at least 11,820 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 5,395 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 as 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 17,215. There have been 157,713 coronavirus cases in the city and approximately 40,578 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.
Tripadvisor lays off 25% of its staff
From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky
Tripadvisor announced today that it will lay off 900 employees, or roughly 25% of its workforce, because of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on demand for travel. More than 600 employees working in the US and Canada and nearly 300 employees working outside those two countries will be affected. The company also said it would put a "number" of employees on furlough for an unspecified time and shutter its San Francisco and Boston offices. "All of these actions, while difficult, will give TripAdvisor greater financial flexibility and enable us to better manage the business through this time of incredible uncertainty and instability," CEO Steve Kaufner said in an open letter. TripAdvisor's stock is down 40% for the year.
Colorado receives more than $10 million in federal funding for coronavirus research
From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian
Colorado received more than $10 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide additional funding for epidemiological work and lab testing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the Colorado State Joint Information Center. The funding is part of various federal aid programs that provide assistance to states dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “We have our work ahead of us to slow the spread of Covid-19, and this additional funding will allow us to bolster our testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak investigation work at a critical time," Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist said in a statement. The CDC will provide further guidance on the specific spending parameters later this week, but generally the money is for a two-year period and is intended to go towards programs that "enhance case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response, especially in high-risk settings and among at-risk populations," for example, the statement said.
Mike Pence is the only one visible not wearing a mask during Mayo Clinic tour
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence is touring the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, today, speaking with health care workers and plasma donors. He’s currently touring a coronavirus testing lab and getting an explanation of its capabilities. Strikingly, Pence is the only person visible in the video not wearing a face mask. Dr. Stephen Hahn with the Food and Drug Administration is touring the facility along with the Vice President, and he, unlike Pence, is wearing a mask. Mayo Clinic tweeted that Pence had been notified of its "masking policy" before today's tour, but then later deleted the tweet.
More than a million cases of coronavirus reported in the US
From CNN's Amanda Watts
There are at least 1,002,498 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. The number of confirmed US coronavirus cases topped 500,000 on April 10, according to Johns Hopkins’ tally.
Trump to order meat processing plants to stay open
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins
President Trump is expected to sign a five-page executive order under the Defense Production Act today that compels meat processing plants to remain open, CNN has learned. Trump is expected to sign the order after some companies, like Tyson, were considering only keeping 20% of their facilities open. The vast majority of processing plans could have shut down, which would have reduced processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%, an official familiar says. By signing the order, Trump will declare these plants as a part of critical infrastructure in the US. The administration is also working with the Labor Department on issuing guidance about which employees should remain home. This is to protect facilities that are required to stay open from liability issues. Trump previewed the order earlier today during an Oval Office spray with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying that he expects to sign an executive order later in the day related to the food supply chain. “We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump told reporters. The President also underscored that “there’s plenty of supply. It’s distribution.” “It was a unique circumstance because of liability,” he added.
Students sue California universities over campus fees during coronavirus
From CNN's Stella Chan
Students at the University of California and the California State University System are suing for the balance of their campus fees, according to court papers filed in Los Angeles and Oakland yesterday.
The suit filed in Los Angeles against the California State University System said: “CSU's decision to transition to online classes and to instruct students to leave campus were responsible decisions to make, but it is unfair and unlawful for CSU to retain fees and costs and to pass the losses on to the students and/or their families. Other higher education institutions across the United States that also have switched to e-learning and have requested that students leave campus have recognized the upheaval and financial harm to students and/or their families from these decisions and have provided appropriate refunds.” Similarly, the Oakland filing against the University of California says it “has improperly retained monies paid by Plaintiff and the other Class members for these fees for services that are no longer available,” according to the filing. Campus fees include health facilities, health services, and student activities. Most students were not eligible for stimulus funds, said the suits. Campuses have been closed to students since March and moved to distance learning platforms for over 700-thousand students. School is in session through at least May for both university systems.
Alabama governor will allow stay-at-home order to end Thursday
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday the current stay-at-home order will not be extended beyond Thursday, April 30. Ivey said she will instead issue a safer-at-home order that will go into effect at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. Under the new order, all employers, retail stores, and beaches will be allowed to open subject to good sanitation and social distancing rules, the governor said. Ivey said the state is not out of the woods. She encouraged all Alabamians to stay home and follow good sanitation practices.
Supreme Court outlines new rules as justices plan for first-ever phone hearings
From CNN's Ariane de Vogue
When the Supreme Court hears arguments next month by phone for the first time in the court's history, the justices will change their normal protocol and try to avoid their familiar interruptions. The justices will ask their questions in order of seniority, with Chief Justice John Roberts going first, the court announced today. Under normal circumstances, the court is considered a "hot bench," with justices frequently interrupting each other and the lawyers before them. Roberts has had to step in as a kind of traffic cop at certain times. Under the new system that will be in place for arguments beginning on Monday, a justice will get the chance to exhaust his or her line of questioning before the next justice begins. If there is time, according to a release from Kathy Arberg, the Court's public information officer, any remaining questions can be asked after the first round is over. Arberg said the changes were made in "keeping with public health guidance in response to Covid-19." In all, the court will hear 10 cases over the next two weeks. The most noteworthy cases fall on May 12 concerning President Trump's bid to shield his financial records from release. The sessions will mark the first time in history that members of the public will be able to listen in to arguments in real-time.
New Jersey reports over 400 more coronavirus deaths
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced 402 additional fatalities, bringing the total to 6,442 deaths related to Covid-19 in the state. An additional 2,887 positive cases were reported in New Jersey, pushing the statewide total to 113,856.
Iowa governor says it's "essential, critical" to keep meat processing facilities open
From CNN’s Gregory Lemos
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday her state is doing everything it can to keep the meat supply chain up and running. “This is essential, critical to keeping the food supply chain moving, “ she said at her daily news briefing. When asked about recent outbreaks in meat processing facilities in her state, Reynolds pointed to the fact Iowa produces 10% of the nation’s food supply.
“We have a role and obligation from our farmers, to our processors, to our supply chain to continue to feed the world and keep food on the plate,” the governor said.
Reynolds said the meat processing plants are working with the state to ensure proper safety measures are being taken to protect both the workers and the supply chain. She said temperature checks, mandatory face masks, partitions, new attendance policies, and social distancing are being used to keep workers safe. Reynolds issued a warning if processing plants are closed down saying, “We're going to really be dealing with some significant issues going forward not only from a food supply, protein effort, but the cost of food as well.”
There are more than 990,000 cases of coronavirus in the US
There have been at least 994,625 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. At least 56,749 people have died from the virus. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
Grammy-nominated gospel singer dies from coronavirus complications
From CNN's Lisa France
Troy Sneed, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer and record label founder, has died of complications from Covid-19, his publicist Bill Carpenter confirmed to CNN. Sneed was 52. Known for gospel radio hits, including "My Heart Says Yes" and "Worked It Out," Sneed died Monday at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
Trump says he'll sign an executive order related to the food supply
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
President Trump said Tuesday that he expects to sign an executive order later in the day related to the food supply chain. “We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office spray with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The President said the administration is working with Tyson Foods on the issue. The President also underscored that “there’s plenty of supply. It’s distribution.” “It was a unique circumstance because of liability,” he added. The President did not provide any further details.