National coronavirus updates: Trump says ‘some governors’ got ‘carried away’ with social distancing

The latest: There have been more than 734,000 coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.The U.S. death toll has surpassed 38,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins.Globally, there have been more than 2.3 million cases with more than 160,000 deaths.Wuhan, China, where the first case of coronavirus was recorded, has added nearly 1,300 new deaths to its death toll. China has recently faced increased U.S. scrutiny to be transparent in its reporting on the virus.President Donald Trump unveiled guidelines this week to help states loosen restrictions. He told governors it’s their decision on when and how to reopen.Governors of some states have started detailing plans to reopen, while other states have extended existing stay-at-home orders. Tri-states align policies allowing boatyards and marinas to open for personal useThe governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced Saturday that marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers “will be allowed open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed,” according to a release from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.The states are aligning their policies for marinas and boatyards, noting that chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only.”A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency,” Murphy said.Trump says ‘some governors have gotten carried away’ with social distancing President Donald Trump said Saturday he believes “some of the governors have gotten carried away” with social distancing measures, when asked about protests against social-distancing measures taking place across the nation. He said that “a lot of people don’t have to be told to do what they are doing,” in following social distancing measures. His comments come as protests against coronavirus-related restrictions continue in various states across the country.NY governor warns the state is not ready to ease lockdown New York’s daily toll of coronavirus deaths hit its lowest point in more than two weeks, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday that the state isn’t ready to ease up on shutdowns of schools, businesses and gatherings.The daily increase in coronavirus deaths in New York state has dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline, Cuomo said Saturday.But the crisis is far from over: Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day, and nursing homes remain a “feeding frenzy for this virus,” he said.While the crush of patients has eased somewhat in emergency rooms, “that doesn’t mean happy days are here again,” the Democrat said. “We are not at a point when we are going to be reopening anything immediately.”The state logged 540 deaths Friday from COVID-19, the lowest number since April 1.Nearly 13,000 New Yorkers in all have died since the state’s first coronavirus case was reported March 1, the governor said. The state total doesn’t include more than 4,000 New York City deaths that were blamed on the virus on death certificates but weren’t confirmed by a lab test.More than 2,700 people in New York nursing homes have lost their lives, more by far than in any other state.Infectious disease doctor says US needs more testing to get “on top” of coronavirus An infectious disease doctor said the U.S. has “somewhere between one-third and one-tenth the number of tests we need in order to think about being on top of the testing issue,” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN the U.S. lost time at the beginning of the pandemic when the first test didn’t work initially, according to health officials.”While we were waiting for this test we were losing time in the containment stage of the epidemic,” Walensky said. “We couldn’t rapidly test people; we couldn’t contact trace them and isolate the infected persons and quarantine their contacts, and during that time, we got community spread.”Experts and government officials have said widespread testing will be crucial to reopening the economy safely. Some governors roll out reopening plans, amid warnings from health officialsWith new guidelines from the federal government, some governors have rolled out plans to begin lifting measures in place battling the spread of the coronavirus — but other officials say it’s still too early.In Florida, residents flocked to Jacksonville beaches after officials announced a soft opening Friday night allowing for recreational activities for several hours each day. In Texas and Minnesota, state leaders announced they’d be lifting some of the measures in place in the coming days — still requiring residents to keep a distance and avoid big crowds.But some health experts and medical groups have warned the U.S. is still behind in its testing capacity — a key factor in the country’s reopening process to help determine and track just how many people are infected.In a three-part guideline released this week, the White House said states can enter the first phase toward reopening once they see a continued decrease over two weeks. President Donald Trump, who has said governors will call the shots on when to reopen their state, said this week the states with the lowest number of cases could begin reopening “literally tomorrow.”Meanwhile, an influential model of the virus that’s often cited by the White House says some states with a low number of cases could begin lifting measures starting May 4. Those include Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii.Others, including Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, may need to wait until late June or early July.”Actual 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,” the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, where the model was created, said in a news release.Montana, still recording one of the lowest numbers of cases in the country, says it’s not prepared to reopen.”Even the gating criteria (of two straight weeks with new cases slowing down) that the president put out yesterday — we haven’t met those criteria,” Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an extension of the state’s existing stay-at-home order through May 15.In New York City, residents can now report other people for not social distancing.Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new service that encourages New Yorkers to take a photo of a crowded place, or a group of people who are not following social distancing guidelines, and text it to a phone number that alerts authorities.”We still know there’s some people that need to get the message and that means sometimes making sure the enforcement is there to educate people and make clear we’ve got to have social distancing,” de Blasio said in a tweet Saturday. “When you see a crowd, when you see a line that’s distanced, when you see a supermarket that too crowded, anything, you can report it right away so we can get help there to fix the problem.”De Blasio said that once New Yorkers send the photo, “we will make sure enforcement comes right away.”He said the new reporting system is about saving lives and making sure social distancing is continuing in the city.PGlmcmFtZSBpZD0iaHR2LWNvdmlkLW1hcCIgc3JjPSJodHRwczovL2NvdmlkLTE5LWFzc2V0cy5odHZ0b29scy51cy9pbmRleC5odG1sIiBzY3JvbGw9Im5vIiBzdHlsZT0iYm9yZGVyOm5vbmU7Ij48L2lmcmFtZT4KWhere measures are being liftedTexas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Friday easing some measures next week — ordering state parks to reopen by Monday but directing residents to wear face coverings, keep a distance and stay in groups of five people or less.Texas has more than 18,000 reported infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, making it one of the states with the most cases.The governor also directed retail stores to begin reopening April 24 and instead deliver products to customers’ cars and homes. He said the process of reopening the state will happen gradually and will be guided by medical experts.U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, criticizing the governor’s decision, said there will be a “cost in lives of doing it prematurely when there’s so many questions about the accuracy of testing, of so many dangers from ignoring social distancing. I find his orders troubling.”In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz signed an order allowing many outdoor activities — including golfing, boating, hunting and biking — to resume Saturday morning, as long as residents follow social distancing guidelines, avoid crowded spaces and stay close to home.”The only way this is going to work even with something like golf or shooting ranges or trails, is if we follow those, washing our hands, stay home (guidelines). If you’re sick, cough into your sleeve, wear a mask.” Walz said in a news conference Friday.US still behind on testing, expert saysExperts have for long said one of the major determining factors behind governors’ decisions to reopen their economies should be testing, and medical experts continue to insist the country is behind.Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the White House coronavirus task force believes the U.S. has the testing capacity for states to begin easing their measures — the first of three phases in the federal guide of reopening the country.Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, says the country’s current number of conducted tests — less than 150,000 a day — are not nearly enough.”If we were just testing the highest priority people and nobody else, we’d need about three times as many tests,” Frieden told CNN. But as the U.S. is testing lower priority people as well, the country would need 10 to 20 times more tests than that, Frieden said.And earlier this week, the Association of American Medical Colleges sent a letter to the government’s task force saying labs are facing critical shortages.”Laboratories across the country are working day and night to expand testing capacity but are severely hampered by shortages of needed reagents, swabs for testing, PPE, and specialized equipment designed by companies to be used with their own machines,” it said.The World Health Organization has warned there is no evidence to suggest the presence of antibodies in blood can determine whether someone has immunity to the coronavirus. The number of recovered coronavirus patients who have retested positive for the virus has raised concerns about how antibodies work in response to COVID-19.While scientists say there is no evidence yet that a person who has retested positive can spread the virus further, there haven’t been any conclusive studies to rule that out.Professor Chris Dye, of the Oxford Martin School at Britain’s University of Oxford, said substantial work to develop accurate antibody tests for coronavirus infection was ongoing.“The WHO are right to highlight that any antibody test, if we get one, won’t be able to definitely say whether someone is immune to the infection, because we just don’t know enough yet about how immunity works with COVID-19,” he told the Science Media Centre.Such tests would need to be sensitive enough to ensure that infections were not missed, and specific enough to be confident that a positive result is correct, he said.”Before an antibody test can be used to indicate that someone is immune to further infection, the level of protection must be demonstrated in experimental trials,” Dye added.W2lmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZDJjbXZicTdzeHgzM2ouY2xvdWRmcm9udC5uZXQvZW1haWwvcHJvZF9jb3JvbmF2aXJ1c19pZnJhbWVfYXJ0aWNsZS5odG1sIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjQxNCIgc3R5bGU9IndpZHRoOjEwMCU7Ym9yZGVyOm5vbmU7b3ZlcmZsb3c6aGlkZGVuIiBzY3JvbGxpbmc9Im5vIiBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0iMCIgYWxsb3dUcmFuc3BhcmVuY3k9InRydWUiXVsvaWZyYW1lXQ==The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.

The latest:

  • There have been more than 734,000 coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
  • The U.S. death toll has surpassed 38,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • Globally, there have been more than 2.3 million cases with more than 160,000 deaths.
  • Wuhan, China, where the first case of coronavirus was recorded, has added nearly 1,300 new deaths to its death toll. China has recently faced increased U.S. scrutiny to be transparent in its reporting on the virus.
  • President Donald Trump unveiled guidelines this week to help states loosen restrictions. He told governors it’s their decision on when and how to reopen.
  • Governors of some states have started detailing plans to reopen, while other states have extended existing stay-at-home orders.

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Tri-states align policies allowing boatyards and marinas to open for personal use

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced Saturday that marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers “will be allowed open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed,” according to a release from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

The states are aligning their policies for marinas and boatyards, noting that chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only.

“A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency,” Murphy said.

Trump says ‘some governors have gotten carried away’ with social distancing

President Donald Trump said Saturday he believes “some of the governors have gotten carried away” with social distancing measures, when asked about protests against social-distancing measures taking place across the nation.

He said that “a lot of people don’t have to be told to do what they are doing,” in following social distancing measures. His comments come as protests against coronavirus-related restrictions continue in various states across the country.

NY governor warns the state is not ready to ease lockdown

New York’s daily toll of coronavirus deaths hit its lowest point in more than two weeks, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday that the state isn’t ready to ease up on shutdowns of schools, businesses and gatherings.

The daily increase in coronavirus deaths in New York state has dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline, Cuomo said Saturday.

But the crisis is far from over: Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day, and nursing homes remain a “feeding frenzy for this virus,” he said.

While the crush of patients has eased somewhat in emergency rooms, “that doesn’t mean happy days are here again,” the Democrat said. “We are not at a point when we are going to be reopening anything immediately.”

The state logged 540 deaths Friday from COVID-19, the lowest number since April 1.

Nearly 13,000 New Yorkers in all have died since the state’s first coronavirus case was reported March 1, the governor said. The state total doesn’t include more than 4,000 New York City deaths that were blamed on the virus on death certificates but weren’t confirmed by a lab test.

More than 2,700 people in New York nursing homes have lost their lives, more by far than in any other state.

Infectious disease doctor says US needs more testing to get “on top” of coronavirus

An infectious disease doctor said the U.S. has “somewhere between one-third and one-tenth the number of tests we need in order to think about being on top of the testing issue,” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN the U.S. lost time at the beginning of the pandemic when the first test didn’t work initially, according to health officials.

“While we were waiting for this test we were losing time in the containment stage of the epidemic,” Walensky said. “We couldn’t rapidly test people; we couldn’t contact trace them and isolate the infected persons and quarantine their contacts, and during that time, we got community spread.”

Experts and government officials have said widespread testing will be crucial to reopening the economy safely.

Some governors roll out reopening plans, amid warnings from health officials

With new guidelines from the federal government, some governors have rolled out plans to begin lifting measures in place battling the spread of the coronavirus — but other officials say it’s still too early.

In Florida, residents flocked to Jacksonville beaches after officials announced a soft opening Friday night allowing for recreational activities for several hours each day. In Texas and Minnesota, state leaders announced they’d be lifting some of the measures in place in the coming days — still requiring residents to keep a distance and avoid big crowds.

But some health experts and medical groups have warned the U.S. is still behind in its testing capacity — a key factor in the country’s reopening process to help determine and track just how many people are infected.

In a three-part guideline released this week, the White House said states can enter the first phase toward reopening once they see a continued decrease over two weeks.

President Donald Trump, who has said governors will call the shots on when to reopen their state, said this week the states with the lowest number of cases could begin reopening “literally tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, an influential model of the virus that’s often cited by the White House says some states with a low number of cases could begin lifting measures starting May 4. Those include Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii.

Others, including Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, may need to wait until late June or early July.

“Actual 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,” the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, where the model was created, said in a news release.

Montana, still recording one of the lowest numbers of cases in the country, says it’s not prepared to reopen.

“Even the gating criteria (of two straight weeks with new cases slowing down) that the president put out yesterday — we haven’t met those criteria,” Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an extension of the state’s existing stay-at-home order through May 15.

In New York City, residents can now report other people for not social distancing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new service that encourages New Yorkers to take a photo of a crowded place, or a group of people who are not following social distancing guidelines, and text it to a phone number that alerts authorities.

“We still know there’s some people that need to get the message and that means sometimes making sure the enforcement is there to educate people and make clear we’ve got to have social distancing,” de Blasio said in a tweet Saturday. “When you see a crowd, when you see a line that’s distanced, when you see a supermarket that too crowded, anything, you can report it right away so we can get help there to fix the problem.”

De Blasio said that once New Yorkers send the photo, “we will make sure enforcement comes right away.”

He said the new reporting system is about saving lives and making sure social distancing is continuing in the city.

Where measures are being lifted

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Friday easing some measures next week — ordering state parks to reopen by Monday but directing residents to wear face coverings, keep a distance and stay in groups of five people or less.

Texas has more than 18,000 reported infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, making it one of the states with the most cases.

The governor also directed retail stores to begin reopening April 24 and instead deliver products to customers’ cars and homes. He said the process of reopening the state will happen gradually and will be guided by medical experts.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, criticizing the governor’s decision, said there will be a “cost in lives of doing it prematurely when there’s so many questions about the accuracy of testing, of so many dangers from ignoring social distancing. I find his orders troubling.”

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz signed an order allowing many outdoor activities — including golfing, boating, hunting and biking — to resume Saturday morning, as long as residents follow social distancing guidelines, avoid crowded spaces and stay close to home.

“The only way this is going to work even with something like golf or shooting ranges or trails, is if we follow those, washing our hands, stay home (guidelines). If you’re sick, cough into your sleeve, wear a mask.” Walz said in a news conference Friday.

US still behind on testing, expert says

Experts have for long said one of the major determining factors behind governors’ decisions to reopen their economies should be testing, and medical experts continue to insist the country is behind.

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the White House coronavirus task force believes the U.S. has the testing capacity for states to begin easing their measures — the first of three phases in the federal guide of reopening the country.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, says the country’s current number of conducted tests — less than 150,000 a day — are not nearly enough.

“If we were just testing the highest priority people and nobody else, we’d need about three times as many tests,” Frieden told CNN. But as the U.S. is testing lower priority people as well, the country would need 10 to 20 times more tests than that, Frieden said.

And earlier this week, the Association of American Medical Colleges sent a letter to the government’s task force saying labs are facing critical shortages.

“Laboratories across the country are working day and night to expand testing capacity but are severely hampered by shortages of needed reagents, swabs for testing, PPE, and specialized equipment designed by companies to be used with their own machines,” it said.

The World Health Organization has warned there is no evidence to suggest the presence of antibodies in blood can determine whether someone has immunity to the coronavirus.

The number of recovered coronavirus patients who have retested positive for the virus has raised concerns about how antibodies work in response to COVID-19.

While scientists say there is no evidence yet that a person who has retested positive can spread the virus further, there haven’t been any conclusive studies to rule that out.

Professor Chris Dye, of the Oxford Martin School at Britain’s University of Oxford, said substantial work to develop accurate antibody tests for coronavirus infection was ongoing.

“The WHO are right to highlight that any antibody test, if we get one, won’t be able to definitely say whether someone is immune to the infection, because we just don’t know enough yet about how immunity works with COVID-19,” he told the Science Media Centre.

Such tests would need to be sensitive enough to ensure that infections were not missed, and specific enough to be confident that a positive result is correct, he said.

“Before an antibody test can be used to indicate that someone is immune to further infection, the level of protection must be demonstrated in experimental trials,” Dye added.

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.