US death toll from coronavirus passes 25,000; California governor says science dictates when state can reopen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to President Trump's comments that the president has "total" authority.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 6:30 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 6:30 PM

The governor of California, the first state to put a coronavirus stay-at-home order in place, told his 40 million residents that the key to going back to work and play depends on six factors -- but it's still too early to tell how soon that will be.

"Science, not politics must be the guide," Gov. Gavin Newsom said, joining a growing number of states that are taking it upon themselves to figure out how to get back to normal. "We can't get ahead of ourselves .... I don't want to make a political decision. That puts people's lives at risk."

Newsom's remarks Tuesday come as the death toll from the coronavirus in the United States passed 25,000 -- according to Johns Hopkins University -- and as governors across the county discuss the options for reopening businesses and schools in their states.

There have been signs that the US is nearing the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, with the number of deaths reported each day and the number of new cases leveling off.

The Trump administration has social distancing guidelines in effect through the end of the month. While President Donald Trump has leaned into his desire to reopen the nation's economy by May 1, the nation's governors and mayors who hold the power to enforce closures seem to disagree.

California officials during this phase of the pandemic are looking toward means of Covid-19 suppression, herd immunity and, ultimately, a vaccine, but it will be "perhaps the most difficult and challenging phase of all," Newsom said.

The governor said that was saying a lot because the phase that has brought 734 deaths and new cases was very challenging.

Herd immunity is when so many people in the community have had the virus and become immune that it largely prevents further spread.

What needs to happen for order to be lifted

Newsom emphasized that reopening schools is the priority.

"We need to get our kids back to school. I need to get my kids back to school," he said with a chuckle.

The governor said he doesn't envision any mass gatherings at sporting events or concerts until there is a vaccine and sufficient herd immunity.

The six things that need to happen before a stay-at-home order is lifted involve the state's ability to: Expand testing and track the infected, protect vulnerable people, meet the needs of medical caregivers during the most trying times, to have drugs for treatment, to have businesses and schools comply with social distancing, and to be able to reinstate a stay at home order, if need be.

California is part of a compact with Oregon and Washington that is looking at how to reopen. The leaders in those three contiguous West Coast states and in seven Northeastern states said they would regionally plan an incremental release of stay-at-home orders.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in particular said he'd fight in court any federal order to reopen his state's economy if he thought it was premature and endangered New Yorkers' health.

"If (President Trump) ordered me to reopen it in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn't do it," Cuomo told CNN's "New Day."

That may ultimately clash with the plans of President Donald Trump, who claimed Monday he has "total" authority to override governors, and who is expected to announce Tuesday a special council to plan the country's reopening.

By Tuesday, more than 598,000 cases of the virus had been reported in the US. At least 25,239 people have died.

Your coronavirus questions, answered

US is 'not there yet' to reopen, Fauci says

Thoughts of opening the country's economy on May 1, when federal social distancing guidelines are set to expire, is "a bit overly optimistic" for many places in the US, the country's top infectious disease official told The Associated Press.

The US doesn't have enough capacity to test for and trace Covid-19 cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the AP.

"We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we're not there yet," said Fauci.

The process of reopening would likely happen on a "rolling" basis and not simultaneously across the country.

"I'll guarantee you, once you start pulling back, there will be infections. It's how you deal with the infections that's going to count," Fauci told the AP, adding that we need ways to get people "out of circulation if they get infected, because once you start getting clusters, then you're really in trouble."

Fauci's comments come after Trump said the White House plans to unveil a committee focused on reopening the country in the coming weeks.

An influential model cited by the White House, meanwhile, predicts the pandemic could "peter out" in late spring, with deaths essentially stopping around 68,800 by the end of June. The model predicts the US may have seen peak daily deaths on Monday.

But the model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington assumes nationwide social distancing through May, and experts are wary about the model's assumption that there will be no resurgence of the virus in the summer months.

Though US lawmakers have approved more than $2 trillion in stimulus, the International Monetary Fund said it expects the US economy to shrink by 5.9% this year -- the worst slump since 1946.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the state legislative building Tuesday to protest the state's stay-at-home order, CNN affiliate WRAL reported.

After an hour, dpolice officers asked the group to disperse, saying too many people were there, too close together. Most left; one person was taken away in handcuffs after refusing to leave, WRAL reported.

Cuomo still wants federal help, and says he wants no fight with President

The potential clash between governors and the White House reflect one of the challenges the country will face in adapting to the pandemic.

Trump responded on Twitter to Cuomo's comments Tuesday morning, saying the New York governor had been "begging for everything," such as field hospitals and ventilators.

"I got it all done for him and everyone else, and now he seems to want independence! That won't happen," Trump tweeted.

Data continue to show New York, the state with the most reported coronavirus cases, is near its apex, Cuomo said at a later news conference.

Daily deaths were up Monday -- 778, against 671 the day before. But a three-day average in the net change of hospitalizations was down, he said.

Cuomo told reporters in Albany that ultimately he wanted no fight with the President -- and that he wanted the federal government's help doing things states are struggling to do.

Cuomo said states appear to be competing for coronavirus tests, just as he said weeks earlier that states were trying to outbid each other for scarce medical equipment like ventilators.

The federal government should be in charge of purchasing and distributing, he said.

"I want to get out of the ... competition business for ... vital testing," Cuomo said.

A new hydroxychloroquine trial

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday the state was working with Sanford Health to conduct a statewide hydroxychloroquine trial, which will include both patients who have tested positive for the virus and residents who have been exposed.

Patients who have been exposed to the virus will receive either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo, Sanford Health's chief medical officer Allison Suttle said.

"We're going on offense to help every single person deal with this virus and be willing to fight it and get better and go home to their families," the governor said.

The news comes as researchers in New York are expected to announce next week preliminary results of a study on hydroxychloroquine used on patients in that state -- offering one of the first scientific hints as to whether the drugs are helpful against coronavirus.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 147582

Reported Deaths: 3937
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24410780
Lake12911350
St. Joseph8651154
Elkhart8281130
Allen7756221
Hamilton5872113
Vanderburgh547750
Tippecanoe346414
Monroe316238
Hendricks3116130
Johnson2947127
Porter288948
Clark280857
Delaware277174
Vigo245534
Madison224587
Cass220120
LaPorte208853
Warrick185362
Floyd170865
Kosciusko169221
Howard155366
Bartholomew137557
Dubois133423
Marshall129826
Henry120728
Boone117748
Grant116839
Wayne114923
Hancock112844
Noble110033
Jackson106412
Morgan90840
Dearborn89528
Daviess82732
Gibson8229
Clinton80116
Shelby76929
Lawrence76732
LaGrange76114
Harrison72924
Putnam69415
Knox68610
DeKalb67411
Posey6695
Steuben5798
Miami5655
Montgomery55722
Fayette55615
White55615
Jasper5264
Greene50537
Scott50313
Decatur49339
Adams4555
Clay4266
Whitley4246
Ripley4138
Sullivan40612
Wells4045
Orange38124
Starke3787
Wabash3769
Spencer3656
Huntington3645
Franklin35925
Jennings35813
Washington3452
Randolph3318
Jefferson3275
Fulton3232
Pike31512
Carroll30513
Perry28214
Jay2756
Fountain2733
Tipton26123
Parke2152
Newton20511
Vermillion2031
Owen1991
Rush1984
Martin1930
Blackford1843
Crawford1401
Pulaski1401
Brown1283
Ohio1167
Benton1060
Union1010
Switzerland840
Warren721
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 181787

Reported Deaths: 5067
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30590635
Cuyahoga19212671
Hamilton15890338
Montgomery9883184
Lucas8058370
Butler7856122
Summit6406260
Warren393360
Stark3605178
Mahoning3567283
Marion332149
Pickaway294646
Delaware275927
Lorain262389
Fairfield254156
Licking241065
Wood240181
Clark231654
Clermont225936
Trumbull2174134
Greene210840
Columbiana207887
Allen195873
Miami191056
Lake184757
Medina175542
Portage153067
Mercer143327
Ross130533
Wayne125968
Richland125724
Tuscarawas117822
Athens11452
Erie111453
Darke108850
Madison101314
Hancock97520
Auglaize92716
Lawrence88524
Putnam86127
Shelby85014
Geauga81950
Muskingum8174
Scioto7709
Belmont76827
Union7203
Ashtabula71348
Huron6909
Sandusky69022
Seneca57614
Preble57417
Ottawa55930
Holmes53710
Fulton4726
Henry44217
Jefferson4384
Defiance43713
Clinton42013
Jackson4197
Fayette4188
Crawford4088
Logan3923
Champaign3783
Highland3714
Ashland3705
Brown3583
Knox35215
Perry35011
Washington32423
Morrow3222
Williams3124
Hardin30913
Coshocton28612
Pike2780
Wyandot27813
Gallia27413
Guernsey2688
Van Wert2153
Meigs20512
Adams1936
Hocking1899
Carroll1887
Paulding1791
Monroe14118
Noble1120
Vinton853
Harrison763
Morgan690
Unassigned00
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