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US nears peak death rate with New York confirming more coronavirus cases than any country

Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee told the White House that it doesn't look like coronavirus will go away once the weather warms up. The prestigious scientific panel said data is mixed on whether coronavirus spreads as easily in warm weather as it does in cold weather. CNN's Don Lemon speaks with Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, the committee's chairman, about the findings.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 9:53 AM
Updated: Apr 10, 2020 7:45 AM


The New York governor signed an order to bring in additional funeral directors as the number of coronavirus cases in the state outpaced all countries except the United States.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order will make it easier for licensed funeral directors from other states to practice in New York.

At least 16,686 people have died of coronavirus in the US -- nearly half of them in New York. Of the 466,299 total confirmed cases nationwide, about 162,000 are in New York, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

The US is set to reach its highest daily number of deaths on or around Sunday, according to models by the prominent Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

It estimated that 60,415 in the US would die of coronavirus by August, assuming social distancing policies continue through May. That projection is down from the 82,000 it predicted earlier this week.

Even though the model lowered its nationwide numbers, it issued key differences by region and state. For example, New York saw an increase in total projected deaths.

The New York City's office of Chief Medical Examiner issued a memo extending the time a body is kept in custody to 14 days. Hart Island, which has served as a public cemetery for decades, is serving as a resting place for unclaimed coronavirus victims, New York officials said.

Queens funeral director Patrick Kearns said the extension will help with the influx of victims. He's receiving 30 to 40 calls a day, he said, the same number he'd get in a typical month before the pandemic hit.

Social distancing appears to be working, officials say

While states prepare for the peak period, experts say it appears social distancing is working.

In New York, Cuomo said Thursday that the number of people hospitalized in the state is going down but deaths have gone up. He described the deaths as a lagging indicator, saying those who don't make it tend to have been hospitalized the longest.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, echoed a similar sentiment.

'At the same time as we're seeing the increase in deaths, we're seeing a rather dramatic decrease in the need for hospitalizations,' Fauci said. 'That means that what we are doing is working and therefore we need to continue to do it.'

Social distancing is playing a crucial role in the fight against coronavirus, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

'We're not defenseless. This virus has a very significant weakness, it can't swim 7 feet,' he said.

Some states remain cautiously optimistic with the latest developments. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said new hospitalizations are dropping while Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state has the lowest number of hospitalizations per 100,000 people compared to other neighboring states.

In Ohio, while the number of coronavirus-related deaths continues to increase, the number of people impacted by the virus is lower than previously projected, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has seen a 1.9% drop of people in ICU, and the stay-at-home order appears to be working.

'I think we're seeing the consequences of that when we see that our mortality rate is really a lot lower than what have been predicted, and it really shows that this mitigation works,' Redfield said. 'I think we're coming to the peak, as we sit here today, where we're able to see the other side of the curve, and we'll see this outbreak continue to decline over the weeks ahead.'

While maintaining social distancing measures appears to be holding down the spread in some areas, reopening the country will require a strategy and understanding the extent of the transmission, experts say.

'It's not going to be one size fits all. It's going to be using the data that we have from surveillance to really understand where it is the most important places for us to begin to reopen,' Redfield said.

Americans have the potential to take summer vacations this year -- as long as they continue aggressive mitigation efforts now and get to a place where they can be modified, Fauci said.

CDC won't recommend hydroxychloroquine, director says

As coronavirus ravages the world, states are rushing to get hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that President Donald Trump has touted as potential treatment and a 'game changer.'

The drug has not been fully tested but some states are gathering doses for their patients. The CDC's Redfield said he does not recommend the drug.

'At this stage, at this moment in time, we're not recommending it, but we're not, not recommending that,' Redfield said. 'We're recommending for the physician and the patient to have that discussion.'

The CDC removed its website guidelines for doctors on how to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Trump has pressed federal health officials to make the drugs more widely available despite little reliable evidence that they are effective at treating the virus.

'We're very comfortable in responding when we have data that is compelling,' Redfield said Thursday on CNN's Global Town Hall. 'CDC, as an organization ... we're not an opinion organization. We're a science-based data driven organization. So I do think this is going to be an independent decision of these health care providers and patients.'

Despite the lack of a vaccine, the CDC is preparing for what could happen next year, which is expected to be challenging as well, Redfield said, adding that proactive steps will change the way the country deals with another outbreak.

'That includes early case identification, isolating people who are sick and tracing those that the person has come into contact with while they were contagious,' he said. 'We don't have to go through the serious mitigation steps that we're taking to get us under control.'

The economy takes a major hit

Social distancing is helping keep coronavirus deaths down, but it's also having a major effect on the economy.

About 6.6 million people filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, data released Thursday shows. That means more than 16.8 million Americans have sought unemployment aid since mid-March.

And 45 economists say the United States is already in a recession and will remain that way for the first half of the year. They predicted a sharp, short recession for the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic severely restricts economic activity.

Economic growth likely fell at a rate of 2.4% in the first quarter, and will decline a staggering 26.5% in the second quarter, the survey from the National Association for Business Economics found.

Despite the abrupt downturn, the economists are optimistic the economy will bounce back in the latter half of 2020, growing at a rate of nearly 6% by the end of the year.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 292082

Reported Deaths: 8858
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1443155217
DuPage17589561
Lake16953487
Will14045378
Kane13159326
St. Clair6665190
Winnebago6037149
Madison5760137
Champaign473320
McHenry4609118
Peoria351050
McLean329523
Rock Island302676
Kankakee275277
Unassigned2532244
Sangamon243245
Kendall202025
Tazewell178025
LaSalle172557
DeKalb159038
Macon156044
Coles147231
Williamson140645
Jackson126224
Clinton119020
Adams114910
Boone112823
Randolph94111
Effingham8722
Vermilion7914
Whiteside75320
Ogle7286
Monroe68016
Knox6723
Grundy6705
Henry6665
Morgan66223
Bureau65211
Jefferson62038
Marion5661
Christian55411
Macoupin5507
Franklin5413
Stephenson5296
Union51524
McDonough48215
Logan4681
Crawford4584
Woodford4266
Fayette4183
Livingston4036
Cass39811
Jersey39415
Shelby3944
Lee3831
Montgomery37613
Iroquois36719
Perry35315
Saline3464
Warren3332
Bond3305
Douglas3147
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2662
Lawrence2592
Carroll2355
Greene22911
Cumberland2185
Hancock2183
Moultrie2183
Washington2161
Jasper2139
Richland2136
Pulaski1811
Fulton1780
Clark1742
White1690
Wabash1583
Clay1560
Johnson1560
Mason1531
Mercer1405
Piatt1390
Pike1341
De Witt1252
Menard1251
Edgar1138
Massac1132
Ford1055
Marshall1050
Alexander831
Scott790
Gallatin732
Hamilton712
Henderson690
Edwards640
Brown620
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226