The latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic for April 8, 2020

LIVE BLOG - FOX 5 NY is updating this blog with the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak so you can get the information in one spot.

11:07 PM: Economists say the jobless rate in New York City may already be as high as thirty percent, higher than it ever was in the city during the Great Depression.

9:53 PM: U.S. researchers have opened another safety test of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, this one using a skin-deep shot instead of the usual deeper jab. A different vaccine candidate began safety testing in people last month in Seattle.

9:32 PM: The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of the N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services told the Associated Press Wednesday that the federal stockpile was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment in its inventory. A small percentage will be kept in reserve to support federal response efforts, the department said.

8:55 PM: Congress is rushing headlong into a conflict over the next coronavirus aid package as the White House wants to pump $250 billion into a small business fund but opposes Democrats' proposal to tack on billions for protective gear, food stamps and support to state and local governments.

8:32 PM: U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement is reporting an increase in the number of detainees in its custody who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

ICE says there are 32 confirmed cases. It reported 13 cases on Tuesday. The biggest concentration is at a detention center in San Diego, where five detainees have tested positive. The agency says not all of those who have tested positive remain in custody.

7:15 PM: Another COVID-19 vaccine safety test is underway in the U.S.; researchers at the Center for Pharmaceutical Research are trying a skin-deep shot on volunteers in Missouri and Pennsylvania.

6:50 PM: Some doctors are moving away from using respirators on patients because many hospitals are reporting unusually high death rates for coronavirus patients on ventilators.

6:25 PM: President Trump says the CDC will release guidance on how critical infrastructure workers can return to work after potential exposure to the virus. 

6:15 PM: A new poll from Quinnipiac University says Americans give high marks to Dr. Anthony Fauci and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic; a majority of voters say President Trump's response hasn’t been aggressive enough.

6:00 PM: Officials say 10 people have died and 90 others have tested positive for COVID-19 at three long-term care facilities in New Hampshire.

5:45 PM: U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement reports an increase in the number of detainees who have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

5:15 PM: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care in London but is improving, a senior official says.

4:15 PM: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says the state's K-12 schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year due to the outbreak.

3:45 PM: Costco warehouses are temporarily giving priority access to members who are health-care workers and first responders (cops, EMTs, firefighters); company says: "Healthcare workers and first responders who present a Costco membership card and official identification of their role, will be allowed to move to the front of any line to enter the warehouse."

3:30 PM: Panera launches grocery delivery service amid the pandemic; you can order fresh produce, milk, bread, and other items.

2:26 PM: Commissioner Persichilli: A homeless person who is discharged from treatment and needs to convalesce shouldn't return to a shelter; instead, they should be temporarily housed in a hotel that the state has partnered with.

2:23 PM: Gov. Murphy: Report crowding/social distancing violations on public transit.

2:15 PM: Gov. Murphy: We didn't enjoy taking the step of closing state parks, state forests, and county parks; we may reconsider the decision in the future; we left the decision on municipal parks to the municipalities.

1:50 PM: Col. Patrick Callahan, NJSP superintendent: State troopers broke up a funeral attended by 40 to 50 people in Millstone on Tuesday.

1:44 PM: New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli: 44% positivity rate on testing; more than half the people tested have been negative but we remind them to stay home and isolated from others.

1:30 PM: Gov. Murphy thanks Wawa for sending a 53-foot refrigerated truck to Bergen County to temporarily hold bodies; morgues and funeral homes are overwhelmed.

1:29 PM: Gov. Murphy says more medical volunteers are needed; state Health Department needs physicians, respiratory therapists, and people with experience as a chief nursing officer or chief medical officer for field medical stations; go to

1:25 PM: By executive order, Gov. Murphy increases the weight limit on interstate highways and toll roads to 46 tons (from 40 tons) for trucks carrying COVID-19 relief supplies.

1:22 PM: By executive order, Gov. Murphy says nonessential construction must stop by 8 p.m. Friday (with some exceptions); all essential retail stores must limit the number of customers inside to 50% of capacity; customers and employees must wear face coverings; stores must provide special shopping hours for high-risk individuals, erect physical barriers between customers and cashiers and baggers, regularly sanitize areas.

1:19 PM: By executive order, Gov. Murphy moves primary election to Tuesday, July 7 (from June 2).

1:18 PM: Gov. Murphy thanks Gov. Gavin Newsom of California for sending 100 ventilators.

1:15 PM: Gov. Murphy: We will come through this together if all 9 million of us, including me and my colleagues, do our part.

1:05 PM: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: 275 new deaths, pushing state total to 1,504; state's confirmed cases now at 47,437; "We mourn with these families. Our flags continue to fly at half-staff in solidarity with them."

1:03 PM: Gov. Cuomo: We are regional workforce so I'd like to confer with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut before deciding when it would be safe to start easing social-distancing rules and reopening businesses.

12:54 PM: Gov. Cuomo: All voters for June 23 primary can request an absentee ballot; not a requirement; how many polls will be open on that day to be decided.

12:51 PM: Gov. Cuomo: We have more to do; we have to be diligent about social-distancing, staying at home; we are launching a social media campaign: "Who are you staying home for?"

12:49 PM: Gov. Cuomo thanks Oregon, California, Washington State for sending ventilators; thanks JetBlue for flying in BiPAP machines from Florida.

12:48 PM: Gov. Cuomo: New York will extend unemployment benefits to 39 weeks; additional $600 per week payment for those on unemployment.

12:45 PM: Gov. Cuomo: It always seems the poorest people pay the highest price. Why? Let's do the work. Let's do the research. Let's do the testing. What else is at play besides comorbidity? 

12:43 PM: Gov. Cuomo: I don't think we return to normal; I don't think we go back; we always move forward; we will have a new normal. 

12:42 PM: Gov. Cuomo directs all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff in honor of all those who have died.

12:38 PM: Gov. Cuomo: But 779 more people have died; highest single-day deaths; the longer a patient is on a ventilator, the less likely the patient will survive.

12:37 PM: Gov. Cuomo: The curve is flattening because of things we have done; hospitalizations are down; some hospitals are releasing more patients than they take in; capacity in the system is up; sharing of equipment is successful; the system could stabilize over the next few weeks; but big caution: we have to keep doing what we are doing.

12:35 PM: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds an update on the state's response to the coronavirus crisis | WATCH LIVE:

12:31 PM: New York City has either spent or committed to spend nearly $1 billion on COVID-19-related costs as of Wednesday.

11:18 AM: De Blasio asked about accuracy of minority deaths reported and community based clinics: About the community based clinics, we would love the to get in the game in the grassroots effort. About statistics, this is the best information we have to date.

Dr. Barbot: The number of deaths from COVID-19 is probably the most pristine. The number of deaths from likely COVID-19 will probably change somewhat.

11:16 AM: De Blasio: The money spent years ago to revamp the Health and Hospitals system has helped to hold the line now.

11:14 AM: Broadway announces it will extend the current suspension of all performances through June 7.

“Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals.” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway will always be at the very heart of the Big Apple, and we join with artists, theatre professionals, and fans in looking forward to the time when we can once again experience live theatre together.”

Those holding tickets for performances through June 7, 2020 will receive an e-mail from their point of purchase with information regarding exchanges or refunds. Any customers holding tickets through June 7, 2020 that have not received an e-mail by April 12th should reach out to their point of purchase for information regarding exchanges or refunds.

11:07 AM: De Blasio asked about how the city will respond to racial disparity among the dead and it's early response: The whole point about going out early to say not about if but when was to protect the people. To try and get the federal goverment to get the testing while there was still a chance. Then it became about getting the aide we needed and more and more the personnel. The grassroots strategy would be unthinkable a few weeks ago. We have to find the medical personnel. 

10:55 AM: De Blasio: The public campaign to get the word out will be in 14 languages. The grassroots campaign is entirely new. There is a text message component to this. 

10:49 AM: Dr. Barbot answers question about why higher number in Hispanic community: What we are seeing across the country is the additional burdeon poor people have dealing with underlying health issues. Co-pays, etc. That cycle, those underlying drivers to poor health outcomes, essentially on steroids because of the acuity of this virus. Immigration status, mixed immigratioin households, there are many potential contributors. 

10:48 AM: Dr. Oxiris Barbot, NYC Health Commissioner: We don't know enough about that. We don't know how long that immunity remains. There is a distinctio at the individual level and at the population level.

10:43 AM: De Blasio asked about the antibody test: The antibody test could go a long way in this coronavirus fight.

10:38 AM: De Blasio asked about wanting to add deaths at home to overall count: It's a very painful reality. This used to be a very rare thing. It's sudennly jumped up. The vast majority are related to COVID-19 directly or indirectly. The health department can figure out how to do that most accurately.

10:35 AM: De Blasio: Our job number one is to protect our hospital system. It's what every New Yorker needs.

10:28 AM: De Blasio asked about food disparity: I saw the gathering storm. With each passing week, it's getting harder and harder. I'm glad there is money in the stimulus but it's not that much money and nothing into people's pockets. Thank God supermarkets that are still open, thank God those workers are there, I'm worried about more and more people literally not having any money to pay for food. The plan that Commissioner Garcia is coming up with is a large scale effort to feed people that no one has ever seen before. It will be the priority in what we do. We haven't felt the fullness of the dangers and the needs yet. We are doing expanded food deliveries to seniors and peole who are vulenerable. They can call 311. Any adult in New York City can go to the 435 food service locations for however many people are in their family. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. My order to Cmsr. Garcia is whatever it takes to feed New Yorkers. Whatever the price.

10:25 AM: De Blasio: Some day there is going to be reckoning about what all this taught us .. that health care is based on how much money you have.

10:17 AM: De Blasio: Tunnel 2 Towers donates $3 million to coronavirus fight.

10:15 AM De Blasio: We have one urgent need and it is these surgical gowns. We have asked the federal governmennt for 9 million surgical gowns to get us through April and into May.

10:14 AM: De Blasio: The field hospital at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center will have 470 beds and will open this week.

10:13 AM: De Blasio: Very grateful that our Armed Forces have come forward to help our communities.

10:10 AM De Blasio: The third stategy will be the hardest. A grassroots effort. Healthcare workers will need ppe and support.

10:08 AM: De Blasio: Second it will be a public information campaign .... to make sure we get much deeper into communities including immigrant communities.

10:05 AM De Blasio: First strategy to address this is to make sure our public hospitals get what they need.

10:03 AM: De Blasio: 34 percent of deaths have been in the Hispanic community which is 29 percent of all New Yorkers in terms of population. This is preliminary information. The black community 28 percent compared to 22 percent of overall pop. 27 percent compared to 32 percent of overall pop. 7 percent compared to about 14 percent of population. This is painfult to talk about but we have to be honest to talk about.

10:01 AM: De Blasio: Every community has been hurt. We're seeing folks who have struggled before being particularly hit by the coronavirus. We have to come up with new strategies with what is now a documented disparity. Some communities are feeling it disproportionately. 

10:00 AM: De Blasio: 1,310 EMTS, paramedics and firefighters who were exposed to someone who tested positive or who tested positive have returned to duty.

9:58 AM: De Blasio: So many of our first responders have been home sick. I want to thank the NYPD and FDNY for holding the line throughout this crisis.

9:57 AM: De Blasio: Our calls for help have been answered. We have 2,500 ventilators in our hospital systems. We actually have enough to get through this week free and clear. We cannot accurately predict next week.

9:56 AM: De Blasio: We expected the number of ventilators needed to be 200, 300. That number is more like 100 that we will need each day. That is a striking difference. We thought we would need many more ventilators just to get through this week.

9:53 AM: De Blasio: Why are we telling you about the progress? First of all the ventilators. The question was will we have enough. We saw very clear patterns in the use of ventilators. In the last few days, we've seen fewer ventilators needed than projected.

9:51 AM: De Blasio: We have to beat it back not open the door again for it to resurge. Something started to move. We will let you know if that has sustained. Expect a tough April. A tough May.

9:50 AM: De Blasio thanks New Yorkers for helping to save lives by social distancing.

9:48 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio updates the public on the coronavirus reponse. Watch at this link:

9:07 AM: From the NYC Office of Emergency Management: In case you missed it: NYC Parks is closing dog runs to maintain social distancing in public spaces. More service updates:

8:30 AM: After more than two months indoors, Wuhan resident Tong Zhengkun was one of millions of people enjoying a renewed sense of freedom when the Chinese city's 76-day coronavirus lockdown was lifted Wednesday.

“I haven’t been outside for more than 70 days,” an emotional Tong said as he watched a celebratory light display from a bridge across the broad Yangtze River flowing through the city, where the coronavirus outbreak started late last year. “Being indoors for so long drove me crazy."


8:20 AM: Lori Stokes asks Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul about reports of the state moving ventilators from needed places upstate to downstate. There is no way that the governor and I would leave any part of the state without the protection they need. We are one state. We all look at for each other.

7:27 AM: Lori Stokes asks Mayor de Blasio how the city will rebound from the pandemic. If we have really extensive testing it will allow us to restart and to see what is happening where and we can contain this disease for the long haul. I think that's a few months away before that capacity exists for us.

7:24 AM: Lori Stokes asks Mayor de Blasio about the disproportionate numbers in the minority communites impacted by coronavirus. De Blasio: We should not underestimate for a second of the horror of people dying at home. That needs to be in the statistics. We do have the numbers. We have told health care workers... that we should count them as part of the overall painful count. I am going to be going over in detail later this morning.Clearly, in the Afrian American and Latino communites, the health disparities we've known for too long, clearly are evidence now in this crisis. It's going to take an even more aggressive effort to reach these people.

7:22 AM: Lori Stokes asks Mayor de Blasio about the criticism that he was late to get the word out about the coronavirus De Blasio: Every step along the way, we have the best health department in the nation, we have the largest public hospital system in the nation. We who are public leaders should listen to the health experts. They talked about the evidence and what to do about it. We are all getting a painful lesson on this disease that didn't exist six months ago. Once it became clear we could make an impact with shelter in place, with social distancing- I was one of the first public officials in America to stay shelter in place and I'm glad I did. Job one is to keep reinforcing our hospitals. This is still a long battle.

7:21 AM: De Blasio: I want to thank New Yorkers. People did the social distancing. People did the shelter in place. We are seeing all that hard work is really making an impact.

7:21 AM: De Blasio: We have seen something in the last few days, Lori, that we did not expect to see this soon. The number of people going to the hospital, we've seen some decline. We'e seen a decline in the number of people who need ventilators compared to what we were projecting. By this point this week we thought we'd see 300 or more people each day- more people each day- who need a ventilator and that may even be going down. Now it's about 100 more each day. We are not out of the woods at all. This says to me that New Yorkers have really achieved something here.

7:20 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio tells 'Good Day NY' that the city has seen a decline in the number of people going to the hospital and on ventilators.  

7:00 AM: Watch 'Good Day New York' at this link:

6:49 AM: Just weeks ago, cities and even states across the U.S. were busy banning straws, limiting takeout containers and mandating that shoppers bring reusable bags or pay a small fee as the movement to eliminate single-use plastics took hold in mainstream America. What a difference a pandemic makes.


6:14 AM: Some activists and academics across the country believe wearing a mask can lead to racial profiling for people of color. 


6:00 AM: During a briefing by the L.A. County Health Department, Dr. Barbara Ferrer advised families to remove loved ones from group care facilities if it’s safe.