What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, April 14


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With 23,000 Americans now dead and millions more without a paycheck, Trump seemed intent on conveying he was in absolute control, claiming powers never envisioned by the Constitution and insisting his “authority is total” to order states and cities to reopen, Stephen Collinson writes. Legal experts, not to mention governors themselves, disagree.
“We don’t have a king. We have an elected president,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN. Cuomo is one of the governors on the country’s east and west coasts working together on plans to restart businesses and ease social-distancing guidelines in a way that limits new outbreaks in their regions.
As Trump attempted to paint a rosy picture of his response to the world’s worst outbreak, photos emerged of bodies being stored in vacant rooms and piled into refrigerated holding units at one hospital in Detroit — a grisly reminder that officials across the US are struggling to cope.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: What are antibody tests?

A: Antibody tests aren’t meant to diagnose active coronavirus infections. Rather, they check for proteins in the immune system, known as antibodies, through a blood sample. Their presence means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity — although experts are not sure how strong the immunity is or even how long it will last. Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, has said a large number of the tests will be available in the next week or so. To find out more on how you might get one, and what they could tell you, read Mallory Simon and Gina Yu’s explainer.
More than 50,000 people have asked us questions about the outbreak. Send yours here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Lockdowns extended, as others lift

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered the country’s more than 1 billion people to remain at home until May 3, but said that some states which have avoided outbreaks may be allowed to resume “important activities.”
French President Emmanuel Macron last night announced plans to begin easing the country’s lockdown in four weeks time, from May 11. The move comes as other European nations are taking steps to tentatively ease measures, including hard-hit Spain, where hundreds of thousands of people are now back at work.

Russia rolls out ‘cyber Gulag’

Vladimir Putin says Russia has “nothing to boast about” when it comes to its handling of a worsening outbreak, and warned that the number of seriously ill patients is on the rise.

The President’s comments come as Moscow rolls out digital tracking to enforce lockdown measures, Mary Ilyushina writes. The QR code system — the latest authoritarian tech to be rolled out by the Kremlin — has been dubbed a “cyber Gulag” by critics, who say it represents an unprecedented threat to privacy.

Health concerns mount over potential treatment

Chloroquine is one of the drugs Trump has touted as a potential treatment for the coronavirus despite little evidence that it works. Now a small trial in Brazil has been cut short after patients taking a higher dose developed irregular heart rates. Hospitals in Sweden have also been cautioned against using the drugs, and American cardiology groups have urged doctors to be aware of “potential serious implications” when used by people with existing cardiovascular disease.

Democracy under threat

South Korea is holding an election in spite of the ongoing crisis. At least 47 other countries have postponed theirs, while some, like the US and New Zealand, are still deciding whether to proceed with scheduled votes. Whether the elections go ahead or not, democracy may still suffer, Julia Hollingsworth and Yoonjung Seo write.

Child custody claims rise

An emergency room doctor in Miami has temporarily lost custody of her 4-year-old daughter while she treats patients during the pandemic. She’s among a growing number of frontline workers being taken to court by ex-spouses who want to keep their children away over fears of infection.

ON OUR RADAR

  • Vietnam has set up “rice ATMs” in several cities to provide free food to people out of work.
  • The Chinese government is handing out cash to car buyers to revive sales crushed by the pandemic. l
  • Hair dye is the new toilet paper. With salons closed, people are taking grooming into their own hands, panic buying hair clippers and at-home coloring kits.
  • “Ghosts” are roaming the streets of a neighborhood in Indonesia’s central Java province trying to spook people into staying home.
  • Soccer fans looking for a fix are tuning into leagues in Belarus, Burundi, Nicaragua, Tajikistan and Taiwan, which are still playing despite pleas from the WHO to stop.
  • Struggling to stay afloat, restaurant owners listed a rare bourbon for $20,000. A veteran bought it for $40,000.

TOP TIP

With millions out of work in the US, requests for mortgage forbearance have skyrocketed — but you may want to think twice before delaying your payments — getting relief now could come back to haunt you later. There are a few factors to think about when making the decision, Anna Bahney breaks them down.

TODAY’S PODCAST

“There’s really just one single public health intervention which can be effective in jails or prisons across the board: and that’s to release as many vulnerable people as possible.” — Dr. Zachary Rosner, NYC Correctional Health Services chief

Across the country, prisons and jails have become hotbeds for the coronavirus. CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us into America’s prison system to find out how the people who live and work there are fighting the pandemic. Listen now

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