Tuesday morning news – April 21, 2020

White House says we’re winning the war against the coronavirus » Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House Monday that we are winning the war against the coronavirus. 

PENCE: The truth is that as we stand here today, we are slowing the spread. As the president reflected, we continue to see steady progress in less cases, lower hospitalizations, even in hot spots around the country.

President Trump said there is enough coronavirus testing available for any state ready to move to Phase One of reopening its economy. Hours earlier, the vice president spoke with governors from all 50 states. 

TRUMP: Prior to the call, we provided each governor with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the labs where they can find additional testing capacity within their states. Hundreds and hundreds of labs are ready, willing, and able. 

He said officials from his administration are working to better coordinate with states and help governors implement more testing capacity. 

Georgia governor announces aggressive plan to reopen » Meantime, Georgia’s Republican governor announced plans Monday to allow many businesses to reopen as early as Friday.

Georgia’s timetable is one of the most aggressive in the nation. It would allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys, and other businesses to reopen as long as owners follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements. By Monday, movie theaters may resume selling tickets, and restaurants could return to limited dine-in service.

KEMP: This measure allows them to undertake baseline operations that most other businesses in the state have maintained since I issued the shelter in place order.  

Bars, nightclubs, and live performance venues will remain closed.

Federal guidelines call for a steady two-week decline in new confirmed cases in a state before it begins reopening its economy. Georgia has not met that mark. But new cases are down sharply over the past few days. Georgia confirmed just 56 new cases on Sunday, the lowest total since widespread testing began. 

New data suggests asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus are widespread » A flood of new research suggests that far more people have had the coronavirus without any symptoms. 

In the last week, reports of silent infections have come from several states and European countries. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one-quarter of infected people might not have symptoms. 

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters…

BIRX: You will remember over the past three weeks, I’ve been talking about the level of asymptomatic spread and my concern about asymptomatic spread because with flu and other diseases, when people are sick, it’s easy to contract trace. 

But she said in this case, many are unknowingly spreading the virus. 

And a new study from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the University of Southern California has yielded startling results. Preliminary results show that roughly 4 percent of L.A. County’s adult population appear to have antibodies to the coronavirus. That suggests that between 220,000 and 440,000 people may have contracted the virus in that county alone, many of them without ever knowing it. That’s compared to only about 8,000 confirmed cases in the county. 

Some health officials say questions remain about the accuracy of antibody tests. But the results, if accurate, suggest the virus may be much more widespread, but also less lethal than previously thought. 

Oil futures plunged below zero for the first time » AUDIO: [CLOSING BELL]

Markets closed lower on Monday after oil futures plunged below zero for the first time. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER:  Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery plummeted more than 300 percent to negative $36. That was the biggest one-day drop on record dating back to 1983. 

That comes as the United States and countries around the world are using far less oil amid the pandemic. 

Naeem Aslam of Avatrade said “The steep fall in the price is because of the lack of sufficient demand and lack of storage [space].” He also noted a “production cut has failed to address the supply glut.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Death toll rises from mass shooting in Canada » The death toll from a gunman’s rampage in Canada Sunday is up to 18, and it could climb further. 

Chris Leather is Chief Superintendent of the Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He said the attacker apparently set numerous homes on fire, and officials fear they will find more victims in the charred remains of those houses. 

Police fatally shot the 51-year-old suspect but not before he opened fire at more than a dozen different crime scenes. 

LEATHER: His ability to move around the province undetected was surely greatly benefited by the fact that he had a police—or a vehicle that looked identical in every way to a marked police car. And beyond that, he was wearing a police uniform, which, as I say, was either a very good fabrication of or actually a police uniform. 

He said some of the victims knew Wortman and some didn’t. Police teams spread out Sunday and Monday at 16 crime scenes in central and northern Nova Scotia.

Police have not revealed a motive for the killings.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, April 20, 2020, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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