Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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4:47 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

More than 4,900 workers in US meat and poultry facilities have Covid-19, CDC reports

Workers process around 200,000 chickens a day for Costco at the Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska February 27.
Workers process around 200,000 chickens a day for Costco at the Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska February 27. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register/USA Today/Reuters

More than 4,900 workers in meat and poultry processing facilities have contracted Covid-19 and at least 20 have died, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Friday

At least 115 facilities in 19 states have reported cases, according to data collected by the CDC in April.

Outbreaks were particularly severe in two states: Iowa and South Dakota. 

The CDC report noted that some facilities made changes to limit the spread of coronavirus, including adjusting start and stop times of shifts and breaks to space out workers. The report suggested that facilities may need to do more, including reduce the rate of animal processing to maintain physical distance on the production line. Given the industry’s diverse workforce, the report also said plants should develop “culturally informed messaging” using languages spoken by workers. 

Some context: The CDC report comes days after President Trump signed an executive order to compel meat processing plants to remain open amid the pandemic.

Several companies such as Tyson Foods were considering only keeping 20% of their facilities open. The vast majority of processing plants could have shut down -- which would have reduced processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%, an official familiar with the order told CNN. 

Hear to one Tyson worker's message to Trump:

2:56 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

24 counties in Pennsylvania will reopen on May 8

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at Bellefonte Area High School on July 13, 2015 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at Bellefonte Area High School on July 13, 2015 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced today that 24 counties will reopen on May 8.

Those counties are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.

Counties with larger urban centers, such as Philadelphia and Allegheny, are not included on the list.

“Over the past two months, Pennsylvanians in every corner of our commonwealth have acted collectively to stop the spread of Covid-19,” Wolf said. “We have seen our new case numbers stabilize statewide and while we still have areas where outbreaks are occurring, we also have many areas that have few or no new cases.”
2:46 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Massachussetts governor signs executive order mandating face coverings

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachussetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order today mandating the use of face coverings in the state.

"Earlier today, I signed an executive order requiring residents to use a face covering in public places when they cannot socially distance from others," Baker said in a daily press briefing Friday. 

"This order does not apply to children under the age of two or to people who are unable to wear a face mask or face covering due to medical conditions or other DPH-issued exemptions," Baker added.

The public is required to wear a face covering at all times in grocery stores, retail stores, and on public transportation. The order also applies to employees and staff with businesses open to the public.

The order will go into effect May 6, the governor said.

3:00 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Trump wants protesters to comply with the law, White House press secretary says

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany defended President Trump’s Friday tweets siding with Michigan protesters, some whom were armed.

“The President was referencing, generally, that in this country, you have a First Amendment right to protest. That’s something we all treasure,” McEnany said during her first press briefing. “You have a right to do that, constitutionally, but you must protest within the bounds of the law. He encourages everyone to protest lawfully and also to engage in our social distancing guidelines which we think all Americans should engage in.”

Asked if she had any response to images of protesters facing off with law enforcement, McEnany repeated that protesters must demonstrate within the bounds of the law.

CNN previously reported that Trump sided with protesters for their effort to reopen parts of the state after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her emergency declaration keeping some businesses shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump wrote on Friday. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."

See scenes of protests throughout the US: 

2:31 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

White House: Trump is not happy with China

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Asked if any serious consideration was being given to putting new tariffs on China, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany didn't answer. Instead she said President Trump is not happy with Beijing.

"Look, I won't get ahead of any announcements from the President, but I will echo the President's displeasure with China. It's no secret that China mishandled this situation," she said.

Trump on Thursday repeated a regular false claim that, until he took office, "China never gave our country anything. China gave us nothing. Not 10 cents."

Facts First: Study after study has shown that Americans, not China, are paying most of the cost of Trump's tariffs. Aside from that, it's not true that the Treasury had never previously received "10 cents" or had gotten "nothing" from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries. FactCheck.org reported that the US generated an "average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb."

Watch the moment here:

2:29 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Hospitals in these 3 states are getting the most funding, according to the White House

Evan Vucci
Evan Vucci

The Trump administration is distributing $12 billion to 395 hospitals across the county that have been "hardest hit" by the pandemic, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

New Jersey, New York and Illinois receive the most funding by state, she said.

New York, New York; Bronx, New York; and Cook, Illinois, receive the most funding by county she added.

3:05 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

White House press secretary: "I will never lie to you"

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

During her first briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany promised that she'd "never lie" to the reporters in the room.

"I will never lie to you. You have my word on that," she said.

She added that she plans to hold regular briefings, and she will announce timing on that later.

Thursday marked 417 days since the last briefing by a White House press secretary.

Watch the moment here:

2:27 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Boston

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks on March 13.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks on March 13. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said there were 9,271 coronavirus cases as of yesterday, 216 more than the day before. The city also saw 357 deaths, which is up by 17 from the day before.

Walsh emphasized that there is still a surge in cases today, and people should wear their masks. He also said, the city is working to expand testing. There has been an increase in testing, he said with an average more than 44% last week. East Boston had 86% more testing than the previous week.

However, while the percentage of people testing positive in East Boston has gone down, it still has highest rate in the city of Boston.

Of the 28,000 Bostonians tested, 32% tested positive, a slight decrease from 33% the week before.

The mayor stressed the city must reach benchmarks and protocols before reopening. One of Walsh’s greatest concerns is “making sure people have confidence and feel safe when they go back to work.” 

2:20 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Trump says he will go to Mount Rushmore for fireworks display in July

Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images
Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump announced that he will attend a firework display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, despite uncertainty about what the coronavirus pandemic might look like that month.

Trump made the announcement while speaking on the Dan Bongino podcast on Friday.

“We’re getting them at the great monument, we're getting them, I got fireworks, for 20 years or something it hasn’t been allowed for environmental reasons, you believe that one, it’s all stone. So I’m trying to say where’s the environmental reason? Anyway I got it approved so I’m going to go there on July 3rd, and they’re gonna have the big fireworks,” Trump said.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said on Tuesday that the firework display would go on as scheduled.

"We’re excited that this will be happening at Mount Rushmore — we’ve been working on this for quite some time," Noem said.

"I want to thank the President and the Department of Interior for working with us to make it happen," she added.

When asked about implications of a large gathering amid the nationwide Covid-19 pandemic, Noem was unconcerned.

"We’ll continue to evaluate what the crowd looks like and how we'll be able to facilitate that event but regardless of how many people will be there, the fireworks will go off and I can't think of a better way for us to celebrate America’s birthday," Noem said.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the President had floated the idea of heading to South Dakota for fireworks at Mount Rushmore.