Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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3:40 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

18 bodies found at "overwhelmed" New Jersey funeral home, officials say

From CNN’s Sheena Jones

New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan
New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan Pool

Eighteen bodies were discovered at an “overwhelmed” funeral home in New Jersey Thursday night, New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan said at a news conference Friday.

There were no criminal violations at the home, according to police. Eleven of the bodies were transferred to a temporary morgue and seven bodies remained at the funeral home, Callahan said. CNN has reached out to the funeral home for comment.

Earlier this week, New York officials discovered four trucks in Brooklyn containing as many as 60 bodies outside the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home after someone reported fluids dripping from the trucks.

3:23 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Florida will begin decontaminating thousands of N95 masks daily

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his state received a critical care decontamination system from the federal government that is capable of cleaning up to 80,000 masks per day.

The system is located at the Miami Hard Rock Stadium and uses vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide to clean masks up to 20 times. N95 masks will be collected from hospitals, first responders and testing sites for cleaning.

 

3:35 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Barber shops and hair salons allowed to reopen May 6

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York on May 28, 2019.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York on May 28, 2019. Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Arkansas will allow barber shops, hair salons, massage therapy, body art and medical spa service businesses to reopen starting May 6, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today.

Cosmetology schools are not included in the reopening.

Strict guidelines will need to be followed after reopening, he said. The guidelines include:

  • Groups of 10 or less will be allowed in facilities
  • 30% of stations or less can be occupied
  • Appointments only, no walk-ins allowed
  • Clients should wait outside or in vehicles
  • Social distancing of 6 feet should be observed between clients
  • Spaces should be cleaned between appointments
  • Clients and staff should wear masks
3:20 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

These 4 factors fueled the US coronavirus outbreak, CDC says

 From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

Dr. Anne Schuchat, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testifies about COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 3.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testifies about COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 3. Saul Loe/AFP/Getty Images

International travel and a lack of testing, among other factors, accelerated the spread of coronavirus in the early days of the US outbreak, according to a report released today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report highlighted four main factors that accelerated transmission in March:

  1. Continued importation of the virus by travelers infected elsewhere, such as on cruise ships
  2. Attendance at professional and social events, which amplified the spread
  3. Introduction of the virus into facilities prone to amplification, including nursing homes and high-density urban areas
  4. Problems detecting virus, including limited testing, the virus’ emergence during flu season, and “cryptic transmission” from people who were asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic

CDC’s principal deputy director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, who penned the report, noted that in February “139,305 travelers arrived from Italy and 1.74 million from all Schengen countries.” She added that “the outbreak was spreading widely and rapidly” in those regions. 

Recognizing the various factors that accelerated the outbreak, Schuchat said, would help inform future responses as some regions scale back mitigation measures. But her report came with limitations.

“First, the various factors facilitating viral spread described in this report occurred simultaneously; therefore, it is not possible to quantify the relative contribution of each to the outbreak trajectory in the United States,” the report said. 
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

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

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

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

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: