Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:11 PM ET, Fri May 1, 2020
30 Posts
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12:08 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York governor: Mental health services will be free for essential workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press briefing in Albany, New York, on May 1.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press briefing in Albany, New York, on May 1. State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will direct insurers to waive copays and deductibles on mental health services for essential workers.

"The mental health services will be free for front-line workers," he said. "There is no cost to get mental health services."

The state is partnering with Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide emotional support services for “frontline healthcare heroes,” he said.

Watch:

12:22 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, governor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A public school stands closed on April 14, in Brooklyn, New York City.
A public school stands closed on April 14, in Brooklyn, New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The schools – kindergarten through high school as well as college facilities — will continue to provide distance learning.

Summer school programming plans will be announced by the end of the month, Cuomo said.

"In the meantime, meal programs will continue, the child care services for essential workers will continue," Cuomo said.

"And then we want schools to start now developing a plan to reopen, and the plan has to have protocols in place that incorporate everything that we are now doing in society and everything that we learned."

Cuomo said those plans for schools and colleges will be approved by the state.

The New York City school system is the largest in the country. According to Cuomo, there are 4.2 million students in the entire state — including those at 4,800 public schools, 1,800 private schools, 89 SUNY and CUNY college campuses and additional private colleges.

Watch:

12:02 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York governor: Death rate is "lower than it has been but still tragic and terrible"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 289 people across New York died from coronavirus yesterday, That's down from the 306 deaths reported on Wednesday.

"Lower than it has been but still tragic and terrible, and all the good numbers, all the good news, for me, every day, this number just wipes that all away," Cuomo said of the death toll.

Cuomo said the hospitalization rate is plateauing, with about 1,000 new hospitalizations each day for the past three or four days.

"1000 new cases every day is still a very high infection rate," he said.

Watch:

11:50 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Gov. Cuomo says New Yorkers "changed reality" during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo commended New Yorkers, who he said “literally changed the path of the virus spread” by maintaining social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“That was only 30 days ago that we saw the number of cases, the number of people coming into hospitals, the infection rate, everything was going straight up. That number would have just continued to go straight up,” Cuomo said.

The governor said New Yorkers helped save the lives of fellow residents. 

“All this inconvenience, all this turmoil for what? To keep 100,000 people out of hospitals, that's for what,” he said.

Cuomo cautioned that the state still needs to be cautious so the trend does not go back up. 

“Our past actions changed the trajectory. Our present actions will determine the future trajectory,” he said. 

Watch:

11:37 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

These "virus hunters" are searching bat caves to prevent the next pandemic

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

"Virus hunter" researchers are going into bat caves to prevent the next pandemic.

EcoHealth Alliance’s Dr. Peter Daszak, a virus hunter, explained how the hunting works:

“We knew SARS originated in rural southwest China in bats. So we went out to find out what other viruses could likely emerge. We then get the genetic sequences of those viruses and pass them over to the people designing vaccines and drugs."

“They test these drugs against a wide range of viruses and show that they can not only treat SARS and Covid-19, but also potentially future pandemics that might emerge," he added.

Some facts coming out of the research work are in direct conflict with President Trump’s claims that Covid-19 originated in a government lab in China. The research by experts also debunks the claims that the virus was deliberately leaked.

“They showed pretty much no doubt at all that this is not a bio-generated virus. There is no evidence of human tampering,” he said. “When you look what’s happening in the nature with 1 to 7 million people a year exposed, that's clearly where this virus came from.”

Studying these viruses for more than 15 years, Daszak said that since the SARS outbreak, “we've found out that bats carry hundreds of these coronaviruses, many of which we’ve shown are able to infect people.”

He warned that pandemics are increasing in frequency. With their work, he hopes future pandemics can be prevented.

“Let's find all of these viruses, find out the genetic sequences, design vaccines that work against all of them so we're protected against all future pandemics. That's the vision.”

Watch:

11:32 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Southwest will now require passengers to wear masks

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A ticketing agent waits for passengers to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter at Denver International Airport on April 23, in Denver.
A ticketing agent waits for passengers to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter at Denver International Airport on April 23, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP

Southwest Airlines will begin requiring customers to wear wear masks aboard its planes starting May 11. 

“It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and mask, and to wear your mask while traveling. Face coverings or masks will be required for Customers starting May 11. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you," the company said  in an update to travelers.

This means each of the largest US airlines are or will soon require customers to wear masks. 

11:17 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

We're not sure when the small business loan money will run out

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Five days into the relaunch of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, it’s unclear exactly when the money will run out.

The SBA has not officially sent out numbers on how many loans have been processed and in what amount since Wednesday. Industry sources say they have no idea exactly how much money is left either and have been asking. Unlike last round, the burn rate has ebbed and flowed because of controls SBA has put in place. It’s making it hard to just estimate when money will be gone based on typical day to day numbers. 

Remember: On Monday, larger institutions with more than 5,000 applications ready to process could submit them directly to SBA. Many of those larger batches have been processed, according to one industry source. We don’t know when those numbers will be added to the total, but when they are, the amount of money that has gone out the door could increase rapidly.  

The uncertainty is creating some issues for lenders who are unsure if they should keep lending or filling their rolls given they don’t know if SBA is going to run out of money soon.

11:09 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

"Everything has to go well" to have coronavirus vaccine by January, expert says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The Infectious Diseases Society of America said the January timeline for developing and deploying a vaccine is a lofty goal — but one we should try to attain.  

“I think that may indeed be very accurate; that would be a goal that we all try and attain,” adding, “I think that a number of processes are in place to go forward in an expeditious, but safe way," Dr. Kathryn Edwards, a fellow with the IDSA, said.

The FDA needs to continue “working with manufacturers for diagnostics and all kinds of things to make sure that the obstacles and regulatory obstacles are not are not prohibitive,” Edwards added.  

Dr. Walter Orenstein, another fellow with IDSA said, “Everything has to go well, if we're going to get something in January. That may not be the case, then we need to bear for it being longer if we don't get the data we need on safety.” 

Orenstein laid out one of the biggest hurdles: ”Can we incentivize companies to make product, even though it is unlicensed yet and going through trials?” 

“This is a risky effort,” he said, “because if you go through a phase three trial in the vaccine is either unsafe or ineffective or both, and you would have to destroy that what you produced.”  

11:07 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

How some states are reopening and easing restrictions today

Leslie Wilson helps her son and owner of Falcone's Pizzeria, JP Wilson, tape off booths at his restaurant to provide social distancing, on April 30, in Oklahoma City, as they prepare to open the dining room to customers.
Leslie Wilson helps her son and owner of Falcone's Pizzeria, JP Wilson, tape off booths at his restaurant to provide social distancing, on April 30, in Oklahoma City, as they prepare to open the dining room to customers. Sue Ogrocki/AP

States across the country are moving toward reopening today as federal social distancing guidelines expired.

Here's a look at how some states are easing some restrictions today:

  • Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey authorized hospitals and outpatient surgical centers to resume elective surgeries beginning today.
  • Arkansas: Residents can start camping in state parks today as long as they are in "self-contained RVs,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced earlier this week. 
  • Colorado: Retail businesses can phase-in public openings if they are implementing best practices and personal services can reopen. Salon services can also restart as long as the professionals follow rules like wearing face coverings and gloves, refusing walk-in clients and limiting the number of people present to ten.
  • Georgia: Some malls in metro Atlanta and across the northern part of the state plan to reopen today.
  • Idaho: The state’s stay at home order expired today. Gov. Brad Little has called for a plan that eases economic restrictions in four stages, with two weeks in between each stage. In the first phase, bars, gyms and theaters would remain closed and restaurants would continue to carry out service, but some other businesses and places of worship could open with social distancing plans. 
  • Illinois: Retail stores that are not considered essential may take phone and online orders for delivery or outside store pick-up. Some state parks will have a phased reopening, groups of no more than two people will be allowed to go fishing or boating and golf will be permitted under strict conditions.
  • Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in a news conference earlier this week that 77 of Iowa's 99 counties can reopen restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and enclosed malls at 50% capacity. 
  • Nevada: The state will start easing some restrictions for small businesses today, including allowing all retail businesses to operate under curbside commerce models and permitting drive-in services for places of worship.
  • North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum is allowing many businesses closed under a previous order to reopen, but they must follow state guidelines.
  • Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will reopen health care today, saying all procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward.
  • Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt said starting today, restaurants, dining rooms, movie theaters, sporting venues and gyms can open if they maintain "strict social distancing and sanitation protocols."
  • Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown announced that she will be lifting her order delaying non-urgent procedures for health care providers, as long as they can demonstrate they have met new requirements for Covid-19 safety and preparedness.
  • Pennsylvania: Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide starting today, but are required to follow updated life-sustaining business guidance.
  • Tennessee: Hospitals can resume elective procedures today, and gyms can reopen in 89 of 95 counties but with a reduced capacity of 50%
  • Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive order, “Strategic Plan to Open Texas," which supersedes local orders, allows businesses like retail stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen today, but the occupancy is limited to 25%. 
  • Utah: Utah had no official stay at home order, and gyms and restaurant dining will be allowed today.   
  • Virginia: Surgery and dental procedures can resume today, according to the state's governor.  
  • Wisconsin: The state will reopen 34 state parks and forests today under special conditions to help minimize overcrowding and allow for social distancing requirements.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming will allow gyms and personal services business like hair and nail salons to reopen today under tight restrictions. 

Remember: As these measures loosen, the CDC has put together a series of instructions for states to safely relax prevention measures. Read more here. 

To see your state's reopening plans, go here.