States reopen in US as coronavirus pandemic persists

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5:34 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Key coronavirus model will revise projections to nearly 135,000 US deaths

From CNN's Arman Azad

 

Funeral Director Omar Rodriguez walks by caskets at Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 26.
Funeral Director Omar Rodriguez walks by caskets at Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 26. Bryan R. Smith/Reuters

An influential coronavirus model often cited by the White House said in a press release that it plans to revise its projections to nearly 135,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States, an increase that one of its researchers tied to relaxed social distancing and increased mobility.

The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, previously predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning. A press release from IHME said the full set of new projections will be released later this afternoon.

Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, referenced the updated projections on CNN earlier today, but said he couldn’t provide the specific number.

“We are seeing, of course, a rise in projected deaths for several reasons,” he told CNN’s John King on Inside Politics. “One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation of social distancing, we’re adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we’re seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.”

He said multiple variables impact infections – like heat, testing capacity and population density – but “the most important one is mobility.”

Right now, he said, “we’re seeing an increase in mobility that’s leading to an increase in mortality unfortunately in the United States.”

The IHME director, Dr. Christopher Murray, will be holding a press briefing at 4 p.m. ET today with additional details.

Read the latest here.

3:06 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

At least 400 postal workers have signed up for coronavirus tests in Detroit

From CNN's Anna-Maja Rappard

Andrew Kelly/Reuters
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

At least 400 postal workers have signed up for Covid-19 tests in Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan said today. 

The mayor went on to say he was “surprised” that postal workers weren’t “watched out for.” He added that they should have been treated like grocery store workers because they interact with a lot of people when they go door-to-door. 

“The postal workers are deeply valued members of the community. And we're not really going to worry about the fact they work for different branch of government,” Duggan said. “We're going to get them in, we're going to get them tested, we're going to make sure they're safe.”

 

2:57 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Over 34% of Louisiana's Covid-19 deaths attributed to nursing homes and adult residential facilities

From CNN’s Kay Jones

The Louisiana Department of Health reported today that 688 of the state's 1,991 Covid-19 deaths are nursing home residents.

An additional 50 deaths have been reported among residents in adult residential facilities. 

Of the 279 certified nursing homes, 3,133 cases were reported by 176 nursing homes. An additional 417 cases were reported in 87 of the 157 adult residential care providers in the state. The latest total of confirmed cases in Louisiana is 29,673. 

The total of deaths from these two types of facilities represent 34.5% of the overall deaths while the cases represent nearly 12% of the state's totals. 

2:56 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More than 68,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There has been at least 1,171,041 coronavirus cases and about 68,285 deaths in the US, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins has reported 13,000 new cases and 603 reported deaths. 

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

2:55 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Virginia extends stay-at-home order until May 14

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced his state will continue its stay-at-home order until May 14.

Northam, speaking at a news conference, said that he hopes Virginia can move into its first phase of reopening late next week.

“Our cases continue to rise. The number will continue to go up in part because we continue to do more testing," he said.

The governor said food processing remains a concern. More than 260 cases have been reported in two food processing facilities in the state, he said. 

Additionally, Virginia is seeking to hire another 1,000 people as contact tracers.

2:53 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Boston mayor says he expects the number of cases in the city to top 10,000 today

From CNN's Anna Sturla 

A person wearing a mask out of concern for the coronavirus walks past the Boston Public Library on April 29.
A person wearing a mask out of concern for the coronavirus walks past the Boston Public Library on April 29. Steven Senne/AP

Boston reported 135 new cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the city total to 9,929 cases, Mayor Marty Walsh announced.

Walsh said he expects that today the number of cases in Boston will likely pass 10,000. 

The city reported 15 new deaths today, bringing the total to 426.

There was some good news: Walsh said that daily increases have been flat for a while in the city, a sign that they may be on the verge of a downward slope, though he cautioned it was still too early to tell. 

Walsh also said he thought too many people in the city were outside without masks over the weekend. The mandatory face mask order in Boston goes into effect on Wednesday.

2:31 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

School in Los Angeles is set to start August 18, but classes might still be online

From CNN's Stella Chan

Two security guards talk on the campus of the closed McKinley School, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District system, in Compton, California, on April 28.
Two security guards talk on the campus of the closed McKinley School, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District system, in Compton, California, on April 28. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Though the school year will start August 18 for the Los Angeles Unified School District, no decision has been made about opening school campuses by then, said Superintendent Austin Beutner in his weekly update.

“The timing remains uncertain because the science is uncertain,” explained Beutner. At a minimum, a comprehensive system of testing and contact tracing, and implications of testing will need to be understood first, he said.

The district is working with a team of UCLA scientists and infectious disease experts.

“That’s critical because it’ll be the science, and only the science, which can provide a foundation for the safe return to our school community,” Beutner said.

LAUSD’s first day of instruction was scheduled for August 18 before the pandemic.

Commencement for the class of 2020 will be virtual.

Beutner said they’ve explored social distance options like “drive-in, drive-by, drive-around, drive-thru options. We even asked if we could rent the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium and sit every participant far apart. Health authorities tell us those aren’t possible at this time,” he said.

2:30 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More research is needed to identify coronavirus source, WHO says

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of health emergencies programme, speaks during a media briefing on May 4, in Geneva.
Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of health emergencies programme, speaks during a media briefing on May 4, in Geneva. WHO

Officials at the World Health Organization say they have no evidence of the novel coronavirus originating in a lab and suspect the virus likely originated from an animal source. 

More research is needed to identify the specific host, WHO officials said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday.

Last week, President Trump claimed he has seen evidence that gives him a "high degree of confidence" the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details around his assertion. His claim contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community.

“We have not received any data or specific evidence from the US government relating to the reported origin of the virus. So from our perspective, this remains speculative," Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of health emergencies programme, said during Monday's media briefing.

Ryan added that WHO "will be very willing to receive any information" about the origin of the coronavirus.

"If that data and evidence is available then it will be for the United States government to decide where and when it can be shared but it’s difficult for WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that specific regard. So we focus on what we know. We focus on the evidence we have," Ryan said.

Bats are the suspected source of both Covid-19 and MERS, but scientists also think that bats infected some other mammal that then infected people – an intermediate host.

1:36 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

DC mayor reiterates that "virus has not left the District" after crowds flock to National Mall

From CNN’s Ali Main

A man sits on the top step of the Lincoln Memorial as people gather by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, on May 2.
A man sits on the top step of the Lincoln Memorial as people gather by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, on May 2. Patrick Semansky/AP

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser reacted to the large crowds that gathered on the National Mall Saturday to watch the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flyover.

Bowser said in a news conference Monday that she believed the flyover was "well-intentioned" and added that it was an event that residents did not have to be in one place to experience as stay-at-home orders continue in the city.  

She reiterated the importance of continued social distancing and emphasized that "the virus has not left the District.” 

Both the Blue Angels and the District of Columbia's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office had requested that residents refrain from leaving their homes to see the flyover.

According to CNN journalists at the event, many people were practicing social distancing and some wore masks but sidewalks around the mall were crowded.

Where DC cases stand: As of Sunday, there were 5,170 total positive cases and 258 deaths due to coronavirus in Washington, DC. Racial disparities persist in the death toll, as 79% of the total deaths were among African-American residents.