States reopen in US as coronavirus pandemic persists

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9:18 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has ended for the day. Follow the latest developments from around the globe here.

8:04 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

FDA confirms it authorized new Roche antibody test

 

The US Food and Drug Administration confirmed on Monday it had given emergency use authorization to a new Roche antibody test that the company says is more accurate.

The drug giant announced the test had been authorized on Sunday, but the FDA did not update its website with a list of authorized tests until Monday.

Antibody tests look for evidence that someone has been infected with a virus, usually in the past. They can be used to see how many people in the population have been infected, even if they did not show symptoms. They may begin to show if people develop any kind of immunity to coronavirus, either in the short term or the long term.

They are different from the tests usually used to detect current infections. Those tests look for evidence of the virus itself in a patient. 

Public health experts have complained that most of the antibody tests now on the market are inaccurate. Even a test that claims to have 95% accuracy can miss up to half of cases if the virus is not very common in the population being tested.

Roche said its test catches 99.8% of people who have been infected and identifies 100% of those who have not – a sensitivity of 99.8% and a specificity of 100%.

Better specificity averts the risk of false positives – a test that wrongly tells someone they have been infected when they have not been. If people do develop immunity to coronavirus infections, false positives would be dangerous because they could give people a false sense of security.

8:04 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

United Airlines telling employees to "seriously consider" voluntary separation

United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport.
United Airlines planes sit parked on a runway at Denver International Airport. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

United Airlines is asking some of its employees to consider leaving voluntarily as the airline tries to "right size" its workforce during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo to some United Airlines employees, obtained by CNN, Chief Operations Officer Greg Hart said, “You may want to seriously consider if you’re in a position to take a voluntary separation."

Hart said executive salaries have been cut and that the airline is trying to be transparent with its rank-and-file workforce.

“We recognize that this is painful news, but it provides what we believe is the most accurate assessment of what lies ahead for our company," Hart said in the memo.

Becoming a smaller airline: United Airlines Chief Communications Officer John Earnest told CNN the airline is trying to deal with the "significant disruption to our business."

"Most days in the month of April, on an individual day we were flying fewer customers, in an individual day than we had pilots on the payroll," Earnest said.

"We do expect, in all likelihood, by the time October rolls around we're going to be a smaller airline," he added.
9:57 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Intel shared between US allies indicates virus outbreak more likely came from market, not a Chinese lab

A security guard stands outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, on January 24.
A security guard stands outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, on January 24. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Intelligence shared between Five Eye nations indicates it is more likely that the coronavirus was spread from exposure in a market than came from an accident in a Chinese lab, according to two western officials.

The virus that originated in Wuhan was not accidentally released from a lab, the officials said, citing an intelligence assessment that contradicts a narrative increasingly being pushed by the Trump administration.

“We think it’s highly unlikely it was an accident,” a western diplomatic official with knowledge of the intelligence said. “It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction.”

The countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition are coalescing around this assessment, the official said, and a second official, from a Five Eyes country, concurred with it. The US has yet to make a formal assessment public.

A third source, from a Five Eyes nation, told CNN that the level of certainty being expressed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump is way out in front of where the current Five Eyes assessment is. This source acknowledged that there is still a possibility that the virus originated from a lab, but cautioned there is nothing to make that a legitimate theory yet.

The source added that “clearly the market is where it exploded from” but how the virus got to the market still remains unclear.

But without greater cooperation and transparency from the Chinese, it’s impossible to say with total certainty, the first official added.

Five Eyes is made up of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – in which the countries share a broad range of intelligence in one of the world's tightest multilateral arrangements.

The third source said it is also possible the US is not sharing all of its intelligence. While the overwhelming majority is shared among five eyes, there are pockets of information that each country keeps to themselves. When the information is shared, they share sources and methods, and sometimes countries do not want to share sources and methods.

The assessment follows repeated claims by Trump and Pompeo that there is evidence the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC News on Sunday.

The US intelligence community issued a statement on Thursday saying they are still working to “determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.” The statement said that the Covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and State Department did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Watch here:

7:36 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Louisiana reports lowest number of coronavirus deaths over the last three days, governor says

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a press briefing in Baton Rouge on Monday.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a press briefing in Baton Rouge on Monday. Gerald Herbert/AP

Louisiana is reporting 22 new deaths in the state today –– the lowest number of reported deaths in one day in over a month, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at news conference. 

“The last three days the deaths have been the lowest in more than a month,” Edwards said. “If you got back to daily reports, you get into March before you see a number that is lower than what we have been reporting.”

Edwards said this shows that the people of Louisiana are responding and abiding by the stay-at-home order, reducing contact with individuals, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

By the numbers: The state will now update the number of people they deem recovered from Covid-19 each week. Edwards announced today that 20,316 people are presumed to have recovered.

At least 9,673 cases of coronavirus and 1,991 deaths have been reported in the state.

7:20 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Retail stores in Arizona to open Friday with "strict physical distancing," governor says

An empty parking lot at a shopping center in Chandler, Arizona, on April 4. Arizona will allow all retail stores to do in-person business again starting Friday.
An empty parking lot at a shopping center in Chandler, Arizona, on April 4. Arizona will allow all retail stores to do in-person business again starting Friday. Matt York/AP

Arizona will allow all retail stores to do in-person business again at the end of the week. 

“Friday, May 8 will be a full reopening with strict physical distancing,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday.

He said with the number of new coronavirus cases declining, he feels businesses can reopen safely. 

“Arizona is heading in the right direction. We have a downward trajectory,” Ducey said. 

Barbers and salons are also included in Friday's reopening order.

Ducey said restaurants will be able to offer dine-in services again on May 11. The governor said the state is working with the restaurant industry to come up with specific distancing rules.

The governor reminded Arizonans that although more retail options will be opening to them within the next week, the state’s stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 15, so people shouldn’t spend too much time around others.

“Get your hair cut, get something to eat, and head home,” Ducey said.
7:03 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Nike to donate 30,000 pairs of shoes to health care workers

An OHSU nurse wears a version of the Air Zoom Pulse.
An OHSU nurse wears a version of the Air Zoom Pulse. Nike

Nike announced on Monday that it will donate 30,000 pairs of Air Zoom Pulse – a shoe specifically designed for health care workers – to health systems and hospitals in Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis and New York City, and within the Veterans Health Administration, according to a company statement.

"The effort is led by messages of gratitude to healthcare professionals. From one athlete to another, Nike athletes recognize the physical and mental resilience of healthcare athletes," the company said.

Hospitals across Europe – including Barcelona, Berlin, London, Milan, Paris and Belgium – will receive an additional 2,500 pairs, according to the statement.

About 95,000 pairs of soccer socks will also be delivered to health care workers in Los Angeles and New York City, the company said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his appreciation, saying, "Thank you so much for supporting our front line health care heroes."

Read the tweets:

6:56 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Retired Colorado paramedic dies from coronavirus after volunteering as first responder in New York

Ambulnz paramedics and Aurora firefighters salute the casket carrying the body of retired paramedic Paul Cary at Denver International Airport on Sunday, May 3.
Ambulnz paramedics and Aurora firefighters salute the casket carrying the body of retired paramedic Paul Cary at Denver International Airport on Sunday, May 3. Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/AP

A retired paramedic from Colorado who volunteered to travel to New York City and serve as a first responder on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic has died from the virus, Gov. Jared Polis said Monday afternoon.

Paul Cary, 66, left Colorado Springs with colleagues from the national ambulance company Ambulnz, and began working in New York on April 1, according to Polis. Cary later contracted Covid-19 during his work in New York, and died on April 30, his family said in a statement. 

“He volunteered to travel to New York City, the worst corona outbreak in the world in New York City,” Polis said Monday. “Fifteen thousand lives lost, he said, ‘You know what, I'm gonna go serve on the frontlines as a paramedic and save lives.’ And he knew ... that he was putting his own life at risk, he knew that he might contract the virus, he knew that he was high risk at age 66."

Prior to working with Ambulnz, Cary served as a firefighter and paramedic with Aurora Fire Rescue for more than 30 years, Ambulnz said a statement. 

“Accepting Paul’s commitment to serving others in need, we respected his choice to volunteer to be part of Ambulnz’s response team to the COVID-19 crisis in New York City,” Cary’s family said in a statement to CNN on Monday. “He risked his own health and safety to protect others and left this world a better place. We are at peace knowing that Paul did what he loved and what he believed in, right up until the very end.”

Cary is survived by two sons and four grandchildren, according to Ambulnz.

“He didn't hesitate to raise his hand and volunteer and travel thousands of miles from his home to help his fellow Americans in need,” Polis said. 

6:48 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

The National Women's Soccer League will allow individual training starting Wednesday

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced Monday the league will allow for voluntary, individual workouts to start Wednesday on outdoor team training fields.

According to a statement from the league, “the voluntary, individual player workout phase prohibits access to club facilities including but not limited to locker rooms, weight rooms, and indoor team training rooms. Team weight rooms and training rooms are still only accessible to players receiving medical treatments that can’t be performed at home.”

The NWSL’s moratorium on full team training remains in place through the end of May 15.