Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond, Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 9:16 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020
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11:46 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Covid-19 could kill an extra 75,000 Americans through "deaths of despair"

From CNN's Mallory Simon

Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images
Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

As many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis conducted by the national public health group Well Being Trust.

The growing unemployment crisis, economic downturns and stress caused by isolation and lack of a definitive end date for the pandemic could significantly increase so-called “deaths of despair” unless local, state and federal authorities take action, the group says in a new report released Friday.

“Unless we get comprehensive federal, state, and local resources behind improving access to high-quality mental health treatments and community supports, I worry we’re likely to see things get far worse when it comes to substance misuse and suicide,” Well Being Trust’s chief strategy officer Dr. Benjamin F. Miller said.

The Well Being trust released maps showing state and county level projections of these types of deaths, based on data from past years, due to Covid-19’s impact on unemployment, isolation and uncertainty.

The group is calling for a robust approach from local, state and federal officials and agencies to help those who lose their jobs because of the pandemic to find work.

What happened in 2008: Deaths from both suicide and drug overdoses rose along with unemployment during the 2008 recession. Unemployment went from 4.6% in 2007 to a peak of 10% in October 2009 and declined steadily, reaching 3.5% in early 2010, according to the group.

And 2020 could be much worse. White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Tuesday he expects the US unemployment rate was above 16% in April, “My guess right now is it’s going to be north of 16%, maybe as high as 20%,” he said.

"We're looking at probably the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression," Hassett told CNN's Poppy Harlow Tuesday.

Get help: If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Here are other ways to help.

11:26 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Nancy Pelosi says record unemployment numbers show need for another stimulus package

From CNN's Suzanne Malveaux

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to Friday's record-breaking 14.7% unemployment rate across the US, saying it shows the "urgent" need for Congress to pass more congressional funding to alleviate the crisis.

“Our nation is in the midst of an historic health and economic crisis, and even this record-shattering April jobs report understates the suffering in our nation today," Pelosi said. "The dire job losses show the urgent need for a bold CARES 2 package that is equal to the crisis gripping the American people."
11:26 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Minnesota bans indoor and outdoor graduation ceremonies

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The state of Minnesota is not allowing indoor or outdoor graduation ceremonies, according to new guidance put out today.

The guidelines were developed by a group of school leaders and the Minnesota Department of Health to give students and educators a way to honor their graduates, according to a press release issued by the state.

The guidance issued said the safest way to observe graduation or commencement is for people to stay home.

"Indoor graduations and ceremonies held outside in stadiums and footballs fields are not permitted," the guidance said. "There gatherings are not considered safe at any size and will not be permitted. Likewise, indoor graduations/commencement ceremonies will also not be permitted."

So what can graduates do? The state suggests that ceremonies be conducted remotely or virtually or hold parking lot celebrations where people stay in their cars with their windows up during the event. 

Contactless delivery or pick up is suggested for diplomas, caps and gowns.

11:01 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Catch up: Here's the latest coronavirus news

It's 11 a.m. ET in the US. Here's the latest updated on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • A historic jobs report: The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today — by far the most sudden and largest decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939.
  • More Americans could die: A many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis conducted by the national public health group Well Being Trust.
  • California begins to reopen: The country's most populous state is taking its first significant step in reopening its economy today, with select retailers allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery options.
  • Trump is being tested for coronavirus daily: This comes after CNN learned a member of the US Navy who serves as one of Trump's personal valets has tested positive, raising concerns about the President's possible exposure to the virus.
11:24 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Public transportation agencies request $32 billion in emergency federal aid

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Public transportation agencies are requesting emergency federal aid to help address the pandemic for the rest of 2020 and through 2021.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO is leading a coalition of 15 public transportation agencies who say they need an additional $32 billion, the MTA said in a news release.

The group, which serves communities who generate 35% of the nation’s GDP, wrote a letter to Senate and House of Representatives asking for the funding.

“We come together to request your urgent assistance in providing additional aid to public transportation agencies in the next COVID-19 relief bill,” the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reads.

The letter continues:

“Transit agencies often rely upon a variety of non-farebox revenue sources from our taxpayers and our state and local partners to support our day-to-day operations; many of our agencies are working to assess the impacts of revenue losses not covered by the CARES Act... Just as appropriations after natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and fires are allocated based on need, funds to address this crisis should be distributed based on the loss of non-federal revenues.”
10:43 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York City will limit the number of people allowed in some parks this weekend

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will limit the number of people that can go into some parks to help with social distancing, the mayor said at a news briefing Friday.

The mayor said they are experimenting with this idea and he hopes it will save lives. He said if it works, the city will expand and use it in other parks.

Hudson River Park Piers 45 and 46, both in Manhattan, will be under new experimental restrictions beginning this weekend after those parks got too crowded last weekend, the mayor said.

When people go into the park they will have limited time, de Blasio said.

Domino Park, in Brooklyn, will be monitored, according to the mayor.  

10:47 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

At least 163 homeless New Yorkers accepted help from the city last night

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities engaged 269 homeless New York City residents as subway were shut down to be cleaned last night.

At least 163 of them accepted help from the city, de Blasio said at a news briefing today, with 148 of them going to shelters and 15 to hospitals.

"This is good news and is pointing us in the right direction," he said.

Over the last three nights, at least 520 homeless people have been helped, according to the mayor.

"These results are literally historic," de Blasio said.

10:39 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Colorado extends state of disaster emergency for 30 days

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham and Hollie Silverman

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order extending the Disaster Emergency Declaration, according to a press release from his office sent out today.

Polis requested a Major Disaster Declaration on March 25 and it was approved by President Trump on March 28, according to the release.

The 30-day extension of this order will provide additional funding for the state's coronavirus response and extend the employment of the Colorado National Guard, the release said.

10:33 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York City is forming a "test and trace corps"

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that his administration is launching a “test and trace corps" to aid the city’s coronavirus containment efforts. 

The corps is tasked with testing New Yorkers for infection, tracing all cases and contacts and then supporting and caring for cases and their contacts. 

“We are going to be able to expand testing greatly," de Blasio said in a news conference.

"We want to find everyone who is positive and then trace all their close contacts,” de Blasio added. 

That tracing would then help the city “provide help” to those who need it. By May, the unit aims to house and deploy 1,000 public “health foot soldiers” to help with the efforts.

According to de Blasio, nearly 7,000 applications have already been received and are being evaluated for hiring. NYC will utilize the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19/Contact Tracing Training for all applicants who are being considered for contact tracing jobs