Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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4:00 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

68% of Americans say an available vaccine is very important before returning to normal life, new survey finds

From CNN's Grace Sparks

Two new Gallup surveys show how stay-at-home behavior and attitudes towards the pandemic have changed in the last month.

Here were some of the key findings:

Small gatherings: Fewer people avoiding small gatherings than were doing so last month, one survey found.

  • Around 74% of Americans say they’re avoiding small gatherings — that's down slightly from 80% who said so in mid-April, an indication that some are starting to break their quarantines and return to their lives.
  • The avoidance of small gatherings has decreased mostly among independents and Republicans — down 10 percentage points since mid-April among independents to 74% and down 7 percentage points to 60% among Republicans.

Visiting family and friends: Gallup also found more people now say they are going to visit others in their homes.

  • About 16% of Americans reported they have visited someone else’s home or apartment in the last 24 hours, an uptick since March.

Return to normal life: Another release from Gallup finds 80% say that in order for them to be willing to return to normal life, it is very important for those who test positive for Covid-19 to enter mandatory quarantines.

  • Nearly three-quarters consider it very important for there to be a significant reduction in the number of new cases or deaths before they’d be willing to return to their regular activities, and 68% rate the availability of a vaccine as very important. About 6 in 10 people call widespread testing to identify and monitor infections very important.
  • Those factors, few of which are in place in any of the places where reopening has begun, were rated as far more important than their state government telling them to restart regular life — however, 39% call that very important.

CLARIFICATION: The headline on this post was updated to clarify that the survey found 68% of Americans say an available vaccine is very important before returning to normal life. The post was also clarified to emphasize that respondents were rating the importance of each benchmark to their willingness to return to regular activities.

1:11 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Detroit teachers union says members shouldn't volunteer to proctor AP exams

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

The Detroit Federation of Teachers released a statement Monday advising its members not to volunteer for service in the city's public school buildings after teachers at one school were asked to proctor in-person Advanced Placement (AP) exams beginning this week.

Three million students across the country will take AP exams this year, according to the College Board, which administers the exams.

In Detroit, 900 students take AP courses, according to the district, and 100 students either did not connect with the College Board to get the technology necessary, or do not have internet access. The district says it wants to help those students earn college credit.

“Although we can provide AP students with laptops for the test that could be returned, we cannot provide internet access until June/July. Therefore, the Executive Order regarding the closing of schools does allow schools to be used for distance learning and other activities such as food distribution," said Chrystal Wilson, spokesperson the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), in a statement.

"In this case, it would be permissible under the Order for a small number of staff (25), mainly school-based administrators and volunteer teachers to facilitate the exam, across a 10-day period at nine schools across the city,” Wilson wrote.

The district says it will provide masks and gloves for students and school personnel and social distancing will be enforced at nine schools.

Steve Conn, a math teacher for Western International High School, part of this Detroit district, said he was shocked when he received an email last week asking him to proctor an exam at his school, where some students are expected to take the AP calculus exam on Tuesday.

"I think this is a terrible idea," Conn responded in an email to Western International's Assistant Principal Marsha Lewis. He provided a copy of the email to CNN.

"It means inviting people to let down their guard and take the UNNECESSARY RISK of contracting the disease, and either getting sick themselves, or taking it home with them to infect their families," he wrote. CNN has reached out to Lewis for a response.

Terrence Martin, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said in a statement, "We continue to be concerned that the district administration has yet to provide a comprehensive plan to ensure COVID-19 related safety for our Members. Therefore, please be advised that you are not required to proctor AP tests next week. In fact, Members should not volunteer to provide service in DPSCD buildings at this time."

1:15 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

The second lady's staff has been teleworking since March 17

From CNN's Kate Bennett

Second Lady Karen Pence speaks during an Earth Day and Arbor Day tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 22.
Second Lady Karen Pence speaks during an Earth Day and Arbor Day tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 22. Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Second lady Karen Pence has not met in person with her team in almost two months. 

“Mrs. Pence’s staff has been teleworking since March 17,” Pence’s communications director Kara Brooks told CNN.

Brooks added she is one of those working from home. Additionally, Brooks confirmed that Pence restricted the One Observatory Circle’s residence manager and deputy residence manager to teleworking only, also on March 17.

12:57 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

People don't just "bounce back" from Covid-19, WHO official says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

 

World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan talks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19, at the WHO heardquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11.
World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan talks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19, at the WHO heardquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Research is ongoing to determine what the recovery process involves for Covid-19 — including whether patients can be re-infected or whether parts of the illness can be chronic — but overall, World Health Organization (WHO) officials have warned that recovery can take some time. 

"Many are experiencing longer-term issues with energy… some have had impacts on their respiratory system, their cardiovascular system, their liver, their kidney function and others," Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s executive director of health emergencies program, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday.

"It is taking many people a very long time to recover in a hospital environment and we should expect when people are discharged that recovery continues," Ryan said. "People don’t just bounce back."

 

12:38 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Iowa governor in modified quarantine after possible coronavirus exposure at White House

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, on Thursday, May 7.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, on Thursday, May 7. Charlie Neibergall/Pool/AP

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will follow a modified quarantine protocol for coronavirus out of concern that she may have been exposed to virus during her trip to the White House last week.

Reynolds said she was tested negative for coronavirus Monday morning and did not wear a mask as she walked to the podium for today’s briefing where she announced the quarantine efforts.

According to Reynolds, a member of Vice President Pence’s staff who has since tested positive for the virus was at the White House during Reynolds' trip to Washington, DC, last week. 

She said she did not have direct contact with the Pence staffer, but said she will follow a modified quarantine out of an abundance of caution.

The governor said she will maintain social distancing, wear a mask and have minimal interaction with state staff. Reynolds said she will also be tested daily for coronavirus and will submit to daily temperature checks.

12:25 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Illinois governor's senior staffer tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during the daily press briefing regarding the coronavirus pandemic James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Sunday, May 3.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during the daily press briefing regarding the coronavirus pandemic James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Sunday, May 3. Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Getty Images

A senior member of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has tested positive for Covid-19, prompting a temporary shutdown of his office, the governor said in a statement Monday. 

"The asymptomatic staff member tested positive late last week and was in close contact with the governor and other staff members," the statement said. 

Approximately 20 employees still going into the James R. Thompson Center will now work from home, the statement said.

The governor and other staff members tested negative.

12:32 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

23% of children in the pediatric ICU with coronavirus experienced multi-organ failure, study shows

From CNN's Gina Yu

FangXiaNuo/Getty Images
FangXiaNuo/Getty Images

Though children don’t get severely ill from Covid-19 as frequently as adults, some still face serious complications, according to a study published on Monday.

The study included 48 children with coronavirus who were admitted to pediatric intensive care units. Among them, 23% had failure of two or more organ systems – the most common organ being the lungs – and 81% required some sort of respiratory support, such as a ventilator.

The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, included data from 46 pediatric ICUs in the US and Canada between March 14 and April 3.

The results come during increasing reports of a severe inflammatory condition in children possibly linked to Covid-19. No reference to the inflammatory condition was included in the study.

The findings: The median age of the children was 13 years old, and 83% had underlying medical conditions. Obesity was a notable pre-existing disease, particularly in older children, according to the study. The median length of stay in the pediatric ICU was five days. 

More than half of the children, 61%, received treatment, mainly with hydroxychloroquine.

For the 18 children who needed a ventilator, two died by the time of the report. The remaining 16 had a variety of outcomes: three still needed invasive ventilation, seven were taken off of their ventilators but remained hospitalized and six were discharged from the hospital.

The lower percentage of children who die on ventilators compared to adults reflect “the markedly decreased burden of disease” from Covid-19 in children, the study said. 

Though some children with Covid-19 do experience severe outcomes, the authors emphasized that pediatric ICU admissions are not common. Only 35% of the hospitals participating in the study reported admissions of children with Covid-19 infection. 

12:28 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

New York is investigating more than 90 children with "Covid-related diseases," governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is currently investigating more than 90 cases of "Covid-related diseases" in young children.

"We have 93 cases we're investigating of young children that have Covid-related diseases," the governor said during his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday.

Cuomo on Sunday said New York state was investigating 85 cases of a coronavirus-related illness that is afflicting children across the state.

So far, three young New Yorkers have died from an illness that may be related to Covid-19 include a teenager in Suffolk County, as well as a 7-year-old in Westchester County and a 5-year-old in New York City, according to the governor’s office.

More context: Last week, New York State Department of Health reported some children have developed an inflammatory syndrome possibly linked to the coronavirus. 

"Thankfully most children with COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms, but in some, a dangerous inflammatory syndrome can develop," New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement.

New York is investigating if the cases contradict the belief that children are less at risk for coronavirus and what other hospitals should look out for, Cuomo said.

WATCH:

12:09 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Vermont governor plans to reopen retail stores May 18

From CNN’s Carma Hassan 

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced today that the state plans to develop and release guidelines this week for a gradual reopening of retail stores starting on May 18.

He said the state will extend emergency orders on Friday that will include additional openings. 

Stores will need to meet or exceed all current safety requirements, employees will be required to wear facial coverings, and everyone must maintain a distance of six feet from each other.

Scott also said that businesses in the first phase of reopening will be subject to an occupancy limit of 25% of their maximum legal occupancy limit.