Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:03 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020
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3:57 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Trump: "Vaccine or no vaccine, we're back"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump underscored Friday that the United States will rebound regardless of whether or not a coronavirus vaccine is developed.

Announcing new leadership for a “Warp Speed” initiative to develop a vaccine, Trump said, “I just want to make something clear. It’s very important. Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And we’re starting a process.”

"In many cases they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it,” he continued during a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“People sometimes, I guess, we don’t know exactly yet, but it looks like they become immune — at least for a short while. It may be for life. But you fight through it,” he added.

However, the President added that he’s hopeful a vaccine can be developed by the end of the year.

Watch:

2:22 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Trump claims truck horns heard over speech are "sign of love"

President Trump said the truck horns that could be heard during his Rose Garden remarks on vaccine efforts were not a protest, but a “sign of love” to support his presidency.

“You hear that outside, that beautiful sound. Those are truckers that are with us all the way. They're protesting in favor of President Trump as opposed to against. There's hundreds of trucks out there. That's the sign of love, not the sign of your typical protests. I want to thank our great truckers. They like me and I like them,” Trump said. 

Trump added that his administration and the truckers are “working on something together.”

The horns could be heard as other officials took the podium to speak.

More on this: Despite Trump’s assertions that the truckers were honking to support him, a letter from the Independent Drivers Association, obtained by CNN, says that the truckers were actually lobbying Congress to change federal regulations on transparency by brokers, "to help truckers know they are being compensated fairly." 

This was the second time the President had suggested truck drivers were in town to support him. "They’re not protesters, they’re supporters of me because we’re getting things for the truckers… they’re really very thankful that I’m President,” he said during an interview with Maria Bartiromo that aired Fox Business Thursday.

Earlier Friday, CNN caught up with a group of truck drivers in Washington to protest.

“He lied on national television,” one trucker said, in response to the President’s remarks. “Let’s make a big sign – ‘yes we are a protest,’” another exclaimed, with another trucker chiding, “And remind him that this is an election year.”

Watch:

1:14 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Head of US vaccine effort: Early data suggests doses will be available by the end of 2020

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Chief Adviser "Warp Speed" vaccine effort Monecef Slaoui (R), with US President Donald Trump, speaks on vaccine development on May 15 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
Chief Adviser "Warp Speed" vaccine effort Monecef Slaoui (R), with US President Donald Trump, speaks on vaccine development on May 15 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui — the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division who was appointed by President Trump to lead the US's coronavirus vaccine effort — said he is confident a vaccine will be developed by the end of 2020.

"I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a coronavirus vaccine and this data made me feel even more confident that we'll be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020 and we will do the best we can," he said at a news conference with Trump on Friday.

In addition to a vaccine, he said operation "warp speed" will also focus on the development of medicines for those who are already infected as well as improving and "optimizing" diagnostic tests.

"It is a great honor to serve our country and the world in this remarkable endeavor," Slaoui said.

Watch:

1:02 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Trump: We’re working under "the assumption we'll have, in the relatively new future, a vaccine"

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Trump said his administration and its "Warp Speed" initiative to develop a coronavirus vaccine are working under the assumption of having one "in the relatively near future" adding that he hoped it would be before the end of the year.

“It’s risky. It’s expensive, but we’ll be saving massive amounts of time. We’ll be saving years if we do this properly,” he said.

Trump continued: "Typically pharmaceutical companies wait to manufacture a vaccine until it has received all the regulatory approvals necessary, and this can delay the vaccine's availability to the public as much as a year, even more than that. Our task is so urgent that under Operation Warp Speed the federal government will invest in manufacturing all the top vaccine candidates before they're approved so we're knowing exactly what we're doing before they're approved." 

Watch:

12:56 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Trump announces leaders of "warp speed" vaccine effort

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump announced the two leaders of "Operation Warp Speed," the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

They are Moncef Slaoui, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines division, and four-star Army General Gustave Perna.

Previously, CNN reported that Slaoui, who has been a venture capitalist since leaving the pharmaceutical giant in 2017, will act as the chief adviser to the vaccine effort. Perna will serve as the chief operating officer overseeing logistics, White House officials said. Trump said this week he would "rapidly" mobilize the military to distribute a vaccine when it is ready.

12:45 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

NOW: Trump is speaking about coronavirus vaccine initiatives

President Trump is speaking now from the White House Rose Garden. He's expected unveil new details about a vaccine effort.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is also at the event, and is wearing a mask.

12:35 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Iowa reports 374 new coronavirus cases on Friday

A medical worker directs a local resident at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 1.
A medical worker directs a local resident at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 1. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Iowa is reporting at least 374 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to Gov. Kimberly Reynolds.

The use of ventilators and beds in intensive care units continues to go down, Reynolds said. So far, about 93,556 Iowans have been tested.

Iowan officials also said they have not encountered any case in the state involving the mystery illness tied to Covid-19 that appeared in children in many parts of the country and the globe.

For the first time, personal protective equipment will not be delivered across Iowa as the state’s stockpile is “in a good place right now,” Reynolds said.

12:13 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Vermont relaxes stay-at-home order, but extends state of emergency

From CNN's Carma Hassan and Molly Silverman

The downtown stands empty amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Brattleboro, Vermont, on April 19.
The downtown stands empty amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Brattleboro, Vermont, on April 19. Brian Snyder/Reuters

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced today that he is extending the state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic until June 15.

“This will allow us to continue responding and managing this public health crisis while we transition out of it,” Scott said.

“We’re also relaxing the ‘Stay at Home, Stay Safe’ order by aligning it with the sectors and social activities were already allowed to open and with our restart strategy," he added.

Scott said the last two months have felt like a year and it is “incredible” to think about all that has happened since early March. He went on to say that emotions are raw as they methodically reopen the state.

The governor said Vermont has the lowest three-day and seven-day growth rates in the country and their data shows they can continue slowly reopening.

“While our trends remain promising, we know we’re not out of the woods yet,” Scott said.

12:08 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Beaches in New York and neighboring states will open for Memorial Day, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A person walks on the beach on May 13 in the Coney Island neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough in New York City.
A person walks on the beach on May 13 in the Coney Island neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state — along with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware — will all be opening beaches for Memorial Day weekend beginning Friday next week.

The states will have different, specific rules but “they’re all basically in the same ball park,” Cuomo said.

Here are the restrictions in New York:

  • No more than 50% capacity, or group contact activities
  • Picnic areas and playgrounds will be closed
  • Social distancing will be enforced for employees and visitors
  • Masks must be worn by employees
  • Visitors must have masks and wear them when they cannot social distance

With regards to municipal town and county beaches, local government can choose to open or stay closed. If they open, they must adopt the state requirements at a minimum. They are also allowed to impose additional requirements above and beyond, and must report their status by May 20 so the state can plan accordingly.