Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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12:55 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Send CNN your questions about schools and education during the pandemic

Most students in the US will not be returning to the classroom this academic year, and when schools will reopen is still unknown. Education experts will join this week’s coronavirus town hall to talk about school during the pandemic.

Parents, do you or your children have questions? College students or educators, what would you like to ask? Leave your questions below along with your name, location and a phone number, and a producer may be in touch with you if we’re interested in using your question.

9:31 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

More than 5,700 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa/AP
Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa/AP

As of Monday morning, there are at least 5,727 US service members who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a tally by the Defense Department.

There are now at least 8,636 cases across the entire Defense Department.

9:19 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

These 3 US automakers are reopening their factories today

From CNN's Peter Valdes-Dapena

Workers return to FCA Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly to restart production on Monday, May 18, in Warren, Michigan.
Workers return to FCA Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly to restart production on Monday, May 18, in Warren, Michigan. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will begin to gradually restart their US factories today, with some big changes put in place to help protect workers from the coronavirus.

Here's a look at what's reopening:

  • At Ford, 59,000 factory workers, about 80% of the workforce, are expected to show up for work, according to the company.
  • At GM, about 15,000 of the company's 48,000 factory workers are expected to report to work on Monday, with more expected to report in coming weeks as the ramp up in production continues, a spokesperson for the company said.
  • Meanwhile, about a third of hourly Fiat Chrysler workers, or about 16,000 people , are expected to start Monday, according to the company.

The reopenings come just before President Trump is expected to travel to Michigan to visit a Ford manufacturing plant.

A White House spokesperson and Ford both confirmed the trip to CNN. It's currently scheduled for Thursday but sources caution that is subject to change.

9:07 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Restaurants in Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade Counties can reopen today

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Head waitress Barbara Rogers disinfects tables at the Peter Pan Diner in Oakland Park, Florida, on May 17. Broward County businesses are set to partially reopen on May 18.
Head waitress Barbara Rogers disinfects tables at the Peter Pan Diner in Oakland Park, Florida, on May 17. Broward County businesses are set to partially reopen on May 18. Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP

Restaurants in Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade Counties will be allowed to reopen today at 50% capacity.  

Other businesses that will reopen in Broward County starting today include, retail stores, barber shops and drive-in movie theaters. All establishments that will be allowed to reopen will have restrictions.

Some background: Most of Florida began reopening earlier this month, but Broward and Miami-Dade, as well as Palm Beach County, did not, since they were the hardest hit by coronavirus. Palm Beach County allowed restaurants to reopen last week. Those three counties account for about 6.2 million of Florida's residents, according to US Census data.

8:55 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

All but 2 states have started reopening

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Women cross Market Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, on May 7.
Women cross Market Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, on May 7. Mark Lennihan/AP

By now, all but two states have loosened restrictions in place to help curb the spread of the virus. Some began allowing limited gatherings, while others have allowed restaurants and some businesses to reopen their doors with caution

Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only two with all restrictions still in place.

And while many parts of the country have expressed hope about their number of cases seemingly slowing, other states have reported hikes

8:16 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Social distancing worked to limit the spread of coronavirus, new study confirms

From CNN's Arman Azad

A restaurant worker in Los Angeles wears a face covering and gloves for handling takeout orders on April 5.
A restaurant worker in Los Angeles wears a face covering and gloves for handling takeout orders on April 5. Mario Tama/Getty Images

A new study has found that social distancing worked to limit the spread of coronavirus in the United States, and may have prevented tens of millions of infections.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, found that government-imposed social distancing cut the virus’ daily growth rate by about 9% after roughly three weeks.

Without any social distancing measures at all, the number of coronavirus cases in the US could have been 35 times higher, the researchers estimated.

“Our paper illustrates the potential danger of exponential spread in the absence of interventions, providing relevant information to strategies for restarting economic activity,” they wrote.

Charles Courtemanche from the University of Kentucky — as well and colleagues there and at the University of Louisville and Georgia State University – estimated the effects of social distancing by comparing coronavirus cases in counties with and without a number of social distancing measures.

Shelter-in-place orders and the closure of restaurants and bars seemed particularly effective at slowing the spread of the virus, the researchers found. Bans on large events and the closure of public schools alone didn’t seem to affect the growth rate.

“[Our] results argue against returning to partial measures such as school closures and restrictions on large gatherings, while removing the restrictions that prevent the redirection of social activity to other settings,” the researchers wrote.

They did note that their study had some limitations. Official case counts, for example, are likely an undercount because they may not include people who aren’t sick enough to go to the doctor.

Other factors could have skewed the results too, such as “informal encouragement by government officials to wear masks or improve hygiene, changing business practices, and social norms regarding distancing.”

7:51 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Early results from Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial show participants developed antibodies against the virus

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen

Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is pictured on May 8.
Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is pictured on May 8. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Study subjects who received Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine had positive early results, according to a press release issued Monday by the biotech company, which partnered with the National Institutes of Health to develop the vaccine.

These early data come from a Phase 1 clinical trial, which typically study a small number of people and focus on whether a vaccine is safe. The information has not been peer reviewed, nor published in a medical journal.

Race for a vaccine: Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of eight developers worldwide already doing human clinical trials of potential vaccines against the novel coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. Two others, Pfizer and Inovio, are also in the United States, one is at the University of Oxford in the UK, and three others are in China. 

"All eight initial participants" in the Moderna trial developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus at levels reaching or exceeding those seen in people who have naturally recovered from Covid-19, according to the press release.

Neutralizing antibodies bind to the virus, disabling it from attacking human cells. The presence of such antibodies at the levels of people who have naturally had the infection is an important indicator in vaccine studies

"These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection starting with a dose as low as 25 μg," according to Dr. Tal Zaks, chief medical officer at Moderna, who used the scientific name for the Moderna vaccine.

The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company to begin Phase 2 trials, which typically involve a larger number of people, and the company expects to begin Phase 3 trials in July. Phase 3 involves large-scale testing of the vaccine, typically in tens of thousands of patients.

The length of such trials varies greatly, and the press release doesn't indicate how long they might take, or when the vaccine might be available to the public.

At the highest dose, three participants had "the most notable adverse events," which resolved, and no serious adverse events were reported, the company said, not specifying what the adverse events were.

The company indicated that the Phase 3 trials will be done with lower doses. 

7:35 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

The recovery from coronavirus could take years

From CNN Business' Charles Riley

Jerome Powell, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, holds a news conference in Washington on March 3.
Jerome Powell, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, holds a news conference in Washington on March 3. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Jerome Powell, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, delivered some straight talk to the American people on last night's episode of "60 Minutes."

The Fed chief said he was optimistic that the US economy would start to heal in the second half of this year. But he warned the road to recovery could be very long. And a second wave of coronavirus cases would be devastating.

"This economy will recover," Powell said. "And that means people will go back to work. Unemployment will get back down. We'll get through this. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year. We really don't know."

"60 Minutes" is a big stage that's rarely utilized by the central bank. When Ben Bernanke appeared on the program in 2009, during the global financial crisis, it was the first on-air TV interview with a Fed chief in two decades.

Read the full story here:

8:03 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

It's just after 6 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

People walk in The Galleria shopping center in Houston on May 1.
People walk in The Galleria shopping center in Houston on May 1. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 4.7 million people, killing at least 315,000 worldwide. Nearly 1.5 million cases have been reported in the US, where the death toll is approaching 90,000. If you're just joining us, here's what you may have missed:

  • Health conditions partly blamed: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has suggested that the underlying health conditions of Americans, in particular those in minority communities, contributed significantly to the death toll from the coronavirus. Almost 90,000 Americans have died from the virus.
  • Balancing act: Governors across the United States are navigating a balancing act as they try to reopen their economies without triggering a second spike in coronavirus cases. By now, all but two states have loosened restrictions in place to help curb the spread of the virus. Some are allowing limited gatherings, while others have allowed restaurants and some businesses to reopen their doors with caution. While many parts of the country have expressed hope that their numbers of cases are seemingly slowing, other states have reported rises.
  • In Texas: Officials reported the highest single-day increase in new cases over the weekend, but the governor has attributed it to more testing. Restaurants, movie theaters and malls have been open for a little more than two weeks, and the governor is expected to announce the next step in the state's reopening Monday.
  • In Florida: Health officials reported 777 new coronavirus cases, adding that the state's testing also increased in the past week, according to a statement Sunday. On Monday, the state will enter into its first full phase of reopening, which will allow restaurants, retail stores and gyms across Florida to reopen with certain restrictions. 
  • In California: The state is now in the second of Governor Gavin Newsom's four reopening phases. Newsom said that while he was empathetic to residents' concerns, he wanted to move forward safely.
  • WHO meets today: More than 100 countries have proposed a draft resolution calling for an independent "evaluation" of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be presented to the World Health Organization during its 73rd World Health Assembly today. The draft does not single out China, but Beijing is facing mounting international scrutiny for its initial handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.