Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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9:32 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

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

8:08 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

What first lady Melania Trump told governors on a call today

First lady Melania Trump is seated as President Donald Trump speaks during a presidential recognition ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, May 15, in Washington.
First lady Melania Trump is seated as President Donald Trump speaks during a presidential recognition ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, May 15, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a call with governors and leaders of the 50 states, territories, and the city of Washington, DC, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a readout from the White House, Melania Trump and other federal participants "highlighted the need for supporting our most vulnerable children and families with the necessary mental health and substance use disorder resources along with asking governors to ensure the physical safety and well-being of children around the nation."

This is the first time Melania Trump has participated on a call with governors on Covid-19.

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

Houston wants to "safely" move forward with reopening the economy

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Shoppers walk around The Galleria shopping center on May 1, in Houston, Texas.
Shoppers walk around The Galleria shopping center on May 1, in Houston, Texas. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wants to "safely" move forward with reopening the economy, but emphasizes that the social distancing and wearing face coverings is still necessary.

“I think we all do want to see the economy move forward. And I want people to get back to work so that they can provide for their for their families, but also want to make sure that it is done in a safe and responsible way," Turner said Monday in response to Texas moving forward with phase two of the state’s plan.

The mayor reminded people that the virus is still here and that there is still no cure or vaccine to fight Covid-19 so social distancing and good hygiene is essential.

He added that wearing masks should not be political as both Democrats and Republicans have died from Covid-19.

The latest numbers: Houston has reported at least 5,795 positive cases of coronavirus and approximately 115 deaths, according to Dr. David Persse with the Houston Department of Health.

7:34 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Bars in Arkansas will open with restrictions next week

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Bars in Arkansas will be able to reopen starting on May 26, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news briefing on Monday. Bars inside restaurant facilities can reopen tomorrow, he said.

The guidelines for bars will be similar to restaurants, said Dr. Nate Smith with the Arkansas Department of Health.

“We're going to continue to have the guidance on physical distancing and these other things in our directives and guidance, but we're going to depend more and more on people picking individual action to protect themselves and protect those around them and their loved ones, and as well as public health interventions like testing and contact tracing and less on regulatory mandates,” Smith said.

Hutchinson added that he will visit President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office on Wednesday to talk about the the food processing industry and how Arkansas has dealt with reopening of the economy.

There have been at least 4,813 positive cases of coronavirus in Arkansas and at least 100 people have died, Smith said.

7:02 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Kentucky governor announces new efforts to expand contact tracing

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, on Monday, May 11.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, on Monday, May 11. Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/AP

Kentucky is taking steps to ramp up contact tracing efforts in the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced today the Kentucky Department for Public Health is working with Deloitte Consulting to launch the statewide effort to gather information about contacts from newly diagnosed patients. 

Health officials will notify those people of their potential exposure and advise them of precautions they can take to protect their health and the health of those around them, according to a statement from the governor.

“We are going to hire about 700 people and we will have to deploy these folks very effectively to help contain the infection,” Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said.

“Contact tracing is the way we get back to as much as possible what normal used to be like. Contact tracing is the way we act very quickly to localize infection to keep it from spreading and enable us to get back to interacting with each other as much as we can," Stack added.

7:08 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Illinois governor announces emergency rule requiring businesses to follow stay-at-home order

From CNN's Raja Razek

In this April 17 file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a daily coronavirus news conference in Chicago on Friday, April 17.
In this April 17 file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a daily coronavirus news conference in Chicago on Friday, April 17. Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times/AP

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today an emergency rule requiring businesses to follow the existing stay-at-home order.

"Under the current Illinois Department of Public Health Act, when a business violates an IDPH rule and puts public health at risk, the business has committed a class A misdemeanor," Pritzker said in a news conference.

"This additional enforcement tool, this citation, causes less harm to a business than a total shutdown or loss of a license but gives local governments and law enforcement the ability to do their job," he said. 

This rule can only impact a business, not an individual, and is a response to only a select type of violation, according to the governor. 

Pritzker also announced today that the Illinois Contact Tracing Collaborative will "massively" scale up contact tracing. 

Latest numbers: Illinois has a total of 96,485 Covid-19 cases, with 4,234 deaths in the state. 

6:54 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

AP test organizers make changes after some students couldn't submit their exams

From CNN's David Williams and Alisha Ebrahimji

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

The College Board says it's taking steps to avoid a repeat of the problems that are forcing thousands of high school students to retake their Advanced Placement exams if they want to get college credit.

Students are taking the AP tests online this year because the coronavirus pandemic has closed schools and made it unsafe to gather at in-person testing sites.

Some students who took the tests last week reported not being able to upload their exams, a problem the College Board blamed on users' outdated browsers and other technical issues.

The organization set up an alternate email submission process for students who have browser problems, according to The College Board website. That system went into effect today.

If students get the message "We Did Not Receive Your Response," they will get instructions to email their submissions to a unique email address.

"AP students took nearly 2.2 million AP Exams last week, and we're so proud of every student who tested. We also share the deep disappointment of those who couldn't complete their AP Exams. We're providing a new safeguard for students moving forward," the College Board said in a tweet on Sunday. 

The organization said that less than 1% of students weren't able to submit their results in the early days of testing.

Read the tweet:

6:52 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Colorado governor says he wishes Trump would use platform to ask Americans to wear masks

Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point about the state's efforts to rein in the new coronavirus during a news conference outside the Stride Community Health Center on Monday, May 18, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point about the state's efforts to rein in the new coronavirus during a news conference outside the Stride Community Health Center on Monday, May 18, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. David Zalubowski/AP

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he wished President Trump would ask Americans to wear face masks in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Asked his reaction on Trump saying he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug that treats and prevents malaria, Polis responded, “Well at least he won’t be getting malaria anytime soon."

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug Trump has long touted as a potential coronavirus cure even as medical experts and the US Food and Drug Administration question its efficacy and warn of potentially harmful side effects.

Polis continued: “When he says something like that it creates a run on the drug. He has a lot of people that listen to every word he says. I really wish he would use this platform to say, ‘Let’s all wear mask.'"

“I just hope he uses that soapbox he has to talk about the need for staying apart from others six feet and wearing masks when we’re in public,” he said.

6:47 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

University of Notre Dame plans to end fall semester before Thanksgiving

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.
The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. Shutterstock

The University of Notre Dame announced in a statement today that students will return to campus for their fall semester during the week of August 10, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

The university also announced that it will forgo fall break in October and end the semester before Thanksgiving.

Notre Dame students were sent home in mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and completed their spring semester through remote learning.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” the university’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, said in the statement.

“Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed. We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet," the statement said.

The university said its plan for the fall will include comprehensive Covid-19 testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces.

As part of its planning, the university has identified facilities to isolate students who test positive and quarantine students who have been in close contact. These protocols will continue throughout the semester and as long as necessary, the university said. 

Other schools: Purdue University, Rice University and Creighton University all announced plans to cancel fall breaks and end “face-to-face” instruction before Thanksgiving earlier today.