Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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5:07 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Trump calls high US Covid-19 numbers "badge of honor" because it means more testing

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 19.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 19. Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump said today that he is considering a travel ban on Latin America and called the high number of US Covid-19 cases a “badge of honor” because it means the US is testing more people.

“We are considering it,” the President said when asked if he was considering a travel ban on Latin America, and Brazil in particular, which now has the third highest number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the world.

“We hope that we’re not going to have a problem. The governor of Florida is doing very, very well testing – in particular Florida, because a big majority come in to Florida. Brazil has gone more or less herd, and they’re having problems," Trump added.

“I worry about everything, I don’t want people coming in here and infecting our people,” Trump said, “I don’t want people over there sick either.”

“By the way,” the President interjected, “when you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else.”

“Actually the number of cases, and we’re also a much bigger country than most, so when we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as a good thing, because it means our testing is better,” he said.

“I view it as a badge of honor. Really, it’s a badge of honor,” Trump said. “It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.”

  Watch:

4:51 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Here's how NYU plans to resume some in-person classes for the fall semester

From CNN's Meridith Edwards

An NYU building in New York, NY as seen on July 16, 2017.
An NYU building in New York, NY as seen on July 16, 2017. Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

New York University is planning to resume some in-person classes in combination with distance learning for the fall semester, the university announced Tuesday in an email sent by Provost Katherine Fleming.

"We're planning to convene in person, with great care, in the fall (subject to government health directives), both in New York and our global sites,” Fleming wrote. “I can't pretend that 2020-21 will be a typical academic year.”

NYU is looking into ways to make the academic calendar more flexible, and to make classes accessible despite any restrictions the school might face, the email said.

Some plans they are developing include:

  • Offering classes in a mixed mode to enable students to participate in-person or remotely, with the understanding that some courses or parts of courses may be offered only remotely.
  • Possibly spread classes over two or three semesters - fall, spring and summer - with an enhanced set of course offerings without additional tuition costs.
  • They are also looking into providing those who live close to an operating campus or site in NYU's global network, with the option of studying there for the fall - known as the "Go Local" option.

This would give, for example, a student with Italian citizenship who was unable to come to NYC because of ongoing travel restrictions, the option to study at NYU's site in Florence, Italy, or elsewhere in the European Union, the email said.

Other school safety plans: NYU, which has more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students in New York and worldwide, said it plans to make masks available for all members of the NYU community and requiring their use, reduce density in student housing, and conduct virus and antibody testing, and contact tracing.

4:43 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

In-person graduation ceremonies to begin as early as next Friday in South Carolina

From CNN's Raja Razek

South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the audience at an accelerateSC gathering in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23.
South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the audience at an accelerateSC gathering in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23. Meg Kinnard/AP

In-person graduation ceremonies with gatherings of large groups of people could begin as early as next Friday, South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said.

Spearman, speaking at a reopening task force meeting, said that she and Gov. Henry McMaster felt that "it is a special ceremony; they can be held." 

"It is left up to the individual district," she said. "They can do that virtually or in person. And many high schools across the state are having in-person graduation ceremonies limiting the guests to two per senior or sometimes four, depending on the size of the high school graduating class."

Spearman went on to say that they are working with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to assist school districts with the graduations.

"I think one or two high schools have already held a virtual ceremony where the family comes in singly and gets a diploma, but as far as the actual gathering of large groups of people, it should begin next Friday," Spearman said. 

4:37 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

"Timing is right" for phased reopening tomorrow, Connecticut governor says 

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to the media in New Britain, Connecticut on Tuesday, May 12.
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to the media in New Britain, Connecticut on Tuesday, May 12. Chris Ehrmann/AP

Ahead of the state's phase one reopening day, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that “the timing is right” for what he referred to as a “slow and methodical reopening."

“We hit the key metrics we thought we would," he added.

Starting tomorrow, outdoor dining spaces, offices, retail stores and malls, museums and zoos will all be allowed to reopen in the state with restrictions.

Right now, all states except Connecticut have in some way moved toward reopening.

Where the numbers stand: Connecticut added 314 positive cases and 23 deaths, Lamont said today.

Positive cases as a percentage of tests performed is less than 5%. That’s the lowest the state has seen in a couple of months, Lamont said.

Hospitalization numbers continue to go down slowly as well.

The governor said the metrics are “good news” particularly “given where we thought we should be the day before May 20th which is our phase one reopening day.”

4:30 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

The Venetian on Las Vegas Strip now taking reservations for June 1

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

The Venetian resort in Las Vegas announced that it is now taking reservations for arrivals beginning June 1, "when we anticipate opening our doors to the public," the company said in a statement

The resort, which includes The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Venezia towers, is planning to open in phases, the statement said. 

 The Venetian will be the first to open, followed by The Palazzo at a later date. 

"Upon opening, our guests can expect the amenities of a luxury Las Vegas resort including: a full service casino, more than a dozen restaurants, our fully renovated Venetian pool deck and multiple retail outlets," the statement said.

Additionally, the resort said it will provide face masks to guests — though it will not require that they be worn. 

Some background: The resort "temporarily suspended all resort operations" on March 19 following the Nevada governor’s order for a statewide closure of all nonessential services, according to its website. 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board sent a notice to restaurants located in casinos on May 14 saying that they can reopen under phase one of the governor’s reopening plan. 

However, Gov. Steve Sisolak has not indicated when phase one would occur. In fact, he has previously said that the reopening of the state's casinos is still a long way off.

"The opening of the casinos and the gaming enterprises will probably come into third or fourth phase of what we're going to end up doing," Sisolak explained on April 29 during an ABC special about the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We're just not quite ready yet to handle that type of a volume," he added.

See barren casino in Vegas:

4:32 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

CNN and Sesame Street will host a special coronavirus town hall on May 30

From CNN staff

The cast of “Sesame Street” appears in a 2020 episode.
The cast of “Sesame Street” appears in a 2020 episode. Richard Termine/HBO

CNN is partnering with Sesame Street for a second special town hall about coronavirus, focused on kids and parents.

"The ABCs of Covid 19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents" will air at 10 a.m. ET on May 30 and tackle issues such as summer safety, playdates, schooling and how kids and families around the world are creatively coping during these challenging times.

The 60-minute town hall will feature experts and Sesame Street characters — including Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Rosita and Grover — answering questions submitted by families.

Big Bird will join CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill to moderate the event.

How to watch: The town hall will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. It will stream live on CNN.com's homepage and across mobile devices via CNN's apps, without requiring a cable log-in. You can also watch on CNNgo, and subscribers to cable/satellite systems can watch it on-demand.

Parents can send in their questions below, along with their full names and phone numbers.

4:19 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

US stocks snap three-day winning streak

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on May 18.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on May 18. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks ended at session lows on Tuesday, with major indexes snapping their three-day winning streaks.

Investors spent the day glued to the testimony of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee.

But in the end, the hearing didn’t have a big impact on markets.

 Here's how the markets closed:

  • The Dow finished down 1.6%, or 391 points.
  • The S&P 500 slipped 1%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.5% lower.

 

4:18 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Trump says he'd wear a mask during Ford visit "where it's appropriate"

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet on Tuesday, May 19, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet on Tuesday, May 19, in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump was asked if he plans to wear a mask when he visits a Ford facility on Thursday. He replied, "Where it's appropriate, I would do it, certainly. Yeah."

"I haven't even thought of it. It depends. In certain areas I would, in certain areas I don't. But, uh, I will certainly look at it. It depends on what the situation — am I standing right next to everybody or am I spread out? And also you look, you know, is something a hospital, is it a ward, is it — what is it exactly? I'm going to a plant. So we'll see. Where it's appropriate, I would do it, certainly. Yeah," Trump said.

What is this about: Ahead of Trump's visit on Thursday to a Ford components plant in Michigan, the automaker has detailed its safety policies to the White House — including that everyone wear a mask.

"In preparation for the visit, we’ve shared with the White House all of Ford’s safety protocols, including our self-assessment, thermal scanning and manufacturing playbook which outlines our policy that everyone wears PPE," a Ford spokesman told CNN.

Watch:

4:01 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

More than 91,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

Trucks used as temporary morgues are seen outside the New York City Chief Medical Examiner's office on May 12 in New York City.
Trucks used as temporary morgues are seen outside the New York City Chief Medical Examiner's office on May 12 in New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

There are at least 1,520,029 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 91,187 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

Johns Hopkins reported Tuesday 11,721 new cases and 840 deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.