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Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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Alabama physician on ICU beds for coronavirus patients: "It’s getting tight"   

As coronavirus cases increase in Alabama, health officials say there is a need for more intensive care unit beds. 

“You can [currently] get an ICU bed or an ICU setting, but it is getting tight,” Dr. David Thrasher, a critical care doctor at Montgomery Pulmonary Consultants, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. “The numbers have dramatically increased.”

In a news conference Wednesday, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said the city’s health care system is “maxed” and if that if you need an ICU bed, “you are in trouble.”

“Last weekend, my partner and I, ran on 140 patients over the weekend,” Thrasher said. “That’s twice the one we normally have. Tonight, our group is grinding on about 132 patients and 110 of those I believe are Covid patients.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Alabama was one of 17 states that had registered an upward trend in average daily cases — a rise of at least 10% — over the previous seven days, according to an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

“We have unfortunately lost too many patients, young in the 30s or even younger,” Thrasher said. “So it affects everybody and that’s what everyone needs to realize. It’s a real problem and nobody is immune.”

Masks will be required at all public indoor businesses and spaces in Minneapolis

Wearing a cloth mask or face covering will be required in Minneapolis starting Tuesday, according to a tweet from Mayor Jacob Frey.

The masks must be worn when visiting public indoor businesses and spaces, Frey tweeted.

“This is about keeping friends, family, and neighbors who are elderly or immunocompromised safe,” the mayor tweeted.

Georgia governor addresses recent data scrutiny, says state is "committed to full transparency"

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addressed reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about a misleading chart that was posted on the Department of Public Health’s website with the dates out of order, suggesting cases were declining over time.

“I want to take just a moment to address a recent data reporting concern involving the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website. I’ve said from the very beginning, that we are making decisions based on data, science and the advice of public health officials like (Dr. Kathleen Toomey). We are committed to full transparency and honesty as we weather this health care crisis,” Kemp said. 

“Georgia families, businesses, local leaders and the press deserve accurate data,” Kemp added. ‘We’re not perfect. We’ve made mistakes. When we do that, we’ll own that, change it and make sure that people are aware of that.”

Toomey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said the integrity of the state’s data is “absolutely our number one priority.”

“We have to have transparency. We are continuing to work to improve all of our reporting systems,” Toomey said.

Law enforcement will be a fixture on Georgia beaches over Memorial Day weekend

A member of the Tybee Island, Georgia, Life Guards, left, patrols the beach on an ATV while visitors sunbathe on the sand on April 4 after Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order allowing people to exercise outside, with social distancing of at least six feet because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ahead of this Memorial Day weekend, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said that he wanted to “encourage and wish everyone to have a good, safe weekend following the public health guidelines.”

Col. Gary Vowell, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, spoke during the new conference Thursday about precautions being taken this weekend, particularly at beaches. 

“The beaches will be saturated with troopers and officers ensuring everyone is compliant with the governor’s order on social distancing,” Vowell said. “The Department of Public Safety expects everyone to adhere to the executive order issued by Gov. Kemp.”

NYPD says 119 members are still out due to coronavirus

NYPD patrols Central park to assure people keep to social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic on May 2 in New York City.

The New York Police Department says 119 members are still out with Covid-19 but 5,593 members have returned to full work duty after recovering from the virus.

Of the 119 members who are still out with the coronavirus, 95 are uniformed members and 24 are civilian members, according to the NYPD.

Some context: As many as 2,800 members of the NYPD were out sick with the coronavirus on April 14, but it’s unclear if that represents the peak number for the department. CNN has reached out to the NYPD several times for more information.

So far, 1,020 uniformed members are on sick report, which accounts for 2.8% of the department’s workforce, according to the NYPD.

Nebraska governor says 89 counties will move to phase two of reopening on June 1

Nebraska. Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks at a news conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Friday, May 1.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said 89 counties will move to phase two of the state’s reopening plan on June 1.

Phase two allows bars, bottle clubs and gentlemen’s clubs to reopen under the same rules that apply to restaurants. Those rules include limiting occupancy to 50% or 25 people, enforcing social distancing rules, eating only at tables and not bars, and servers wearing masks, Ricketts said.

Weddings can also take place with 25 people or 50% of occupancy, excluding staff, with six people per table and six feet between tables. Self-serve buffets and dancing will not be permitted, according to Ricketts.

Four other counties will move into phase one on June 1, the governor said.

Kentucky releases dates for reopening child care programs

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced that in-home child care programs can open starting June 8, while center-based licensed child care programs can reopen to all families on June 15.

“Today is a day of really good news for many people. Child care is one of the areas we know is critical to reopening the economy. It is critical to parents and has been critical to our essential workers,” Secretary Eric Friedlander said today. “It’s always a balance between protecting ourselves and our families and going to back to being healthy at work.”

The maximum group size will be 10 children per group. Children will stay in the same groups all day and staff will be assigned to the same children each day to reduce exposure, Friedlander said.

All adults will be required to wear a face mask at both in-home and center-based child care settings and while children younger than five should not wear masks, older children can wear masks “as they are able,” Friedlander said.

Friedlander also announced that all child care programs will receive additional funding for cleaning and personal protective equipment supplies.

Duke University plans to have students on campus this fall

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Duke University plans to have students back on campus this fall, according to Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations.

“We are making plans for students to return in the fall semester but the specifics, including how many will return, what the calendar will be, testing and safety protocols and other details will be announced by the end of June,” Schoenfeld told CNN.

Duke President Vincent Price also sent an email and video message to the Duke community Thursday, saying the school’s full plan for the academic year will be based on “a clearer understanding of public health and safety issues than is now available.”

“Like every family, community, and business, we’re trying to make the best decision possible with only partial information that changes by the day,” Price said.

Price said the next academic year will not look anything like the past. He said the university is working to innovate “every part of the Duke experience” including academics and residential living.

Hundreds of additional Duke researchers and scientists are returning to campus this week with new protocols for social distancing, daily monitoring, and contact tracing, according to Price.

Trump will lower flags to half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

President Trump announced that flags will be lowered to half-staff “over the next three days” to honor coronavirus victims.

“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” the President tweeted verbatim on his way back from Michigan today.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump wrote that on Monday, “the flags will be at half-staff in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation.”

Read Trump’s tweet:

Yosemite National Park planning June reopening

Yosemite Half Dome dusted with snow and clouds on April 11.

Yosemite National Park is aiming to reopen to the public in June, according to a newly-released draft of the park’s plans.

Yosemite has been off limits to visitors since March 20. It was the first national park to fully close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yosemite plans to reopen the park at 50% capacity when California enters “phase three” of the state’s reopening plan, which Gov. Gavin Newsom is anticipating in June. More than 4 million people visited the park in 2019, with peak months in July and August.

Reservations will be required to visit and the park will allow about 3,600 vehicles in each day. Visitors will be encouraged to pay entry fees online in advance.

Camping will be allowed at two sites, along with campgrounds for backpackers. Hotels within the park will reopen at least partially, but food operations will be modified throughout the park.

Some trails will be converted to be one-way only, and face coverings will be encouraged whenever possible. Shops, gas stations and grocery stores will be open, as will bike and raft rentals.

The plan follows both federal and state guidelines for allowing the public to return while taking precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and visitors.

Key locations within the park will be monitored to determine how effective the approach is at managing visitors.

New York loses 1.7 million private sector jobs in April

People walk through a shuttered business district in Brooklyn on May 12, in New York City.

New York state lost 1.7 million private sector jobs — approximately 21.4% — in April 2020, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Labor.

Approximately 6,467,600 private sector jobs in New York remain, the New York State Department of Labor said.

This was New York’s largest monthly employment drop on record. The leisure and hospitality sector experienced the largest drop in employment, followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, according to the NYS DOL.

In April, New York state’s overall unemployment rate rose from 4.1% to 14.5%, while New York City’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 14.7%, constituting the largest monthly increase on record since current record keeping began in 1976, the NYS DOL said.

The new figures come from preliminary results from the US Department of Labor’s business and household surveys for April 2020, according to the NYS DOL.

Arkansas governor says some team sports can resume June 1

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that some team sports, with strict measures, would be allowed starting June 1.

“When it comes to baseball, let’s play this summer. It is going to be a little bit different, but we wanted to put the protocols in place so that our young people can have that experience again,” he said.

He also said the Crater of Diamonds State Park will reopen May 22. The park will reopen with restrictions and is limited to 500 visitors per day. 

Georgia governor says the state has less than 1,000 coronavirus hospitalizations

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp makes a statement and answers questions from the media following a tour of Fieldale Farms while visiting Gainesville, Georgia, on Friday, May 15.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp gave an update on the state’s drop in hospitalization numbers. 

“As of today, we had less than 1,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in our state. GEMA’s [Georgia Emergency Management Agency] 1 p.m. update has that number at 919 patients. This is a 38% drop since May 1,” Kemp said.

The governor also announced that the state has seen a “steady decline” in people testing positive.

“In addition to rapidly increasing testing capacity, we have also seen a steady decline in the percentage of patients testing positive for Covid-19. This is a key data point, and a real testament to the hard working Georgians everywhere who are following the guidance, wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” Kemp said. 

Michigan AG: Trump is "like a petulant child" for not wearing a mask at Ford plant

In this June 4, 2019 file

After President Trump refused to wear a mask in front of cameras during his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel did not hold back in her condemnation.

“Today’s events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable,” Nessel told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview.

“The President is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules and I have to say this is no joke,” Nessel continued.

On Tuesday, Ford said it had shared its safety policies with the White House — including that everyone wear a mask “in all facilities, at all times” — but added that “the White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination.”

Nessel said Trump’s failure to comply with the plant’s guidelines is consistent with his behavior to this point.

“The message he’s sent is the same message since he first took office in 2017, which is I don’t care about you, I don’t care about your health, I don’t care about your safety, I don’t care about your welfare, I don’t care about anyone but myself.”

Nessel also took issue with the Ford facility for seemingly bending the rules specifically for the commander-in-chief.

“They knew exactly what the order was and if they permitted anyone, even the President of the United States, to defy that order, I think it has serious health consequences potentially to their workers,” Nessel said.

She added: “The last thing we want to see is for this particular plant now to have to close its doors and shutter its doors again because someone may have been infected by the President. And that is a real possibility.”

Nessel had a message for her constituents: “Even if you don’t have a President of the United States that cares about the residents of this state, fortunately you have a governor and you have an attorney general who do. And we are going to do everything in our power to protect you, even if you have a President who won’t.”

Some background: Nessel had warned Trump to follow health guidelines and wear a mask during his visit. Se warned that if Trump “fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any unclosed facilities inside our state.”

The Democratic attorney general also threatened legal action against “any company or any facility that allows him inside those facilities and puts our workers at risk.” She didn’t outline what legal mechanism she would use against Ford, and in an open letter to Trump published on Wednesday, she said he had a “moral” obligation to wear a mask.


More than 94,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There have been at least 1,573,534 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 94,477 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported Thursday 21,681 new cases and 1,038 deaths. 

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

Senate fails to pass changes to the Paycheck Protection Program before recess

The Senate adjourned Thursday without passing changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, which would give businesses more time to use money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate will take up a lands bill important to Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana, who are both up for re-election, when they return and set the schedules of pro formas next week.

“Thanks to the hard work of Senators Gardner and Daines, we’ll be able to take up their bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act in the next work period,” McConnell said Thursday. “A milestone achievement to secure public lands and ensure their upkeep well into the future.” 

Gardner had earlier said he did not want the Senate to recess without passing more Covid relief.

McConnell added: “We’ll have much work to do in our home states next week and we’ll have much to do when we get back here after that.”

New data shows there has been more than 35,000 Covid-19 deaths in long-term care facilities

Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators enter the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, near Seattle. The nursing home was at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state.

More than 35,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 have occurred at long-term care facilities in 37 states across the country, according to new data published from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The data showed an increase of more than 5,000 deaths from last week.

New York and New Jersey alone make up nearly one-third of the 35,118 total Covid-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities, according to the new data.

Twenty-three states reported more than half of their Covid-19 deaths are in long-term care facilities, and increase from 18 states last week. Minnesota, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are still experiencing the highest death rates in long-term care facilities. Minnesota’s rate remains highest at 81%, Rhode Island increased slightly to 78%, and New Hampshire’s rate remains at 77%, according to the latest available data from Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF notes there is still no public data available in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and South Dakota on Covid-19 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Hear more:

New York City reports 16,232 confirmed Covid-19 deaths

New York City is reporting at least 16,232 confirmed coronavirus deaths and approximately 4,771 probable coronavirus deaths as of today, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department d