Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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4:01 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Trump wears mask during his Ford plant visit

A source familiar with the President's visit to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, said the President wore a mask out of sight of cameras during his visit. 

He is scheduled to deliver remarks to workers shortly, and is also scheduled to tour the facility. 

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also wore a mask — a requirement for all visitors to the plant. 

Trump did not wear a mask during remarks to a group of African American leaders before the tour. 

3:44 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Boston reports 3 more coronavirus-related deaths

Ambulances are lined up at the main entrance of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on April 30.
Ambulances are lined up at the main entrance of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on April 30. Elise Amendola/AP

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that Boston has reported 93 additional Covid-19 cases, for a total of 12,143 in the city.

There were three more people who died due to Covid-19 in Boston, bringing the total number to 591, the mayor said at a news conference today.

Around the state: In Massachusetts, as a whole, there are 1,045 new Covid-19 cases for a total of 88,970, Walsh said.

There was also 128 additional deaths in the state, bringing the total number to 6,066. 

The state is launching a new online resource to help businesses and others access personal protective equipment (PPE) as Boston begins its phased reopening, Walsh said. There is guidance online at the government website that shows a list of vendors who sell PPE and cleaning supplies, Walsh said. He reminded businesses that it’s the responsibility of the employer to find supplies for workers. 

3:53 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Schools in Alabama will be allowed to reopen June 1, governor says

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a press conference in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 21.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a press conference in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 21. Pool

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she has amended the state's safer-at-home order to allow several new businesses to reopen June 1.

The new order will go into affect tomorrow at 5 p.m. and expire July 3 at 5 p.m.

Entertainment venues, athletic activities, child care and summer camps can reopen as long as social-distancing and sanitation rules are followed.

All schools, public and private — including elementary, secondary, postsecondary, technical, and specialty schools, and colleges and universities— will also be allowed to reopen.

Here are the guidelines they must follow:

  • Social distancing: Schools should take reasonable steps, where practicable, to maintain six feet of separation between persons of different households. 
  • Sanitation: Schools should take reasonable steps, where practicable, to regularly disinfect frequently used items and surfaces. 
  • Facial coverings: Employees should, to the greatest extent practicable, wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times when in regular interaction within six feet of a person from a different household. 

In addition, educational institutions are strongly encouraged to adopt and implement additional measures to supplement these minimum rules, according to the new order.

3:31 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

McConnell says next rescue package "won't look anything like" Democratic proposal

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 19.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 19. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on a private call with House Republicans yesterday that Congress may have to pass further legislation to boost the economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, but insisted it would be far different than the $3 trillion bill recently passed by the House, a source familiar tells CNN.

“If we do another bill it won’t look anything like the House Democrats’ bill,” said McConnell.

He said that the $600 weekly boost in unemployment benefits “will not be in the next bill,” according to the source.

McConnell said otherwise the federal government would be paying people more to remain unemployed than to work. The House Democratic bill would’ve extended the expanded unemployment benefits through January.

The Senate Republican leader insisted that liability reform be included to minimize lawsuits, calling trial lawyers “vultures.”

McConnell also argued that the federal government could not indefinitely borrow and spend to save the economy. He referenced Henry Morgenthau Jr., President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary, who said before World War II that the New Deal programs didn’t decrease unemployment but gave the United States “an enormous debt to boot!" 

He said that Congress needs to track the effects of the multi-trillion dollar legislation it has already passed before moving forward.

“We need to see growth and that will dictate what we do and when we do it,” said McConnell, according to the source.

3:17 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

NYC revises down the number of cases of childhood illness linked to Covid-19

The city of New York now says it is investigating at least 89 cases of Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) after citing a much higher number earlier this week. An additional number of cases are still under investigation.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city had 147 confirmed cases, but acknowledged the city was reconciling its cases following Centers for Disease Control guidance. Previously, the city was using its own set of criteria.

“This new syndrome is very alarming; however, we’re acting aggressively to ensure children get the early care they need to help them make a full recovery,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a press release. “We have been reaching out to physicians and parents with information about MIS-C and will continue to thoroughly investigate cases reported to the Department.”

The city says there have been 158 cases referred to the Health Department as of Wednesday, May 20, according to a press release.

Here's a breakdown of those cases...

  • 89 cases meet CDC case definition
  • 43 are still under investigation
  • 26 were determined not to meet the CDC criteria.

Some more context: Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is investigating a total of 157 possible cases of MIS-C.

 

3:14 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Georgia Department of Health to distribute remdesivir to 29 more hospitals

Vials of the drug Remdesivir lie during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8.
Vials of the drug Remdesivir lie during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8. Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The Georgia Department of Health announced in a statement on Thursday that it is distributing the second allotment of the drug remdesivir received from the federal government. 

"Twenty-nine hospitals in Georgia will receive remdesivir, enough to treat more than 300 patients, depending on the duration of an individual's illness and treatment needs," the statement said.

"Georgia hospitals receiving remdesivir reported 10 or more Covid-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)," it continued.

More of the drug is expected to arrive in Georgia by Friday. This third allotment of remdesivir would be in powder form. 

Unlike the liquid form, "the powder form can be mixed for dosing based on a child's weight, which will provide treatment for the youngest patients with Covid-19 infection," according to the statement. 

3:10 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

ER doctor: "I do not think that we are currently prepared for a second wave"

Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency physician and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on May 21.
Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency physician and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on May 21. House Oversight Committee

Hospitals will not be ready for a renewed onslaught of coronavirus infections if a second wave comes in the fall, a Rhode Island emergency physician told Congress on Thursday.

“I do not think that we are currently prepared for a second wave,” Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency physician and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Several medical experts, including US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, have predicted coronavirus could start spreading fast again in the autumn, and said it would be complicated by the beginning of a fresh influenza season, too. 

There has not been enough preparation for that, Ranney told the hearing.

“We still lack adequate protective equipment in most hospitals across the country,” Ranney said. “On a national level, we still are millions and millions and millions of pieces of PPE short from what hospitals need currently; much less what they need in order to build the normal stockpiles that we all keep in order to face pandemic situations.” 

Staff are having to reuse equipment meant to be thrown out after every patient encounter – a dangerous practice. “We would never have reused an N95s for an entire shift. We never would have reused surgical masks in between patients and that's what we're doing now,” Ranney said.

Plus, more research is needed, she said.  “We also still lack adequate science,” Ranney said. “I'm so thankful for the funding that you all have given to NIH and CDC but it's not enough, and we need more.”  

But most of all, Ranney said, the US needs “adequate testing for frontline workers, not just in healthcare, not just in nursing homes and sniffs and hospitals, but also all of you who have testified today.”

She added:  “Everyone who's out there facing the public needs to be safe.” 

3:09 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Universal wants to begin a phased reopening of its theme parks starting June 1 

Guests peer through the closed gate to Universal's Islands of Adventure beside Universal CityWalk on May 14 in Orlando, Florida.
Guests peer through the closed gate to Universal's Islands of Adventure beside Universal CityWalk on May 14 in Orlando, Florida. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/AP

Universal Orlando has presented a plan to begin a phased reopening of its theme parks on June 1, initially only for its own team members.

The presentation was made today at a virtual meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.

Here's how the reopening would work:

  • On June 3 and June 4, Universal hopes to invite guests such as annual passholders, with an opening to the public on June 5. 
  • John Sprouls, Universal Orlando chief executive officer, and Rich Costales, Universal Orlando executive vice president of resort operations, said all guests will be required to wear face masks and go through temperature screenings to enter the parks.
  • One disposable face mask will be provided for free to guests who did not bring their own. 

This plan will now be evaluated by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who said Wednesday that he plans to make a recommendation to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis within 12 to 24 hours.

Part of that evaluation period involves county staff making site visits.

"Obviously I want to get to yes, so I think if you work with your local, you’ll be in pretty good shape," DeSantis said Wednesday regarding them park reopening proposals.

Universal has theme parks in Orlando, Los Angeles, Japan and Singapore, all of which are temporarily closed.

2:58 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Rhode Island governor: “If I would have known then what I know now, I would have shut down sooner"

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks during a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 20.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks during a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 20. Pool/WJAR

“If I would have known then what I know now, I would have shut down sooner,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo acknowledged Thursday.

“There’s no doubt about that,” she continued. “But I didn’t.” 

The governor was reflecting on a Columbia University model that shows that 36,000 lives nationwide could have been saved if social distancing began just one week earlier. 

Raimondo said her goal to “stay in front of the virus” drives her “obsession” with contact tracing, testing, and mask wearing to create an early warning system.

The governor argued the three measures will allow her state to identify specific outbreaks early and “put a lid on it.��

“I never again want to have a 17% unemployment rate,” Raimondo said. “I want to open school in the fall. I do not want to close school again.”