US coronavirus death toll tops 100,000

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5:14 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

California becomes 4th state with more than 100,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

 A worker performs drive-up COVID-19 testing at Mend Urgent Care testing site at the Westfield Fashion Square on May 13,  in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles.
 A worker performs drive-up COVID-19 testing at Mend Urgent Care testing site at the Westfield Fashion Square on May 13, in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. Kevin Winter/ Getty Images

California has 100,146 confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the fourth in the country to reach that threshold.

New York, New Jersey and Illinois hold the top three spots.

More than 3,800 people have died from Covid-19 in California, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Despite the significant number of total cases, California has recorded an average of only 10 Covid-related deaths per 100,000 residents, a fraction of those recorded by other states with a high case count.

California was the first to enact a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19.

5:17 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Covid is hitting Native Americans harder, doctor says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Dr. Thomas Dean Sequist
Dr. Thomas Dean Sequist House Ways and Means Committee

Dr. Thomas Dean Sequist, a member of the Taos Pueblo tribe of New Mexico, told the House Ways and Means Committee that many issues are exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic among Native American families across the United States.  

During the Wednesday hearing on the Disproportionate Impact of Covid-19 on Communities of Color, Sequist, who is a chief patient experience and equity officer at Mass General Brigham Hospital in Boston, said he has seen a shortage of testing and supplies.  

“What I've observed with the Navajo Nation is that the shortage of testing there, and the lack of personal protective equipment there, that far exceeds what we're seeing in Boston,” he said. 

Covid is impacting social issues as well, he said. “We already know that mental health actually impacts these communities to a much larger degree than other communities prior to Covid. We also know that these communities have a large history of historical trauma that the source of the trauma,” he said, adding, "We fully expect that there will be a wave of mental health need coming this summer, that’s going to follow this wave of infections."

Sequist said families have been hit hard across many generations. “There are entire families that have either been infected with it, or have had multiple deaths in the family, all at once. And that is going to create a trauma that's going to be long lasting and a need for mental health services,” he said.

“It's going to far outstrip, what are already stressed mental health system is able to provide,” he added.

“We cannot flip back into complacency,” Sequist said, adding the circumstances that created the crisis “existed long before Covid, and will persist long after unless we take decisive action starting today.”  

 

5:05 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Pennsylvania governor defers to businesses on whether to allow customers in without a mask

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

As counties move toward the “green zone” of the governor’s reopening plan, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf deferred to businesses on whether they would allow customers in without a mask. 

During a question and answer session, he likened the mask guidelines as an addition to the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” standard, and stressed the importance of customers and employees feeling safe.

By the numbers: Pennsylvania estimated that about 62% of residents who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 have recovered from the disease, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Wednesday. 

Pennsylvania now has 13 confirmed cases of childhood illness linked to Covid-19, while 10 are currently under investigation, Levine said. She said the 13 patients range from 11 months to 18 years old. 

As of today, the state is performing contact tracing for 2,000 Pennsylvanians, the governor said. 

5:00 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Salon owner who denied meat plant workers haircuts reverses the policy. Here's why.

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

A salon owner in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, has reversed his ban on haircuts for workers from a nearby Tyson Foods poultry plant which had become the site of a local coronavirus outbreak.

Bob Hartley, the owner of the Wilkesboro SmartCuts, said today he'd initially created the ban after the plant reported 570 of its 2,200 employees had been infected. He said prior to those infections there had only been 20-30 reported infections in the area. 

Speaking on CNN Wednesday, Hartley said he implemented the ban to protect his employees and the community from the outbreak at the plant, where the majority of the employees who tested positive were asymptomatic. 

"We had an extreme concern for two main reasons," he said. "One is our employer group, many of whom I've known for 15 to 20 years and also, our civic duty for the local Wilkesboro community."

But Hartley said he soon realized the ban, which garnered international attention, was creating a stigma for the frontline workers laboring in the plant and was being imitated by other local business including dental offices and babysitters.

"What we did want to slowly understand is the perspective of the Tyson employee," he said. "We did not fully understand how this was calling them out and offending them because of the local response to this same outbreak."

Harley said his intention was never to harm frontline workers, and that the salon has now added new screening and protection measures that's made him confident he can safely serve anyone in the community.

"Those folks truly are frontline people that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for what they're doing going through their efforts to feed hundreds of thousands of people literally and we certainly did not mean any disrespect and dishonor for those fine people," he said.

4:56 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Mississippi governor announces safer-at-home order will expire on Monday 

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today that the state's safer-at-home order will expire on June 1.

“At that time, there will be no more business closures. Everyone will be allowed to operate. There will still be health and safety guidelines for people to follow. But we cannot have an endless shutdown. We have to act with courage, trusting our friends and our fellow Mississippians to act responsibly," he said.

The order will be replaced by a safe return order that goes into effect on June 1 and lasts through June 15, Reeves said.

More context: Mississippi has two rules for gathering — one where social distancing is possible and one for when social distancing isn’t possible, Reeves said.

For gatherings that comply with social distancing, there is a limit of 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors. Gatherings that cannot socially distance are limited to 20 people indoors and no more than 50 people outdoors.

Health care procedures can also return as long as the hospitals reserve at least 25% of its capacity for Covid-19 patients. School buildings will also be able to open for summer programs. 

“This does not mean the threat is gone. Covid-19 is a deadly enemy. That is still in our midst. We live in a dangerous time, and it is up to all of us to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones," Reeves said.

"There are no perfect options, but freedom with risk is better than a prolonged shutdown that threatens livelihoods and lives through government action," he added.

By the numbers: Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs confirmed there are 313 new cases of Covid-19 and 18 additional deaths and said there are still ongoing concerns about localized outbreaks and transmission of Covid-19.  

4:46 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Most coronavirus patients can take remdesivir for just five days, study suggests

From CNN's Arman Azad

Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

New data from a clinical trial of remdesivir show that five days of treatment is as effective as 10, at least for most patients. That means limited supplies of the experimental drug can go further, treating more patients with fewer doses. 

The findings were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, but they’re not particularly surprising. Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir and the trial’s sponsor, already announced results in an April news release.

At the time, the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merdad Parsey, said the study “demonstrates the potential for some patients to be treated with a 5-day regimen, which could significantly expand the number of patients who could be treated with our current supply of remdesivir.” 

The new data lends weight to Gilead’s claims. Importantly, the study didn’t focus on patients who needed mechanical ventilation. Researchers said those patients – among the sickest – may still benefit from a full 10 days.

The trial also didn’t include a placebo group, which means it couldn’t determine whether remdesivir is effective. Instead, it answered the question: If remdesivir works, is five days as good as 10?

A larger trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that remdesivir is in fact better than a placebo. The drug didn’t have a significant effect on mortality, but it shortened patients’ hospital stays by about four days.

More on this: While it’s far from a home run, remdesivir is one of the few tools doctors have to fight Covid-19, and hospitals in the US have been forced to ration limited supplies. Gilead, for its part, says it is ramping up production, and the company has also partnered with other manufacturers to produce the drug internationally.

4:33 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Louisiana reports drop in coronavirus hospitalizations

From CNN's Janine Mack 

Gov. John Bel Edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards Louisiana Governor's Office

Louisiana is reporting 38,497 positive cases of coronavirus and 2,617 deaths, said Gov. John Bel Edwards during a news conference on Wednesday.

Health officials said 798 people are hospitalized, which is the lowest amount since the pandemic began. 

At least 329,730 tests have been conducted in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

“We’re ramping up testing all across the state and those areas that have inadequately tested up to now, where we might see hotspots,” Edwards said.

4:11 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

US stocks log more gains as the economy starts to reopen across the country

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks closed higher on Wednesday, logging their third straight day of gains. The market was closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

Investor sentiment was boosted by hopes for more government stimulus, this time in form of return-to-work cash bonuses, as the economy begins to reopen across the country. 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite had fallen into negative territory throughout the day but climbed higher again in afternoon trading. 

Here's where the markets closed today:

  • The Dow finished 2.2%, or 553 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 ended up 1.5%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.8%.
3:51 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

MGM Resorts will begin reopening some Las Vegas properties June 4 

 From CNN’s Kyung Lah

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

MGM Resorts will reopen some of its Las Vegas resorts and casinos on June 4 with new safety measures in place, according to a statement.

The company plans to open the Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand and The Signature on the Las Vegas strip.

The resort will have staff wear face masks and under go temperature checks as well as implementing social distancing measures.

Guests will be required to wear masks only in instances where social distancing is difficult or barriers aren’t in place.

Caesars Entertainment also announced their properties, Caesars Palace and The Flamingo, will be opening on June 4.