Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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9:26 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Trump claims there are "many different viewpoints" on wearing a mask, despite CDC saying otherwise

From Jason Hoffman

President Donald Trump holds a mask during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21.
President Donald Trump holds a mask during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted that there are “So many different viewpoints!” on masks, retweeting an article making the spurious claim that masks are more about social control than public health.

The tweet Trump promotes also mentions presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden saying, “Image of Biden in black mask endorses culture of silence, slavery, and social death.” 

Some background: The President has resisted wearing a mask throughout the pandemic, and the issue has turned into a political and cultural flashpoint. Trump has mocked Biden for wearing a mask multiple times and ignored guidance from the CDC and the coronavirus task force that Americans should wear a face covering.  

Responding to the President’s attacks towards him, Joe Biden said, “He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. I mean every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd."  

Dr. Anthony Fauci implored Americans to wear masks in an interview on CNN Wednesday. 

"I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing you should be doing," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House's coronavirus task force said.

Fauci said he believes that while wearing a mask is not "100% effective," it is a valuable safeguard and shows "respect for another person."

9:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Orlando mayor says Disney and other theme parks have gone "extra mile" to open safely

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

Orlando, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings said major theme parks like Disney World, that plan to reopen in mid-July, have demonstrated they “have gone the extra mile” to ensure they can open safely. 

Demings, as mayor, has approved reopening plans from Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

The plans include wearing masks and maintaining social distance, but Demings told CNN on Thursday that he couldn't guarantee it would be enough to keep people safe.

“Well I can’t guarantee that,” Demings said. “But we have a high probability that the likelihood that they can contact or contract the virus has been reduced because of the various sanitary measures that have been put in place.”

Orlando has a 2.8% positivity rate for Covid-19 according to Demings, which he says is about half of what it is in the rest of the state.

He attributes this to the city’s decision to adopt social distancing protocols early on, and also to Disney World’s decision to shut down in mid-March as the nation’s largest single site employer. 

9:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

White House responds to why President Trump has not yet acknowledged 100,000 US death toll

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House on May 21.
President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House on May 21. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Asked why President Donald Trump has not yet acknowledged the milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the US, deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said, “President Trump’s prayers for comfort and strength are with all of those grieving the loss of a loved one or friend.”

“His message to this great Nation remains one of resilience, hope and optimism. The American people have always been strong and resilient, and the President is proud of their spirit, courage and determination every single day to defeat this virus,” Deere said in a statement. 

A White House official also said the President has talked about the “grave loss of life” many times before and noted that the President referenced the losses Americans have suffered during his Memorial Day remarks.

”He lowered the flags over the weekend as a mark of tribute and honor to all those lost,” the official added.

”While yes, we do mourn the loss of life, we must also celebrate the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been saved. Projections showed that if we had taken no mitigation action, there could have been up to 2.5 million dead Americans,” the official said, echoing a line from the President.

Meanwhile, Trump has spent his morning airing personal grievances on Twitter as he remains silent on the US passing the grim milestone.

9:23 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Biologist says you should stay further than 6 feet away indoors

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

Erin Bromage, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth associate professor of biology, shared some practical tips on how to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

People should socialize outdoors as much as possible, wear masks and be mindful of distance and proper ventilation when interacting with others indoors, Bromage told CNN on Thursday.

Here's what else he said about precautions to take when interacting with friends and family:

  • Distance when hanging out with friends: Bromage you should stay "six feet away, outside ... If we're sitting down having a conversation, and a good talk, as long as you've got that six feet of distance and you've got the air blowing and you just are enjoying each other's company, then six feet is fine. If you're exercising and huffing and puffing away from six feet, I would get a little further apart," he said.
  • Wearing masks outside would "definitely make the interaction safer," Bromage said. He said you should wear a mask if you're spending an extended period of time with someone, even if it's outside.
  • Interacting with older relatives: Bromage said you have to take more precautions with interacting with people who are at higher risk. He said to stay "further away, make sure that you have a mask, preferably a better quality mask on both you and them."
  • The difference between masks: "A standard mask, the ones that we've been making, cut things down by 50%. I wear it to protect you, you wear it to protect me. But now we're getting better masks coming out from just local manufacturers that catch more of those respiratory emissions, which then lowers the amount of virus in the air, which just makes it safer," Bromage said.
  • Outdoors vs. indoors: Bromage said the risk of contracting the virus is increased when you are inside making it "much more risky" to be inside and around other people.
  • If you must interact indoors: "Ventilation as much as you possibly can. Natural ventilation. Changing the inside air with outside air as regularly as possible. Not air conditioning, but ventilation," Bromage said.
  • The difference between air conditioning and ventilation: "Most of our home air conditioners just go through a very basic filter, and they recycle the same air over and over inside the house, there is no makeup air coming from outside. Opening your windows is just allowing fresh new air coming in, and pushing out the air that you've been breathing outside. So it makes a big difference in those respiratory droplets building up," he said.
  • Sometimes six feet isn't far enough: Bromage said when you are outdoors, "six feet is going to be one of the lower-risk things that you can do." But inside, because the virus hangs in the air longer in an enclosed environment, six feet is not far enough apart, Bromage said. "Just little bits that you're breathing in over an extended period of time can lead to infection. Six feet will not be enough indoors if there is an infected person there," he said.
9:00 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

1 in 4 American workers have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Signs hang from an apartment building in Washington on May 18.
Signs hang from an apartment building in Washington on May 18. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

More than 40 million Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since the coronavirus pandemic forced the US economy to shut down in March –– that's nearly one in four workers.

Another 2.1 million people filed initial jobless claims last week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday morning. 

It was the tenth-straight week in which claims were in the millions. America had never recorded a single week of 1 million jobless claims prior to the coronavirus crisis.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks rose to 21.1 million. 

State labor departments across the country continue to struggle to process the millions of claims. Before the pandemic, weekly claims were around 200,000.

A look at the economy: Economists, politicians and workers have high hopes that people will be able to return to work as the US economy reopens. But this reopening will be staggered and unsynchronized. Some states will move ahead faster than others, just like some industries will be revived quicker.

Jobs have been lost across the board.

The hospitality industry, which accounted for the bulk of jobs lost in April, is expected to be scarred for the long-term by the pandemic. It could take consumers some time before they are willing to go out to bars and restaurants again.

Unemployment claims don't equal jobs lost – the two data sets are based on different surveys – but economists expect the unemployment rate to jump again in May. Next week's jobs report is expected to show an unemployment rate of nearly 20%, up from 14.7% in April.

8:33 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony with Kobe Bryant postponed until spring 2021, ESPN reports

Kobe Bryant is pictured during a game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 28, 2007. Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.
Kobe Bryant is pictured during a game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 28, 2007. Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will have to wait to be inducted posthumously into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The enshrinement ceremony scheduled for August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN.

Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of governors for the Hall, told ESPN Wednesday the Class of 2020 ceremony will be pushed back to the spring of 2021.

"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo said. "It's going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We'll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where."

The Board of Governors will get together June 10 to discuss possible dates for next year, ESPN reports.

Eight other honorees, including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings, were set to join Bryant in the distinguished class.

Colangelo said there will be separate ceremonies for this year's class and the class next year despite both happening in 2021.

"We won't be combining them. The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration," he said.

CNN has reached out to the Hall for confirmation on the induction ceremony delay.

8:49 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

It's just past 8 a.m. in New York and 5 a.m. in San Francisco. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease physician, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on May 15.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease physician, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on May 15. Alex Brandon/AP

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5.7 million people globally. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • US passes 100,000 deaths: More than 350,000 people have died from the disease globally, including at least 100,442 people in the US, which has the highest number of deaths and cases around the world.
  • Fauci discusses second wave: A second coronavirus wave "could happen, but it is not inevitable," the nation's top infectious disease expert said.
  • CDC says antibody tests are often wrong: The tests, used to determine if people have been infected in the past with Covid-19, might be wrong up to half the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Mail-in voting fight continues: Conservative groups have accelerated attempts to push state officials to purge voter rolls, in moves that could affect who receives mail-in ballots in this time of Covid-19 and could impact November's presidential contest.
7:29 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Legal battles heat up as mail-in ballot fight continues

From CNN's Joan Biskupic

President Donald Trump has ramped up his attacks on state plans for mail-in ballots as parallel fights are intensifying over whether hundreds of thousands of people on state rolls may be ineligible to vote.

Conservative groups have accelerated their litigation to push state officials to purge voter rolls, in moves that could affect who receives mail-in ballots in this time of Covid-19 and could impact November's presidential contest.

The conflict over potentially ineligible voters on state rolls, often pitting the ideological right against left, Republicans against Democrats, helped drive controversy over the Wisconsin primary held last month despite coronavirus risks. In a case now pending at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the nonprofit Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is trying to strike more than 200,000 names it believes are no longer valid in that swing state.

In related action, the conservative group Judicial Watch has filed new lawsuits against North Carolina and Pennsylvania officials, claiming they have violated federal law by not keeping their rolls current. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, another right-wing group at the forefront of challenges to state lists, has a pending claim against Detroit. The group asserts that thousands of names of dead people are on city rolls.

Read more here.

8:51 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

US coronavirus cases near 1.7 million

From CNN's Joe Sutton

There are at least 1,699,933 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to John Hopkins University. At least 100,442 people have now died from the disease.

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

CNN is tracking Covid-19's spread across the US here.