May 9 coronavirus news

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5:13 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Coronavirus global cases surpass 4 million

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 4 million people and killed more than 227,000 worldwide, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

At least 1.3 million people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US and more than 78,000 people have died from the disease in the country.

4:55 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Rhode Island governor says state is taking 'baby steps' on first day of reopening

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo urged people to be cautious after the state's stay-at-home order was lifted on Saturday.

"We haven't yet reached that point where we see to see a big decline," Raimondo told reporters. "I want to just want to remind everyone as we today officially put our toe in the water of getting into phase one, your goal is baby steps."

Rhode Island became the first state in the northeastern United States to loosen its statewide restriction on Saturday. Social gatherings remain limited to up to five people and retail stores are reopening under some restrictions.

There were 210 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, Raimondo said.

4:07 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

US Agriculture Department to purchase $3 billion worth of food from farmers starting next week

From CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Dianne Gallagher and Greg Clary

A farm worker transfers Russet Burbank potatoes into a storage facility in Warden, Washington, on May 1.
A farm worker transfers Russet Burbank potatoes into a storage facility in Warden, Washington, on May 1. David Ryder/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted that beginning next week, the US will purchase $3 billion worth of food from farms to provide to food banks.

Trump called the initiative “Farmers to Family Food Box.”

CNN previously reported this program is part of the $19 billion in aid to farmers the US Department of Agriculture that was announced on April 17.

About the program: The USDA is partnering with private distributors who will buy a variety of food and package it into boxes that it will deliver to food banks. The USDA said it will spend $100 million a month on fruits and vegetables, $100 million on dairy products and a $100 million on meat products.

The other $16 billion will be distributed in payments directly to farmers, though that system is not expected to be up and running until the end of May.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall applauded the USDA’s moved on Friday.

“We applaud the USDA for its quick action and flexibility in finding a way to get food from America’s farms to the dinner tables of those who need it most. These food purchases will help the hungry while providing income to farmers and ranchers who have seen some markets for their food disappear during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Duvall said in a statement.

This news comes as food banks across the country face immense pressure with Americans out of work at historic rates.

A food distribution site with “Women Giving Back” in Sterling, Virginia, gave away almost 11,000 pounds of food on Saturday to nearly 400 households, according to statistics provided by the group.

The organization was forced to turn five carloads of people away after running out of food.

Read Trump's tweet:

3:38 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Georgia governor says the number of coronavirus hospitalizations are down

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Today marked the lowest number of Covid-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp said in a tweet. 

There are currently 1,203 patients hospitalized with the virus, the lowest number since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8.

"We will win this fight together!" Kemp said in a tweet posted along with a photo of the governor wearing a face mask with members of the Georgia Army and Air Force National Guard. 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 32,511 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,400 deaths on Saturday. DPH is now reporting cases in every county in the state.  

 

8:28 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Atlanta mayor says people not practicing social distancing are 'selfish'

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it’s “frustrating” that some residents continue to congregate in large crowds and do not practice appropriate social distancing.  

“I think it's extremely selfish. And I think it puts so many people at risk. Even when I think about our public safety personnel and our police officers … if they are walking into a crowd where people don't have on masks and are disregarding all of the recommendations that have been made, it puts them at risk,” the mayor told CNN today.

Bottoms was critical of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen some businesses in the state in late April.

“We will know in the next week or so whether or not the governor made the right decision. I remain concerned that we have moved too soon and really without being very thoughtful about how we should reopen our state. I think there are businesses that perhaps we could have slowly reopened,” she said. 

She said that the state and the entire country needs to be “more thoughtful” in tackling the coronavirus pandemic

“There's not been a city, there's not been a country that has been able to flatten the curve by doing what we're doing in this country and in this state, and that's moving quickly because we don't want to sit at home anymore,” she said. 

Bottoms commented on former President Barack Obama’s remarks slamming the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster.”  

“I think it really speaks to how strongly he feels about the mismanagement of this pandemic, and I am personally glad that he called it out. He has articulated what so many of us feel and know,” she said. 

Watch Bottoms' interview:

3:25 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Much of Spain will open on Monday. Here's what that means exactly.

From CNN’s Abel Alvarado and Claudia Dominguez

Employees at the Cafe + Cycles restaurant in Palm de Mallorca, Spain, prepare the interior for reopening.
Employees at the Cafe + Cycles restaurant in Palm de Mallorca, Spain, prepare the interior for reopening. Clara Margais/dpa/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

More than 50% of Spain’s population, a total of 11 regions across the country, will transition into phase one Monday as part of the country’s de-escalation process during the coronavirus crisis.

The two largest cities in the country and the hardest hit by the pandemic, Madrid and Barcelona, are staying on phase zero, which means they have not met all the technical criteria to start reopening yet.

Phase one allows more movement within each province but citizens still need to follow social distancing, hygiene rules in public and private places and the use of masks on public transport is mandatory, Spanish authorities have said.

Here's what phase one means for different industries:

  • Small retail businesses can open if they have a maximum area of ​​about 4,305 square feet, or 400 square meters. The maximum capacity will be 30%, respecting the minimum distance of about 6 feet between clients and should establish a priority service schedule for people over 65.
  • Hairdressing salons, beauty and physical therapy centers can open but a distance of more than 6 feet must be kept between customers and staff, who must wear protective equipment.
  • Restaurant terraces are limited to 50% of the number of tables authorized last year and more than 6 feet need to be maintained between customers. Each table or group of tables must not have more than 10 people.
  • Hotels are allowed to open but restaurant services are only for the people staying there. The use of spas, gyms, mini clubs, children's areas, discos, event rooms, among others, is still banned.
  • Outdoor markets will also be allowed to reopen with a limit of 25% of authorized spaces.
  • Museums and private and public libraries will open under certain conditions such as operating at a third of their capacity and planning entry and exit times in advance
  • Learning centers and universities can open for administrative functions. Prior to opening they must be disinfected. School and university directors will determine the amount of teaching and auxiliary personnel needed.
  • Sporting activities in leisure and professional level will also see a change. Citizens will be allowed to use outdoors sporting areas except for swimming pools. Sports where up to two people participate is allowed, but no physical contact is allowed. In closed sporting centers, practice must be individual and by appointment.
  • Wakes are allowed with a maximum of 15 people if it takes place outdoors and 10 people for closed spaces. Burials have a maximum of 15 people.
  • Places of worship will be allowed to operate at a third of their capacity. People must wear a mask and spaces must be disinfected beforehand. The use of holy water or ritual ablutions will not be allowed.

 

3:26 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Details released about the 3 New Yorkers who died from an illness possibly related to coronavirus

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The three young New Yorkers who died from an illness that may be related to Covid-19 include a teenager in Suffolk County, as well as a 7-year-old in Westchester County and a 5-year-old in New York City, according to the governor’s office.

Details of the children who passed away were reported in a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office following his news conference Saturday.

Some background: Cuomo said at the briefing that these children had symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic-shock like syndrome, more generally, inflammation that ultimately causes heart problems.

"These are children who come in who don't present the symptoms that we normally are familiar with with Covid. It's not a respiratory illness," he said. 

Cuomo said the Centers for Disease Control asked New York to develop national criteria for other states and hospital systems with similar patients.

##Health#

3:09 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

France’s National Assembly extends state of emergency until July 10

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

French MPs vote on an amendment during a debate on the extension of the nationwide state of emergency at the National Assembly in Paris on May 8.
French MPs vote on an amendment during a debate on the extension of the nationwide state of emergency at the National Assembly in Paris on May 8. Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

France’s National Assembly voted today to extend the nationwide state of emergency until July 10.

Why this is important: The state of emergency provides the government with the legal framework to take uncommon measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including restrictions on travel and enforcing social distancing measures.

Some lawmakers in both the Senate and the National Assembly voiced concerns regarding the implications of the law for individual freedoms.

Given these concerns, President Emmanuel Macron will refer the law to the Constitutional Council, a body that will examine if it is in accordance with France’s Constitution, an Elysee spokesperson told CNN on Saturday.

3:13 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Arkansas reports 237 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

There were 237 new coronavirus cases reported Saturday in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an afternoon news conference.

Of the new cases, 173 were identified at the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is performing testing of inmates and staff at that facility, Hutchinson said.

A total of 301 inmates and 13 staff members at Forrest City have been diagnosed with the virus so far, according to Hutchinson. 

The new cases in the correctional facility are not from the last 24 hours but are from the last few days of testing and are now showing up in the state count, Health Secretary Nate Smith said during the news conference.

Arkansas now has a total of 3,984 cases and 90 deaths statewide, Hutchinson said.