May 9 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Angela Dewan and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:51 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020
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8:51 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

8:44 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

CDC director and FDA commissioner will testify remotely in Senate hearing

From CNN's Greg Clary

CDC Director Robert Redfield whispers to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn during a coronavirus task force briefing.
CDC Director Robert Redfield whispers to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn during a coronavirus task force briefing. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration will testify via videoconference at a Senate hearing about the coronavirus next week.

"I am grateful that White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, approved a one-time exception to the Administration’s policies about hearings, and has agreed that Dr. Hahn and Dr. Redfield will testify at this hearing by videoconference due to these unusual circumstances," said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Senate Health Committee.

The two officials will testify remotely after deciding to self-quarantine following a potential exposure to the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is scheduled to testify at the same hearing.

CNN has reached out to Alexander’s staff to confirm whether Fauci will also testify remotely because he will be under a "modified quarantine" due to a potential exposure to the virus.

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

Parts of the White House will undergo 'heightened levels of cleaning,' memo says

From CNN’s Sarah Westwood

The White House sent a memo to all staff on Friday after Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the novel coronavirus, an official said.

The note details measures taking by the White House to prevent the spread of the virus, including maintaining maximum telework for staff, reporting travel and self-monitoring of symptoms, according to a copy reviewed by CNN. 

Areas considered "high-touch points" in the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building will receive "heightened levels of cleaning," the memo says.

Some departments like the Office of Management and Budget are calling political appointees back to the office despite the maximum telework order.

Earlier this week, White House staff received a separate memo informing them that they would be asked upon entry about their symptoms. The measure would be in addition to the temperature checks required for admission to the White House complex. Anyone who acknowledged having the symptoms may be pulled for further screening or barred entry, that memo said. 

 Neither memo mentioned anything about wearing face coverings.

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

Fauci is now under a 'modified quarantine'

From CNN's Jake Tapper

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN is doing what he calls a "modified quarantine" after it was determined that he was not in close proximity to a White House staffer who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The nation's top infectious disease expert said he is at "low risk" and tested negative for the virus on Friday.

Fauci says he will stay at home and telework -- though he might go to his office at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he is the only one there -- and wear a mask continually for 14 days. He is expected to be tested every day for the virus.

Fauci is the third member of the White House coronavirus task force who is going into a type of quarantine. Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are going into self-quarantine for 14 days.

8:18 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpasses 10,000

From CNN’s Taylor Barnes

Cemetery worker Bruno Avelino walks through a graveyard in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, May 8.
Cemetery worker Bruno Avelino walks through a graveyard in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, May 8. Leo Correa/AP

The novel coronavirus continues hitting Brazil hard, taking the lives of at least 10,627 people, the country's Health Ministry said on Saturday.

At least 10,611 new cases of the virus were reported in the last couple of days, bringing the countrywide total to 155,939 cases.

Some context: Brazil has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. As of Sunday, the country had more than 155,000 cases and was among the top 10 countries with the most cases of the virus, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the virus threat, saying he believes the effects of preventive measures, like quarantines and lockdowns, could have a worse impact on Brazil's economy.


8:43 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

About 300 homeless and formerly incarcerated men are sheltering at a high-end hotel in New York

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

The Doe Fund, a group know for aiding formerly incarcerated men to rejoin society, has moved about 300 men into a high-end hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a spokesman for the organization told CNN.

Bill Cunningham, the spokesman, said the city matched the organization with the hotel to follow social distancing protocols because their three housing facilities in Harlem and Brooklyn have dormitory-style rooms housing about 10 men at a time.

Two men will be assigned to a single room and meals will be delivered to the rooms three times per day. They will continue their work program jobs, including cleaning public spaces like bus shelters and mail boxes. They will be subject to the same security policies in the organization's shelters, Cunningham said.

About 7,000 people in need of shelter have been staying at hotels across the city, "enabling them to more effectively isolate while also increasing social distancing at the shelters from which they moved,” said Isaac McGinn, a spokesman with the city's Department of Social Services.

The agency declined to discuss what hotels are being used to house New Yorkers in need of shelter. As of Friday, DSS had tracked 882 positive Covid-19 cases in their system and 73 deaths, McGinn said.

The Doe Fund had about 20 positive cases among its members since early March, but no Covid-19 related deaths thus far, Cunningham said.

8:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

CDC director will self-quarantine for two weeks

From CNN's Wesley Bruer, Kevin Bohn and Jeremy Diamond

Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa/AP
Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa/AP

Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "will be teleworking" for the next two weeks after he was exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, a CDC spokesman told CNN.

The Washington Post first reported Redfield's action.

Redfield "has been determined to have had a low risk exposure on May 6 to a person at the White House who has Covid-19. He is feeling fine and has no symptoms. He will be teleworking for the next two weeks," the spokesperson said.

The decision comes after the Food and Drug Administration announced that its commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, planned to self-quarantine after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus.

Neither agencies have named the person or people with whom Redfield and Hahn came into contact. 

Both men are members of the White House coronavirus task force, which held its most recent meeting on Thursday. 

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to confirm the report that Redfield will self-quarantine, but he said the physician to the President and White House operations officials "continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the President, First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy."

6:33 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Covid-19 patients who took a heartburn drug were more likely to survive but it's unclear if it was a coincidence, researchers say

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam

Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo illustration.
Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo illustration. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Patients who took famotidine while hospitalized for Covid-19 were more than twice as likely to survive the infection, according to a paper posted Friday on a pre-publication website. 

"Compared to the rest of the patients, those who received famotidine had a greater than 2-fold decreased risk of either dying or being intubated," the authors of the study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center said.

Among the 1,536 patients in the study who were not taking famotidine, 332, or 22%, either died or were intubated and put on a ventilator. Of the 84 patients who were taking famotidine, eight, or 10%, died or were put on a ventilator.

But the study doesn't prove the drug caused the lower death rate, its authors say. It's possible that it was just a coincidence.

"It is not clear why those patients who received famotidine had improved outcomes," the authors wrote in their statement. "This is merely an association, and these findings should not be interpreted to mean that famotidine improves outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19."

The drug is a common heartburn medicine and has been on the market for nearly 40 years. It's an active ingredient in the popular over-the-counter heartburn treatment Pepcid.

Read the full story here.

6:33 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Sioux tribe won’t remove Covid-19 checkpoints in South Dakota despite governor's request 

From CNN's Chris Boyette and Deanna Hackney

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe won't comply to a request to take down its coronavirus checkpoints.

"We will not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death," Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said in a statement.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sent letters Friday to the leaders of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, demanding they "immediately cease interfering" with traffic and remove the checkpoints.

Reservation residents have been asked to complete a health questionnaire at checkpoints when they leave and when they return, according to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe policies. South Dakota residents who don't live on the reservation are only allowed there if they're not coming from a hot spot and it is for an essential activity.

Read the full story here.