May 14 coronavirus news

By Zamira Rahim, Joshua Berlinger and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 8:24 a.m. ET, May 15, 2020
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8:45 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

We need to be ready for a second wave of infection, WHO health expert warns

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for coronavirus response at the World Health Organization, has warned the virus is resurging in several parts of the world.

Speaking during CNN's ongoing town hall tonight, she said places that have seen some success in suppressing transmission are now experiencing a second wave of infection, pointing to South Korea, Singapore, and Wuhan -- the Chinese city at ground zero for the pandemic.

There are different reasons we're seeing a resurgence of the virus in these places, she said; in South Korea, a new cluster in Seoul is linked to nightclubs, while Singapore's outbreak is largely concentrated within migrant worker dormitories.

"But what is really important is that in China, in Korea, in Singapore, they have systems in place to rapidly identify the virus again and rapidly start their contact tracing," Van Kerkhove said. 

"And they've never let up. This is a lesson for all countries. The virus likes to find opportunities to resurge, to increase again. And we just all need to be ready for that."

The US risks a second wave if it rushes into reopening: Though infection rates are slowing in the United States, individual states should conduct a thorough assessment before reopening, Van Kerkhove said.

"What is the risk of resurgence? Do we actually have this under control? Are we looking hard enough? Do we have surveillance in place? Do we have contact tracers in place? Do we have hospital beds? If the answer is no, then you need to really consider, are we ready to open this up?" she said.

Watch:

8:41 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

US Food and Drug Administration issues alert about 15-minute coronavirus test

From CNN's Arman Azad

The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued an alert about “possible accuracy concerns” with the Abbott ID Now coronavirus test, a rapid point-of-care test.

The device can return results in less than 15 minutes, but recent studies have raised concerns over the test’s accuracy – suggesting that it may provide an unacceptable number of false negatives, indicating somebody doesn’t have the virus when they do. 

“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public to early data that suggest potential inaccurate results from using the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test to diagnose Covid-19. Specifically, the test may return false negative results,” the FDA said in a statement.

The FDA said the test can still be used and that it’s working with Abbott, the device and drug maker behind the test, to study data. It noted that any issues with the test are not yet understood. 

The agency said it was aware of studies reporting accuracy issues with the test, but said those studies may have had limitations, including small sample sizes and potential design biases. People also might not have run the tests properly, the FDA said.  

“The FDA has received 15 adverse event reports about the Abbott ID NOW device that suggest some users are receiving inaccurate negative results. The agency is reviewing these reports,” the FDA said. 

“Moving forward, Abbott has agreed to conduct post-market studies for the ID NOW device that each will include at least 150 COVID-19 positive patients in a variety of clinical settings. The FDA will continue to review interim data on an ongoing basis,” the agency added. “The information gathered from the post-market studies can further help the agency understand the cause or patterns of any accuracy issues and inform any additional actions the company or the FDA should take.” 

Abbott disputed the studies that found problems with its test, but said it was making adjustments. 

“While we understand no test is perfect, test outcomes depend on a number of factors including patient selection, specimen type, collection, handling, storage, transport and conformity to the way the test was designed to be run. ID NOW is intended to be used near the patient with a direct swab test method,” the company said in a statement.

Abbott said it was “clarifying our product information to provide better guidance to healthcare providers that negative results should be considered in the context of a patient's recent exposures, history and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.”

If a patient gets a negative result but looks ill, another test should be run, Abbott said.

“We are also reinforcing proper sample collection and handling instructions. We are communicating this to our customers," the company said. 

8:43 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

WHO health expert doesn't know how long it will take to develop a coronavirus vaccine

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove. CNN

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the Covid-19 response at the World Health Organization, joined CNN's global town hall Thursday night to discuss a coronavirus vaccine and how it will take to develop.

"We've seen the global community come together. Manufacturers, scientists, leaders — to accelerate the development of a vaccine. Everybody wants to know exactly how long that's going to take. We can't give an answer to that because it takes time to do these studies, these clinical trials to see if it's safe and effective," Van Kerkhove told CNN.

Van Kerkhove added: "We need to ensure that there's access to that to everyone on the planet. And so this virus will be with us. We need to find a way to get to that steady state where we can suppress transmission enough, get back to our lives, to get back to living our daily lives."

The search for a vaccine: As the US sets forth on an unprecedented effort to come up with vaccines in record time — dubbed "Operation Warp Speed" by the Trump administration — scientists are choosing between two methods for testing the vaccine in thousands of people this summer.

One approach is more typical, and involves each company working independently on its own trial, according to two members of the Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines group, or ACTIV, which was organized last month by the National Institutes of Health. The second, they said, involves several vaccine developers working in one large trial — an unprecedented method for vaccine development in the US.

"There haven't been any final decisions as of yet on which approach ACTIV will take," Renate Myles, a spokesperson for National Institutes of Health (NIH), told CNN in an email.

Watch:

8:52 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Whistleblower wants his original job back, attorney says

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

The attorney for Rick Bright, the federal employee who filed a whistleblower complaint after being removed from his position as the head of the agency in charge of pandemic response, said her client would prefer to return to his original job if possible. 

"Ideally he would like his job as BARDA director back," said Bright's attorney, Lisa Banks, using the initials for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which he led. "It's what he's best suited for, and it's what would best serve the American public for sure."

"He was extremely well suited to lead BARDA and he did that very well for a number of years," she added, speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "So it's truly unfortunate for him and for the American people that he's no longer there." 

Banks said that Bright would be willing serve in any capacity in which he can "roll up his sleeves to try to fight this virus and come up with drugs or a vaccine that will let us get back to some semblance of normalcy."

Bright remains a federal employee and has been transferred to a position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Watch:

8:32 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Whistleblower Rick Bright has been "preparing for a pandemic his entire career," his attorney says

Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Thursday, May 14.
Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Thursday, May 14. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the federal office charged with developing countermeasures to infectious diseases, testified before Congress earlier today.

He slammed the Trump administration's coronavirus response and urged lawmakers to listen to the voices of scientists to prevent "unprecedented illness and fatalities."

Bright's attorney, Lisa Banks, joined CNN's ongoing town hall to discuss his testimony.

"He's been preparing for a pandemic his entire career," she said. "And when faced with an environment in which politics trumped science, he had to push back. And as he said today, he's never been a whistleblower before. He's never had to push back like that or file a complaint. But here he had to because American lives were at stake."

"What he testified to today and what he firmly believes is that scientists should lead the way here, and they should be allowed to speak truthfully and not face retribution for doing so."

Here's some context: Bright had previously led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), an office under the Department of Health and Human Services. BARDA has been central to the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bright was removed from the post on April 21.

Since then, he's been on a short-term medical leave, said Banks today. When discussing his future role within the National Institutes of Health, Bright learned yesterday he will no longer be working with vaccines, "so it was unclear what job they had in mind for him," Banks said.

Read about Bright's testimony here.

Watch:

8:32 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

White House declines to have members of coronavirus task force on CNN's global town hall

For the first time in 11 weeks, there will be no member of the White House's coronavirus task force on CNN's global town hall.

"They have declined to allow any scientist or doctor from the task force to come on tonight. In the past as you remember, we've had Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, we've had Dr. (Deborah) Birx, Dr. (Robert) Redfield, Dr. (Stephen) Hahn, but not tonight," CNN's Sanjay Gupta said.

There hasn't been a full White House briefing on coronavirus in 17 days, CNN's Anderson Cooper said.

Cooper added that technology is not an excuse for why no task force member could attend the town hall since "nearly all the medical staff from the task force appeared remotely in front of the Senate on Tuesday."

"So their computers work. This is just the latest example of the White House trying to put as much distance between the President and this virus as possible," Cooper said.

Watch:

8:32 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

CNN's global town hall on coronavirus will start soon

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN

Climate activist Greta Thunberg and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will join CNN's global town hall tonight.

Richard Besser, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Kathleen Sebelius, former Department of Health and Human Services secretary, will discuss the coronavirus pandemic with CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The town hall starts at 8 p.m. ET.

How to watch: The town hall will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. It will stream live on CNN.com's homepage and across mobile devices via CNN's apps, without requiring a cable log-in.

You can also watch on CNNgo, and subscribers to cable/satellite systems can watch it on-demand.

We'll also be covering it with live updates here.

7:51 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Brazil tops 200,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Flora Charner in Atlanta and Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil has risen to 202,918, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

For the second day in a row, Brazil posted a record number of new cases with 13,944 reported.

There were 844 new deaths registered in the last 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data. The total number of deaths in Brazil from Covid-19 is now 13,993.

What we know: Brazil is currently among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest number coronavirus cases ranking sixth, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It is the country with the most cases and deaths in Latin America.

7:28 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Catch up: Here are the top coronavirus headlines from today

If you're just tuning in, here are the latest headlines from around the globe:

  • Global death toll: At least 300,074 people have died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of deaths across the world.
  • France's tourism plan: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced an “unprecedented” 18 billion euro (or about $19.4 billion USD) plan to support the country’s tourism industry. Under the plan, tourism businesses will be eligible for grants of up to 10,000 euros (about $10,781 USD). There are also government-guaranteed loans totaling 6.2 billion euro (about $6.7 billion USD).
  • Coronavirus antibodies: Only 5% of people in Spain have developed coronavirus antibodies so far, according to preliminary results of an epidemiological study by the government.
  • Travel in Europe: It will be “months not weeks” before there is a return to normal travel within the European Union, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told parliament.
  • Japan's state of emergency: Japan lifted its state of emergency for 39 of its 47 prefectures on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in a briefing.
  • Later on CNN: Join us for CNN's global town hall on the coronavirus pandemic. It starts at 8 p.m. ET. Today's guests are Richard Besser, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kathleen Sebelius, former US Department of Health and Human Services secretary, Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, and climate activist Greta Thunberg.