May 17 coronavirus news

By Nicole Chavez, James Griffiths, Jenni Marsh, Tara John and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 10:41 p.m. ET, May 17, 2020
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4:19 a.m. ET, May 17, 2020

Over 8,000 people quarantined over new coronavirus cluster in northern China

More than 8,000 people have been quarantined in and around the Chinese city of Shulan, in the northeastern province of Jilin, according to state media.

Shulan is one of a number of places across China -- including Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year -- to report new cases since the country gradually began reopening this month.

Last week, the city initiated "wartime measures" to fight the new infections. National level health and inspection teams have been dispatched to the area. According to state media, the city's Communist Party chief, Li Pengfei, has also been sacked.

Speaking to state media during a tour of Jilin Saturday, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan called for "more decisive, precise, flexible and effective measures in regular epidemic prevention and control to avoid further spread of the Covid-19 outtbreak."

Chinese health authorities said Sunday that there were five new confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday, two of which were imported.

The three other cases were the result of domestic transmission and all were reported in Jilin province, the National Health Commission said.

There have been over 84,000 cases of the coronavirus in China since the pandemic began, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 4,600 people have died as a result of the virus in China.

11:25 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

9/11 saw much of our privacy swept aside. Coronavirus could end it altogether.

Analysis from CNN's International Security Editor, Nick Paton Walsh

Spit into a cup when you land in an airport, and your DNA is stored. Every phone in every city talks to every other nearby device, their exchanges floating somewhere in the ether. Cross-border travel is enabled only by governments sharing data about millions of private movements.

These are all possible visions of a future that the coronavirus pandemic has rushed on us -- decades of change effected, sometimes it feels, in just weeks. But a lurch into an even more intense era of mass data-collection -- the vast hoovering up of who went near whom and when, who is healthy to travel, and even scraps of personal DNA languishing in databases -- appears to be on the verge of becoming the new reality.

Will this grave new world intensify our desire for privacy, or extinguish what little left of it we had?

Read the rest here

10:17 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Without naming Trump, Obama lambasts US coronavirus leadership

From CNN's Kevin Bohn and Kevin Liptak

Former President Barack Obama speaks during "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" on May 16.
Former President Barack Obama speaks during "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" on May 16. Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former US President Barack Obama delivered scathing criticism of how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled by American leaders during a second commencement address on Saturday.

Obama did not name his successor, President Donald Trump. But his target was clear as he characterized the US response to the crisis as woefully haphazard.

“All those adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing? It turns out that they don’t have all the answers,” Obama said. “A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions. So, if the world’s going to get better, it going to be up to you.”

Obama was speaking in a primetime event called “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” which was broadcast on many networks, including CNN.

In remarks made earlier to graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Saturday, Obama again did not name Trump. But his rebuke of how the current President has handled the worst public health crisis in a general was plain.

“More than anything this pandemic has fully finally tore back the curtain on the idea that so many of folks in charge know what they are doing. And some of them are not even pretending to be in charge,” he said.
While delivering a piece of advice in the second set of remarks, he attacked “so-called grown-ups” for “why things are so screwed up.”
“Do what you think is right. Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy. That’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including with some fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way. Which is why things are so screwed up,” he told the high school graduates.

Obama said he hopes the graduates decide to ground themselves with "values that last. Like honestly, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, and respect for others.”

9:38 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

The coronavirus exposed the US' reliance on India for generic drugs. But that supply chain is ultimately controlled by China 

From CNN's Priyali Sur

A vendor displays hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets at a pharmacy in New Delhi, India.
A vendor displays hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets at a pharmacy in New Delhi, India. Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Sarah Thebarge, a 41-year-old physician assistant living in San Francisco, takes a pill every day to treat her lupus, a chronic condition that causes unbearable joint pain, fatigue and fainting spells.

The medicine she takes is hydroxychloroquine or HCQ.

But in March, HCQ, which is also used to treat malaria, suddenly became harder to get after US President Donald Trump touted the drug as a possible treatment for Covid-19

As people started hoarding it, India -- which reportedly makes 70% of the world's supply of HCQ -- quickly halted exports to secure its own supplies.

"When the hoarding started, my 30-day supply was in back order," said Thebarge. "The scenario really scared me, what would happen to me if I couldn't get HCQ?"

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved HCQ as the treatment for Covid-19, but the episode showed how dependent the US is on India for drugs -- namely generic drugs, which are copies of brand-name pharmaceuticals that have the same effects but cost less. 

In the US, 90% of all prescriptions are filled by generic drugs and, one in every three pills consumed is produced by an Indian generics manufacturer, according to an April 2020 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and KPMG. 

While the US seems to hold sway with its ally India in obtaining the finished product, there's a bigger issue earlier in the supply chain. 

India gets around 68% of its raw materials -- known as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) -- from China. Any disruption in that supply chain can create a major problem, especially during a pandemic.

Read more here

9:17 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Mexico death toll tops 5,000

From CNN’s Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta

Paramedics transport a patient at the General Hospital in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on May 13.
Paramedics transport a patient at the General Hospital in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on May 13. Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

Mexico’s Ministry of Health reported 278 new deaths from coronavirus on Saturday, meaning 5,045 people there have now died from Covid-19.

On Saturday, Mexico reported 2,112 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 47,144.

Saturday's toll marked a slight decrease in the rate of new cases, after two days of over 2,400 new cases, the highest daily numbers the country has seen since its first infections were reported on February 28.

8:48 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Authorities in Wuhan 'didn't like to tell the truth,' top Chinese adviser says

From CNN's Nectar Gan and David Culver

Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first reported, suppressed key details about the magnitude of the initial outbreak, according to Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government's senior medical adviser.

"The local authorities, they didn't like to tell the truth at that time," Zhong said. "At the very beginning they kept silent, and then I said probably we have (a larger) number of people being infected."

Zhong said he became suspicious when the number of officially reported cases in Wuhan remained at 41 for more than 10 days — despite infections emerging overseas.

China has reported more than 82,000 coronavirus cases, with at least 4,633 deaths, according to data from the country's National Health Commission. The number of new infections surged quickly in late January, prompting city lockdowns and nationwide travel bans.

Read the full story here

8:53 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Brazil's coronavirus deaths surpass 15,000

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey and Taylor Barnes

Cemetery workers place crosses over graves at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on May 13.
Cemetery workers place crosses over graves at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on May 13. Felipe Dana/AP

More than 15,000 people have died in Brazil after contracting the novel coronavirus, the country's health ministry says.

Health officials reported 816 new deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 15,633.

The number of cases in Brazil continues to rise. There are 233,142 cases of the virus in the country and 14,919 new cases were reported in the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday, the ministry said.

Brazil has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The latest uptick pushed Brazil's case count past Spain and Italy.