May 22 coronavirus news

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9:38 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Our live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

8:22 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

CDC says it mixed results from viral and antibody tests

From CNN's Arman Azad and Renee Baharaeen

A Covid-19 antibody test is administered outside of Delmont Medical Care on April 22, in Franklin Square, New York. 
A Covid-19 antibody test is administered outside of Delmont Medical Care on April 22, in Franklin Square, New York.  Al Bello/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged on Friday it had been mixing together results from viral and antibody tests on its website. The CDC says it’s planning to separate those numbers in the coming weeks, but experts say the current method is unhelpful and potentially misleading.

That’s because antibody tests aren’t used to diagnose current infections or determine whether someone is potentially contagious. Instead, they indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past.

CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund described the agency’s practice to CNN on Thursday and confirmed it the next day. “Initially, when CDC launched its website and its laboratory test reporting, viral testing (tests for current infection) were far more commonly used nationwide than serology testing (tests for past infection),” she said in an email.

“Now that serology testing is more widely available, CDC is working to differentiate those tests from the viral tests and will report this information, differentiated by test type, publicly on our COVID Data Tracker website in the coming weeks.” 

Combining numbers from antibody and viral tests pushes up the total number of tests conducted in the US. But antibody tests are often intended for the general public – not just people with suspected infections – so they can skew a key indicator of how the pandemic is progressing: the percent of tests that come back positive.

The CDC’s method also makes it appear that the US has greater capacity to test than it really does, at least when it comes to identifying current infections.

“It’s not useful information, unless you have a political agenda that you’re trying to back up. That’s really the only reason to do that,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU School of Medicine.
8:13 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

There are more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in the US

There have been at least 1,600,481 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 95,921 people have died from the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 23,334 new cases and 1,219 deaths on Friday.  

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

7:54 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Nevada governor sets June 4 target date for reopening casinos

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas,Tuesday, on March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas,Tuesday, on March 17. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he hopes to allow the state's casinos to reopen on June 4.

The governor announced Friday that the state’s Gaming Control Board will make a final decision in its next meeting on Tuesday

In a tweet, the governor said the reopening will be “pending the evaluation of trends in our data.” Currently, the state is in phase one of its reopening plan, and Sisolak says he expects to have a date for phase two on Tuesday.

Nevada casinos have been closed since March 17. Many casinos have already announced new health safety measure to take effect when they reopen, and the Wynn Las Vegas announced Friday it will be reopening five of its restaurants on May 29.

7:07 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

NBA legend Patrick Ewing says he tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jill Martin

Head coach Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas in action against the Seton Hall Pirates during a college basketball game at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on January 3.
Head coach Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas in action against the Seton Hall Pirates during a college basketball game at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on January 3. Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Georgetown men’s basketball coach and former NBA star Patrick Ewing says he has tested positive for Covid-19.

“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones," Ewing tweeted.

In a statement, Georgetown University said Ewing is "under care and isolated at a local hospital."

"He is the only member of the Georgetown men's basketball program to have tested positive for the virus," the university said.

6:51 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Brazil reports more than 20,000 coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

From CNN’s Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo and Taylor Barnes in Atlanta

A nurse performs a coronavirus test on an indigenous man in the Parque das Tribos community on May 21 in Manaus, Brazil. 
A nurse performs a coronavirus test on an indigenous man in the Parque das Tribos community on May 21 in Manaus, Brazil.  Andre Coelho/Getty Images

 

The Brazilian health ministry said Friday the country registered a record 20,803 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide case total to 330,890.

By CNN calculations, the number tops Russia’s 326,448 cases. For now, that makes Brazil the country with the second highest total number of confirmed cases worldwide after the United States.

More on this: Johns Hopkins University has not yet updated its global map of coronavirus cases to reflect the new Brazilian numbers.

Brazil recorded 1,001 new coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 21,048.

 

6:41 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

DOJ warns Los Angeles officials that county's stay-home orders may be "arbitrary and unlawful"

From CNN's Jon Passantino

 

The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division wrote in a strongly-worded letter Friday to Los Angeles officials that he was concerned that the mayor and county health director were taking "an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach to continuing stay-at-home requirements.”

The letter from Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, came in response to comments from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who asserted in a "Good Morning America" interview last week that the city will “never be completely open until we have a cure” for the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 3,600 lives in California.

“I think we have to all recognize that we’re not moving beyond Covid-19, we’re learning to live with it,” Garcetti said.

Dreiband also noted recent remarks by Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who said last week that “with all certainty” a form of stay-home restrictions will remain in place for the county’s 10 million residents “for the next three months.” Ferrer later clarified her remarks, saying “while the Safer at Home orders will remain in place over the next few months, restrictions will be gradually relaxed.”

Earlier this month, California began reopening the state’s economy, allowing some retail shops, manufacturers, and logistics businesses to return on May 8. At least 43 of the state’s 58 counties have been allowed to open even further, allowing additional retail shopping and dining in restaurants. Los Angeles, however, where more than 2,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus have been recorded, has moved more slowly.

The DOJ's warning: Dreiband warned in his letter to Garcetti and Ferrer that the continued restrictions may be “arbitrary and unlawful.”

“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the City and County of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions. Any such approach may be both arbitrary and unlawful,” he said. 

While local officials can impose restrictions on citizens to protect their safety during emergencies, Dreiband warned that “the Constitution and federal statutory law prohibit arbitrary, unreasonable actions.”

“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” he said.

6:32 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Peruvian president extends nationwide lockdown through June 30

From CNN’s Taylor Barnes

 

Workers stand next to coffins of Covid-19 victims at El Angel cemetery, in Lima, Peru, on May 21.
Workers stand next to coffins of Covid-19 victims at El Angel cemetery, in Lima, Peru, on May 21. Ernesto Benvavides/AFP/Getty Images

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced Friday that a national state of emergency, which includes mandatory social isolation measures, will be extended through June 30.

He announced that “a national state of emergency is being declared from Monday, May 25 until June 30, including obligatory social isolation, quarantine, due to the grave circumstances that affect the life of the nation due to Covid-19,” according to state news agency Andina.

Vizcarra first declared a nationwide state of emergency, which included mandatory self-quarantine and closed the country’s borders, on March 15.

With the current extension, Peru will be under a state of emergency for at least three and a half months.

 

8:15 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

More than 95,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There have been at least 1,598,631 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 95,847 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Johns Hopkins reported 21,484 new cases and 1,145 deaths on Friday. 

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