May 25 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Zamira Rahim, Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:10 PM ET, Mon May 25, 2020
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12:50 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

WHO warns there could be a second peak, not a second wave

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

A TV grab taken from the World Health Organization website shows Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan via video link as he delivers a news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on March 30.
A TV grab taken from the World Health Organization website shows Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan via video link as he delivers a news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on March 30. AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization is warning of a second peak – not necessarily a second wave – of coronavirus cases. 

During a media briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said right now, we are “right in the middle of the first wave, globally."

“We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

“We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's going to keep going down, and the way to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave – we may get a second peak in this way,” Ryan said.

Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, “which will greatly complicate things for disease control.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “all countries need to remain on high alert here. All countries need to be ready to rapidly detect cases, even countries that have had success in suppression. … Even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready.”  

Van Kerkhove said if given the opportunity, the virus will start an outbreak.

“A hallmark of coronaviruses is its ability to amplify in certain settings, its ability to cause transmission – or super spreading events. And we are seeing in a number of situations in these closed settings. When the virus has an opportunity, it can transmit readily," she said.

1:02 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

National Hockey League aims to reopen facilities in early June

From CNN's David Close

A pair of fans walk down an empty walkway at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 12. The game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins was canceled after the NHL's decision to suspend the remaining games in the season due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
A pair of fans walk down an empty walkway at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 12. The game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins was canceled after the NHL's decision to suspend the remaining games in the season due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

In an effort to restart the 2019-2020 season, the National Hockey League (NHL) says it is aiming to reopen team facilities in early June.

In a league-wide memorandum sent on Sunday, the NHL outlines a ‘Phase 2’ return to sport protocol that allows small groups of players to utilize home team facilities and ice.

Here are some of the reopening requirements:

  • A maximum of six players will be able to train and skate together at a time.
  • Players must wear face coverings except while on the ice or exercising.
  • Coaches are not allowed to participate in on-ice sessions. 

The league does not give a specific date in June for teams to open. 

The 22-page memorandum also outlines cleaning and disinfecting requirements and includes a checklist form for team staff to utilize.

  

12:49 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Trump honors US military's fight against coronavirus on Memorial Day

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, on Monday, May 25.
President Donald Trump speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, on Monday, May 25. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump attended a second event commemorating Memorial Day on Monday, speaking at a patriotic ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, where he acknowledged the US military’s fight against coronavirus as the US death toll approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 Americans.

“In recent months, our nation and the world have been engaged in a new form of battle against an invisible enemy. Once more, the men and women of the United States military have answered the call to duty and raced into danger. Tens of thousands of servicemembers and national guardsmen are on the frontlines of our war against this terrible virus, caring for patients, delivering critical supplies and working night and day to safeguard our citizens,” Trump said.

“As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans. Together, we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and greater heights," he added.

Some background: The remarks, which also cast a patriotic and historic tone with Francis Scott Key references, came after a morning of tweets threatening to pull the Republican National Convention from North Carolina and railing against media criticism of his weekend golf outings.

Trump and the vice president also made a trip to Arlington National Ceremony, where they observed a moment of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

WATCH:

12:22 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

UK top aide defends lockdown trip: "I don't regret what I did"

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement in London over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restriction, on May 25.
Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement in London over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restriction, on May 25. Jonathan Brady/Pool/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, has defended his actions after receiving widespread criticism for traveling more than 250 miles from his London home during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, telling reporters on Monday that he traveled to Durham to ensure the welfare of his child.  

“I thought, and I think today, that the rules, including those regarding small children and extreme circumstances, allowed me to exercise my judgment about the situation I found myself in,” Cummings told reporters during the televised briefing.

“I can understand that some people will argue that I should have stayed at my home in London throughout. I understand these views, I know the intense hardship and sacrifice the entire country has had to go through, however I respectfully disagree,” he added. 

Cummings also told reporters that he believes his actions were “reasonable in these circumstances,” detailing the series of events which preceded his decision to leave London. 

“I was worried that if both my wife and I were seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there is nobody in London that we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid,” the prime minister’s adviser said. 

“I don’t regret what I did…I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances,” Cummings told reporters after explaining why he made the decision to travel to Durham during the nationwide lockdown. 

Some context: Following an investigation by the Mirror and Guardian newspapers, Cummings was revealed to have traveled to Durham – more than 250 miles from his home in London – during the lockdown, despite his wife having developed symptoms of coronavirus.

While Johnson has offered his support for Cummings, saying on Sunday that he believes his adviser acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity,” Cummings confirmed on Monday that he did not inform the prime minister of his decision prior to leaving for Durham. 

“I did not ask the prime minister about this decision. He was ill himself, and he had huge problems to deal with…I thought that I would speak to him when the situation clarified over coming days,” Cummings said.

“Arguably this was a mistake and I understand that some will say that I should have spoken to the prime minister before deciding what to do,” he added.

12:26 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

WHO temporarily pauses studying hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah.
A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has temporarily halted studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential Covid-19 treatment in its Solidarity Trial due to safety concerns, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva on Monday.

The decision was made after an observational study was published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, which described how seriously ill Covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die.

Tedros said that an independent executive group is now reviewing the use of hydroxychloroquine in WHO's Solidarity Trial. The trial, which involves actively recruiting patients from more than 400 hospitals in 35 countries, is a global research effort to find safe and effective therapeutics for Covid-19.

"The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally," Tedros said on Monday.

"The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and, in particular robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug," Tedros said. "The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board." 

Tedros added that the other arms of the trial are continuing.

"This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in Covid-19," Tedros said. "I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria."

12:00 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Japan will expand travel ban after lifting national emergency

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Philip Wang

A public screen shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, on May 25. Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo.
A public screen shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, on May 25. Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Japan is set to expand its travel ban list to 111 countries effective Wednesday, now including the United States, India, and South Africa, the government ministries said.

The ban list, which will add 11 more countries this week, forbids foreign nationals who stayed in those countries from entering Japan, to protect against the spread of coronavirus. 

Japanese citizens are still allowed to enter the country, although they will need to go through medical tests and self-quarantine for 14 days.  

The travel ban expansion comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency earlier today. It lasted almost a month. 

12:00 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

New York will provide death benefits for frontline workers, governor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

The state of New York and local governments will provide death benefits to frontline workers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday at the state’s daily Covid-19 news conference.

“Today we are announcing that the state and local governments will provide death benefits for public heroes who died from Covid-19 during this emergency,” Cuomo said.

The governor said public employees who work in the state, whether in a city or county, can qualify and the local or state pension fund will pay for those death benefits.

"Frontline workers we have a full list, but they're the people we've been discussing. It's the frontline public health care workers, police workers, EMS workers, fire department workers. The people who showed up. Look, they showed up because I asked them to show up, they showed up because I required them to show up," Cuomo said.

At the start of the presser, the governor took a brief moment of silence to honor those who have fallen and to give thanks to them on Memorial Day.

The governor then went on to thank all frontline workers for the work they are doing today to fight the pandemic.

We needed the frontline workers to show up so others could stay home and be safe and healthy, Cuomo said.

11:49 a.m. ET, May 25, 2020

New York governor says daily death toll is down to 96

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at least 96 people died from coronavirus across the state yesterday — down from 109 on Saturday.

"It's still painfully high but only in the relative absurdity of our situation, is that relatively good news," Cuomo said.

He noted that the overall hospitalization rate, the number of intubations and day-to-day hospitalizations are all down.

"We are making progress here in New York," he said.

WATCH GOV. CUOMO:

11:40 a.m. ET, May 25, 2020

More than 97,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

A funeral home in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic deals with an excess of recent deaths because of the virus by storing bodies in the chapel before shipping to crematoriums and cemeteries in Queens, New York, on May 11.
A funeral home in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic deals with an excess of recent deaths because of the virus by storing bodies in the chapel before shipping to crematoriums and cemeteries in Queens, New York, on May 11. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

There have been 1,646,495 cases of coronavirus reported in the US, and at least 97,794 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. 

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