May 30 coronavirus news

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1:58 a.m. ET, May 30, 2020

Supreme Court rejects request from US church to block restrictions on in-person services

From CNN’s Ariane De Vogue

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on May 28.  
The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on May 28.   Graeme Sloan/Sipa/AP

A 5-4 Supreme Court ruling has rejected a request from a California church to block limitations on the number of people who could attend religious services during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals on the bench, and wrote separately to explain his vote. 

“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote.
“Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time."

The thrust to reopen churches has become one of the latest debates in the coronavirus culture wars. As states across the country have been gradually reopening their cities, some churches have argued that they are being treated differently than other businesses or groups. 

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would have granted the church’s request. 

Kavanaugh, writing for Thomas and Gorsuch, said the church would suffer “irreparable harm from not being able to hold services on Pentecost Sunday in a way that comparable secular businesses and persons can conduct their activities.”

1:39 a.m. ET, May 30, 2020

Politics and poverty hinder Covid-19 response in Latin America

Analysis by CNN's Rafael Romo

A public safety worker sprays a disinfectant solution in the El Rosario neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico, on Friday, May 29.
A public safety worker sprays a disinfectant solution in the El Rosario neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico, on Friday, May 29. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Wuhan was the original epicenter. Then the coronavirus migrated to Europe. New York was the next hotspot, and now world health authorities are worried about South America.

The region as a whole is reporting more daily cases than the United States. And politics, rather than policy, seems to have informed the very different approaches that various South American countries have taken -- with ideology appearing to have trumped best medical practices in some cases.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he will resume travel around the country to kick off important public works projects, including a new railway in the southeast.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro defied his country's own medical authorities by participating in multiple rallies supporting his government. The right-wing former military officer was even shaking hands with supporters and holding children in his arms.

And in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega has turned the coronavirus pandemic into a political issue, saying his opponents are the ones who want people to stay home to create a financial crisis, undermining the country and his government.

Read more here:

12:12 a.m. ET, May 30, 2020

Almost 25,000 new US coronavirus cases in 24 hours

There are now at least 1,746,019 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally, with 102,809 total deaths.

On Friday, Johns Hopkins University reported 24,266 new cases and 1,193 deaths. 

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

4:42 p.m. ET, May 30, 2020

How a country of 97 million people managed to keep its coronavirus death toll at zero

From CNN's Nectar Gan

Passengers sit at a departure lounge at Hanoi airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, May 7.
Passengers sit at a departure lounge at Hanoi airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, May 7. Hau Dinh/AP

When the world looked to Asia for successful examples in handling the novel coronavirus outbreak, most eyes were on South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

But there's one overlooked success story -- Vietnam.

The country of 97 million people is yet to report a single coronavirus-related death, and on Saturday had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year.

This is all the more remarkable considering Vietnam is a low-middle income country with a much less advanced health care system than others in the region. It only has eight doctors for every 10,000 people, a third of the ratio in South Korea, according to the World Bank.

After a three-week nationwide lockdown, Vietnam lifted social distancing rules in late April. It hasn't reported any local infections for more than 40 days. Businesses and schools have reopened, and life is gradually returning to normal.

To skeptics, Vietnam's official numbers may seem too good to be true. But Guy Thwaites, an infectious disease doctor who works in one of the main hospitals designated by the Vietnamese government to treat Covid-19 patients, said the numbers matched the reality on the ground.

"I go to the wards every day, I know the cases, I know there has been no death," said Thwaites, who also heads the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City.

Read more here:

11:09 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

It's midnight in Brasilia and 11 a.m. in Hong Kong. Here are today's top coronavirus headlines

People wait in line to get their body temperature checked before entering a reopened shopping mall in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday, May 27.
People wait in line to get their body temperature checked before entering a reopened shopping mall in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday, May 27. Lucio Tavora/Xinhua/Getty Images

  • US withdraws from the WHO: President Donald Trump announced that the US would pull out of the World Health Organization after criticizing its response to the coronavirus pandemic and relationship with China. Medical groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics warned the decision could endanger global health.
  • South America cases rise: Brazil recorded its highest daily increase yet, with 26,928 new infections in 24 hours, while Peru announced at least 6,500 new cases. Brazil's 27,878 coronavirus deaths are the fifth highest of any country, leapfrogging Spain.
  • Mexico's death toll nears 10,000: 371 more coronavirus deaths on Friday has pushed Mexico's total fatalities to 9,415. There were 3,227 new confirmed infections over the same period, coming as the Mexican government announced it would begin to reopen parts of its economy next week.
  • Did pangolins incubate the coronavirus?: A new study into the genetics of the novel coronavirus has shown the disease spent some time jumping between bats and pangolins before it first spread to humans. But researchers said it still isn't clear which species was responsible for the first human infections, adding it could be third species.
10:34 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Mexico's Covid-19 death toll has roughly doubled in two weeks

From CNN’s Matt Rivers in Mexico City

A hospital worker stands with images of colleagues who have died from Covid-19 during a protest in front of the National Palace in Mexico City on May 29.
A hospital worker stands with images of colleagues who have died from Covid-19 during a protest in front of the National Palace in Mexico City on May 29. Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Mexico recorded 3,227 new coronavirus cases and 371 additional virus deaths on Friday. 

The country’s death toll, now at 9,415, has roughly doubled in the last two weeks and remains the second-highest in Latin America, behind Brazil. 

Mexico is likely to surpass 10,000 coronavirus deaths this weekend. Its total confirmed case count is now 84,627.  

The government will start reopening limited sections of the economy in select parts of the country on Monday.

9:55 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Pangolins may have incubated the novel coronavirus, genetic study shows

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A white-bellied pangolin in Kampala, Uganda, on April 9.
A white-bellied pangolin in Kampala, Uganda, on April 9. Isaac Kasamani/AFP via Getty Images

A deep dive into the genetics of the novel coronavirus shows it seems to have spent some time infecting both bats and pangolins before it jumped into humans, researchers said Friday.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are sold as food in China and have been a prime suspect as a possible source of the pandemic.

Yet the researchers said it’s too soon to blame pangolins for the pandemic and a third animal species may have played host to the virus before it spilled over to people.

What is clear is that the coronavirus has swapped genes repeatedly with similar strains infecting bats, pangolins and a possible third species, a team at Duke University, Los Alamos National Laboratory and elsewhere reported in the journal Science Advances.

What’s also clear is that people need to reduce contact with wild animals that can transmit new infections, they concluded.

The team analyzed 43 complete genomes from three strains of coronaviruses that infect bats and pangolins and that resemble the new Covid-19 virus.

“In our study, we demonstrated that indeed SARS-CoV-2 has a rich evolutionary history that included a reshuffling of genetic material between bat and pangolin coronavirus before it acquired its ability to jump to humans,” said Elena Giorgi, a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who worked on the study.

But their findings may let pangolins off the hook.

“The currently sampled pangolin coronaviruses are too divergent from SARS-CoV-2 to be its recent progenitors,” the researchers wrote.
9:57 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Combinations of drugs may be needed to fight coronavirus, FDA scientists say

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Stephen Hawn, director of the Food and Drug Administration, speaks during the coronavirus daily briefing at the White House in Washington D.C., on April 21.
Stephen Hawn, director of the Food and Drug Administration, speaks during the coronavirus daily briefing at the White House in Washington D.C., on April 21. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Combinations of antivirals, anti-inflammatories and other drugs will likely be needed to treat people with coronavirus, a team of US Food and Drug Administration scientists said Friday.

It might even be necessary to customize treatment patient by patient, the FDA team said in a review of the treatments being tested against Covid-19.

“As the results of clinical trials become available, it may become increasingly clear that there is likely no single magic bullet to resolve the disease but a combination of several interventions that target different key factors of COVID-19 may well be required,” FDA drug researcher Montserrat Puig and colleagues wrote in a report published in Frontiers of Immunology. 

“Until vaccines and targeted drugs for COVID-19 are available, there may be a need to intervene with personalized therapeutic approaches. We are learning day after day, that patients may be affected by SARS-CoV-2 differently and that many factors influence the outcome of the disease.”

They reviewed 30 different drugs, including those designed to stop the virus from getting into cells, such as already-approved blood pressure drugs; drugs aimed at stopping the virus from replicating, such as the immune suppressors sirolimus and the antiparasitic drug ivermectin; drugs that control the immune system response, such as type 1 interferon; and drugs meant to block the overwrought inflammatory response to the virus, which include some rheumatoid arthritis drugs.

Different drugs could help people at different stages of the disease. Early on, it could be enough to stop the virus from getting into cells and replicating itself, Puig said. In patients with more severe disease, it will be more important to intervene in the body’s immune response to infection, which can include an overreaction known as the cytokine storm.

No drug is approved to specifically treat coronavirus infections, although the FDA has given emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir. 

9:11 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Having Covid-19 around the time of surgery tied to higher risk of complications, research suggests

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Being sick with Covid-19 around the time you undergo surgery has been linked with an increased risk of complications and death in a new study.

The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, found that among patients who had surgery for various reasons this year and were also diagnosed with Covid-19 around the same time, about a quarter died and half experienced complications relating to their lungs.

The study, conduced by an international team of researchers, included data on 969 patients who had surgery between January and March 31 at 235 different hospitals across 24 countries, and who also were diagnosed with Covid-19 either before or after their surgery. 

Almost 24% of those patients died within a month after their surgery. More than half experienced complications relating to their lungs.

The researchers noted that men 70 and older who had emergency or major elective surgery were found to be at a particularly high risk of death. It’s not clear why there seems to be an association between Covid-19 and a risk of lung-related complications after surgery, the researchers said.

It might be important to be careful about who has surgery during the pandemic, they added.

"Although the risks associated with Covid-19 need to be carefully balanced against the risks of delaying surgery for every individual patient, our study suggests that the thresholds for surgery should be raised, compared to normal practice," Aneel Bhangu of the University of Birmingham in the UK, who worked on the study, said in statement.

“Medical teams should consider postponing non-critical procedures and promoting other treatment options, which may delay the need for surgery or sometimes avoid it altogether."