500 TSA employees have tested positive for coronavirus
From CNN's Greg Wallace
At least 500 Transportation Security Administration officers and employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency said Wednesday.
The majority of those cases – 435 – are among the officers who screen passengers and handle baggage. The rest are among non-screening employees who do not typically interact with passengers.
Nearly 40 percent of the cases – 193 – are at a trio of airports in the New York City-area, which became a hot spot of the pandemic.
The grim milestone comes as the agency begins to see a small but noticeable uptick in travelers at airports nationwide since plummeting to historic lows in early April.
The agency is screening only about 5% of the passengers it handled on the same day last year, but that ratio has been increasingly slightly almost daily for the last two weeks.
11:07 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
More than 4,300 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus
From CNN's Ryan Browne
As of Wednesday morning, at least 4,359 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus, including 98 hospitalized.
There are 6,754 positive cases across the entire Department of Defense.
10:29 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Pending home sales sink more than 20% in March
From CNN’s Jordan Valinsky
Pending home sales dropped 20.8% in March, as sales in the United States contracted because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.
Contract signings declined 16.3% compared to March 2019.
As consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a release.
Yun said an improvement later in the year "will be insufficient to make up for the loss of sales in the second quarter." The firm predicts a 14% decline in home sales for the year.
10:08 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
4 states to watch today in the coronavirus pandemic
Coronavirus cases have been reported in every US state, and the pandemic has affected the country coast to coast.
Here are four states we're especially watching today:
Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to announce today his plan to reopen Florida the state. He made the announcement at the White House yesterday as he visited Trump.
Georgia: The state began reopening last week,and now an independent researcher projects the number of daily Covid-19 deaths in Georgia will nearly double by early August. That model assumes social distancing will relax slightly as the state continues to reopen. The number of Covid-19 deaths per day in Georgia will jump from 32 fatalities on May 1 to a projected 63 people dying each day by August 4, the model forecasts.
Louisiana: New Orleans' mayor suggested yesterday that canceling the 2021 Mardi Gras festivities is "something we have to think about." The annual festivities have been canceled just 13 times before, most often during war-time or political unrest.
10:51 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Nearly 25% of this Navy ship's crew tested positive for coronavirus
From CNN's Ryan Browne
The number of coronavirus cases among the crew of the USS Kidd has reached 78, nearly 25% of the ship's crew, according to two Navy officials.
The ship is now in port in San Diego and sailors are in the process of being isolated and quarantined on base.
Some context: The destroyer is the second Navy warship to experience a coronavirus outbreak at sea following the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
9:40 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
US stocks climb on coronavirus treatment optimism
From CNN’s Matt Egan
US stocks opened sharply higher Wednesday on enthusiasm over positive news about an experimental coronavirus treatment.
Here's what's happening:
The Dow jumped 400 points, or 1.7%
The S&P 500 advanced 1.9%
The Nasdaq gained 2.1%
Some context: Stock futures popped after Gilead Sciences announced encouraging results for remdesivir, a drug being studied for potential coronavirus treatment. Gilead said the experimental drug met its primary endpoint in a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease study.
Gilead shares soared 7%.
Wall Street largely shrugged off more bleak economic news. The government said US GDP contracted by a 4.8% annualized rate during the first quarter. It was the US economy’s worst quarter since late 2008.
9:52 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Owner of pug who tested positive for coronavirus says her family likely got him sick
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
A pug named Winston may be the first dog in the United States to test positive for coronavirus, researchers say.
Dr. Heather McLean and her family found out that Winston tested positive after they participated in a Duke University study aimed at finding potential treatments and vaccines.
Three people in the McClean family contracted Covid-19 last month, and Winston was tested as part of that study.
“We’re just one story, one family and one dog. I definitely think that we gave him the virus. We didn't realize our symptoms were due to coronavirus. And so we couldn't socially distance from ourselves and from our animals,” McLean said in an interview with Winston on CNN’s “New Day.”
McLean said Winston’s only symptom was a mild cough, but pugs are known to have respiratory problems. Winston wasn't sick enough where she felt like she needed to call the veterinarian to seek advice, she said.
“We've been practicing social distancing, just like everybody else in the world. When we go on walks, we're around each other and try not to get too close to people or other pets,” she said.
The North Carolina family’s other dog, cat and lizard did not test positive for Covid-19.
9:28 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
It's Wednesday morning in the US. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.
It's Wednesday morning in the US, where coronavirus cases now surpass 1 million.
A possible treatment: Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences says there's "positive data" in study of a potential Covid-19 treatment, Remdesivir.
And a possible second wave: A second round of the coronavirus is "inevitable," Dr. Anthony Fauci said, but just how bad it is will depend on the progress the US makes in the coming months.
The meat supply: Trump yesterdaysigned an executive order to compel meat processing plants to remain open during the pandemic. It came as some companies, such as Tyson Foods, considered only keeping 20% of their facilities open.
About the economy: The US economy contracted between January and March, with GDP falling at a 4.8% annualized rate, as the coronavirus crisis put the world in a choke hold. This was the first contraction of the US economy since the first quarter of 2014, and the worst drop since the fourth quarter of 2008.
10:22 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020
Navy launching broader inquiry into coronavirus on aircraft carrier
From CNN's Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Jeremy Herb
The Navy will announce today that it is launching a broader inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, effectively delaying Navy recommendation of reinstating Captain Brett Crozier, according to two US defense officials and a official briefed on the matter.
The expected announcement comes after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper previously declined to immediately endorse the Navy's original investigation into the issue.
As of Tuesday, the ship had 940 active coronavirus cases, compared with 955 on Monday, reflecting an increase in the number of sailors who have recovered.
The handling of the outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier which led to the firing of the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier and the resignation of the acting Navy Secretary, has been the subject of an initial Navy investigation.
US officials told CNN that senior Navy officials had recommended Friday that Crozier be reinstated but Esper was not prepared to immediately endorse that recommendation.
Two defense officials told CNN that the Navy had expected Esper to endorse the recommendation last Friday.
A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that Esper "intends to thoroughly review the report and will meet again with Navy leadership to discuss next steps."
Crozier was fired earlier this month for what the then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said was poor judgment by too widely disseminating a warning among Navy officials about the spread of the virus aboard his vessel, a warning that eventually made its way into the press.
Modly resigned days later over his handling of the incident, actions which included a $240,000 trip to Guam where he slammed Crozier and admonished sailors for giving Crozier a rousing send off in public remarks to the crew.