Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:07 p.m. ET, April 29, 2020
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11:48 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New York death rate is declining slowly but "still disgustingly high," governor says

At least 330 people died across New York state on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a news conference, calling the rate "terrible news."

That's down just slightly from the 335 people who died on Monday and the 337 who died on Sunday.

"You see the decline has been slow at best, and still disgustingly high," he said.

Watch:

11:56 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

At least 40% of the inmates at a California federal prison have coronavirus

From CNN's Stella Chan

The Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, in San Pedro, California on April 16, 2013.
The Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, in San Pedro, California on April 16, 2013. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

At least 40% of inmates at a federal prison in southern California have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

Federal Corrections Institution Terminal Island in San Pedro, a low-security institution housing male offenders, reported at least 443 coronavirus positive inmates among its 1,055 inmate population. At least 10 employees have also tested positive. Two inmates died in April: Bradley James Ghilarducci, 73, and Michael Fleming, 59. 

All visiting at FCI Terminal Island is suspended indefinitely. Inmate phone and email stations are off-limits until at least May 18 “to prevent transmission of the virus by touching keyboards and phone handset,” according to the BOP website. They encourage loved ones to correspond via the USPS. 

The BOP lists FCI Terminal Island at the top of its list. Second is the Fort Worth Federal Medical Center in Texas, which is reporting 241 cases among its 1,521 prisoners, just under 16%.

11:16 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

Colorado governor on Pence not wearing mask: "Elected officials should be role models"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis criticized Vice President Mike Pence for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic yesterday. 

“As elected officials, I think we have [an] additional responsibility, with the soap box we have, to practice what we preach,” Polis told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “We're trying to be — and I’m trying to be — an ambassador for wearing masks.”

Polis said he wears a mask when going to his press conferences and while walking outside with his family and dog. 

“Elected officials should be role models and should demonstrate the importance of wearing masks, which could absolutely help save lives and help us return to economic normalcy sooner rather than later,” Polis said. 

Polis told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he is worried about the potential for a second spike in coronavirus cases as the state begins loosening restrictions this week. But Polis says “it is time to enter a more sustainable phase.”

Watch more:

11:48 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New York City mayor: "I spoke out of real distress" after Brooklyn rabbi's funeral

Orthodox Jewish community members attend the funeral of a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on April 28.
Orthodox Jewish community members attend the funeral of a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on April 28. Peter Gerber

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has responded to criticism over comments he made on Tuesday night about a large funeral in Brooklyn.

“I spoke last night out of passion, I could not believe my eyes ... it was deeply, deeply distressing. Again, this is a community I love, this is a community I have spent a lot of time working with closely, and if you saw anger and frustration, you're right. I spoke out of real distress — people's lives were in danger before my eyes, and I was not going to tolerate it."

The mayor added, "I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people a feeling of being treated the wrong way, that was not my intention. It was said with love, but it was tough love — it was anger and frustration."

What happened: Twelve criminal court summonses were issued after an estimated 2,500 Orthodox Jewish community members attended the funeral of a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, a senior law enforcement official told CNN.

Seven of the summonses were issued for violation of de Blasio’s executive order concerning social distancing and five were issued for disorderly conduct, specifically the failure to disperse. 

After conferring with community leaders Tuesday afternoon, the NYPD understood that approximately 5,000 people may arrive at the rabbi’s synagogue in an attempt to view his body, the source says.

On Tuesday night, de Blasio tweeted, "My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period."

11:23 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

New York City police chief: Large gatherings "cannot happen"

Dermot Shea speaks during a press conference on November 4, 2019 announcing that he will be the new NYPD Commissioner in New York City.
Dermot Shea speaks during a press conference on November 4, 2019 announcing that he will be the new NYPD Commissioner in New York City. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Large gatherings are "putting members of my department at risk and it cannot happen, and it will not happen," New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. He added that those who flout the law will be met with “stern consequences.”

Some context: A large group of people attended a rabbi's funeral Tuesday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the gathering, saying, "My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed."

That prompted the Anti-Defamation League and a New York City councilman to call him out, saying he targeted the entire Jewish community when only one group of people broke the rules.

Today, Shea said gatherings like the funeral "simply cannot happen."

"All New Yorkers have to come together during this crisis, but they need to do it more than ever and we need community leaders to stand beside us. We cannot have people unnecessarily being exposed to a disease that is having catastrophic effects on our membership and really New Yorkers as a whole," he said.

11:15 a.m. ET, April 29, 2020

500 TSA employees have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Passengers wait in a Transportation Security Administration line at JFK airport on January 09, 2019 in New York City.
Passengers wait in a Transportation Security Administration line at JFK airport on January 09, 2019 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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

A US Navy officer salutes during the national anthem prior to a college football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on September 8, 2018.
A US Navy officer salutes during the national anthem prior to a college football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on September 8, 2018. Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

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

A "for sale" sign is displayed in front of a home in Washington on April 24.
A "for sale" sign is displayed in front of a home in Washington on April 24. Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

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

Server Ayite Medji waits on customers Gene and Julia Schatlock on the first day back of dine-in service at Roasters in Atlanta on April 27.
Server Ayite Medji waits on customers Gene and Julia Schatlock on the first day back of dine-in service at Roasters in Atlanta on April 27. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

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:

  • California: Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined the phased reopening plan for his state yesterday, with retail businesses and schools still "weeks away" from opening back up. Newsom said his state is currently in phase one, where people are asked to stay home. The second stage involves lifting restrictions on some lower risk workplaces, such as retail, manufacturing and offices where telework is not possible.
  • 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.