Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0011 GMT (0811 HKT) May 2, 2020
25 Posts
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11:32 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Southwest will now require passengers to wear masks

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A ticketing agent waits for passengers to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter at Denver International Airport on April 23, in Denver.
A ticketing agent waits for passengers to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter at Denver International Airport on April 23, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP

Southwest Airlines will begin requiring customers to wear wear masks aboard its planes starting May 11. 

“It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and mask, and to wear your mask while traveling. Face coverings or masks will be required for Customers starting May 11. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you," the company said  in an update to travelers.

This means each of the largest US airlines are or will soon require customers to wear masks. 

11:17 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

We're not sure when the small business loan money will run out

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Five days into the relaunch of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, it’s unclear exactly when the money will run out.

The SBA has not officially sent out numbers on how many loans have been processed and in what amount since Wednesday. Industry sources say they have no idea exactly how much money is left either and have been asking. Unlike last round, the burn rate has ebbed and flowed because of controls SBA has put in place. It’s making it hard to just estimate when money will be gone based on typical day to day numbers. 

Remember: On Monday, larger institutions with more than 5,000 applications ready to process could submit them directly to SBA. Many of those larger batches have been processed, according to one industry source. We don’t know when those numbers will be added to the total, but when they are, the amount of money that has gone out the door could increase rapidly.  

The uncertainty is creating some issues for lenders who are unsure if they should keep lending or filling their rolls given they don’t know if SBA is going to run out of money soon.

11:09 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

"Everything has to go well" to have coronavirus vaccine by January, expert says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The Infectious Diseases Society of America said the January timeline for developing and deploying a vaccine is a lofty goal — but one we should try to attain.  

“I think that may indeed be very accurate; that would be a goal that we all try and attain,” adding, “I think that a number of processes are in place to go forward in an expeditious, but safe way," Dr. Kathryn Edwards, a fellow with the IDSA, said.

The FDA needs to continue “working with manufacturers for diagnostics and all kinds of things to make sure that the obstacles and regulatory obstacles are not are not prohibitive,” Edwards added.  

Dr. Walter Orenstein, another fellow with IDSA said, “Everything has to go well, if we're going to get something in January. That may not be the case, then we need to bear for it being longer if we don't get the data we need on safety.” 

Orenstein laid out one of the biggest hurdles: ”Can we incentivize companies to make product, even though it is unlicensed yet and going through trials?” 

“This is a risky effort,” he said, “because if you go through a phase three trial in the vaccine is either unsafe or ineffective or both, and you would have to destroy that what you produced.”  

11:07 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

How some states are reopening and easing restrictions today

Leslie Wilson helps her son and owner of Falcone's Pizzeria, JP Wilson, tape off booths at his restaurant to provide social distancing, on April 30, in Oklahoma City, as they prepare to open the dining room to customers.
Leslie Wilson helps her son and owner of Falcone's Pizzeria, JP Wilson, tape off booths at his restaurant to provide social distancing, on April 30, in Oklahoma City, as they prepare to open the dining room to customers. Sue Ogrocki/AP

States across the country are moving toward reopening today as federal social distancing guidelines expired.

Here's a look at how some states are easing some restrictions today:

  • Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey authorized hospitals and outpatient surgical centers to resume elective surgeries beginning today.
  • Arkansas: Residents can start camping in state parks today as long as they are in "self-contained RVs,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced earlier this week. 
  • Colorado: Retail businesses can phase-in public openings if they are implementing best practices and personal services can reopen. Salon services can also restart as long as the professionals follow rules like wearing face coverings and gloves, refusing walk-in clients and limiting the number of people present to ten.
  • Georgia: Some malls in metro Atlanta and across the northern part of the state plan to reopen today.
  • Idaho: The state’s stay at home order expired today. Gov. Brad Little has called for a plan that eases economic restrictions in four stages, with two weeks in between each stage. In the first phase, bars, gyms and theaters would remain closed and restaurants would continue to carry out service, but some other businesses and places of worship could open with social distancing plans. 
  • Illinois: Retail stores that are not considered essential may take phone and online orders for delivery or outside store pick-up. Some state parks will have a phased reopening, groups of no more than two people will be allowed to go fishing or boating and golf will be permitted under strict conditions.
  • Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in a news conference earlier this week that 77 of Iowa's 99 counties can reopen restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and enclosed malls at 50% capacity. 
  • Nevada: The state will start easing some restrictions for small businesses today, including allowing all retail businesses to operate under curbside commerce models and permitting drive-in services for places of worship.
  • North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum is allowing many businesses closed under a previous order to reopen, but they must follow state guidelines.
  • Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will reopen health care today, saying all procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward.
  • Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt said starting today, restaurants, dining rooms, movie theaters, sporting venues and gyms can open if they maintain "strict social distancing and sanitation protocols."
  • Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown announced that she will be lifting her order delaying non-urgent procedures for health care providers, as long as they can demonstrate they have met new requirements for Covid-19 safety and preparedness.
  • Pennsylvania: Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide starting today, but are required to follow updated life-sustaining business guidance.
  • Tennessee: Hospitals can resume elective procedures today, and gyms can reopen in 89 of 95 counties but with a reduced capacity of 50%
  • Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive order, “Strategic Plan to Open Texas," which supersedes local orders, allows businesses like retail stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen today, but the occupancy is limited to 25%. 
  • Utah: Utah had no official stay at home order, and gyms and restaurant dining will be allowed today.   
  • Virginia: Surgery and dental procedures can resume today, according to the state's governor.  
  • Wisconsin: The state will reopen 34 state parks and forests today under special conditions to help minimize overcrowding and allow for social distancing requirements.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming will allow gyms and personal services business like hair and nail salons to reopen today under tight restrictions. 

Remember: As these measures loosen, the CDC has put together a series of instructions for states to safely relax prevention measures. Read more here. 

To see your state's reopening plans, go here.

10:33 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York City mayor: "We can't get numb" to coronavirus cases and deaths

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press briefing on May 1.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press briefing on May 1. NYC Media

At least 202 people in New York City died from coronavirus and another 2,637 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press briefing this morning.

"These numbers, when we look at them compared to where we were a few weeks ago, maybe we feel a little better, but we can't forget that each and every one of these cases, each and every one of these numbers is a human being," he said.

"We can't for a moment forget what we would have thought about this — if I said these numbers to you three, four months ago, it would have been staggering, that that's what happened in a single day in New York City, it would have been staggering. We can't get numb here," he added. 

The death toll and positive cases show us that there's still "a fight ahead," the mayor said.


10:16 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Infectious disease expert: "Expect many more New Yorks to occur" in the coming months

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A new report from a group of infectious disease experts says that coronavirus could keep spreading in the US for up to two years, until 60-70% of the population is infected.

Once that threshold is reached, it’ll bring about herd immunity, the group’s director, Dr. Michael Osterholm, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

“This is going to continue to be a rolling situation throughout the world, not just our country, for the months ahead,” he said. “Expect many more New Yorks to occur. It’s very likely they will.” 

New York has been one of the major epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. More than 304,000, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Osterholm said that leaders need to better communicate that Covid-19 could make a substantial rebound in the fall. 

“This is the only disease in the last 100 years that has gone from not being in the top 75 causes of death to becoming the number one cause of death in this country every day,” Osterholm said. 

He said that having a vaccine by early next year is aspirational, but not realistic. 

“I like to count on having a vaccine, but we have to plan as if we might not have one because that surely is an option on the table for now,” he said. 

Watch more:

10:06 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Infectious Diseases Society: Testing vaccine safety is "a major priority"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

 As researchers rush to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, the Infectious Diseases Society of America warned safety is paramount.

“If we didn't care about safety, we’d be using these vaccines today,” Dr. Walter Orenstein, a fellow with IDSA, said. “The real issue is getting proof of safety and effectiveness. And we don't know what's going to work and what's not going to work.” 

Dr. Kathryn Edwards, another fellow with IDSA said, “making sure that we test vaccines for safety has always been a major priority, and will continue to be a priority.” 

With many vaccine candidates currently in development, Edwards said, “Each of these studies will have what we call a data safety and monitoring board which are experts in vaccine safety to assess each of these reactions.” 

She added, “the safety part must be done meticulously and will be done meticulously.”

10:01 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Last 8 patients at NYC Javits Center hospital will be transferred today

From CNN’s Sarah Boxer

The Javits Center is shown on April 29, in New York City.
The Javits Center is shown on April 29, in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The Javits Convention Center field hospital in New York City has treated 1,093 patients and is still treating eight more as of this morning, according to Northwell Health spokesperson Terry Lynam.

The eight remaining patients “will be discharged home or transferred to another facility by around 4 p.m.,” Lynman said.

Earlier this week, the Defense department said the US military field hospital at the Javits Center would end its mission "on or about May 1."

The Army Corps of Engineers converted the Javits Center to treat coronavirus patients but the field hospital had been operating significantly below capacity as the absence of hospital bed space had not been as much of a challenge as was originally anticipated. 

9:45 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Stocks kick off May with losses

From CNN’s David Goldman

Two men wearing masks walks pass the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 30, in New York City.
Two men wearing masks walks pass the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 30, in New York City. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks opened lower today after President Trump hinted that there could be new tariffs imposed on China as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Trump said late Thursday that the trade deal with China is now "secondary to what took place with the virus" and made the unfounded claim that the novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

Here's where things opened today:

  • The Dow opened 1.6%, or 400 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 fell 1.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened down 1.9%.

Remember: Stocks fell yesterday but still posted sizable gains in April. It was the best month for the Dow and S&P 500 since January 1987. Investors were also weighing uncertain outlooks from tech giants Apple and Amazon and weak results from oil titans Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

You can follow live updates on the markets here.