Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0011 GMT (0811 HKT) May 2, 2020
33 Posts
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12:29 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Washington, DC, sees large uptick in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Melissa Tapia

 

A healthcare worker takes a test swab of an individual at a drive-thru testing facility at George Washington University in Washington, on April 23.
A healthcare worker takes a test swab of an individual at a drive-thru testing facility at George Washington University in Washington, on April 23. Graeme Sloan/SIPA/AP

Washington, DC, has continued to see an overall rise in coronavirus cases over the last seven weeks. 

As of Thursday, DC tested 21,135 people, with 4,658 total positives. There have been a total of 231 deaths. The number of positive cases took a drastic jump to 335 cases Friday — the biggest rise in a single day.

Friday’s rise in cases coincides with the first day DC has received more than 1,000 test results in a single day.

When broken down by race, 48% of positive Covid-19 cases are African American.

DC’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 15.

12:14 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

World Health Organization: The "pandemic is not finished"

The World Health Organization said it still considers the coronavirus pandemic a public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest level of alarm for the world.

"Covid-19 pandemic is not finished," committee member Dr. Didier Houssin said during a media briefing on Friday. 

Houssin added that there is still much to learn about the transmission of the coronavirus.Currently, there is no vaccine nor licensed therapeutics for the treatment of Covid-19.

Assessing the response: On Thursday, WHO reconvened the committee of independent international experts to assess the state of the coronavirus pandemic and review WHO's recommendations on how to respond.

Officials said the committee would meet again in 90 days, or sooner, if needed.

12:17 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Trump administration again postpones hearings for migrants waiting in Mexico

From CNN's Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez

 

Migrants in the Migrant Protection Protocols program wait to enter the Paso del Norte International Bridge on April 6, in Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
Migrants in the Migrant Protection Protocols program wait to enter the Paso del Norte International Bridge on April 6, in Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is again postponing hearings for migrants in Mexico awaiting their US court dates, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice announced Thursday.

All migrants will be required to present at a port of entry to receive new notices with rescheduled hearing dates. Hearings for the Migrant Protection Protocols program scheduled through and including June 1 will be rescheduled. 

Some context: The Trump administration first postponed all hearings in March related to the administration's controversial policy of returning migrants to Mexico until their court date in the US as a result of the coronavirus.

The so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy requires migrants — many of whom are from Central America — to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration hearings. It has resulted in the creation of make-shift camps where hundreds of migrants have waited for weeks.

12:08 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York governor: Mental health services will be free for essential workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press briefing in Albany, New York, on May 1.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press briefing in Albany, New York, on May 1. State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will direct insurers to waive copays and deductibles on mental health services for essential workers.

"The mental health services will be free for front-line workers," he said. "There is no cost to get mental health services."

The state is partnering with Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide emotional support services for “frontline healthcare heroes,” he said.

Watch:

12:22 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, governor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A public school stands closed on April 14, in Brooklyn, New York City.
A public school stands closed on April 14, in Brooklyn, New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The schools – kindergarten through high school as well as college facilities — will continue to provide distance learning.

Summer school programming plans will be announced by the end of the month, Cuomo said.

"In the meantime, meal programs will continue, the child care services for essential workers will continue," Cuomo said.

"And then we want schools to start now developing a plan to reopen, and the plan has to have protocols in place that incorporate everything that we are now doing in society and everything that we learned."

Cuomo said those plans for schools and colleges will be approved by the state.

The New York City school system is the largest in the country. According to Cuomo, there are 4.2 million students in the entire state — including those at 4,800 public schools, 1,800 private schools, 89 SUNY and CUNY college campuses and additional private colleges.

Watch:

12:02 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020

New York governor: Death rate is "lower than it has been but still tragic and terrible"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 289 people across New York died from coronavirus yesterday, That's down from the 306 deaths reported on Wednesday.

"Lower than it has been but still tragic and terrible, and all the good numbers, all the good news, for me, every day, this number just wipes that all away," Cuomo said of the death toll.

Cuomo said the hospitalization rate is plateauing, with about 1,000 new hospitalizations each day for the past three or four days.

"1000 new cases every day is still a very high infection rate," he said.

Watch:

11:50 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

Gov. Cuomo says New Yorkers "changed reality" during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo commended New Yorkers, who he said “literally changed the path of the virus spread” by maintaining social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“That was only 30 days ago that we saw the number of cases, the number of people coming into hospitals, the infection rate, everything was going straight up. That number would have just continued to go straight up,” Cuomo said.

The governor said New Yorkers helped save the lives of fellow residents. 

“All this inconvenience, all this turmoil for what? To keep 100,000 people out of hospitals, that's for what,” he said.

Cuomo cautioned that the state still needs to be cautious so the trend does not go back up. 

“Our past actions changed the trajectory. Our present actions will determine the future trajectory,” he said. 

Watch:

11:37 a.m. ET, May 1, 2020

These "virus hunters" are searching bat caves to prevent the next pandemic

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

"Virus hunter" researchers are going into bat caves to prevent the next pandemic.

EcoHealth Alliance’s Dr. Peter Daszak, a virus hunter, explained how the hunting works:

“We knew SARS originated in rural southwest China in bats. So we went out to find out what other viruses could likely emerge. We then get the genetic sequences of those viruses and pass them over to the people designing vaccines and drugs."

“They test these drugs against a wide range of viruses and show that they can not only treat SARS and Covid-19, but also potentially future pandemics that might emerge," he added.

Some facts coming out of the research work are in direct conflict with President Trump’s claims that Covid-19 originated in a government lab in China. The research by experts also debunks the claims that the virus was deliberately leaked.

“They showed pretty much no doubt at all that this is not a bio-generated virus. There is no evidence of human tampering,” he said. “When you look what’s happening in the nature with 1 to 7 million people a year exposed, that's clearly where this virus came from.”

Studying these viruses for more than 15 years, Daszak said that since the SARS outbreak, “we've found out that bats carry hundreds of these coronaviruses, many of which we’ve shown are able to infect people.”

He warned that pandemics are increasing in frequency. With their work, he hopes future pandemics can be prevented.

“Let's find all of these viruses, find out the genetic sequences, design vaccines that work against all of them so we're protected against all future pandemics. That's the vision.”

Watch:

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.