States reopen in US as coronavirus pandemic persists

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020
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1:18 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

All passengers required to wear face masks at the Denver International Airport

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Two travelers move down an empty passageway at Denver International Airport on May 3, in Denver.
Two travelers move down an empty passageway at Denver International Airport on May 3, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP

All visitors or travelers passing through the Denver International Airport are now required to wear a face covering, according to a new policy enacted on Monday by airport officials.

Currently all employees at the airport are also required to wear face coverings in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19, according to Denver International guidelines.

Other coronavirus precautions: The airport is also implementing social distancing procedures. According to the guidelines, TSA lines have been adjusted to provide more space between passengers as they approach the security checkpoint.

"In order to provide additional space between the passengers in front of you and behind you, we ask everyone to practice social distancing and spread out rather than crowd other passengers nearby," the guidelines say.

The airport also said there are now lines on the floor near customer service booths and lost and found items to show people where to stand.

"We are also implementing procedures for touchless payment, wherever possible," the guidelines say.

1:16 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Kroger will provide free Covid-19 testing for frontline associates

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher, Pamela Kirkland and Dan Shepherd

 

Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain, announced on Sunday it would begin providing free COVID-19 testing for frontline associates. Testing will be available based on symptoms and medical need. 

“The widespread availability of diagnostic testing will now allow our associates to feel more empowered and knowledgeable about their health, creating safer stores and facilities,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health.

The tests will be a combination of self-administered kits and the company’s public drive-through testing sites.

A UFCW union in Los Angeles hailed the decision as a win following weeks of protests at two Kroger subsidiaries, Ralphs and Food 4 Less, in the area.

“That UFCW members successfully compelled Kroger to provide testing is a significant victory for the public’s health,” said John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770. “Grocery corporations like Kroger have been doubling and tripling their profits while other businesses are shuttering, yet they have been slow to implement safety measures and share profits with essential workers on the frontline.” 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, grocery workers have called for emergency measures inside the stores and wide access to testing to slow the spread of the virus and keep workers and community members safe. 

 

1:12 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More than 20,000 people in Louisiana have recovered from Covid-19

From CNN’s Kay Jones

The Louisiana Department of Health released the latest updates on Covid-19 cases in the state today as it nears 30,000 total cases.

There are 333 new cases and 22 new deaths reported, bringing the state's total to 29,673 cases and 1,991 deaths. Of the 22 new reported deaths, 12 are in Orleans and Jefferson parishes while an additional 73 deaths under investigation for Covid-19.  

More than 20,000 people have recovered from Covid-19, according to the report. The number of patients hospitalized and on ventilators also continued to drop.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to address the latest numbers in a news conference this afternoon. 

 

1:08 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Fauci tells business leaders to "overshoot" on safety precautions

From CNN's Cristina Alesci

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards D-LA in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on April 29.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards D-LA in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on April 29. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci told a group of business leaders Friday he’s very concerned about a possible resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the fall, according to two people with knowledge of a call with the CEO lobbying group, Business Roundtable.  

The group hosted the call with the nation’s top infectious disease doctor for about 100 of its members. The business leaders peppered Fauci with questions about when they should reopen their businesses and allow employees back to the workplace.

Facui told the executives to “overshoot on everything” when it comes to safety precautions, specifically on using masks and enforcing social distancing, according to those familiar with the call.

Those measures, including hand washing, should be a higher priorities for CEOs than diagnostic and antibody testing of their workforces, said one of the people.

Fauci de-emphasized antibody testing as a prerequisite for reopening because antibody tests are still unreliable, he told the CEOs, according to one of the people on the call.

Fauci also expressed similar reservations about temperature screenings, reminding the business leaders that temperature checks only work for finding people with symptoms. As a result, temperature checks are not the most reliable screening method since carriers may be asymptomatic. 

1:02 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

All 2020 NFL games will be played in the US due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

The NFL announced Monday that all games in the 2020 season will be played in the United States, thus cancelling the league's annual International Series games, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NFL planned to play four games in London - two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium - and one game in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium during the 2020 season. 

"After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK," NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Christopher Halpin said in a statement. 

"We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL. We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK," the statement said.

NFL plans to release its full 17-week schedule for next season later this week. 

1:05 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

St. Louis is "extremely short" on testing, mayor says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

The state of Missouri began reopening today — But St. Louis won't.

The city has chosen to keep the stay-at-home orders in place for “another week or two weeks” because the city lacks testing capacity, Mayor Lyda Krewson said Monday.

“We are extremely short,” she said. “Part of the reason that we may be seeing a bit of an uptick in the number of cases is that we have begun being able to do a little bit more testing in the last week or so. So these cases may have always been present in our community and we just weren't able to test them to find them.”

The city of St. Louis and its region has two-thirds of the cases in Missouri. Over the weekend, St. Louis reported 154 cases, the mayor said.

“The stay-at-home orders have been painful for people staying at home, but they're also painful for people going to work every day — policemen, firemen, water department, refuse workers, hospital workers, grocery store clerks,” she said.

The reopening of the state has added some pressure on the city but she emphasized on reopening only as the coronavirus cases decrease.

“What we have here is a situation where one size does not fit all,” she said. “We're going to continue to look at the data and have that inform us.”

WATCH:

1:00 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More than 1,800 new coronavirus cases reported in Massachusetts today

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Adrian Santiago takes swabs a patient at the drive-through testing site at Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare in Chelsea, MA on April 29.
Adrian Santiago takes swabs a patient at the drive-through testing site at Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare in Chelsea, MA on April 29. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker reported 1,824 new coronavirus cases today, about 12% of the 16,000 tests processed in the state yesterday.

Positive test rates have come in under 20% every day for the last seven days, he said.

Hospitalizations have also been decreasing in the past several days with few spikes. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care dropped to 904, he said. However, Baker said that different parts of the state are in various stages of the pandemic.

"For example, Covid hospitalizations and ICU bed days related to Covid have gone down in Western Mass and on the Cape but have remain high in Worcester and on the south coast, and flat in Boston," he said.

While thousands of people are still being hospitalized for Covid-19, Baker said, "the numbers have started to trend in the right direction."

12:38 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

New Jersey reports more than 1,600 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Sheena Jones

There were 1,621 new Covid-19 cases reported across New Jersey, bringing the total cases in the state to 128,269, Gov. Phil Murphy said today.

An additional 45 people have died from Covid-19 for a total of 7,910 deaths, the governor said. 

The state will continue to review the numbers of Covid-19 cases to see if opening the parks was a good idea, he said.

Murphy said he went to a park this weekend and encouraged more people to wear face coverings because he didn’t see enough people wearing masks.

12:48 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

The Senate is returning to DC today. Here's what to expect.

From CNN's Ted Barrett

Capitol workers wearing face masks walk past a sign advising people to observe social distancing in the Russell Senate Office Building on Monday, May 4.
Capitol workers wearing face masks walk past a sign advising people to observe social distancing in the Russell Senate Office Building on Monday, May 4. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Senators are returning to the Capitol today –– many anxious about their safety as the coronavirus spreads –– to tackle a variety of business.

Special rules governing social distancing in the Capitol will be enforced, including limiting the number of senators on the floor at a time during votes and ensuring doorways aren't crowded. Committees will be assigned the largest rooms available to conduct hearings, and face masks will now be expected to be worn by all.

Here's what to expect as senators return to work:

  • Coronavirus legislation: House and Senate negotiators must find common ground if they are going to pass anther coronavirus response bill. Congress has already approved about $3 trillion in relief since the onset of the pandemic but most lawmakers believe more help is needed. Democrats, who control the House and can filibuster bills in the Senate, are eyeing up to another $1 trillion to assist state and local governments, but Republican leaders in the Senate are unlikely to go along with such a big figure.
  • Director of National Intelligence confirmation: The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to the Director of National Intelligence –– a critical post overseeing the many agencies that make up the Intelligence Community. Ratcliffe was initially nominated to the post last year but withdrew after a storm of bipartisan criticism about his experience.
  • Controversial judge confirmation: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Wednesday for Judge Justin Walker for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Walker, a protégé of McConnell's, has drawn the ire of Democrats who accuse the majority leader of packing the federal judiciary with young conservative judges who will serve for decades.
  • Other key hearings: The health subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. on the Covid-19 response with former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Friedman and others testifying. This is the hearing where the White House prevented Fauci from appearing.

Keep reading.