Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020
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6:14 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Ousted vaccine director to testify on Capitol Hill next week

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond 

Dr. Rick Bright
Dr. Rick Bright HHS


Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, will testify on Capitol Hill next Thursday, his lawyers were informed.

“I’ve received notification from Congresswoman Eshoo that she is going to be scheduling hearings next week, May 14, and Dr. Bright will be testifying,” Bright's attorney told reporters during a conference call Tuesday.  

CNN reported last month that Rep. Anna Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House's Health subcommittee, told CNN she plans to call in Bright to testify before her panel as she reviews the circumstances of his removal from a key position after he raised concerns about the safety of a drug that President Trump touted as a potential treatment to the coronavirus.

Bright had led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority since 2016 when he was reassigned last month to a narrower position at the National Institutes of Health.

He formally filed an extensive whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at a treatment favored by Trump led to his removal.

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4:24 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Airbnb is laying off nearly 1,900 employees

From CNN’s Kaya Yurieff

Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Airbnb is laying off about 25% of its workforce as the coronavirus pandemic upends the travel industry and threatens the company's core business.

The short-term rental startup on Tuesday said nearly 1,900 employees will be let go worldwide, out of 7,500. 

"We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill," Airbnb CEO and cofounder Brian Chesky said in a letter to employees.

He added that Airbnb's business has been "hit hard" and revenue this year is expected to be less than half of what the company earned in 2019. 

Airbnb has also reportedly delayed plans for a Wall Street debut this year.

In the US, Airbnb said it will cover 12 months of health insurance for its employees through COBRA. In all other countries, it will cover health insurance costs through the end of this year.

"I have a deep feeling of love for all of you," Chesky wrote in the letter. "I am truly sorry. Please know this is not your fault. The world will never stop seeking the qualities and talents that you brought to Airbnb."

Airbnb has also grappled with appeasing frustrated customers with refunds, and supporting its hosts, many of whom are struggling to make mortgage payments and pay bills due to coronavirus-related cancellations.

4:08 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

US stocks finish higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks closed higher on Tuesday, as investors grew optimistic about the reopening of the US economy.

Here's where the markets closed today:

  • The Dow closed up 133 points, or 0.6%.
  • The S&P 500 ended 0.9% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite finished up 1.1%.

It marked the second straight day of gains for the three indexes, though they finished well off their session highs Tuesday.

4:22 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Some Orange County beaches to begin phased reopening

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

Lifeguards keep a lookout at Laguna Beach, California after officials reopened access to the sand on Tuesday, May 5. The beach has been closed since March 23. City parks along the beach are still closed and people cannot sit or linger on the sand.
Lifeguards keep a lookout at Laguna Beach, California after officials reopened access to the sand on Tuesday, May 5. The beach has been closed since March 23. City parks along the beach are still closed and people cannot sit or linger on the sand. Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

After a standoff with Gov. Gavin Newsom last week that led to the closure of all Orange County beaches, California is now allowing three cities in the county to begin reopening their coastlines, the California Natural Resources Agency announced in a statement Tuesday.

The cities of Huntington Beach, Dana Point and Seal Beach submitted plans to avoid overcrowding and allow safe public access to their beaches to protect public health, the statement said.

The plans were approved Tuesday by state officials after they were found to be consistent with the stay-at-home order. 

“I cannot impress upon people more that we’re not going back to normal," Newsom said at a news conference Tuesday.

"It’s back to a new normal, with adaptations and modifications until we get to immunity, until we get to a vaccine. We’ll get there," he said.

California's state agencies say they are working with other local governments in Orange County that are developing similar plans to safely restore access to beaches under their jurisdictions.

Newport Beach submitted a plan with California to safely reopen its beaches but has not yet received any information on an approval or modifications, the city said today.

Some background: This comes after Newsom ordered a hard closure for all Orange County beaches last week, after significant crowds packed the waterfront, and protesters rallied against coronavirus restrictions.

4:19 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

California governor says counties reopening are "making a big mistake"

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg


California counties reopening ahead of the state’s plans are “making a big mistake,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

Three of the state’s more rural counties, Modoc, Yuba, and Sutter, have already begun reopening stores and restaurants in defiance of the stay-at-home orders.

“The overwhelming majority of Californians are playing by the rules doing the right thing, they put us in a position where we're making these announcements this week,” Newsom said.

Newsom warned that they are putting businesses at risk by reopening early. He encouraged them to "do the right thing.”

The governor stressed that he is committed to working with counties and urged leaders to seek the guidance of their health directors to accommodate local needs and regional variances.

4:12 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Pence: "We're having conversations" about winding down the coronavirus task force next month

 From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 


Vice President Mike Pence said the White House is considering disbanding the coronavirus task force as early as Memorial Day.

"We're having conversations about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work and for the ongoing efforts to take place on an agency-by-agency level," Pence said today.

He noted that the White House has begun to discuss a "transition plan with FEMA."

Pence said the discussions are a "reflection of the tremendous progress we've made as a country."

Pence said Dr. Deborah Birx would remain in her role "every bit as long as we need to."

About the possible wind down: On the timeline, Pence said the White House is "starting to look at the Memorial Day window, early June window as a time when we could begin to transition" away from the task force.

Pence's comments came during a pen and pad briefing today with reporters to which CNN was not invited. The Vice President's office provided CNN with a partial transcript after the fact.

4:08 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

More than 400 asymptomatic workers at Triumph Foods test positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Brad Parks

Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri
Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri KQTV

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) updated the number of employees and contract workers testing positive for Covid-19 at Triumph Foods in Buchanan County to 412. This is an increase of 39 more positive cases than were reported over the weekend.

All 412 individuals presented with no related Covid-19 symptoms.

This is out of 2,367 workers who were tested on site April 27- May 1 at Triumph Foods as part of Missouri’s “box in” testing strategy when an outbreak is present among people living or working closely together, according to the DHSS statement. 

Based on an assessment by DHSS and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Triumph Foods has informed its staff that return to work guidelines have been changed from seven days to 10 days.

3:39 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Minnesota will allow some elective surgeries to resume next week

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order today providing a roadmap for the state to safely resume elective surgeries starting on Monday.

Beginning next week, doctors, dentists and veterinarians who create a plan to keep patients and health care professionals safe may begin offering procedures to treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease and relieve chronic pain, a statement from the governor’s office read. 

The executive order allows hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics — including veterinary, medical, or dental — to resume many currently delayed procedures.

4:03 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Man arrested after wiping his face on Dollar Tree employee's shirt, police say

From CNN's Alec Snyder and Rebekah Riess

Rex Howard Gomoll
Rex Howard Gomoll Oakland County Sheriff's office

Police in Holly, Michigan, have arrested a 68-year-old man on assault charges after he entered a Dollar Tree on Saturday and wiped his face on an employee's shirt.

Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh said the man entered the store at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday without a mask, despite an executive order in the state requiring patrons in enclosed public spaces to wear one at all times.

Rex Howard Gomoll faces misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, Jessica Cooper, the Oakland County prosecutor, told CNN.

Security camera footage inside the store released by police shows a man wiping his face on an employee's shirt. According to police, the employee had told the man he needed to wear a face mask to remain in the store.

He responded by saying, "Here, I'll just use this as a mask," before wiping his nose and face on the shirt, leaving behind "bodily fluids," Narsh said.

The employee was the only person the man came in contact with while at the Dollar Tree, Narsh said, who also said the man made other comments and was loud and disruptive until leaving.

Saturday's incident was the second in as many days involving a store patron not wearing a required face mask in Michigan. On Friday, police in Flint say, a security guard was shot and killed at a Family Dollar in an incident that began when he approached the customer and instructed her to wear a face covering.

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