Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Angela Dewan, CNN

Updated 9:05 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020
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11:46 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

At least 232 people died from coronavirus in New York yesterday, governor says

At least 232 people died across New York from coronavirus yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference.

At least 207 of them died in hospitals and 25 died in nursing homes, Cuomo said.

That's up slightly from the 230 people who died on Monday and the 226 who died on Sunday.

"When people talk about how good things are going, and the decline and the progress, that's all true. It's also true that 232 people were lost yesterday,": Cuomo said.

He cautioned that the death totals may be "worse" when the final numbers are tallied. At home deaths may not be documented and the virus may have caused some deaths earlier than reported, Cuomo said.

Watch:

11:50 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

White House coronavirus task force members are in the dark on the panel's future, source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing on the administration's coronavirus response in the press briefing room of the White House on March 2, in Washington, DC. Standing with Pence, from left to right, Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Debbie Birx, White House Corona Virus Response Coordinator, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing on the administration's coronavirus response in the press briefing room of the White House on March 2, in Washington, DC. Standing with Pence, from left to right, Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Debbie Birx, White House Corona Virus Response Coordinator, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After all the back and forth on the White House coronavirus task force’s future, its members are unsure what's happening with the panel, according to a source close to the task force.

They have not been told what will happen next, this person said. 

Later today there is a closed-door task force meeting on the schedule, according to the Vice President's schedule. 

Some context: This all comes after President Trump appeared to reverse course this morning on the decision to wind down the task force.

He tweeted Wednesday that the task force will “continue on indefinitely” and shift its focus to “SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”

11:42 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Democratic congresswoman proposes forgiving student loans for frontline health care workers

New York Representative Carolyn Maloney speaks at a joint Economic Committee hearing in Washington, DC on November 19, 2009.
New York Representative Carolyn Maloney speaks at a joint Economic Committee hearing in Washington, DC on November 19, 2009. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Under a new bill introduced in Congress, health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic would have some of their student loan debt forgiven.

The "Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act," was introduced by New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney on Tuesday.

It would create a program that forgives federal and private loans obtained "to receive medical and professional training held by health care workers who have made significant contributions to Covid-19 patient care, medical research, testing and enhancing the capacity of the health care system to respond to this urgent crisis," according to a release from her office. 

Maloney said there is an "obligation to ensure that they are relieved of the debt they incurred to train for this critical work."

Some context: The legislation comes as the surge in coronavirus cases continues to strain the medical industry, putting pressure on health care workers who are in need of not only supplies, but additional staff on all fronts to combat the virus.

In March, Congress suspended payments and waived interest on federal student loans for six months

11:23 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

These are the "10 plain truths" about coronavirus, according to a former CDC director

From CNN's Amanda Watts.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a hearing on the country’s response to Covid-19 on May 6.
Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a hearing on the country’s response to Covid-19 on May 6. C-SPAN/Pool

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, laid out “10 plain truths” about Covid-19 today as he spoke at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the pandemic response. 

“In my 30 years in global public health, I've never seen anything like this. It's scary. It's unprecedented,” Frieden, who now serves as president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, said.

Here are the 10 truths:

  1. “It's really bad” in New York City, Frieden said. “Even now with deaths decreasing substantially, there are twice as many deaths from Covid in New York City as there are on a usual day from all other causes combined.”
  2. As bad as this has been, it's “just the beginning.”
  3. Data is a “very powerful weapon against this virus,” and using it to monitor trends can help stop clusters before turning into outbreaks, and help stop outbreaks from turning into epidemics.
  4. After flattening the curve, we need to “box the virus in,” Frieden said.
  5. We must find the balance between restarting our economy and letting the virus run rampant.
  6. “We must protect the health care workers and other essential staff, or the frontline heroes of this war,” Frieden said.
  7. We must protect our most vulnerable people.
  8. Governments and private companies need to work together and make “massive continued investments in testing and distributing a vaccine as soon as possible.”
  9. We must not neglect non-Covid health issues.
  10. Preparedness is paramount. “Never again,” Frieden said. “It is inevitable that there will be future outbreaks. It's not inevitable that we will continue to be so underprepared.”
11:04 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Southwest CEO says airline would have to “dramatically downsize” if financial situation worsens

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

While Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said he remains confident that his company will weather the coronavirus pandemic, he also said the company is planning for worst-case scenarios.  

“If it doesn't improve from here, we would have to dramatically downsize,” he said in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow. “…We're obviously working hard to make sure that that doesn't happen, but we'll have to have…a scenario that covers that.” 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed in April that it sold its entire stakes in the four airline stocks that the company had owned, including Southwest.

“I think the business travel will be very slow to recover, I think international travel will be hampered. So we’ve got low costs, we’ve got a strong balance sheet, we’ve got plenty of cash. And we survived 9/11, we survived the Great Recession, so I think we'll be well-prepared to compete in this type of a scenario,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in response to Buffett’s actions. 

Southwest accepted a $2.3 billion grant and a low-interest loan of $948 million from the US Treasury and posted its first operating loss in 11 years at the end of April.

Kelly also highlighted the safety measures being put into place on its planes, including deep cleaning, disinfectant misting and employee shields. Southwest will require passengers to wear face masks starting next week. 

Watch more:

11:21 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

House chair slams White House for blocking Fauci testimony: "No doubt it is just frightened of oversight”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, during a hearing on the country’s response to Covid-19 on May 6.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, during a hearing on the country’s response to Covid-19 on May 6. C-SPAN/Pool

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, decried the White House’s decision to block Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the administration's coronavirus task force, from testifying in today’s hearing on the country’s response to Covid-19. 

“This is a bipartisan panel,” DeLauro said at the beginning of the hearing. “Dr. Fauci has appeared before our subcommittee dozens of times.”

DeLauro added that the Trump administration is "leaving no doubt it is just frightened of oversight.”

You can watch the hearing live here.

More context: Yesterday Trump claimed the Democratic-led House is “a bunch of Trump-haters" as he departed the White House for Arizona for a tour of a Honeywell plant.

Fauci is set to testify May 12 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

11:03 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

FDNY adds 100 ambulances in response to call volume during pandemic

Ambulances leased by the New York City Fire Department. This image was released by the fire department on May 5.
Ambulances leased by the New York City Fire Department. This image was released by the fire department on May 5. New York City Fire Department/From Twitter

The New York fire department announced today that it is adding 100 ambulances to its fleets due "to the dramatic increase in call volume during the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The ambulances have arrived in New York City, and will be deployed into service as EMTs and paramedics continue to respond to New Yorkers in need. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the busiest period in the history of EMS, with call volume increasing by 50% daily at the height of the pandemic.”

The additional ambulances have been leased from companies in South Carolina and Florida, the department said.

10:54 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line raises $2 billion dollars

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Sun, is docked at the Port of Jacksonville on March 27 in Jacksonville, Florida.
A Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Sun, is docked at the Port of Jacksonville on March 27 in Jacksonville, Florida. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

A day after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings warned investors that it could be forced to go out of business, the company announced it is “well-positioned to weather Covid-19 impacts.”

In a statement the company reports that it has raised more than $2 billion, including “(1) $400 million public offering of common equity, (2) $750 million exchangeable senior notes offering, (3) $675 million senior secured notes offering and (4) $400 million private investment from global consumer-focused private equity firm L Catterton.” 

According to Norwegian the raised cash will allow them to withstand more than a year of suspended cruises.

“This significantly strengthens the Company’s financial position and liquidity runway and it now expects to be positioned to withstand well over 12 months of voyage suspensions in a potential downside scenario,” Norwegian wrote in a statement.
9:42 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

US stocks open higher

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks kicked off higher on Wednesday, on track for their third-straight day of gains. Investors remain confident as parts of the US economy begin to reopen.

Stocks continue to shrug off America's massive unemployment numbers. Wednesday’s ADP National Employment Report showed private-sector payrolls collapsed by 20.2 million last month. That previewed Friday’s jobs report, which is expected to show record job losses in April.

Here's how the markets opened:

  • The Dow opened 0.7%, or 155 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened up 0.8%.