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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6:24 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Supreme Court rejects appeal to lift Pennsylvania's coronavirus restrictions

From CNN's Dan Berman

 

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on Monday, May 4.
The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on Monday, May 4. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The US Supreme Court won't hear an appeal by a Pennsylvania politician and businesses to lift the state's coronavirus restrictions.

Without comment, the court on Wednesday declined to hear the case.

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, although the state has now begun to reduce some restrictions in certain areas.

The appeal — filed by the campaign of Danny DeVito, an Allegheny County Republican, realtor Kathy Gregory, "B and J" laundry, Blueberry Hill golf course and Caledonia Land Company — asserted that the Democratic governor's order is doing "unprecedented damage to the economy."

Without intervention, the petitioners say they and "tens of thousands of other businesses may not be able to recover from the severe financial distress caused by the Order."

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court rejected the challenge to the Wolf's order last month.

5:57 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

No, the California governor has not had a haircut

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for the gradual reopening of California businesses during a news conference at the Display California store in Sacramento, California on Tuesday, May 5.
Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for the gradual reopening of California businesses during a news conference at the Display California store in Sacramento, California on Tuesday, May 5. Rich Pedroncelli/Pool/AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom dispelled any rumors Wednesday afternoon that he has gotten a haircut during California's social distancing guidelines.

“I think it's pretty obvious to you I have not had my hair cut,” he said sheepishly in reply to a reporter question in his daily briefing. “I am a little embarrassed having this conversation as publicly as I am.” 

Newsom, who is somewhat known for his slicked back tresses, said he is abiding by his own orders, much to the embarrassment of his 6-year-old daughter, Brooklyn.

He said Brooklyn offered to cut her father’s hair for him and even presented her craft scissors for the job, which Newsom said “certainly weren’t up for the task.”

5:57 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Los Angeles will begin to reopen Friday

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A cyclist rides past the closed Million Dollar Theater, in Los Angeles, on Monday, May 4.
A cyclist rides past the closed Million Dollar Theater, in Los Angeles, on Monday, May 4. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles, the most populated county in California, will begin to reopen Friday, along with the rest of the state.

Trails, golf courses, car dealerships, and florists are among those being allowed to reopen, as are retail shops for curbside pickup, according to county supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Los Angeles has seen 1,367 deaths due to Covid-19, making up for more than half of all fatalities in the state.

Health Director Barbara Ferrer emphasized that the lifting of restrictions will be slow, with other low risk, nonessential businesses reopening soon, but in a drastically modified way.

Employees should continue to telework whenever possible, Ferrer said.

6:08 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

White House press secretary says it's "simply nonsensical" to suggest every American be tested

From CNN's Allie Malloy in Washington

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 06.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 06. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it is “simply nonsensical” to suggest that every individual in the country needs to be tested in order for the country to reopen.

“Let’s dismiss a myth about tests right now. If we tested every single American in this country at this moment, we’d have to retest them an hour later and an hour later after that. Because at any moment you could theoretically contract this virus,” McEnany said in her second briefing as press secretary. 

McEnany was asked specifically whether Americans should feel safe to return to work without receiving a coronavirus test — something President Trump and members of the administration routinely receive.   

“So the notion that everyone needs to be tested is just simply nonsensical. The people that need to be tested are vulnerable populations," she said.

“We have to be strategic with our testing and we have done that so far," McEnany added.

CNN's Health Unit reports doctors say it’s not realistic to test all 328 million people in the US, especially since many states are still struggling to get enough tests or testing supplies.

So in order for the economy to reopen and stay open, the US will need to triple its number of tests performed every day — from 150,000 tests a day to at least 500,000, three Harvard researchers found.

And the proportion of test results that come back positive needs to be much lower. About 20% of US test results have been positive, which is “clearly way too high,” said Dr. Thomas Tsai, one of the Harvard researchers.

The World Health Organization said an adequate range of positive test results would be 3% to 12%. Germany and South Korea have already met that goal, Tsai said.

Watch here:

CNN's Holly Yan and Scottie Andrew contributed to this reporting.

5:32 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Justice Department and FBI are scrutinizing California's protective equipment contracts, governor says

From CNN's Stephanie Becker, Jon Passantino and Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for the gradual reopening of California businesses in Sacramento, on Tuesday, May 5.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his plan for the gradual reopening of California businesses in Sacramento, on Tuesday, May 5. Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

The Department of Justice and the FBI are scrutinizing California’s large contracts for personal protective equipment after some early contracts went “awry,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

His comments come after details of the nearly $1 billion contract between the state of California and BYD, a Chinese car maker, for masks are still not public.

Newsom said he promise the contract will be published soon.

He said the urgency of the outbreak required quick action and says he is looking forward to making the contract public.

“We negotiated a pretty good price considering others were paying 12 bucks a mask and the federal government was paying six, seven, eight dollars per mask," he said.

Last month, Newsom made the dramatic announcement on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show that the state had secured deals to acquire more than 200 million protective masks each month.

Since then, the terms of the agreement have been shrouded in secrecy.

Each mask will cost the state $3.30, according to Frank Girardot, spokesman for BYD, whose initials stand for Build Your Dreams, with a breakdown of $2.88 for the mask itself, $0.22 in shipping costs, and another $0.20 in duty.

5:35 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Woman says her husband, a hospital driver, "sacrificed his life" for others

From CNN’s Josiah Ryan

Eneida Becot with her husband Ed.
Eneida Becot with her husband Ed. Eneida Becot

Eneida Becot's husband Ed worked at Brooklyn Hospital Center transporting patients for tests before losing his life to Covid-19 about one month ago.

Speaking with CNN's Kate Bolduan this afternoon, she said he was likely exposed to the virus at the hospital before the "severity and the impact" was well known. 

"My husband sacrificed his life taking care of others," she said. "He just had a heart of gold... the world needs more people like him. He was selfless."

Becot said she wants the world to know that besides medical workers' heroic fight against the pandemic, there are many like her husband, including transporters, security staff, housekeepers, clerks, food service works and others who are also putting their lives on the line each day.

"They also play a role and interact with patients," she said. "They are just as important as the doctors and the nurses. They should be acknowledged and they play a vital role in [patient's] care."

5:35 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

White House says House Democrats attempted "publicity stunt" in asking Fauci to appear

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a White House Press Briefing on Wednesday, May 6.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a White House Press Briefing on Wednesday, May 6. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The White House claimed Wednesday that Democrats acted in poor faith when attempting to schedule a hearing with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who the administration is blocking from testifying in the House even as it allows him to answer questions from the Republican-held Senate.

Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, said the Democratic appropriations chairwoman attempted a “publicity stunt” by refusing to answer the White House’s questions about the topic for the hearing. 

“We don't have time in the middle of a pandemic for publicity stunts,” McEnany said.

House Democrats have charged the White House with stonewalling their attempts at conducting oversight of the administration’s coronavirus response by disallowing administration officials from appearing without the explicit permission of chief of staff Mark Meadows.

McEnany said Meadows held three phone calls this week with House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Nita Lowey to ascertain the purpose of the hearing at which Fauci was requested to appear. Fauci has been heavily involved in the response to the coronavirus, the biggest public heath crisis in decades.

Lowey was “unable” to tell Meadows the subject matter for the hearing, according to McEnany.

She said as part of his appearance before a Senate committee next week, Fauci would be questioned by Democrats and Republicans alike. And she said the House needed to “act in good faith” in calling administration officials to testify.

Asked earlier this week why Fauci wouldn’t appear before House committees, President Trump said the House amounted to “Trump-haters” who were trying to destroy him politically.

Watch here:

5:22 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Latinos are testing positive for Covid-19 at a higher rate than any other demographic in Illinois

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Norwegian Hospital nurses perform coronavirus tests on site in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood on Tuesday, April 28.
Norwegian Hospital nurses perform coronavirus tests on site in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood on Tuesday, April 28. Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Getty Images

Self-identified Hispanics are testing positive at a higher rate than any other demographic in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference Wednesday.

“Although nearly half of those who have been tested did not fill out their demographic information, of those who did 7.6% self-identified as Hispanic. Of these more than 26,000 individuals, nearly 16,000 of them have tested positive for Covid-19. That's a positivity rate of 60%,” Pritzker said. “That's nearly three times our state average.”

He added: “Decades of institutional inequities and obstacles for members of our Latinx communities are now amplified in this pandemic. And while we can't fix generations of history in the span of a few months, we must advance equity in our public health response today, everywhere and anywhere we can.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously said Wednesday that Latino residents make up the largest percentage of Covid-19 cases in the city. They represent 37% of Covid-19 cases in the city and 25% of deaths.

5:17 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Workers union says 27 meatpacking workers have died from Covid-19

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union on Wednesday said at least 27 meatpacking workers have died because Covid-19.

The UFCW also said that according to internal estimates, nearly 8,000 of their meat packing members have been “directly impacted” by Covid-19, including “those who have been hospitalized, tested positive, are awaiting test results, are showing symptoms, or have been exposed.”