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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12:29 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Florida governor signals parts of south Florida could reopen soon

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a coronavirus news conference on May 5, at the University Town Center mall in Sarasota, Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a coronavirus news conference on May 5, at the University Town Center mall in Sarasota, Florida. Chris O'Meara/AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled Wednesday that the three south Florida counties who were exempt from phase one of his reopening plan could reopen soon.

“We'll hopefully be able to go forward soon in southern Florida,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Miami Gardens.

DeSantis said he has been looking at the trends and even though the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are not quite ready yet, he is optimistic that the region will be ready soon. 

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez echoed the governor’s tone, saying the county wants to open up as fast as possible while being as safe as possible.

The governor already expressed some of the good news of the state of Florida. There are similar results here in Miami-Dade County. We have less than 100 people that are respirators today in Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said. “We're formulating plans for how we can open up the economy here in Miami-Dade, and now of course that'll be given to the governor so we get his blessing, before we make any announcements.”

12:16 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Jet Blue will donate flights to 100,000 medical professionals, Cuomo says

A JetBlue Airways Corp. aircraft sits at a gate in Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York on April 9.
A JetBlue Airways Corp. aircraft sits at a gate in Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York on April 9. Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Jet Blue will give a pair of roundtrip flights to 100,000 medical professionals around the country, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The airline is beginning with 10,000 workers from New York, he said.

Jet Blue is offering flights to medical workers to honor their efforts in battling coronavirus, Cuomo said.

12:10 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

No states meet all the criteria for reopening, health scholar says

Dr. Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said to her knowledge, no state has met all the criteria laid out by the White House Task Force for reopening. 

Speaking at the House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the United States' coronavirus response today, Rivers described the four criteria:

  • The number of new cases must decline for at least two weeks (She said "some states have met that criteria" but not the other benchmarks).
  • The state must have enough public health capacity to conduct contact tracing on all new cases.
  • There must be enough diagnostic testing to test everybody with symptoms.
  • There must be enough health care system capacity to treat everyone.

“To my knowledge, there are no states that meet all four of those criteria,” Rivers said. 

President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, Dr. Tom Frieden said “open versus closed is not a strict on-off switch.”

“There are things that might be first to open: out of doors is way less risky than inside, low-risk businesses, take out from restaurants, outdoor recreation, even daycare if done very carefully and safely maybe lower risk,” Frieden added. 

12:14 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

New York survey shows many hospitalized coronavirus patients were not working or traveling

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced preliminary results of a survey of new hospitalized coronavirus patients across the state.

Many of the patients....

  • Were not working or traveling 
  • Are predominantly from downstate
  • Are predominantly minorities 
  • Are predominantly older (that means 51 years old and older)
  • Are predominantly nonessential employees
  • Were predominantly at home at the time of infection (either working from home or not working) 

"Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself … it comes down to personal behavior," Cuomo said, reiterating the importance of wearing a face covering, using hand sanitizer and social distancing – especially from vulnerable people and populations. 

The initial results are drawn from surveys of approximately 1,000 patients from around 100 hospitals across the state over three days, he said.

Watch:

12:00 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Cuomo: New York is seeing "painfully slow" decline in hospitalizations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that the state's "total hospitalization rate is down again" today but added he would like to see a "steeper, faster decline."

"We would have liked to see a steeper, faster decline, but this is where we are, and it's a painfully slow decline. But it's better than the numbers going the other way," Cuomo said.
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.”