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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4:07 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Rhode Island governor says she'll likely let stay-at-home order expire this week

From CNN’s Will Brown

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo provides an update on the coronavirus in Providence, on April 21.
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo provides an update on the coronavirus in Providence, on April 21. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Get

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she anticipates letting her statewide stay-at-home order expire on Friday, but she still asked that Rhode Islanders not “race to see mom” on Sunday.

“Mother’s Day is going to have to be different,” Raimondo warned at her Wednesday press conference. “If we start planning now we can figure out a way to love, cherish, respect, and treat our moms.”

By the numbers: Rhode Island has 10,205 total positive COVID-19 cases and 370 deaths. 

3:53 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Maryland closes its schools for the remainder of the academic year

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announces that Maryland's public schools will be closed during a news conference on Wednesday, March 25, in Annapolis.
Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announces that Maryland's public schools will be closed during a news conference on Wednesday, March 25, in Annapolis. Brian Witte/AP

Maryland Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon announced today that schools will be closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the academic school year.

“After an extensive discussion with the Maryland Board of Education, the Maryland Health Department, and additional health experts advising the governor, I am convinced this is the appropriate decision in order to continue to protect the health and safety of our students, educators, staff, and all members of school communities throughout Maryland,” Salmon said.

According to Salmon, online and distance learning opportunities will continue to guide school systems. The State Department of Education is also releasing a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

4:38 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump argues with nurse who called protective gear sporadic: "I've heard the opposite"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

POOL
POOL

 

As he honored nurses in the Oval Office Tuesday, President Trump also seemed to get irritated with one nurse who called supplies of personal protective gear around the country, “sporadic.”

A reporter asked nurses in attendance for a National Nurse Day event if their PPE supplies are where they need to be, and many of them nodded in agreement or answered affirmatively.

“I think it’s sporadic,” one nurse answered. “I mean, I talk to my colleagues around the country, certainly there are pockets around the country where PPE is not ideal, but this is an unprecedented time,” she said. 

“The infection control measures that we learned back when we went to school, one gown and one mask for one patient per day — this is a different time,” she continued, adding that she has been reusing a single N95 mask for “a few weeks now.”

The nurse said she works at a community health center in New Orleans, and that her youngest Covid-19 patient was a four-day-old infant.

“PPE has been sporadic, but it’s been manageable. And we do what we have to do,” she said. “We are nurses and we learn to adapt and do whatever we can do for our patients to get the job done and the care provided, and that's what we will continue to do as Covid-19 continues.”

“Sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” the President told her.

“Oh no, I agree, Mr. President,” she answered.

“Because I’ve heard the opposite,” Trump said. “I have heard that they are loaded up with gallons now. We had empty shelves and empty nothing because it wasn't put there by the last administration.”  

 Watch here:

3:28 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Newport Beach reopens for limited active use

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks 

An aerial view of beach-goers at Newport Beach on Monday, May 4.
An aerial view of beach-goers at Newport Beach on Monday, May 4. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

California officials partially reopened Newport Beach in Orange County today for "active recreational use," the city announced in a statement.

Last week, thousands of people crowded the Orange County coastline amid the statewide stay-at-home order.

The city's reopening plan is consistent with other neighboring California cities that have also loosened beach restrictions in alignment with public health guidelines. 

“The City is very pleased to reopen our beaches for the physical and mental well-being of our residents,” Mayor Will O’Neill said. “While the active recreation model was not the preferred choice by the City Council after discussions with our public safety personnel, we are confident that City staff will manage the beaches effectively under the approved plan.”

According to the statement, Newport Beach is now open for the following limited activities during normal beach hours: walking, running, hiking, bicycle riding, swimming, surfing, and kayaking. The beach will remain closed to passive games, loitering, sunbathing and gatherings of people outside of those within their immediate household.

Newport officials plan to reopen additional recreational facilities in the coming days and weeks while maintaining social distancing protocol, the statement said.

3:25 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump says he wants to see schools open

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

 

President Donald Trump speaks during an event to sign a proclamation in honor of World Nurses Day, in the Oval Office, on Wednesday, May 6.
President Donald Trump speaks during an event to sign a proclamation in honor of World Nurses Day, in the Oval Office, on Wednesday, May 6. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump said he would like to see schools open in “most of the country," suggesting that children may have stronger immune systems than adults. But he didn’t address concerns that opening schools could lead to a widespread increase of the disease if children bring the virus home.

“The schools should open,” the President said, responding to a question about if schools should reopen in August. “The one thing you should be careful of is when instructors are over 60.”

He then asked Dr. Deborah Birx to respond as well, who was more measured in her answer. She said it is, “a county by county, state by state decision,” whether or not to reopen. 

“I would like to see schools open, wherever possible, which is I think in much of the country. Most of the country,” the President said after Birx’s comments. 

“I would say that till everything is perfect, I think the teachers that are a certain age, perhaps you say over 60, especially if they have a problem with heart, or diabetes or any one of a number of things, I think they should not be teaching school for a while, and everyone would understand that fully,” he continued.

But Trump added that children are faring relatively well with Covid-19. 

“We realize how strong children are, right? Their immune system is just a little bit different. Maybe it’s just a little bit stronger, or maybe it’s a lot stronger, right? It could be a lot stronger,” he said.

3:01 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Michigan-based Ford facilities producing ventilators and protective equipment

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, in 2017.
Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, in 2017. Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Michigan-based Ford plant will continue to produce personal protective equipment and ventilators “as long as the need is there,” said Jim Baumbick, vice president of Ford Enterprise Product Line Management.

Baumbick said a facility that was previously used to assemble batteries is now producing ventilators.

“[When] we’ve met that demand, then we can we can determine when we would actually dial it down,” he told CNN’s John King.

Factory workers are practicing social distancing and safety protocols are in place, including trying new technologies to help enforce safety standard, Baumbick said.

“It’s not just social distancing, but watches that actually determine whether or not you’ve come in close proximity to try and determine what a typical and appropriate level social distancing is,” he added.

WATCH:

2:57 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump says he did wear a mask in Arizona — you just didn't see him

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump participates in a tour of the Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 5.
President Donald Trump participates in a tour of the Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 5. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump said he wore a mask during a tour of a Honeywell factory in Arizona on Tuesday. Trump, speaking to reporters today, said he can’t help it if you didn’t see him.

Speaking in front of nurses in the Oval Office – who were wearing scrubs and gowns, but no masks – Trump was asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask at the facility the day prior.

“I actually did have one, no,” he responded, “I put a mask on—yeah. I had a mask on for a period of time.”

When a reporter said that none of the press saw him wearing a mask, Trump shot back: “I can’t help it if you didn’t see me.”

“I mean I had a mask on but I didn’t need it, and I asked specifically the head of Honeywell, ‘should I wear a mask?’ And he said, ‘well you don’t need one in this territory,’ and as you knew, we were far away from people — from the people making the masks. They were making the masks,” he said.

“But I did put a mask on and it was a Honeywell mask, actually. And I also had a 3M mask, and I had about four other masks, but I did have it on. I don’t know if you saw it, but I did have it on,” he said.

Pressed on how long he wore the mask, the President paused slightly, and responded that it wasn’t “too long.”  

“Not too long,” he said, “but I had it on. I had it on back — backstage. But they said you didn’t need it, so, I didn’t need it. And by the way if you noticed nobody else had it on that was in the group.” 

Video from the facility shows workers wearing masks, which the President admitted. 

“The workers had them on yeah, the workers were there. Because they’re working next to each other,” he said.

When another reporter asked how it looks for him to be in public not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing, the President seemed to have had enough. “I’m trying to be nice,” he said. “I’m signing a bill, and you criticize us. Look here’s the story: there’s nothing I can do to satisfy the media, the Democrats, who are the fake news. And I understand that.”

2:50 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump says he "didn't realize" how popular coronavirus task force was 

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump on Wednesday said he didn’t realize how popular the coronavirus task force is, and that’s why he has backed off a plan to get rid of the group in its current form.

“It’s had great success, and Mike Pence has done a fantastic job,” the President said during a meeting with nurses in the Oval Office Wednesday. “I thought we could wind it down sooner, but I had no idea how popular the task force is.”

Trump said that when he started talking about phasing out the task force, he got “calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going.’”

“I learned yesterday that the task force is, something you knew, very respected. People said we should keep it going,” he told reporters 

“It is appreciated by the public,” he said, “When you look at the job we’ve done on everything.”

“We’ll be leaving the task force indefinitely, we’ll see at a certain point that will end like things end,” Trump said. The White House will be adding “two or three” people to the task force, Trump announced. 

“We’ll be adding some people to the task force and they’ll be more in the neighborhood of opening our country,” he said, adding that some members who were more involved with producing ventilators may be leaving, but “if they want to stay they can.” There is a “whole list” of people who want to be on the task force, Trump said, and the new members will be announced on Monday.

“I guess if you think we’re always winding it down,” he said, “but it’s a question of what the end point is.”

More on this: Earlier Wednesday, CNN reported Trump declared his coronavirus task force would continue "indefinitely" a day after he and Vice President Mike Pence said they were phasing out the health-focused panel in favor of a group focused on reopening the economy.

According to Pence's public schedule, the task force was slated to meet at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Some health experts had sounded alarm at the apparent disbanding of the task force since cases continue to arise. After touting achievements on testing and supplies, Trump said during a visit to a mask production facility in Arizona on Tuesday he was "looking at a little bit of a different form" for the task force "and that form is safety and opening."

Pence told reporters during a discussion in his office that administration officials were "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 the discussions are a "reflection of the tremendous progress we've made as a country."

But a day later, Trump wrote on Twitter the task force would "continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN."

"We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate," he wrote. "The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!"

2:20 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Nearly 500 New Jersey law enforcement members have tested positive for Covid-19

As of Wednesday morning, 495 members of New Jersey law enforcement were positive for Covid-19 across the state, New Jersey State Police Col. Pat Callahan told reporters. 

The number represents a decrease of just over 4% in the last day, he said. At least 396 officers are currently out quarantined, Callahan added.