Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 10:35 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020
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4:12 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Illinois surpasses 3,000 coronavirus deaths

From CNN’s Will Brown

Illinois has suffered 3,111 total coronavirus deaths, according to Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Ezike reported 2,641 new positive cases and 138 deaths in the last 24 hours. Illinois has 70,873 total positive cases.

4:09 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Here's how California plans to begin reopening

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A man walks past closed-off stores Monday, May 4, in the fashion district of Los Angeles.
A man walks past closed-off stores Monday, May 4, in the fashion district of Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

California will begin reopening Friday, and guidelines are being introduced to support the lifting of restrictions.

"It does not mean a return to normal," Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly warned as he laid out the state’s plans Thursday.

Retail stores will be allowed to do more curbside pickup and possibly deliveries, likely with hand sanitizer at the door. Ghaly is encouraging outlets to change from direct payment at a cash register and move to a "click and swipe methodology."

Plant workers at warehouses and manufacturers should be further apart, and Ghaly suggests perhaps break rooms will be closed down to prevent people from congregating.

"Delivery drivers will have different personal protective equipment than they did before COVID-19 became a reality,” Ghaly said.

Employers must train employees on how to limit the spread of Covid-19 and how to screen for symptoms on a daily basis. Each location will be required to have a site-specific protection plan including cleaning and disinfecting protocols, Ghaly explained.

Industry-wide guidance will be issued shortly, but some businesses will be able to move further into stage two, which may include the reopening of offices and dining inside a restaurant.

Modifications to the stay-at-home order allow residents to move from phase one into phase two. Stage one involves the strict stay-at-home order, with only essential businesses remaining open. Phase two includes "lower risk" workplaces like retail, manufacturing, and offices. Phase three will include personal care businesses like salons and gyms, and the final phase is for the "highest risk" businesses like sporting events and concerts.

4:03 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Public health experts urge caution in use of coronavirus antibody tests

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

 A health worker handles a blood sample on the first day of a free COVID-19 antibody testing event at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand, Florida on May 4.
 A health worker handles a blood sample on the first day of a free COVID-19 antibody testing event at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand, Florida on May 4.  Paul Hennessy/Echoes WIre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Antibody tests which tell people if they have been infected with coronavirus are not very reliable and should only be used with caution, the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists said Thursday.

The association issued new guidelines to help state public health labs and others decide how and when to use the tests, often called serologic tests.

The tests, which look for antibodies in the blood, can show someone was infected. But it’s still not clear if having antibodies to Covid-19 means a person is immune to further infection, the strength of the immunity or for how long, the groups said in a joint statement.

“Until more evidence about protective immunity is available, serologic test results should not be used to make staffing decisions (return to work), decisions regarding the need for personal protective equipment or need to discontinue social distancing measures,” the statement said.

The guidelines include information on the different types of serologic tests, current testing availability, how to choose the right test for population studies, how to interpret the test results and continuing research needs for evaluating the tests.

The tests can be used for determining how widespread the coronavirus may be in a community or population, whether a person can serve as a convalescent plasma donor and to detect whether a person has had an immune response.

Some context: The US Food and Drug Administration at first allowed manufacturers to begin selling antibody tests in mid-March without any federal review and without knowing whether the tests even worked.

The FDA has since changed that policy and now requires validation of the tests.

3:53 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Trump says he'll be tested daily for coronavirus after valet tests positive

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump says he'll be tested daily for coronavirus after one of his valets tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaking in the Oval Office after news of the valet's condition broke, Trump said the episode underscored the fallibility of using testing exclusively to determine safety.

"What happens in between when you got tested and just a couple of days later?" he asked, saying there were "a number of days missed" between when the valet was last tested and when he discovered he had coronavirus.

Trump said he'd had "very little personal contact" with the man, a US military member, who tested positive. He described the situation as "a little bit strange."

Trump repeated that Americans were "warriors" in their efforts to overcome the pandemic. 

"We’re all warriors together," he said. "I am, you are, we all are."

President Trump asked about valet who tested positive: 

3:41 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Roughly 37% of Louisiana's coronavirus deaths are in nursing homes and adult living facilities 

From CNN's Kay Jones

A total of 709 deaths from Covid-19 are from nursing homes across Louisiana, according to the state's Department of Health. 

Confirmed cases have been reported in 179 of the 279 nursing homes in the state.

According to the state, 90 of the 157 adult residential facilities are reporting 438 cases and 75 total deaths.

The total of deaths from these two types of facilities represent nearly 37% of the state's fatalities while the cases represent a little over 12% of the state's totals. 

Louisiana has 30,652 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,208 deaths from the disease, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

3:48 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

How the pandemic is impacting people’s mental health

CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

The coronavirus pandemic is having an adverse impact on people’s mental health, according to Bob Filbin, co-founder and chief data scientist of Crisis Text Line. He said his company has seen a 40% higher volume in people reaching out since mid-March. 

Some of the top trending phrases the Crisis Text Line is getting from texters include:

  • Quarantine
  • Covid
  • Lockdown
  • Pandemic
  • Essential
  • Social distancing
  • Laid off
  • Home
  • Closed
  • Unemployed  

“We’re starting to see issues around being laid off, losing your job enter this top 10, whereas quarantine and fear of getting the virus remain high,” Filbin told CNN’s John King.

He added, that “over 80% of our texters say they're experiencing some kind of fear or anxiety related to Covid.”

Filbin said that twice as many people who reach out are concerned about their friends or loved ones getting the virus versus getting the virus themselves.

He urged people to reach out if they’re experiencing feelings or symptoms that are disrupting their life. You can text HOME to 741741 to connect with a counselor from Crisis Text Line.

Frontline worker discusses mental health challenges amid pandemic:

3:19 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

Maine summer camps remain in limbo due to coronavirus

From CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro

Thousands of children are still eagerly anticipating a decision as to whether summer camps in Maine will be allowed to open for a part of the summer.

Ron Hall, executive director of Maine Summer Camps umbrella group, said he anticipates Gov. Janet Mills will allow camps to reopen in July. Hall said he is waiting on state guidelines for what measures would need to be taken to open.

Hall has asked for camps to be treated as “closed communities” like nursing homes, which would allow them to operate outside other social distancing guidelines. Rules that prohibited gatherings of 15 or more, he said, would basically make it impossible for many camps to open.

"That would be very hard," Hall told CNN.

Some more context: At a news conference Thursday, Mills didn't definitively answer the fate of summer camps when asked by a reporter. She said her office is working to see if there's a way that camps can safely open "in some capacity, in some degree."

"We're working on that, can't make any promises yet, but we're hopeful," Mills said.

3:07 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

New York trial explores blood plasma treatment for coronavirus patients

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Dr. Corita Grudzen, vice chair for Research and Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health, is running a new drug trial that explores the benefits of using blood plasma from patients who have recovered from coronavirus on new patients who are experiencing moderate symptoms.

The trial borrows antibodies from patients who are now recovered and are 28 days asymptomatic, Grudzen told CNN’s John King.

“We use their antibodies through plasma and we give them to patients who are ill in the hospital, on oxygen, not feeling well and compare that to saline,” she said.

Using plasma isn’t something new, Grudzen added. “The first Nobel prize in medicine went to someone who invented this whole process to cure diphtheria,” she said.

Grudzen said administering the treatment early in the course of the illness is theoretically the best chance for it to have an impact.  

So far, her trial has enrolled a little more than 100 patients, but she’s hoping to reach 300 as soon as possible in order to get answers from her study, including whether the treatment is beneficial, harmful or has no effect.

“It’s a race against time, but with all these infectious diseases, part of the problem is …  the epidemic wanes, we don’t have the science, and God forbid that there’s another outbreak, we don’t have any answers. So, we’re trying to enroll patients as fast as we can,” she said.

3:27 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020

New hydroxychloroquine study finds no sign it helps Covid-19 patients

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Buda Mendes/Getty Images/FILE
Buda Mendes/Getty Images/FILE

A new study finds no evidence the drug hydroxychloroquine helps very ill Covid-19 patients survive better or escape the need for a ventilator to help them breathe.

"The patients who got the drug did not fare any better or any worse than patients who didn't get the drug," Neil Schluger, professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences and professor of medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at the Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN on Thursday.

There’s little to support the widespread use of the drug, Schluger and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday. 

"What we think perhaps the most important take-home message is that this drug is being administered to many, many, many people around the United States and around the world without any robust evidence that it works," Schluger said. "Our data could not demonstrate any association between the drug and an outcome — so our strong feeling is that this drug should not be administered in a routine basis to hospitalized patients."

What is this about: President Trump had urged use of the drug, originally developed to treat malaria and used to treat some autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

The observational study included data on 1,376 hospitalized Covid-19 patients admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City between March 7 and April 8.

Among the patients, 811 or 58.9% of them were treated with hydroxychloroquine. The remaining patients were not. By the end of the study, 180 patients were intubated and 166 died without intubation.  

Once the data in the study was adjusted to compare the groups, the study found no difference in the risk of intubation or death among patients who received hydroxychloroquine compared to those who did not.

"The analysis that we did was to use very rigorous and sophisticated, but very well established, statistical techniques to compare the patients who got hydroxychloroquine to patients who looked just like them and for whatever reason didn't get hydroxychloroquine," Schluger said. 

"From that analysis, there appeared to be no association at all," Schluger added. "In a sense, we can't see any association between getting the drug and anything happening to anyone."

The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have cautioned against using the drug outside of a clinical trial.

CNN medical correspondent shares study's conclusion: