Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond, Meg Wagner, Fernando Alfonso III and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 9:16 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020
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2:10 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

White House addresses CDC draft guidance for reopening US

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Friday, May 8, in Washington DC.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Friday, May 8, in Washington DC. Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed reports that the administration will not implement 17-page draft recommendations for reopening America from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The guidance provided more detailed suggestions beyond the reopening guidelines the administration had put forth last month, including specific suggestions for schools and churches. President Trump in recent days has emphasized the need to quickly reopen the American economy despite public health officials' urgings for a more cautious approach. 

Asked if Trump sees the CDC guidelines as an obstacle to getting the country reopened, McEnany said during Friday’s press briefing, “I would ask you, what’s the definition of CDC guidelines? Is it something the CDC director has actually seen? I would endeavor to say yes. Is it something that a rogue CDC employee leaks to you guys? No.”

“Those aren’t CDC guidelines. Those are guidelines in draft form that a rogue employee has given you for whatever personal reason they decided to do that,” she added.

McEnany said guidelines are in the editing process.

“When we have those, you guys will be the first to know,” she said.

2:28 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

More than 80% of social distancing summons in New York City issued to black and Hispanic people

A social distance guideline sign stating "Keep This Far Apart" is seen in Fort Greene Park on April 23, in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
A social distance guideline sign stating "Keep This Far Apart" is seen in Fort Greene Park on April 23, in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

More than 80% of the 374 summonses issued between March 16 and May 5 by the New York Police Department for social distancing violations went to black and Hispanic men and women, the NYPD said in a press release Friday afternoon.

“Of the 374 summonses issued in regard to social distancing, the respondents for 193 of those summonses are Black and the respondents for 111 of those summonses are Hispanic,” the department said.

3:16 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Catch up: Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic in the US

From CNN's Elise Hammond

It's 2 p.m. ET in the US. If you're just tuning in, here are some of the top stories today:

  • The American economy: America lost 20.5 million jobs in April as the coronavirus crisis devastated the country’s labor market, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. This makes April the worst month for American jobs since the Great Depression. Trump reacted to the report saying, "It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise. Everyone knows that,” on Fox News this morning.
  • Coronavirus therapy: Mount Sinai Health System and Sorrento Therapeutics said Friday they are working together to develop an antibody cocktail they hope will protect people from Covid-19, and they expect to begin human trials in the third quarter of 2020.
  • States reopening: California, the country's most populous state, is taking its first significant step in reopening its economy today. Select retailers with curbside pickup and delivery options, such as clothing stores, florists and bookstores are allowed to open. Florida's Palm Beach County commissioners voted to reopen beaches, and Rhode Island will be the first northeastern state to lift its stay-at-home order.
  • Positive tests within the White House: A member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar tell CNN.  This comes after one of President Trump's personal valets tested positive earlier this week.
1:34 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Rhode Island set to be first northeastern state to lift stay-at-home order, governor says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, holding her mask in her left hand, speaks during a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island on April 14.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, holding her mask in her left hand, speaks during a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island on April 14. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Imgaes

Rhode Island is set to become the first state in the northeastern United States to lift the stay-at-home order starting Saturday, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday.

“We will be the first in the northeast to lift the stay-at-home order ahead of Massachusetts and Connecticut… We are in a better position, so we can lift our restrictions a little sooner,” the governor told reporters in Providence.

Social gatherings will be limited to up to five people and retail stores can start opening again Saturday, Raimondo said, adding that she is planning executive order later Friday that will lay out the rules around phase one opening.

There were 249 new Covid-19 cases as well as 11 new deaths, according to the governor.

 

1:16 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Palm Beach plans to reopen beaches to residents only on May 18

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Lake Worth Beach lifeguard captain Michael Tricarico, left and FWC officer Ryan Ames clear the beach on March 20 in Lake Worth, Florida.
Lake Worth Beach lifeguard captain Michael Tricarico, left and FWC officer Ryan Ames clear the beach on March 20 in Lake Worth, Florida. Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post/USA Today

Palm Beach County commissioners voted to reopen beaches to county residents only starting May 18.

The decision passed with a 4 to 3 vote during a special meeting Friday.

Until Friday, the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach had been working on a coordinated effort to reopen beaches. This represents the first time one of those counties decided to reopen beaches on their own.

The meeting included a public comment period and a question and answer session with Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees.

Rivkees advised that Duval County reopened beaches about three weeks ago and did not see an increase in the number of cases.

He also recommended social distancing, only gatherings of 10 people or less, and that seniors refrain from going out in public.

1:08 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Coronavirus antibody therapy could start clinical trials later this year, medical groups say

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Mount Sinai Health System and Sorrento Therapeutics said Friday they are working together to develop an antibody cocktail they hope will protect people from Covid-19, and they expect to begin human trials in the third quarter of 2020.

The team of scientists has screened about 15,000 people who may have recovered from Covid-19 infections and will look for the most potent antibodies in the plasma of these recovered patients, which can then be cloned to make more.

How it works: Antibodies are proteins the body makes to naturally fight off an infection. Antibody cocktails can be given to a patient to fight an infection or to protect from an infection.

Sorrento said in a statement that each dose of this therapy will likely deliver a cocktail of three antibodies that would recognize three unique regions of the spike protein, the part of the coronavirus that can infect cells.

The goal would be to use this treatment to protect health care workers from infection and in patients who are considered vulnerable to more severe forms of the disease, and in people who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, according to Sorrento.

Unlike with a vaccine or when the body creates antibodies naturally, these monoclonal antibodies only provide protection for a short time, so a treatment may need to be given more than once.

2:35 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

White House confirms Pence staffer has coronavirus

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed Friday that a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This individual, there is a member of the vice president’s team who is positive for coronavirus,” McEnany said during Friday’s press briefing.

Asked how regular Americans can be expected to go back to work when even the White House, which has coronavirus detection equipment, isn’t safe, McEnany added, “We have put in place the guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe, which means contact tracing, all of the recommended guidelines we have for businesses who have essential workers we are now putting into place at the White House.”

Doctor reacts to White House staffers testing positive: 

1:15 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

White House on Trump's event with veterans in their 90s: "It was their choice to come"

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet veterans during a ceremony at the World War II Memorial to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, on May 8, in Washington.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet veterans during a ceremony at the World War II Memorial to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, on May 8, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump this morning attended a World War II event with veterans in their 90s. He did not wear a mask.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was just asked if the President considered wearing a mask at the event, considering one of his personal valets tested positive for coronavirus recently.

McEnany said Trump is being tested for coronavirus frequently, and said the veterans attended the event by choice.

"I can tell you those veterans are protected," she said. "It was their choice to come here."

White House asked if Trump considered wearing a mask to VE Day commemoration: 

12:47 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Alabama governor allows more businesses to reopen

From CNN's Kay Jones

Customers wait in line to place orders at a fast food restaurant in Dauphin Island, Alabama, on May 1.
Customers wait in line to place orders at a fast food restaurant in Dauphin Island, Alabama, on May 1. Maranie Staab/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced today that she is extending the current safer-at-home order and expanding the list of what businesses can reopen in the state. 

The safer-at-home order was set to expire on May 15, but is being amended to continue through May 22. 

"Today's order can hopefully begin to provide another round of hope for all of us," Ivey said. 

Ivey said that social distancing will still be required and she encouraged residents to continue to take all precautions as the state returns to "whatever normal will look like in the near future."

Reopening guidelines: Some of the new guidelines that take effect on Monday will allow for gatherings of all non-related, non-families of any size, if they maintain a consistent 6 feet of distancing. This will allow churches and other houses of worship to begin to hold services as well as funerals and weddings to take place. 

Restaurants will be allowed to reopen at a 50% occupancy rate, with 6 foot of spacing between tables and other guidelines in place. Gyms, athletic facilities and athletic classes will be allowed to open, but must adhere to the strict guidance that includes intense cleaning methods and social distancing.

Barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and other similar types of businesses will be able to reopen with restrictions in place that were developed by the state board of cosmetology. 

Ivey plans to announced Alabama's next phase for reopening next week.