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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1:02 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York governor: "We're finally ahead of this virus"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said for the first time he feels the state is ahead of the virus, not behind it.

"The good news, on the overall, is we're finally ahead of this virus. For so long we were playing catch up," Cuomo said. "We were behind it."

"Now I feel for the first time we're actually ahead of it. We have showed that we can control the beast," he said, citing declining hospitalization, intubation and death rates.

"We haven't killed the beast, but we are — we're ahead of it," he added.

However, Cuomo warned New Yorkers must continue to follow social distancing restrictions and other safety measures in order to stay ahead.

Watch:

12:18 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Florida partners with assisted living facility to help care for Covid-19 elderly patients

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new state partnership today with Dolphin Pointe Health Care, an assisted living facility, to help protect and care for elderly patients battling Covid-19.

How it will work:  If a long-term care facility resident contracts Covid-19 and is sent to the hospital — but doesn’t need to be on a ventilator and can go home — the elderly patient will be transferred to Dolphin Pointe instead of going home and running the risk of infecting others.

Dolphin Pointe will serve as a secure location that will exclusively care for medically stable Covid-19 positive patients in the Jacksonville area who resided at long-term care facilities that lack the resources to properly care for Covid-19 patients, the governor said. 

DeSantis announced that 17 Covid-19 positive patients are at Dolphin Pointe currently and the facility is expected to receive another seven patients in the next 24 to 48 hours.

12:30 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

There have been more than 75,000 coronavirus deaths in the US

Hospital personnel behind a barricade move deceased individuals to the overflow morgue trailer outside The Brooklyn Hospital Center on May 7, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Hospital personnel behind a barricade move deceased individuals to the overflow morgue trailer outside The Brooklyn Hospital Center on May 7, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

There has been at least 1,259,777 cases of coronavirus in the US, and approximately 75,852 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 2,754 new cases and 190 reported deaths on Friday. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

12:59 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Trump marks VE Day anniversary with veterans, day after valet tests positive for coronavirus

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in a wreath laying 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 participate in a wreath laying 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 and First Lady Melania Trump participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the WWII Memorial in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

Trump greeted the veterans — all in their 90s — from a distance and did not exchange handshakes or hugs. Trump nor the first lady wore a mask. 

Concerns surrounded the event after one of Trump's personal valets tested positive for coronavirus, CNN learned Thursday, raising alarms about the President's possible exposure to the virus. Trump was subsequently tested again by the White House physician and tested negative.

See Trump honor VE Day: 

12:17 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

At least 216 people died in New York from coronavirus yesterday

At least 216 people died from coronavirus in New York yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

That's down slightly from the 231 people who died on Wednesday and the 232 who died on Tuesday.

Cuomo said that while the number is falling, it's not falling as quickly as he'd like.

Similarly, new hospitalizations per day is "just about flat," Cuomo said, adding that they had hoped for a "steady, sharp decline in those numbers."

Watch:

11:52 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Member of Vice President Pence's staff tests positive for coronavirus

From John Harwood and Kaitlan Collins

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

A member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar tell CNN.  

Bloomberg News first reported the development on Friday. 

Pence's flight to Iowa was delayed on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews for about an hour on Friday, and some people deplaned, according to pool reports. 

The person who tested positive was not on the trip, but the concern was other people being in contact with the individual, a source familiar told CNN. 

The vice president's office has refused to comment.

Some context: This comes after one of President Trump's personal valets tested positive earlier this week, as CNN reported on Thursday. 

The Vice President is currently on his way to Des Moines, Iowa, where he will participate in a discussion with faith leaders on responsible religious and spiritual gatherings followed by a roundtable on securing the food supply. 

12:16 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Massachusetts Democrats probe Walmart on store with more than 80 coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn

A Walmart store in Quincy, MA, pictured on May 5, has now closed after a worker died due to COVID-19.
A Walmart store in Quincy, MA, pictured on May 5, has now closed after a worker died due to COVID-19. David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic members of Massachusetts' congressional delegation are pressing Walmart on its handling of a store in the state where 81 workers tested positive for the coronavirus and another location where an employee died.

"We are writing to express serious concern about your company's failure to keep Walmart employees in Massachusetts safe amidst the coronavirus," 11 House and Senate Democrats wrote to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon Thursday in a letter obtained by CNN Business.

Worcester, Massachusetts, officials ordered a Walmart store to shut down last week after 23 employees tested positive for the virus, according to the local health department.

All of the store's employees were later tested for the virus, and an additional 58 tested positive. The store, which tested 391 employees total, has since reopened.

"Massachusetts is suffering from a high rate of coronavirus cases, and several of our stores located in some of the state's hot spots have also been hit hard by the pandemic," Walmart said in a statement. 

The company added, "It may be impossible to track the source of anyone's infection, especially in some of these communities that have felt the devastating impact of the virus. That's why we are working in partnership with local health officials and are taking aggressive steps to help ensure the safety of our associates and customers."

The letter seeks to raise pressure on Walmart over its worker safety policies after reports of coronavirus cases among employees at several stores in the state. 

Keep reading.

11:49 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Vermont loosens some restrictions, but leaves stay-at-home order in place

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announces a state of emergency for Vermont on March 13 in Montpelier.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announces a state of emergency for Vermont on March 13 in Montpelier. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur/The Times Argus via AP

Vermont is now allowing small gatherings of up to 10 people, even though the state's stay-at-home order is still in place, Gov. Phil Scott said Friday.

The easing of some restrictions also includes some outdoor activities, the governor added.

Scott said the state "has flattened the curve."

Vermont residents are “no longer being asked to limit outings to within 10 miles of their homes. In addition, business facilities and organizations that support or are for outdoor recreation and fitness activities that require low or no direct contact can return to operation,” Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Julie Moore told reporters during the governor’s briefing in Montpelier.

11:39 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

"Trump’s concern is with the economy and that is very clear," CDC official says

From CNN's Nick Valencia

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A senior official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN on Friday, ”Trump’s concern is with the economy and that is very clear.”

First, some background: CDC and White House officials have told CNN the White House rejected a 17-page draft of CDC recommendations about reopening the country. During CNN’s coronavirus town hall on Thursday night, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, denied reports that guidelines from the CDC had been deliberately held back.

“We're still in editing,” Birx said Thursday night. “I just got my edits back from the CDC late yesterday. I'm working on it as soon as I get off of this discussion."

“We are in constant work with the CDC and really value their partnership and, as you know, they put up guidelines," she added.

Here's how the CDC official reacted: Responding Friday to Birx’s comments, a senior official with the CDC tells CNN the focus for the agency right now is to “give everything state and local agencies need to protect people,” adding that the CDC has “already been sharing the basic public health principles [from the draft] to protect people and keep them safe.”

“Our job is to support state and locals,” the senior official told CNN.

“Our framework guidance for mitigation is, you match the public health response based on the level of disease. That’s been our original framework. That’s what our draft made clear,” the official added.

Currently, there is talk at the CDC of taking the decision trees in the document and “putting that guidance on our web site,” the CDC official said. Decision trees are “roadmaps,” the official said, for state and local agencies to know what public health approach to implement based on the level of spread.

 ”The real sticking point has been that states aren’t paying attention to the phasing, regardless of the numbers of cases. Look at Georgia, they did not meet any of the criteria. We understand states want to open up, but you still,” the CDC official said.