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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9:42 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

More than 1,000 employees test positive for coronavirus at Tyson meat plant in Iowa

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher

Vehicles sit in a near-empty parking lot outside a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 1.
Vehicles sit in a near-empty parking lot outside a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 1. Charlie Neibergall/AP

At least 1,031 of the roughly 2,800 employees at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Waterloo, Iowa, have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Black Hawk County health officials.

The numbers were released during a press conference on Thursday –– the same day the plant reopened.

The number of positive cases is more than twice the 444 cases that Gov. Kim Reynolds had reported on Wednesday. 

Black Hawk County health department said the disparity was due to the fact the state’s numbers only included positive cases from the on-site testing at the Waterloo plant. The county numbers included employees who tested positive through local health providers and serology tests that showed Covid-19 antibodies in the workers. 

Some context: Black Hawk County has 1,703 total reported cases and 21 deaths through Thursday at 12:30pm.

Tyson officials also spoke at Thursday’s news briefing, going over the safety modifications, new testing procedures and reopening plan. 

Slaughter resumed at the plant yesterday, processing comes back today. 

The positive tests were first reported in the Des Moines Register.

9:37 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Meat plant workers say they were fired after calling in sick

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Tammy and Ann Day said they found out they had been fired from their jobs at JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado, via a text message. 

On March 27, the married couple were showing coronavirus symptoms and decided not to go inside after driving to work. They called inside to notify the plant of their situation, they said.

That Monday, they drove to work again, where security took their temperature and turned them away, telling them to go back home. They then said they found out they had been fired via a text from Ann’s supervisor. The couple told CNN’s Erica Hill that they have not heard from the company since then.

According to the Denver Post, a seventh plant worker has died from the coronavirus and another 280 have confirmed cases. The plant was closed for nine days in April for a deep cleaning.

In a statement, JBS told CNN that the couple's “employment was terminated because they didn't show up for work for three consecutive days and did not contact the company. At the time of their termination, neither Tammy Day nor Ann Day argued nor presented any evidence that their absences should have been excused for any reason.” 

The company went on to say that if the couple felt afraid for their health, they could inform them and receive leave.

“And it wasn't even that we were fearful at that point. We were sick,” Tammy Day said. “And we did actually, we called in, on Friday, and we went in on Monday, got turned away and then as soon as we found out via text through her supervisor that we were terminated, we reached out to our union that same evening, and let him know what we found out. And from that point, our union takes over and handles our situations.”

They said there was no personal protective equipment or masks made available while they were working in the plant. 

“You work at a factory and you get close to people. And it is our extended family. And we're good, but it’s just, you know, I felt like we got left behind,” Ann Day said. “…I feel saddened for what has happened over there.”

Watch more:

10:55 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

US Postal Service says pandemic is threatening its survival

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A US Postal Service employee delivers mail in Los Feliz, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, on April 29.
A US Postal Service employee delivers mail in Los Feliz, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, on April 29. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The US Postal Service is warning that the pandemic impacted business in late March and has continued to decline, a trend that threatens its survival.

“It is estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic will substantially increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss over the next eighteen months, threatening the Postal Service's ability to operate,” USPS said in a press release.

Its numbers are artificially elevated by mailings tied to the US census. The USPS said compared to the same quarter last year, first-class mail revenue increased by $89 million, 1.4% even though the overall volume of mail was declining by 0.2%, according to the release.

“This growth was due to one-time mailings associated with the 2020 U.S. Census, otherwise First-Class Mail revenue and volume would have each declined.”

The Postmaster General is calling on Congress and the Administration to help shore up its finances.

“We anticipate that our business will suffer potentially dire consequences for the remainder of the year,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the pandemic is starting to have a significant effect on our business with mail volumes plummeting as a result of the pandemic." 

9:36 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Here's how many hospitality jobs were lost last month

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A new report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics released this morning shows just how widespread the impact of the coronavirus was on the US economy in April.

America lost 20.5 million jobs – the largest single month of job losses since the BLS began tracking the data in 1939, according to the report.

CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans said other figures in the report paint a "picture of a devastating situation for the American worker in April."

Here are some of the hardest hit industries:

  • 7.7 million jobs lost in hospitality
  • 2.1 million jobs lost in business
  • 2.1 million jobs lost in retail
  • 1.4 million jobs lost in health care

"[Americans are] worried about their family, about educating their kids, about their parents and their grandparents, worried about their job and worried about healthcare all at the same time," Romans said.

She pointed out there is no data that indicates how, and if, these millions of jobs will come back at the end of the pandemic.


9:14 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

California's reopening starts today. Here's what's open now.

From CNN’s Paul LeBlanc and Jon Passantino

People hike on a trail at dusk in Los Angeles on May 7.
People hike on a trail at dusk in Los Angeles on May 7. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

California, the country's most populous state, is taking its first significant step in reopening its economy today, as part of a phased exit from the social distancing measures meant to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. 

California was the first in the nation to issue a stay home order to all of its nearly 40 million residents, effective on March 19.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary, said yesterday that data showing stable hospitalization rates gave authorities confidence to move into this reopening stage. All reopenings in the state will be subject to active monitoring and surveillance, California Gov. Newsom said earlier this week. 

What’s allowed to reopen today: 

  • Select retailers with curbside pickup and delivery options, such as clothing stores, florists and bookstores
  • Some industries with workers spaced farther apart, using protective gear, sanitizing equipment

What’s not reopening yet: 

  • Offices, gyms, restaurants with dine-in service, shopping malls, museums, public beaches (except where approved with restrictions), in-person churches and salons 

What are big cities planning to do?

  • Los Angeles will be following the state’s easing of restrictions today, with the limited reopening of businesses. Parks, hiking trails, and golf courses will reopen tomorrow, but masks will be required.
  • San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area have decided not to begin reopening just yet. The stay-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions, which began on March 17 and was extended on May 4, still remains in effects.
  • San Diego County will also follow state guidance on reopening.
9:12 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

How Trump is reacting to the jobs report

From Joe Johns and Nikki Carvajal

President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House on May 6.
President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House on May 6. Evan Vucci/AP

Downplaying the seriousness of a devastating jobs report, President Trump said he “fully expected” high unemployment rates Friday morning.

The President was speaking over the phone to Fox News when the jobs numbers came down, showing a 14.7% unemployment rate across the US.

“It’s fully expected. There’s no surprise. Everyone knows that,” the President said, before jumping immediately to defend himself.

“Even the Democrats aren’t blaming me for that,” he said.

Trump went on to tout the strength of the economy before the pandemic, calling it the “best we’ve ever had.”

“Those jobs will all be back, and they’ll be back very soon,” the President said. “People are ready to go. We’ve got to get it open, and safely.”  


8:48 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

It's Friday morning. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Brian Waldret, co-owner of Hello Salon in Laveen, Arizona, disinfects surfaces in the salon on May 7, in preparation for reopening after being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus.
Brian Waldret, co-owner of Hello Salon in Laveen, Arizona, disinfects surfaces in the salon on May 7, in preparation for reopening after being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus. Ross D. Franklin/AP

It's Friday morning in the US. Here is what you need to know today:

  • The state of the economy: The Bureau of Labor Statistics' official jobs report was released this morning. It showed the unemployment rate rose to 14.7% as America lost 20.5 million jobs.
  • More than 40 states are at least partially reopened. But despite states loosening restrictions, there is still some confusion in terms of guidance from the federal government. The Trump administration has opted to ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's lengthy set of recommendations for reopening America, which lays out more detailed suggestions than White House guidelines shared last month.
  • The unexpected consequences of a pandemic: As many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis conducted by the national public health group Well Being Trust.
  • Trump is being tested for coronavirus daily. This comes after CNN learned a member of the US Navy who serves as one of Trump's personal valets has tested positive, raising concerns about the President's possible exposure to the virus.
  • Nurses are protesting the lack of protective equipment. Frontline workers gathered in front of the White House and placed 88 pairs of empty shoes on the ground –– one pair for the life of each nurse they say has been lost due inadequate personal protective equipment while fighting the coronavirus.
8:38 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Trump says he has not yet taken an antibody test, but will "probably soon" 

From Nikki Carvajal

President Trump said he has not taken a test to see if he has antibodies for coronavirus.

“No, I haven’t but we’re getting that, and we’re leading in that too. We’re leading in everything,” the President told Fox News Friday morning. “And I will do that.” 

Trump said he will take the test “probably soon.” 

“Some people had it that don't even know they had it, who knows. But we are going to be the antibody test that's made tremendous progress and at some point probably soon, I will be,” he said. 
9:07 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

April was the worst month for American jobs since the Great Depression

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Shuttered businesses are seen in Philadelphia on May 7.
Shuttered businesses are seen in Philadelphia on May 7. Matt Rourke/AP

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.

It was the largest single month of job losses since the BLS began tracking the data in 1939.

The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, the highest on record since the BLS began its monthly series in 1948.