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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4:03 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

North Carolina announces that testing is now available for anyone exposed to Covid-19

From CNN's Raja Razek

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response on May 5, at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh.
Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response on May 5, at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Travis Long/The News & Observer/AP

Phase one of North Carolina's reopening efforts will start at 5 p.m. today, Gov. Roy Cooper said.

"I urge everyone to do what we know works, and to stay vigilant," Cooper said. "And even though today at 5 p.m., North Carolina moves into phase one, know that the stay-at-home order is still in effect."

Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service Dr. Mandy Cohen also announced today that testing is now available for anyone exposed to Covid-19. 

"We also want anyone who has been exposed to Covid-19 to get a test whether or not you're having symptoms. So you don't have to have symptoms in order to get a test," Cohen said.

North Carolina has a total of 13,868 Covid-19 cases and 527 deaths.

6:18 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Everyone who deplaned Air Force 2 this morning has tested negative for coronavirus

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

The six staffers who deplaned from Air Force 2 at Joint Base Andrews earlier this morning tested for negative for coronavirus, a senior administration official told the pool traveling with Vice President Pence.

This comes after Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, tested positive for coronavirus. 

President Trump said that Miller has not come into contact with him but noted that she has been in contact with Pence.

Pence was traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, to participate in a discussion with faith leaders on responsible religious and spiritual gatherings, followed by a roundtable on securing the food supply this morning.

See the latest on the White House's response:

3:49 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Trump on phase four stimulus package: "We're in no rush"

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican lawmakers, in the State Dining Room of the White House, on May 8.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican lawmakers, in the State Dining Room of the White House, on May 8. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump said on Friday that the White House is “in no rush” to pass additional stimulus funds in response to coronavirus. 

“Well we’re in no rush, we’re in no rush. The Democrats have to do what they have to do, but I would say we’re not looking… we want to see what they have, but I can't say that we’re in a rush,” Trump said.

The President added that his administration had moved quickly to distribute the money already allocated by Congress, which he said they did. Although he noted that some money is stalled due to “state machinery, you know they have old computers.”

Trump also claimed that Democrats wanted to send funds that way and they should take responsibility for stalled funds.

Some background: CNN’s Manu Raju reported earlier that Republican leadership in the House and Senate don’t want to move forward with phase four yet, with divisions internally over a number of issues like aid to states and cities.

There will likely be GOP resistance to the rescue package House Democrats are in the process of drafting. They could vote on it as soon as next week.

6:14 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

California voters will receive mail-in ballots for November election

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot for the November election, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during his daily pandemic briefing.

The state is not moving to mail-only, however, and in-person voting will remain an option.

“Mail in voting is important, but it is not an exclusive substitute to physical locations,” the governor said, noting that some people are simply not comfortable mailing in a ballot

“This election is slated to be the most consequential election of our lifetime,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “We remain committed to providing as many safe, in-person opportunities to as possible on and before Election Day.”

The postage on ballots will be pre-paid, Padilla added.

3:37 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Florida will allow barber shops and salons to reopen on Monday

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the reopening of barber shops, hair salons and nail salons in all counties currently in Phase I of the state’s reopening plan starting Monday.

DeSantis made the announcement on Twitter using a video message recorded by J Henry, the owner of J Henry’s Barber Shop in downtown Orlando. 

According to a graphic within the video, the reopening includes enhanced safety protocols such as wearing gloves and a mask.

"I know everyone is happy to come out and support the barber shop, but we want to continue to keep one thing in mind: safety is always first," J Henry said in the video.

See the tweet:

5:58 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Trump on attending event with WWII veterans without a mask: "We were very far away"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez 

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

Asked if he considered wearing a mask during a ceremony with World War II veterans, President Trump said Friday afternoon, “No, because I was very far away from them.” 

“We were very far away,” Trump said, adding, “Plus the wind was blowing hard in such a direction that if the plague ever reached them I might be very surprised. It could have reached me, too. You didn’t worry about me. You only worried about them.”

What this is about: Earlier today, Trump participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the WWII Memorial to commemorate 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.

Earlier, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked whether Trump gave any consideration to wearing a mask while meeting with the veterans, since a presidential valet recently tested positive for the virus.

“Well this President is regularly tested. This President will make the decision as to whether to wear a mask or not. I can tell you that those veterans are protected. They made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first. They wanted to be with their commander in chief on this momentous day,” McEnany said. 

“It was their choice to come here and I can tell you that the President always puts the safety of our veterans first,” she added.

See Trump honor VE Day with veterans:

6:14 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

California will issue further reopening guidance on Tuesday

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Closed shopfronts in what would be a normally busy fashion district in Los Angeles, California on May 4.
Closed shopfronts in what would be a normally busy fashion district in Los Angeles, California on May 4. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

More than two dozen California counties have reached out to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office to talk about lifting even more restrictions in order to reopen further.

Newsom plans to make more reopening announcements on a consistent basis, he said, and that will begin with subsequent guidelines coming on Tuesday.

Those guidelines will be issued by sector, with a frame of flexibility, and will provide clarification hand washing, sanitation, addressing need for pickups and how to make that safer for employees and customers.

Acknowledging deep anxiety people are feeling and a desire to reopen, Newsom said, “We will move through phase two together as a state.” 

Today, 70% of the state’s economy can reopen with modifications, Newsom indicated. It’s not 100% and won’t deliver the same revenue that companies are used to, and says “businesses may not thrive, but will survive��� with the state’s support, the governor said.

3:14 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Chicago mayor introduces five-phase plan for reopening the city

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk down the street in Chicago, on May 7.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk down the street in Chicago, on May 7. Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced the five-phase "Protecting Chicago" plan for reopening the city during a news conference Friday afternoon.

The five-phase outlines how and when businesses can safely reopen, employees can return to work and residents can resume recreational activities.

The first four phases require people to continue to social distance and wear face masks to help, Lightfoot said.

Here's a look at the phases:

  • The first phase included strict physical distancing measures and only allowed essential workers to report to work.
  • The second phase, which Lightfoot believes the city is currently in, allows residents to go out for essential activities and exercise while wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.
  • The city will move to phase three when the science and data allows. It includes limited reopenings and nonessential employees returning to their workplaces in phases, Lightfoot said. Public amenities will also be reopening in a limited capacity.
  • If the indicators show that it is safe, phase four will allow for more reopenings, with additional businesses and public amenities becoming available, along with more restrictions.
  • The fifth phase would be a complete reopening of the city and businesses with possible caveats in place, such as workplace screening and testing, Lightfoot said.
2:55 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Boston cancels summer parades and festivals

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty and Elise Hammond

All parades and festivals in Boston are canceled for the summer, up to and including Labor Day on Sept. 7, due to coronavirus concerns, Mayor Marty Walsh announced today.

"While we're planning a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery process, I know this announcement will be disappointing to many residents and organizations that look forward to these events each year," said Walsh said in a statement.

Smaller events will be looked at by a “case by case basis,” Walsh said at a news conference Friday.

The city is looking for “creative alternatives” for the large-scale events that the city hosts, he continued.

"This is a hard public health decision, but it's the right one. I encourage people to rethink their events, and thank them for their work to inspire us, and help our communities get through this difficult time," he continued.

The city is encouraging organizers to host virtual events instead.