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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1:15 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. 

12:43 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New task force launched in Texas to ensure internet access across the state

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Gillian Barbour, a senior education student at Texas State University, works on her distance learning classes at home in El Paso, Texas, on March 30.
Gillian Barbour, a senior education student at Texas State University, works on her distance learning classes at home in El Paso, Texas, on March 30. Mark Lambie /El Paso Times/USA Today

Gov. Greg Abbott, along with the Texas Education Agency and the Dallas Independent School District, launched Operation Connectivity Friday in an effort to deliver internet to students across the state as schools remain closed due to coronavirus, according to a statement from the governor's office.

A task force has been put together for Operation Connectivity to gather information on where internet is and isn't available, identify best practices for at-home student learning, and "secure technology solutions for broadband and devices," the statement said.

"With students learning remotely for the time being, it’s more important than ever for all our students to be able to access academic content at home. In order for that to happen, all students in Texas need access to computers and/or tablets, and internet outside of the classroom," Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said in the statement.

The task force will meet each month to review progress and address issues that arise.

12:24 p.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Federal government to begin "phased transition" back to work, new notice says

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Alex Marquardt

As various states begin to reopen, the federal government has taken a small, but significant step in that direction with the agency that serves a human resources function for the rest of the agencies issuing a new notice on its website about a “phased transition.”

The Office of Personnel Management has updated its operating status for federal agencies on transitioning to normal working operations for government employees.

OPM replaced language about teleworking on Thursday night, now saying the federal government would “begin a phased transition to normal operations in line with the national guidelines to open up American again.” 

The guidance went on to say that agencies would “make operating decisions based on state or locality of duty stations and other factors” and told employees to contact their supervisors with questions. 

Washington, DC calling for extended telework: Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has not yet made a decision on reopening the city, said her administration has been in touch with OPM during the crisis but did not appear aware of the new notice. 

Bowser said that the District’s position is still that “the majority stay on telework as long as possible.”

In an April letter, she told the agency, “we know that a continued federal telework policy will help save lives by allowing more of our region’s 360,000 federal employees to work from home.”

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: