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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11:26 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Minnesota bans indoor and outdoor graduation ceremonies

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The state of Minnesota is not allowing indoor or outdoor graduation ceremonies, according to new guidance put out today.

The guidelines were developed by a group of school leaders and the Minnesota Department of Health to give students and educators a way to honor their graduates, according to a press release issued by the state.

The guidance issued said the safest way to observe graduation or commencement is for people to stay home.

"Indoor graduations and ceremonies held outside in stadiums and footballs fields are not permitted," the guidance said. "There gatherings are not considered safe at any size and will not be permitted. Likewise, indoor graduations/commencement ceremonies will also not be permitted."

So what can graduates do? The state suggests that ceremonies be conducted remotely or virtually or hold parking lot celebrations where people stay in their cars with their windows up during the event. 

Contactless delivery or pick up is suggested for diplomas, caps and gowns.

11:01 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Catch up: Here's the latest coronavirus news

It's 11 a.m. ET in the US. Here's the latest updated on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • A historic jobs report: The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today — by far the most sudden and largest decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939.
  • More Americans could die: A 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.
  • California begins to reopen: The country's most populous state is taking its first significant step in reopening its economy today, with select retailers allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery options.
  • 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.
11:24 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Public transportation agencies request $32 billion in emergency federal aid

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Public transportation agencies are requesting emergency federal aid to help address the pandemic for the rest of 2020 and through 2021.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO is leading a coalition of 15 public transportation agencies who say they need an additional $32 billion, the MTA said in a news release.

The group, which serves communities who generate 35% of the nation’s GDP, wrote a letter to Senate and House of Representatives asking for the funding.

“We come together to request your urgent assistance in providing additional aid to public transportation agencies in the next COVID-19 relief bill,” the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reads.

The letter continues:

“Transit agencies often rely upon a variety of non-farebox revenue sources from our taxpayers and our state and local partners to support our day-to-day operations; many of our agencies are working to assess the impacts of revenue losses not covered by the CARES Act... Just as appropriations after natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and fires are allocated based on need, funds to address this crisis should be distributed based on the loss of non-federal revenues.”
10:43 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York City will limit the number of people allowed in some parks this weekend

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will limit the number of people that can go into some parks to help with social distancing, the mayor said at a news briefing Friday.

The mayor said they are experimenting with this idea and he hopes it will save lives. He said if it works, the city will expand and use it in other parks.

Hudson River Park Piers 45 and 46, both in Manhattan, will be under new experimental restrictions beginning this weekend after those parks got too crowded last weekend, the mayor said.

When people go into the park they will have limited time, de Blasio said.

Domino Park, in Brooklyn, will be monitored, according to the mayor.  

10:47 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

At least 163 homeless New Yorkers accepted help from the city last night

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities engaged 269 homeless New York City residents as subway were shut down to be cleaned last night.

At least 163 of them accepted help from the city, de Blasio said at a news briefing today, with 148 of them going to shelters and 15 to hospitals.

"This is good news and is pointing us in the right direction," he said.

Over the last three nights, at least 520 homeless people have been helped, according to the mayor.

"These results are literally historic," de Blasio said.

10:39 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Colorado extends state of disaster emergency for 30 days

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham and Hollie Silverman

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order extending the Disaster Emergency Declaration, according to a press release from his office sent out today.

Polis requested a Major Disaster Declaration on March 25 and it was approved by President Trump on March 28, according to the release.

The 30-day extension of this order will provide additional funding for the state's coronavirus response and extend the employment of the Colorado National Guard, the release said.

10:33 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York City is forming a "test and trace corps"

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that his administration is launching a “test and trace corps" to aid the city’s coronavirus containment efforts. 

The corps is tasked with testing New Yorkers for infection, tracing all cases and contacts and then supporting and caring for cases and their contacts. 

“We are going to be able to expand testing greatly," de Blasio said in a news conference.

"We want to find everyone who is positive and then trace all their close contacts,” de Blasio added. 

That tracing would then help the city “provide help” to those who need it. By May, the unit aims to house and deploy 1,000 public “health foot soldiers” to help with the efforts.

According to de Blasio, nearly 7,000 applications have already been received and are being evaluated for hiring. NYC will utilize the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19/Contact Tracing Training for all applicants who are being considered for contact tracing jobs

10:39 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

White House economic adviser predicts next jobs report will have higher unemployment numbers

Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, listens during a roundtable at the White House on April 29.
Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, listens during a roundtable at the White House on April 29. Alex Brandon/AP

Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to President Trump, said that the worst is yet to come for unemployment numbers. He expects the unemployment rate to reach a high of 25% in next month’s jobs report.

“If you add the initial claims that have come in after the survey week of the 12th, you're looking at well more than 30 million people that have had their lives really upended by this shutdown,” Hassett told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “And so I think that already, just looking at the claims we had since they did the survey that the data comes from, we’ve probably added about another 4% or 5% to the unemployment rate. And so probably the next number will be a little bit higher than this.”

The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, with the unemployment rate soaring to 14.7%, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released today.

“I think we’re going to enter a transition period this summer, before we have sort of another…re-ignition of the economy, and I think we're not quite in the transition period yet,” Hassett said. The unemployment numbers for African Americans and Hispanic Americans, which are at 16.7% and 18.9% respectively, is “something we're watching very, very closely,” Hassett said.


10:12 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Testing and supplies still a "substantial challenge," Infectious Disease Society says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The Infectious Diseases Society of America said as the US begins to open back up, there is still concern over the demand for tests and testing supplies. 

“Right now, in some locations in this country they don't have adequate testing to test all symptomatic patients. And so when you open up and you start testing people that are asymptomatic, you're going to put a lot of pressure on the supply chain,” Dr. Angela Caliendo, Secretary for the IDSA Board of Directors and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, said today. 

Testing and the supply chain “remains a substantial challenge for all of us,” Caliendo said. 

“We're hoping that as weeks go by, that the manufacturers will be able to increase their production of these tests,” Caliendo said.

As reopening progresses, Caliendo said the role of antibody testing, also known as serology testing, will come into play. 

The US needs to “figure out the role of serology and be able to ramp up serology testing over the course of the next couple of weeks to months to have a better idea of who in your population has been infected, who has not.”