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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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.” 

10:07 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

New York City mayor: "We're not out of the woods"

At least 102 people were hospitalized for coronavirus in New York City on Wednesday, up from the 79 hospitalizations reported on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday morning.

"Most days lately we've been under 100 new hospital admissions for Covid-19, that's amazing, but we're not out of the woods," he said. 

"The big picture is unquestionably good, but still, day to day we're still not where we need to be, we've got more work to do ... still overall much, much, lower numbers — good sign in the bigger scheme of things, not yet what we need to take the next towards loosening restrictions," de Blasio added.


10:00 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

We don’t know enough about antibody tests to know how to use them, expert says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Covid-19 antibody tests process at the Diagnostic and Wellness Center in Torrance, California, on May 5.
Covid-19 antibody tests process at the Diagnostic and Wellness Center in Torrance, California, on May 5. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) said there are too many unknowns when it comes to coronavirus antibody tests to know what to do with the results.

“We don't have enough information about the performance of these tests to know ideally how to use them,” 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 on Friday.

Caliendo said antibody tests are a “hot topic,” with many unanswered questions. 

“There's so much interest for this test that there's tremendous pressure to offer it, and then you’re left with not being sure how to interpret it," Caliendo said.

“I think we need to understand the test better. We need to understand what does it mean if you're truly – if the test is accurate and you have antibody – what does that mean? Does that mean you're protected from additional future infection? We don't know that,” Caliendo said. 

Caliendo said she is worried what patients would do with the results.

“If they think they've been infected when they're not, they may think they don't have to abide by social distancing, which would be a big problem," she said.

Caliendo said this is the best advice for patients: “If you test positive, do not assume you're immune from the infection. Do not assume that you don't have to abide by social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands and doing all of that because that would be a misguided decision.”

9:49 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

Dow climbs 300 points despite worst jobs report ever

From CNN’s Matt Egan

US stocks opened sharply higher Friday even after the American jobs market suffered its biggest blow ever, with the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7% and blowing past the worst levels of the Great Recession.

Here's where things opened today:

  • The Dow jumped 330 points, or 1.4%.
  • The S&P 500 advanced 1.1%.
  • The Nasdaq climbed 0.8%, leaving it up nearly 1% on the year.

Reasons for the climb: Although Main Street is reeling from the coronavirus crisis, Wall Street is looking forward to the potential for better days ahead.

As awful as these numbers are, investors had been bracing for the bad news. In fact, economists had expected an even bigger loss of jobs and a 16% unemployment rate.

9:47 a.m. ET, May 8, 2020

People can now collect their own saliva samples at home for coronavirus testing

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A Covid-19 saliva test that recently received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration is now authorized to allow patients to collect their own samples at home for testing.

Rutgers University announced today that its RUCDR Infinite Biologics lab received an amended emergency use authorization from the FDA late Thursday.

The new authorization for the lab's Covid-19 saliva test now allows people to collect their own saliva at home and send their saliva samples to a lab for results. Testing for Covid-19 so far has usually involved nose or throat swab samples.

Using saliva to diagnose novel coronavirus infections could expand testing capacities across the United States.

"What’s new and next is expanding access to testing for people," Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics lab, told CNN.

"If people are committed to do self-collection and can facilitate that collection at home, certainly with a prescription under medical care, we can get to those that are quarantined, don’t have the means for transportation or are too scared to go outside," Brooks said. "So they get the test in the mail or from a distribution center."

How it works: Once an at-home collection kit for the testing arrives in the mail, Brooks said that it includes instructions on how to spit into a funnel to collect a saliva sample and seal with a cap to preserve the sample.

Then a preservation agent will appear, blue in color, and once the whole sample is blue, the user puts the sample back in a biohazard bag provided with the kit and send your sample to a lab for testing.

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."