Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:00 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020
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4:07 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

West Virginia governor outlines state's reopening plans

From CNN's Taylor Romine

West Virginia Governor's office
West Virginia Governor's office

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said if states continue to stay closed, it will lead the country into a depression, and that could cause joblessness, starvation and could cause millions of deaths.

There was "no choice in the matter" but to try and get back to work, Justice said at a news briefing Monday where he outlined more plans for how the state will reopen.

He also discussed how Vice President Pence "nudged" states to get back to work during a call with the nation's governors today.

When asked by a reporter about what Pence said about reopening the economy on the call, Justice said the vice president is encouraging states to start that process.

"You know, there's a real movement to encourage, I'm not going to say push, but encourage more and more and more reopening," Justice said. "And in West Virginia, while it looks like that we're reopening things, you know we are going really slow. Really, really slow compared to a lot of others."

Justice said that starting Friday, guided fishing tours could reopen under strict guidelines.

On May 21, indoor dining at 50% capacity will be allowed, as well as large specialty retailers and some outdoor activities.

Other no-contact outdoor sports facilities, like baseball and soccer fields, will start to reopen on June 8.

3:15 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Western states ask federal government for $1 trillion in relief

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The states in the Western Pact — California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada — are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in aid to help deal with the financial effects of the pandemic.

A letter signed by all five states was sent to Congress today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday.

California alone is seeing record unemployment with 4.5 million people filing claims just since March 12. The state has paid out $13.1 billion in unemployment insurance claims in that time, Newsom said.

The state’s unemployment rate currently stands at about 20%, but Newsom predicts it could rise to nearly 25%.

3:18 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Pennsylvania reports its lowest number of new Covid-19 cases since March

From CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine Pool

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine told reporters Monday that the state had seen 543 new cases in the past day, marking the lowest number of new cases reported on a single day since March 28.

That makes the statewide total 57,154 confirmed positive cases across 67 counties. At least 3,790 of those have been health care workers, 11,801 among residents of long-term care facilities, Levine said.

Pennsylvania also reported 24 new deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide total of confirmed deaths to 3,731, according to Levine. 

Levine cautioned that it’s still too early to tell whether this data is indicative of a downward trend.

“We have noticed for weeks now, maybe months, that there tends to be decreased reporting on the weekend, especially if there's a holiday and yesterday was Mother's Day. So we're going to have to see as data comes in this week if that's one day's reporting or if that's a trend. So, we'll see,” Levine said.

3:28 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

New memo directs White House staffers entering the West Wing to wear a mask 

From CNN's Kristen Holmes

Santi Visalli/Getty Images/FILE
Santi Visalli/Getty Images/FILE

A memo went out to White House staffers today saying it is now required for all staffers entering West Wing to wear a face covering, a source familiar tells CNN.

It also said that face coverings would be available in the medical office. Additionally the memo told staffers to follow social distancing guidelines and placed restrictions on guests.

Some background: Trump administration officials spent the weekend scrambling as they attempted to do contact tracing for Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary who tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Aides were also trying to determine who came into contact with the military valet who tested positive last week. It appeared the valet's contacts with other members of the West Wing staff were limited, but there remain some concern among other valets and staff.

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3:10 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

At least 5 Covid-19 cases in Ohio started as early as January

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Health Director Dr. Amy Acton
Health Director Dr. Amy Acton The Ohio Channel

Antibody testing determined that the date of onset for five different cases of Covid-19 in Ohio had been as early as January, the state's Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said today. The cases were in five different counties.

“I think we’ll see a lot more of this. I also think there are a lot of deaths and coroner reports yet to be seen, so I think as time goes on, we will learn more and more about history with this virus,” Acton said.

She also announced that Ohio will begin sample testing across the state, with 1,200 samples to be taken on a voluntary basis.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio is now at a testing capacity of 14,275 tests per day, but that in a couple weeks, that number should be at 20,000 to 22,000 tests per day.

The latest numbers: The state today is reporting at least 696 additional cases of Covid-19 on Monday, for a total of at least 24,777 cases. There was also 16 new deaths in the state, bringing the total to at least 1,356.

Dr. Acton said overall, the trends in numbers for the state are staying very plateaued.

3:00 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Agitated customers lob verbal abuse at 17-year-old ice cream shop employee after store reopening

From CNN's Jason Kurtz


A teen girl was subjected to verbal abuse as a local ice cream shop struggled to follow social-distancing protocols while keeping up with unexpected demand.

"I thought I had a pretty good plan, everything was going well, the people were ordering online at least an hour ahead," said Mark Lawrence, owner of "Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour" in Mashpee, Massachusetts.

However the store ultimately became unable to provide the ice cream fast enough to meet the steady stream of customers.

"People start to get very agitated. We were only doing curbside pick up, so you have to sit in your car in the parking lot. Some people would get out of their car... and it was like, 'No, get back in your car, or don't have ice cream.'"

And that's when customers became unruly, Lawrence told CNN.

"The wheels fell off the bus because we couldn't produce that much product to get out the door in a timely enough fashion," he said.

"It was like you let caged animals out of their cage after being in it for seven to eight weeks and then they took it on the easiest prey, they took it all out on this poor 17-year-old girl," Lawrence added.

The unpleasant experience ultimately led to the teen resigning 20 minutes after her shift.

"F-bombs were flying like snowflakes... we shouldn't call anybody some of the words that were used," Lawrence said.

After closing up shop following the incidents, Polar Cave has since reopened, this time with overwhelming success.

"Saturday was a whole new ball game. It was wonderful. People ordered, they came when they were supposed to come," he said.

2:44 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

44% of Rhode Island coronavirus cases are in Latino patients

From CNN’s Will Brown

 Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott
Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott Pool

Latinos account for 44% of Rhode Island’s coronavirus cases, despite only making up about 16% of the state’s overall population, Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said Monday.

Gov. Gina Raimondo faced criticism in a news conference that her administration’s outreach to the Latino community has been insufficient. Raimondo disagreed, arguing that her team has “doubled down” on outreach with targeted radio, TV and Facebook interviews.

“We are working overtime to communicate to the Latino community,” Raimondo said. “To suggest that it’s just a small effort isn’t true.”


2:43 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Iowa got its shipment of remdesivir over the weekend, governor says

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

State of Iowa
State of Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said that her state received its first shipment of possible coronavirus treatment remdesivir over the weekend.  

She said there has already been a call with doctors and pharmacists, and there will be a second call this afternoon between the State Medical Director and Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati and the Department of Public Health to discuss distribution throughout the state.  

"So they will put the parameters together and agree to what that distribution looks like based on who benefits the most from the drug," the governor said.   

Reynolds also said the state is working to make sure doctors on the frontlines of fighting the virus are able to consult with "someone who has experience with the drug." 

About the drug: Remdesivir is the first and only drug shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus in a rigorous trial. Its effects are modest but significant — shortening a patient's hospital stay by about four days. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, has called it the new "standard of care" for Covid-19.

As it stands now, there's only enough remdesivir in the world for about 200,000 patients, according to the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences

3:12 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

MLB and players association in talks to begin baseball season

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) are starting conversations aimed at beginning the 2020 MLB season with the approval of local governments and health officials, according to a source with knowledge of MLB operations. 

The MLB source tells CNN that league and team leadership are gathering for their weekly meeting today to discuss plans to get back on the field and the safety and economic conditions that would need to be met to do so.  

However, lines are already being drawn regarding key financial terms previously outlined in a March agreement on how much players would be paid in a shortened season. The potential financial snag could create a public relations nightmare for the sport at the worst possible time. As unemployment hits depression era levels, and the world economy struggles to reopen, this is not the kind of game that the fans want to see being played.

Under the terms of the March agreement, MLB players received a $170 million salary advance. In exchange for that advance, the MLBPA agreed not to challenge the loss of their 2020 salaries if the season were to be canceled and to accept prorated salaries if a partial season is played.

An excerpt of that March agreement provided to CNN indicates that if MLB games cannot be staged in teams' home stadiums in front of spectators, the MLB and MLBPA agree to hold good faith discussions about the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at neutral sites. MLB's position is that those discussions could include asking players to take further salary reductions. 

The MLB Players Association is balking at the idea of reopening the discussion of players' salaries. 

"Players recently reached an agreement with Major League Baseball that outlines economic terms for resumption of play, which included significant salary adjustments and a number of other compromises. That negotiation is over. We’re now focused on discussing ways to get back on the field under conditions that prioritize the health and wellbeing of players and their families, coaches, umpires, team staff and fans," MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said in a statement.

A separate source with knowledge of the MLBPA's position tells CNN that MLB owners are in no need of a financial bailout from MLB players. The source echoes Clark's position that the salary issue was previously settled in the March agreement, which provided the owners with flexibility to adjust their revenue sharing this season.

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