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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1:50 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Rhode Island restaurants can reopen with outdoor dining beginning May 18

From CNN’s Will Brown

Rhode Island restaurants can reopen outdoor dining areas beginning May 18, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday.

Restaurants will need to comply with several regulations that Raimondo says will ensure Rhode Island “can live safely with the virus.”

Here are the requirements:

  • Groups will be required to make a reservation, cannot exceed five people, and must provide their contact information for potential contact tracing.
  • Tables must be spaced eight feet apart or separated by barriers.
  • Menus, condiments, and utensils should be single use or must be sanitized in between groups.
  • Cashless transactions are recommended, and valet service is not permitted.

Rhode Island has created a team of inspectors that will visit businesses to confirm compliance with reopening guidelines.

  

1:52 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

New Jersey officials call for federal stimulus funds for states

From CNN's Julian Cummings

Senator Bob Menendez speaks at a press conference in Hackensack, New Jersey on Thursday, April 2.
Senator Bob Menendez speaks at a press conference in Hackensack, New Jersey on Thursday, April 2. Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Gov. Phil Murphy called on Congress to pass legislation for federal aid for states.

Singling out Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Murphy said, “Sen. McConnell, good luck tapping N.J. for your next project in Kentucky if New Jersey has nothing to give because you refuse to help us restart and recover.”

Murphy called the financial situation in New Jersey a “fiscal disaster” and said that it is “not months away, hard and unpalatable decisions are being made here and now.”

Menendez said that a “Covid4 stimulus” will include state aid and that he thinks there is bipartisan momentum for the bill.

“New Jersey can’t do it alone and it requires a national response. We did not choose to lose more than 9,000 residents…We did not choose to have our economy decimated and our state and local governments besieged by the soaring costs of the virus at a time when tax revenues have all but dried up," Menendez said at the new conference.

1:46 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Temporary hospital in Washington, DC, will be ready to accept patients tomorrow

From CNN's Alison Main

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, speaks during a press conference at a temporary field hospital at the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington, DC on May 11.
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, speaks during a press conference at a temporary field hospital at the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington, DC on May 11. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled an alternative care site that will be used to provide hospitals with additional capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.

The temporary hospital was set up at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and holds 437 beds. The facility is ready to accept 100 patients this week and is on track to be operational tomorrow, the mayor said.

Peter Gaynor, administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said FEMA has committed to $56 million for the US Army Corps of Engineers' medical surge support facilities in DC, which includes convention center.

However, Bowser emphasized that the site is only meant to serve as an "insurance policy" to provide additional capacity if hospitals become overwhelmed. DC hospitals are currently at 71% capacity. 

By the numbers: As of today, there were at least 6,389 positive coronavirus cases and 328 deaths in Washington, DC. 

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director for the DC Department of Health, said that the District is still expected to reach its peak in late May.

1:42 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Fauci on possibility of full NFL season: "The virus will make the decision for us"

From CNN's David Close

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on April 29.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on April 29. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “the virus will make the decision for us" in response to a question on whether or not the NFL should expect to play out their full 2020 season.

In an interview with NBCSports, Fauci expanded that the NFL has the summer months to see how the virus narrative plays out. 

“I think it’s feasible that negative testing players could play to an empty stadium. Is it guaranteed? No way . . . It’s going to depend. Like, right now, if you fast forward, and it is now September. The season starts. I say you can’t have a season — it’s impossible. There’s too much infection out there. It doesn’t matter what you do. But I would hope that by the time you get to September it’s not gonna be the way it is right now.”

A member of the White House's coronavirus task force, Fauci told NBCSports.com that players will need to be tested multiple times a week and understand that star players could be forced to quarantine for 14 days — possibly missing two game weeks — with a Covid-19 positive test result.

"This is a respiratory virus, so it’s going to be spread by shedding virus...Sweat as such won’t transmit it. But if people are in such close contact as football players are on every single play, then that’s the perfect set up for spreading. I would think that if there is an infected football player on the field — a middle linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is it — as soon as they hit the next guy, the chances are that they will be shedding virus all over that person ... If you really want to be in a situation where you want to be absolutely certain, you’d test all the players before the game … Those who are infected: Sorry, you’re sidelined. Those who are free: Get in there and play.”

Fauci said that the NFL has not reached out to speak with him.

1:46 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Navajo Nation president says he supports Sioux tribes in South Dakota

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Jonathan Nez addresses a crowd after he was sworn in as president of the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance, Ariz.
Jonathan Nez addresses a crowd after he was sworn in as president of the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance, Ariz. Felicia Fonseca/AP

Navajo Nation's President Jonathan Nez says he fully supports South Dakota Sioux tribes in refusing to take down checkpoints that the governor says are illegal because they're hoping to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in their communities.

"We have to use our own sovereign ability to govern ourselves, and that's why we have to go as far as saying we're going to cut off traffic," Nez said. "We've been cutting off traffic to our Navajo Nation as well and telling people our tourism destinations are closed."

He also credited Arizona, Utah and New Mexico for working with Navajo Nation during the pandemic.

"That is partnership here because we are all in this together. What affects the Navajo Nation affects the states and vice versa. I'm hoping the South Dakota governor sees the same thing here. We've all got to work together to help our citizens."

He said that while Navajo Nation is testing its people aggressively, the coronavirus pandemic has "shed light on the inadequacy of our public health system" among the tribal communities.

1:17 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

More than 22,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 in Louisiana

From CNN’s Kay Jones

The Louisiana Department of Health reported Monday that more than 22,600 people have recovered from coronavirus.

Health officials on Monday reported at least 31,815 cases of coronavirus and 2,242 deaths.

Orleans Parish continued to report low numbers, with 11 new cases and two deaths reported. Jefferson Parish reported 46 new cases and five new deaths. 

4:00 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

68% of Americans say an available vaccine is very important before returning to normal life, new survey finds

From CNN's Grace Sparks

Two new Gallup surveys show how stay-at-home behavior and attitudes towards the pandemic have changed in the last month.

Here were some of the key findings:

Small gatherings: Fewer people avoiding small gatherings than were doing so last month, one survey found.

  • Around 74% of Americans say they’re avoiding small gatherings — that's down slightly from 80% who said so in mid-April, an indication that some are starting to break their quarantines and return to their lives.
  • The avoidance of small gatherings has decreased mostly among independents and Republicans — down 10 percentage points since mid-April among independents to 74% and down 7 percentage points to 60% among Republicans.

Visiting family and friends: Gallup also found more people now say they are going to visit others in their homes.

  • About 16% of Americans reported they have visited someone else’s home or apartment in the last 24 hours, an uptick since March.

Return to normal life: Another release from Gallup finds 80% say that in order for them to be willing to return to normal life, it is very important for those who test positive for Covid-19 to enter mandatory quarantines.

  • Nearly three-quarters consider it very important for there to be a significant reduction in the number of new cases or deaths before they’d be willing to return to their regular activities, and 68% rate the availability of a vaccine as very important. About 6 in 10 people call widespread testing to identify and monitor infections very important.
  • Those factors, few of which are in place in any of the places where reopening has begun, were rated as far more important than their state government telling them to restart regular life — however, 39% call that very important.

CLARIFICATION: The headline on this post was updated to clarify that the survey found 68% of Americans say an available vaccine is very important before returning to normal life. The post was also clarified to emphasize that respondents were rating the importance of each benchmark to their willingness to return to regular activities.

1:11 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Detroit teachers union says members shouldn't volunteer to proctor AP exams

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

The Detroit Federation of Teachers released a statement Monday advising its members not to volunteer for service in the city's public school buildings after teachers at one school were asked to proctor in-person Advanced Placement (AP) exams beginning this week.

Three million students across the country will take AP exams this year, according to the College Board, which administers the exams.

In Detroit, 900 students take AP courses, according to the district, and 100 students either did not connect with the College Board to get the technology necessary, or do not have internet access. The district says it wants to help those students earn college credit.

“Although we can provide AP students with laptops for the test that could be returned, we cannot provide internet access until June/July. Therefore, the Executive Order regarding the closing of schools does allow schools to be used for distance learning and other activities such as food distribution," said Chrystal Wilson, spokesperson the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), in a statement.

"In this case, it would be permissible under the Order for a small number of staff (25), mainly school-based administrators and volunteer teachers to facilitate the exam, across a 10-day period at nine schools across the city,” Wilson wrote.

The district says it will provide masks and gloves for students and school personnel and social distancing will be enforced at nine schools.

Steve Conn, a math teacher for Western International High School, part of this Detroit district, said he was shocked when he received an email last week asking him to proctor an exam at his school, where some students are expected to take the AP calculus exam on Tuesday.

"I think this is a terrible idea," Conn responded in an email to Western International's Assistant Principal Marsha Lewis. He provided a copy of the email to CNN.

"It means inviting people to let down their guard and take the UNNECESSARY RISK of contracting the disease, and either getting sick themselves, or taking it home with them to infect their families," he wrote. CNN has reached out to Lewis for a response.

Terrence Martin, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said in a statement, "We continue to be concerned that the district administration has yet to provide a comprehensive plan to ensure COVID-19 related safety for our Members. Therefore, please be advised that you are not required to proctor AP tests next week. In fact, Members should not volunteer to provide service in DPSCD buildings at this time."

1:15 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

The second lady's staff has been teleworking since March 17

From CNN's Kate Bennett

Second Lady Karen Pence speaks during an Earth Day and Arbor Day tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 22.
Second Lady Karen Pence speaks during an Earth Day and Arbor Day tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 22. Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Second lady Karen Pence has not met in person with her team in almost two months. 

“Mrs. Pence’s staff has been teleworking since March 17,” Pence’s communications director Kara Brooks told CNN.

Brooks added she is one of those working from home. Additionally, Brooks confirmed that Pence restricted the One Observatory Circle’s residence manager and deputy residence manager to teleworking only, also on March 17.