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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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

WFXT
WFXT

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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4:13 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Catch up: Here are today's top coronavirus headlines in the US

From CNN's Elise Hammond

It's 2:30 p.m. ET in the US. If you're just tuning in, here's what you need to know:

  • Vaccine development: The World Health Organization says 110 potential Covid-19 vaccines are in development around the world — eight of those are in clinical trials.
  • More emergency federal funding: House Democrats are finalizing their new stimulus bill, according to Democratic sources, with one senior aide saying it’s more likely that the bill will be introduced tomorrow.
  • White House outbreak: People inside Vice President Mike Pence's office are concerned more staffers have been infected, a source close to the vice president tells CNN. They said officials are waiting to see if somebody comes back positive after they spent the weekend attempting to do contact tracing for Katie Miller, Pence’s press secretary who tested positive last week.
  • Food workers: The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union estimates at least 30 meatpacking plant workers have died, and more than 10,000 meat plant workers have been infected or exposed to Covid-19. 
  • Airline industry: At least 3,162 planes were grounded on Sunday, representing 51% of the fleet in the US, according to Airlines for America, which represents major air carriers. But, the number of air travelers on Mother’s Day weekend climbed to levels not seen since March, according to Transportation Security Administration figures.  
  • New York's reopening plan: The state will start a phased reopening on May 15. This includes starting with construction, manufacturing, retail (for curbside pickup), agriculture, forestry and fishing. New York is also investigated 93 cases of young children that have Covid-related diseases.
  • Stay-at-home attitudes: New surveys by Gallup show that many people think that a mandatory quarantine for people who test positive and the availability of a vaccine need to be in place before they'd be willing to return to normal life.
3:18 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

New Orleans reports nearly 77% of coronavirus deaths in city are African Americans

From CNN's Kay Jones

 WVUE-DT
WVUE-DT

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, speaking at a news conference today, said that of the 470 deaths in the parish associated with Covid-19, 360 are African American and 99 are white.

Orleans Parish currently has 6,693 cases, with 11 new cases and two new deaths reported on Monday. 

Dr. Jennifer Avegno, the director of the New Orleans Health Department, spoke about the milestones the city needs to meet in order to reopen, including a decline in new cases and testing capacity. 

Avegno said that the city has seen at least 28 days of sustained decline in new cases. With a threshold of low numbers set at around 50, which is 90% below peak, the city has met that milestone for weeks now. 

She said that roughly 3% of those tested through the mobile testing being conducted by the city are positive. This is down from a high of 20%. Avegno said the city has met that milestone as well.

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