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
9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:05 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Air traffic for Mother's Day weekend hit highest level since March

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Travelers make their way through Pittsburgh International Airport on May 7.
Travelers make their way through Pittsburgh International Airport on May 7. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The number of air travelers this Mother’s Day weekend climbed to levels not seen since March, according to Transportation Security Administration figures.  

More than 215,000 people passed through airport security checkpoints on Friday, the data show. The last time TSA screened more than 200,000 people was on March 26. 

How it compares to last year: The rate of people traveling compared to last year’s figures peaked on Saturday, when the agency screened 8.5% of the approximately 2 million it screened on the equivalent day last year.  

The rate of people screened at TSA checkpoints compared to 2019 has climbed nearly every day since mid-April. 

The checkpoint data includes passengers, crew members and some airport personnel who work in secure areas of airports.  

8:52 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

White House spent the weekend trying to figure out how virus spread to staffers

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, helps prepare for a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on March 10.
Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, helps prepare for a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on March 10. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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.

They had not identified who Miller contracted the virus from as of Sunday, raising concerns inside the White House about how to contain the outbreak.

Some aides expressed concern at how today would proceed without greater clarity on how the virus had originated and spread. One official said it wasn’t certain which colleagues would stay home. Some officials who had extended contact with Miller announced they would self-quarantine, while others who had similar contact with her did not.

Meanwhile 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. 

President Trump’s top aides were repeatedly tested throughout the weekend and a trip to Camp David was called off in part because of concerns about coronavirus, two people familiar with the situation told CNN. One official said the weather also played an additional factor in scrapping the trip. A slew of officials, including the President, were at Camp David the weekend before with Katie Miller. 

10:38 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

It's Monday morning. Here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

It's Monday morning in the US. If you're just catching up, here are the biggest updates to start your morning:

  • More projected deaths: A leading coronavirus prediction model has upped its projected US death toll as more states inch toward resuming normal activities. The model now forecasts more than 137,000 Americans will die by early August, a rise they say is due to more people traveling and interacting with each other.
  • Where the country stands on reopening: States began setting reopening plans in late April — with governors in South Carolina and Georgia leading the way with some of the most aggressive plans — and by this week, nearly every state has begun relaxing restrictions.
  • White House officials in quarantine: Several prominent government figures are self-quarantining after being exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is engaging in what he calls a "modified quarantine" and will work from home.
  • Who has tested positive around Trump: Recently, President Trump's personal valet, the vice president's spokeswoman, Katie Miller, and Ivanka Trump's personal assistant (who has been teleworking for nearly two months) all tested positive for Covid-19 as well
8:34 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Predicted Covid-19 US death toll keeps rising with states reopening and more people moving around

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

People visit the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, as the area reopens on May 10.
People visit the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, as the area reopens on May 10. Eric Thayer/Getty Images

A leading model has upped its US coronavirus death toll projection again as governors continue lifting measures toward a reopening.

The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington now forecasts more than 137,000 Americans will die by early August.

That rise is largely due to Americans moving around more, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a news release, adding that in some places the upward trend in movements began before statewide measures were relaxed. Researchers tracked that movement through anonymous cell phone data, according to the release.

"Unless and until we see accelerated testing, contact tracing, isolating people who test positive, and widespread use of masks in public, there is a significant likelihood of new infections," Murray said in the release.

States began setting reopening plans in late April -- with governors in South Carolina and Georgia leading the way with some of the most aggressive plans -- and by this week, nearly every state has begun relaxing restrictions.

Despite not meeting guidelines put forth by the federal government, state leaders who laid out phased reopenings said they were guided by data and the advice of medical experts. But other public health officials gave dire warnings about the thousands of lives that could be lost with a premature relaxing of measures.

Read the full report here

8:32 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Mike Pence will not self-quarantine and plans to be at the White House Monday

By Jeremy Diamond, Paul LeBlanc and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Vice President Mike Pence listens during a meeting at the White House about the coronavirus response on May 7.
Vice President Mike Pence listens during a meeting at the White House about the coronavirus response on May 7. Evan Vucci/AP

Vice President Mike Pence is not planning to enter self-quarantine after his press secretary tested positive for coronavirus on Friday and plans to be at the White House on Monday, his office said.

Pence spokesperson Devin O'Malley said the vice president "will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine."

"Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow," O'Malley said in the statement Sunday.

The announcement comes as the White House continues to urge governors to begin reopening their states even as the virus has edged closer to the West Wing with news that top members of the coronavirus task force will self-quarantine, in some form, after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for the virus.

An official said there is extreme sensitivity inside the White House at the current state of affairs with officials recognizing the contradiction in telling states to reopen while the White House enhances protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The official said Pence's schedule will probably be on the lighter side in the coming days, but that he's not doing a full self-quarantine.

Those steps come after President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus. The President said that Miller has not come into contact with him but noted that she has been in contact with Pence.

"She's a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive," Trump said during a meeting with Republican members of Congress at the White House.

Read the full report here.

WATCH:

6:55 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Nearly 80,000 people have died in the US from coronavirus

At least 79,528 people have died in the US from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest tally of cases in the country.

There are at least 1,329,799 recorded cases of the disease in the US.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

CNN is tracking Covid-19 cases across the US here.

6:39 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Musk threatens to move Tesla headquarters out of California after shelter-in-place rules extended

From CNN Business's Shannon Liao

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Satellite Conference and Exhibition in Washington on March 9.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Satellite Conference and Exhibition in Washington on March 9. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Tesla filed a suit Saturday night against Alameda County, California, after local officials there refused to let the company reopen its Fremont factory.

In a series of tweets earlier Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also threatened to move the company's headquarters to Texas or Nevada, where shelter-in-place rules are less restrictive.

"Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately," Musk tweeted. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The automaker had planned to allow a fraction of its factory workers to return to work by Friday, but was warned by the Alameda County Health Department in a livestreamed town hall on Friday that such a move would be violating the county's rules.

"This has been a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla's factory," the Alameda Health Department responded on Saturday in a statement to CNN Business.

"The team at Tesla has been responsive to our guidance and recommendations, and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon."

8:33 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

CDC director self-quarantining after exposure to person at the White House who tested positive

From CNN's Wesley Bruer and Jeremy Diamond

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks about the novel coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 22.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks about the novel coronavirus during a briefing at the White House on April 22. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will self-quarantine for two weeks after he was exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, a CDC spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The Washington Post first reported Redfield's action.

"CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has been determined to have had a low risk exposure on May 6 to a person at the White House who has COVID-19. He is feeling fine, and has no symptoms. He will be teleworking for the next two weeks," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson noted that "in the event Dr. Redfield must go to the White House to fulfill any responsibilities as part of White House Coronavirus Task Force work, he will follow the safety practices set out by the CDC for those who may have been exposed."

"Those guidelines call for Dr. Redfield and anyone working on the Task Force at the White House to have their temperature taken and screened for symptoms each day, wear a face covering, and distance themselves from others," the spokesperson said.

Officials will not identify the person to whom Redfield was exposed.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to confirm the report that Redfield will self-quarantine, but he said the physician to the President and White House operations officials "continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the President, First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy."

10:38 a.m. ET, May 11, 2020

White House Covid-19 cases contradict Trump's message on opening

Analysis by Stephen Collinson

President Donald Trump meets with senior military leaders and members of his national security team at the White House on May 9.
President Donald Trump meets with senior military leaders and members of his national security team at the White House on May 9. Patrick Semansky/AP

The White House Covid-19 outbreak is undermining President Donald Trump's narrative that it's safe to open up the country and that diagnostic testing is of limited importance.

The news of three top health officials, all members of the administration's coronavirus task force, self-quarantining in some form after one of Trump's valets and another West Wing aide tested positive is jarring alongside Trump's desire to move on from the pandemic and to concentrate on the staggering economic dimension of the crisis.

The latest developments pose an essential question: If people around Trump are not protected from the virus in the most highly secured workplace in the country, how can it be safe for anyone else to go back to work?

It's not, and Trump knows it. He's worried that aides contracting the virus will undercut his message that the outbreak is fading, according to a person who spoke to him. He's asked why his valets weren't ordered to wear masks before this week, according to the person, even though that's the example he himself has set. And Trump has told people he doesn't want to be near anyone who hasn't been tested, according to the person who spoke to the President, CNN's Kevin Liptak reported.

But most Americans -- whom Trump hopes will contribute to opening the economy that is so crucial for his reelection campaign -- will not have access to the aggressive repeated testing and contact tracing now in place in the White House. Trump has argued that testing should primarily be up to governors to sort out. He has also repeatedly downplayed the importance of testing even though experts say that it is critical to establishing the penetration of the virus and to preventing new waves of infection as normal life begins to resume.

The discovery of the virus in Trump's inner sanctum comes at a moment when the White House has all but stopped offering medical and scientific information to the public in televised public briefings — furthering the impression that it wants to pivot away from the crisis, even when infections are rising in many states that are opening.

In the middle of the worst public health crisis for 100 years, officials like Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci have become far less visible. The coronavirus task force briefings have been replaced by media trolling sessions by new White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

However, Trump and so-far-unidentified senior administration officials are expected to hold a press briefing on testing on Monday afternoon.

Read the full report here.