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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7:31 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

MLB proposes an early July start to season, reports say

From CNN's David Close and Kevin Dotson


Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, sits empty on May 8, in Chicago, Illinois.
Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, sits empty on May 8, in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Multiple outlets, including the New York Times and ESPN, are reporting that Major League Baseball owners have agreed on a proposal to begin the 2020 season in early July with games being hosted in spectator-free home stadiums.

Reports of the proposal follow a Monday meeting between MLB executives and team leadership. The New York Times cited unnamed baseball officials while ESPN cited sources familiar with the situation.

According to the reports, the owners and league management have agreed upon an 82-game regular season, down from the traditional 162 games. Other details being reported are a second spring training starting next month, teams hosting games in their home stadiums as long as state legislation and health officials allow, use of the designated hitter in both the American and National Leagues, and expanded rosters which could utilize up to 50 players. 

All of these proposed ideas would need to be agreed upon by the Major League Baseball Players Association in order to proceed with this unprecedented season. That could prove to be difficult as 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. 

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 the players’ 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 by a source with knowledge of MLB operations, 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 MLBPA 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.

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.

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.

Multiple outlets are reporting that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will present the proposal to the MLBPA this week, potentially as early as Tuesday.

CNN has reached out to MLB multiple times without a reply.

7:21 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Fitness centers and pools in South Carolina will open next week, governor says

From CNN's Janine Mack

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced today that close contact service providers, fitness and exercise centers, commercial gyms, and public or commercial pools will be able to open in a limited capacity on May 18.

The governor said Monday that he also wants some state employees to return to work.

He added the first group will return no later than June 1 and when there is enough personal protective equipment to go around on site. 

 “We will gradually return to normal,” McMaster said.

Restaurants are now open for limited dine-in services, he said in a statement on Monday.

The governor has also lifted restrictions on boating, short-term rentals, beaches, and visitors to the state.

There are at least 7,792 positive cases of coronavirus and 346 Covid-19-related deaths in South Carolina, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control's website.

7:12 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Detroit will send teams to test the elderly, mayor says

From CNN’s Laura Robinson

A person is tested for Covid-19 in the parking lot at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on April 7.
A person is tested for Covid-19 in the parking lot at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on April 7. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Even though the city’s Covid-19-related deaths are trending down, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said they will focus their efforts to stop the spread on people over the age of 60.

“If you look at what’s happening now, upwards of about 90% of the people we have been losing in the last couple of weeks have been over the age of 60," Duggan said today.

The Detroit Health Department is planning on sending teams into apartment buildings and facilities, "where people over the age of 60 are clustered” to test for the virus, the mayor said

Duggan said that in many instances, “it’s so much easier to go through the apartment building and take everybody’s swab and send them to a lab than to get all those folks to get into the car” and get tested.

Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer, Denise Fair, added that “this is going to be a massive undertaking. We have about 10,000 units in the city of Detroit.”

7:00 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

It's 7 p.m. in the US. Here's what you may have missed.

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Here are some of the top coronavirus headlines from this afternoon you may have missed:

  • Funding for testing: President Trump announced that $11 billion will go to the states for "the sole support of testing." Trump also said the federal government is going to help states increase capacity by helping identify machines and labs, transport equipment like swabs and open new testing sites in "the most underserved communities."
  • White House outbreak: 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. Later at a news briefing, Trump said he was the one requiring face masks in the White House. He also defended the response to diagnosed cases of coronavirus among White House staffers.
  • Phase four funding: The states in the Western Pact — California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada — wrote a letter to Congress asking for $1 trillion in aid to help deal with the financial effects of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "we have not yet felt not the urgency of acting immediately" on another relief bill.
  • States reopening: West Virginia will reopen guided fishing tours on Friday, followed by indoor dining at 50% capacity, large specialty retailers and some outdoor activities on May 21.
  • Inflammatory illness in children: Connecticut and Kentucky are also reporting cases of children with a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that could be related to Covid-19. Earlier today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were 93 cases in the state.
  • Hydroxychloroquine: A new study released today found that the drug does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems.
  • Warning labels: Twitter said it plans to put labels and warning messages on some tweets that contain disputed or misleading information related to Covid-19.
  • Coming up tomorrow: Dr. Anthony Fauci will testify at a Senate Health Committee oversight hearing on the administration’s coronavirus response. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged Fauci to not hold anything back.
6:56 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Minneapolis mayor rejects Trump's testing claim: "We have not prevailed"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Just moments after President Trump declared that his administration has "prevailed" on coronavirus testing, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey rejected the President's claim, saying "we have not prevailed" on testing. 

"Saying we have prevailed at this point is like being at mile 10 of a 26-mile marathon and raising your hands in victory," Frey told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "That is not where we are at. We have a whole lot of work left to do." 

At the White House briefing on Covid-19 testing, Trump announced that his administration will allocate $11 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help states increase their testing ability. 

The Minneapolis mayor said that testing will be "critical" to reopening his city safely.

"It's got to be testing, followed by tracing, followed by isolating for those who have come back with positive tests," Frey said. "We hope to get up to 20,000 tests per day. Right now, we are hovering around 5,000. In order to do this properly, in order to do this with our eyes wide open and responding to the data, we're going to need more tests."


6:47 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Vermont health department investigates reported Covid-19 exposure at school for girls

From CNN’s Carma Hassan and Rebekah Riess

The Vermont Department of Health is investigating a report of possible Covid-19 exposure at the Vermont School for Girls in Bennington, a residential treatment center for girls with special needs, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said this morning.

Public Health Communication Officer Ben Truman said this doesn’t necessarily mean a widespread “outbreak” is occurring at the facility.

“Once the school’s administration became aware of a potential exposure, they took immediate and appropriate action, including contacting the Health Department for guidance and recommendations,” Truman said. 

According to Levine, everyone at the school, including all students and staff, has been tested for Covid-19, as it is Vermont’s practice to conduct universal testing in any congregate facility, no matter how large, if a positive case is reported. 

“Working with the facility, our Epidemiology team conducted an investigation and recommended universal testing of staff and students. At each step, the school provided support and information for their students and staff, allowing our trained staff to conduct the specimen collection effort quickly, and for all concerned to receive appropriate guidance,” Truman said. 

Levine said a small number of people at the school tested positive for the virus, but in order to protect individual private health information, the Vermont Department of Health will not be releasing test figures.

6:50 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Organ transplantations dropped sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, study finds

From CNN's Gina Yu

The number of organ transplantations fell dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study published today.

In early April, the number of deceased donor organ transplants dropped by 51.1% in the United States and 90.6% in France when compared to a month earlier, the study said.

Kidney transplantations had the greatest decrease in numbers, but heart, lung and liver transplantations also had substantial reductions, the authors said. The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, combined organ procurement data from federal agencies in the United States and France.

“We noted a strong temporal association between the increase in Covid-19 infections and a striking reduction in overall solid-organ transplantation procedures,” the researchers said.

One explanation for the reduction could be concern that transplant recipients are more susceptible to infection, according to the researchers.

Another concern is that there aren’t enough resources in terms of staff or equipment in hospitals to care for patients after transplantation.

Decisions about how to use limited medical resources “could be especially devastating for the thousands of patients in need of an organ transplant,” the authors wrote. “While living donor organ transplants could presumably be rescheduled for a future date, deceased donor organs must be procured immediately or the opportunity is lost.”

There wasn’t a clear association between reductions in organ transplantation rates and Covid-19 hotspots, suggesting a global and nationwide effect beyond local infections, the researchers said.

6:31 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Nevada governor prepares to dip into reserves to deal with budget shortfall due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on May 7, in Carson City, Nevada.
Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on May 7, in Carson City, Nevada. Scott Sonner/AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a “fiscal emergency” for Nevada, allowing him to tap into the state’s reserve fund to make up part of the difference

“With the closure of Nevada businesses, including the gaming industry, that was necessary to protect the health of Nevadans, the drop in revenue is not unexpected and it is significant,” Sisolak said in a statement. 

The governor’s budget office expects the shortfall in the current budget year could top $900 million. 

Sisolak advised state agencies last month to start planning cuts in their departments.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation says Nevada’s reserve fund – also known as the Rainy Day Fund – had nearly $400 million in it when the current budget was approved.

6:25 p.m. ET, May 11, 2020

Trump says he may mandate coronavirus testing in nursing homes

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump said he may mandate all nursing homes conduct coronavirus tests on their residents.

“Well, I would certainly consider that. I will mandate it, if you’d like,” he said to the reporter who asked why it wasn't a requirement. “I think it's important to do.”

He added that he thinks all the states should be testing nursing home residents and that they have the capacity to conduct that testing.

Members of the task force: Earlier today, on a video call with Vice President Mike Pence, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the nation’s governors, both Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx also addressed the issue.

Moving forward, Birx said, the administration is looking to test key areas, nursing homes in particular.

“We really believe that all 1 million nursing home residents need to be tested within the next two weeks as well as the staff,” she said, noting that there should be “probably weekly testing” after that.

Pence reiterated Birx’s comments, telling the governors that they should develop plans to test all nursing home residents whether their states have reached phase one reopening plans or not. 

“We are recommending very strongly that as you all have been rapidly expanding testing… is that you sit your teams down today and figure out a strategy to make sure whether you’re in phase one or not… we’re calling on states across the country, start now deploying those testing resources to test the residents and staff at your nursing homes as quickly as you can get up to weekly testing,” he said.