Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:17 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020
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4:37 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

North Carolina to allow outdoor church services, governor says

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Gov. Roy Cooper gives an update on the coronavirus and phase one of reopening the state's economy during a press briefing, on May 12, at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Gov. Roy Cooper gives an update on the coronavirus and phase one of reopening the state's economy during a press briefing, on May 12, at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Robert Willett/The News & Observer/AP

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that he is honoring people’s First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and has given permission for outside services of more than 10 people if there is social distancing. 

“What we’re hoping is that ministers and church leaders will put the health of their congregations at the head of their thinking in consideration of each other, realizing that it is still dangerous to hold indoor services,” Cooper said.   

Where the state stands: North Carolina started its first phase of reopening on May 8 — the same day the stay-at-home order expired.

Retail stores where allowed can expand capacity to 50%. Child care facilities opened for children of working parents or those looking for work and gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed outdoors.

4:17 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

US stocks finish sharply lower

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

A Wall St. sign near the New York Stock Exchange on May 8, in New York City.
A Wall St. sign near the New York Stock Exchange on May 8, in New York City. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday, continuing a string of back-and-forth moves in recent days.

Stocks whipsawed this week, fueled by concerns over reopening the economy and weak data points such as the steep decline in consumer price inflation.

Here's where the markets closed on Tuesday:

  • The Dow ended 1.9%, or 457 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 finished down 2.1%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.1%.
4:13 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Illinois reports more than 4,000 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Chris Boyette

People wait in line to shop at the Trader Joe's grocery store in Northbrook, Illinois, on May 8.
People wait in line to shop at the Trader Joe's grocery store in Northbrook, Illinois, on May 8. Nam Y. Huh/AP

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, announced today that the state has seen 4,014 new cases of Covid-19, the most new cases in the state in a 24-hour period. 

There have also been 144 additional deaths, Ezike said.

This brings the total state count to 83,021 cases, including 3,601 deaths.

3:59 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Ohio will expand formal testing to prioritize nursing homes, officials say

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

The state of Ohio is now reporting that 22% of its 1,436 reported Covid-19 related deaths are from its long-term care facilities.

In response, Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran announced changes to the state's testing policy. The changes will prioritize nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and officials will be more aggressive in their work with those facilities.

“That statewide strategy is intended to try to stop the virus whenever we are aware of a circumstance, or a concern, and to ensure that we can surge enter, or bring in extra resources,” the director said.

According to Corcoran, there are about 115,000 Ohioans currently living in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

The Ohio Department of Aging today also launched free, daily check-in phone calls for adults 60 years old and older. The calls, which are not just in long-term care facilities, will confirm they are ok and offer support, Director Ursel McElroy announced. 

5:11 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

California lawmaker: We should be "outraged" over Tesla facility reopening

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

California lawmaker Lorena Gonzalez condemned Elon Musk for going forward with reopening production in Tesla’s Alameda County facility, defying orders to stem coronavirus spread.

Musk has threatened to move Tesla’s headquarters and possibly manufacturing facilities out of California.

Gonzalez said it’s unacceptable for Musk to react the way he has since Tesla’s partnership with the state has provided a lot of benefits for the company.

“For a company that has received billions of dollars — that’s with a ‘B,’ billions of dollars — of taxpayer subsidies to partner with our state to throw this kind of temper tantrum… it’s just unacceptable at some point,” she said.

Gonzalez added, “I think we should all be outraged that a billionaire who has gotten so much from their partnership in California, but continues to put workers in unsafe positions, continues to union bust, continues to wave his middle finger at California.”

Gonzalez also criticized President Trump and officials in his administration, who have come out in support of Musk.

“He’s talking about something he’s nowhere near. He can’t control a coronavirus outbreak in the White House, how are we to be sure that all of these workers aren’t going to be exposed in the manufacturing plant in the county ” she said, alluding to White House staffers who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Gonzalez has been critical of Musk’s actions for days now and even tweeted this on Saturday:

Watch here:

3:43 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Farmers markets in Delaware will begin reopening on Friday

From CNN's Jessica King

Delaware will begin a “rolling re-opening” of farmers markets starting this Friday, Gov. John Carney said in his coronavirus briefing Tuesday.

“There is a sense of community pride around farmers markets that includes supporting our local economy and our family farms” Carney had said in a statement released by the Delaware Department of Agriculture yesterday.

“We hope that Delawareans will utilize the markets as a place to purchase locally produced food,” Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said in the same statement.

“Agriculture contributes $8 billion to Delaware’s economy, and we’ve permanently preserved 25% of Delaware’s farmland so that agriculture will continue to be the backbone of our economy,” Carney said earlier this year during the state’s Agriculture Week in January. 

The state’s phased reopening of the economy is expected to begin on June 1.

5:04 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

California has conducted more than 1 million coronavirus tests

From CNN's Elise Hammond

California has conducted more than 1 million coronavirus tests, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"This is an important milestone but we will have work to do," the tweet said.

"We must continue to ensure everyone has access to COVID-19 testing -- regardless of their zip code," the tweet continued.

In an effort to continue to expand testing, the Office of the Governor of California account tweeted that the California Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Board of Pharmacy will issue waivers that allow pharmacists to order FDA-approved coronavirus tests.

Read Newsom's tweet:

5:04 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Los Angeles County will keep stay-at-home orders through July, L.A. Times reports

From CNN's Jon Passantino

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles County’s stay-home orders will with all certainty be extended for the next three months to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer predicted Tuesday during a Board of Supervisors meeting, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ferrer’s comments came as the county board debated whether to extend its temporary ban on evictions for one to three months and one day before the county reopens beaches to the public for physical activities.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom first issued a statewide stay-home order, including Los Angeles, effective on March 19, but on Friday allowed the loosening of some restrictions around businesses.

Local jurisdictions in the state, however, still retain the ability to enforce stricter health orders as needed to reduce coronavirus infections.

3:22 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

US posts record $738 billion budget deficit in April

From CNN’s Tami Luhby 

The exterior of the US Treasury building in Washington.
The exterior of the US Treasury building in Washington. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The United States posted a record $738 billion budget deficit in April, according to a Treasury Department report released Tuesday, as federal spending soared to address the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the nation. 

Federal spending climbed to nearly $980 billion last month as the federal government began doling out funds from the $2 trillion relief package Congress passed at the end of March. Lawmakers then added to it last month with roughly $480 billion in new funding for small businesses, hospitals and other priorities.

Meanwhile, the federal government only took in less than $242 billion in revenue, a 55% decline from last April, reflecting the fact that the Internal Revenue Services pushed back the tax filing and payment deadline to July 15 to provide some relief to consumers and businesses.

The nation has racked up a $1.5 trillion deficit from the start of the fiscal year in October, according to the Treasury Department report. The federal budget deficit could hit $3.7 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office said last month.

CNN’s Katie Lobosco contributed to this report