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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2:24 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

198 new Covid-19 deaths reported in New Jersey

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The exterior of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, on May 11.
The exterior of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, on May 11. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said today that while trend lines in the state are in the right direction, the state is not out of the woods yet.

“The number of new cases continues in a positive trend,” he said.

Murphy also cited data showing that New Jersey leads the nation in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths per 100,000 residents.

“We can make the argument that no state is as impacted as ours," he said.

Murphy said there are 898 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 140,743. He also reported 198 new deaths, bringing the total deaths in the state to 9,508.

This is the first time New Jersey has reported under 1,000 new cases in a single day since March 25.

6:20 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

At least 195 people died over the past day from coronavirus in New York, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today during his daily coronavirus press briefing that at least 195 more people have died in the past day from Covid-19.

Cuomo said the death rate is "up a little bit from the day before" — yesterday, the governor reported 161 deaths — but he noted "overall, the trend is down" for coronavirus deaths.

WATCH:

1:41 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

All New Jersey long-term care residents and staff will be tested for Covid-19

From CNN's Julian Cummings 

All residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the New Jersey are to be tested by May 26, as per a new directive from the state's department of health, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a press conference.

Follow up testing for residents and staff must be done a week later at the latest.

All long-term care facilities must confirm to the department of health that they have updated their outbreak prevention plan to meet the directive no later than May 19, according to Murphy. 

1:44 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

A NASA astronaut's advice to Earth from space 

From CNN's Eric Weisbrod

CNN/NASA
CNN/NASA

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy’s message to us back on Earth during the coronavirus pandemic is that there’s “hope in being united.”

In an interview with CNN’s Rachel Crane for Go There, Cassidy said people should work together and do their part to keep the planet and its people healthy. 

“Just like the three of us here working in harmony to conduct our daily missions effective and safely, that’s what we should be doing on Earth, is 7 billion people working effectively and safely to accomplish a mission: that’s keep Earth healthy, keep the people healthy," Cassidy said.

"Now that’s easier said than done. It requires everybody to pitch in and do their part. But that is step one. Each individual taking ownership and doing your part, doing the right thing. And together as a crew on planet Earth we can make anything happen," Cassidy added.

1:35 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

20 state attorneys general call for CDC guidelines to be mandatory at meat plants

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher

A truck passes by the Agri Beef processing plant in Toppenish, Washington, on Thursday, May 7. Twenty state attorneys general sent a letter to the White House Tuesday asking for "immediate action to ensure the safety of these essential workers" at meat and poultry plants across the country. 
A truck passes by the Agri Beef processing plant in Toppenish, Washington, on Thursday, May 7. Twenty state attorneys general sent a letter to the White House Tuesday asking for "immediate action to ensure the safety of these essential workers" at meat and poultry plants across the country.  Ted S. Warren/AP

Twenty state attorneys general sent a letter to the White House Tuesday criticizing the use of the Defense Production Act and asking for "immediate action to ensure the safety of these essential workers" at meat and poultry plants across the country. 

"Without adequate and enforceable mandates to protect worker safety, your Executive Order may perpetuate this spread of illness and death," the letter said.

"Without making these standards mandatory and taking decisive action to enforce them, the Administration will fail in its duty to provide meaningful protection to workers that have been deemed essential to maintaining our food supply. The toll may be thousands more falling victim to this disease," the letter continues.

The state attorneys general, who are all Democrats, asked President Donald Trump to strengthen the current interim CDC and OSHA guidelines, as well as make them mandatory with "vigorous and robust federal enforcement."

The letter ends, saying, "By implementing mandatory and effective worker safety standards, and by working together on the myriad other challenges facing the country, we believe we can achieve that goal and overcome this historic threat to the health and well-being of our country and our people."

The Attorneys General who signed the letter are of Maryland, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

6:20 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

House Democrats release new coronavirus relief proposal 

From Manu Raju and Haley Byrd with Clare Foran 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to her office following her weekly press briefing on May 7.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to her office following her weekly press briefing on May 7. Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

House Democrats released the legislative text of their new coronavirus relief proposal, called the "HEROES Act."

The 1,815 page bill announced today has a price tag expected to be more than $3 trillion –– an amount that would stand as the largest relief package in history. 

Members of the House have been advised that votes will start as soon as 10:00 am Friday to approve the Democrats’ new rescue package and the rules change to allow for remote voting, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office.

The legislation also sets up an immediate clash with the Republican-controlled Senate, where leaders have said another round of emergency funding is not yet needed.

"That will not pass. It’s not going to be supported,” said Sen. John Barrasso, a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team.

1:17 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Twitter says some employees can work from home "forever" if they choose

From CNN’s Brian Fung

A sign hangs on the exterior of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California. Twitter will allow some of its workforce to continue working from home “forever” if they choose.
A sign hangs on the exterior of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California. Twitter will allow some of its workforce to continue working from home “forever” if they choose. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Twitter will allow some of its workforce to continue working from home “forever” if they choose, the company confirmed to CNN on Tuesday. 

The decision reflects how some companies are bracing for the pandemic’s extended impacts. 

Twitter did not say which specific roles will qualify for the treatment. But, it said, the experience of working from home for the past several months has shown that it can work at scale. 

“If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” said Twitter’s vice president of people, Jennifer Christie, in a statement to CNN. "If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

The company does not expect to open most of its offices, or support business travel, before September. It has also canceled all of its internal company events through 2020, and could potentially extend that into 2021, the statement said. 

Twitter’s shift to allow permanent remote work was first reported by BuzzFeed News, which cited an email to employees sent by CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter did not respond to CNN’s request for confirmation of the memo.

1:11 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Covid-19 cases decreased among inmates in New York City jails

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

An aerial view of Rikers Island correctional facility in New York City.
An aerial view of Rikers Island correctional facility in New York City. Seth Wenig/AP

The New York City Department of Correction and Correctional Health Services said efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the nation’s fifth largest jail system have been successful, according to data.

The announcement was made Tuesday at a New York City Board of Correction meeting.

But advocates and the Board of Correction noted that it’s still difficult for inmates to maintain social distancing and get access to masks and cleaning supplies.

By the numbers: Dr. Ross MacDonald, the chief medical officer for Correctional Health Services, said that normally, when it’s not flu season, there are about zero to five reported fevers among inmates. As Covid-19 cases peaked in mid-March, CHS was getting reports of more than 30 fevers daily.

Of the symptomatic inmates being tested for Covid-19, 90% of the tests came back positive. He said positive cases peaked the week of March 23, with 169 positive tests that week.

“Last week, when excluding new admissions, we had only four tests come back positive,” MacDonald said.

Both agencies attribute the decrease of positive cases among inmates to the decreased jail population. More than 2,600 people have been released from New York City jails since March 16 – more than a 30% decrease in a month, Department of Correction officials said. 

When the city began working to release inmates on March 16, the jail system had 5,447 inmates.

By April 29, the population was down to 3,811, according to DOC data. Still, 975 inmates have been brought into the system between March 16 and April 29, according to a DOC presentation. 

12:53 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Senate GOP leaders warning that Democrats' new stimulus bill is dead on arrival

From CNN's Manu Raju

From left Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso look on during a news conference following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon on Tuesday, May 5.
From left Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso look on during a news conference following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon on Tuesday, May 5. Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senate Republican leaders are already warning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the new bill is dead on arrival even before it's been unveiled.

“That will not pass. It’s not going to be supported,” said Sen. John Barrasso, a member of House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team.

Some context: The House Democrats are expected to finalize this afternoon a more than $3 trillion coronavirus aide package, according to a senior House Democratic aide. 

Three other aides also told CNN the price tag would be in the $3 trillion range. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said earlier today that the legislation will involve funding for state and local governments, more direct payments to individuals, money to expand testing and contact tracing, provisions for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, student loan relief, and funding for elections.

The bill is expected to be opposed by Republicans. McConnell said yesterday "we have not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately" on another relief bill and that Senate Republicans will go forward at the same time as the White House.