Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:17 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020
22 Posts
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12:13 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Broadway theaters will be closed through at least Sept. 6

From CNN’s Javi Morgado

Broadway theaters sit closed on April 8 in New York City.
Broadway theaters sit closed on April 8 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

New York City’s Broadway theaters will remain closed through at least Sept. 6, according to a statement from the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry.

There is currently no official return date for Broadway shows, but ticket refunds and exchanges will be offered for all shows through Sept. 6, the statement said.. 

“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre – behind the curtain and in front of it – before shows can return," Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League said in the statement.

There are 31 Broadway performances, including eight new shows in previews, that have been suspended since March 12, the Broadway League said.

St. Martin said in the statement has been in contact with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and "will continue to work with city and state officials to determine an appropriate date for performances to resume and will provide updates to the public as decisions are made."

11:53 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

House Majority Leader says Democrats' relief proposal will be finalized by this afternoon

From CNN's Haley Byrd

U.S. Representative, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wears a face mask at the ceremonial swearing in of Representative Elect Kweisi Mfume (D-MD).
U.S. Representative, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wears a face mask at the ceremonial swearing in of Representative Elect Kweisi Mfume (D-MD). Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that Democratic leaders expect their proposal for another round of coronavirus relief to be finalized by this afternoon.

He said 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.

Hoyer said during his weekly press call that members should anticipate meeting in the House on Friday to vote on the measure, as well as a remote voting and remote committee work plan. 

He said he is disappointed Democrats and Republicans have not reached an agreement on proxy voting, although party leaders continue to work for a deal. 

“I am hopeful that we will get there, but we absolutely need to get there and we need to get there quickly,” he said. He reiterated that if there is no agreement, Democrats will proceed with their own path forward. 

Asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s priority to include liability protections for businesses in any new coronavirus relief bill, Hoyer pushed back on the idea.

“Our focus has been on protecting people, not protecting people from hurting them and having no liability for hurting them,” he said.

He wouldn’t weigh in on whether a proposal from Rep. Pramila Jayapal to cover 100% of workers' wages up to $90,000 per year will be included in the package, saying it is still under discussion. CNN’s Manu Raju reported Monday that members were told on a call that it was not expected to be included. 

Hoyer said Jayapal’s idea has “great merit to it,” but added that the CARES 2 package “is not going to be the last word or the final word” in Congress’s response to the crisis.

11:48 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

There's a shortage of sedative for patients on ventilators due to Covid-19 pandemic, FDA says

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen

A vial of Propofol sits on a table in France on April 15.
A vial of Propofol sits on a table in France on April 15. Sidney Léa Le Bour/Hans Lucas/Reuters

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a shortage of propofol, a commonly used sedative for patients on ventilators and during colonoscopies and other procedures, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

“The virus that causes Covid-19 has led to an increased number of people with severe respiratory illness. As a result, there is a shortage of FDA-approved drugs such as propofol that are used for sedation of mechanically ventilated patients,” according to a statement on the FDA’s website posted Monday.

Propofol is perhaps best known as the sedative that pop star Michael Jackson’s doctor administered to him as a sleeping aid.

In that statement, the agency issued an emergency use authorization for a sedative called Fresenius Propoven 2% emulsion, noting that it contains double the concentration of propofol compared to propofol products approved in the United States. 

The FDA statement notes that Propoven “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA approved product” and that pregnant women and children under 16 should not use it.

11:35 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

California increases emergency Covid-19 funding for contact tracing

From CNN's Stephanie Elam

A  Community Organized Relief Effort volunteer directs cars lining up for coronavirus testing in Los Angeles on May 2.
A Community Organized Relief Effort volunteer directs cars lining up for coronavirus testing in Los Angeles on May 2. Richard Vogel/AP

California is increasing its emergency funding for its Covid-19 response by a total of $27.4 million, earmarked to fund contact tracing efforts.

The California’s Department of Public Health says these funds have been approved for immediate use.

The money includes $8.7 million for a virtual training academy that will allow the state to beef up its contact tracing army. It also provides $18.7 million for contracts with Accenture, Salesforce, and Amazon related to developing a data management platform for the information obtained by the contact tracers as well as a call center. 

Contact tracing is a key element in Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to modify the stay-at-home order for the state.

“All of this is based on those six indicators and our ability to test to do appropriate tracing to train a workforce of tracers to make sure testing is available, not just total numbers in the aggregate but available in your community on demand,” he said in a press conference Friday.

“To be able to loosen restrictions, the state must take a multi-pronged approach, which includes immediately scaling up a community contact tracing effort. Key components of this approach are rapid case detection, identification of contacts, and isolation or quarantine of those who are symptomatic and exposed,” according to a release from the California Department of Finance.

Accenture will launch the contact tracing platform, and Salesforce will run a contact tracing call center with Amazon.

This same system is already operational in Massachusetts.

The state’s department of finance says this program will be free of cost for local public health departments. The state also expects that many of these initial costs will be reimbursed with federal stimulus Covid-19 funding. 

11:27 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

White House reporters will be tested daily, administration says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

A reporter approaches a microphone to ask as question of President Donald Trump during a briefing about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11 in Washington.
A reporter approaches a microphone to ask as question of President Donald Trump during a briefing about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11 in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

In addition to daily temperature checks and questioning, members of the restricted in-house press pool will be given a rapid coronavirus test daily, the White House said Tuesday. 

“Out of an abundance of caution and to further protect your health and safety as well as the entire complex, members of the restricted in-house pool should be ready in the briefing room at call time for a COVID-19 test to be administered in Lower Press by the White House Medical Unit. Moving forward, we expect to test members of the restricted in-house pool daily,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. 

White House reporter Noah Bierman, of the LA Times, described today how the tests are being administered to reporters:

Your pooler has just taken a Covid test requiring a swab in each nostril for three to five seconds. The two men administering it in lower press said I would get the result in about 15 minutes. The results will be given to White House staff — I signed a waiver allowing this. The fact sheet they gave me indicates it is an Abbot NOW test. 
 Before taking samples, the men asked the standard set of questions about symptoms and exposure. Other members of the pool waited in line behind me, with distance between them. Temperature checks were also done before I entered security gates.  
11:26 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Boeing delivered only 6 new planes to customers in April — the smallest total in 11 years

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

The Boeing regional headquarters is seen on April 29 in Arlington, Virginia.
The Boeing regional headquarters is seen on April 29 in Arlington, Virginia. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Boeing suffered a double blow in April as deliveries of new planes ground to a near halt due to the suspension of work at its factories in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and order cancellations continued to climb because of the crisis in the airline industry.

The company delivered only six planes to customers in the month, the smallest total in 11 years, since the company was coming back from its last strike. Deliveries are important to the company's finances since it gets most of the money from airlines when the plane is actually delivered. Boeing reported a $1.7 billion loss from its core operations in the first quarter announced plans to cut 16,000 jobs, about 10% of its staff, in an effort to save cash.

Boeing halted in deliveries of its best-selling 737 Max in March of 2019 following the grounding of the jet in the wake of two fatal crashes. But the company had been able to continue to deliver other jets. During the last year its lowest month for deliveries was January, when it delivered 13 jets. It averaged nearly 24 deliveries a month during the last 12 months.

But on March 23 it announced it was being forced to halt production in Washington state after an employee in one of the factories died of Covid-19. It stopped production at its other commercial airplane factory in South Carolina on April 8. While it did restart production later in the month, it is building at a slower pace due to the drop in demand from its airline customers.

US air travel has plunged more than 90% from year ago levels, forcing airlines to park most of their planes and cut back on plans to buy new ones. When asked if it's possible that a major US airline could be forced to go out of business, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said that was possible.

"I don't want to get too predictive on that subject, but yes, most likely," said Calhoun when asked about the chance of an airline going out of business in an interview on the Today Show Tuesday. "Apocalyptic does accurately describe the moment."

Still Calhoun said that believes air travel will resume, even if here agrees with forecasts that it will take three to five years for travel to again reach 2019 levels.

"As people begin to relive their lives, we expect that they will also get back to traveling," he said. 

But the near-term drop in demand for planes was evident as the airline reported 108 canceled orders in the month. Most of those canceled orders came from aircraft leasing customers, who buy jets and lease them to airlines. 

GE Capital announced it was canceling orders for 69 jets on April 17, and the China Development Bank canceled 29 jet orders. The other 10 cancellations were by an unidentified customer. 

That brings total canceled orders so far this year to nearly 300, far more than what was canceled all of last year in the wake of the 737 Max crisis.

The company also reclassified 101 other orders, removing them from what it counts as firm orders for jets. Many airline customers are delaying deliveries of jets, as roughly two-thirds of planes around the globe have been parked due to plunge in demand for air travel. 

Southwest Airlines (LUV), one of Boeing's best customers which flies on the 737 jet, announced it was deferring at least 59 of the 107 737 Max it had planned to buy from Boeing by the end of 2021.

"We don't need the Max right now. We don't need all the airplanes that we have," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told investors last month as the company reported its first operating loss in 11 years.

11:17 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

116 New York transit workers have died from coronavirus

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

A train arrives at a subway station on May 11 in New York City.
A train arrives at a subway station on May 11 in New York City. Rob Kim/Getty Images

116 employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have died from coronavirus, according to Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye.

Foye said the organization has taken the temperatures of about 18,000 employees and employees have embraced the test.

“We have had in that group about 46 employees who have been directed to go home because they had a fever above 100.4. I think that’s likely to continue,” Foye said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal podcast host Kate Linebaugh.

The MTA is working with the business community on a plan to stagger hours for employees. He cited the 1918 pandemic as an example when he said staggered hours were put in place by the city and the state. 

“I think it’s an easy way; it’s a common sense way to do that. My sense is talking with employers, large and small, I think that will be welcomed. Obviously no decision has been made on that and I am certain that Governor (Andrew) Cuomo will weigh in on that,” Foye said.

Foye said he is donating plasma in hopes of helping an MTA employee. CNN previously reported he had coronavirus. Foye said his case was mild.

6:21 p.m. ET, May 12, 2020

House Democrats to move ahead with historic rules change allowing for remote voting

From CNN's Manu Raju

The House Rules Committee plans to move forward with a plan that will allow the chamber to operate remotely for the first time in history, capping weeks of talks to change House rules and allow committees to conduct business virtually and members to vote on the floor while away from Washington during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to a notice sent to members, the panel is scheduling a Thursday committee meeting to approve the rules change and send it to the full House for full consideration by the chamber on Friday.

The chamber is also expected to approve on Friday a sweeping rescue package called "The Heroes Act," amounting to the Democrats' latest efforts to respond to the economic and public health crisis even as Republicans are calling for a pause to Washington's intervention.

The rules change would last during the course of the current crisis and would allow members to vote on the floor "by proxy" — in other words to designate individual members to vote on their behalf on legislation on the floor. It would also provide for procedures so committees can conduct their business remotely.

11:05 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Federal Reserve official says Fed will need to take further action due to pandemic

From CNN’s Alison Main

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles speaks to the Senate Banking Committee on May 12.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles speaks to the Senate Banking Committee on May 12.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles told the Senate Banking Committee the Fed may need to take further actions to support the US financial sector amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We at the Federal Reserve are seeking to play our role responsibly and effectively. The tools we have are ones no country should ever hope to need; the hour of their use is one no country should ever hope to face. More may be required of us before the current crisis ends. We can only pledge to do what this moment demands," Quarles told the committee in a remote hearing.

Quarles said in his opening remarks that "banking organizations have been well-positioned to serve as a source of strength," but later admitted that "profound economic disruption persists" and that the "storm is not over."

This came after Ranking Member Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told the committee's financial sector witnesses that he believed they were failing in their duty to keep the nation's financial system strong and to make sure banks are getting money to support Americans.

"We may not be in a financial crisis in a technical sense, but for tens of millions of families this is already an economic crisis," Brown said.