Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 9:26 p.m. ET, May 13, 2020
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7:41 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Consumer prices are tumbling at an alarming rate

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

A woman in San Francisco carries shopping bags on May 7.
A woman in San Francisco carries shopping bags on May 7. Jeff Chiu/AP

Prices are tumbling in America as the coronavirus lockdown drags on and people spend less.

US consumer prices declined for the second-straight month in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday. Prices fell by 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis in April, marking the largest drop since December 2008.

That's an alarming drop, dragged down primarily by falling gasoline and energy prices. But excluding volatile food and energy, prices still fell by 0.4%. That's the largest monthly decline in the so-called core consumer price index since the BLS began tracking the data in 1957.

Falling prices might sound like a good thing, but economists agree that deflation -- the opposite of inflation -- would be very bad news.

When prices fall because people aren't buying things, manufacturers sometimes can't charge enough to make the product they're trying to sell. That means they'll stop making those products and lay off workers. That can start a vicious circle in which demand continues to fall as more people lose their jobs.

Read more here.

8:13 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Anthony Fauci warns senators against reopening US too quickly

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Lauren Fox

Senators on Capitol Hill listen as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks via video conference during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on May 12.
Senators on Capitol Hill listen as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks via video conference during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on May 12. Win McNamee/Pool/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, warned senators Tuesday that states and cities face serious consequences if they open up too quickly, urging states not to reopen until they know they have the capabilities to handle an inevitable uptick in cases once they relax stay-at-home orders.

In a high-profile hearing where witnesses and many lawmakers joined via video conference, Fauci also told a Senate committee on Tuesday it was a "bridge too far" for schools to expect a vaccine or widely available treatment for Covid-19 by the time students return to campuses in the fall, though he expressed optimism a vaccine would be developed in the next year or two.

Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was subdued but candid in his testimony about efforts to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and roll-back stay-at-home orders on Tuesday in the Senate's first hearing on the coronavirus outbreak since March. He told the Senate panel he did not have a "confrontational relationship" with President Donald Trump, but Fauci's testimony nevertheless contrasted with Trump's increasingly vocal push in recent days for states to re-open businesses.

"My concern that if some areas -- cities, states or what have you -- jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up, without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Fauci said in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Read more here.

8:13 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Here's the latest coronavirus update from California

From CNN's Christina Maxouris, Jason Hanna and Cheri Mossburg

The Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles, closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is pictured on May 4.
The Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles, closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is pictured on May 4. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials said a stay-at-home order will stay in place for months as restrictions are slowly lifted.

"With all certainty," the local order will be extended another three months, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the health director of Los Angeles County, said at a Board of Supervisors virtual meeting. Restrictions on businesses and public places will continue to be lifted, while the order remains, Ferrer explained.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN that Ferrer wasn't saying Los Angeles will stay as-is into August.

"I think quite simply she's saying we're not going to fully reopen Los Angeles — or anywhere in America — without any protections or health orders in the next three months," he told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Some schools will cancel in-person classes: The California State University system plans to cancel nearly all in-person classes through the fall semester to reduce spread of coronavirus.

The CSU system, which comprises 23 universities across the state, will be moving most instruction online, Chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday at a Board of Trustees meeting. The California State University system is the nation’s largest four-year public university system with a total enrollment of more than 480,000 students, according to the CSU.

4:44 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Key coronavirus model increases death toll projections for the US

From CNN's Arman Azad

A key coronavirus model often cited by the White House has again raised its coronavirus death projection, now predicting 147,000 deaths in the US by August 4.

That’s an increase of about 10,000 deaths compared to the model’s estimate from this weekend, which was already higher than earlier projections.

On Sunday, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, tied the earlier increase to “explosive increases in mobility in a number of states.”

Compared to Sunday, the model now projects about 2,450 additional deaths in New York, 2,000 additional deaths in Massachusetts and 1,700 additional deaths in Pennsylvania. Other states saw sizable increases as well. North Carolina, for example, is now expected to see about 3,200 more deaths, and Maryland about 1,200 more.

Some states saw decreases in projected deaths, however, including Georgia, which is now expected to see 1,500 fewer deaths. The model’s projection for Indiana has also gone down by 1,600 deaths.

On its website, IHME said exact reasons for the changes vary by state. But the institute pointed to “epidemiological indicators and key drivers of viral transmission,” like changes in testing and mobility.

IHME also pointed to the easing of social distancing policies, but said “the full potential effects of recent actions to ease social distancing policies, especially if robust containment measures have yet to be fully scaled up, may not be fully known for a few weeks due to the time periods between viral exposure, possible infection, and full disease progression.”