Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 9:26 p.m. ET, May 13, 2020
24 Posts
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10:59 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

How the US is protecting coronavirus research from China's possible cyberattacks

From CNN’s Alex Marquardt

The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI released a “public service announcement” this morning warning that China is likely targeting the US response to the Covid-19 crisis, calling it a “significant threat.”

The joint warning from the FBI and DHS’s cyber arm, CISA, noted that “Healthcare, pharmaceutical and research sectors working on Covid-19 response should all be aware they are the prime targets of this activity and take the necessary steps to protect their systems.”

The agencies outlined recommendations for research organizations: 

  •  Assume that press attention affiliating your organization with Covid-19-related research will lead to increased interest and cyber activity
  • Patch all systems for critical vulnerabilities, prioritizing timely patching for known vulnerabilities of internet-connected servers and software processing internet data 
  • Actively scan web applications for unauthorized access, modification, or anomalous activities
  • Improve credential requirements and require multi-factor authentication 
  • Identify and suspend access of users exhibiting unusual activity

The notification elevates the accusation by the US government that China is taking advantage of the pandemic to carry out significant cyber espionage on critical institutions fighting the virus. 

Some context: CNN has previously reported that the administration has pointed the finger at China for attempting to steal coronavirus research as officials are warning they have seen a growing wave of cyberattacks on US government agencies and medical institutions leading the pandemic response by nation states and criminal groups.

10:45 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York City mayor says coronavirus trends are good — but recent results are "not what we're looking for"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a coronavirus briefing on May 13 in New York City.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a coronavirus briefing on May 13 in New York City. NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reviewed the city’s three indicators for tracking Covid-19 progress, saying “overall trends” with regards to hospitalizations, ICU and positive test confirmation continue to be good — however the most recent results are “not what we’re looking for.”

Here's how the numbers for May 10 and May 11 compare...

  • The daily number of people admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 is up from 51 to 78 – that number is “a hell of a lot better” than what it was weeks ago but “we still need to see it go down,” de Blasio said.
  • The daily number of people admitted to ICU’s is up “by a small amount” to 561 from 550, but again, that's “higher” than the city needs it to be, he said.
  • The daily percentage of people who tested positive for Covid-19 is down to 13% city wide, from 14%. “That’s the good news today," he said.

“Let’s double down on the things that are working so we can have more of the good days and start to string them together and move towards the first steps in our restart,” de Blasio added.

10:40 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

White House is not discussing changing election date, senior official says

From CNN's Abby Phillip

There are no conversations inside the White House about altering the date of the November general election, a senior White House official tells CNN. The White House is aware that Kushner's answer to Time in an interview published yesterday could have been more clear, which is why he issued a second statement.

But this official said that the issue of changing the election date is simply not something being discussed because the Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to establish election day. President Trump has also publicly said that he is in favor of keeping election day the same.

What this is all about: Asked in a video interview Tuesday for TIME 100 Talks whether there was any scenario in which the election could be postponed — including a potential coronavirus outbreak in the fall — Kushner said, "That's too far in the future to tell."

Later, Kushner released a statement attempting to walk back the comments: "I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election," he said.

Remember: Even if Republicans in Congress were to favor a change, a Democrat-led House would need to agree as well. 

And in more than 13 states across across the country, the Republican National Committee and other Republican state officials are currently arguing that it is possible for Americans to vote safely in person right now and in November, despite the coronavirus. A push to change election day would also mean upending these legal arguments.

10:40 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Trump's former campaign chair will serve the rest of his prison term at home because of coronavirus fears

From CNN's Evan Perez

Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington.
Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from prison today following a request by his lawyers due to the coronavirus pandemic, his attorney Kevin Downing said.

Downing told CNN that Manafort is going to serve the rest of his term in home confinement after serving about a third of his sentence at a federal prison in Western Pennsylvania.

Manafort has been in jail since June 2018. He is serving a 7.5-year sentence for bank and tax fraud and foreign lobbying-related crimes.

Fear of coronavirus proliferating behind bars has consumed inmates across the country, and the Bureau of Prisons has moved almost 2,500 inmates with coronavirus risk to home confinement as of this week in an effort to stop the spread of the disease within its facilities.

The prison where Manafort was living currently has no confirmed cases.

Read more here.

10:24 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York City will open more streets to help with social distancing, mayor says

A street stands nearly empty on May 12 in New York City.
A street stands nearly empty on May 12 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expanding the open streets initiative in the city to assist with social distancing, adding 12 more miles tomorrow for pedestrians to the already 9 miles allocated in the city.

Starting tomorrow, the city will open throughout the boroughs...

  • 1.3 miles with local partners (business improvement districts)
  • 7.6 miles with local police precincts
  • 2.8 miles adjacent to parks

There will also be 9.2 miles of protected bike lanes opening throughout May, he said.

10:22 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

There are now 82 cases of inflammatory syndrome possibly related to Covid-19 in NYC, mayor says

Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing at the Brightpoint Health and UJA-Federation of New York free pop-up coronavirus testing site on May 8 in the Brooklyn, New York City.
Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing at the Brightpoint Health and UJA-Federation of New York free pop-up coronavirus testing site on May 8 in the Brooklyn, New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

There are now 82 confirmed cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. It has “gone up consistently in recent days” he said. 

De Blasio added 53 of the cases have either tested positive for Covid-19 or had Covid-19 antibodies.

There has been 1 death reported.

He said there are many unknowns still including “what makes kids susceptible,” and how long the illness takes to manifest in children.

10:13 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Texas prison inmates are now self-administering Covid-19 tests 

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

Part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's William G. McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas, stands at sunset on April 15.
Part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's William G. McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas, stands at sunset on April 15. Eric Gay/AP

Texas inmates have begun self-administering oral-fluid tests for Covid-19, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  

The department announced Tuesday that it launched 12 strike teams to prisons across the state. Nearly 1,500 tests were collected in the first few hours of testing, according to officials

“These tests are readily available and deployable,” said Bryan Collier, the department's executive director. “Increasing the information available to our medical professionals will help us to further enhance the agency’s ability of stop the spread of Covid-19.” 

The TDCJ says they expect the positive case rate to "increase dramatically" as a result of this expanded testing.  

By the numbers: There are at least 652 Texas Justice employees and 1,733 offenders who have tested positive for Covid-19. Thirty prisoners and seven staff members have died of the virus.  

10:09 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York City mayor calls House stimulus plan the "game changer" the city needs

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a coronavirus briefing on May 13 in New York City.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a coronavirus briefing on May 13 in New York City. NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked the House for the stimulus framework they put forward and called the plan the “game changer” the city needed.

He said there is no such thing as a “city who can stand up against a pandemic alone.”

The House plan allocates $17 billion for NYC over two years, as well as $34 billion for New York state.

What we have needed is a clear commitment from the federal government for a massive stimulus plan,” he added.

“Finally we see the beginning of such a plan,” he said adding, “finally we see a step forward in Washington.”

De Blasio said Congress and the President have needed to “act at a level that actually fits this absolutely unprecedented moment in American history,” adding that the House plan, “actually lives up to the moment.”

10:03 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

US unemployment rate will probably peak in the "next month or so," Federal Reserve chair says

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

In February, the US unemployment rate was near a 50-year low of 3.5%. In April, it skyrocketed to 14.7%, the highest level ever recorded since 1948 when the government began tracking the monthly data.

The road back to a healthier labor market will be painful, said Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during a virtual event at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

It will be particularly painful because recently hired and lower-paid workers are the ones bearing the brunt of the pain, Powell said.

The unemployment rate will probably peak "over the course of the next month or so," he added, and it's reasonable to expect a decline in the unemployment rate after. This decline might even be sharp, but US unemployment will likely remain well above the lows seen at the start of the year.