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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12:01 p.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York frontline workers tested below the general population for antibodies, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Watertown, New York, on May 13.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Watertown, New York, on May 13. Gov. Cuomo's Office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that antibodies testing in the state has showed that frontline workers, including police officers and health care workers, have a lower infection rate than the general population — which he called "good news."

Cuomo said that testing showed that in New York City about 19.9% of the general population tested positive for antibodies.

During the same test, about 12% of downstate health care workers, about 10% of NYPD employees, and about 17% of FDNY employees tested positive.

He added that in a test of 2,700 New York state police, 3% were positive. In a test of 3,000 Department of Corrections employees, 7.5% were positive.

Why this is important: A positive test for Covid-19 antibodies may indicated the person was infected with coronavirus. A lower infection rate amongst frontline workers shows that the precautionary measures being taken by these essential workers are working, the governor said.

Watch:

11:46 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Elective surgeries can resume in 12 more New York counties

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Elective surgeries can resume in 12 more counties, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday at a press briefing.

"As the number of Covid cases has come down, we can restart elective surgeries," he said.

In addition, ambulatory services will also resume in the state.

Here are the countries Cuomo mentioned today:

11:43 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York coronavirus deaths declined yesterday, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at least 166 people across the state died from coronavirus yesterday.

That's down from 195 on Monday.

"These are not numbers, these are families," he said.

Watch:

11:34 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

DC extends stay-at-home order until June 8

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

A man walks past a sign in front of the The Anthem on April 29 in Washington.
A man walks past a sign in front of the The Anthem on April 29 in Washington. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday morning that the stay-at-home order has been extended until June 8.

The order was previously set to expire on May 15th. 

By the numbers: There are currently more than 6,500 total positive cases of coronavirus in the District, and at least 350 deaths.

11:18 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Republican senator blocks resolution to release CDC reopening guidance

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Senator Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, speaks on the Senate Floor in Washington on May 13.
Senator Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, speaks on the Senate Floor in Washington on May 13. Senate TV

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer failed to pass a resolution by unanimous consent Wednesday that called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately release their guidance on reopening the economy. 

The Minority Leader argued the Trump administration “simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus” and “Americans need and must have the candid guidance of our best scientists, unfiltered and uncensored by President Trump,” in order to reopen the country as safely as possible amid the pandemic.

Some background: Last week, a CDC official confirmed to CNN that the Trump administration will not implement the centers' 17-page draft recommendation for reopening America. A task force official told CNN that Trump's guidelines announced in mid-April for reopening the country "made clear that each state should open up in a safe and responsible way based on the data and response efforts in those individual states."

“The President is not a scientist… it has become painfully clear over the last two months how unfamiliar he is with the disciplines of science and medicine,” Schumer said today. “Anyone who would say drink bleach, use bleach to protect yourself is not much of a medical expert.”

“In order to make these decisions wisely, the country needs guidance,” Schumer said. “These literally are matters of life and of death. And that’s exactly why the CDC prepared this guidance.”

Senator Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, objected to the resolution, and argued Schumer is just trying to add “bureaucratic hurdles” to “shutter the economy” using the CDC’s “over prescriptive guidelines.”

"The argument that the White House and task force have not been transparent, in my mind, is a faux argument from the Minority Leader," Braun said. "He's really trying to let career regulators at agencies like the CDC bog down the economy, again with bureaucratic hurdles."

11:13 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

Ousted vaccine director warns of "darkest winter in modern history" without better coronavirus response

From Jeremy Diamond and Kaitlan Collins

Rick Bright, ousted deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing in Washington on March 8, 2018.
Rick Bright, ousted deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks during a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing in Washington on March 8, 2018. Toya Sarno Jordan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of a key federal office charged with developing medical countermeasures, will testify before Congress tomorrow.

According to his prepared remarks, he will say the Trump administration was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and will warn that the the US will face "unprecedented illness and fatalities" without additional preparations.

"Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities," Bright is expected to say according to his prepared testimony obtained by CNN. "Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history."

What is this about: Bright will testify tomorrow morning before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's health subcommittee after he filed a whistleblower complaint last week alleging he was removed from his post in retaliation for opposing the broad use of a drug frequently touted by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment.

Bright will reiterate that he believes he was removed from his post because he “resisted efforts to promote and enable broad access to an unproven drug, chloroquine, to the American people without transparent information on the potential health risks." 

Bright is seeking to be reinstated to his position as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The Office of Special Counsel, which is reviewing Bright's complaint, has determined there is reason to believe his removal was retaliatory and is recommending he be reinstated during its investigation, according to Bright's attorneys. An HHS spokesperson responded that it was "a personnel matter that is currently under review" but said it "strongly disagrees with the allegations and characterizations."

Expanding on his whistleblower complaint, Bright is expected to testify that he sought to warn his superiors about potential shortages of critical medical supplies earlier this year, but that his "urgency was dismissed" and that he "faced hostility and marginalization from HHS officials" after conveying his concerns about shortages to a senior White House official, Peter Navarro.

"As I reflect on the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we should have been. We missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook," Bright will testify, according to his written testimony.

In his written testimony, Bright also calls for several key steps to improve the federal government's response to the pandemic and head off a spike in cases in the fall, including increasing public education of preventative measures, ramping up production of essential medical supplies and developing a national testing strategy.

“The virus is out there, it’s everywhere. We need to be able to find it, to isolate it and to stop it from infecting more people,” Bright plans to say. "We need tests that are accurate, rapid, easy to use, low cost, and available to everyone who needs them."

11:01 a.m. ET, May 13, 2020

New York City Mayor hopes for a "full reopening of schools in September"

A public school stands closed on April 14 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
A public school stands closed on April 14 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that his goal is a full reopening of schools in September but added that there will be “different types of options if we don’t feel it’s safe to open schools fully.”

“But for now with this much lead time my goal is a full reopening with any number of protections in place to give confidence to parents…educators, and everyone who works in schools.”

He was asked how schools could be considered safe, particularly with the rise in pediatric inflammatory cases.

De Blasio noted that with September still four months away, “let’s not discount the element of time here, what is the world going to look like when you get to July and August, when we will be making the ultimate decisions and they will be based on the facts.”

He added that testing and tracing will bring a whole new “offensive thrust” that can change the trajectory of the virus, adding that they do anticipate more testing focused on school and will implement methodologies for keeping people safe including cleaning.

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.