Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 10:33 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020
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2:07 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

New Jersey beaches will reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend

From CNN's Julian Cummings

People wear protective face masks while walking on the beach in Belmar, New Jersey, on Saturday, May 2.
People wear protective face masks while walking on the beach in Belmar, New Jersey, on Saturday, May 2. Matt Rourke/AP

Ocean and lakefront beaches in the state of New Jersey will be open by Memorial Day weekend with capacity limitations and social distancing remaining in place, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a press conference.

Every beach must establish capacity limits, and six feet social distancing will be enforced except for family groups, household caretakers, or couples, Murphy announced.

As a part of the order that goes into effect May 22, organized contact sports and events will be prohibited, as well as beachfront summer camps and special events that draw people to the beach such as concerts and festivals, and fireworks. 

Restaurants must continue to offer take-out and delivery options only. Amusement parks, playgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed.

“We are not ordering it but we highly recommend that you wear a face covering, particularly when social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as while waiting in line for a slice of boardwalk pizza,” Murphy said.

Shower pavilions, changing areas and restrooms will also reopen at beaches.

Restrooms at parks will also reopen as a part of the order.

1:26 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Trump administration plans to ramp up stockpile in case of fall surge in Covid-19, official says

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Coronavirus tests are seen on a table at a free testing site in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, May 12.
Coronavirus tests are seen on a table at a free testing site in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, May 12. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

The Trump administration unveiled plans for a more “robust” national stockpile to prepare for a possible fall surge in coronavirus cases, a senior administration official said today on a call with reporters. The official declined to go on the record. 

“We’re going to have a much more robust, more capable, and less vulnerable strategic national stockpile, and this is going to require the permanent restructuring of a whole series of relationships using information technology and contracting capabilities very differently than anyone has in the past,” a senior administration official said. 

What's in the supply: The official said that the national stockpile will hold “90 days-worth” of medical and testing supplies. Plans include adding critical care drugs that were not stockpiled before. Supplies that expire will be rotated into the medical industry, an official said, describing it as a “much broader and much deeper set of supplies to keep America safe.”

“We’re trying to address with this initiative two separate parts of the economy,” an official told reporters. “First and foremost, we are rebuilding the stockpile such that we are fortified against a resurgence of Covid — a potential resurgence of Covid,” the official corrected, “or any other upper respiratory pandemic.” 

“A second part of it has to do with tremendous expansion of domestic capacity to manufacture these items, and we’re already in the process of expanding that capacity,” the official said. 

1:22 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Trump says White House will likely make a WHO announcement next week

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday, May 14.
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday, May 14. Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump said Thursday that the White House will likely be making an announcement related to the World Health Organization next week, after his administration sought to cast blame on the organization for not acting quick enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In April, Trump announced he was halting funding to the WHO while a review would be conducted.

“We’ll be making an announcement on the World Health Organization shortly, soon. Probably next week some time,” Trump said ahead of his departure from the White House. Trump is heading to Pennsylvania this afternoon today to tour a PPE distribution center. 

Trump said at the time of his April announcement that the review would cover the WHO's "role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus."

The President has also criticized the US decision to fund WHO more than China each year, suggesting that despite the funding, WHO still gives China the upper hand.

2:24 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

GOP senator says he is giving no thought to resigning during probe into coronavirus stock trades

From CNN's Manu Raju

Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., arrive for the Senate Republican luncheon in Hart Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 13.
Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., arrive for the Senate Republican luncheon in Hart Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 13. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr was asked today if he has given any thought to the possibility of resigning his Senate seat during a Justice Department probe into stock transactions he made ahead of the sharp market downturn sparked by concerns over the coronavirus. 

Burr said, “No.”

Asked if he had exercised poor judgment on his stock trades, he told CNN, “Nope.”

Burr also said “you’ll have to ask” the Justice Department about the search warrant and the seizure of his phone, noting they put the information out.

When asked about why he is stepping aside as chairman, Burr said to “eliminate a distraction” to a “very important” committee so members wouldn’t be asked questions about him.

1:01 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Florida's Miami-Dade and Broward counties can start reopening Monday

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talks during a press conference announcing a COVID-19 antibody testing mobile lab on-site at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Wednesday, May 6.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talks during a press conference announcing a COVID-19 antibody testing mobile lab on-site at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Wednesday, May 6. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Miami-Dade and Broward Counties can start reopening under phase one of the reopening plan starting Monday. The announcement was made during a press conference in Doral, Florida.

Miami-Dade and Broward are the two Florida counties most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Health. Collectively, the two counties account for 49% of the Covid-19 cases, with 35% in Miami-Dade County and 14% in Broward County.

On Monday, Miami-Dade and Broward will be joining the state’s 65 remaining counties currently in phase one of the state’s reopening plan.

12:52 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

DOJ: GOP senator under investigation for coronavirus stock trades surrendered his cellphone to the FBI 

From CNN's David Shortell and Evan Perez

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., arrives at a Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on Tuesday, May 12.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., arrives at a Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on Tuesday, May 12.

Sen. Richard Burr surrendered his cellphone to the FBI yesterday after a warrant was served on his lawyer, a senior Justice Department official said.

Use of the warrant had been signed off at the highest levels of the Justice Department, as is protocol, the official said.

More on this: Mitch McConnell confirmed today that Burr is stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee while he’s under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

12:52 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Pennsylvania coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,200

Residents in vehicles wait in line to enter a Rite Aid Corp. Covid-19 testing facility in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, April 21.
Residents in vehicles wait in line to enter a Rite Aid Corp. Covid-19 testing facility in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, April 21. Michael Swensen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pennsylvania reported an additional 938 positive cases of Covid-19 bringing the statewide total to 59,636, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The state reported 44 new deaths overnight, and an additional 231 deaths as a result of reconciliation data over the past several weeks – bringing the statewide death toll to at least 4,218.

Pennsylvania has begun its phased reopening process

“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a Thursday press release.

12:20 p.m. ET, May 14, 2020

GOP senator to step down from chair position during investigation for trades after coronavirus briefings

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12 in Washington.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12 in Washington. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Richard Burr is stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee while he’s under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that Burr “contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation.”

“We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow,” McConnell said.

What is this about: The FBI served Burr with a search warrant and seized a cell phone belonging to the North Carolina Republican on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported, as part of the FBI’s investigation into lawmaker stock trades.

CNN is reaching out to Burr's office for comment.

11:57 a.m. ET, May 14, 2020

Southwest Airlines will not deny boarding if customers don't wear masks, memo says

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Travelers check in at the Southwest Airline ticket counter at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport on May 7.
Travelers check in at the Southwest Airline ticket counter at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport on May 7. Gene J. Puskar/AP

Southwest Airlines has told flight crews not to stop passengers from boarding if they refuse to wear a mask, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.

“We will not deny boarding solely based on a Customer’s refusal to wear a face covering,” the memo reads.

This seems to be a more lax policy than some of the other airlines.

  • American Airlines’ policy says customers “may be denied boarding” for not wearing a mask. 
  • United’s policy would allow boarding in most cases but the policy notes, “there could be an isolated situation where a customer may be denied boarding as a last resort.”
  • JetBlue’s language seems to be the most restrictive, with its memo saying, “Customers who refuse to comply with our policy will be denied boarding.”

Southwest, like the other airlines, does not want its on-board flight attendants to enforce mask wearing, according to the memo. Saying flight attendants should approach the situation with “empathy and respect.”

The airline wants flight attendants to inform customers of the policy but not enforce it. “You are expected to inform Customers of our face covering requirement but are not expected to be the enforcers—ask the Customer to comply with wearing a face covering if they are able.” 

Southwest’s official policy, provided to CNN by the airline again Thursday morning, says customers “will be asked” to wear the masks when social distancing isn’t possible. The policy calls wearing a mask a “requirement” but does not address what happens when a customer refuses to wear one.