Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Elise Hammond and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:03 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020
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5:44 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

More than 87,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There are at least 1,439,231 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 87,184 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

Johns Hopkins on Friday reported 21,457 new cases and 1,286 deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

5:51 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Michigan governor stresses the importance of a vaccine before live sports can return

From CNN's Raja Razek

In a photo provided by the governor's office, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks in Lansing, Michigan, on Monday, May 4.
In a photo provided by the governor's office, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks in Lansing, Michigan, on Monday, May 4. Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said today that sports are not over, but watching the games on television may last a while. 

"I think we are going to be a new normal for quite a while," the governor said. "People can watch the games on television, not in person. That may have to be how we operate for a while."

Whitmer also stressed the "need a vaccine."

"And we need to have mass quantities available, or we need to be able to test and acknowledge that we've got some immunity that's built up. We're not there yet," she said.

The governor said the organizers of leagues understand how important it is to act responsibly. 

"We can have sports, just the way we observe them may look a little different," Whitmer added. 

The governor also addressed recent threats against her, saying, "It is never acceptable to make threats of violence to anyone, but our officeholders as well. And so we take them very seriously."

"I've never felt unsafe because I know that the State Police is a serious organization that is incredibly professional and has got my safety at the center of some of the work that they do," Whitmer added. 

By the numbers: Michigan has a total of 50,079 Covid-19 cases and 4,825 deaths.

5:39 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

New Mexico governor says retailers and houses of worship can operate at 25% capacity

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

All retailers in New Mexico — with the exception of those in three counties — can operate at 25% of their fire code capacity starting Saturday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday.

Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties are not included in the new guidance because case counts are still too high in that region, Lujan Grisham said.

Retailers are considered any business that sells good directly to the consumer. Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, concert halls and amusement parks, are not considered retail businesses, Lujan Grisham said.

Houses of worship are also allowed to operate at 25% capacity, she said.

Other nonessential businesses, such as office spaces and call centers, can also operate with 25% of pre-crisis staffing levels, according to the new guidance.

5:36 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Coronavirus cases are still "too high" in New Mexico, governor warns

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

In this April 15 file photo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham puts on her face mask during an update on the Covid-19 outbreak in the state in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In this April 15 file photo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham puts on her face mask during an update on the Covid-19 outbreak in the state in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal/AP

Cases of coronavirus are still "too high" in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during a Friday news conference.

Lujan Grisham said that she will "do whatever it takes" to protect vulnerable communities from increased spread. 

She warned that another shutdown could be possible if people don't work to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. 

"On my way here...I saw far too much non-social distancing by far too many New Mexicans," the governor said.

There are 223 people who are hospitalized with coronavirus and 49 of them are on ventilators, Lujan Grisham said.

So far, 253 people have died in New Mexico from coronavirus, Lujan Grisham added.

5:28 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Health expert explains why Covid-19 is worse than flu

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

The coronavirus is nothing like the flu, and continued comparisons are misleading, a senior American Heart Association official said Friday.

Covid-19 is new, people have no immunity to it, there’s no vaccine to prevent it and no good treatment for infection, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez said in a commentary on the American Heart Association website.

Plus, the new coronavirus is more dangerous in several ways, Sanchez said.

“Covid-19 seems to be more contagious,” he wrote.

“Both diseases spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when a sick person coughs or sneezes,” he added. “Available information suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is spreading more efficiently than influenza. It spreads easily and sustainably, meaning that it goes from person to person without stopping.”

And despite constant references to how many people are killed by seasonal influenza every year, Covid-19 has killed more people, faster, said Sanchez, who is chief of the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 24,000 to 62,000 flu deaths occurred during the 2019-2020 flu season (October 1, 2019 through April 4, 2020). This is a wide range because flu is not a reportable disease in most areas of the country, and the estimate is derived from a mathematical model based on flu-associated hospitalizations,” he wrote.

Covid-19 deaths are counted one by one, Sanchez noted. More than 86,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University, and they have died in the span of just three months.

“Our understanding of the virus is rapidly evolving, but so far, COVID-19 appears to pose a greater risk to the public’s health than the flu,” Sanchez said.

4:53 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Nurse tells Trump the reason she hasn't caught coronavirus is because of protective equipment

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

Nurse Amy Ford answers a question from President Donald Trump during a presidential recognition ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Friday, May 15, in Washington.
Nurse Amy Ford answers a question from President Donald Trump during a presidential recognition ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Friday, May 15, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

At a ceremony honoring "the hard work, heroism, and hope that Americans from all walks of life have exemplified during the Covid-19 pandemic" this afternoon, President Trump asked a nurse how she was able to avoid catching coronavirus.

The nurse, Amy Ford, thought it was because of personal protective equipment.

Ford is a nurse from West Virginia who is working in New York City during the pandemic. She described holding a phone up to her patients so they could hear from family they weren't able to see in person.

She called it one of the "most emotionally challenging things" she'd ever been through. 

4:51 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Kroger to give employees one-time "thank you pay" bonus

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland and Dianne Gallagher

Desiderio Reynoso Morales disinfects shopping carts before they are used by patrons at Kroger on Tuesday, April 7, in Newport, Kentucky.
Desiderio Reynoso Morales disinfects shopping carts before they are used by patrons at Kroger on Tuesday, April 7, in Newport, Kentucky. Albert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer/USA Today Network

As Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the country, prepares to end it’s “hero pay” for employees, the company announced on Friday it would provide a “thank you pay” bonus to its frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy, and call center associates. 

The one-time bonus will be $400 for full-time associates and $200 for part-time associates.

Kroger is set to end its “hero pay” program on Sunday. The $2 per hour bonus went into effect on March 31. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has urged Kroger to extend the program.

Final appreciation pay will be given to employees by May 23. 

4:48 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Mississippi is implementing a plan to test all nursing home residents and staff

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch and Andie Garcia

Mississippi is implementing a two-week plan to test all nursing home residents and staff for Covid-19, Gov. Tate Reeves announced in a news conference.

Reeves said that over the past two weeks, most deaths in the state have occurred with patients from nursing home facilities.

The state has reported 10,801 coronavirus cases and 493 deaths.

 

4:45 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

New Jersey Transit to receive $1.4 billion in federal funding

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

A NJ Transit bus driver wears a mask on April 27 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
A NJ Transit bus driver wears a mask on April 27 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

The New Jersey Transit has been awarded $1.4 billion in funding from the CARES Act, according to a statement provided to CNN from President and CEO Kevin Corbett.

But that still might not be enough.

In his statement, Corbett said NJ Transit is requesting an additional $1.2 billion on top of the $1.4 billion that was just awarded to “help plug looming the gap in its operational budget due to staggering losses in revenue.” 

"While NJ TRANSIT is grateful for the initial round of funding, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly worsened and so has its financial impact on the agency," Corbett said in the statement.

"This much needed federal relief package is an investment in the future of public transportation in the Garden State. This funding allows NJ TRANSIT to continue providing service to essential workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus response and rely on public transit to get to work," the statement continued.

Earlier today, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said, “That was welcome news as you could imagine,” when discussing the federal funding relief package.