Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:32 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020
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11:30 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Dallas mayor says more people are getting sick because of the state's reopening

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Mayor Eric Johnson speaks during a news conference at City Hall to discuss the coronavirus crisis in Dallas, on Wednesday, April 22.
Mayor Eric Johnson speaks during a news conference at City Hall to discuss the coronavirus crisis in Dallas, on Wednesday, April 22. Tony Gutierrez/AP

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson attributed rising numbers in cases of Covid-19, at least in part, to the state’s reopening of businesses. 

“Well, more than likely what you saw in the cases jumping in the past few days that we've reported is a change in policy with respect to the reopening of parts of our economy, a couple weeks ago,” the mayor told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on New Day. “These things sort of lag. The decision is made and then you don't see the result in the cases until a couple weeks later, so this is more than likely connected in some way to the opening of restaurants and movie theaters and retail and our malls up to 25% occupancy a couple weeks ago.”

More context: Texas saw its highest single-day increase in positive Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic this past Saturday, according to numbers released by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has attributed an increase in coronavirus cases to more testing.

Here's what Johnson said:

 “I think there's a couple of things going on at the same time. You certainly have an increase in testing in some places. We're slowly ramping up our testing here in Dallas thankfully, but you also have changes in policy and so I think there's a few things working together at the same time to account for that increase in cases,” Johnson said.

Abbott is expected to announce more reopening measures on Monday afternoon, the governor said in a statement Sunday. 

11:25 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Whistleblower answered Trump's question about hydroxychloroquine in his formal complaint

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Dr. Rick Bright, ousted director of vaccine agency, speaks at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on "Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response" on Thursday, May 14.
Dr. Rick Bright, ousted director of vaccine agency, speaks at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on "Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response" on Thursday, May 14. Michael Brochstein/Sipa/AP

In a tweet, President Trump asked this question about ousted vaccine director Rick Bright: "So the so-called HHS Whistleblower was against HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE. Then why did he make, and sign, an emergency use authorization?"

Bright answered that question in his formal whistleblower complaint, calling the authorization of the EUA a "compromise position."

Here's what it said in the complaint:

"Implementing the EUA was a compromise position, to rein in HHS leadership’s initial campaign to make the drugs available to the public outside of a hospital setting and without physician supervision. Dr. Bright and Dr. Woodcock ultimately prevailed upon their colleagues, and the FDA assisted BARDA in drafting an EUA request and provided it to Dr. Bright on the evening of March 28, 2020. Dr. Bright reviewed and edited the request letter to clarify that although he was being directed to sign the EUA request, it was not at his or BARDA’s behest."

The complaint added: "Dr. Bright opposed the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as lacking scientific merit, even though the Administration promoted it as a panacea and demanded that New York and New Jersey be ‘flooded' with these drugs, which were imported from factories in Pakistan and India that had not been inspected by the FDA.”

Bright wrote in the complaint that his former agency was pressured by the administration to promote the drug as part of an "effort to score a short-term political victory" in the fight against the coronavirus.

“In an apparent effort to score a short-term political victory for the Administration during the escalating health crisis, the Office of the ASPR pressured BARDA to promote the malaria drug chloroquine as a therapeutic for COVID-19, despite a clear lack of scientific support.”
"Given the growing panic over the COVID-19 pandemic the desperation to find a cure, and the irresponsible public promotion of an unproven medicine Dr. Bright was extremely concerned about the prospect of chloroquine being made readily available to the public without close patient monitoring by medical professionals."

11:07 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

More than 89,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

Robert Salerno, far right, funeral director with McLaughlin & Sons funeral home in Brooklyn, and cemetery workers carry a casket from a hearse to a burial site with no family present because of coronavirus restrictions, on Wednesday, May 13.
Robert Salerno, far right, funeral director with McLaughlin & Sons funeral home in Brooklyn, and cemetery workers carry a casket from a hearse to a burial site with no family present because of coronavirus restrictions, on Wednesday, May 13. Bebeto Matthews/AP

There have been at least 1,490,195 cases of coronavirus reported in the US, and at least 89,636 people have died, according to a Johns Hopkins University's tally.

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

So far, Johns Hopkins has reported 3,438 new cases and 74 reported deaths in the US today.

10:46 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

NYC mayor expects to meet goals to begin reopening in first half of June

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is on track to start reopening in the first half of June.

“We clearly are making progress,” de Blasio said.

The city has met three of the seven metrics areas need to meet in order to reopen. De Blasio said progress is being made on the other four,

When it comes to number of available ICU and hospital beds, one of the metrics the city must achieve, de Blasio said, “We are getting close to those goals.”

Regarding contract tracers, de Blasio said he expects to hit that goal in the beginning of June.

Looking at trend lines, de Blasio said of the city and state goals, “Both will align in the first half of June.”

The mayor said he wants to make sure the city can hold off a second wave. It’s a “real subtle balance” to be struck.

About New York's reopening plans: The state has outlined four phases of reopening, and regions will be allowed to move into stage one when they meet the metrics. Last week, five regions — Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — entered phase one.

Here's what can reopen in phase one:

  • Construction
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
  • Retail (for curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale trade

Here's what the other three phases will look like:

  • Phase two: Professional services, retail, administrative support and real estate can reopen.
  • Phase three: Restaurants and food services can reopen.
  • Phase four: Arts, entertainment, recreation and education can reopen.
11:10 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

More than 500 nursing home residents have died from Covid-19 in Texas, new data shows

Nursing home beds are seen outside Spanish Meadows Nursing Center and Assisted Living in Brownsville, Texas, on Tuesday, May 12. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered widespread testing in Texas nursing homes after a surge in cases.
Nursing home beds are seen outside Spanish Meadows Nursing Center and Assisted Living in Brownsville, Texas, on Tuesday, May 12. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered widespread testing in Texas nursing homes after a surge in cases. Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald/AP

At least 3,103 residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and 509 have died among the 318 nursing homes with confirmed cases, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, which was last updated Sunday.

Another 531 residents have recovered, according to the data.

At least 399 residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and 99 have died at 113 assisted living facilities in the state, according to the data.

Statewide, the department of health has reported 47,784 cases of the virus, with 1,336 deaths as of Sunday.

10:24 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

States need federal funding by end of June, financial analyst says

From CNN’s Cristina Alesci

States need federal funding by a “drop dead deadline” of June 30, said Moody’s Analytics analyst Dan White.

“Many states and local governments need to craft a budget by July 1,” said White. “If they don’t know how much money they’ll get from the federal government, officials will be forced to cut budgets.” 

As a result, White estimates 3 million additional job losses through June 2021. 

White, who published new research today, warned that a delay in federal aid is detrimental to the entire US economy and that Congress needs to “move as soon as legislatively possible.”

10:27 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

145 New York City children may have illness connected to Covid-19, mayor says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to members of the media before taking a walk through Flushing Meadows Corona Park to hand out free face masks to park goers, in the Queens borough of New York, on Saturday, May 16.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to members of the media before taking a walk through Flushing Meadows Corona Park to hand out free face masks to park goers, in the Queens borough of New York, on Saturday, May 16. Anthony Behar/Sipa/AP

New York City has identified 145 children possibly suffering from multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), Mayor Bill de Blasio said today.

The city expects to update numbers later this week because of the new federal definition of the syndrome, according to the mayor.

Mayor de Blasio said there is one death, and 67 of the 145 children have tested positive for Covid-19 or antibodies.

10:15 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

University of South Carolina won't have face-to-face classes after Thanksgiving this year

From CNN's Annie Grayer

The University of South Carolina is canceling its regular fall break and ending face-to-face classes ahead of Thanksgiving break, university president Bob Caslen announced last night, as a way to mitigate risk of a second wave of Covid-19.

Caslen cited the major changes to the academic calendar came after evaluating the public health risks associated with allowing thousands of students and faculty to travel and then come back to campus during fall break. The decision to cancel in person instruction and start remote learning after Thanksgiving break was made to reduce the risk of a second wave hitting campus.

“I realize that students and faculty look forward to getting away and recharging in the middle of the semester, and I appreciate that many of you will not be pleased with the decision to cancel Fall Break,” Caslen said in a statement. “These changes are part of the new normal that all of us must embrace as we return to campus for work and study, and they are necessary for us to successfully resume in-person instruction. Most importantly, they reflect our top priority: your health, safety and wellbeing.”

Caslen said the university has still not made a decision about December commencement.

Here's the school's fall schedule:

  • Aug. 20: Classes begin for the fall semester
  • Sept. 7: Labor Day will be a remote class day, with classes held online 
  • Oct. 15-16: Previously scheduled fall break has been canceled, classes will be held
  • Nov. 3: General Election Day will be a remote class day with classes held online
  • Nov. 24: Face-to-face instruction ends ahead of Thanksgiving break
  • Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving break
  • Nov. 30: Remote class day
  • December 1: Remote class day
  • December 2-4: Reading days ahead of final exams
  • December 7-14: Final exam period
10:17 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Antibody testing program begins in New York City for first responders, mayor says

A man gets coronavirus antibody testing at the NYPD Community Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, May 15.
A man gets coronavirus antibody testing at the NYPD Community Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, May 15. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that as of Monday, 140,000 antibody tests provided to first responders and healthcare workers are available as part of a four-week federal testing program.

The program is in coordination with the federal government partnering with Department of Health and Human Services and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The federal government is covering all the costs, so this is free to first responders and healthcare workers. De Blasio said the program will help understand what’s going on with the virus.

The testing is voluntary and starts with FDNY, which includes paramedics and EMTs. Testers will go to worksites.

It’s the same setup starting today for those working with The Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).

By the numbers: Testing goals for the city continue to evolve. For the week of May 25, the goal is 50,000. For the following week of June 1, the goal is 60,000+.

Over 150 Covid-19 test sites in the city are up and running. Sites include two more Health and Hospital test sites which opened Monday – one in Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood and one in Washington Heights in Manhattan for a total of 25 within the public hospital system across the city. City Med clinics are also participating testing.

The city is partnering with local companies and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to produce the testing kits.