Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:32 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020
17 Posts
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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.

9:54 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

How some colleges are handling plans for the fall semester

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus stands empty as seen from above on Friday, May 1.
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus stands empty as seen from above on Friday, May 1. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic canceled classes on college and university campuses across the country this spring — and now school officials are weighing what to do this fall.

Some schools have started to outline their fall plans. Here's a look at what some colleges and universities are saying about the fall semester:

  • The University of Arizona in Tucson is laying out details for its plan for in-person learning this fall. The university will test its students and staff sometimes this summer, and also plans to set aside a dorm for sick Covid-19 student patients who don’t need to be hospitalized, according to Pam Scott, Associate Vice President for Communications for the school.
  • The California State University system, which claims to be the nation's biggest four-year university system, plans to cancel nearly all in-person classes through the fall semester to reduce spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Timothy White said last week at a board of trustees meeting. At the University of California, which has 10 campuses across the state, "it's likely none of our campuses will fully re-open in fall," Stett Holbrook, a spokesperson for UC, told CNN in an email on Tuesday. 
  • Colby College in Maine is exploring the idea of not re-opening at all in the fall, until students can be safely back on campus in January 2021.
9:57 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

US stocks rally at the open on coronavirus vaccine hopes

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

In this screengrab taken from the Federal Reserve website, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell issues the Federal Open Market Committee statement on Wednesday, April 29, in Washington, DC.
In this screengrab taken from the Federal Reserve website, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell issues the Federal Open Market Committee statement on Wednesday, April 29, in Washington, DC. Federal Reserve/Getty Images

US stocks shot higher at Monday's opening bell, boosted by hopes for a coronavirus vaccine and more fiscal and monetary stimulus to support the economy.

Drug maker Moderna reported encouraging results from the human safety trial of a potential Covid-19 vaccine. The company's stock soared 30% at the open.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank, as well as Congress, might need to more to support the American economy through the coronavirus recession, during an interview with CBS' “60 Minutes” Sunday night.

Here's how the markets opened:

  • The Dow opened up 2.9%, or 690 points.
  • The S&P 500 kicked off 2.4% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.8% at the open.
12:55 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Send CNN your questions about schools and education during the pandemic

Most students in the US will not be returning to the classroom this academic year, and when schools will reopen is still unknown. Education experts will join this week’s coronavirus town hall to talk about school during the pandemic.

Parents, do you or your children have questions? College students or educators, what would you like to ask? Leave your questions below along with your name, location and a phone number, and a producer may be in touch with you if we’re interested in using your question.

9:31 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

More than 5,700 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa/AP
Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa/AP

As of Monday morning, there are at least 5,727 US service members who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a tally by the Defense Department.

There are now at least 8,636 cases across the entire Defense Department.

9:19 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

These 3 US automakers are reopening their factories today

From CNN's Peter Valdes-Dapena

Workers return to FCA Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly to restart production on Monday, May 18, in Warren, Michigan.
Workers return to FCA Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly to restart production on Monday, May 18, in Warren, Michigan. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will begin to gradually restart their US factories today, with some big changes put in place to help protect workers from the coronavirus.

Here's a look at what's reopening:

  • At Ford, 59,000 factory workers, about 80% of the workforce, are expected to show up for work, according to the company.
  • At GM, about 15,000 of the company's 48,000 factory workers are expected to report to work on Monday, with more expected to report in coming weeks as the ramp up in production continues, a spokesperson for the company said.
  • Meanwhile, about a third of hourly Fiat Chrysler workers, or about 16,000 people , are expected to start Monday, according to the company.

The reopenings come just before President Trump is expected to travel to Michigan to visit a Ford manufacturing plant.

A White House spokesperson and Ford both confirmed the trip to CNN. It's currently scheduled for Thursday but sources caution that is subject to change.

9:07 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Restaurants in Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade Counties can reopen today

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Head waitress Barbara Rogers disinfects tables at the Peter Pan Diner in Oakland Park, Florida, on May 17. Broward County businesses are set to partially reopen on May 18.
Head waitress Barbara Rogers disinfects tables at the Peter Pan Diner in Oakland Park, Florida, on May 17. Broward County businesses are set to partially reopen on May 18. Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/AP

Restaurants in Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade Counties will be allowed to reopen today at 50% capacity.  

Other businesses that will reopen in Broward County starting today include, retail stores, barber shops and drive-in movie theaters. All establishments that will be allowed to reopen will have restrictions.

Some background: Most of Florida began reopening earlier this month, but Broward and Miami-Dade, as well as Palm Beach County, did not, since they were the hardest hit by coronavirus. Palm Beach County allowed restaurants to reopen last week. Those three counties account for about 6.2 million of Florida's residents, according to US Census data.

8:55 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

All but 2 states have started reopening

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Women cross Market Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, on May 7.
Women cross Market Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, on May 7. Mark Lennihan/AP

By now, all but two states have loosened restrictions in place to help curb the spread of the virus. Some began allowing limited gatherings, while others have allowed restaurants and some businesses to reopen their doors with caution

Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only two with all restrictions still in place.

And while many parts of the country have expressed hope about their number of cases seemingly slowing, other states have reported hikes

8:16 a.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Social distancing worked to limit the spread of coronavirus, new study confirms

From CNN's Arman Azad

A restaurant worker in Los Angeles wears a face covering and gloves for handling takeout orders on April 5.
A restaurant worker in Los Angeles wears a face covering and gloves for handling takeout orders on April 5. Mario Tama/Getty Images

A new study has found that social distancing worked to limit the spread of coronavirus in the United States, and may have prevented tens of millions of infections.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, found that government-imposed social distancing cut the virus’ daily growth rate by about 9% after roughly three weeks.

Without any social distancing measures at all, the number of coronavirus cases in the US could have been 35 times higher, the researchers estimated.

“Our paper illustrates the potential danger of exponential spread in the absence of interventions, providing relevant information to strategies for restarting economic activity,” they wrote.

Charles Courtemanche from the University of Kentucky — as well and colleagues there and at the University of Louisville and Georgia State University – estimated the effects of social distancing by comparing coronavirus cases in counties with and without a number of social distancing measures.

Shelter-in-place orders and the closure of restaurants and bars seemed particularly effective at slowing the spread of the virus, the researchers found. Bans on large events and the closure of public schools alone didn’t seem to affect the growth rate.

“[Our] results argue against returning to partial measures such as school closures and restrictions on large gatherings, while removing the restrictions that prevent the redirection of social activity to other settings,” the researchers wrote.

They did note that their study had some limitations. Official case counts, for example, are likely an undercount because they may not include people who aren’t sick enough to go to the doctor.

Other factors could have skewed the results too, such as “informal encouragement by government officials to wear masks or improve hygiene, changing business practices, and social norms regarding distancing.”