Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 9:19 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
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5:22 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Mississippi reports first case of child with inflammatory syndrome

From CNN's Jessica King

A Mississippi state official reported Tuesday the first case of a child with multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

The child is from central Mississippi and had tested positive for Covid-19. The child has recovered and been discharged from the hospital, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children – abbreviated as MIS-C – is a syndrome believed to be associated with Covid-19.

6:22 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Children with suspected Covid-related syndrome need immediate attention, doctors say

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Young people who may have multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a troubling complication of Covid-19 infection, need immediate attention and will probably need to be hospitalized, doctors said Tuesday.

Symptoms do not look like the classic symptoms of coronavirus and may mostly include stomach pain and vomiting, along with fever and perhaps a rash, the experts told other doctors on a briefing organized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s becoming clear that many of the children with the new syndrome have damage to their hearts and need immediate treatment, the experts told the briefing. And they believe it’s increasingly clear that Covid-19 is involved, even though many of the children test negative for the virus and never seemed to have had symptoms of infection.

The syndrome appears to develop two to six weeks after infection with Covid-19 and affects children who were perfectly healthy beforehand. The CDC issued a health alert last week warning pediatricians to be on the lookout, and at least 18 states plus Washington, DC have reported they are investigating possible cases.

“A striking finding here – alarming – is that in this group, about half the children already had coronary artery abnormalities,” Dr. James Schneider, who heads pediatric critical care at Northwell Health in New York, told the briefing. Because the children were previously healthy, he thinks the abnormalities were caused by MIS-C, possibly as a result of a delayed immune response to the coronavirus.

“Any child at home who has fever, abdominal pain or symptoms such as rash and (conjunctivitis) should be seen by a pediatrician right away,” he advised. “I think we need to have a low threshold for evaluation.”

14-year-old describes his bout with inflammatory syndrome linked to coronavirus:

5:12 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Farmers and ranchers affected by Covid-19 can apply for federal funds starting next week

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

A rancher in Paradise Valley, Montana feeds his Red Angus cows and calves on April 21.
A rancher in Paradise Valley, Montana feeds his Red Angus cows and calves on April 21. William Campbell-Corbis/Getty Images

Farmers and ranchers who have experienced losses due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to start applying for long-awaited federal funds on May 26.

The US Department of Agriculture announced additional details about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on Tuesday, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers affected by Covid-19.

Here are some details on the program:

  • Farmers and ranchers, who have suffered a 5% or greater price loss and are facing significant marketing costs due to the pandemic, will be able to apply for the CFAP funds through their local Farm Service Agency from May 26 through August 28.
  • Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person or entity, according to the USDA.
  • Producers also must meet the adjusted gross income limitation of $900,000, unless at least 75% of their income is derived from ranching, farming or forestry-related activity. 
  • Applicants will get 80% of their maximum total payment once their application is approved, the remaining 20% will be paid at a later date if funds remain available. 
  • Eligible crops include corn, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat and eligible livestock include cattle, lambs, yearlings and hogs.

The funding was allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability Act and the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

The National Pork Producers Council reacted to the program in a statement:

"We appreciate that the USDA’s CFAP program announced today appears that it will reach more producers than the USDA’s relief program for hog farmers who suffered losses due to trade retaliation. We are assessing the CFAP program and the extent of its impact on pork producers. The financial and emotional crisis facing U.S. pork producers is overwhelming. They will lose more than $5 billion collectively for hogs processed into the food supply this year."
4:51 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Virginia reports first case of childhood illness linked to Covid-19

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

The Virginia Department of Health is reporting the state’s first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with Covid-19. 

According to the Department of Health, the child was hospitalized on May 5 and has since been discharged. The child is now recovering at home.

Most children with MIS-C have fever lasting several days and may show symptoms of irritability or decreased activity, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, lack of appetite, red or cracked lips, red or bumpy tongue, or swollen hands and feet, the health department said.

“I urge all health care providers in Virginia to immediately report any patient who meets these criteria to the local health department by the most rapid means,” Virginia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said. “All Virginians should take steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing cloth face coverings if appropriate.” 

The state is not recommending cloth face coverings for children under two years old.

5:07 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Trump calls high US Covid-19 numbers "badge of honor" because it means more testing

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 19.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 19. Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump said today that he is considering a travel ban on Latin America and called the high number of US Covid-19 cases a “badge of honor” because it means the US is testing more people.

“We are considering it,” the President said when asked if he was considering a travel ban on Latin America, and Brazil in particular, which now has the third highest number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the world.

“We hope that we’re not going to have a problem. The governor of Florida is doing very, very well testing – in particular Florida, because a big majority come in to Florida. Brazil has gone more or less herd, and they’re having problems," Trump added.

“I worry about everything, I don’t want people coming in here and infecting our people,” Trump said, “I don’t want people over there sick either.”

“By the way,” the President interjected, “when you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else.”

“Actually the number of cases, and we’re also a much bigger country than most, so when we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as a good thing, because it means our testing is better,” he said.

“I view it as a badge of honor. Really, it’s a badge of honor,” Trump said. “It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.”


4:51 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

Here's how NYU plans to resume some in-person classes for the fall semester

From CNN's Meridith Edwards

An NYU building in New York, NY as seen on July 16, 2017.
An NYU building in New York, NY as seen on July 16, 2017. Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

New York University is planning to resume some in-person classes in combination with distance learning for the fall semester, the university announced Tuesday in an email sent by Provost Katherine Fleming.

"We're planning to convene in person, with great care, in the fall (subject to government health directives), both in New York and our global sites,” Fleming wrote. “I can't pretend that 2020-21 will be a typical academic year.”

NYU is looking into ways to make the academic calendar more flexible, and to make classes accessible despite any restrictions the school might face, the email said.

Some plans they are developing include:

  • Offering classes in a mixed mode to enable students to participate in-person or remotely, with the understanding that some courses or parts of courses may be offered only remotely.
  • Possibly spread classes over two or three semesters - fall, spring and summer - with an enhanced set of course offerings without additional tuition costs.
  • They are also looking into providing those who live close to an operating campus or site in NYU's global network, with the option of studying there for the fall - known as the "Go Local" option.

This would give, for example, a student with Italian citizenship who was unable to come to NYC because of ongoing travel restrictions, the option to study at NYU's site in Florence, Italy, or elsewhere in the European Union, the email said.

Other school safety plans: NYU, which has more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students in New York and worldwide, said it plans to make masks available for all members of the NYU community and requiring their use, reduce density in student housing, and conduct virus and antibody testing, and contact tracing.

4:43 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

In-person graduation ceremonies to begin as early as next Friday in South Carolina

From CNN's Raja Razek

South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the audience at an accelerateSC gathering in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23.
South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the audience at an accelerateSC gathering in Columbia, South Carolina on April 23. Meg Kinnard/AP

In-person graduation ceremonies with gatherings of large groups of people could begin as early as next Friday, South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said.

Spearman, speaking at a reopening task force meeting, said that she and Gov. Henry McMaster felt that "it is a special ceremony; they can be held." 

"It is left up to the individual district," she said. "They can do that virtually or in person. And many high schools across the state are having in-person graduation ceremonies limiting the guests to two per senior or sometimes four, depending on the size of the high school graduating class."

Spearman went on to say that they are working with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to assist school districts with the graduations.

"I think one or two high schools have already held a virtual ceremony where the family comes in singly and gets a diploma, but as far as the actual gathering of large groups of people, it should begin next Friday," Spearman said. 

4:37 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

"Timing is right" for phased reopening tomorrow, Connecticut governor says 

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to the media in New Britain, Connecticut on Tuesday, May 12.
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to the media in New Britain, Connecticut on Tuesday, May 12. Chris Ehrmann/AP

Ahead of the state's phase one reopening day, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said that “the timing is right” for what he referred to as a “slow and methodical reopening."

“We hit the key metrics we thought we would," he added.

Starting tomorrow, outdoor dining spaces, offices, retail stores and malls, museums and zoos will all be allowed to reopen in the state with restrictions.

Right now, all states except Connecticut have in some way moved toward reopening.

Where the numbers stand: Connecticut added 314 positive cases and 23 deaths, Lamont said today.

Positive cases as a percentage of tests performed is less than 5%. That’s the lowest the state has seen in a couple of months, Lamont said.

Hospitalization numbers continue to go down slowly as well.

The governor said the metrics are “good news” particularly “given where we thought we should be the day before May 20th which is our phase one reopening day.”

4:30 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020

The Venetian on Las Vegas Strip now taking reservations for June 1

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

The Venetian resort in Las Vegas announced that it is now taking reservations for arrivals beginning June 1, "when we anticipate opening our doors to the public," the company said in a statement

The resort, which includes The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Venezia towers, is planning to open in phases, the statement said. 

 The Venetian will be the first to open, followed by The Palazzo at a later date. 

"Upon opening, our guests can expect the amenities of a luxury Las Vegas resort including: a full service casino, more than a dozen restaurants, our fully renovated Venetian pool deck and multiple retail outlets," the statement said.

Additionally, the resort said it will provide face masks to guests — though it will not require that they be worn. 

Some background: The resort "temporarily suspended all resort operations" on March 19 following the Nevada governor’s order for a statewide closure of all nonessential services, according to its website. 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board sent a notice to restaurants located in casinos on May 14 saying that they can reopen under phase one of the governor’s reopening plan. 

However, Gov. Steve Sisolak has not indicated when phase one would occur. In fact, he has previously said that the reopening of the state's casinos is still a long way off.

"The opening of the casinos and the gaming enterprises will probably come into third or fourth phase of what we're going to end up doing," Sisolak explained on April 29 during an ABC special about the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We're just not quite ready yet to handle that type of a volume," he added.

See barren casino in Vegas: