Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 9:21 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020
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4:01 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

White House says Trump eager to host G7 summit next month

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Trump is eager to host world leaders in Washington next month, the White House says, but won't detail how he plans to organize a potential in-person G7 summit in a matter of weeks.

"The President really wants to see the G7 happen here in Washington," press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters. "He’d like to see it happen sometime in June, but as to a particular date I don’t have an announcement on that front."

She said she would not "get into the mechanics" how how the summit might be arranged, including whether travel restrictions on Europe would be lifted ahead of time.

3:32 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Production resumes at Chicago plant after employees tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

Ford said on Wednesday that production has resumed at the Chicago assembly plant after two employees tested positive for Covid-19

While the shutdown was brief, it is a sign of the difficulty of operating factories while at the same time complying with enhanced safety measures put in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.


3:18 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Ford forced to halt production at Chicago plant after employees tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Chris Isidore

Vehicle components travel through robotic stations at Ford's Chicago assembly plant.
Vehicle components travel through robotic stations at Ford's Chicago assembly plant. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

One day after reopening a Chicago assembly plant, Ford temporarily shut down the factory because two employees tested positive for Covid-19.

The plant — which builds the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Aviator and the Ford Interceptor police car — resumed production Monday after suspending production for about two months because of health concerns. 

Ford began screening employees' temperatures when it reopened its plants, and it requires medical tests for workers who exhibit symptoms. The two positive test results came back on Tuesday, prompting an afternoon shutdown.

"When two employees who returned to work this week tested positive for Covid-19, we immediately notified people known to have been in close contact with the infected individuals and asked them to self-quarantine for 14 days," said Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker. "We also deep cleaned and disinfected the work area, equipment, team area and the path that the team member took."

Felker said the affected employees worked in a separate building about a mile from the main assembly line at the plant. But because parts from those employees' building are needed at the main assembly line, the entire complex was shut down.

Some context: Ford has about 5,800 employees at the Chicago assembly complex. A separate Chicago stamping plant with just more than 1,000 employees was not shut-down by the problems at the assembly complex.

Felker said Ford is confident that the employees had the virus before they returned to work because of coronavirus' incubation time.

"Our protocols are in place to help stop the spread of the virus," she said.

The United Auto Workers union, which represents hourly workers at Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, issued said it "continues to aggressively monitor the implementation of health and safety protocols to protect our member, their families and their communities."

Even the partial-day shutdown of one plant demonstrates how difficult it will be for automakers to resume operations while dealing with the pandemic, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor & economics at the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank. She said many of the auto plants that restarted operations in Asia have been forced to shutdown, at least temporarily.

"There are three things that have to all come together. You have to have a healthy work force, a healthy supply chain and healthy demand," Dziczek said. "It's not just flip a switch and everything is as it was. It's very complicated."

2:24 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

US hotel room occupancy continues its slow rebound

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

The number of people staying in hotel rooms across the US continues to increase from previous weeks, but it is still well below totals from a year ago, according to hospitality analytics company STR. 

Less than one third of the hotel rooms in the country were occupied for the week ending May 16. 

The total is down 54% from the same week last year, but was still the best occupancy rate of the last six weeks. 

Oahu Island, Hawaii, posted the lowest occupancy of any market in the country at less than 12%. Meanwhile, 43% of the rooms in New York and 27% of those in Seattle were occupied. 

“All 50 states have at least partially reopened, so slow weekly demand growth should continue with more leisure activity around the country,” Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights, said in a statement. “Weekend occupancies continue to increase at a healthy clip, especially in drive-to destinations with beach access like Florida, or national park access, such as Gatlinburg, Tennessee.”

2:13 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

NYPD officers break up "large crowd" in Brooklyn after receiving tip

 From CNN's Mark Morales 

The New York Police Department broke up a "large crowd" today at Congregation Yetev Lev Satmar Ohel Feiga in Brooklyn, the police department confirmed to CNN.

The officers arrived at the location after receiving a call to the city’s 311 line regarding social distancing concerns.

According to the NYPD, when the officers approached the crowd, they gave dispersal orders, and within minutes the group peacefully complied without incident.

The NYPD said there were no arrests or no summonses were issued. 

5:07 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Pence was not wearing a mask when he visited a crowded Florida burger restaurant today

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after ordering lunch at Beth's Burger Bar in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, May 20.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after ordering lunch at Beth's Burger Bar in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, May 20. Chris O'Meara/AP

Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited what looked to be a crowded Beth’s Burger Bar in Orlando Wednesday afternoon. The Vice President was clearly not practicing social distancing, and nobody appeared to be wearing a mask. 

The pool reporter described it as “chaotic” and noted that “many of the local press were not wearing masks, nor were the patrons or officials.” 

Pence and DeSantis ordered burgers and chatted with the owners about how they’ve been able to keep the burger joint operating despite the ban on in-person dining at the restaurant. The restaurant is currently operating at 50% capacity. 

DeSantis said he saw a path for water parks in the state to open “relatively quickly.”

“I definitely see a path and they’re been working well on the safety, and we’ve got to get that done,” DeSantis said.

While chatting with patrons, Pence said that he had not yet seen the Michael Jordan documentary "The Last Dance," which DeSantis called the “best thing on TV” in the absence of live sports. The two then sat at a table for two and continued to chat with diners at nearby tables.


1:33 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Walmart will now start offering self-swab tests in New Jersey, governor says

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Walmart will now start offering self-administered, self-swabs at several locations across New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

This follows an announcement on Tuesday that CVS would begin offering this same service across the state. Tests will be provided at drive up locations. There will not be any testing inside the stores themselves and results will be available in roughly two days.

New Jersey reported 1,670 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the statewide total to 150,399 cases, Murphy said.

The state reported 168 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the state total to 10,747 deaths. 

1:35 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Iowa governor announces next wave of reopenings

From CNN's Gregory Lemos 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 19.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 19. Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register/AP

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced she will be allowing movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums, and wedding reception venues to reopen Friday.

She said swimming pools will be allowed to reopen for lap swimming and lessons as well.  

"Iowa's recovery is underway and our collective work to mitigate, contain, and manage virus's activity in our community is generating the type of results that enable us to ease restrictions," Reynolds said Wednesday during her daily Covid-19 briefing.  

Reynolds also announced she will allow bars "and other establishments that serve alcohol and have been limited to carry out and delivery" to reopen May 28.   

She said she will allow schools and "school-sponsored activities" like baseball and softball to resume June 1.   

Reynolds justified this next phase of reopenings saying the state is seeing a stabilization in its infection rates.  

 "We are not overwhelming the health care system. We have the resources available to manage any type of uptick or a surge," she said. "We have to move forward."  

Campgrounds in all 68 Iowa State Parks will also be allowed to reopen Friday, said Kayla Lyon, the state director of Natural Resources.

Although shelters, lodges, playgrounds, youth group camps, museums, and visitor centers will remain closed, communal picnic tables, grills, and beaches will be open.  

Lyon said these reopenings will have stipulations like the need for reservations and groups no larger than six people will be allowed.   

1:25 p.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Coronavirus hospitalizations drop below 1,000 in Louisiana

From CNN’s Kay Jones

For the first time since March 28, Louisiana has less than a 1,000 patients hospitalized due to Covid-19. 

Louisiana Department of Health reported 931 total hospitalizations and 110 patients on ventilators on Wednesday. The state also reported 278 new cases and 27 new deaths, bringing the overall totals to 35,316 and 2,385 respectively. 

After three days in a row of reporting zero deaths, Orleans Parish reported six new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the parish’s total to 500. There are 6,884 total cases in the parish, up 15 since Tuesday. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to speak further about the latest numbers in his monthly call-in radio show this afternoon.