Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 10:26 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020
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6:51 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Trump will lower flags to half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Trump announced that flags will be lowered to half-staff “over the next three days” to honor coronavirus victims.

“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” the President tweeted verbatim on his way back from Michigan today.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump wrote that on Monday, “the flags will be at half-staff in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation.”

Read Trump's tweet:

6:45 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Yosemite National Park planning June reopening

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Yosemite Half Dome dusted with snow and clouds on April 11.
Yosemite Half Dome dusted with snow and clouds on April 11. Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Yosemite National Park is aiming to reopen to the public in June, according to a newly-released draft of the park’s plans.

Yosemite has been off limits to visitors since March 20. It was the first national park to fully close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yosemite plans to reopen the park at 50% capacity when California enters "phase three" of the state's reopening plan, which Gov. Gavin Newsom is anticipating in June. More than 4 million people visited the park in 2019, with peak months in July and August.

Reservations will be required to visit and the park will allow about 3,600 vehicles in each day. Visitors will be encouraged to pay entry fees online in advance.

Camping will be allowed at two sites, along with campgrounds for backpackers. Hotels within the park will reopen at least partially, but food operations will be modified throughout the park.

Some trails will be converted to be one-way only, and face coverings will be encouraged whenever possible. Shops, gas stations and grocery stores will be open, as will bike and raft rentals.

The plan follows both federal and state guidelines for allowing the public to return while taking precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and visitors.

Key locations within the park will be monitored to determine how effective the approach is at managing visitors.

6:34 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

New York loses 1.7 million private sector jobs in April

From CNN's Laura Ly

People walk through a shuttered business district in Brooklyn on May 12, in New York City.
People walk through a shuttered business district in Brooklyn on May 12, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York state lost 1.7 million private sector jobs — approximately 21.4% — in April 2020, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Labor.

Approximately 6,467,600 private sector jobs in New York remain, the New York State Department of Labor said.

This was New York’s largest monthly employment drop on record. The leisure and hospitality sector experienced the largest drop in employment, followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, according to the NYS DOL.

In April, New York state’s overall unemployment rate rose from 4.1% to 14.5%, while New York City’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 14.7%, constituting the largest monthly increase on record since current record keeping began in 1976, the NYS DOL said.

The new figures come from preliminary results from the US Department of Labor’s business and household surveys for April 2020, according to the NYS DOL.

6:21 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Arkansas governor says some team sports can resume June 1

From CNN's Lindsay Benson 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that some team sports, with strict measures, would be allowed starting June 1.

"When it comes to baseball, let's play this summer. It is going to be a little bit different, but we wanted to put the protocols in place so that our young people can have that experience again," he said.

He also said the Crater of Diamonds State Park will reopen May 22. The park will reopen with restrictions and is limited to 500 visitors per day. 

6:20 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Georgia governor says the state has less than 1,000 coronavirus hospitalizations

From CNN's Lindsay Benson 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp makes a statement and answers questions from the media following a tour of Fieldale Farms while visiting Gainesville, Georgia, on Friday, May 15.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp makes a statement and answers questions from the media following a tour of Fieldale Farms while visiting Gainesville, Georgia, on Friday, May 15. Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp gave an update on the state's drop in hospitalization numbers. 

"As of today, we had less than 1,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in our state. GEMA's [Georgia Emergency Management Agency] 1 p.m. update has that number at 919 patients. This is a 38% drop since May 1," Kemp said.

The governor also announced that the state has seen a "steady decline" in people testing positive.

"In addition to rapidly increasing testing capacity, we have also seen a steady decline in the percentage of patients testing positive for Covid-19. This is a key data point, and a real testament to the hard working Georgians everywhere who are following the guidance, wearing masks and practicing social distancing," Kemp said. 

6:25 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Michigan AG: Trump is "like a petulant child" for not wearing a mask at Ford plant

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

In this June 4, 2019 file
In this June 4, 2019 file Paul Sancya/AP

After President Trump refused to wear a mask in front of cameras during his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel did not hold back in her condemnation.

"Today's events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable," Nessel told CNN's Wolf Blitzer during an interview.

"The President is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules and I have to say this is no joke," Nessel continued.

On Tuesday, Ford said it had shared its safety policies with the White House — including that everyone wear a mask "in all facilities, at all times" — but added that "the White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination."

Nessel said Trump's failure to comply with the plant's guidelines is consistent with his behavior to this point.

"The message he's sent is the same message since he first took office in 2017, which is I don't care about you, I don't care about your health, I don't care about your safety, I don't care about your welfare, I don't care about anyone but myself."

Nessel also took issue with the Ford facility for seemingly bending the rules specifically for the commander-in-chief.

"They knew exactly what the order was and if they permitted anyone, even the President of the United States, to defy that order, I think it has serious health consequences potentially to their workers," Nessel said.

She added: "The last thing we want to see is for this particular plant now to have to close its doors and shutter its doors again because someone may have been infected by the President. And that is a real possibility."

Nessel had a message for her constituents: "Even if you don't have a President of the United States that cares about the residents of this state, fortunately you have a governor and you have an attorney general who do. And we are going to do everything in our power to protect you, even if you have a President who won't."

Some background: Nessel had warned Trump to follow health guidelines and wear a mask during his visit. Se warned that if Trump "fails to wear a mask, he's going to be asked not to return to any unclosed facilities inside our state."

The Democratic attorney general also threatened legal action against "any company or any facility that allows him inside those facilities and puts our workers at risk." She didn't outline what legal mechanism she would use against Ford, and in an open letter to Trump published on Wednesday, she said he had a "moral" obligation to wear a mask.

Watch:

6:04 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

More than 94,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

 

There have been at least 1,573,534 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 94,477 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported Thursday 21,681 new cases and 1,038 deaths. 

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

5:52 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Senate fails to pass changes to the Paycheck Protection Program before recess

From CNN's Manu Raju, Lauren Fox, Ted Barrett, Ali Zaslav and Clare Foran

The Senate adjourned Thursday without passing changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, which would give businesses more time to use money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate will take up a lands bill important to Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana, who are both up for re-election, when they return and set the schedules of pro formas next week.

“Thanks to the hard work of Senators Gardner and Daines, we'll be able to take up their bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act in the next work period,” McConnell said Thursday. “A milestone achievement to secure public lands and ensure their upkeep well into the future.” 

Gardner had earlier said he did not want the Senate to recess without passing more Covid relief.

McConnell added: “We’ll have much work to do in our home states next week and we’ll have much to do when we get back here after that.”

5:53 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

New data shows there has been more than 35,000 Covid-19 deaths in long-term care facilities

From CNN's Anna-Maja Rappard

Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators enter the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, near Seattle. The nursing home was at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state.
Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators enter the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, near Seattle. The nursing home was at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. Ted S. Warren/AP

More than 35,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 have occurred at long-term care facilities in 37 states across the country, according to new data published from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The data showed an increase of more than 5,000 deaths from last week.

New York and New Jersey alone make up nearly one-third of the 35,118 total Covid-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities, according to the new data.

Twenty-three states reported more than half of their Covid-19 deaths are in long-term care facilities, and increase from 18 states last week. Minnesota, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are still experiencing the highest death rates in long-term care facilities. Minnesota’s rate remains highest at 81%, Rhode Island increased slightly to 78%, and New Hampshire’s rate remains at 77%, according to the latest available data from Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF notes there is still no public data available in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and South Dakota on Covid-19 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Hear more: