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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10:28 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

New wave of restrictions could happen later this year, CDC director says

From CNN's John Bonifield

Forty Second Street in New York City stands mostly empty on March 22.
Forty Second Street in New York City stands mostly empty on March 22. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the coronavirus could “reground” itself in the northern hemisphere in later this year, and he does not rule out the possibility of new lockdown measures and restrictions.

“We’ve seen evidence that the concerns it would go south in the southern hemisphere like flu [are coming true], and you’re seeing what’s happening in Brazil now,” Redfield told the Financial Times in an exclusive interview.

“And then when the southern hemisphere is over I suspect it will reground itself in the north," he added.

Remember: Brazil just saw its biggest single-day increase in the number of cases, adding to the concern is that the flu virus also begins to spread in the fall.

Redfield said he could not guarantee that another lockdown in the United States would not be needed. If the country experiences a bad flu season and is also forced to contend with a resurgence of coronavirus, Redfield said that could put a lot of stress on the health system.

Redfield raised similar concerns about a fall resurgence of the virus in an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta in February. 

Gupta said on CNN's New Day, “There was a concern. We didn't know for sure. Now we have more data, as you look at what's happened in the Southern Hemisphere. But I think that in some ways the CDC, the premiere public health organization, has been thinking, planning for this for some time."
10:16 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Here's how restaurants in New York are preparing to eventually reopen dine-in services

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A person walks past an empty restaurant in Manhattan on May 18.
A person walks past an empty restaurant in Manhattan on May 18. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Restaurant owners in New York are getting creative as they prepare to welcome customers back into their businesses for dine-in services.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz explained some of the things you might see when you go to eat at a restaurant:

  • Plexiglass dividers will be put in between tables to separate customers and make sure they are not sitting too close to each other.
  • Plates and cups with be covered with plastic wrap so that when people come in, they know it is clean and safe to use.
  • Restaurants will no longer use paper menus. There will be barcodes on the tables that customers can scan to get the menu on their phone.
  • Waiters will be required to wear face shields.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state will be reopened in phases. While some regions have already entered phase one, phase two will use more of a business-by-business analysis and a matrix that determines each business's overall importance and risk in reopening.

Restaurant owners say they expect it to be about two months before they feel like they can reopen safely, Prokupecz reported.

9:49 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Macy's expects to lose as much as $1.1 billion in the first quarter

From CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn

People walk by a closed Macy's store in New York on March 24.
People walk by a closed Macy's store in New York on March 24. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Macy's released its preliminary earnings for the first quarter and said it expects it lost as much as $1.1 billion between February and May, blaming its losses on lockdown measures that governments imposed because of coronavirus.

The company was forced to close stores on March 18 because of the coronavirus outbreak, causing sales to plunge by as much as 45%, the company said Thursday.

Macy's began reopening stores on May 4 — just a couple days after its first fiscal quarter came to a close. As of this week, it has about 190 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores open. The company hopes to have more than 500 stores open by mid-June. 

Macy's is limiting the number of customers allowed inside stores that are reopening and installing social distancing signs and markers. 

Customers will be required to use hand sanitizer before trying on jewelry or watches. And Macy's has suspended ear piercings, bra fittings and tailoring services.

9:46 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Pence to lead a coronavirus task force meeting at the White House today

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will lead a coronavirus task force meeting at the White House today, according to his official schedule.

The meeting will be at 2:30 p.m. in the Situation Room. This is the first task force meeting since Friday, according to a review of Pence’s schedule. The meeting is closed to press.

9:44 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Stocks open flat

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

A cyclist passes the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on May 18.
A cyclist passes the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on May 18. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks opened mostly flat on Thursday, following the prior session’s rally that propelled the S&P 500 to its highest level since early March.

The market once again paid little attention to dire news from America’s labor market, where another 2.4 million people filed for first-time unemployment claims last week.

Here's where things opened this morning:

  • The Dow opened down 0.1%, or 35 points.
  • The S&P 500 was essentially flat.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.1%, but slipped into the red within the first minutes of trading.
9:41 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Michigan attorney general: Trump has "legal" and "moral" responsibility to wear a mask at Ford plant

From CNN's Sam Fossum

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference in Lansing, Michigan, in March.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference in Lansing, Michigan, in March. David Eggert/AP/File

Ahead of President Trump's visit to a Ford motor plant in Michigan today, the state's attorney general Dana Nessel sent Trump an open letter urging him to wear a face covering during his visit, saying he has both a "legal" and "moral" responsibility to do so. 

"While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford's plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford -- and across this state — by wearing a facial covering. It is not just the policy of Ford, by virtue of the Governor's Executive Orders. It is currently the law of this state," Nessel wrote in the letter, citing two executive orders from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Some context: Executive Order 2020-91 requires manufacturing facilities to suspend all tours, and Executive Order 2020-92 requires anyone who is medically able to wear a facial covering when in an enclosed space, according to the letter. 

"Anyone who has potentially been recently exposed, including the President of the United States, has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility, to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus," Nessel wrote. 

9:25 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Nurse who lost 50 pounds during coronavirus battle: "I didn't even recognize myself"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

From Mike Schultz/Instagram
From Mike Schultz/Instagram

San Francisco nurse Mike Schultz lost at least 50 pounds while hospitalized with coronavirus. 

Schultz posted shocking before-and-after photos of the impact the virus had on his body.

“I didn't even recognize myself … I pretty much cried when I looked in the mirror,” he said. “…I had no idea how long I had been there. So it was kind of a shock taking all of this in at once.”

He said he flew to Boston in March to see his boyfriend, and after he got back home, he developed a high fever and was struggling to breathe. He was on a ventilator for 4.5 weeks. 

“I was probably like a lot of people. I didn't realize how serious it was,” he said.

Schultz said that he is recovering, but still experiencing some health issues. 

“I have a little lingering cough and I can't breathe in all the way without feeling like I need to cough,” he said. “… Doctors say … lung capacity is one of the slowest things to come back. So it's going to be a while.” 

Watch more:

9:29 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Nearly 500 US flights per day are more than 70% full

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Passengers walk between terminals at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on May 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Passengers walk between terminals at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on May 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Some passengers will arrive at the airport and find their flight is too full to allow for the neighboring seat to remain empty, according to data from a US airline industry group.

However, the group, Airlines for America, maintains that the vast majority of flights continue to allow for many open seats, even as the average number of passengers on each plane is growing. 

 About 8.5% of flights are more than 70% full, according to the group Airlines for America.  

That means about 482 daily flights are above the 70% mark. The group said US carriers are currently conducting about 5,670 passenger flights daily — even after slashing thousands of flights from their schedules. 

Why this matters: The 70% mark is significant because on narrow body aircraft where most seats are in groups of 3, social distancing typically means using only two thirds of seats, or 67%. When factoring in other types of aircraft and different seating arrangements, the International Air Transport Association says social distancing would mean using a maximum of 62% of seats fleet-wide.  

There is no federal standard requiring airlines to leave empty seats and allow customers to socially distance, and the Department of Transportation recently instructed airlines that “if the passenger wishes to change or cancel due to concerns related to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the customer is not entitled to a refund or voucher.

Here's how flight capacity breaks down:

  • 3% of flights flew 80-89% full
  • 5% of flights flew 70-79% full
  • 6% of flights flew 60-69% full  
  • 12% of flights flew 50-59% full  

In January and February, the average flight carried between 85 to 100 passengers. Now, the average flight carries about 39 passengers. That number has climbed significantly from as low as 10 passengers per flight in April and 23 passengers per flight in early May.  

9:35 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

If Trump doesn’t wear mask at Michigan auto plant, he'll be asked not to return, state official says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Trump speaks with the press in Washington on Tuesday.
President Trump speaks with the press in Washington on Tuesday. Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is calling on President Trump to wear a mask ahead of his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in the state today. 

“If he fails to wear a mask, he's going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facility inside our state,” Nessel said. “…If we know he's coming to our state, and we know he's not going to follow the law, I think we're going to have to take action against any company or any facility that allows him inside those facilities and puts our workers at risk. We just simply can't afford it here in our state.” 

Some background: As auto plants reopened on Monday, there was an agreement between the United Auto Workers union and manufacturers that has become law. It specifies that there should be no outside visitors — which has been waived for the President, Nessel said — social distancing, temperature screening and wearing a face covering. 

“We are just asking that President Trump comply with the law of our state, just as we would make the same request of anyone else in those plants,” Nessel said. 

Ford on Tuesday said it had communicated its safety policies to the White House, including that everyone wear a mask. But a company spokesman said, "The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination.” 

When the President was asked on Tuesday whether he would wear a mask to the Michigan plant, Trump said he hadn't thought about it yet.

"I don't know. I haven't even thought of it. It depends. In certain areas I would, in certain areas I don't. But I will certainly look at it," Trump said.