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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11:41 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

At least 105 people died from coronavirus in New York yesterday

At least 105 people across New York died from coronavirus yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference.

"Relatively, it's better than it has been," he said, adding that the news is still "terrible."

At least 112 people died from the virus on Tuesday.

Watch here:

11:33 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Spotify extends voluntary work-from-home through end of 2020 

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Spotify office in Berlin in 2014.
Spotify office in Berlin in 2014. Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Spotify is allowing its employees to continue working from home through the end of 2020, making it the latest tech company to institute an extended remote work policy. 

In a statement, the digital music company's spokesperson said Spotify expects to take a “phased approach” to reopening its offices around the world, but that “no employee will be required to come into the office and can choose to work from home through the end of the year.”

Some context: Large tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all told office workers they can continue working from home either into the fall or until the end of the year.

Twitter last week became the first company to announce it will support remote work “forever” for eligible employees who desire it. 

11:24 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

New York City mayor's advice for Memorial Day in the pandemic: "Keep it simple, keep it local"

Mayor de Blasio's Office
Mayor de Blasio's Office

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked for his advice to New York City residents whose beaches will be closed this holiday weekend and for the foreseeable future. 

The question came on the heels of neighboring communities expressing concern that city residents will go elsewhere — such as Long Island — where beaches can open based on a state guidelines.

“My advice to people is to keep it simple, keep it local, less is more," he said.

De Blasio noted there are restrictions at beaches all over the region. For example, many beaches will only allow local residents.

“I think we are all learning to be hyperlocal,” de Blasio said.

12:00 p.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Trump's threat to withhold funding to Nevada for all-mail primary is "political abuse," state official says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

When Nevada moved to make it easier for more voters to cast their ballots by mail ahead of the November election, President Trump lashed out in response, threatening to withhold funding from the state over this.

“It's a piece of political abuse here,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said about the threat.

The President has often made baseless claims about voter fraud visa vote-by-mail. Ford insisted that the move is not intended to suppress votes.

He pointed out that Nevada’s election is overseen by the Secretary of State. Currently, that’s Barbara Cegavske, who is a Republican, and “she established this all-mail primary system.”

“It's because of the Covid-19 scare. We don't want a rehash of Wisconsin here in our state,” he said. “What we're looking for here is an opportunity to protect Nevadans, and their health and safety, and at the same time, protect their right to vote. It's sacrosanct to me."

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11:13 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Retail businesses in Michigan will reopen next Tuesday

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan will reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment beginning Tuesday, May 26, according to a statement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.

The state will also allow small gatherings of up to 10 people as well as nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures beginning May 29.

"The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in the statement.
11:10 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Texas will open 44 new drive-through testing sites across the state

From CNN's Chuck Johnston and Gregory Lemos

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks on May 18.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks on May 18. Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that CVS Health will open 44 new drive-through Covid-19 testing sites across the state that will utilize self-swab tests. Results will be available within three days.  

"Texas continues to rapidly ramp up Covid-19 testing in our communities, and these new drive-thru testing sites provided by CVS Health will further expand access to these tests throughout the state," Abbott said in a press release today.   

Here are more details about the testing:

  • Residents who wish to be tested will be required to register online and stay in their cars for the duration of the process, the statement said
  • A CVS employee will provide a test kit through a drive-through window, give instructions, and "observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly"
  • Tests will be processed through an independent lab

You can find the full list of the new testing sites here.

Abbott said the state hopes to scale the number of CVS drive-through testing sites to 80 by the end of May.  


10:57 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

“Never seen the system so stressed," home health group CEO tells Senate

From CNN's Amanda Watts


A CEO of a home health group told the Senate Aging Committee that he’s “never seen the system so stressed.”  

Dr. Steven Landers, president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, outlined how the healthcare system has been hurting as a result of the pandemic.

"We've seen the stress that hospitals – in terms of bed capacity, emergency rooms, nursing facilities – the challenges that they've faced. And it's highlighted, you know, the need for a strong home care option.”  

Landers was speaking at the “Caring for Seniors Amid the Covid-19 Crisis” Senate hearing on Thursday.

R. Tamara Konetzka, a professor in the department of public health sciences at the University of Chicago also spoke at the hearing.

“Nursing home residents are ill-equipped to monitor their own care, to advocate for themselves, or to exert political influence," Konetzka said.

Konetzka said it’s estimated that at least one-third of all Covid-19 deaths are in nursing homes, adding that statistic is unsurprising.

“Nursing homes provide hours of hands-on care daily, to large numbers of people with underlying health conditions living in close quarters. Facilities are often understaffed, a situation that's been exacerbated by the pandemic," Konetzka said.
10:50 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

New York City is making progress toward starting to reopen based on numbers, mayor says

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

Mayor de Blasio's Office
Mayor de Blasio's Office

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is making progress toward reopening based on the latest numbers of cases and hospitalizations.

People admitted to hospital for suspected coronavirus cases is down from 63 to 60, and patients in public hospital system’s ICUs are down from 483 to 477

However, the percentage of those who tested positive for coronavirus now stands at 9%, which is a slight uptick. It was eight percent. 

The numbers are data from Tuesday.

“We’ve had several days in single digits,” de Blasio said referring to the percentage of those who tested positive, add that last 10 days have all been below 15%.

“This is remarkable progress,” the mayor said.

In the coming days, the mayor said the city will be addressing how it will use this data for “small, smart steps” to reopen in June when the city expects to meet the seven state criteria required for reopening.

10:57 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Archdiocese of New York proposes plan that would allow 288 churches to reopen

From CNN’s Steve Forrest

Bill Tompkins/Getty Images
Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

The Archdiocese of New York – a community of 2.81 million Catholics across the city and several state counties – believes “public worship can continue to take place safely in an era of social distancing” and is expected to discuss preparations that are underway for the re-opening of the archdiocese’s 288 parishes upon the approval by health and state officials.

Here are some of the measures in the proposed reopening plan:

  • Attendance will be limited to no more than 25% of a church’s occupancy permit.
  • There will be designated seating arrangements in pews based on people by themselves, couples, families with one child and families with more than one child.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the church will be cleaned and sanitized per CDC recommendations after every liturgy.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensaries will be available at all church entrances.
  • A live video display of services will be continued in order to alleviate any overflow in attendance.
  • Holy water and baptismal fonts will be emptied.
  • Collection baskets will not be passed from person-to-person, but baskets with long handles will be allowed.
  • No large choirs will be used.

CDC guidelines for faith-based organizations encourages limiting large gatherings, relying on virtual or outdoor services where possible, using a stationary collection box and promoting the use of face coverings at all gatherings.