Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Fernando Alfonso III and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 2326 GMT (0726 HKT) May 22, 2020
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1:36 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

DC primary will still be held in-person on June 2

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Washington, DC's primary election will be held on schedule on June 2, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference Friday. 

The primary will still be in-person and masks will be required at voting stations.

Bowser said masks will be provided for voters that arrive without one.  

Mail-in voting will also be permitted.

1:33 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Fauci says he hopes for more than one effective vaccine for Covid-19

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that he hopes more than one vaccine is successfully developed to fight Covid-19.

"You would want more than one candidate that's effective," Fauci said during an interview on CNBC's Halftime Report. "What you'd like to be able to do is that, in your vaccine trials, you'll have a vaccine that might be more suited for young, healthy people, a vaccine that might be more suited who are in risk categories such as age and underlying conditions."

"As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier," Fauci told CNBC's Scott Wapner. "Not only for our own country, but for the availability of these vaccines for the rest of the world."

More on this: Fauci told NPR that he was encouraged by the findings from the phase one trial of a vaccine that is being developed by biotech company Moderna. He said it is "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine by December.

1:23 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Fauci says it is "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine in December

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that it is "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine by December.

In an interview with NPR, Fauci said once again said that he was encouraged by the findings from the phase one trial of a vaccine that is being developed by biotech company Moderna.

Asked about a possible timeline for when the country could see a vaccine, Fauci said, "I think it is conceivable if we don't run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year — December 2020 or into January 2021."

Fauci said he made the one-year to 18-month projection for a possible vaccine back in January, adding, "I think that schedule is still intact." 

1:20 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Rhode Island reports 23 new coronavirus-related deaths

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced 170 new positive Covid-19 cases today, bringing the state’s total to 13,736.

There were 23 new deaths reported, bringing the state's total to 579, the governor said during a news conference Friday.

There are currently 242 residents hospitalized, with 56 in the intensive care unit and 40 on ventilators.

In terms of testing, 3,777 Rhode Island residents were tested yesterday, bringing the total tested to 127,139.

 

1:20 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

WHO reiterates that hydroxychloroquine should be reserved for randomized trials under clinical supervision

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The World Health Organization on Friday reiterated its stance on the drug hydroxychloroquine as it pertains to Covid-19: “Reserve it for randomized trials where it is approved for emergency use in clinical settings under close clinical supervision because of its potential side effects.”

“At the present time, there is no evidence from randomized controlled trials for the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine or in the treatment or prophylaxis against Covid-19," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a media briefing in Geneva.

Ryan said the drug is currently part of several trials, including WHO’s Solidarity Trial, “in order to prospectively see what value the drug has.”

But Ryan warned that several agencies around the world “have issued warnings indicating that the use of the drug should be reserved, even when it is used outside clinical trials for use in clinical settings under close clinical supervision because of the likely side effects, particularly patients with severe Covid-19 where people have noticed the emergence of cardiac complications including cardiac arrhythmias.”

Earlier on Friday, a large observational study published in the medical journal The Lancet, said that seriously ill Covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias.

1:06 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine study author says drug could cause "grave harm" for Covid-19 patients 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a tray at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
Pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a tray at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty IMages

According to a new study, seriously ill Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — often touted by President Trump — were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias. One of the authors of that study said it would be his “strong recommendation” for hospitals to stop using hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

“Our data has very convincingly shown that across the world, in the real-world population, that this drug combination, whichever way you slice or dice it, does not show any evidence of benefit, and in fact, is immutably showing a signal of grave harm,” Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra said to CNN’s John King. 

Mehra, who is the medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, explained that the study looked specifically at hospitalized Covid-19 patients. 

“What our data is showing is that in that chaotic circumstance of a hospitalized patient of Covid-19, that there's no question that there is a very clear signal of harm with these drug regimens,” he said. 

He said he would not recommend President Trump take the drug. 

While he would endorse clinical trials to be conducted, Mehra said “the use of this drug regimen in an off-label capacity should be really shunned and avoided.” 

1:02 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Nevada unemployment rate jumps to more than 28%

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

People wait in line for help with unemployment benefits on March 17 at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas.
People wait in line for help with unemployment benefits on March 17 at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. John Locher/AP

The unemployment rate in Nevada has risen to 28.2%, Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a series of tweets Friday.

The state lost 244,800 jobs over the last month, according to data released by the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

"Nevada is facing record high unemployment and the sheer numbers are difficult to comprehend," Sisolak tweeted.

The total number of initial weekly claims has fallen for the first time since the pandemic began, the data shows. But the claims have continued to grow to 369,041, the governor tweeted.

12:56 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Minnesota State Fair canceled for first time in over 70 years

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin,

Thousands packed the fairgrounds as the 12-day Minnesota State Fair gets underway on Aug. 22, 2019, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Thousands packed the fairgrounds as the 12-day Minnesota State Fair gets underway on Aug. 22, 2019, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Jim Mone/AP

The Minnesota State Fair announced today they are canceling this year's event for reasons that stem from the Covid-19 pandemic, a statement on the fair's website says.

"This isn’t a difficult decision. It’s the only decision," Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said in the statement. "It’s the right thing to do."

The fair, which now attracts more than 2 million guests annually, was last canceled in 1946 due to a polio epidemic and only six times total since its founding in 1859, its website says.

"By taking the tough road today, we guarantee that the fair’s future remains hopeful and bright," Hammer said. "We want to see you all for many years to come, when we can celebrate in true State Fair style."

Organizers of the event say they considered a variety of less serious options including postponement, extra safety measures, and extending the timeline of the fair to space out crowds.

However, the organizers felt that many of the possible restrictions would not be feasible.

"We keep coming back to the idea that the Great Minnesota Get-Together should be a celebration where we all can gather together to enjoy each other," the website reads. 

"To undertake these types of restrictions runs counter to who we are," it adds.

Ultimately, however, the board of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society made the decision to cancel the fair, the fair's website explains.

"The best thing we can all do right now is to help the world recover and heal," Hammer said. 

"In the meantime, your team of State Fair pros is working hard to come back bigger, better, stronger and smarter in ‘21," he added.

12:43 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

New Jersey estimates $10 billion revenue loss, state treasurer says

From CNN’s Taylor Romine

New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher-Muoio speaks during a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 21.
New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher-Muoio speaks during a press conference in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 21. Pool/News 12 NJ

New Jersey is estimated to have a revenue loss of $10 billion, the state's treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said during a news conference Friday.

“While there are many moving parts, what is clear is that a decline of this magnitude would be worse than the Great Recession," she said, and called on the federal government to provide the state with more funding.

Gov. Phil Murphy plans to spend several hours today speaking with federal politicians to encourage more state funding and asked Washington to "step up" and help, he said.  

The numbers: The state is expecting a 33% decline in sales tax revenue, according to Maher Muoio. In comparison, the worst level of sale tax revenue during the Great Recession was 18.4%, she noted.

According to Maher Muoio, the state has placed $1 billion in reserve, has approximately $500 million for spending on hold, and plans to de-appropriate $1.32 billion. 

 A budget plan will be released at a news conference later today with further details.