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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4:27 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Mississippi governor extends state's safer-at-home order one more week

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Pool via Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Pool via Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today he has extended the state’s safer-at-home order one more week in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We must stay vigilant. I know that we’re going into a holiday weekend where we’re used to gathering in large groups and cooking out and having a great time,” Reeves said. “Please remember to stay six feet apart. Continue to wash your hands, sanitize and wear a mask, if at all possible.”

Outdoor places of entertainment, such as playgrounds, racetracks, and water parks, will reopen, with strict health guidelines and rules, on May 25 at 8 a.m.

Mississippi State Department of Health is now reporting 12,624 positive cases of coronavirus and 596 deaths.

4:55 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

The unemployment rate for Indiana was 16.9% in April

From Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

Fred Payne, the commissioner for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said that Indiana’s unemployment rate for April was 16.9%, while the unemployment rate in the United States stands at 14.7%.

This is the highest rate that Indiana has seen since 1982, Payne said, noting that leisure and hospitality and manufacturing industries have shown the largest swing, with a combined loss of about 194,000 jobs.

In March, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 3.2%, Payne said.

4:14 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

US stocks finish mixed after strong week

From CNN’s Matt Egan

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US markets headed into the holiday weekend with a mixed finish on Friday following a strong week of gains.

Here's how the day ended:

  • The Dow fell 9 points, or less than 0.1%.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq advanced 0.4%.

For the week, all three major indexes rallied more than 3%. It was the Dow’s best week since early April. 

The New York Stock Exchange is closed on Monday for Memorial Day, and it’s scheduled to reopen its iconic trading floor to some floor brokers on Tuesday. The so-called Big Board has been limited to all electronic trading since March 23.

4:07 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Catch up: Read up on the latest coronavirus headlines

President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing at the White House on May 22 in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing at the White House on May 22 in Washington. Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s Friday afternoon in the East Coast. If you're just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed:

  • Trump is directing states to reopen places of worship: The President announced his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations, but he does not have the authority to do so.
  • Fauci says "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine in December: In an interview with NPR, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said once again that he was encouraged by the findings from the phase one trial of a vaccine that is being developed by biotech company Moderna.
  • Birx stresses social distancing during Memorial Day weekend: On the eve of the holiday weekend, Dr. Deborah Birx, a White House coronavirus task force official, urged the country to continue to follow social distancing measures when going about sports activities and visiting beaches. She said individuals must keep a six feet distance and have a mask with them in case the six feet distance “cannot be maintained.”
  • Large study finds drug Trump touted for Covid-19 is linked to greater risk of death: Seriously ill Covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous irregular heart rhythms, according to a large observational study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet. Trump has been a frequent proponent of the combination of the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin as a Covid-19 treatment. 
  • New York City continues to meet key thresholds needed to reopen: Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city continues to meet two of the three thresholds it still needs to meet the state’s criteria to reopen the city. Officials would like to consistently stay under the threshold of 200 people being admitted into hospitals for Covid-19, de Blasio said. There are seven criteria needed in order to reopen. The city is already meeting four of those.
4:07 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Virginia governor addresses safety issues ahead of Memorial Day weekend

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a press briefing in Richmond, Virginia, on May 15.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a press briefing in Richmond, Virginia, on May 15. Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam reminded Virginians of a number of safety issues as the state heads into Memorial Day weekend, including possible flooding and avoiding large gatherings. 

The governor pointed out that there has been some heavy rainfall across much of the state, especially in the southwest, meaning rivers are up and flooding is possible. Northam warned Virginians to be aware of river restrictions and their local weather forecast.

Some context: The governor said 116 people, four dogs and two birds were rescued yesterday from flooding that was occurring in the area 

Northam also pointed out that Virginians need to remain conscientious of social distancing guidelines.

"We still need everyone to be smart and safe this weekend. Don't gather in large groups, don't crowd parks or natural areas. Remember to maintain your social distancing, and please wear a face covering when you're out in public," he said.

3:50 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Council on American-Islamic Relations criticizes Trump's call to open houses of worship

From CNN's Keith Allen

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would not follow President Trump’s call to open houses of worship around the country this weekend.

“Sorry #Trump but U.S. Islamic scholars & Muslim leaders agree that we will not be reopening #mosques for the immediate future as we are taking #COVID seriously,” CAIR tweeted. “Who would have thought, Trump is fighting to open mosques & we are for keeping them closed!”

CAIR said that American Muslim scholars and community leaders have already determined that public religious activities will be restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that is unlikely to change despite Trump’s announcement Friday afternoon.

“Nothing the President says now is likely to alter that decision, particularly given his previous Islamophobic policies and rhetoric,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper told CNN in an email. 

The Fiqh Council of North America has called on mosques and Islamic centers to “strictly follow the health and state official guidelines for social gatherings and distancing,” and to hold Eid prayers at home and to “listen to virtual Eid reflections from their local masjids (mosque),” according to Hooper. 

Muslims around the United States will celebrate Eid al-Fitr this weekend beginning Saturday night.

3:40 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

The CDC publishes new pandemic guidance for religious worship

From CNN’s Nick Valencia and Maggie Fox

Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images
Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

Religious institutions should provide soap and hand sanitizer and encourage the use of cloth masks and clean their facilities daily if they want to open while coronavirus is still spreading, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly released guidance Friday.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions should also promote social distancing and consider limiting the sharing of objects such as books and hymnals, the CDC said.

President Trump had said he would push the CDC to issue new guidance.

"I said, 'You better put it out,'" Trump told a round table in Michigan Thursday.

At a White House press briefing earlier today, Trump said he wanted Americans to go back to church and urged governors to lift restrictions.

3:36 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

California is "days away" from releasing guidelines on churches reopening

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Following President Trump’s declaration that places of worship are essential and should be reopened immediately, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is "days away" from releasing guidelines to safely reopen.

The governor said he expects those guidelines to be released Monday.

Under Newsom's current plan, churches would be allowed to reopen in Stage 3. The state is currently in the early portion of its Stage 2 road map to reopen. Newsom has been under increasing pressure by the state's faith-based institutions to reopen.

More than 1,200 pastors in California this week signed a petition that says they will resume in-person services beginning on May 31. 

3:25 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Southeastern Conference to allow student-athlete activities on campuses starting June 8

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced on Friday it will allow “voluntary in-person athletics activities” to resume on all 14-member campuses, at the discretion of each university, starting June 8.

The SEC will allow student-athletes in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball to return to campus beginning June 8 under the guidance of each university and individual state and local health officials.

Under strict supervision, teams will be allow to participate in voluntary activities as they prepare to adapt to full training activity needed for the fall sport season.

"The safe and healthy return of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our greater university communities have been and will continue to serve as our guiding principle as we navigate this complex and constantly-evolving situation," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. 

Organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited by the NCAA in all sports until July 31.