Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:10 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020
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11:53 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

New York governor says Long Island will reopen tomorrow

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that Long Island will start to reopen tomorrow.

"Long Island will open tomorrow. We're going to bring on the last of what's called the tracers who do the contact tracing after testing, and they'll be coming online today, and Long Island will open tomorrow," the governor said.

New York has been opening up different parts of the state as regions hit key metrics mandated by the state. One of the metrics is employing a certain number of contact tracers.

Long Island will begin phase one of reopening tomorrow. That means construction, agriculture, curbside and in-store pick up retail and select other industries are allowed to reopen.

Cuomo discussed how officials will monitor reopening in the state moving forward.

"Each region has a regional control group. I've spoken to many of the county executives across the state who are key on these regional control groups, and I said to the county executives, watch the numbers. When you see a cluster of cases, jump on it. Jump on it," he said.



11:48 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Cuomo says he went to the beach over Memorial Day weekend


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he visited a beach over Memorial Day weekend, while still urging residents to continue to maintain distancing measures and not “all run back to the beach.”

“I hope everyone had a good weekend. I had a great weekend. Stayed at home Saturday, went to the beach Sunday, went to the intrepid yesterday. Plus, I changed the oil in the car, so I had a good day, good weekend,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the state is focusing on reopening and how it will occur. 

“Memorial Day is going to be a point where maybe we don't all run back to the beach, but we're going to turn the page on Covid-19. And we're going to start focusing on reopening and how we reopen and how smart we are in reopening,” he said.

11:42 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

New York reports lowest daily death toll "since this started," Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at least 73 people died from coronavirus yesterday — the lowest single-day total yet, he said.

"That's the lowest level we have seen since this started," he said. "In this absurd new reality, that is good news."

Cuomo also noted that overall hospitalizations, new hospitalizations and intubations are all down in the state.


11:42 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Amtrak says it needs nearly $1.5 billion more from Congress to keep running

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Amtrak said in a letter Tuesday it is asking Congress for nearly $1.5 billion to keep operating at minimum levels during the coronavirus pandemic.

The railroad company said the request is “in addition to Amtrak’s $2.040 billion annual grant request submitted to Congress earlier this year.” 

Without the support, Amtrak said it will be “unable to minimize the impacts to service and its workforce.” 

The letter says the railway expects to carry only half of the passengers it did last year - down from 32 million to just 16 million. 

Prior to the pandemic, Amtrak was forecasting “its first break-even year in the company’s history.” 

“Current demand is running around 5% of normal,” Amtrak President and CEO William J. Flynn wrote.

11:28 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

New Jersey reports more than 700 new cases

From CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph

There were 54 coronavirus-related deaths reported in New Jersey Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press conference Tuesday morning, brining the statewide death toll to 11,191.

There were at least 703 new positive coronavirus cases reported Monday, bringing the statewide total of positive cases to 155,764. 

11:38 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

McConnell says another stimulus bill likely to come "next month or so"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Snate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Tuesday that there will likely be another stimulus bill in the “next month or so” as the country may “need one more plug here at the federal level to help us get through this period."

“There’s likely to be another bill. It will not be the $3 trillion bill that the House passed the other day, but there’s still a likelihood that more will be needed. In my view, it ought to be very carefully targeted to correct the mistakes that we certainly made in passing a multi-trillion dollar bill in one week. There were some mistakes obviously made," McConnell said at the press event at the Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. 

McConnell also restated his negotiation red line for the fourth coronavirus relief bill: providing liability protections for employers. 

Asked if he would change his mind on the House Democrats' $3 trillion bill if they agreed to provide liability protections, McConnell replied: “No. That isn’t gonna happen.”

McConnell continued: Pressed by reporters whether the response to the Covid-19 crisis was adequate, McConnell said he would “rather not go back and finger point about what might have been done differently.”

He said he thinks “the people involved on both sides did the best they could” because “you had a brand new disease that no one knew quite what was gonna happen.” 

On state and local aid, McConnell said that while there’s “great reluctance” among House and Senate Republicans to provide states with money to put toward preexisting financial problems, “if it’s directly related to Covid-19, there may be some additional assistance”.

Asked by a reporter about what should be done with the Republican National Convention this summer, McConnell declined to comment, but said: “I’ll participate whatever way they set it up”

11:24 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

New York City hires a team of contact tracers that can speak 40 languages

From CNN's Melanie Schuman


David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York City is bolstering its contact-tracing operation and has hired about 1,700 tracers, who will be on-duty by Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.

De Blasio called the effort “a huge new piece of the puzzle." Increasing the number of contact tracers is also required to be eligible to reopen, according to state criteria. 

There are two different type of tracers, de Blasio said:

  • There are 938 case investigators, who contact those who have tested positive who then trace or track down the contacts they’ve been in touch with. At least 410 of these investigators were from neighborhoods hardest hit by Covid-19, and among them, they speak 40 languages.
  • There are 770 case monitors, who reach out to the contacts of those who tested positive and arrange for testing. They also contact those who tested positive daily to check on them. At least 331 of these tracers were hired from neighborhoods hardest hit by Covid-19, and 40% of them speak Spanish.
11:09 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

NYC mayor says city aims to conduct 50,000 coronavirus tests per day by August

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said today that the city wants to do 50,000 tests per day by August 1.

The first focus will be those with symptoms, close contact with someone who tested positive and people in facilities such as adult-care facilities, nursing homes and shelters.

"It’s good for you, it’s good for everyone," de Blasio said at his daily press briefing today.

There will be 180 sites to test New Yorkers by the end of June.

The city is opening 12 new testing sites through its public hospital system over the next few weeks in all five boroughs.

If you have insurance, the test will be charged to your insurance.

10:49 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

New Jersey governor outlines plans to restart professional sports and graduation ceremonies

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Twitter that the state's professional sports teams may return to training and competition.


He also announced that starting in July, schools will be allowed to host outdoor graduation ceremonies. Those events must comply with social distancing, he said.