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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11:28 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.


10:41 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Another US service member dies from coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

A third US service member has died from Covid-19, the Pentagon disclosed Tuesday. 

More than 6,000 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus, and there are at least 9,173 cases across the entire Department of Defense. 

10:57 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Shake Shack founder, restauranteur says federal loan program could “backfire” for restaurants

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Restauranteur Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program isn’t working for restaurants yet, calling on Congress to extend loan forgiveness. 

“We're really, really hoping that policymakers have gotten the message that this is actually something that’ll backfire on the hospitality industry unless we extend the forgivable date to at least 24 weeks and not eight weeks. In order to have those loans be forgiven, you have to have hired back three quarters of your staff by June. That just won't happen,” Meyer said. 

Meyer predicts that people will not feel confident going into restaurants for a long time, particularly in New York City. 

“I think it’s going to take a number of things for consumers to regain their confidence to go into restaurants. And I think it may be some type of treatment, it may be a vaccine, it may be testing of your entire staff, it may be some type of health pass where you know that everybody else who is dining there has gone through the same scrutiny you've gone through,” Meyer said. “It is going to take confidence, and once we have that demand, and once we know it is safe, we will open our doors." 

Meyer also told CNN’s Poppy Harlow he is confident that restaurant jobs will ultimately come back, but not right away. 

“This is not going to be an immediate light switch where all of a sudden everybody feels safe coming back to dine. And restaurants are going to have to gradually up their staff levels in accordance to how many people are dining there,” he said. 

Watch more:

10:31 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

This city was once the epicenter of the coronavirus. It will begin reopening today.

From CNN’s Linh Tran and Brynn Gingras in New Rochelle, NY:

New Rochelle, New York – once the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the state – will begin reopening Tuesday.

The city’s mayor, Noam Bramson, said it can "take special satisfaction in reaching this milestone and can be confident in our capacity to make further progress toward a full reopening”

Here's Bramson's statement about today's reopening:

“Having faced COVID-19 among the earliest in the nation, the people of New Rochelle can take special satisfaction in reaching this milestone and can be confident in our capacity to make further progress toward a full reopening. The resumption of construction and retail pickup in Phase I will be a welcome boost to our local economy, and New Rochelle is already making plans to accelerate our recovery through both business and individual assistance. But it is premature to let down our guard. All of us must continue to act responsibly, practice physical distancing, use face coverings, and follow other guidelines intended to safeguard our health at both home and work.”


10:28 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

House Republicans plan to return to Capitol Hill this week — but some Democrats could vote remotely

From CNN's Manu Raju

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

Most House Republicans are expected to return to the Capitol this week to vote in person despite the new rules allowing lawmakers to vote remotely, showing the continuing divide between the two parties over whether it's safe to return to work.

Democrats, concerned about the safety of returning to the Capitol, pushed through the first-ever change to House rules allowing lawmakers to vote remotely on the floor by designating members to vote at their direction and on their behalf. They plan this week to employ those rules, which allow a member to vote on behalf of up to 10 members. It's uncertain how many Democrats will use those new rules or return to vote in person.

But Republicans are sharply critical of the rules change and argue that the House can return to session by modifying some of their practices to promote social distancing. If Republicans decided to vote remotely, they would undercut the concerns they've raised about the constitutionality of the new rules.

GOP leadership aides said yesterday morning that they expect most of their members to return when the House is in session tomorrow and Thursday.

The divide within the House reflects the larger split between the two parties about whether it's safe to reopen the economy as quickly as President Trump has sought — or whether states should be far more cautious in their handling of the public health crisis.

The House plans to vote this week on changes to the federal Paycheck Protection Program to give small businesses more time to use emergency loans provided under legislation enacted this spring. The House also plans to vote on a measure to reauthorize expired federal surveillance laws.