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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2:10 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Rhode Island to enter next phase of reopening Monday

From CNN’s Giulia McDonnel Nieto del Rio

Patrons lower their masks while dining in an outdoor seating area at Plant City restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 18.
Patrons lower their masks while dining in an outdoor seating area at Plant City restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 18. Steven Senne/AP

The second phase of Rhode Island's reopening will start Monday, Gov. Gina Raimondo said, calling it a reopening of “almost every part of our economy.”

She said that information for most businesses opening during this phase is available online, and more guidelines for barbershops and gyms should be available in one or two days.

Here are the reopening guidelines for phase two:

  • Social gatherings limited to 15 people
  • Domestic travel restrictions relaxed. 14-day quarantine remains only for those returning to the state from an area still under stay at home restrictions. 
  • Office-based businesses can allow up to 33% of their workforce to return, if viewed as necessary. Everyone who can work from home should continue working from home. 
  • All state parks and beaches will be open with capacity limitations and social distancing restrictions. 
  • Houses of worship can reopen at up to 25% capacity with restrictions.
  • Non-critical retailers can further relax restrictions to allow for more customers in their stores. Malls can reopen with restrictions. 
  • Restaurants will be allowed to begin indoor dining at up to 50% capacity and other restrictions. 
  • Hair care & personal services including barbershops, salons, braiders, nail care, waxing, tanning, massage, and tattoo services reopen with restrictions.
  • Gyms, fitness studios, and small group fitness classes allowed to reopen with restrictions.
  • Outdoor entertainment and recreation activities (zoo & outdoor areas of historical sites) allowed to resume on a limited basis.

The governor also said that she will have more to announce on Thursday about the return of sports. 

Regarding distance learning, Raimondo noted that there has been a 90 plus percent participation rate among students for distance learning in the state. 

Latest figures: Rhode Island announced 13 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the statewide death toll to 634, and 73 new positive cases, bringing the statewide to 14,210.

Five of the 13 deaths are associated with long-term care facilities, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott said during a press conference Tuesday morning.

Both Alexander-Scott and the state's governor noted that the numbers may be on the lower side for yesterday and today since certain testing sites were closed and others were “slower” over the holiday weekend.

Raimondo still called these numbers “good news,” and said that the state is seeing a stable plateau with no spikes or increases. “We are learning to live with the virus,” she noted. 

Still, there are places such as parts of Providence and Central Falls where the amount of people testing positive is coming back at more than 10%, which is a higher percentage than what the CDC recommends, the governor said.

1:57 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Iowa to lift restrictions on number of people allowed to gather

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

A sign promotes social distancing in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on May 8.
A sign promotes social distancing in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on May 8. Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that she is lifting restrictions that limit gatherings to 10 people, effective Monday.  

"This means extended families and friends can gather together but that privilege comes with responsibility of ensuring you're doing the right thing to protect your health and the health of people you care about," Reynolds said at her daily briefing.

Reynolds said her proclamation extends to youth and adult sports as well.  

She also announced many large scale venues can also reopen June 1 –– including speedways, racetracks, outdoor performance venues, amphitheaters, grandstands, casinos, amusement parks, bowling alleys, pool halls and arcades.  

The governor emphasized these venues may only reopen at 50% capacity and people "also must follow social distancing hygiene and public health measures," Reynolds said.  

1:32 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Here are the top US coronavirus headlines to get you up to speed

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A woman waits for a ride at LAX Airport at the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Los Angeles on May 22.
A woman waits for a ride at LAX Airport at the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Los Angeles on May 22. Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

It's just after 1:30 p.m. ET in New York. If you're just joining us, here are the top US coronavirus headlines you need to know.

  • Sports: The Brooklyn Nets said they will open their practice facility for voluntary player workouts today. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said there will "definitely be a football season this year" and plans to have fans at Hard Rock Stadium in the fall.
  • Schools: Public school officials in Arlington, Virginia, are planning for three scenarios to start the new school year in the fall, but say the most likely of which is to start the year with students staying at home.
  • College reopening: The University of Colorado Boulder plans to welcome students back to campus for the fall 2020 semester. It will implement on-campus testing, classes being divided into multiple sessions and a plan to keep first-year students in small groups. 
  • Airline industry: Memorial Day weekend traffic at airports was up significantly from recent weeks. About 1.5 million people were screened at airports between Thursday and Monday –– but that's only about 12.6% of the 12.2 million people over the same period last year.
  • Transportation: Amtrak is asking Congress for nearly $1.5 billion to keep operating at minimum levels. The railroad company said the request is “in addition to Amtrak’s $2.040 billion annual grant request submitted to Congress earlier this year.” 
  • Back to work: After months of electronic-only trading, the New York Stock Exchange is set to reopen the trading floor today. Floor brokers will return in smaller numbers, wear protective masks and socially distance. 
  • Capitol Hill: 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.
  • Contact tracing ramps up: New York City has hired about 1,700 tracers who speak 40 languages and will be on-duty by Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
  • Another relief bill: It is likely to come "in the next month or so," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. He said "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."
1:31 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Washington, DC on track to begin phased reopening Friday

From CNN’s Alison Main and Alex Marquardt

A aerial view of Capitol Hill is seen on May 25 in Washington.
A aerial view of Capitol Hill is seen on May 25 in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters Tuesday that the District has had 13 days of sustained decline in community spread of coronavirus and on track to report 14 days of decline. This is one of the previously outlined metrics listed in order to begin a phased reopening. 

The mayor said she hopes the downward trends would continue and that she could announce next steps tomorrow. Bowser also noted local officials would continue to track community spread and follow science and data in determining when to reopen.

Some context: The mayor announced last week that — barring any spikes in community spread — the District could begin the first phase of its reopening this Friday.

Here's what would reopen:

  • Outdoor restaurant service and curbside pick-up for nonessential retail.
  • Beauty salons and barbershops will be allowed to operate by appointment only
  • Up to 10 people will be permitted to gather for worship.

Looking ahead to the summer, Bowser said the District would not be issuing permits for parades on July 4 if the city is still in phase one at that time.

Bowser said there is potential for future upticks in cases, but she expressed confidence in the District's plan for reopening.

"We could discover in a few days from now more cases. We can. That's what opening up means," the mayor said.

The numbers: There are 109 new positive cases of Covid-19 and no new deaths, according to Bowser.

With regard to contact tracing, Bowser said the district will onboard approximately 50 new tracers today and should have 200 contact tracers enlisted by June 1.

1:11 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Broward County reopens beaches, hotels, restaurants and gyms with strict guidelines

From CNN’s Laura Robinson

A couple walks along the Hollywood Boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday, May 23.
A couple walks along the Hollywood Boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday, May 23. Jayme Gershen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Beaches, restaurants, hotels and gyms in Broward County reopened this morning but with strict guidelines, Mayor Dale V.C. Holness said.

Holness said the reopening was in part due “to the efforts of the people of Broward county working together with our cities, state and with the county.” 

The mayor noted that the reopening comes with guidelines, including “social distancing of six feet apart, 15 feet between groups and no groups larger than 10." Residents must also continue to wear masks and wash hands frequently.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said deputies "will be here to enforce" and educate the community. He added that deputies will issue warnings and citations if people are not complying with the orders.

The mayor warned that arrests could be made and fines could be issued.

"We don’t want to go to the extreme but we must make sure we’re protecting the people of Broward County," Holness said.


12:46 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Field hospital at Boston Convention Center will stop admitting new patients

From CNN's Ganesh Setty

The Boston Hope field hospital at the convention center, during the coronavirus pandemic in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 24.
The Boston Hope field hospital at the convention center, during the coronavirus pandemic in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 24. Michael Dwyer/AP

Boston Hope Medical Center, the 1,000-bed field hospital at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, will suspend admission of new patients, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The facility will remain running until all patients are safely discharged, and its bed capacity will remain through the summer in case it is needed, Baker said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Boston Hope has treated more than 700 Covid-19 patients on the hospital side and has served as a respite site for the city's homeless population, he said.

The latest numbers: As of yesterday, at least 8,188 tests were conducted in Massachusetts, bringing the state total to 540,561, Baker said. 

At least 2,179 residents are currently hospitalized, Baker said, calling it a “significant decrease” compared to the state’s data a few weeks ago. He said the state’s numbers are trending in the right direction.

12:33 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Miami Dolphins owner believes NFL season will "definitely" happen

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross believes there will be a 2020 NFL season this fall and plans to have fans at Hard Rock Stadium.

"I think there definitely will be a football season this year," Ross said in an interview on CNBC Tuesday.  

He continued: "The real question is, will there be fans in the stadium? Right now — today — we're planning on having fans in the stadium. But I think the NFL is looking at, and is very flexible, so that we will be able to start on time and really bring that entertainment that really is so needed for all of us in this country."

"I think the one thing we all miss is our sports," Ross said. "I don’t think a lot of people realize it until they no longer have it. But certainly the NFL, I think, will be ready to go. And I think we’re all looking forward to it. I know I am."

Some context: Earlier this month, the Dolphins released plans in wake of the coronavirus pandemic to adhere to social distancing. 

“We’ve done a lot of things down in Miami here. We’re prepared, either way, and hopefully there will be fans in the stadiums,” Ross said.

Hard Rock Stadium became the first public facility to earn the Global Biorisk Advisory Council's STAR accreditation, an initiative that served "as the gold standard for facilities to implement cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention work practices to control risks associated with infectious agents."

12:37 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Pence's press secretary returns to work after Covid-19 case

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, has returned to work after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month. 

Miller tweeted today that she returned to work after testing negative three times for Covid-19.

Some background: Earlier this month, Trump confirmed that Miller had tested positive for the virus. She was the second White House staff member known to test positive for coronavirus. One of Trump's personal valets had tested positive earlier.

At that time, the President said that Miller had not come into contact with him but noted that she had been in contact with Pence.

Miller is married to Trump's senior adviser, Stephen Miller.

12:26 p.m. ET, May 26, 2020

University of Colorado Boulder plans to offer on-campus testing for students this fall

From CNN's Meridith Edwards and Elizabeth Stuart

University of Colorado Boulder plans to welcome students back to campus for the fall 2020 semester, with changes including on-campus testing for students and faculty, classes being divided into multiple sessions, and a unique plan to keep first-year students in small groups. 

There will also be no tuition increase for undergraduate students for the 2020-21 academic year.

The university's classes in the fall semester are scheduled to begin on August 24 and to finish in-person classes before Thanksgiving.

Courses will be provided in a variety of in-person, distance, and hybrid formats, according to a letter from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano and university leadership sent to the campus community Tuesday.

“It is our charge as the University of Colorado Boulder to accept the call to become the most COVID-19 ready campus we can be-- while building in the safety and agility necessary to minimize the risks to our community members and adapt rapidly to the uncertain dynamics we will continue to face,” according to the letter.

More details on the school's plan: For academic instruction of the university's 35,000 students, the school plans to split single classes into multiple sessions and use larger spaces to reduce the number of students in classrooms.

It also plans to extend the class schedule to Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., to decrease student density on campus.

Approximately 7,000 first year students will have a slightly different experience. Their housing assignments and class enrollment will be done by dividing students into "small cohort groups." Those groups of around 10 people will live together and have all their classes together. The plan did not specify how the university will enforce these groups not co-mingling.

The university said in order to be a "Covid-19-ready campus" it will have testing capability and rapid response teams for tracking and isolation on infected individuals to meet public health guidelines.