US coronavirus death toll tops 100,000

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:04 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020
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4:56 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Mississippi governor announces safer-at-home order will expire on Monday 

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today that the state's safer-at-home order will expire on June 1.

“At that time, there will be no more business closures. Everyone will be allowed to operate. There will still be health and safety guidelines for people to follow. But we cannot have an endless shutdown. We have to act with courage, trusting our friends and our fellow Mississippians to act responsibly," he said.

The order will be replaced by a safe return order that goes into effect on June 1 and lasts through June 15, Reeves said.

More context: Mississippi has two rules for gathering — one where social distancing is possible and one for when social distancing isn’t possible, Reeves said.

For gatherings that comply with social distancing, there is a limit of 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors. Gatherings that cannot socially distance are limited to 20 people indoors and no more than 50 people outdoors.

Health care procedures can also return as long as the hospitals reserve at least 25% of its capacity for Covid-19 patients. School buildings will also be able to open for summer programs. 

“This does not mean the threat is gone. Covid-19 is a deadly enemy. That is still in our midst. We live in a dangerous time, and it is up to all of us to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones," Reeves said.

"There are no perfect options, but freedom with risk is better than a prolonged shutdown that threatens livelihoods and lives through government action," he added.

By the numbers: Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs confirmed there are 313 new cases of Covid-19 and 18 additional deaths and said there are still ongoing concerns about localized outbreaks and transmission of Covid-19.  

4:46 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Most coronavirus patients can take remdesivir for just five days, study suggests

From CNN's Arman Azad

Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

New data from a clinical trial of remdesivir show that five days of treatment is as effective as 10, at least for most patients. That means limited supplies of the experimental drug can go further, treating more patients with fewer doses. 

The findings were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, but they’re not particularly surprising. Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir and the trial’s sponsor, already announced results in an April news release.

At the time, the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merdad Parsey, said the study “demonstrates the potential for some patients to be treated with a 5-day regimen, which could significantly expand the number of patients who could be treated with our current supply of remdesivir.” 

The new data lends weight to Gilead’s claims. Importantly, the study didn’t focus on patients who needed mechanical ventilation. Researchers said those patients – among the sickest – may still benefit from a full 10 days.

The trial also didn’t include a placebo group, which means it couldn’t determine whether remdesivir is effective. Instead, it answered the question: If remdesivir works, is five days as good as 10?

A larger trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that remdesivir is in fact better than a placebo. The drug didn’t have a significant effect on mortality, but it shortened patients’ hospital stays by about four days.

More on this: While it’s far from a home run, remdesivir is one of the few tools doctors have to fight Covid-19, and hospitals in the US have been forced to ration limited supplies. Gilead, for its part, says it is ramping up production, and the company has also partnered with other manufacturers to produce the drug internationally.

4:33 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Louisiana reports drop in coronavirus hospitalizations

From CNN's Janine Mack 

Gov. John Bel Edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards Louisiana Governor's Office

Louisiana is reporting 38,497 positive cases of coronavirus and 2,617 deaths, said Gov. John Bel Edwards during a news conference on Wednesday.

Health officials said 798 people are hospitalized, which is the lowest amount since the pandemic began. 

At least 329,730 tests have been conducted in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

“We’re ramping up testing all across the state and those areas that have inadequately tested up to now, where we might see hotspots,” Edwards said.

4:11 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

US stocks log more gains as the economy starts to reopen across the country

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks closed higher on Wednesday, logging their third straight day of gains. The market was closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

Investor sentiment was boosted by hopes for more government stimulus, this time in form of return-to-work cash bonuses, as the economy begins to reopen across the country. 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite had fallen into negative territory throughout the day but climbed higher again in afternoon trading. 

Here's where the markets closed today:

  • The Dow finished 2.2%, or 553 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 ended up 1.5%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.8%.
3:51 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

MGM Resorts will begin reopening some Las Vegas properties June 4 

 From CNN’s Kyung Lah

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

MGM Resorts will reopen some of its Las Vegas resorts and casinos on June 4 with new safety measures in place, according to a statement.

The company plans to open the Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand and The Signature on the Las Vegas strip.

The resort will have staff wear face masks and under go temperature checks as well as implementing social distancing measures.

Guests will be required to wear masks only in instances where social distancing is difficult or barriers aren’t in place.

Caesars Entertainment also announced their properties, Caesars Palace and The Flamingo, will be opening on June 4.

3:44 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Live sports set for Las Vegas return after Athletic Commission approves upcoming UFC fights

From CNN's David Close

The UFC owned APEX arena and production space.
The UFC owned APEX arena and production space. From UFC

After months without live sporting events, Las Vegas is set to host an Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) Fight Night this Saturday night.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted on Wednesday to approve new coronavirus practices and procedures that will allow the UFC to host two upcoming events in Las Vegas, Nevada. The second event, UFC 250, will be held on June 6.

Both events will be held without spectators at the UFC owned APEX arena and production space.

Earlier this month, the UFC hosted three fan-free events in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Athletic Commission also approved on Wednesday two future Top Rank Boxing events set for June 9 and June 11.

3:08 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Visa issuances plummet during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Jennifer Hansler

Nearly 47,000 non-immigrant visas were issued in April, a drastic drop from the more than 400,000 visa issuances a month prior, according to monthly statistics released by the State Department.

In late March, the State Department, citing worldwide challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic, temporarily suspended routine visa services at US embassies and consulates. Services to US citizens continue to proceed.

The department later updated its guidance to tell foreign medical professionals with approved visa petitions, or who are eligible for an approved exchange visitor program, to request an appointment at their nearest embassy or consulate. 

A State Department official told CNN that a majority of visas processed worldwide fall into the "routine" category.

“As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services,” they said. “Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time.”   

More details: The latest figures released by the State Department reveal that even with some exceptions, issuances dramatically declined. As a point of comparison, in April 2019, more than 800,000 non-immigrant visas had been issued.

There are more than 20 major categories of nonimmigrant visas, covering different reasons for travel. Among the most common types are business travel/tourism visas, student visas, exchange visitor visas, crew member/transit visas, and specialty worker visas.

2:25 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Vermont has only one hospitalized Covid-19 patient, state officials say

From CNN's Gregory Lemos  

Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, is seen empty on April 19.
Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, is seen empty on April 19. Brian Snyder/Reuters

Vermont state officials announced Wednesday there is currently only one Covid-19 patient in the hospital and zero coronavirus patients in intensive care.

"It's really good news," Secretary of the Agency of Human Services Mike Smith said in a news conference.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine added that while there are always a small number of potential cases under investigation, these kinds of numbers allow hospitals to continue expanding their capacity for non-Covid-19 patients and procedures.   

"Clearly the hospitals are not being overwhelmed," Levine said during the news conference. "It's a great metric to show that Vermont's in a good place and that the reopening of activities, both in the health care sector in all the other sectors, are being appropriately launched and timed." 

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott tied Wednesday's low Covid-19 numbers to steps the state took early on when the pandemic hit.

"I think we laid the foundation to begin with. We took compliance seriously. People did the right thing. We closed a lot of entities down, which was unfortunate but necessary in the beginning, and we took quick action to do so," Scott said. "It was all because of what we did in the beginning, I believe."  

2:22 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

New Jersey governor on summer camps reopening: "We're just not there yet"

News 12 NJ/Pool
News 12 NJ/Pool

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s confident that the state can have summer camp activity if health trends continue "in the right direction." 

“I have a high degree of confidence assuming that the numbers keep going in the right direction that we can have summer camp activity, we’re just not there yet,” Murphy said, responding to a question from a reporter.

Murphy added his administration has “a fairly sizable army” working on that issue, as well as the issue of daycare. 

“Please bear with us,” he added. “We’re just not there yet.” 

Murphy noted that regardless of how smoothly the reopening goes in the state, they are expecting there will be flare-ups. Murphy said the state is preparing for that with continued efforts to increase testing and tracing. 

The state is now reporting a total of 26 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, New Jersey State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced, an increase of three cases. There have been no deaths reported so far.

The cases have been seen in children ranging from ages 1 to 18. Of the 26 cases, 18 have also tested positive for Covid-19, Persichilli said. Six are currently hospitalized.