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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4:33 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. 

1:58 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Percentage of positive coronavirus cases continue to decline in Massachusetts

From CNN’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

A medical professional works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Hospital in Somerville, Massachusetts, on April 28.
A medical professional works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Hospital in Somerville, Massachusetts, on April 28. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Approximately 8.6% of those tested for coronavirus over the past week were positive, Gov. Charlie Baker said at a news conference Wednesday.

The number has declined from the 20% or 30% in April, Baker said. 

On Tuesday, about 4,900 Covid-19 tests were reported, bringing the total amount of tests completed in the state to more than 545,000, according to Baker.

There are currently about 2,100 individuals hospitalized due to Covid-19, Baker said, which has continued to trend downward over the course of the past few weeks.

"These numbers show steady progress and we’re going to continue to carefully monitor them,” Baker said.
1:52 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

New York's Long Island region marks 44th day of declining hospitalizations as it enters Phase 1 of reopening

From CNN’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

A sign in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island directs patients to a drive-thru coronavirus test site at Stony Brook University on March 28.
A sign in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island directs patients to a drive-thru coronavirus test site at Stony Brook University on March 28. John Paraskevas/Newsday via Getty Images

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said today that Covid-19 hospitalizations in the county are down again, marking the 44th straight day of declining hospitalizations in Long Island since the peak of the virus.

This is the longest streak of declining current hospitalizations in any region in New York state, Curran said. There are currently 407 Covid-19-related hospitalizations in the county, she said.

Curran announced 67 new cases of Covid-19 in the county, and said that only 3% of those tested for the virus tested positive.

Long Island has also seen a 14 day decline in hospital deaths, she said, noting that the county has put together an “army” of contact tracers. 

In total, there have been 39,974 individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 and 2,108 Covid-19 related deaths in the county, a poster showed. 

Some more context: Today marks the first day of Phase 1 reopening in Nassau County, Curran said, noting that lower-risk industries such as construction, curbside retail, and in-store pickup for retail can now reopen. Manufacturing, forestry, farming and fishing can also reopen, she said. 

Curran laid out the guidelines for physical distancing for construction sites, noting that six feet of space must be kept between workers, but if that’s not possible then they must wear a face covering. For indoor construction projects, there can be no more than one worker per 250 square feet. 

Manufacturing, construction and wholesale trade accounts for 17% of the Nassau County economy, Curran said. 

Phase 2 in Nassau County would mean reopening of professional services including accounting and law firms. Phase 2 also reopens full retail services, though they would look different with additional PPE and sanitizing.

Curran is pushing for barber shops to be opened in Phase 2 as well, though it’s still unclear under state guidance what phase they are in, she said. 

Regarding summer camps and summer daycare, Curran is still waiting for state guidance on what these services may look like and when they’d be able to reopen, she said.