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
68 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:20 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Wyoming will allow large gatherings starting July 1

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Gov. Mark Gordon
Gov. Mark Gordon Pool

Wyoming will allow gatherings of up to 250 people starting on July 1 as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed in the state, Gov. Mark Gordon said Wednesday. 

At the same time, the state announced that upwards of a dozen rodeos and related events across the state will not take place this year.

Cheyenne Frontier Days, which organizers say is the world’s largest indoor rodeo, will also be canceled. It has taken place annually since 1897, but Chief Executive Officer Tom Hirsig said there is too much danger this year.

"One of the worst things we could do would be to cause our state to go backwards in the recovery process," he said. “To shut down businesses that had just reopened because we caused another outbreak.”

Gordon appeared to wipe back tears at a news conference today as he described growing up in a ranching family and around rodeos.

“This coronavirus thing sucks,” Gordon said in his prepared remarks. “There are just no two ways about it.”

6:49 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Walt Disney World sets reopening date with protocols in place

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP/FILE
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP/FILE

After nearly four months of closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Walt Disney World in Florida has set a July 11 reopening date.

"We're excited to have our major theme parks reopening here in the area," said Orange County, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings.

But much like most of the US, the theme park, dubbed "The Happiest Place On Earth," will look vastly different.

"We have sat with the Disney executives and they walked us through really the different screenings and sanitation protocols that they have put in place," Demings told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding that the focus is to "guarantee that the guests who patronize the facilities will be safe."

As compared to other large American metropolitan regions, Demings said the Orlando area boasts a relatively low coronavirus positivity rate at 2.8%. "We have tested some 67,000 people in our community and 1,877 of them have tested positive," he said.

The emphasis now is on keeping those numbers down.

"Our goal is to keep it low but I want to reopen our economy to the extent we can. And so we're excited about Walt Disney World reopening and the sanitation measures will allow that to be a safe process," he said.

For specifics, the Florida attractions will minimize person-to-person contact in hopes of avoiding any large Covid-19 outbreaks.

"I believe that with the touchless, the cashless types of systems that they will be putting in place, it should preclude the virus from being easily spread between human beings," Demings added.

A gigantic global tourism attraction, Walt Disney World isn't yet ready to open wide swaths of hotels. However restaurants will open at a reduced capacity, and visitors will be encouraged to follow protocols as set in place locally.

"Throughout our community, we have tried to ensure that we have masks and the availability of hand sanitizers," he said. "So if you visit here, you will see the majority of the people who will be using the personal protective equipment... by and large, because of peer pressure. We're getting the cooperation to wear the mask and do all those things we need to keep everybody safe."

6:45 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Washington state to allow limited worship services

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee Pool

Washington state will allow worship services again but under tight restrictions. 

Gov. Jay Inslee said outdoor services will be limited to 100 people, not including staff members. 

“It has been very heartening to see religious congregations find ways to remain emotionally connected,” he said Wednesday at a news conference.

Additionally, counties that have been allowed to move into the state’s phase two plan will be able to have indoor services of no more than 50 people – or 25% of capacity in larger congregations.

Inslee said anyone singing in a worship service will be expected to wear a face covering.

“The louder we project our voices, the longer this virus travels,” he said.

6:39 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

"Silent" Covid-19 infection rate may be much higher than scientists thought, study finds

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

More than eight of 10 cruise ship passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 had no symptoms, according to a new study performed by researchers who happened to be aboard a cruise ship in the midst of the pandemic.

The cruise was supposed to follow the route of the famous Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, but instead scientists were able to watch its trapped passengers and crew to learn how the novel coronavirus behaves. Their research was published Wednesday in the journal Thorax.

The ship left Argentina in mid-March after the World Health Organization had declared Covid-19 a pandemic. The crew took every precaution to try and keep the novel coronavirus off the ship. Passengers who had been in countries with high infection rates weren’t allowed on board. Everyone’s temperature was checked before they boarded the ship. Hand sanitizer was plentiful. Once on board the ship, no one had contact with anyone outside of the cruise.

Yet on the eighth day of the cruise, someone developed a fever.

The crew immediately put the ship on lockdown. Passengers were confined to cabins. Daily cabin cleaning service stopped. Crew members wore personal protective equipment when they interacted with sick passengers. Still, eight passengers and crew required medical evacuation for respiratory failure.

On day 20 of the cruise, all the remaining people on board were swab tested. More than half tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Of those who tested positive, only 19% had symptoms and 81% had no symptoms at all. In 10 cases, two passengers who shared cabins didn’t have the same test result.

“It is difficult to find a reliable estimate of the number of COVID positive patients who have no symptoms,” wrote study co-author Alan Smyth. Smyth is also the joint editor in chief of the journal Thorax. Smyth and his co-authors conclude that the WHO’s estimate that 1% of the Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic falls far short, at least from what they experienced on the ship.

6:27 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Two Illinois churches ask Supreme Court to halt restriction on in-person services

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Two churches in Illinois are asking the Supreme Court to halt a Chicago-area restriction on in-person church services before Sunday.

The Supreme Court is already considering a similar request from a church in California. The petitions reflect the latest debate in the coronavirus culture wars and come after President Trump called on governors last week to reopen religious institutions for services. 

The churches, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries, are represented by Liberty Counsel. 

Their lawyers say the 10-person limit on religious worship services amounts to discriminatory treatment against houses of worship because businesses, such as big box retail stores, liquor stores, restaurants and office buildings don’t have similar restrictions. 

The churches are asking the court to lift the restrictions before this Sunday, the Christian holy day of Pentecost.

In court papers lawyers for the churches say they have undertaken “extraordinary efforts” to protect the well-being of their congregants and that they “do not seek to undermine Illinois’ unquestionable interest in protecting its citizenry” but that the orders issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker are “arbitrary and discriminatory.”

The Chicago Department of Health sent a letter on May 22 ordering the church leaders to comply with Pritzker's orders. 

The Supreme Court has not yet formally accepted the petition.

6:23 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Biden offers empathy to those who have lost someone to Covid-19

From CNN’s Arlette Saenz and Sarah Mucha

Joe Biden tweeted a video as the nation hits 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic and offered empathy to anyone who may have lost a loved one. 

"There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they're forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments. One hundred thousand lives have now been lost to this virus," he said. 

Biden cited the Columbia study that claims 36,000 less people would have died if the administration had acted one week sooner, and he offered the wisdom he's often shared on the trail to those who have lost someone: that one day the memory of their loved one will bring a smile to their face instead of a tear to their eye. 

"God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost," he said. "This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact we all grieve with you." 

6:20 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

More than 100,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 100,047 people have died in the US from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally. There are at least 1,694,599 cases of coronavirus in the country.

The first known US coronavirus-related fatality was February 6, 111 days ago.

For historical context in the US:

  • 100 deaths on March 17
  • 1,000 deaths on March 26
  • 10,000 deaths on April 6
  • 25,000 deaths on April 14
  • 50,000 deaths on April 24
  • 75,000 deaths on May 7


5:55 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Here are the latest updates from Kentucky

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Pool

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state has reached a total of 400 Covid-19 deaths, 399 of which are lab confirmed and one probable case.

“I never thought as governor, I’d stand up and talk about losing 400 people to something that I am, and we are battling,” he said.

He said the state reported 127 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total of cases to 9,077.

“Our numbers today continue to suggest that we are no longer in a plateau, but on a decline,” he said.

5:45 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus updates from across the US

It's almost 6 p.m. in New York. Here's what you might have missed today:

  • A sudden jump in infections could lead to a "second peak": A second peak wouldn't unfold as neatly or gradually as a wave. A new peak would mean a sudden spike in cases, which could overburden health care systems again and possibly cause a greater number of deaths. The second peak could be worse than the first.
  • Top health expert implores Americans to wear masks in public: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said he believes that while wearing a mask is not "100% effective," it is a valuable safeguard and shows "respect for another person."
  • Another Ford plant temporarily shuts down after an employee tests positive for Covid-19: The shutdown in the Missouri plant lasted only an hour, and Ford completed its scheduled production for the day. But the closure is a sign of the difficulty of building cars while keeping workers safe from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Trump intent on July 4 celebration as Washington slowly reopens: Across the nation, governors have found themselves under pressure from President Trump to lift some restrictions and allow businesses to reopen. Projecting a return to normalcy after a devastating period of coronavirus outbreak, the President has said Americans should be able to live their lives like they did before. But Washington's mayor reiterated Wednesday that a parade in the nation's capital had been scrapped.