Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT) May 29, 2020
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1:50 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Iowa announces more than 500 new coronavirus cases at pork processing plant

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Iowa officials announced today a coronavirus outbreak at the Tyson Pork Processing Plant in Storm Lake, where at least 555 of the 2,517 employees tested positive for the virus.

Buena Vista County, the location of the plant, currently has 700 cases of Covid-19 and saw a sharp spike of 427 new cases two days ago, according to state data.

Tyson, in a statement, said that they have "been working closely with local health officials" and the company "has conducted large-scale Covid-19 testing in Storm Lake." 

"This is part of our efforts to help communities where we operate better understand Covid-19 and the protective measures that can be taken to help prevent its spread," the statement said.

The announcement comes as state officials have been facing questions about their transparency in releasing this information.

Yesterday, Iowa Department of Public Health Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter said that the state would only confirm outbreaks at businesses if 10% of a company's employees test positive and only if asked.

"We've been announcing them at these press conferences as the questions have been asked," Reisetter said. 

She added, "Businesses are not currently required to report outbreaks to the department of public health."

Furthermore, she noted that "it is a sensitive balance between protecting patient identity and protecting the health of the public."

1:43 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

New York City Council announces legislation requiring outdoor spaces be opened up for dining

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

A closed restaurant is seen in the Lower East Side neighborhood in New York, on April 30.
A closed restaurant is seen in the Lower East Side neighborhood in New York, on April 30. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Antonio Reynoso held a virtual press conference today to announce legislation that will require opening spaces throughout the city for outdoor dining.

They says it would allow bars and restaurants to serve customers safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here's how it would work: The legislation would "create a temporary outdoor dining permit issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs that allows a food service establishment to serve food and beverages in an approved open space. The Department of Transportation would be required to identify open spaces, such as sidewalks, streets, plazas, where outdoor dining would be appropriate."

Then, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be required to "create guidelines to ensure that establishments follow proper social distancing and cleaning protocols."

The legislation also requires the city to identify any additional areas where food vendors could operate temporarily. This bill will expire on Oct. 31, 2020, or when social distancing requirements are lifted.

Johnson and Reynoso were both critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration's lack of movement on the bar and restaurant front, emphasizing that other cities have outlined plans for outdoor dining to help food establishments.

"If they're not moving, we want to start the conversation, force their hand because we can't wait," Johnson said. "New York will not be New York if we do not have restaurants and bars and an enlivened streetscape. That's what makes up New York City."

De Blasio said he has not see the legislation yet.

1:28 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Pennsylvania official warns "the threat from Covid-19 has not gone away" as state passes 70,000 cases

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Dr. Rachel Levine, then physician general for the state of Pennsylvania, is interviewed following a press conference at a pharmacy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2016.
Dr. Rachel Levine, then physician general for the state of Pennsylvania, is interviewed following a press conference at a pharmacy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2016. Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said that while the state continues to move forward in its reopening process, “we need to remember that the threat from Covid-19 has not gone away.”

Pennsylvania added an additional 625 positive cases of Covid-19 in Thursday’s report, bringing the state total to 70,042, according to a press release. 

The state reports 5,373 total deaths – an overall increase of 108 new deaths. 

Dr. Levine continued: “As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

Currently 49 counties are in the yellow phase of reopening. Eight additional counties will move to yellow and 18 move to green on May 29.

All remaining red counties are expected to move to yellow by June 5, a press release said.

1:19 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Major League Soccer clubs to begin voluntary small group training sessions 

From CNN's Jacob Lev

Atlanta United midfielder Jake Mulraney #23 dribbles the ball during voluntary individual workouts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Georgia, on May 15.
Atlanta United midfielder Jake Mulraney #23 dribbles the ball during voluntary individual workouts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Georgia, on May 15. Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United/USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that clubs could begin to use outdoor team training facilities for small group training sessions as long as they are comply with health and safety protocols.

All the training sessions are voluntary for players. 

The league says their moratorium on full team training remains in place through June 1.

The MLS had previously allowed for individual workouts starting on May 6. 

12:42 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Trump will extend federal funding for National Guard deployments through mid-August

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Trump has announced he will extend the Title 32 order for the National Guard through “mid-August.”

The Title 32 provides federal funding for the National Guard deployment’s across the country as they help with coronavirus response. 

There are some 46,000 National Guard members supporting state coronavirus response efforts at the direction of state governors, according to CNN’s Ryan Browne.

The funding was set to expire on June 24 according to the most recent presidential memo.

12:33 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Wisconsin State Fair cancelled by organizers due to pandemic: “Safety is our top priority”

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

A sign along I-94 on May 26 promotes the Beach Boys' appearance at the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Wisconsin.
A sign along I-94 on May 26 promotes the Beach Boys' appearance at the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Wisconsin. Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA Today

Organizers of the Wisconsin State Fair have announced that they are cancelling this year's fair in a statement released today.

“We understand the magnitude of disappointment you may be feeling. We feel it too," Kathleen O’Leary, CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park, said in the statement.

"However, safety is our top priority, and that cannot be compromised under any circumstance," she added.

The event is the largest event in the state of Wisconsin, drawing more than one million people over the course of 11 days, the statement notes.

Organizers considered "countless options" to modify the fair and make it safe to hold amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the fair's site explains. 

"At the end of the day, any of these modifications would result in an event that is not the same State Fair that we and our fairgoers love," the website says.

Neighboring Minnesota cancelled its own state fair last Friday.

12:28 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

House voting now on tweaks to small business aid program

From CNN's Clare Foran, Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

The House of Representatives meet on the House floor for a vote on May 28 in Washington.
The House of Representatives meet on the House floor for a vote on May 28 in Washington. House TV

The House of Representatives is now voting on bipartisan legislation to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program set up to help struggling small businesses with emergency loans during the pandemic, the latest effort on Capitol Hill to address economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.

The legislation – titled the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act – was introduced by Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota. It is intended to make loans more accessible under the program by making its terms of use more flexible. 

Why this is happening now: The push to make fixes to the loan program comes as Democrats and Republicans have yet to reach agreement over how to move forward with a new, sweeping coronavirus relief package. But sponsors of the bill argue that fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program can't wait until Congress comes to a consensus on a bigger package.

12:42 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Here's what still needs to be done to begin reopening NYC, according to Gov. Cuomo 

A New York City Mass Transit Authority transit worker cleans a subway car at the Coney Island station in Brooklyn, New York on May 6.
A New York City Mass Transit Authority transit worker cleans a subway car at the Coney Island station in Brooklyn, New York on May 6. Corey Sipkin/AFP/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said “more progress” is needed on contact tracing in New York City to meet the metrics to begin reopening in phase one. 

“New York City, we have to make more progress on some of the metrics. We have to make more progress on what's called contact tracing, which is very important. After you test, whoever winds up positive, you trace back those contacts and you isolate,” Cuomo said. 

Cuomo said a big focus for reopening is ensuring the mass public transportation is not “overcrowded” and is also safe and clean. 

The governor said the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is disinfecting every train and every bus on a daily basis 

“They're piloting the use of UVA technology to kill the virus in cars, so they're using science to get ready for this,” Cuomo added. 

The governor also said the state is focusing on targeting community spread in the city's “hot spots.” 

“Because if you look at New York City, there are very different stories within the city,” Cuomo said.

Watch here:

12:15 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Pelosi calls for more testing as coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000

From CNN's Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 28.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 28. Carolyn Kaster/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a “sad time as we observe over 100,000 people in our country dying of the coronavirus,” adding that it is “a scar on our nation that we could not save them.”

“Our hearts are broken about 100,000 deaths,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

She added that “the answer is testing,” and “in order to heal we have to know the gravity of the problem.”

Pelosi said later, that she herself has not been tested for coronavirus or antibodies.

Pelosi called President Trump’s targeting of social media companies and expected executive order against them “silly.” 

“It’s silly, but let’s say this, it’s a distraction,” she added, arguing the focus instead should be on the coronavirus pandemic right now.