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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3:12 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Virginia will remain in Phase 1 of reopening for at least another week, governor says

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Gov. Ralph Northam talks to the media during a brief visit to Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 23.
Gov. Ralph Northam talks to the media during a brief visit to Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 23. Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot/AP

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that the state will remain in Phase 1 of its reopening for a minimum of another week in order for the state to continue to collect more health data. 

The governor said however, that the state’s trends are encouraging as more people are being tested and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward.

The governor did announce, that as of tomorrow, all public beaches in Virginia will be allowed to reopen to recreational activities, with guidelines including social distancing, sanitation, and no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, and no group sports.

Virginia is also revising orders today, to allow NASCAR and horse race tracks to run single day events under strict guidelines starting tomorrow. These events will not be open to the public, and no spectators will be allowed, the governor said.

2:58 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Number of confirmed and probably Covid-19 deaths in New York City surpasses 21,000

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 16,673 confirmed and 4,742 probable coronavirus deaths as of May 28, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 21,415.

More data: There have been 198,255 coronavirus cases and 51,449 people have been hospitalized due to the virus, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on May 28, according to the website.

2:55 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

North Carolina ready to hold the Republican National Convention in a safe way, governor says

From CNN’s Kay Jones

Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 26.
Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 26. Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer/AP

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told reporters on Thursday that the state is ready to hold the Republican National Convention in a safe way.

Conversations are ongoing with the RNC over how to safely host the event this August in Charlotte, Cooper said. The RNC was asked to submit plans but they have not received anything yet.

“We want to work with them and look forward to them submitting plans to us, “ Cooper said.

Some context: President Trump had threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina earlier this week.

"They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site," Trump tweeted.

3:02 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

2020 Boston Marathon canceled, mayor says

From CNN’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio 

Mayor Marty Walsh talks about the postponement of the Boston Marathon during a news conference in Boston, on March,13.
Mayor Marty Walsh talks about the postponement of the Boston Marathon during a news conference in Boston, on March,13. Michael Dwyer/AP

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced today that the 2020 Boston Marathon will be canceled.

The Boston Athletic Association has determined that the traditional one day running of the 124th Boston marathon will not be feasible this year, he said during a news conference.

“There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity," Walsh said. "This kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14 or anytime this year.” 

Walsh called this a “difficult adjustment," but said that “meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about.”

2:48 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

White House: Trump takes landmark of 100,000 Covid deaths "very seriously"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, on May 28.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, on May 28. Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump takes the number of US deaths from Covid-19 “very seriously” as she defended how long it took him to address the country hitting 100,000 deaths from the virus.  

“The President recognized that landmark before we even hit it,” McEnany said during a press briefing Thursday. “After all, it was the impetus behind him lowering the flags to half-staff. He did that for several days.” 

Pressed by CNN’s Jim Acosta about why it took Trump 13 hours to comment on the landmark number of deaths, McEnany said that Trump “takes it very seriously.”

She said the President has called it the “hardest part of his presidency,” and “something no one wanted to see happen.” 

2:55 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Pennsylvania lawmaker accuses GOP state House members of covering up coronavirus case

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Brian Sims, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania State House, said a fellow Republican colleague withheld results of a positive coronavirus test.

GOP State House Rep. Andrew Lewis tested positive for coronavirus on May 18 and Democratic members were not told until a week later, CNN’s Brianna Keilar reported.

Lewis’ last day in the state Capitol building was May 14.

Sims, who is immunocompromised, slammed it as a “coverup” and said it put the lives of lawmakers, families and constituents in “grave risk.”

"This idea that by simply quarantining maybe the last two or three of his own colleagues that he interacted with after finding out he was positive is the same as a contact trace that's required by public health and the CDC is laughable if it wasn't so deadly," Sims said.

House Majority Leader's press secretary said in statement that the reason behind not informing members of Lewis’ test results was because of medical privacy laws

“We’ve not asked for the name of any person that’s test positive, but we do need to know what committees they serve on, what days they were in the building,” Sims said.

Sims added that the Pennsylvania legislature has probably met in-person more than any other legislature in the country during the pandemic, going against the advice of health experts.

Watch full interview here:

2:16 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

105 inmates have tested positive at West Virginia prison, governor says

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said 105 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 at Huttonsville Correctional Center.

He said the state has the testing capacity it needs to deal with the outbreak. 

"Now all of a sudden we've an outbreak in one of the prisons and so what do we do?" Justice said. "We do exactly what we should do and that is run to that fire." 

Jeff Sandy, secretary of the state's Department of Homeland Security, announced plans to test all 13,966 inmates, employees, and contractors who work in correctional facilities.  

Justice said the state will be offering free testing over the weekend in Huttonsville so "we don't have a situation where we are leaking out into the community and having additional positives."  

The governor also highlighted a tweet that came from President Trump just moments before the news conference began announcing that he would be extending the National Guard's Title 32 orders through mid-August "so they can continue to help States succeed in their response and recovery efforts." 

"[Trump] has done a fabulous job in every way and I love him to death," Justice said. "I'm tickled to death that he listened to a lot of people including his little buddy here in West Virginia so we got that extension until mid-August."  

Justice also announced there were no new deaths in his state.  

"So that's great, that's just great," Justice said.  

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.