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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1:28 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.

12:07 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Montgomery mayor says entire city only has two ICU beds available

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Montgomery, Alabama, Mayor Steven Reed said the whole city only had two available ICU beds this morning amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

“We're not doing better, we're actually doing worse, unfortunately. … We are in a place that would be considered a crisis at this moment,” Reed said in an interview on CNN. 

“We have not gotten out of this, and unfortunately, people believe that the pandemic is over, and they believe that we get chance to determine when things go back to normal, and we don't. So I'm certainly concerned about those who may be sick and those who may have some illnesses not being able to get the attention they may need,” he continued.

Reed said he understands that residents “have Covid fatigue” and are itching to return to living life how they did before the pandemic, but it’s not time to let up yet.

“We can't fast-forward to the end of this movie, and we're trying to do that right now in the way we're approaching this process, and I think that's why we're seeing the spikes — not only in Montgomery but also throughout Alabama. And that is problematic for our business owners, it's problematic for our schools, it's problematic for our hospitals, our first responders and our entire community,” he said. 

Watch:

12:03 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

New York governor will sign Executive Order giving businesses right to deny entry to those not wearing masks

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Brooklyn, New York, on May 28.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Brooklyn, New York, on May 28. State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today he is signing an Executive Order that will authorize private businesses in the state to deny entry to people who do not wear a mask or a face covering.

"When we are talking about reopening stores in places of business, we are giving the store owners the right to say if you are not wearing a mask, you can't come in. That store owner has the right to protect himself," he said.

He continued: "If you don't want to wear a mask, fine, you don't have the right to go into that store owner if that store does not want you to."

Cuomo noted that the state has delivered more than 8 million masks for New York City, many which went to public housing, food banks, churches and homeless shelters. He added that they are bringing in a million more masks today.

"The masks work. They work," the governor said.