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
19 Posts
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10:43 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

New York City preparing for phase 1 of reopening beginning of June, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined the first phase of reopening as it aligns with state guidelines, adding that based on metrics, this will happen either in the first or second week of June.

“That’s four whole parts of our economy, manufacturing, construction, wholesale, and parts of retail that haven’t been opened yet again with restrictions," de Blasio said at his daily news briefing on Thursday.

The mayor added that clothing stores, office supply stores and furniture stores are restricted to curbside pickup or in store pick up.

It's estimated a range of 200,000 to 400,000 workers will be returning to work. The estimate is based on analysis of April 2020 employment in affected industries. 

In a lot of other parts of the country “that would be their entire city,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said there are basic “common sense” rules for all sectors during reopening including social distancing, to keep occupancy to under 50%, personal protective equipment, regular cleaning of shared surfaces, health screenings for employees such as temperature checks or questionnaires, and communication with employees and patrons in the form of creating distance markers and signage.

10:01 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

White House expected not to issue economic projections this summer, officials say

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The White House will forgo issuing economic projections that are traditionally released over the summer that would likely show the effects of the coronavirus downturn, according to two officials familiar with the matter.

The "mid-session review" usually comes over the summer after the winter release of the President's budget proposal. It includes updated projections on unemployment and growth.

The officials said the coronavirus had injected too much uncertainty into the economy to allow for accurate projections. Instead, the report will likely include a summary of the current economic conditions and information about relief legislation enacted by the Trump Administration.

The Washington Post first reported on the decision to forgo the traditional economic forecast this year.

10:06 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

New York City getting to the point “very, very soon” where it can take first steps toward reopening, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city is getting to the point “very, very soon” where it can take the first step towards Phase 1 as it navigates reopening amid the pandemic.

The mayor said that he thinks "it’s time that New Yorkers see their hard work rewarded."

On New Yorkers' efforts during the pandemic, de Blasio said, “It hasn’t been easy for a single day."

“Despite that you’ve done it and you’ve done it to a remarkable degree,” he added.

De Blasio said that the city has put itself "in a position to start talking about opening things up, step by step, phase by phase.”

We are “getting to the point very, very soon where we can take the first step to restart in phase 1," the mayor said.

“You have earned it," he added.

9:52 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Trump tweets about 100,000 US coronavirus deaths for first time

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump for the first time weighed in on the United States surpassing 100,000 deaths from coronavirus calling it a “sad milestone” in a tweet this morning. 

Asked why the President had not spoken about the milestone earlier, deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said, “President Trump’s prayers for comfort and strength are with all of those grieving the loss of a loved one or friend.”

A White House official also said the President has talked about the “grave loss of life” many times before and noted that the President referenced the losses Americans have suffered during his Memorial Day remarks.

"He lowered the flags over the weekend as a mark of tribute and honor to all those lost,” the official added.

9:48 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

US stocks open mixed following grim economic news

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks kicked off mixed on Thursday, following more dire economic news.

Another 2.1 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of initial claims to more than 40 million since the pandemic and economic shutdown began.

Meanwhile, America’s first quarter gross domestic product was revised down, declining at an annualized rate of 5%.

Here's how the markets opened:

  • The Dow and the S&P 500 shrugged the data off, and climbed at the open.
  • The Dow rose 0.7%, or 179 points, and the S&P 500 opened 0.3% higher.
  • The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.1%.
9:39 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

American Airlines is reducing management and support staff by 30%

From CNN’s Greg Wallace

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

American Airlines is telling employees it will reduce its management and support staff by 30%.  

Elise Eberwein, the executive overseeing human resources, wrote to employees on Wednesday that “running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner.” The airline shared the memo with CNN.  

The memo said the airline is offering a voluntary exit program, and if it does not receive enough volunteers, “we will have to take the difficult step of involuntary separations.”  

The employees will remain on payroll through September 30, as required by the federal airline payroll bailout program in the CARES Act.  

The memo described benefit reductions for management and support employees.  

It also said the airline will hold discussions with the unions that represent frontline employees – such as pilots and flight attendants – about how to reduce headcount.  

American CEO Doug Parker said Wednesday the company was looking for ways to reduce its payroll costs without layoffs, but warned that may be necessary.   

9:26 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Trump claims there are "many different viewpoints" on wearing a mask, despite CDC saying otherwise

From Jason Hoffman

President Donald Trump holds a mask during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21.
President Donald Trump holds a mask during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted that there are “So many different viewpoints!” on masks, retweeting an article making the spurious claim that masks are more about social control than public health.

The tweet Trump promotes also mentions presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden saying, “Image of Biden in black mask endorses culture of silence, slavery, and social death.” 

Some background: The President has resisted wearing a mask throughout the pandemic, and the issue has turned into a political and cultural flashpoint. Trump has mocked Biden for wearing a mask multiple times and ignored guidance from the CDC and the coronavirus task force that Americans should wear a face covering.  

Responding to the President’s attacks towards him, Joe Biden said, “He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. I mean every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd."  

Dr. Anthony Fauci implored Americans to wear masks in an interview on CNN Wednesday. 

"I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing you should be doing," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House's coronavirus task force said.

Fauci said he believes that while wearing a mask is not "100% effective," it is a valuable safeguard and shows "respect for another person."

9:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Orlando mayor says Disney and other theme parks have gone "extra mile" to open safely

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

Orlando, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings said major theme parks like Disney World, that plan to reopen in mid-July, have demonstrated they “have gone the extra mile” to ensure they can open safely. 

Demings, as mayor, has approved reopening plans from Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

The plans include wearing masks and maintaining social distance, but Demings told CNN on Thursday that he couldn't guarantee it would be enough to keep people safe.

“Well I can’t guarantee that,” Demings said. “But we have a high probability that the likelihood that they can contact or contract the virus has been reduced because of the various sanitary measures that have been put in place.”

Orlando has a 2.8% positivity rate for Covid-19 according to Demings, which he says is about half of what it is in the rest of the state.

He attributes this to the city’s decision to adopt social distancing protocols early on, and also to Disney World’s decision to shut down in mid-March as the nation’s largest single site employer. 

9:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

White House responds to why President Trump has not yet acknowledged 100,000 US death toll

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond 

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House on May 21.
President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House on May 21. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Asked why President Donald Trump has not yet acknowledged the milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the US, deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said, “President Trump’s prayers for comfort and strength are with all of those grieving the loss of a loved one or friend.”

“His message to this great Nation remains one of resilience, hope and optimism. The American people have always been strong and resilient, and the President is proud of their spirit, courage and determination every single day to defeat this virus,” Deere said in a statement. 

A White House official also said the President has talked about the “grave loss of life” many times before and noted that the President referenced the losses Americans have suffered during his Memorial Day remarks.

”He lowered the flags over the weekend as a mark of tribute and honor to all those lost,” the official added.

”While yes, we do mourn the loss of life, we must also celebrate the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been saved. Projections showed that if we had taken no mitigation action, there could have been up to 2.5 million dead Americans,” the official said, echoing a line from the President.

Meanwhile, Trump has spent his morning airing personal grievances on Twitter as he remains silent on the US passing the grim milestone.