Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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8:51 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New study says 1 in 7 New Yorkers had Covid-19 by the end of March 

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen

Times Square stands mostly empty on March 22.
Times Square stands mostly empty on March 22. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

More than 2 million New Yorkers had been infected with Covid-19 by the end of March – about 10 times the official count, according to a new study

State data, however, shows only about 189,000 cases by the end of March. That means about 1.8 million cases potentially went undetected. 

Why cases may have been undercounted: There are several reasons why those cases were not detected, said study coauthor David Holtgrave, dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany. 

Some infected people may have had no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, and so never went to the doctor, Holtgrave said. Others might have wanted to get tested but couldn’t find a doctor to test them, given the shortage of tests in February and March. 

In the study, researchers drew blood from more than 15,000 New York adults and found that about 14%, or 1 out of 7, had antibodies to the virus, which means they had previously been infected. The researchers extrapolated that number to the entire population.

On herd immunity: While the 14% infection rate was higher than previously thought, it’s still not high enough to confer herd immunity, Holtgrave said.

Herd immunity is when a community has a sufficiently high proportion of people who are immune to a disease so that the disease is unlikely to spread. These are the full results of New York's antibody survey, some of which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has previously mentioned.

The data also shows that communities of color were disproportionately infected. Among those who had antibodies, 30% were Hispanic and 22% were black, which is higher than their proportions in the New York population. 

The study was coauthored by officials at the New York Department of Health, and posted on the pre-print server MedRXiv.org, which means it wasn’t peer reviewed or published in a medical journal. 

9:56 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

It's just past 8 a.m. in New York and 5 a.m. in San Francisco. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5.8 million people globally. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • Virus death toll rises: At least 101,621 people have died in the US from coronavirus, with at least 1,721,926 cases recorded across the country.
  • CDC forecasts more deaths: The CDC projects that the US will suffer 123,000 coronavirus deaths by June 20.
  • Freelancers wait for unemployment benefits: Many Americans are still waiting for coronavirus relief payments, two months after lawmakers passed the $2 trillion package that made more people eligible to file jobless claims.
9:57 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Millions of freelancers are still waiting for coronavirus unemployment benefits

From CNN's Tami Luhby

Brett Chowaniec of California, who is self-employed, is now collecting unemployment benefits.
Brett Chowaniec of California, who is self-employed, is now collecting unemployment benefits.

As a self-employed window washer, Brett Chowaniec is used to not qualifying for jobless benefits when bookings at his business, Pane in the Glass, tumble during economic downturns.

But thanks to Congress' historic expansion of unemployment benefits, the Acampo, California, resident is now collecting nearly $900 a week from the government -- allowing him to cover the land lease and other expenses for his mobile home and to buy groceries.

"I just never seem to fit into that niche that would normally get any assistance," said Chowaniec, 56, who focuses on high-end homes in the San Francisco Bay area.
"I would usually be booked right now, but I don't have a single thing lined up."

Yet while the new program has worked for Chowaniec, many others are still waiting for payments, two months after lawmakers passed the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that made more Americans eligible to file jobless claims.

Some 7.8 million people in 33 states were claiming benefits under the pandemic unemployment assistance program as of May 9, according to Department of Labor data released Thursday. Michigan has the highest number, at 1.6 million residents.

Another 3.3 million Americans have filed initial claims under the pandemic program in the three weeks ending May 23.

Read more here.

6:32 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Virus death toll rises to 101,621

From CNN's Joe Sutton

A hearse arrives at a temporary morgue near Green-Wood Cemetery the Brooklyn borough of New York City on May 27.
A hearse arrives at a temporary morgue near Green-Wood Cemetery the Brooklyn borough of New York City on May 27. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

At least 101,621 people have died in the US from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, with at least 1,721,926 cases recorded across the country.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

The US has the highest number of deaths and cases globally.

CNN is tracking Covid-19's spread across the nation here.

6:12 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Are lockdowns more damaging than the virus? Experts say it's a false choice

From CNN's Tara John

Is the damage caused by the lockdown worse than the virus itself? That's a question raised by some world leaders and commentators who claim that economic and social hardship caused by strict coronavirus restrictions places a heavier burden on society than the death rate caused by the disease.

These lockdown skeptics point to the tens of millions of US jobs lost in an economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression, the warning by the European Commission of a recession of "historic proportions" and the Bank of England's fear that the British economy is facing its worst crash in three centuries.

The drumbeat of dissent had its moment on the popular British debate show, the BBC's Question Time, when Luke Johnson, a prominent UK businessman with a maverick streak, argued in the May 14 broadcast that the UK had over-reacted to Covid 19. "Imagine the agony of 2 million more people," he said of the number who could lose their jobs amid a sustained UK lockdown. "How many deaths might flow from that?"

US President Donald Trump made similar claims in late March, telling Fox News: "You're going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression."

Read more here.

5:51 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic enters a new phase in the US, health experts shift focus to new hot spots

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

As the US coronavirus death toll reached the grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths this week, world health experts are concerned about new hot spots and the CDC is projecting 123,000 coronavirus deaths by June 20.

At least 1,721,750 people have been infected with coronavirus in the US and 101,617 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that by June 20 the death toll will reach about 123,000.

The projection is based on an ensemble forecast of more than a dozen individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The projections show a possible range of 115,400 to 134,800 deaths before the end of next month.

"This week's national ensemble forecast indicates that the rate of increase in cumulative COVID-19 deaths is continuing to decline. Nevertheless, total COVID-19 deaths are likely to exceed 115,000 by June 20," the CDC says on its website.

Meanwhile, as Americans continue reopening their businesses and returning to public spaces after lockdowns to stop the virus's spread, the World Health Organization is still keeping an eye on hotspots in other parts of the world.

Among them are Russia, Africa, the Americas, some countries in South Asia and a few countries in Europe, said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO's coronavirus response.

Read more here.

5:33 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

CDC forecast projects more than 123,000 coronavirus deaths by June 20

From CNN's Arman Azad

A forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now projects more than 123,000 coronavirus deaths in the US by June 20.

The so-called ensemble forecast relies on more than a dozen individual forecasts from outside institutions and researchers. The new projections, published Thursday, forecast about 123,200 deaths by June 20, with a possible range of 115,400 to 134,800 deaths.

“This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates that the rate of increase in cumulative COVID-19 deaths is continuing to decline. Nevertheless, total COVID-19 deaths are likely to exceed 115,000 by June 20,” the CDC says on its website.

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections for the next month. The previous ensemble forecast projected that US deaths would exceed 110,000 by June 13.

This week’s ensemble forecast included projections from 15 models; it did not include projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and that model is not currently featured on the CDC website.

The projections are published on the CDC’s “COVID-19 Forecasts” page, but they’re also featured on the agency’s “COVID Data Tracker.” On both sites, users can view state-level ensemble forecasts as well.