Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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

Updated 5:21 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020
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2:44 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Retail stores and restaurants to reopen further in Los Angeles

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks passed a closed Paraiso Restaurant in Los Angeles, on May 7.
A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks passed a closed Paraiso Restaurant in Los Angeles, on May 7. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles will reopen further after attesting to the stability in the county’s coronavirus rates and hospital capacity.

This approval to reopen grants Los Angeles County residents to begin dining in restaurants and shopping in retails stores.

It also requires some modifications including face coverings, physical distancing and increased sanitization.

There has been almost 50,000 coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County, and more than 2,200 deaths due to the virus, according to the California Department of Public Health.

2:25 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

CDC director defends agency's early surveillance of coronavirus: "We were never blind"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participates in the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House, on April 22.
Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participates in the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House, on April 22. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was "never blind" to the early spread of coronavirus in the United States, the agency's director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a phone call with reporters on Friday.

Redfield defended the CDC’s surveillance for coronavirus.

"We were never blind when it came to surveillance for coronavirus 19," Redfield said.

"The reality is the surveillance systems that CDC had developed over the years for respiratory viral diseases, particularly the influenza-like illness, really did give us eyes on this disease as it began to emerge," Redfield said. "Independent of testing, we had pretty good eyes on whether there was any new respiratory influenza-like illness occurring in our country."

Redfield was discussing a new CDC report that shows the virus was already spreading some in January and early February in Washington state and other Pacific northwest areas, much earlier than when the first case of community spread was confirmed in the United States in late February.

The CDC previously has been criticized for its slow response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The new research, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Friday, suggests that there was some community transmission of the novel coronavirus in the United States between the latter half of January and the beginning of February – as researchers had previously thought – and the virus likely was introduced from China.

3:47 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New Jersey to spend $100 million to help keep families impacted by Covid-19 in their homes

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wears a mask during his daily coronavirus news conference at the War Memorial, Tuesday, May 19, in Trenton.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wears a mask during his daily coronavirus news conference at the War Memorial, Tuesday, May 19, in Trenton. Chris Pedota/The Record/AP

New Jersey is creating a short-term rental assistance program for low and moderate income families, Gov. Murphy announced on Friday.

The state will be applying at least $100 million to the program, which is aimed at helping families financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic keep their homes. 

The latest numbers: The state reported at least 1,117 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, bringing the statewide total to approximately 158,844 cases. The daily positivity rate continued at 6%. 

The state reported an additional 131 coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to at least 11,531. 

Of the total cases reported, at least 32,097 have been in long-term care facilities, the governor noted, and there have been approximately 5,009 deaths in long-term care facilities to date. 

No new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in children were reported on Friday –– the total number of cases in the state remains at 26 and no children have died from the disease.

1:46 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New York City "on track" to begin reopening June 8, Gov. Cuomo says

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Cuomo said today that five New York regions are cleared to move to phase two of reopening based on the data the state has been seeing.

Reopening in New York City is more complicated, he said, but the city is on "track to meet all the metrics" and enter phase one of reopening on June 8.

Here are the metrics that the city needs to focus on, according to Cuomo:

  • Hospital capacity remaining below 70% and establishing a personal protective equipment stockpile
  • Testing and contact tracing being brought to scale
  • MTA preparing for reopening
  • Focusing on hotspots by ZIP code

1:20 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New Jersey governor to sign executive order allowing childcare services to reopen June 15

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is signing an executive order that will allow for the resumption of childcare services, organized sports practice and youth day camps over the next several weeks. 

Specifically, childcare services can resume on June 15. Organized sports practices can restart on June 22 – however the governor specified that activities will be limited to sports activities outdoors and there can be no contact activities for the time being. Youth day camps, including municipal summer recreation programs, can resume July 6. 

Horse racing will also resume in the state, with the first competitive races as early as next weekend, the governor announced.

Fans will not be allowed to watch in the stands. 

1:13 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

New York state continues to report a decline in coronavirus-related deaths

State of New York
State of New York

New York state reported 67 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference today.

Hospitalizations due to the virus are also down as are new Covid-19 cases, the governor said.

"The facts are good," Cuomo said.

1:05 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Connecticut governor issues new guidance on reopening of casinos and houses of worship

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced new guidance on social gatherings, casinos and houses of worship on Friday, as coronavirus metrics “continue in the right direction."

As numbers still come in, Lamont said “we had probably one of our largest drops in hospitalizations we’ve seen in months. Seventy-one fewer hospitalizations. We’re 75% off our peak now.” 

Going forward: Lamont said individuals may now have gatherings of up to 10 people inside their home and 25 people outside while maintaining social distancing. 

“Just give you a sense, we’re easing the restrictions as long as people follow the protocols," he said. 

Lamont said casinos can "really start opening tomorrow," but with some restrictions.

Here is some of the guidance:

  • No one from out of state will be allowed to stay at the hotels, now through phase one.
  • Masks will be required for everyone.
  • The governor said he recommended no drinking in casinos due to social distancing, “but I have not gotten a positive response on that,” he said.
  • Dining is going to be outside only, through late June.
  • There will also be an advisory given to everyone coming into the casino.
  • The governor encourages anyone with preexisting conditions to “stay safe, stay home.”

Houses of worship will also be allowed to start reopening.

Here are the guidelines the governor is suggesting:

  • No more than 25% capacity inside a mosque synagogue or church, or up to 100, whichever is less.
  • Outdoor worship can have up to 150 people if social distancing is maintained.
12:51 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

There have been more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases in the US

There have been at least 1,725,656 cases of coronavirus in the US, and approximately 101,706 people have died from the virus, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 3,903 new cases and 90 deaths on Friday.

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

11:24 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Churches in California and Illinois push Supreme Court to lift religious worship restrictions

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz and Ariane de Vogue

The United States Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Pentecostal and Baptist churches in California and Illinois were pushing for the US Supreme Court on Friday to stop their states' governors from limiting the number of people that can attend religious services as part of coronavirus social distancing measures, according to new filings sent to the court.

The churches are asking the court to stop the worship restrictions before this Sunday, the Christian holy day of Pentecost. The Supreme Court could act as soon as Friday. 

How the churches got here: In recent days, both states have lifted social distancing measures that relaxed limitations on churches. But the churches say they still need the court’s intervention.

California recently loosened its restrictions to allow up to 100 people to meet for religious services.

“California is still violating plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights, and millions of Americans across the county are still having their constitutional rights trampled upon,” the South Bay United Pentecostal Church wrote to the Supreme Court on Friday.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the state’s restrictions on religious worship on Thursday.

The state previously had prohibited more than 10 people from gathering for religious services. But Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries said they fear that if the state has another wave of Covid-19 cases this summer and fall, Pritzker could restrict their services again.

“What changed? The governor was summoned to the steps of this Court to give an account. But the governor’s sudden change has no permanency or force of law, and both his public statements and his new policy strongly signal an impending return to his old ways.

Absent a pronouncement from this Circuit Justice, or the Court, there can be no reasonable expectation that the Governor will not once again infringe Churches’ constitutional rights,” the churches in Illinois wrote.

The President's perspective: President Trump called on governors to reopen religious institutions for services last week after issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential."

Trump even threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released guidance for religious institutions on Friday.

Governors have gradually been reopening some businesses and other community gathering places in their states after months of lockdown and some plateaus of Covid-19 cases. The churches have claimed they shouldn’t be treated differently than retail business.