May 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 11:26 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020
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4:12 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

New Jersey death toll is 'unfathomable,' but metrics continue to show downward trend

From CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at a press conference in Trenton on Saturday, May 2.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at a press conference in Trenton on Saturday, May 2. Thomas P. Costello/USA Today Network/Imagn Content Services

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters Saturday that the state's downward trend in Covid-19 cases continued, but emphasized the importance of remaining socially distant, especially as the weather improves.

Murphy reported 205 news deaths and 2,912 additional cases since yesterday, bringing the state totals to 7,742 deaths and 123,717 cases, respectively. 

This has been as tough a week as it relates to fatalities as we have had," he said.

While the governor called the statewide death toll "unfathomable," he expressed hope that New Jersey was rounding the corner. 

"All of the important metrics in our hospitals continue to show positive trends," Murphy said.

He said initial anecdotal reports indicated that the reopening of parks in the state was working out but said that this weekend would be a bellwether for social distancing.

"If we hear minimal reports of knucklehead behavior at our parks and we see the metrics we need to meet being met over the next couple of days and weeks, then we know that you all have taken to heart your responsibility," he said.

He said it was a "big week in terms of federal assistance" He lauded the federal government for giving the state testing supplies and for providing PPE to long-term care facilities.

3:42 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Pelosi and McConnell decline administration's offer to use rapid coronavirus tests on House lawmakers

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement Saturday “respectfully” declining an offer from the Trump administration to deploy rapid coronavirus testing capabilities to Capitol Hill.

“Our country’s testing capacities are continuing to scale up nationwide and Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly,” Pelosi and McConnell wrote in the statement.

“Consistent with CDC guidelines, Congress will use the current testing protocols that the Office of the Attending Physician has put in place until these speedier technologies become more widely available,” they also said.

Some background: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that 1,000 coronavirus tests will be available as US senators and staff return to Capitol Hill on Monday, after the Capitol physician earlier said testing for members would be limited.

The House –– which has 435 members compared to 100 in the Senate –– canceled its plans to return to Washington this upcoming week, with Democratic leadership citing guidance from Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan.

Trump criticized Pelosi on Twitter Saturday and said the House should return.

4:42 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

New York has been conducting antibody testing at grocery stores

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

A health care worker performs a Covid-19 antibody test on a woman at Steve's 9th Street Market in Brooklyn, New York, on April 25.
A health care worker performs a Covid-19 antibody test on a woman at Steve's 9th Street Market in Brooklyn, New York, on April 25. Michael Nagle/Xinhua/Getty Images

New York has been testing residents for Covid-19 antibodies at grocery stores, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said Saturday.

The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 15,000 people at grocery stores and community centers across the state over the past two weeks, the governor’s office said, adding that the study shows 12.3% of the population have Covid-19.

Rudy Fuertes, the president of Fteley Food Corp, told CNN that antibody testing had occurred at two of his Fine Fare grocery stores in the Bronx, and at one Key Food location in Brooklyn.

He said about 200 people, including patrons and workers, were tested at the locations over several days.

“The communities we serve, they’re very vulnerable. They’re less fortunate. They want to go back to work. They’re running out of money," Fuertes said.

Testing involved a dedicated line and room for taking blood samples, according to Fuertes.

He was contacted by the state about the pilot program of testing in the grocery stores and said he was more than happy to accommodate.

About 62 employees collectively at the 3 locations were tested for antibodies, including Fuertes who said he tested positive

“I didn’t even know I had the virus. Most of the people on the front line have tested positive without having symptoms and I was one of them. I tested positive for antibodies, and I didn't have any symptoms at all," he said.

“I think it was a great initiative from the governor to bring hope to the community," Fuertes said of the antibody testing.

He also said he noticed an uptick in the number of individuals cashing in recyclables for money.

“That tells me people are running out of money. People are desperate. They’re cashing anything they can to buy food," Fuertes said.

2:57 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Salon owners urge Florida governor to allow their businesses to reopen

From CNN’s Melissa Alonso

Nicole Spuntarilli cuts the hair of Stefano Pinto in his apartment due to hair salons and barbershops being closed on April 6 in Miami.
Nicole Spuntarilli cuts the hair of Stefano Pinto in his apartment due to hair salons and barbershops being closed on April 6 in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable Saturday with Orange County salon and barbershop owners to discuss potentially reopening their businesses on Monday.  

"Phase 1" of DeSantis's reopening plan allows for restaurants and retail shops to reopen at 25% of their capacity. Gyms, barbershops and hair salons were not initially included in this phase, DeSantis has said. 

In a letter to the governor, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings asked DeSantis to consider including barbershops and salons in the first step of the reopening plan.  

DeSantis said he understood the hardships the business owners had endured. Going to get your hair cut "is a step towards a more healthy society," DeSantis said sitting inside an Orlando hair salon.  

Several of the salon owners explained to DeSantis the measures they have put in place for keeping customers and employees safe including limiting people inside and calling customers for appointments in lieu of a waiting area.   

"One thing we want to keep in mind, saving lives is more important to me and all of us than making money. Of course we need to make money but we have to be able to live and be healthy in order to make the money," said J. Henry, the owner of J Henry's Barber Shop.  

DeSantis said he will speak to his team and make a decision in the coming days.  

4:43 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Large crowds seen on National Mall for flyover

From CNN's Gregory Clary

People watch the US Navy's Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds as they fly over the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, May 2.
People watch the US Navy's Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds as they fly over the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, May 2. Patrick Semansky/AP

Large crowds flocked to the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Saturday to view the flyover of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds honoring essential workers, according to social media posts showing large crowds.

The crowds gathered despite a stay-at-home order in Washington, DC, and requests from the Blue Angels, DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management office, via their respective Twitter accounts, to refrain from viewing the flyover on the mall.

The crowds appeared to be in greater number on the mall between the US Capitol and Washington Monument.

CNN photojournalist Andrew Christman filmed the flyover on the mall near the Lincoln Memorial and reported a smaller crowd, with most people social distancing.

Christman also traveled to the “Capitol side” of the mall after the flyover was completed and reported that the crowds were fewer and more spread out.

CNN has reached out to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, the Air Force and White House for comments.

The following photos were taken by Justin McCarthy(@jaymac1893):

2:39 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Michigan governor extends safety measures for grocery stores and pharmacies

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Michigan, on Friday, May 1.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Michigan, on Friday, May 1. Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today that extends existing safety measures to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies.

The order requires grocery stores and pharmacies to continue following the established guidelines until May 29, according to a news release.

Some of these guidelines include:

  • Customers must wear a face covering when entering a grocery store or pharmacy
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week for vulnerable populations to shop safely
  • If an employee tests positive for coronavirus, the business must notify other employees

“We must continue protecting the health and safety of both consumers and employees at our grocery stores and pharmacies, which we rely on more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” Whitmer said.

Food sellers must also continue to follow safety guidelines, including maintaining social distancing and implementing a daily screening process for employees.

4:43 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over 3 US cities to honor health care workers

The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels preform a flyover on May 2 in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels preform a flyover on May 2 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds are honoring frontline health care workers and first responders battling coronavirus with flights on Saturday.

The planes will fly over Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Atlanta today, according to a news release.

“America Strong is a way for both teams to show appreciation to the thousands of doctors, nurses, first responders and essential workers out there serving on the frontline day-in and day-out,” Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, the Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader for the flyover, said in the release. “This is an extraordinary and unprecedented time but we will get through this. We are all in this together," he added.

Watch:

1:29 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Turkey lifts export restrictions on some medical equipment

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

A Turkish military carago plane with medical supplies and protective equipment to combat the coronavirus in the US is unloaded at Andrews Air Force Base on April 28 in Maryland.
A Turkish military carago plane with medical supplies and protective equipment to combat the coronavirus in the US is unloaded at Andrews Air Force Base on April 28 in Maryland. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey has lifted trade restrictions imposed on the export of some medical equipment due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This equipment includes ventilators, intubation tubes and intensive care unit monitors.

The decision, which also removes the export limitations on disinfectants, hydrogen peroxide, ethanol and hand sanitizing cologne, was announced in the Official Gazette of government regulations on Saturday.

The decision does not lift the pre-approval requirement for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The trade restrictions, which introduced a requirement for pre-approval from the health ministry for export, were imposed in mid-March. 

“The decision to allow their export reflects Turkey’s decreasing need for said devices and chemicals, due to our increasing ability to contain the Coronavirus, and our commitment to helping countries in need," a senior Turkish official said.  

Turkey has delivered PPE and medical equipment to more than 50 countries since the outbreak including donations to the Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and the US. 

1:26 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Reopening schools is not "as simple as spreading the desks apart," Los Angles superintendent says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

School grounds are empty at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex on March 19 in Los Angeles, California.
School grounds are empty at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex on March 19 in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images

Austin Beutner, the superintendent of the Los Angles Unified School District, said reopening schools will be complicated because of the number of people who are impacted.

For example, one of the schools in the district has 500 students, Beutner told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield. Those 500 students have siblings who are in schools with about 50,000 more students, who go home to about 200,000 family members, he said.

One school with 500 individuals [is] connected to a quarter million people," Beutner said. "We don't want the quarter million people bringing the virus into the school and the school to spread and be a petri dish to share with the rest of the community."

"It's complicated," he added. "It's not just as simple as spreading the desks apart."

Some background: On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom floated the idea of restarting school in late July or early August, saying that "the prospects of an earlier school year are warranted considering the prospect of neglecting our next generation."

Local school officials would develop new protocols for physical education classes and recess at schools, as well as processes to deeply clean and sanitize schools, parks and playgrounds to keep infection rates down, Newsom said when discussing his plan on how to reopen the sate.