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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6:01 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Arkansas governor to announce guidelines regarding houses of worship and larger venues

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

The pastor of First Baptist Church leads a drive-in church service in West Memphis, Arkansas, on April 5.
The pastor of First Baptist Church leads a drive-in church service in West Memphis, Arkansas, on April 5. Houston Cofield/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that he would announce more guidelines as the state began lifting restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“On Monday we will be having an announcement in terms of guidelines in reference to our houses of worship, and some of our larger venues," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the state has sought a measured approach when it comes to reopening the state.

We've lifted some of the restrictions with very careful approach and is phased in, so it doesn't all happen on the same time frame. And I think this is a very cautious approach that our state is taking," Hutchinson said.
5:55 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Federal judge dismisses New York's largest nurses’ union PPE suit against Montefiore Medical Center

From CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski

Montefiore Medical Center nurses petition for N95 masks and other critical PPE in the Bronx on April 1.
Montefiore Medical Center nurses petition for N95 masks and other critical PPE in the Bronx on April 1. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed the New York State Nurses Association's request for an injunction that would've forced Montefiore Medical Center to provide more personal protective equipment, court documents show.

The union alleged shortcomings like inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), a lack of training for registered nurses redeployed from hospital units to meet the staffing needed to treat the high number of Covid-19 patients, and unsafe working conditions for high-risk employees.

The union filed similar suits against Westchester Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health.

Writing Friday, Judge Jesse Furman wrote that the court did not have the authority to enforce an injunction against Montefiore, and that under the union's collective bargaining agreement, the dispute could only be resolved through arbitration.

"It would 'unduly interfere' with the hospital’s ability to make business decisions' at a time when the judicial interference could be particularly problematic," Furman wrote, citing legal precedent. "The tragic fact that, between now and the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings, nurses at Montefiore may well (indeed, are likely to) contract Covid-19 does not alter that conclusion."

Furman wrote "...given the measures that Montefiore has been taking, under extraordinary circumstances, to protect its staff and provide patient care," adding "the Court cannot say that the likelihood of infection (let alone death) in the absence of an injunction is so great as to render the arbitral process meaningless."

"That is not to say that Montefiore cannot or should not do more to protect its nurses than it is," Furman wrote, "it is merely to say that, under the parties' collective bargaining agreement, that is an issue for the arbitrator, not this Court, to decide."

5:44 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Here's what Central Park in New York looks like

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

CNN’s Ramon Escobar captured photos of people in Central Park on a sunny Saturday while the state remains under a stay-at-home order.

Signs instructed park visitors on how far apart they must remain from others.

Signs encourage social distancing at Central Park in New York City.
Signs encourage social distancing at Central Park in New York City. Scott Marwin

Central Park was full of people Saturday, May 2, 2020.
Central Park was full of people Saturday, May 2, 2020. Scott Marwin

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea asked community partners Friday night to spread a singular message: "Now is not the time to relax."

Several tweets Saturday from the NYPD's press Twitter accounts and the chief of department reinforced that the department is aware that people are heading outside to "soak up the sun and enjoy the fresh air," but also reminded the public that social distancing rules are in place.

Officers who patrolled an Upper East Side park Saturday were pleased to report proper PPE and social distancing observed. There were no tweets about Central Park specifically.

The NYPD had no information on whether or not citations have been issued Saturday when reached by CNN.

4:40 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

Daily number of deaths from coronavirus in France continue to decline

From CNN’s Pierre Buet and Robert Iddiols

Nurses wearing protective gear walk in a hallway at a hospital in Ajaccio, France, on April 23.
Nurses wearing protective gear walk in a hallway at a hospital in Ajaccio, France, on April 23. Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images

A total of 24,760 people in France have died after contracting Covid-19, an increase of 166 since Friday, the Health Ministry announced Saturday.

The number of patients in intensive care continues to decline with 3,827 receiving treatment, a decrease of 51 in 24 hours.

In total, 25,827 patients are currently receiving hospital treatment in France for coronavirus.

4:20 p.m. ET, May 2, 2020

China has sent 149 medical experts to 16 countries for Covid-19 prevention and control work

From CNN’s Radina Gigova

Members of a Chinese medical team visit a clinic in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 11.
Members of a Chinese medical team visit a clinic in Belgrade, Serbia, on April 11. Chinese medical expert team to Serbia/Xinhua/Getty Images

China has sent 149 medical experts to 16 countries for Covid-19 prevention and control work, according to Mi Feng, China’s National Health Commission spokesperson.

Mi made the statement Saturday, according to Chinese state-run media China Global Television Network (CGTN). 

Mi said China is willing to continue to work with the international community to combat the pandemic.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) reported a single new case of novel coronavirus and no deaths for the fourth consecutive day, according to a statement published on Saturday. 

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.