May 3 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:01 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020
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2:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Connecticut closed some state parks Saturday after social distancing limits were reached

From CNN's Anna Sturla

Connecticut closed 11 state parks Saturday as limits were reached for proper social distancing, according to the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Sleeping Giant and Southford Falls state parks, both near New Haven, were among those closed early. All these parks were reopened Sunday morning.

"There’s plenty of room for everybody, we just encourage people to spread out as best they can," said DEEP spokesperson Will Healey. "We encourage people to peruse our entire list of state parks."

DEEP has only closed two state parks indefinitely, both because geographic features made it difficult to maintain a safe distance.

If the crowds at parks continue, there may be indefinite closures, Healey said.

"That’s an option that’s on the table," Healey said. "We want to keep them open during this public health crisis, but we want to do it as safe as possible."


2:27 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Afghanistan releases nearly 100 Taliban prisoners due to coronavirus containment measures

From CNN’s Ehsan Popalzai

Afghanistan released 98 Taliban prisoners from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul on Saturday evening as part of the government’s efforts to contain coronavirus, according to a statement from the National Directorate of Security.

The release is in line with a decree Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed on March 11 to release Taliban prisoners as the peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban began.

The prisoners were released based on their health conditions, age and length of remaining sentence.

So far, 650 Taliban prisoners have been released since March 10, and the government will release 850 more, the statement added.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remains open continuing joint technical work with the Taliban in order to advance the peace process,” the statement read.

1:57 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Airline CEO discusses the risk of catching coronavirus on an airplane

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks at the annual Aviation Summit in Washington, DC, on March 5.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly speaks at the annual Aviation Summit in Washington, DC, on March 5. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, said the risk of catching coronavirus from an airplane is not “any greater than the risk anywhere else.”

In an interview on CBS, Kelly emphasized the safety precautions they have put in place, and said that they are “doing everything possible to encourage people to come back and fly.”

Southwest Airlines is one of the major US airlines that has announced it will require all passengers to wear masks, starting on May 11.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an FAQ on traveling:

“Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Some business context: Kelly said that Southwest Airlines has applied for another government loan, but that he did not know if they would take it.

Although the number of flights has drastically reduced due to the coronavirus, Kelly believes that “we have seen the bottom here” and noted that “each week after the first week of April has gotten successfully better.”

Kelly is “anxious to see how the travel demand develops in the summer."

1:40 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Maryland governor says more people have died from coronavirus than there are protesters 

CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discussed protesters in his state that are opposed to the coronavirus restrictions currently in place.

"I think everybody has a right to protest and express their feelings. ... Sadly, we had far more people die yesterday in Maryland than we had protesters," Hogan told CNN.

Protests around the US: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah have all seen protests over the past month as people grow more concerned about the economic fallout of the pandemic.

On Friday, more than 500 people gathered at the California Capitol in Sacramento to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

As a result, police arrested 32 people for failing to comply with the lawful orders to disperse, along with health and safety violations, a news release said.

Watch the interview:

1:19 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

New York governor announces a 7-state partnership to purchase medical supplies

From CNN's Laura Dolan

Source: Gov. Cuomo's office
Source: Gov. Cuomo's office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new regional partnership with seven northeast states to form a purchasing consortium to obtain medical equipment and supplies.  

The consortium will purchase $5 billion of equipment and supplies that will include personal protective equipment, tests and ventilators, Cuomo said.

This new partnership will make the states more competitive in the international marketplace, save taxpayer money and help the region acquire medical equipment, Cuomo added.

The governor added that the consortium will coordinate with the federal government.

The seven states in the consortium are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

1:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

"We never said it was over," New York governor warns as weather improves

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that "we're not out of the woods" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

"My gut says the weather is going to warm, people are bored, people want this over. They see the numbers going down. They can take false comfort," Cuomo said at his daily coronavirus news briefing.

"We never said it was over. We said the numbers are going down," he added. "Roughly a thousand new people a day walk into the hospitals."

Cuomo said the reason numbers in the state are generally trending down is because New Yorkers followed social distancing and other measures.

"You go back to the old behavior and that number goes right back up," Cuomo said.

1:10 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Gov. Cuomo says not wearing masks is "disrespectful"

Source Gov. Cuomo's office
Source Gov. Cuomo's office

The sight of New Yorkers refusing to wear masks despite the coronavirus pandemic infecting hundreds daily is "disrespectful," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

"We almost overwhelmed the whole health care system. So cautious moving forward and, look, how people cannot wear masks, that, to me, is even disrespectful. It's disrespectful. It's disrespectful to the nurses, the doctors, the people who have been front line workers, the transit workers. You wear the mask not for yourself. You wear the mask for me. It's a sign of respect to other people. You make me sick. That's disrespectful," Cuomo said during a news conference attended by other state leaders around the northeast.

Some context: Cuomo also announced that 280 people in New York state have died over the past day from coronavirus.

12:49 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Crowds gather outside a grocery store in Puerto Rico days before businesses are set to reopen

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Ahead of businesses reopening on Puerto Rico, crowded lines have been seen outside a grocery store which violate the social distancing order on the island, government officials say.

Photos of packed lines outside a grocery store in Puerto Rico were posted by Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and the island's department of health Saturday.  

"If businesses do not help with implementing the order, they cannot request to reopen. It is a serious matter, the economy cannot prevail over an aspiration of a healthy and living people," Vazquez said in a tweet Saturday.  

Some context: Puerto Rico businesses have been closed since March 16, excluding grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies.

Now, some small businesses, including accounting and real estate offices, will be allowed to open on Monday as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines and provide protective equipment to employees, Vaquez said on Thursday.  

Puerto Rico's Department of Health also voiced concern over the crowded lines in a tweet: "Our efforts have been to safeguard the health of all Puerto Ricans. If businesses and citizens do not cooperate, and promote violation of the Executive Order, we will have to close again. Distance measurements are mandatory!" 

Read the tweet:


12:32 p.m. ET, May 3, 2020

New York state will require hospitals to have a 90-day stockpile of personal protective equipment

From CNN's Elise Hammond

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Source: NY Gov. Cuomo's Office.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will now require all hospitals to build a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to prepare for a possible second wave of coronavirus hospitalizations.

"We're going to put in a state requirement now that every hospital has to have a 90-day supply stockpiled. Their own stockpile of all the PPE equipment they could need for a 90-day supply at the rate of usage we saw with this Covid virus," Cuomo said at a news briefing on Sunday.

Cuomo said New York, and the rest of the country, needs to "institutionalize these lessons" that were learned during the outbreak.

"We can't go through this day-to-day moving masks across the state. This mad scramble we're in and still are in in many ways. As a nation, we can't go through it again," he said.

Cuomo said it is important to prepare for another surge of infections.

"People talk about this like it's going to come and go and so once in a lifetime. I don't know it's once in a lifetime," he said.

"If you look back as far back as 1918 when they had the flu pandemic people talk about, it took 10 months. It came in three different waves, and the second wave was worse than the first wave," Cuomo added. "So let's be prepared and intelligent."