May 5 coronavirus news

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10:17 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Coronavirus can spread "like wildfire" and cases could rebound, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Hospital staff prepare to turn a coronavirus patient onto his stomach in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut.
Hospital staff prepare to turn a coronavirus patient onto his stomach in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

Coronavirus can spread “like wildfire,” especially when people are packed together, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the United States' National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“It has a phenomenal capability and efficiency in spreading from person to person,” Fauci said on Cuomo Prime Time Monday. “This virus has an enormous capabilities of spreading like wildfire. We know that. We’ve seen it in general and we’ve seen it in confined situations.”

Fauci cited the “explosion” of cases that quickly developed on the USS Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier and on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

“When you have people together, this is a virus that spreads as easily as any virus that I’ve ever known, apart from maybe from measles,” Fauci said.

Cases can take off again if people don’t maintain social distancing and other measures to reduce the spread of the virus, Fauci said.

“When you have mitigation that’s containing something, and unless it’s down in the right direction and you pull back prematurely, you’re going to get a rebound of cases,” Fauci said.

The model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation was updated Monday and now projects 134,475 total deaths in the US from the novel coronavirus by August 4.

Fauci said he is very sensitive to the downsides of physical distancing and the economic crisis these policies have caused.

“You’d have to be so callous not to really feel the pain that people are feeling,” Fauci said.

But he said mitigation efforts work and are still key to keeping the numbers of cases and deaths down, even if people disagree with the need for physical distancing. 

“I feel I have a moral obligation to give the kind of information that I’m giving,” Fauci said.

He said he knows people are going to make their own choices.

“There are people, they’re going to be disagreeing with me. Some of them, rather violently in many respects, you know, telling me that I’m crazy, you know ‘Fire Fauci,’ do this, do that. That’s part of the game,” Fauci said. “I’m just going to keep giving you the information that I feel is necessary to make the decisions that I think are prudent decisions.”

10:00 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

New Zealand reports no new coronavirus cases for second day in a row

New Zealand has reported no new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day.

The country's number of probable and confirmed cases fell to 1,486 yesterday after a probable case was reclassified as negative, according to the country's Director-General of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

Some 1,302 people have recovered from the virus, according to Bloomfield.

The country's total number of confirmed cases is 1,137, including 20 deaths.  

Read more about New Zealand's strategy against coronavirus:

9:43 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

US FDA warns 2 sites to stop selling HIV and flu drugs to treat coronavirus

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

The US Food and Drug Administration building in Washington on January 13, 2020.
The US Food and Drug Administration building in Washington on January 13, 2020. Shutterstock

The United States Food and Drug Administration said Monday it had warned two websites to stop selling drugs that they falsely claimed would treat coronavirus infections.

There’s currently no approved drug or treatment for coronavirus, although the FDA has given emergency use authorization (EUA) to the infused drug remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences. EUA doesn’t require the full approval process.

But the FDA says there are many websites offering unproven and unauthorized treatments for the virus. It warned two of them -- Foxroids.com and Antroids.com. The two sites, which are similar, were offering HIV and influenza drugs for treating coronavirus, the FDA said.

Lopinavir and ritonavir are sold to treat HIV. They were tested against Covid-19, but were found to be ineffective in March.

Antroids.com offered an identically-named product, the FDA said.

Both also offered oseltamivir, approved to treat influenza and usually sold under the brand name Tamiflu, as a treatment for Covid-19. Tamiflu maker Roche said the drug is also ineffective against the coronavirus.

The two sites, which also offer drugs such as steroids for online sale, appear to have removed their coronavirus offerings after the FDA warning. Neither immediately answered emails from CNN.

9:33 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

First new antibody test independently verified, FDA says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A coronavirus antibody test is administered outside of Delmont Medical Square on April 22 in New York.
A coronavirus antibody test is administered outside of Delmont Medical Square on April 22 in New York. Al Bello/Getty Images

The United States Food and Drug Administration said Monday it had authorized the first new Covid-19 antibody test that had independent validation from the federal government.

The test, made by New Jersey-based EUROIMMUN US Inc., looks for antibodies to the novel coronavirus to see if people have been infected and recovered.

“The testing was performed at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI),” the FDA said in a statement.

What is an antibody test?: Antibody tests look for evidence that someone has been infected with a virus, usually in the past. They can be used to see how many people in the population have been infected, even if they did not show symptoms. The tests could also reveal if people develop any kind of lasting immunity to the virus.

Antibody tests are different from the tests usually used to detect current infections. Those tests look for evidence of the virus itself in a patient.

Questions over inaccuracy: Public health experts have complained that most of the antibody tests now on the market are inaccurate. Even a test that claims to have 95% accuracy can miss up to half of the cases if the virus is not very common in the population being tested.

“The product is intended for use as an aid in identifying individuals with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or prior infection,” the FDA said in a letter to EUROIMMUN.
9:24 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

US coronavirus deaths near 69,000

A total of 1,180,332 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the United States, including at least 68,920 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, Johns Hopkins reported at least 22,291 new cases and 1,238 deaths.  

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

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

9:03 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

China reports 1 imported coronavirus case

From CNN journalist Vanesse Chen in Hong Kong 

China's National Health Commission recorded one newly confirmed coronavirus case in Shanghai and 15 new asymptomatic cases, according to a statement released on Tuesday. 

No deaths and no new suspected cases were recorded on Monday, according to the NHC.

The Shanghai case was classified as imported, while the 15 new asymptomatic infections were local cases.

In total, China has officially reported 82,881 confirmed cases. A total of 77,853 cases have been discharged. 

A total of 4,633 people have died after contracting the virus in mainland China.  

 

9:00 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Global death toll from Covid-19 passes 250,000

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus worldwide has surpassed a quarter of a million, according to a tally of cases by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 251,365 deaths and 3,580,247 total confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide as of 9 p.m. ET Monday.

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here:

9:14 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Coronavirus model projects 134,000 deaths in US, nearly double its last estimate

From CNN's Eric Levenson, Madeline Holcombe, Arman Azad and Steve Almasy

An influential coronavirus model often cited by the White House is now forecasting that 134,000 people will die of Covid-19 in the United States, nearly double its previous prediction.

The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, had predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning.

Relatedly, a Trump administration model projects a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths in the weeks ahead, up to about 3,000 daily deaths in the US by June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times. Over the past week, about 2,000 people died daily in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Why the increase? The sharp increases in the two models are tied to relaxed social distancing and increased mobility in the US. States across the country -- including Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and South Carolina -- have eased restrictions in an attempt to revive a sputtering economy and calm restless residents.

IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that other factors included states adding presumptive coronavirus deaths to their statistics and the rising number of cases in some meatpacking plants in the country.

He said states have to balance their actions.

"I think the challenge for us all is to figure out what's the trajectory of relaxing social distancing on a measured pace that will protect us from big increases or even a full-scale resurgence," he told CNN.

The risk of reopening: The projections make clear that these reopenings come with fatal risks.

"It's simple logic," CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen said. "When you tell people, 'Hey, you can go to bars, you can get your nails done, you can go to a restaurant,' those numbers are going to go up."

The novel coronavirus's incubation period -- or the time from exposure to developing symptoms -- ranges from two to 14 days, according to the CDC, and the virus can even spread among people who show no symptoms at all. With widespread testing still limited, the consequences of these reopenings may not be evident for several weeks.

Read the full story:

9:14 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Intel shared among US allies indicates virus outbreak more likely came from market, not a Chinese lab

From CNN's Alex Marquardt and Kylie Atwood

Intelligence shared among Five Eyes nations indicates it is "highly unlikely" that the coronavirus outbreak was spread as a result of an an accident in a laboratory but rather originated in a Chinese market, according to two Western officials who cited an intelligence assessment that appears to contradict claims by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"We think it's highly unlikely it was an accident," a Western diplomatic official with knowledge of the intelligence said. "It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction."

The countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing coalition are coalescing around this assessment, the official said, and a second official, from a Five Eyes country, concurred with it. The US has yet to make a formal assessment public.

Not certain: A third source, also from a Five Eyes nation, told CNN that the level of certainty being expressed by Pompeo and Trump is way out in front of where the current Five Eyes assessment is. This source acknowledged that there is still a possibility that the virus originated from a laboratory, but cautioned there is nothing to make that a legitimate theory yet.

The source added that "clearly the market is where it exploded from," but how the virus got to the market remains unclear.

But without greater cooperation and transparency from the Chinese it's impossible to say with total certainty, the first official added.

What is the Five Eyes? The Five Eyes alliance is made up of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- and the countries share a broad range of intelligence in one of the world's tightest multilateral arrangements.

The third source said it is also possible the US is not sharing all of its intelligence. While the overwhelming majority is shared among the Five Eyes members, there are pockets of information that each country keeps to itself.

The assessment follows repeated claims by Trump and Pompeo that there is evidence the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

"I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan," Pompeo told ABC News on Sunday.

Read more: