May 5 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Samantha Beech, CNN

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020
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11:55 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

China pushes back against US claims that coronavirus originated from Wuhan lab

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

A nationalist tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party has dismissed claims by the Trump administration that the novel coronavirus originated from a laboratory, as the war of words over the pandemic escalates between Washington and Beijing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday in an interview with ABC that there was "enormous evidence" Covid-19 originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected last December. He did not provide details to support the claim.

Responding to Pompeo's comments, China's state owned Global Times newspaper said in an editorial Monday that the former CIA director had "stunned the world with groundless accusations." 

"Since Pompeo said his claims are supported by 'enormous evidence,' then he should present this so-called evidence to the world, and especially to the American public who he continually tries to fool," the editorial said.
"The truth is that Pompeo does not have any evidence, and during Sunday's interview, he was bluffing."

CNN reached out to China's foreign ministry for comment on Pompeo's claims, but received no response. The country is in the middle of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday.

Read the full story:

11:44 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More than 100 million people have flocked to tourist sites in China during a nationwide holiday

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

Visitors wearing face masks stand widely spaced in line as they wait to enter the Forbidden City in Beijing on Friday, May 1.
Visitors wearing face masks stand widely spaced in line as they wait to enter the Forbidden City in Beijing on Friday, May 1. Mark Schiefelbein/AP

Around 104 million people flocked to domestic tourist sites during China's holiday week, according to the country's culture and tourism ministry.

The figures relate to the first four days of the holiday -- known as "golden week" -- and were published by state-run news agency Xinhua on Tuesday.  

Citing the ministry, Xinhua stated that the tourist influx would create around $6 billion in revenue.

Tuesday is the final day of golden week. 

The background: Although coronavirus cases were first reported in China, the country now appears to have got its outbreak under control.

Last month, Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the country's epidemic, began returning to normal life.

China has reported more than 83,000 coronavirus cases, including 4,637 deaths.

11:33 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Alaska's governor says a large PPE shipment from China has arrived 

In this September 26, 2019 file photo, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy listens during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
In this September 26, 2019 file photo, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy listens during a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Mark Thiessen/AP

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced in a news conference on Monday that a large shipment of personal protective equipment has arrived in the state. 

"It did arrive from China," Dunleavy said. "It was a large shipment, should last us about six months, which is, it is actually great news for us because again we are gearing up in the event that we get more cases."
"It is being divvied out to make sure that we can cover all of our needs throughout the state of Alaska."

The governor did not disclose the cost of the shipment in the news conference but did say he would have that information later on Wednesday. 

Alaska -- a state with a population of less than 1 million -- has reported 370 coronavirus cases and nine deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The context: This news comes after a Department of Homeland Security report found that the Chinese government intentionally concealed the severity of the coronavirus from the international community while it stockpiled imports and decreased exports, according to two administration officials familiar with the report.

The report, which assessed export and import data earlier this year, was circulated within the federal government on Friday, the source said. ABC first reported its existence.

11:24 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Japan reports 174 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan's health ministry announced 174 new coronavirus cases and 11 additional deaths on Tuesday.

That brings the country's total infections to 15,943, including 712 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The death toll now stands at 534, including 13 linked to the cruise ship. 

Japan's capital, Tokyo, recorded 87 new cases and five additional deaths Monday, bringing the city's total to 4,654 cases and 150 deaths.

11:10 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

US has evidence to support both lab and market theories of Covid-19's origin: Source

From CNN's Alex Marquardt

A senior United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) official acknowledged Monday night that the US has evidence to support both leading theories of where the Covid-19 outbreak originated.

One theory is that the virus came from an accident in a lab in Wuhan, China, and the other is that the outbreak started in a market in the city.

The official also noted that outbreak "does not appear to have been purposeful.” 

This comes in response to an assessment by Western officials that it’s “highly likely” the virus originated in the Wuhan market. That contradicts the lab theory being pushed by the Trump administration. 

That assessment -- which has the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US' National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- is gaining support in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing coalition, which the US is a part of.

“We regularly share intelligence with our partners on a variety of threats and Covid is no different," the official said.
"The IC (intelligence community) stands by the statement that the ODNI released last Thursday and we underscore three points: the IC believes the virus started in China. We’re down to two theories and have evidence on both. We agree that it does not appear to have been purposeful," the official said.

What happened Thursday: US President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming that he had seen evidence that gives him a "high degree of confidence" the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. Trump declined to provide details to back up his assertion.

Those comments undercut a public statement from the ODNI issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made. It said it continues to "rigorously examine" whether the outbreak "began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."

Read more:

10:59 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

It's just past 11 p.m. in New York and 11 a.m. in Shanghai. Here's what you need to know

A cleaning crew member disinfects a New York City subway train on May 4.
A cleaning crew member disinfects a New York City subway train on May 4. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

More than 3.58 million people around the world have been infected with Covid-19, including at least 251,500 deaths. If you're just joining us, here's the latest:

  • Wildfire warning: Coronavirus can spread “like wildfire,” especially when people are packed together, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US' top infectious disease doctor. He warned cases could spike again if people don’t maintain social distancing and other measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • US death toll: A coronavirus model is projecting that there could be 134,000 deaths in the US -- nearly double its last estimate. The US death toll currently stands at 68,922, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Origin stories: Intel shared among US allies indicates the outbreak of the virus more likely came from a Chinese market, and not from a lab, 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.
  • Billions raised: World leaders pledged $8 billion for the development and deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the virus during a virtual pledging conference on Monday. The summit was co-hosted by the EU, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain and the UK.
  • First new antibody test verified: The US FDA has authorized the first new Covid-19 antibody test to be independently validated by the federal government. The test looks for antibodies to the virus to see if people have been infected and recovered.
  • Reports of an early case: Doctors at a Paris hospital claim to have found evidence a patient who got sick in December was infected with the novel coronavirus. If verified, it may show the virus was circulating in Europe as early as December.
11:09 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

South Korea reports 3 new imported infections in lowest daily case tally for 77 days

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

South Korea recorded three new imported cases of coronavirus on Monday -- the lowest figure for 77 days, according to a news release from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's the lowest daily number reported since February 18, when South Korea reported one new coronavirus case. The following day, the country reported 20 new cases.

The national total now stands at 10,804 cases.

On Monday, South Korea also reported two additional fatalities, raising the national death toll to 254.

Another 66 people have been discharged from isolation, bringing the national total of recovered patients to 9,283 -- nearly 86% of cases.

This post has been updated to reflect that the count is the lowest since February 18.

10:31 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Man who discussed attending virus protest at state capitol charged with possession of pipe bombs

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian and Josh Campbell

Bradley Bunn, 53, was arrested by the FBI this weekend after a search warrant executed at his Northern Colorado residence revealed that he was in possession of pipe bombs and other illegal destructive devices, according to a statement from the District of Colorado United States Attorney’s Office.

A law enforcement source familiar with the case says investigators believe that, prior to his arrest, Bunn and his associates discussed attending one of the coronavirus anti-shutdown rallies at the Colorado state capitol building.

The source said their discussion included openly carrying firearms as a show of force, similar to what another group of protesters did at the state capitol in Michigan last week.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by CNN, FBI agents discovered four pipe bombs, two one-pound containers of .308 caliber cartridge reloading gunpowder in Bunn’s vehicle and additional bomb components in his home, including galvanized steel pipes, end caps, shotgun primers, fuses, and several bottles of smokeless powder. 

In the criminal complaint, FBI agents asked Bunn what he planned to do with the devices, to which he replied: “If I experienced a hard entry, at 3 a.m., having been an infantry commander, it’s really tough to get guys spread out no matter how hard you try. They still want to clump up 'cause of fear, and I know their, their, anyway, blah, blah, blah.”

Bunn was charged with the possession of destructive devices. If convicted he faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. CNN attempts to reach Bunn or a legal representation went unanswered.


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.”