May 6 coronavirus news

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5:08 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Spokesperson for Brazilian president tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo and Flora Charner in Atlanta

Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images
Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s official spokesperson, Gen. Otávio Santana do Rêgo Barros, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement released by his office.

Rêgo Barros tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, according to the statement. His team said the results were confirmed Tuesday and that he is recovering in his home.

According to the statement, he wasn’t displaying “any symptoms that should raise any concern.”

 

8:13 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Researchers report "unprecedented cluster" of inflammatory problems in children amid pandemic

From CNN’s Arman Azad

Researchers in the UK say they have seen an “unprecedented cluster” of eight children with rare inflammatory problems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The cases, they said, bear resemblance to a severe form of Kawasaki disease – a rare condition that causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart.

All of the children were previously fit and well, the researchers said in a study published Wednesday. 

Five of the children received mechanical ventilation through a tube in their windpipes, and one was put on an ECMO machine – a device that takes over for the heart and lungs.

Seven of the children survived, and one died from a stroke. Four of the children had known exposure to coronavirus, and two eventually tested positive. Six of the children were of Afro-Caribbean descent, and five were boys.

In the study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, the researchers said the case cluster formed the basis of a national alert. In late April, Britain’s National Health Service sent an “urgent alert” to doctors saying they had seen cases of atypical Kawasaki disease that could be linked to coronavirus.

As their study went to press, the researchers said they had treated more than 20 children with similar signs. The first 10 of these children tested positive for coronavirus antibodies – including the eight who made up the original “cluster” of cases. That suggests they had been exposed to the virus in the past, even if their diagnostic test came back negative at the time.

“We suggest that this clinical picture represents a new phenomenon affecting previously asymptomatic children with SARS-CoV-2 infection manifesting as a hyperinflammatory syndrome with multiorgan involvement similar to Kawasaki disease shock syndrome,” the researchers wrote. 

Separately, the New York State Department of Health issued an advisory to healthcare providers about a similar syndrome. The state said that as of May 5, it had received 64 potential cases of the condition, called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19.

“The inflammatory syndrome has features which overlap with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome and may occur days to weeks after acute COVID-19 illness. It can include persistent fever, abdominal symptoms, rash, and even cardiovascular symptoms requiring intensive care,” the New York health department said in a statement.

4:27 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump says China could have stopped pandemic after initially praising their efforts

From CNN's Samantha Beech in Atlanta

 Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images
 Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

US President Trump has again leveled accusations that China could have stopped the global coronavirus pandemic, calling the spread "the worst attack we've ever had on our country."

Speaking from the Oval Office today, the President went on to say, "This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center."

What we know: So far, more than 71,000 people in America have died from coronavirus. In comparison, more than 2,000 Americans were killed in the Pearl Harbor bombings during World War II. On September 11, 2001, a total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

But while Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were direct and targeted attacks on the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting countries all over the world, including in China. As of today, Johns Hopkins University puts China's death toll from the virus at 4,637.

There's never been an attack like this," Trump said today in the Oval.

The President added: "And it should have never happened. Could have been stopped at the source. Could have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped right at the source. And it wasn't."

In recent days, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have doubled down on the assertion that the virus originated from a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected last December.

The claim has unsurprisingly drawn fierce rebuttal from the Chinese government, which described the accusation as "smear" intended to bolster Trump's reelection chances.

Intelligence shared among the Five Eyes network — an alliance between United States and the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada — also reportedly appears to contradict the Trump administration's assertion.

Trump's recent displeasure with China are a far cry from his past statements on the nation and its leader, Xi Jinping, whom he earlier praised for his transparency and management of the outbreak.

Last month, CNN identified at least 37 separate instances where Trump praised China since January, including one as recent as April 1. (Here is a timeline of those remarks.)

As recently has last month, Trump was touting his administration's trade deal with China during a White House coronavirus task force briefing. The president said the relationship with China is "very good" and the "biggest communication" is between himself and President Xi.

"So, look, the relationship with China is a good one, and my relationship with him is, you know, really good," Trump said on April 1.

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2:52 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care continues a steady decline in France

From Eva Tapiero in Paris

Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Lariboisiere Hospital in Paris, France, on April 27.
Medical workers tend to a coronavirus patient at Lariboisiere Hospital in Paris, France, on April 27. Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France has continued to steadily decline since April 9, data from the French Ministry of Health shows.

There are currently 3,147 Covid-19 patients in ICU in France, down by 283 from the day before, the ministry said on Wednesday.

A total of 23,983 people are hospitalized with coronavirus in France, which is down by 792 from the day before.

5:28 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Study finds blood thinners may help patients with severe Covid-19 infections

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Blood thinning drugs may help save some patients worst affected by coronavirus, doctors reported Wednesday.

Their findings could point a way to help the virus-related issue of blood clots throughout the body. The team at Mount Sinai Hospital says it is now running experiments to see which anticoagulants may work best, and at which doses. 

“Our findings suggest that systemic anticoagulants may be associated with improved outcomes among patients hospitalized with Covid-19,” they wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of the Mount Sinai Hospital, and colleagues looked at more than 2,700 patients treated at Mount Sinai in New York City, which has been hit hard by coronavirus. Starting in March, some patients were given anti-clotting drugs based on bedside decisions made by doctors.

The team started taking a systematic look at whether the drugs made a difference. They did, especially for patients who were put on ventilators to help them breathe.

They found 29% of patients on ventilators who were given blood thinners died, compared to 63% of patients on ventilators who were not given blood thinners.

“The patients who received anticoagulants did better than those who didn’t,” Fuster told CNN.

The findings are not clear-cut enough yet to make solid recommendations. The team noted that patients who were already severely ill were more likely to be given the blood thinners.

The researchers did not find that the patients who got blood thinners were significantly more likely to have bleeding problems – one of the risks of the drugs.

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1:54 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

UK coronavirus death toll passes 30,000

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

A vehicle marked 'Private Ambulance' leaves the Wild Water Group cold storage warehouse, the site of a temporary mortuary facility, on April 26, in Cardiff, United Kingdom.
A vehicle marked 'Private Ambulance' leaves the Wild Water Group cold storage warehouse, the site of a temporary mortuary facility, on April 26, in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

At least 30,076 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, the country's Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Wednesday. 

The country now has the highest confirmed death toll in Europe and the second-highest death toll in the world, behind the United States.

The number of people who tested positive for the virus stands at at least 201,101 with 13,615 people currently hospitalized.

1:40 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Italy sees rise in daily count of deaths and new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Mia Alberti

A cemeteries worker prepares graves for people who have died from coronavirus at the Monumental Cemetery of Turin on May 6, in Turin, Italy. 
A cemeteries worker prepares graves for people who have died from coronavirus at the Monumental Cemetery of Turin on May 6, in Turin, Italy.  Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

The number of people who have died in Italy from coronavirus has risen again with a further 369 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. 

Italy has the second-highest death toll in Europe, behind only the UK. In Italy, 29,684 have died since the outbreak began.

There was also a jump in new daily infections with an increase of 1,444 diagnoses, which is rise of 369 since yesterday. 

But the number of active cases in the country has dropped from 98,467 yesterday to 91,528 today. The decrease of 6,939 cases is the biggest ever.

The sharp fall in active cases can be explained by a significant increase in recoveries of 8,014, raising the total number of people recovered from the virus to 93,245.

However, the Italian Civil Protection Agency warns that the high number of recoveries is due to an adjustment on numbers and some of the cases pertain to the past couple of days.  

The total number of cases in Italy, including deaths and recoveries, is now 214,457.

1:20 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

This 11-year-old girl is cheering up isolated nursing home residents with her pet pony

From CNN's Christopher Dawson

Jorja Bola leads her pony Peanut to the window at a nursing home in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Jorja Bola leads her pony Peanut to the window at a nursing home in Beatrice, Nebraska. Courtesy Jaquiline Dillon

Eleven-year-old Jorja Bolla wanted to cheer up older adults in the nursing homes around her hometown of Beatrice, Nebraska.

When she thought of who makes her smile when she feels lonely, she knew her little pony Peanut would have to pay them a visit while they are isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We brushed him and braided his hair with some colored pipe cleaners," Jorja told CNN. "And we put on a unicorn horn but he shook that off!"

Jorja and her 8-year-old sister Journee led Peanut up to the windows of the nursing homes. Staff on the phone helped facilitate conversations with the residents. 

"I would talk to them ... and Peanut was acting up so he put on quite a show," Jorja explained. "And of course, my sister was dancing around."

The residents really enjoyed seeing Peanut. Some would follow the girls and their pony from window to window. 

Jorja visited three nursing homes with Peanut and has promised to return. She is developing a program for the residents to be able spend more time with Peanut.

There will be grooming, petting and plenty of treats to feed him.

Pet therapy can help seniors combat social isolation and depression by improving their overall mood and quality of life.

1:18 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Turkey records highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a week  

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz in Istanbul

Lab employees perform testing on samples for coronavirus at a Covid-19 diagnosis center in Kocaeli, Turkey on May 5.
Lab employees perform testing on samples for coronavirus at a Covid-19 diagnosis center in Kocaeli, Turkey on May 5. Kadir Yildiz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkey has recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 positives since April 30 with 2,253 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures by the Turkish health ministry.

Turkey’s new cases have been on a downward trajectory since mid-April and have reached as low 1,614 per day.

The country is entering what the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has called the second phase in its fight against the pandemic. In a news conference on Wednesday, he called this period a “controlled social life,” which will impose fewer restrictions.

“Even though we have used the word normalization, it is not about going back to normal. It is about forging a new normal,” Turkish Health Minister said.

Turkey is due to start lifting some restrictions on May 11, including reopening hairdressers and barber shops.