May 6 coronavirus news

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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.

1:07 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Pope Francis employee tests positive for coronavirus in Vatican City

From CNN's Valentina DiDonato in Rome

Italian Police patrol St. Peter's Square at the limit between Rome and The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, on May 6.
Italian Police patrol St. Peter's Square at the limit between Rome and The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, on May 6. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

The 12th person infected by coronavirus in Vatican City works for Pope Francis, the Holy See Press Office said today. 

The person has been working remotely since early March and is now under observation at home, the Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said. 

Vatican City is the seat of the Catholic church and has been a sovereign state in the middle of Rome since 1929. It has 605 residents, all with a Vatican City passport and who are out of Italy's legal jurisdiction. 

The pandemic has radically changed the way the Vatican operates, with the Pope celebrating Palm Sunday mass in an empty church and the sites normally packed with tourists empty.

The 83-year-old Pope, who has a damaged lung from an infection in his 20s, has twice tested negative for coronavirus. He is being distanced from anyone who might be carrying the virus, takes his meals in his private quarters, and uses hand sanitizer before and after meeting any guests, the Vatican press office said last month.

1:02 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Spain’s Parliament extends state of emergency for 4th time

 From CNN’s Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Spain, Vasco Cotovio in London and Mia Alberti in Lisbon

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a session to debate the extension of a national lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus at the Lower Chamber of the Spanish parliament in Madrid on May 6.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a session to debate the extension of a national lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus at the Lower Chamber of the Spanish parliament in Madrid on May 6. J.J. Guillen/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The Spanish Parliament approved the extension of the country’s state of emergency for a fourth time on Wednesday, continuing severe restrictions on movement and business until at least May 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, approved by 178 votes against 75 and with 97 abstentions, came after Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez negotiated last-minute votes to secure the extension, despite the main opposition Popular Party, PP, abstaining.

The extension gives the Socialist Party-led minority government the power to continue enforcing restrictions under the state of emergency rules decreed on March 14th. 

During the parliamentary debate ahead of the vote, opposition and right-wing parties harshly criticized the socialist minority-led government, accusing  Sánchez of holding Spanish citizens "hostage" by curtailing fundamental rights. 

“We are limiting two rights, to guarantee another two: public health and life. And to limit the two rights of mobility and of assembly, we need the only constitutional and juridical instrument that allows us to act over them, which is the state of emergency", Sánchez responded.

The Spanish prime minister said he will request 15-day extensions throughout the country’s de-escalation period, expected to last until the end of June.

Most of Spain began "Phase Zero" of the government's de-escalation plan on Monday, by lifting some of the confinement restrictions to additional sectors of the work force to return to their jobs, such as restaurants for take-away service, small stores and hair salons with clients by appointment only.

It is expected that next Monday, some regions will advance to “Phase One” if they show infections rates are low and that their health facilities are able to react quickly to any new outbreaks.

The government says the state of emergency during the de-escalation plan is crucial.

"To ignore the risk of the epidemic and hastily lift the state of emergency would be an absolute, total, and unforgivable mistake that the government will not commit, and which is why it’s requesting the extension”,  Sánchez argued ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

The state of emergency was first declared on March 14 and extended for the first time on March 27.

12:50 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Moscow will ease some restrictions next week

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

A food delivery courier sits on a bridge in downtown Moscow on May 6, in front of the Kremlin.
A food delivery courier sits on a bridge in downtown Moscow on May 6, in front of the Kremlin. Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Moscow will ease restrictions for industrial enterprises, allowing factories and construction companies to reopen starting May 12.

But self-isolation limits will remain in place, the city’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin said in a videoconference chaired by President Vladimir Putin.

Sobyanin said the outbreak in Moscow has generally stabilized and linked recent increased numbers of reported cases, which were at around 5,000 a day, to expanded testing.

“Over the past two weeks, the hospitalization of patients has not increased, the number of patients in serious condition who require hospital care is not growing, it is approximately at the same level,” Sobyanin said.

Sobyanin later said cafes and restaurants will reopen last as they “circulate an unlimited number of people," while factories are “localized collectives” that amount to around 3.5 million workplaces. 

During the videoconference, the head of country’s wellbeing agency announced a three-stage plan of reopening, which regions will implement independently. 

The first phase would allow people to exercise outside and reopen small shops. The second involves opening up schools and universities as well as larger stores, but with a limited number of people allowed inside at the same time. The third phase means the reopening of parks, all shops, schools, and restaurants.

Russia has officially reported 165,929 cases of coronavirus, with 1,537 deaths and 21,327 recoveries. Moscow accounts for 85,973 cases. 

Questions raised amid pandemic: Three frontline health care workers have mysteriously fallen out of hospital windows in Russia over the past two weeks, heightening public attention to the working conditions for doctors and medical professionals amid the coronavirus pandemic.