May 6 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Angela Dewan, CNN

Updated 8:57 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020
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12:41 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

The US has recorded more than 71,000 coronavirus deaths

The United States has recorded at least 1,204,351 cases of coronavirus and 71,070 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, the US reported 24,063 new cases and 2,142 deaths. 

The totals includes 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:

12:39 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump was wrong about the coronavirus model, model maker says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

US President Donald Trump speaks during a round table on supporting Native Americans on Tuesday, May 5, in Phoenix.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a round table on supporting Native Americans on Tuesday, May 5, in Phoenix. Evan Vucci/AP

Prominent coronavirus modeler Dr. Christopher Murray says US President Donald Trump was wrong when he said Murray's latest forecast about the number of virus deaths did not account for mitigation measures.

The model, often cited by the White House, now forecasts more than 134,000 people will die from Covid-19 by August -- double its earlier projection.

Trump, when asked by CNN about the new model from Murray’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), claimed that the model "assumes no mitigation."

Murray confirmed that’s incorrect.

“In our model we see deaths going up much higher than we originally thought,” Murray said Tuesday on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
“That’s really being driven by people getting out and about, more mobility, and, most importantly, states relaxing social distancing mandates. That’s pushing up contact rates, pushing up transmission.”

Murray, chair of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington, said there are some positive factors that have also influenced the model. An increase in testing and contact tracing will help reduce the number of deaths, he predicts. Summer temperatures should also “put a little bit of a brake on transmission,” Murray said.

“So all those are factored into our forecast of 134,000 deaths,” Murray said.

Murray said use of masks, avoiding large gatherings and working from home will help reduce the spread of the virus.

“The real challenge will be the temptation that states have to relax more mandates. That’s going to push up potentially more transmission and some states may get tipped over the edge and go back to sort of exponential growth of, you know, a New York style situation,” Murray said. 
12:26 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Japan has issued "new social behavior" guidelines. Not everybody is happy about it

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka, Junko Ogura and Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

A girl jumps rope by the Tamagawa riverside in Tokyo on May 5.
A girl jumps rope by the Tamagawa riverside in Tokyo on May 5. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

The Japanese government is facing a public backlash after it promoted “new social behavior” guidelines on Monday, as a state of emergency implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus was extended until May 31.

Speaking at a news conference, an expert panel said the rate of new cases was on the decline in Japan -- but emergency measures would remain in place and the new guidelines should become the norm, as an uptick in infections would overwhelm hospitals. 

New normal: The panel stressed the need to permanently adopt measures such as wearing face masks outside, keeping 2 meters (6.5 ft) between people, teleworking as much as possible, avoiding crowded spaces and washing hands regularly with soap in the long-term fight against the virus.

Backlash ensues: The advice, however, prompted criticism on social media. Many people commented that the new guidelines were obvious and that it was patronizing to try to enforce them.

One new recommendation made on Monday for people eating in restaurants to sit outside, side-by-side while keeping conversation to a minimum, triggered the biggest adverse reaction.

“I’m dumbfounded ... There are no other experts urging this kind of advice in the world -- just experts in Japan. It’s like they studied the virus, but not human behavior. What’s scarier than the virus is ignorant people giving society guidance on how to tackle it,” said one Twitter user.

Others, however, preferred to err on the side of caution. One Twitter user posted images of people eating out alone and children at elementary schools eating lunch at their desks with a protective shield around each of them.

“Taiwan and South Korea beat coronavirus and they’ve already been enforcing the measures in the photographs -- we might as well do the same. Wearing masks or eating alone isn’t expensive and it doesn’t infringe on human rights either,” the Twitter user said.

On Tuesday, the Japanese government said it would reevaluate the need to maintain the state of emergency on a weekly basis, according to public broadcaster NHK.

12:00 a.m. ET, May 6, 2020

New York City subway begins nightly closure for cleaning

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

For the first time in its history, New York City’s entire subway system is scheduled to be closed Wednesday morning.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is starting a deep cleaning to avoid spread of the coronavirus.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said in a late night news conference on Tuesday. 

The cleanings will be done on a nightly basis, starting from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday. When the cleaning is done, every single subway car will be disinfected.

“This is critical to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers,” said Foye.

To accommodate the loss of train service, the MTA is adding several hundred buses to its typical overnight routes to make sure essential workers have access to transportation.

Subway officials warned New York residents that there may be hiccups in executing the unprecedented closure. 

“If this were a normal moment, we would have planned this for months,” New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said.

11:48 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Tyson Foods to resume Waterloo, Iowa operations

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher

Tyson Waterloo.
Tyson Waterloo. Source: CNN.

Tyson Foods, one of the world's biggest meat producers, is resuming limited operations at a facility in Waterloo, Iowa, tomorrow.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, their loved ones and our communities,” said Tom Hart, plant manager of the Waterloo facility, in a news release.

The company, which employs roughly 100,000 workers, closed its pork plants in Waterloo, and Logansport, Indiana, in April so workers could be tested for the coronavirus.

The Waterloo plant closure came after weeks of public pressure. Production had already slowed there because many of its 2,800 workers had been calling out sick, and local health authorities linked the Tyson plant to 182 cases -- nearly half of the county's total.

The situation was so severe that the US meat supply could be at risk, said John Tyson, chairman of the Tyson board, in late April.

The past week has seen Tyson facilities slowly reopen across the country. The company's pork plant in Perry, Iowa, resumed operations on Monday after being closed for coronavirus testing -- making the Waterloo facility the last pork plant with fully suspended operations.

The facility's reopening will come with a host of new safety measures, like daily clinical screenings and an onsite clinic with nurse practitioners. All the workers returning to the facility have been tested for the virus, and all those who tested positive will stay on sick leave until cleared for work by health officials, said the company's news release.

11:33 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

Nearly 58,000 students are going back to school at coronavirus ground zero

From CNN's Alexandra Lin and Isaac Yee

Students arrive at a high school in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on May 6.
Students arrive at a high school in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on May 6. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of students are going back to school today in Wuhan -- the original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The central Chinese city was placed under strict lockdown in January to arrest the spread of the virus, with nobody allowed in or out, and movement limited within the city. The restrictions began lifting in early April, with borders opening, domestic travel resuming, and some businesses allowed to reopen.

Students return: A total of 57,800 students will return to class in Wuhan today, according to a statement from Hubei province authorities. Some 121 schools in the city are reopening, including 83 high schools and 38 vocational schools.

High school seniors will be the first to return, as they need to prepare for the "gao kao," China’s university exam. It's typically held on June 7-8 each year, but was postponed this year to July 7-8 due to the coronavirus. Younger high school grades will slowly return in phases.

11:19 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

White House to disband coronavirus task force, even as models project higher US death toll

From CNN's Jake Tapper, Kristen Holmes, Jeremy Diamond, Caroline Kelly and Dana Bash

The White House coronavirus task force will start to wind down later this month, a senior White House official told CNN on Tuesday.

The official said the task force "will be phased down around Memorial Day. We will continue to have key medical experts advising (President Donald Trump) daily and accessible to press throughout the coming months ahead."

The New York Times first reported the White House's plan to wind down the task force.

The move would quash the most visible nerve center for the federal government's response to the virus. But a senior administration official told CNN to expect members of the task force to still be involved in conversations with governors and industry leaders because the White House is aware that leaders still want to hear from doctors as they reopen their states and businesses.

This comes just after the the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected a doubling of US deaths -- to 134,000 by August 4 -- and an increased daily death toll.

Read the full story:

11:01 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

It's just past 8 p.m. in Washington and 11 a.m. in Hong Kong. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A nurse prepares to administer medication to a patient inside the coronavirus ward at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, on Thursday, April 30.
A nurse prepares to administer medication to a patient inside the coronavirus ward at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, on Thursday, April 30. Nathan Howard/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3.6 million people globally and killed at least 257,000. If you're just joining us now, here are the latest developments:

  • Trump to disband task force: The White House coronavirus task force will start to wind down later this month, close to Memorial Day on May 25, according to a senior White House official. This comes just after new models show the US could see its death toll double, to reach 134,000 by August 4.
  • UK death toll: The UK has overtaken Italy as the country with the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, with more than 29,500 deaths. Only the US has reported more Covid-19 related fatalities.
  • New coronavirus study: A genetic analysis found that the virus has been circulating in people since late last year. Researchers concluded the virus' jump from animals to humans was "very recent," and ruled out the possibility that it had been infecting people long before it was identified.
  • Progress in Asia: Hong Kong appears to have largely contained its second wave, with no new locally transmitted cases in more than two weeks. South Korea reported only two cases yesterday -- both imported -- its lowest number in 78 days. And China only reported two confirmed symptomatic cases, neither of which were local transmissions.
  • Daily life resumes: Schools, restaurants and bars are reopening in mainland China and Hong Kong. US states are moving toward partial reopening, despite local mayors and health experts warning it may be too soon. Places in Europe, like Serbia, Poland, Hungary and Germany's Bavaria region, are also reopening.
10:45 p.m. ET, May 5, 2020

University of Pittsburgh professor doing Covid-19 research killed in apparent murder-suicide

From CNN’s Carma Hassan and Rebekah Riess

A University of Pittsburgh research assistant professor, who was on the verge of making "very significant findings" toward Covid-19, was shot and killed in an apparent murder-suicide over the weekend, according to the university and police.

Dr. Bing Liu was found in his home, and had suffered gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso, and extremities, according to the Ross Police Department.

Investigators believe an unidentified second man, who was found dead in his car, shot and killed Liu in the townhome before returning to his car and taking his own life.

Police believe the men knew each other, but say there is "zero indication that there was targeting due to his (Liu) being Chinese," according to Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp.

The university issued a statement saying it is "deeply saddened by the tragic death of Bing Liu, a prolific researcher and admired colleague at Pitt. The University extends our deepest sympathies to Liu’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time."

Members of the university’s school of medicine describe their former colleague as an outstanding researcher and mentor, and have pledged to complete Liu's research "in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence."

He had been working to better understand the cellular mechanisms that underlie Covid-19.