May 7 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 10:35 p.m. ET, May 7, 2020
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12:03 a.m. ET, May 7, 2020

US records more than 24,000 new cases

A total of 24,252 new coronavirus cases and 2,367 deaths were reported in the United States on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

At least 1,228,603 cases have now been recorded in the US, including 73,431 fatalities, according to JHU's tally.

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:

11:46 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Pakistan reports largest daily spike in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Rescue workers spray disinfectant along a road in Peshawar on May 6.
Rescue workers spray disinfectant along a road in Peshawar on May 6. Abdul Majeed/AFP/Getty Images

Another 1,523 cases of the novel coronavirus were diagnosed in Pakistan on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health -- the country's largest daily increase yet.

At least 24,073 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Pakistan, killing 564 people.

The spike in cases comes after Pakistan recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day on Tuesday.

11:42 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

South Korea reports a new local infection for first time this week

From CNN's Sophie Jeong

People visit the reopened National Museum of Korea on May 6 in Seoul.
People visit the reopened National Museum of Korea on May 6 in Seoul. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea reported four new cases of the novel coronavirus today, including one new local infection -- the country's first since Saturday.

The other three cases were imported.

At least 10,810 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in South Korea, which at one time during the early stages of the pandemic had one of the largest outbreaks in the world.

But Seoul has brought the virus mostly under control and between Sunday and Tuesday there were no new local infections recorded.

One more Covid-19-related fatality was reported today, bringing the country's death toll to 256.

So far, 9,419 patients have recovered after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, meaning less than 13% of all cases are still active.

11:22 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Opinion: Why you need to wear the damn mask

From Catherine Pearlman

Editor's note: Catherine Pearlman is a clinical social worker, associate professor at Brandman University and the author of Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction.

Go for a walk, visit any open establishment or public space, and you will note a disconcerting phenomenon: People without masks.

There is a pandemic. Tens of thousands of Americans are dead because of Covid-19, a disease that spreads in droplets that are expelled by infected humans, including as they talk or cough, and whether they show symptoms or not.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering in public, especially where there is a high degree of community-based transmission (that is, when the source of infection is unknown). I live in California, where nearly 60,000 people have been infected. 

Across the country 1.2 million Americans have tested positive for Covid-19, with more than 73,000 lives lost -- and projections for the future (another peak in the fall?) are really grim.

Meanwhile, hospitals and their staff are pushed to the breaking point caring for the sick, with medical staff working weeks without days off to treat the afflicted, risking their own lives and those of their family. And yet, so many people refuse to take warnings seriously to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask in public.

It's hard to pinpoint how many of us are clueless and careless -- maybe half of those who go outside? A third? Some other fraction? -- but it's certainly way too many.

The lack of empathy is jarring. We need a shift.

Read the full opinion:

11:05 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

New Zealand PM outlines next stage of eased lockdown restrictions

From journalist Sol Han

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden speaks at a coronavirus news conference at Parliament on Thursday  in Wellington, New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden speaks at a coronavirus news conference at Parliament on Thursday in Wellington, New Zealand. Mark Mitchell/Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today outlined how coronavirus restrictions will ease when the country moves to a lower alert level.

The country is currently at level 3 of a four-point Covid-19 alert system, and Ardern described what life would look like under level 2.

She said that social distancing measures at level 2 had been designed to "get as many people back to work as possible and get the economy back up and running but in the safest way possible."

Borders would remain closed to everybody except New Zealand citizens. Meanwhile, citizens returning to the country would still need to isolate in hotels away from others.

"Test, contract trace, isolate. This is our Covid business as usual," Ardern said.  

Restrictions on mass gatherings would remain under the level 2 alert.

"A trip from Wellington to Napier to see your mum is fine, a trip from Wellington to Napier to go to a big conference with an open bar is not fine," Ardern advised. 

There would also be no stadium crowds, but "sport will be played," Ardern said.

Ardern said that staying 2 meters (6.5 ft) away from a stranger would be advised when level 2 comes into force, but those returning to work would be able to work at closer quarters because contact tracing would be easier. 

The prime minister did not say when level 2 would be announced. She ended her briefing by saying, "One thing to remember -- Covid is still with us."

10:50 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Germany is gradually reopening under plan set out by Angela Merkel

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Laura Smith-Spark

German Chancellor Angela Merkel set out plans Wednesday for the gradual reopening of the country after weeks-long restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Limits on social contact will remain in place until June 5, she said, but Germans can now meet with members of one other household as well as their own. People must still remain 1.5 meters apart and cover their mouths and noses in public.

Shops can reopen but with additional hygiene measures, Merkel said, speaking at a news conference following a video meeting with the prime ministers of Germany's 16 states.

"The first phase of the pandemic is behind us but we are still at the beginning and it will be with us for a long time," she said.

Germany's top football league, the Bundesliga, can also resume play in the second half of May, Merkel said. She did not specify if this would be with spectators or behind closed doors.

It would be the first major European league to resume playing. Last week France canceled its season and declared Paris Saint-Germain the winner of Ligue 1.

Merkel said authorities would watch local regions to ensure any outbreak was stopped.

"We can afford a bit of courage," she said, but cautioned that "we have to watch that this thing does not slip out of our hands."

Read more:

10:30 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

It's just past 7:30 p.m. in Washington and 10:30 a.m. in Beijing. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Boys play at a small park on May 6 in Beijing.The sign in the background reads in Chinese, "Don't get together, don't gather, pandemic control can't be relaxed. Everyone participates to collectively build our beautiful home."
Boys play at a small park on May 6 in Beijing.The sign in the background reads in Chinese, "Don't get together, don't gather, pandemic control can't be relaxed. Everyone participates to collectively build our beautiful home." Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

If you're just joining our live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic, here are some key headlines today:

  • Trump reverses on task force: US President Donald Trump said the White House coronavirus task force will now continue "indefinitely," one day after his administration said it would begin to phase it out. The focus of the group will shift from preventing the outbreak toward finding a vaccine for the virus, Trump said.
  • Virus is "worse than Pearl Harbor," Trump says: The US President ramped up his rhetoric against China on Wednesday, saying Beijing could have stopped the pandemic and calling it "the worst attack we've ever had on our country." Trump went on to say the coronavirus outbreak was worse than Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • Brazil infections spike: More than 10,000 new cases of the virus were recorded in Brazil in 24 hours, according to the country's health minister. The total number of infections reported in the country have passed 125,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll has risen to over 8,500. President Jair Bolonsaro has been criticized for repeatedly downplaying the threat of the virus.
  • Germany begins gradual reopening: Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany would allow shops to reopen and people to meet in small groups as the country slowly begins to unwind strict virus prevention measures. Merkel warned that although the first phase of the pandemic was over, "we are still at the beginning."
  • UK to scrap stay-at-home message: Some of the restrictive measures in the UK will be lifted from Monday. Britons will once again be allowed "unlimited" exercise outside and people will be encouraged to return to work if safe. The UK has reported more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths -- only the US has seen more.
10:16 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Trump claims the virus was made in this lab. Here are the facts

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

Questions surrounding the origins of the novel coronavirus have sparked a war of words between Washington and Beijing -- and threatens to worsen already strained relations.

In recent days, US President Donald 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 on Wednesday described the accusation as a "smear" intended to bolster Trump's reelection chances.

But intelligence shared among the Five Eyes network -- an alliance between the United States and four Anglophone allies, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- also reportedly appears to contradict the Trump administration's assertion.

Read more:

9:58 p.m. ET, May 6, 2020

Australia exempts US Marines from coronavirus travel restrictions

From CNN's Brad Lendon

US Marines fire an M777 howitzer during an exercise with the Australian Defence Force at the Mount Bundey Training Area, in the Northern Territory, Australia on August 27, 2019.
US Marines fire an M777 howitzer during an exercise with the Australian Defence Force at the Mount Bundey Training Area, in the Northern Territory, Australia on August 27, 2019. US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas Filca

Thousands of US Marines are expected to head to Australia in the coming weeks after the Australian government granted an exemption to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the US Marine Corps said in a statement.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper first announced in a tweet the resumption of the annual Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, in which as many as 2,500 Marines are deployed to Australia’s Northern Territory for six months during the country’s dry season.

The deployment had been suspended in late March after Australia closed its borders completely to all non-citizens and non-residents.

The US Marines will undergo a 14-day quarantine and face other requirements, Chuck Little, a spokesman for US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said in a statement.

“The Marine Corps is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its forces and the Australian people, including local indigenous communities,” Little said.

Little did not say exactly when the deployment would resume or how many Marines would be going.

But last year’s deployment to the Australian base in Darwin involved 2,500 US Marines and this year’s was expected to be similar.

Equipment deployed during the 2019 rotation, which the Australian Defense Ministry called the most capable since the deployment began in 2012, included MV-22 Osprey aircraft and advanced radars and artillery systems.