May 9 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Angela Dewan and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:51 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020
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3:14 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

New Jersey reports more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The state of New Jersey is reporting at least 1,759 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the state total to approximately 137,085, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

There were 166 new deaths reported, bringing the statewide death toll to at least 9,116.

Where the state is seeing the most progress is the “declining positivity rate, that is the number of test that are coming back positive,” Murphy said.

Hospitalizations across the systems regionally are trending down and ventilator use also continues on a downward trend, Murphy said.

The governor also announced the American Red Cross will open two convalescent plasma collection sites in North Jersey on Monday. 

Approximately 100 Covid-19 patents at University Hospital, where one of the sites will be, have already been treated with convalescent plasma, Murphy said.

Long-term care facilities: Positive cases and deaths continue to grow in long-term care facilities, he added.

Murphy said the New Jersey National Guard is deploying members this weekend to several facilities to assist in mitigation efforts.

12:57 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

UK announces $2.4 billion package to encourage cycling and walking to offset coronavirus impact

From CNN’s Nada Bashir and Arnaud Siad in London

People ride bicycles in a cycle lane in the Chelsea neighborhood of London on May 9.
People ride bicycles in a cycle lane in the Chelsea neighborhood of London on May 9. Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

A $2.48 billion (£2 billion) package to encourage cycling and walking in the United Kingdom has been announced by the British government as part of efforts to promote alternative forms of travel to accommodate social distancing restrictions on public transport networks.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday that cycling and walking would be “at the heart” of the UK’s transport policy in a bid to avoid overcrowding on public transport services.

“Even with public transport reverting to a full service, once you take into account the 2 metre social distancing rule, there would only be effective capacity for one in ten passengers in many parts of our network – just a tenth of the old capacity,” Shapps said. “Getting Britain moving again, while not overcrowding our transport network, is going to require many of us to think very carefully about how and when we travel."

According to the transport secretary, the government's new national cycling plan — which is to be introduced in early June — will aim to double cycling and increase walking by 2025.

"Swift emergency plans" are also to be put in place, including pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements for pedestrians and cycle and bus-only streets, Shapps added.

12:52 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Spanish prime minister says more than 50% of the country will start to reopen

From CNN's Laura Perez-Maestro, Claudia Dominguez and Claudia Rebaza

J.J. Guillen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
J.J. Guillen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is confident his country is going in the right direction fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, according to remarks he made at a news conference on Saturday.

On Monday, more than 50% of the country will advance to Phase 1 in the "de-escalation process."

Sánchez said that despite the good news, the country will be still living with the virus and it is crucial for each citizen to follow all guidance given by his government.

“On Monday, let’s go out and rebuild our lives, but we need to act with caution," he said.
12:42 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Covid-19 patients taking heartburn drug were less likely to die, new study shows

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam

Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo taken on April 27 in Orlando, Florida.
Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo taken on April 27 in Orlando, Florida. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Patients who happened to be taking a common heartburn medicine while hospitalized for Covid-19 were more than twice as likely to survive the infection, according to a paper posted Friday on a pre-publication website.

It’s unclear whether the patients fared better because of the famotidine or if it’s a coincidence.

Of 1,620 hospitalized patients studied, 84 of them, or about 5%, were taking famotidine, an active ingredient in Pepcid, a popular over-the-counter heartburn treatment.

“Compared to the rest of the patients, those who received famotidine had a greater than 2-fold decreased risk of either dying or being intubated,” according to a statement by authors of the study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Intubated refers to patients being put on a ventilator, a machine in the intensive care unit that breathes for patients who are unable to breathe on their own. 

“It is not clear why those patients who received famotidine had improved outcomes,” the authors wrote in their statement.

It could be a coincidence: The study doesn’t prove that famotidine caused the lower death rate – it’s possible that it’s just a coincidence.

“This is merely an association, and these findings should not be interpreted to mean that famotidine improves outcomes in patients hospitalized with Covid-19,” according to the authors. 

A clinical trial is currently underway to see if famotidine saves lives of coronavirus patients. In that study, some patients will receive famotidine intravenously at doses nine times higher than what someone would normally take for heartburn. Other patients will be given a placebo, or a drug that does nothing, and the researchers will then compare the death rates and other outcomes for the two groups.

“Hopefully the results from this trial will determine whether famotidine is efficacious for the treatment of Covid-19,” according to the authors of the preprint paper.

4:19 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Some New York City health care workers to receive free vacations

From CNN’s Anna Sturla 

A Thank you sign for medical staff is seen outside of Elmhurst Hospital in New York on April 27..
A Thank you sign for medical staff is seen outside of Elmhurst Hospital in New York on April 27.. Gotham/Getty Images

Health care workers at New York City's Elmhurst Hospital will receive free vacations courtesy of American Airlines and Hyatt Hotels, according to a statement from American Airlines.

More than 4,000 doctors, nurses and assistants are eligible for three-night vacations to locations around the US and the Caribbean, according to the airline.

The donated flights "mark the largest total flight count ever provided to an organization by American," the company said.

"We’ve heard from so many of our colleagues and members who simply want to do some good and find a way to share their gratitude for some of the heroes of this pandemic in one of the hardest-hit areas of New York. We are humbled by the health care workers’ dedication to saving lives," Mark Hoplamazian, the president and CEO of Hyatt, said in the statement.
3:14 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

UK observes "steady and consistent fall" in coronavirus deaths, official says

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images

The number of deaths amongst coronavirus patients in the United Kingdom has increased by 346, bringing the total death toll to at least 31,587, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday.

According to the UK Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam, nationwide data shows a “steady and consistent fall” in the number of deaths recorded across the UK.  

Addressing members of the press during the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Shapps said at least 215,260 people have tested positive for the deadly virus – an increase of about 3,896 cases since Friday.

At least 11,809 patients are currently in hospital with coronavirus, the transport secretary added.

Van Tam said that while the UK is “encountering several thousand new cases per day,” there is now a “solid decline” in the number of patients requiring hospitalization.

“Across the four nations, we have plenty of capacity for managing patients who require critical care; the proportion of those beds occupied by coronavirus patients continues to decline,” Van Tam added.
12:29 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Mexico tops 30,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

Mexico’s health authorities announced more than 1,900 new cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s total number to 31,522 as of late Friday.

Additionally, 199 new virus related deaths were reported, bringing the current death toll to 3,160 Friday evening.

12:26 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Read up on the latest coronavirus developments

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A woman sits during a hair-styling appointment in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 8.
A woman sits during a hair-styling appointment in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 8. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There has been at least 3,965,863 cases of coronavirus around the world, and approximately 275,527 deaths globally, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

If you're just tuning in, here are some of the top stories so far today.

  • Three children dead in New York: New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is working with the CDC to try to figure out why these kids tested positive for Covid-19, but had different symptoms.
  • Remdesivir: The Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday it had shipped 260 cases of the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir to states hardest hit by Covid-19, including Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan.
  • Antigen testing: The US Food and Drug Administration has granted the first emergency use authorization for an antigen test for the coronavirus. This is important because antigen tests look for pieces of a virus. That differs from most coronavirus tests, which look for the virus' genetic material and require a number of chemicals to operate, many of which are in short supply.
  • New sensors: The US Army is asking technology companies to develop wearable sensors to detect early symptoms of coronavirus. Where ever the sensor is worn on the body, it will provide indicators of a fever, respiratory difficulties, "molecular biomarkers" of exposure to the virus and even the presence of antibodies against it.
  • Head of the FDA is self-quarantining: Dr. Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, will self-quarantine for 14 days after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus, an FDA spokesperson told CNN.
  • Reopening: There are 47 states that will be partially opened by tomorrow. Today, more restrictions are easing, though, in five states including Rhode Island where retail shops are reopening.
  • Democratic National Convention: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the convention could still be held in-person if attendees sat 6 feet apart. "So maybe you, instead of having 80,000 people there you would have 16,000 people there and just do it all in one day," she said.
4:20 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Firefighters and EMT's had the highest rate of positive antibody tests, New York governor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled results from antibody testing which showed that among frontline workers, the New York Fire Department and EMT’s had a 17.1% infection rate.

“We think it's higher because of the EMT workers,” Cuomo said, but this is below the city's normal rate of infection, he reiterated.

Other results: Of at least 1,300 transit workers who have been tested, 14.2% were positive, Cuomo said. 

The rate was higher among station workers than bus operators, train conductors and assistant conductors. Of those transit workers, 17% of station workers tested positive, 14% of bus operators and 11% of conductors and conductor's assistants tested positive. 

“We’d like to see 0 but 14% is below the average infection rate for New Yorkers so it means the transit workers infection rate is below the norm for NYC,” Cuomo said. 

Cuomo said the normal rate of infection in New York City was 19.9%.

Roughly 12.2% of health care workers have tested positive, Cuomo said.

“It shows that the PPE works when we talk about masks and gloves," he said.

The NYPD had an infection rate of 10.5% based on testing.