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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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.

12:13 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Rep. Jeffries: "We know that this is an extraordinary pandemic"

State of New York
State of New York

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his coronavirus news conference Saturday to discuss how religious organizations around the state are helping to address the pandemic.

"We know that this is an extraordinary pandemic, and it requires an extraordinary governmental response at all levels of government. It's all hands on deck at the city, the state and the federal level," Jeffries said.

Jeffries commented on a new initiative where Northwell Health is setting up 22 additional coronavirus testing sites at churches in predominantly minority communities.

"These churches have been there through the crack cocaine epidemic to welcome people in while others were rejecting them. Our churches have been there, for instance, to address the high rates of gun violence through gun buyback programs, taking thousands of guns off the streets in their congregations, buildings," Jeffries said.

According to surveys and data, of the 21 zip codes with the most hospitalizations for coronavirus, 20 of 21 have greater than average African American and/or Latino populations.

"There’s no doubt that it is a problem," Cuomo said. "We understand why, we understand the health disparities, we understand the comorbidities, but we also understand it’s just not right."

3:14 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

New York Dept. of Health to conduct genome sequencing, Gov. Cuomo says

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York State Department of Health is partnering with the New York Genome Center and the Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to better understand the virus.

“We still have a lot to learn about this virus," Cuomo said.

This research will help the state learn more about why young children are getting sick with a coronavirus-related illness that does not present the typical respiratory symptoms, the governor added.

"The Department of Health is doing everything that they can do. I think it's fair to say that the New York State Department of Health is the first one that has been on this situation. And again, working with the CDC and whatever we find out we'll not only share with the public but we'll also share with other states and other hospital systems," Cuomo said.
11:52 a.m. ET, May 9, 2020

3 children may have died in New York from a coronavirus-related illness, governor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said three young children may have died from a coronavirus-related illness that is affecting young kids.

Cuomo said hospitals in the state have reported 73 cases where young patients had Covid-19 antibodies and tested positive for the virus, but did not have the typical respiratory symptoms.

Instead, these children had symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic-shock like syndrome, more generally, inflammation that ultimately causes heart problems, Cuomo said.

"These are children who come in who don't present the symptoms that we normally are familiar with with Covid. It's not a respiratory illness, they're not in respiratory distress. I think that's one of the reasons why this may be getting discovered this far into the process," he said. 

Cuomo said the Centers for Disease Control asked New York to develop national criteria for other states and hospital systems with similar patients.

3:14 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

The hospitalization rate across New York continues to fall, governor says

State of New York
State of New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reported that the rate of hospitalization across New York has dropped, as has the rate of intubation caused by coronavirus.

The number of new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours was 572, Cuomo said at a news conference Saturday morning.

"Those are new cases, people who walk in the door of a hospital or people who are in the hospital and test positive. But that's down to 572. You see it hasn't been that level since we started back March 20, March 21. So that is welcome news," Cuomo said.

Since yesterday, the state has recorded 226 coronavirus-related deaths, Cuomo said. That number is up slightly from the 216 reported on May 7.

"And you see how that number has been infuriatingly constant; 226 is where we were five days ago. So we would like to see that number dropping at a far faster rate than it has been dropping," he said.

11:25 a.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Colombia now has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases

From CNNE’s Marlon Soto and CNN’s Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Colombia’s health authorities announced that the country’s total number of Covid-19 cases has reached 10,051; after a sharp increase of 595 new cases late Friday.

At least 428 people have died from coronavirus in Colombia, according to the ministry of health.

11:00 a.m. ET, May 9, 2020

FDA grants emergency use authorization for first antigen test for coronavirus

From CNN Health’s Wes Bruer

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted the first emergency use authorization for an antigen test for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the agency on Saturday.

This test can detect “the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein antigen,” according to the product details outlined in a letter sent by the FDA to the manufacturer. 

Often used to check for the flu and strep, 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.

“These diagnostic tests quickly detect fragments of proteins found on or within the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs,” according to a statement from FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn and Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

However, they note the tests are not as sensitive as PCR-type of diagnostic tests already authorized by the FDA, and there’s a higher chance of false negatives.

“One of the main advantages of an antigen test is the speed of the test, which can provide results in minutes. However, antigen tests may not detect all active infections, as they do not work the same way as a PCR test,” Hahn and Shuren said in their statement.

“Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular PCR tests. This means that positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection. With this in mind, negative results from an antigen test may need to be confirmed with a PCR test prior to making treatment decisions or to prevent the possible spread of the virus due to a false negative," the statement continued.

10:51 a.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Federal government ships 260 cases of remdesivir to hardest hit states

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Saturday it had shipped 260 cases of the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir to states hardest hit by Covid-19.

These cases are part of the previously announced donation by the drug’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, to the federal government, a HHS statement said.

The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization allowing remdesivir to be used to help treat the coronavirus.

Some context: The distribution of remdesivir has come under scrutiny since the FDA announcement which sparked a rapid rise in demand.

That has also caused frustration among some medical professionals wanting to get access to it. The White House announced Friday the coronoavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx will help manage the drug’s distribution. The process for shipment began on Thursday night, HHS said.

The locations and amounts of the newest distributions are:

  • Connecticut (30 cases)
  • Illinois (140 cases)
  • Iowa (10 cases)
  • Maryland (30 cases)
  • Michigan (40 cases)
  • New Jersey (110 cases)

Each case contains 40 vials of the drug.

HHS also announced Saturday how the distribution process will work. In its statement it said state health departments will distribute the doses to appropriate hospitals since state and local health departments have insight into various community needs to help in the response to the virus. Candidates for the donated doses must be patients on ventilators or on life support who need supplemental oxygen.

In late April, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that a study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) showed remdesivir had a "clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery" from coronavirus.

The study showed patients who took remdesivir recovered faster than patients who did not

10:41 a.m. ET, May 9, 2020

How artists around the world view self-isolation during the pandemic

As the pandemic marches on, people around the world continue to live in self-isolation or under strict lockdown measures –– this includes many members of the international artist community.

In the absence of physical human connection and with movement drastically limited, many artists have had to turn inwards for inspiration.

CNN asked nine artists living in cities around the world to create an original artwork that reflects the times we are living in today.

Here are some of them:

Anthony Muisyo: Mombasa, Kenya

Anthony Muisyo
Anthony Muisyo

"This particular piece employs both dark and solemn colors as well as shades that contrast this. Over time, I have been able to better understand the role color plays in conveying emotions and in this particular case, color works to bring out the duality of a dark reality and that of a hopeful future," Muisyo said. "This has been a period of self-reflection –– to try and understand what kind of world I'd like to live in, to deeply value and treasure the already beautiful and meaningful connections I have managed to build with people I care for and finally, to always hope."

Olivié Keck: Cape Town, South Africa

Olivie Keck
Olivie Keck

"Having to adjust has been difficult. However, I have found sanctuary in the act of making. The escapism of creating helps stabilize and relax me because the action is so moment to moment," Keck said.

Elen Winata: Singapore

"In Singapore, life is temporarily on hold to contain the spread of the virus. Businesses are closed, roads are empty and the hustle and bustle of city life is no more. However, the community feels more connected than ever with everyone looking out for each other," Winata said.

See more of what the artists created.