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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8:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

CDC director will self-quarantine for two weeks

From CNN's Wesley Bruer, Kevin Bohn and Jeremy Diamond

Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa/AP
Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Sipa/AP

Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "will be teleworking" for the next two weeks after he was exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, a CDC spokesman told CNN.

The Washington Post first reported Redfield's action.

Redfield "has been determined to have had a low risk exposure on May 6 to a person at the White House who has Covid-19. He is feeling fine and has no symptoms. He will be teleworking for the next two weeks," the spokesperson said.

The decision comes after the Food and Drug Administration announced that its commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, planned to self-quarantine after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus.

Neither agencies have named the person or people with whom Redfield and Hahn came into contact. 

Both men are members of the White House coronavirus task force, which held its most recent meeting on Thursday. 

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to confirm the report that Redfield will self-quarantine, but he said the physician to the President and White House operations officials "continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the President, First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy."

6:33 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Covid-19 patients who took a heartburn drug were more likely to survive but it's unclear if it was a coincidence, researchers say

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam

Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo illustration.
Packages of famotidine tablets are seen in this photo illustration. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Patients who took famotidine 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. 

"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," the authors of the study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center said.

Among the 1,536 patients in the study who were not taking famotidine, 332, or 22%, either died or were intubated and put on a ventilator. Of the 84 patients who were taking famotidine, eight, or 10%, died or were put on a ventilator.

But the study doesn't prove the drug caused the lower death rate, its authors say. It's possible that it was just a coincidence.

"It is not clear why those patients who received famotidine had improved outcomes," the authors wrote in their statement. "This is merely an association, and these findings should not be interpreted to mean that famotidine improves outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19."

The drug is a common heartburn medicine and has been on the market for nearly 40 years. It's an active ingredient in the popular over-the-counter heartburn treatment Pepcid.

Read the full story here.

6:33 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Sioux tribe won’t remove Covid-19 checkpoints in South Dakota despite governor's request 

From CNN's Chris Boyette and Deanna Hackney

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe won't comply to a request to take down its coronavirus checkpoints.

"We will not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death," Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said in a statement.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sent letters Friday to the leaders of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, demanding they "immediately cease interfering" with traffic and remove the checkpoints.

Reservation residents have been asked to complete a health questionnaire at checkpoints when they leave and when they return, according to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe policies. South Dakota residents who don't live on the reservation are only allowed there if they're not coming from a hot spot and it is for an essential activity.

Read the full story here.

5:59 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Canada's Trudeau says he's worried about peak of cases in Montreal

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Friday, May 1.
Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Friday, May 1. David Kawai/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The spread of the novel coronavirus has slowed down in significantly in most parts of Canada but the situation in Montreal remains critical.

"Of course I'm worried — as a Quebecer, as an MP — about the situation going on in my riding, in the province, as I am concerned about Canadians coast to coast, as prime minister," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Saturday in Ottawa.

There are more than 68,000 cases of the virus in Canada and about 4,800 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Montreal's cases account for about a quarter of the country's cases, Quebec officials say.

More background: Trudeau’s electoral district is in Montreal, where senior centers have been reporting outbreaks.

New projections released by the Quebec’s public health institute on Friday indicate the virus could lead to as many as 150 deaths per day if Montreal fully reopens and strict social distancing guidelines are loosened.

Earlier this week, authorities in Quebec, the province where Montreal is located, postponed plans to lift some restrictions in the city from mid-May to May 25.

5:13 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Coronavirus global cases surpass 4 million

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 4 million people and killed more than 227,000 worldwide, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

At least 1.3 million people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US and more than 78,000 people have died from the disease in the country.

4:55 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Rhode Island governor says state is taking 'baby steps' on first day of reopening

From CNN’s Lori Daniel

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo urged people to be cautious after the state's stay-at-home order was lifted on Saturday.

"We haven't yet reached that point where we see to see a big decline," Raimondo told reporters. "I want to just want to remind everyone as we today officially put our toe in the water of getting into phase one, your goal is baby steps."

Rhode Island became the first state in the northeastern United States to loosen its statewide restriction on Saturday. Social gatherings remain limited to up to five people and retail stores are reopening under some restrictions.

There were 210 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, Raimondo said.

4:07 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

US Agriculture Department to purchase $3 billion worth of food from farmers starting next week

From CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Dianne Gallagher and Greg Clary

A farm worker transfers Russet Burbank potatoes into a storage facility in Warden, Washington, on May 1.
A farm worker transfers Russet Burbank potatoes into a storage facility in Warden, Washington, on May 1. David Ryder/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted that beginning next week, the US will purchase $3 billion worth of food from farms to provide to food banks.

Trump called the initiative “Farmers to Family Food Box.”

CNN previously reported this program is part of the $19 billion in aid to farmers the US Department of Agriculture that was announced on April 17.

About the program: The USDA is partnering with private distributors who will buy a variety of food and package it into boxes that it will deliver to food banks. The USDA said it will spend $100 million a month on fruits and vegetables, $100 million on dairy products and a $100 million on meat products.

The other $16 billion will be distributed in payments directly to farmers, though that system is not expected to be up and running until the end of May.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall applauded the USDA’s moved on Friday.

“We applaud the USDA for its quick action and flexibility in finding a way to get food from America’s farms to the dinner tables of those who need it most. These food purchases will help the hungry while providing income to farmers and ranchers who have seen some markets for their food disappear during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Duvall said in a statement.

This news comes as food banks across the country face immense pressure with Americans out of work at historic rates.

A food distribution site with “Women Giving Back” in Sterling, Virginia, gave away almost 11,000 pounds of food on Saturday to nearly 400 households, according to statistics provided by the group.

The organization was forced to turn five carloads of people away after running out of food.

Read Trump's tweet:

3:38 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Georgia governor says the number of coronavirus hospitalizations are down

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Today marked the lowest number of Covid-19 positive patients currently hospitalized in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp said in a tweet. 

There are currently 1,203 patients hospitalized with the virus, the lowest number since hospitals began reporting this data on April 8.

"We will win this fight together!" Kemp said in a tweet posted along with a photo of the governor wearing a face mask with members of the Georgia Army and Air Force National Guard. 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 32,511 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,400 deaths on Saturday. DPH is now reporting cases in every county in the state.  

 

8:28 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Atlanta mayor says people not practicing social distancing are 'selfish'

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it’s “frustrating” that some residents continue to congregate in large crowds and do not practice appropriate social distancing.  

“I think it's extremely selfish. And I think it puts so many people at risk. Even when I think about our public safety personnel and our police officers … if they are walking into a crowd where people don't have on masks and are disregarding all of the recommendations that have been made, it puts them at risk,” the mayor told CNN today.

Bottoms was critical of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen some businesses in the state in late April.

“We will know in the next week or so whether or not the governor made the right decision. I remain concerned that we have moved too soon and really without being very thoughtful about how we should reopen our state. I think there are businesses that perhaps we could have slowly reopened,” she said. 

She said that the state and the entire country needs to be “more thoughtful” in tackling the coronavirus pandemic

“There's not been a city, there's not been a country that has been able to flatten the curve by doing what we're doing in this country and in this state, and that's moving quickly because we don't want to sit at home anymore,” she said. 

Bottoms commented on former President Barack Obama’s remarks slamming the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster.”  

“I think it really speaks to how strongly he feels about the mismanagement of this pandemic, and I am personally glad that he called it out. He has articulated what so many of us feel and know,” she said. 

Watch Bottoms' interview: