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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3:38 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:

3:25 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Much of Spain will open on Monday. Here's what that means exactly.

From CNN’s Abel Alvarado and Claudia Dominguez

Employees at the Cafe + Cycles restaurant in Palm de Mallorca, Spain, prepare the interior for reopening.
Employees at the Cafe + Cycles restaurant in Palm de Mallorca, Spain, prepare the interior for reopening. Clara Margais/dpa/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

More than 50% of Spain’s population, a total of 11 regions across the country, will transition into phase one Monday as part of the country’s de-escalation process during the coronavirus crisis.

The two largest cities in the country and the hardest hit by the pandemic, Madrid and Barcelona, are staying on phase zero, which means they have not met all the technical criteria to start reopening yet.

Phase one allows more movement within each province but citizens still need to follow social distancing, hygiene rules in public and private places and the use of masks on public transport is mandatory, Spanish authorities have said.

Here's what phase one means for different industries:

  • Small retail businesses can open if they have a maximum area of ​​about 4,305 square feet, or 400 square meters. The maximum capacity will be 30%, respecting the minimum distance of about 6 feet between clients and should establish a priority service schedule for people over 65.
  • Hairdressing salons, beauty and physical therapy centers can open but a distance of more than 6 feet must be kept between customers and staff, who must wear protective equipment.
  • Restaurant terraces are limited to 50% of the number of tables authorized last year and more than 6 feet need to be maintained between customers. Each table or group of tables must not have more than 10 people.
  • Hotels are allowed to open but restaurant services are only for the people staying there. The use of spas, gyms, mini clubs, children's areas, discos, event rooms, among others, is still banned.
  • Outdoor markets will also be allowed to reopen with a limit of 25% of authorized spaces.
  • Museums and private and public libraries will open under certain conditions such as operating at a third of their capacity and planning entry and exit times in advance
  • Learning centers and universities can open for administrative functions. Prior to opening they must be disinfected. School and university directors will determine the amount of teaching and auxiliary personnel needed.
  • Sporting activities in leisure and professional level will also see a change. Citizens will be allowed to use outdoors sporting areas except for swimming pools. Sports where up to two people participate is allowed, but no physical contact is allowed. In closed sporting centers, practice must be individual and by appointment.
  • Wakes are allowed with a maximum of 15 people if it takes place outdoors and 10 people for closed spaces. Burials have a maximum of 15 people.
  • Places of worship will be allowed to operate at a third of their capacity. People must wear a mask and spaces must be disinfected beforehand. The use of holy water or ritual ablutions will not be allowed.


3:26 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Details released about the 3 New Yorkers who died from an illness possibly related to coronavirus

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

The three young New Yorkers who died from an illness that may be related to Covid-19 include a teenager in Suffolk County, as well as a 7-year-old in Westchester County and a 5-year-old in New York City, according to the governor’s office.

Details of the children who passed away were reported in a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office following his news conference Saturday.

Some background: Cuomo said at the briefing that these children had symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic-shock like syndrome, more generally, inflammation that ultimately causes heart problems.

"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," 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.


3:09 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

France’s National Assembly extends state of emergency until July 10

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

French MPs vote on an amendment during a debate on the extension of the nationwide state of emergency at the National Assembly in Paris on May 8.
French MPs vote on an amendment during a debate on the extension of the nationwide state of emergency at the National Assembly in Paris on May 8. Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

France’s National Assembly voted today to extend the nationwide state of emergency until July 10.

Why this is important: The state of emergency provides the government with the legal framework to take uncommon measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including restrictions on travel and enforcing social distancing measures.

Some lawmakers in both the Senate and the National Assembly voiced concerns regarding the implications of the law for individual freedoms.

Given these concerns, President Emmanuel Macron will refer the law to the Constitutional Council, a body that will examine if it is in accordance with France’s Constitution, an Elysee spokesperson told CNN on Saturday.

3:13 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Arkansas reports 237 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

There were 237 new coronavirus cases reported Saturday in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an afternoon news conference.

Of the new cases, 173 were identified at the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is performing testing of inmates and staff at that facility, Hutchinson said.

A total of 301 inmates and 13 staff members at Forrest City have been diagnosed with the virus so far, according to Hutchinson. 

The new cases in the correctional facility are not from the last 24 hours but are from the last few days of testing and are now showing up in the state count, Health Secretary Nate Smith said during the news conference.

Arkansas now has a total of 3,984 cases and 90 deaths statewide, Hutchinson said.

4:23 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Catch up on the latest pandemic news

From CNN's Elise Hammond

It's 2:30 p.m. ET in the US. Get caught up on the latest coronavirus headlines.

  • Heartburn medicine: Patients who happened to be taking a common heartburn medicine, 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. There is research being conducted to determine if this is because of the drug or if it’s a coincidence.
  • Social distancing in the UK: The United Kingdom announced a $2.48 billion package to encourage citizen to ride their bike or walk more. This is part of the effort to promote alternative forms of travel to accommodate social distancing restrictions on public transport networks.
  • A much deserved break: 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.
  • Graduation ceremonies: In light of the ban on mass gatherings because of the coronavirus, many colleges are having virtual commencement ceremonies today. In Florida, two high schools will have a drive-through commencement at the Daytona International Speedway, the president of the track announced today.
2:42 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

Maine to open businesses in some rural counties on Monday

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

A man walks by the Raging Bull Saloon in Augusta, Maine, on April 28.
A man walks by the Raging Bull Saloon in Augusta, Maine, on April 28. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced a reopening plan for businesses in rural counties that haven't reported cases of community transmission.

There are 12 counties included in the Rural Reopening Plan: Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc.

"With low case counts, no evidence of community transmission, and now, expanded testing capacity, we believe it is appropriate to gradually lift some limitations on certain businesses in our rural counties with health and safety precautions to protect public health," Mills said in a tweet Friday.

On Monday, retail stores in those counties will be able to open, according to the plan.

The stores will need to use enhanced safety precautions. These include restricting the number of customers in a store at one time, implementing enhanced cleaning practices and using touch-free transactions when possible, the plan said.

Restaurants in those counties will be able to reopen on May 18 along with wilderness campsites, the plan said.

Restaurants will need to also have enhanced health and safety precautions including physically distancing customers, frequent hygiene and sanitation practices by employees, and controlling the flow of customers when possible.

Wilderness campsites will be open to Maine residents and visitors who have completed a 14 day quarantine period, the plan said.

3:01 p.m. ET, May 9, 2020

University graduates are encouraged to find hope during virtual commencements today

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Civil rights activist Henry Louis Gates Jr. gives the commencement address at American University's online ceremony on Saturday.
Civil rights activist Henry Louis Gates Jr. gives the commencement address at American University's online ceremony on Saturday. American University

In light of the ban on mass gatherings because of the coronavirus, many colleges and universities have either delayed or cancelled their graduations, while others have opted for virtual commencement ceremonies.

American University in Washington, DC, hosted an online ceremony today with civil rights activist Henry Louis Gates Jr. giving the commencement address.

Gates offered words of congratulations to the graduates and discussed the difficultly of entering the working world at a time of great uncertainty.

“Instead of experiencing joy and relief you are heading into a world which is reeling,” Gates told graduates. “You are asking both existential questions and reality based questions, what will the world look like when the next new normal begins, and more basically how on earth am I ever going to find a job.”

Gates encouraged students to “find inspiration and hope and courage in the stories of those ancestors, even when the tide seems to be rolling against us, with history as our guide we will not be turned back.”

He joked about the circumstances of graduating during a global pandemic.

“Let’s be honest. You had something else entirely in mind for the event we are commemorating today, no one could have imagined the scenario we are living through. Maybe my friend Steven King," Gates said.

American University has announced that it will hold a weekend of “special commencement ceremonies” for the Class of 2020 in mid-December.

Penn State University and the University of Connecticut also streamed online commencement ceremonies today.

The Obamas will host a virtual commencement for 74 historically black colleges and universities at "Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition," on May 16.