May 16 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brett McKeehan and Tara John, CNN

Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT) May 18, 2020
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11:54 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Horse racing tracks in New York can open without fans on June 1, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said horse racing tracks will be allowed to open across the state as of June 1 without fans.

“If you can have economic activity without a crowd that’s great," Cuomo said. "There will guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans but for the industry itself, for the televised viewers that can still work."

The state will be issuing guidance shortly.

Watkins Glen International racetrack will also be opening, Cuomo said.

11:55 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

US reports more 87,000 coronavirus-related deaths

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, there are at least 1,445,867 cases of coronavirus and at least 87,643 people have died in the country from the disease. 

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

12:01 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Avoiding a spike in coronavirus cases will depend on how people act, New York governor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said whether or not there will be a spike in coronavirus cases in the state after some parts of the economy reopen depends on "what we do."

"Tell me what you're going to do, and I'll tell you what will happen. How can that be? Because you're in control of what happens. How you act will determine what happens to you," he said a news briefing on Saturday.

As economic activity increases and people start to leave their homes, Cuomo expects to see an increase in numbers, but "we don't want to see a spike."

"Will there be a spike? It depends on how people react and it depends on their personal behavior," the governor said.

People need to remain vigilant and continue to do things like wearing masks, use hand sanitizer and avoiding large gatherings, Cuomo added.

11:40 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

New York state reports 157 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours

State of New York
State of New York

New York state has reported 157 coronavirus-related deaths over the past day while net hospitalizations are down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference today.

The net change in intubations is also down, he added.

"Number of new cases per day is also down, 400. Which sounds like a large number, but this is on a statewide population of 19 million, 50,000 hospital beds. The number of lives lost 157. That number has been stubborn, May 10 it was 161, these are all basically in the margin of error, if you will. This system is not that precise, I believe when they actually go back weeks from now and calculate the total number of deaths, at home deaths, et cetera, you'll see a variation in this number," Cuomo said.
11:05 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Your coronavirus questions answered

From CNN's Holly Yan and Scottie Andrew

Photo illustration by Utrecht Robin/
Photo illustration by Utrecht Robin/

CNN readers from around the world have asked more than 90,000 questions about coronavirus.

Here are the answers to some of the most popular questions:

Q: Can coronavirus stick to clothes? Do I need to wash my clothes right after encountering other people, like at the grocery store or while jogging?

A: “I don’t think you need to,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

Coronavirus can stay alive for up to three days on stainless steel and plastic. But clothing “is probably more like cardboard — it’s more absorbent, so the virus is unlikely to stay and last that long,” Gupta said.

While coronavirus can stay alive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, viruses generally don’t stick well on surfaces that are in motion.

“If you look at how viruses move through air, they kind of want to move around objects,” Gupta said. “They don’t want to necessarily land on objects. So if you’re moving as human body through the air … (it’s) unlikely to stick to your clothes.”

Q: Could I infect my pets with coronavirus, or vice versa? Can someone get infected by touching an animal’s fur? Should I get my pet tested for coronavirus?

A: There have been some reports of animals infected by coronavirus — including two pets in New York and eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo.

Most of those infections came from contact with people who had coronavirus, like a zoo employee who was an asymptomatic carrier.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans. Therefore, at this time, routine testing of animals for Covid-19 is not recommended.

As always, it’s best to wash your hands after touching an animal’s fur and before touching your face. And if your pet appears to be sick, call your veterinarian.

Q: Why can’t we just test everyone in the US? If we isolate all the asymptomatic carriers, couldn’t the rest of us go back to work?

A: Doctors say it’s not realistic to test all people in the US, especially since many states are still struggling to get enough tests or testing supplies.

So in order for the economy to reopen and stay open, the US must triple the number of tests performed every day — from 150,000 tests a day to at least 500,000, three Harvard researchers found.

And the proportion of test results that come back positive needs to be much lower. About 20% of US test results have been positive, which is “clearly way too high,” said Dr. Thomas Tsai, one of the Harvard researchers.

The World Health Organization said an adequate range of positive test results would be 3% to 12%. Germany and South Korea have already met that goal, Tsai said.

10:38 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

FDA authorizes first "standalone at-home sample collection kit" for coronavirus

From CNN Health’s Ben Tinker

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday that it has authorized “an at-home sample collection kit that can then be sent to specific laboratories for Covid-19 diagnostic testing.”

In a statement, the FDA said that the kit, manufactured by Everlywell, Inc., received an emergency use authorization “to be used by individuals at home who have been screened using an online questionnaire that is reviewed by a health care provider. This allows an individual to self-collect a nasal sample at home using Everlywell’s authorized kit,” according to the FDA statement.

“The FDA has also authorized two Covid-19 diagnostic tests, performed at specific laboratories, for use with samples collected using the Everlywell Covid-19 Test Home Collection Kit. These tests have been authorized under separate, individual EUAs. Additional tests may be authorized for use with the Everlywell at-home collection kit in the future, provided data are submitted in an EUA request that demonstrate the accuracy of each test when used with the Everlywell at-home collection kit," the statement said.

"The authorization of a COVID-19 at-home collection kit that can be used with multiple tests at multiple labs not only provides increased patient access to tests, but also protects others from potential exposure," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Today's action is also another great example of public-private partnerships in which data from a privately funded study was used by industry to support an EUA request, saving precious time as we continue our fight against this pandemic."

10:21 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

United Kingdom reports 468 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

The United Kingdom is reporting another 468 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, brining the total to at least 34,466, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Approximately 1,742,028 people have been tested, of which at least 240,161 are positive. 

The government conducted more than 100,00 tests in the past day.

Read the tweet from the department:

10:49 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

New trial begins to determine if dogs can sniff out coronavirus

From CNN's Samantha Tapfumaneyi

courtesy Medical Detection Dogs
courtesy Medical Detection Dogs

Trials for specially-trained sniffer dogs that may be able to detect coronavirus in humans, even before symptoms appear, are set to begin in London.

Researchers hope to determine whether the dogs could be used as a potential new “non-invasive, early warning measure to detect coronavirus in the future,” the United Kingdom government said on Saturday. 

The trial will look at whether the six dogs, called "The Super Six," a mixture of labradors and cocker spaniels, can be trained to detect coronavirus from odor samples. Respiratory diseases are known to change body odor, according to the researchers, who hope dogs can detect the virus as they have been able to do with malaria.

“We are delighted that the government has given us the opportunity to demonstrate that dogs can play a role in the fight against Covid-19. They have the potential to help by quickly screening people, which will be vital as the country moves out of lockdown. Hopefully this will prevent a second peak and enable precious NHS resources to be used where most needed," Dr. Claire Guest, the CEO and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, said.

The researchers have already trained dogs to detect the odor of many different diseases in humans, such as cancer, malaria and Parkinson’s disease.

“We are sure our dogs will be able to find the odor of Covid-19 and we will then move into a second phase to test them in live situations, following which we hope to work with other agencies to train more dogs for deployment," Guest said.

“We are incredibly proud that a dog’s nose could once again save many lives," she added.
9:59 a.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Spanish prime minister to request state of emergency extension

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Claudia Dominguez

Andres Ballesteros/EFE/AFP via Getty Images
Andres Ballesteros/EFE/AFP via Getty Images

The Spanish government will ask the country’s parliament for a month-long extension to the state of emergency in the country, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Saturday.

“The Spanish government will ask the Parliament a new extension to the state of emergency, which will have distinct characteristics, in relation to the previous ones, because the situation in Spain has changed,” Sanchez said. “To begin with, it aims to be the last [extension to the] state of emergency and to encompass, until the end of the de-escalation, and because of that we will ask parliament that instead of 15 days, that it is of around a month.”

The prime minister said with this, that right of free circulation would remain “limited” for a few more weeks and that certain regions could exit the state of emergency earlier than others. 

Sanchez also said the phased easing of restrictions would carry on in half the country until the beginning of summer, while the rest of the country would finish one or two weeks afterwards, if there isn’t an increase in the number of cases. 

On tourism: The prime minister also addressed the economic situation, specifically the tourism sector, which according to Sanchez, accounts for 12.3% of the country’s GDP and employs 2.6 million people.

“This sector depends on the more than 80 million visitors that we receive every year and consequently Spain needs tourism and without tourism we cannot talk about an economic reactivation,” Sanchez said, explaining that Spain should not rush to open up to tourists. “We need to fully overcome the health emergency as soon as possible to then relaunch our attractive touristic offer."