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May 16 coronavirus news
By Joshua Berlinger, Brett McKeehan and Tara John, CNN
Brazil's coronavirus deaths surpass 15,000
From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey and Taylor Barnes
More than 15,000 people have died in Brazil after contracting the novel coronavirus, the country's health ministry says.
Health officials reported 816 new deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 15,633.
The number of cases in Brazil continues to rise. There are 233,142 cases of the virus in the country and 14,919 new cases were reported in the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday, the ministry said.
Brazil has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The latest uptick pushed Brazil's case count past Spain and Italy.
Preakness Stakes to be held on October 3
From CNN's Jacob Lev
The 145th Preakness Stakes has been rescheduled for October 3 at the Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland. The race, part of horse racing's Triple Crown, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We all wish we could have been together today to celebrate the Preakness but we stayed home and stayed safe and now we can look forward to Preakness 145 on October 3rd,” said Belinda Stronach, the chairwoman and president of the Stronach Group, which owns the Pimlico.
The Preakness Stakes, typically held on the third Saturday in May, was postponed in March.
The other two Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, were also postponed. The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled for September 5 and organizers for the Belmont Stakes have not announced a new date.
Authorities in Wuhan 'didn't like to tell the truth,' top adviser says
From Nectar Gan and David Culver
Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first reported, suppressed key details about the magnitude of the initial outbreak, according to Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government's senior medical adviser.
"The local authorities, they didn't like to tell the truth at that time," Zhong said. "At the very beginning they kept silent, and then I said probably we have (a larger) number of people being infected."
Zhong said he became suspicious when the number of officially reported cases in Wuhan remained at 41 for more than 10 days — despite infections emerging overseas.
China has reported more than 82,000 coronavirus cases, with at least 4,633 deaths, according to data from the country's National Health Commission. The number of new infections surged quickly in late January, prompting city lockdowns and nationwide travel bans.
Read the full story here
China remains vulnerable to second wave of coronavirus due to lack of immunity, top adviser says
From Nectar Gan and David Culver
Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the top respiratory authority in China, says the country still faces a "big challenge" of a potential second wave of Covid-19 infections.
"The majority of ... Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the Covid-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity," Zhong said in an exclusive interview with CNN. "We are facing (a) big challenge, it's not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment."
Zhong, the Chinese government's senior medical adviser and the public face of the country's fight against Covid-19, said Chinese authorities should not be complacent.
Lockdowns have eased and some schools and factories have already reopened across the country.
Read the full story here.
Spain to reopen some public areas and hotels under strict social distancing measures
From CNN's Helena DeMoura
Hotels and some public spaces in Spain will be allowed to reopen by Monday, the Spanish government said.
Saturday’s government communiqué spelled out the how provinces, cities and autonomous regions are allowed to reopen business according to a classification system of "phases" outlined by the Health Ministry which is leading and guiding other government agencies in this transition period.
Most of the nation will remain on phase one, meaning that gatherings may not include more than 10 people. Hotels and public spaces may open but with caveats, including limited occupancy and closed common areas.
The biggest change comes for regions in Spain that will be classified as phase 2. Sporting and outdoor activities will be allowed to take place freely except during hours reserved for the elderly. That includes the Balearic Islands of Formentera and La Graciosa, and La Gomera and El Hierro, two islands that are part of the Canary Islands.
Densely populated areas, including the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, will remain under lockdown.
Home health aide charged after elderly patient dies of Covid-19 complications
From CNN’s Lauren del Valle
A home health aide in New Jersey is facing five counts of endangerment after an 80-year-old woman she cared for died after contracting Covid-19.
The aide, Josefina Brito-Fernandez, 49, was asked to self-quarantine by health officials after testing positive for the virus at a Camden testing site in mid-April, the New Jersey attorney general's office said in a statement.
Instead, Brito-Fernandez continued treating the woman and two developmentally disabled siblings in their home without personal protective equipment the next day, the attorney general said.
Home video appears to show the health aide without PPE taking vital signs, feeding and sponge-bathing the woman, according to the attorney general's office. The aide's employer had mandated all employees wear PPE when treating patients, the attorney general's office said.
The elderly woman and four other members of the household later tested positive for the virus. The woman was hospitalized and died days after the home visit.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office declined to confirm whether Brito-Fernandez tested positive for the virus citing medical privacy laws, but it is known that she was in contact with someone who had Covid-19 before experiencing symptoms, according to the press release.
The New Jersey attorney general's office and New Jersey State Police also declined to confirm that Brito-Fernandez received a positive Covid-19 test result.
CNN reached out to the state Division of Consumer Affairs to confirm Brito-Fernandez has an active nursing license but did not immediately hear back.
Brito-Fernandez is not currently in custody, according to Colby Gallagher, a spokeswoman with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
A court appearance has not been scheduled yet, and it is not known if she has retained an attorney at this time, Gallagher said.
At least 45 public transit employees have died after contracting Covid-19, union says
From CNN's Laine Mackey
John Costa, president of the largest labor union representing public transit employees in the US and Canada, said at least 45 members have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
"My concern is we don't need to lose any more of our members. Our members know this job is essential. They know when they took this job, it's 24/7," Costa, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union told CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday.
"We keep the cities moving. We keep the economy moving. We keep the front lines moving. But we need to be protected. We didn't sign up to die when we took those jobs," he added.
More than 1,000 union members from New York to Seattle have tested positive for the virus, according to the union.
Italy is taking a 'calculated risk' in easing coronavirus lockdown, prime minister says
From CNN's Livia Borghese
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the country must approach the re-opening of the economy with "prudence."
"We are facing a calculated risk, knowing that the epidemiological curve could rise again," Conte said.
"The epidemic curve is encouraging … we are now in the condition to face this new phase with faith and responsibility," he added.
Health officials in Italy reported 153 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday — the lowest increase of coronavirus deaths since the lockdown was imposed in March.
The country has been easing some measures and the lockdown will be further relaxed on Monday. Retail stores, restaurants and hotels will be advised to do temperature checks, require face coverings and maintain social distancing among customers.
Conte announced travel restrictions will be lifted for those traveling from European countries by June 3.