May 22 coronavirus news

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6:32 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Peruvian president extends nationwide lockdown through June 30

 

Workers stand next to coffins of Covid-19 victims at El Angel cemetery, in Lima, Peru, on May 21.
Workers stand next to coffins of Covid-19 victims at El Angel cemetery, in Lima, Peru, on May 21. Ernesto Benvavides/AFP/Getty Images

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced Friday that a national state of emergency, which includes mandatory social isolation measures, will be extended through June 30.

He announced that “a national state of emergency is being declared from Monday, May 25 until June 30, including obligatory social isolation, quarantine, due to the grave circumstances that affect the life of the nation due to Covid-19,” according to state news agency Andina.

Vizcarra first declared a nationwide state of emergency, which included mandatory self-quarantine and closed the country’s borders, on March 15.

With the current extension, Peru will be under a state of emergency for at least three and a half months.

 

8:15 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

More than 95,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There have been at least 1,598,631 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 95,847 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Johns Hopkins reported 21,484 new cases and 1,145 deaths on Friday. 

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

6:08 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Researchers publish data backing remdesivir recommendation

 

Vials of the drug Remdesivir are seen during a press conference in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8.
Vials of the drug Remdesivir are seen during a press conference in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8. Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers have finally published the data that led the federal government to recommend the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir in very ill coronavirus patients.

The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday, show that the drug shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days.

“Preliminary results of this trial suggest that a 10-day course of remdesivir was superior to placebo in the treatment of hospitalized patients with Covid-19,” the researchers wrote.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which sponsored the trial, announced that the drug was helping and the US Food and Drug Administration gave remdesivir an Emergency Use Authorization.

“Even though the trial was ongoing, the data and safety monitoring board made the recommendation to unblind the results to the trial team members from the NIAID, who subsequently decided to make the results public,” the researchers wrote.

“Given the strength of the results about remdesivir, these findings were deemed to be of immediate importance for the care of patients still participating in the trial as well as for those outside the trial who might benefit from treatment with remdesivir.”

 

6:07 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Michigan governor extends safer-at-home order to June 12

In this Thursday, May 21, 2020 photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speeks during a news conference in Lansing, Michigan.
In this Thursday, May 21, 2020 photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speeks during a news conference in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today signed a new executive order that extends the state's safer-at-home order to June 12.

The governor’s order also extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation, such as theaters, gyms, and casinos, according to her office.

Whitmer also signed a new executive order to extend the state’s state of emergency declaration related to the Covid-19 pandemic to June 19.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” Whitmer said in a statement. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed.”

Some background: A Michigan judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republican leaders of the state's Legislature challenging Whitmer's use of emergency powers to extend Michigan's state of emergency.

Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens ruled that while Whitmer's action of re-declaring the same emergency violated the provisions of the state's Emergency Management Act, the Legislature's challenges to Whitmer's use of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act to issue executive orders are meritless.

6:00 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Beaches in New Hampshire will reopen on June 1

Two cyclists pass empty parking spots adjacent to Hampton Beach in Hampton, New Hampshire, on Thursday, May 21.
Two cyclists pass empty parking spots adjacent to Hampton Beach in Hampton, New Hampshire, on Thursday, May 21. Charles Krupa/AP

A number of restrictions will be lifted in New Hampshire starting June 1, Gov. Chris Sununu said.

Small group fitness classes and personal one-on-one training, where social distancing can be allowed and properly provided will be allowed.

Business that were classified as “personal care,” acupuncture, massage therapy centers, tattoo parlors, tanning and nail salons may reopen. Each must meet strict social distancing guidelines and each industry has its own sanitation and adaptation requirements that must be met.

New Hampshire’s beaches will also open on June 1 for active recreation, such as walking, running, lounging, swimming and surfing.

“These are just first steps, and while they hopefully work for some, we know they might not be able to work for all," the governor said.

"The more these guidelines adhered to the more that we can maintain the physical distancing and the good hygiene practices that really should encourage folks, and that data comes back to take other steps. If the data isn’t there and folks aren’t practicing to the guidelines, then unfortunately we could potentially have to take steps backwards. Nobody wants that, we all want to keep moving forward and so there's a great self-incentive to make sure that we're doing it right and doing it safely," Sununu added.
5:50 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Every county in Pennsylvania is expected to be partially reopened by June 5

Every county in Pennsylvania is expected to be partially reopened by June 5, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday.

As of Friday morning, 49 of the state’s 67 counties were in the “yellow phase.” The “yellow phase” refers to the subsequent reopening stage after the “red phase,” during which all counties were under stay-at-home orders.

The “green phase” is the last stage, where even more social distancing rules are relaxed, but precautions will still be taken, according to Wolf’s office. 

Eight more counties will move from the “red” to “yellow phase” on May 29, and 17 counties will move from the “yellow” to “green phase.” The remainder of the state’s counties are expected to move to the “yellow phase” on June 5, Wolf said.

The governor said the state will continue to closely monitor reopened counties for any upticks in Covid-19 cases and even counties that move into the “green phase” will still be required to take necessary precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

“While all businesses [in counties in the green phase] may resume operations, including restaurants and bars, many will have reduced capacity. Large entertainment gatherings, such as concerts, festivals, sporting events, will continue to be restricted,” Wolf said. “Teleworking will continue to be encouraged. Nursing home visitation will continue to be restricted and hospitals and prisons may have visitation restricted on a case-by-case basis if deemed necessary.”

The governor added that guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health, such as wearing masks in public, must continue to be observed.

5:04 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus updates from across the globe

Gondoliers wearing a face mask ride a gondola by the San Toma embankment on a Venice canal as they resume service on May 18.
Gondoliers wearing a face mask ride a gondola by the San Toma embankment on a Venice canal as they resume service on May 18. Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images

If you're just joining us, here are the latest coronavirus updates from across the globe:

  • Cases top 100,000 across Africa: There are more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus across Africa, with the virus having spread to every country in the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
  • Traveling in the UK: Travelers arriving in the United Kingdom will be required to self-isolate for 14 days starting June 8, the British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Friday.
  • Covid-19 cases in Italy drop: The number of active Covid-19 cases in Italy dropped by 1,638 on Friday, bringing the total to 59,322, according to the Italian Civil Protection Agency.
  • President Trump directs states to reopen places of worship: The US President announced his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations, but he does not have the authority to do so.
  • It is "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine in December: In an interview with NPR, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said once again that he was encouraged by the findings from the phase one trial of a vaccine that is being developed by biotech company Moderna.
  • Investigation into coronavirus outbreak: The United States called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to immediately begin work on an investigation into the source of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent timeline of events.
2:56 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Coronavirus cases top 100,000 across Africa, says WHO

A heath worker looks on during the screening and testing campaign aimed to combat the spread of COVID-19 at Tembisa township in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday, May 19.
A heath worker looks on during the screening and testing campaign aimed to combat the spread of COVID-19 at Tembisa township in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday, May 19. Themba Hadebe/AP

There are over 100,000 cases of coronavirus across Africa, with the virus having spread to every country in the continent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

So far, 3,100 people in Africa have died from the virus.

“For now Covid-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

During a briefing on Friday, Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of health emergencies program, said, “On the one hand, good news — the disease hasn't taken off in a very fast trajectory, but a concern some countries are accelerating in the number of cases.”

Ryan said within Africa, there are “many, many highly vulnerable groups” and the impact of coronavirus on those groups has yet to be seen. 

“We don't know what the impact of this will be in undernourished children with chronic malnutrition, we don't know what the impact of this will be in in overcrowded refugee camps. So, there's a lot still to be learned,” he said. 

2:02 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Covid-19 cases in Italy drop as situation improves

A rapid serological test is carried out in the molecular biology laboratory of Cannizzaro Hospital on Friday, May 22, in Catania, Italy.
A rapid serological test is carried out in the molecular biology laboratory of Cannizzaro Hospital on Friday, May 22, in Catania, Italy. Fabrizio Villa/Getty Images

The number of active Covid-19 cases in Italy dropped by 1,638 on Friday, bringing the total to 59,322, according to the Italian Civil Protection Agency.

In the past day, 130 people have died, bringing the total number of fatalities to 32,616, the agency said. This increase of 0.4% is the second smallest in the last few weeks.

The number of patients in intensive care units dropped below the 600 mark for the first time since March 7. There are now 595 people in intensive care, 45 fewer than yesterday.

The total number of cases in Italy is 228,658.