May 22 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0138 GMT (0938 HKT) May 23, 2020
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7:54 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Nevada governor sets June 4 target date for reopening casinos

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas,Tuesday, on March 17.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas,Tuesday, on March 17. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he hopes to allow the state's casinos to reopen on June 4.

The governor announced Friday that the state’s Gaming Control Board will make a final decision in its next meeting on Tuesday

In a tweet, the governor said the reopening will be “pending the evaluation of trends in our data.” Currently, the state is in phase one of its reopening plan, and Sisolak says he expects to have a date for phase two on Tuesday.

Nevada casinos have been closed since March 17. Many casinos have already announced new health safety measure to take effect when they reopen, and the Wynn Las Vegas announced Friday it will be reopening five of its restaurants on May 29.

7:07 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

NBA legend Patrick Ewing says he tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jill Martin

Head coach Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas in action against the Seton Hall Pirates during a college basketball game at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on January 3.
Head coach Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas in action against the Seton Hall Pirates during a college basketball game at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on January 3. Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Georgetown men’s basketball coach and former NBA star Patrick Ewing says he has tested positive for Covid-19.

“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones," Ewing tweeted.

In a statement, Georgetown University said Ewing is "under care and isolated at a local hospital."

"He is the only member of the Georgetown men's basketball program to have tested positive for the virus," the university said.

6:51 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Brazil reports more than 20,000 coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

From CNN’s Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo and Taylor Barnes in Atlanta

A nurse performs a coronavirus test on an indigenous man in the Parque das Tribos community on May 21 in Manaus, Brazil. 
A nurse performs a coronavirus test on an indigenous man in the Parque das Tribos community on May 21 in Manaus, Brazil.  Andre Coelho/Getty Images

 

The Brazilian health ministry said Friday the country registered a record 20,803 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide case total to 330,890.

By CNN calculations, the number tops Russia’s 326,448 cases. For now, that makes Brazil the country with the second highest total number of confirmed cases worldwide after the United States.

More on this: Johns Hopkins University has not yet updated its global map of coronavirus cases to reflect the new Brazilian numbers.

Brazil recorded 1,001 new coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 21,048.

 

6:41 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

DOJ warns Los Angeles officials that county's stay-home orders may be "arbitrary and unlawful"

From CNN's Jon Passantino

 

The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division wrote in a strongly-worded letter Friday to Los Angeles officials that he was concerned that the mayor and county health director were taking "an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach to continuing stay-at-home requirements.”

The letter from Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, came in response to comments from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who asserted in a "Good Morning America" interview last week that the city will “never be completely open until we have a cure” for the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 3,600 lives in California.

“I think we have to all recognize that we’re not moving beyond Covid-19, we’re learning to live with it,” Garcetti said.

Dreiband also noted recent remarks by Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who said last week that “with all certainty” a form of stay-home restrictions will remain in place for the county’s 10 million residents “for the next three months.” Ferrer later clarified her remarks, saying “while the Safer at Home orders will remain in place over the next few months, restrictions will be gradually relaxed.”

Earlier this month, California began reopening the state’s economy, allowing some retail shops, manufacturers, and logistics businesses to return on May 8. At least 43 of the state’s 58 counties have been allowed to open even further, allowing additional retail shopping and dining in restaurants. Los Angeles, however, where more than 2,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus have been recorded, has moved more slowly.

The DOJ's warning: Dreiband warned in his letter to Garcetti and Ferrer that the continued restrictions may be “arbitrary and unlawful.”

“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the City and County of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions. Any such approach may be both arbitrary and unlawful,” he said. 

While local officials can impose restrictions on citizens to protect their safety during emergencies, Dreiband warned that “the Constitution and federal statutory law prohibit arbitrary, unreasonable actions.”

“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” he said.

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

Peruvian president extends nationwide lockdown through June 30

From CNN’s Taylor Barnes

 

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

From CNN's Maggie Fox

 

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

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

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

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

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.