May 23 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Rob Picheta, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 8:36 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020
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4:04 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

Covid-19 cases in North Carolina surge to highest single day total for the state

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

The highest one-day increase of Covid-19 cases was reported in North Carolina Saturday, just one day after phase two of reopening began in the state, health officials say.

There were 1,107 positive Covid-19 cases reported on Saturday, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).   

"Phase two runs through at least Friday, June 26, unless changed or canceled," NCDHHS said in a tweet on Saturday.  

North Carolina's phase two includes expanding restaurant capacity to 50% and reopening camps for children, NCDHHS said in a tweet. Bars and gyms remain closed in the state.  

North Carolina now has a total of 22,725 confirmed cases, according to NCDHHS. 

Read the tweet from NCDHHS:

2:02 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

Chief Justice John Roberts discusses coronavirus during commencement address

From CNN’s Ariane De Vogue

Chief Justice John Roberts discussed the coronavirus pandemic in remarks made at his son’s high school graduation Saturday, telling the seniors that the pandemic, “has pierced our illusion of certainty and control.”

The commencement speech for the Westminster School’s graduation was posted online by the school Saturday morning. 

"[T]he pandemic has or will affect practically everyone in the world in one way or another,” Roberts said, while urging the graduating seniors to show compassion, not only for the sick and dying, but others who may suffer for a long time.

Roberts cautioned the seniors that moving forward, they may meet people who, “bear scars you may not see.” He told them to practice humility, and added that the “pandemic should teach us at least that.” 

8:07 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

Brazil's doctors face the grim reality of the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Jo Shelley, Eduardo Duwe and William Bonnett

This aerial photo shows an alleged coronavirus victim being buried at the Vila Formosa Cemetery on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 22.
This aerial photo shows an alleged coronavirus victim being buried at the Vila Formosa Cemetery on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 22. Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

In Brazil's largest and most badly infected city, coronavirus has yet to peak, yet already the health care system is crumbling. As doctors struggle valiantly to save lives, the country's President Jair Bolsonaro seems more focused on his country's economy.

Brazil this week became the country with the second most infections worldwide after the United States, with more than 330,000 confirmed cases.

But Bolsonaro, who once dismissed Covid-19 as a "little flu," has urged businesses to reopen, despite many governors stressing social isolation measures to slow the spread.

In the huge intensive care unit (ICU) of Emilio Ribas Infectious Disease Institute in São Paulo, anger swirls among doctors when asked about their president's comments.

"Revolting," says one.

"Irrelevant" declares another.

Dr. Jacques Sztajnbok is more restrained.

"It's not a flu. It's the worst thing we have ever faced in our professional lives," Sztajnbok said.

The reasons why are clear inside the overwhelming silence of the intensive care unit. Coronavirus kills behind the veil of a hospital curtain, in a stifling quiet, that is so distant and alien to the global upheaval and noisy political divisions it has inspired. But when it takes a life, it is intimately horrifying.

Read more here.

4:03 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

New Jersey reports 96 new coronavirus-related deaths

From CNN's Sheena Jones

People line up in their cars at the drive-through Covid-19 testing site at the Bergen Community College main campus, in Paramus, New Jersey, on May 12, 2020.
People line up in their cars at the drive-through Covid-19 testing site at the Bergen Community College main campus, in Paramus, New Jersey, on May 12, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey has recorded 443 new Covid-19 cases and 96 deaths, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday.

Several electronic lab reports have not been processed yet and that could be affecting the state’s total number of new cases, the governor said.

New Jersey has a total of 153,104 cases and 11,081 deaths from the virus, the tweet said.

Read Murphy's tweet:

4:03 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

New York state records 1,772 new coronavirus cases

New York state recorded 1,772 additional Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 359,926, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Some more news: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow groups of up to 10 people to gather as long as they are practicing social distancing protocols, according to an order on the governor’s website.

The order was signed, Friday, in time for the Memorial Day holiday.  

The full order can be read here.

4:02 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

NBA in talks with Disney to resume season near Orlando in July

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company about resuming the 2019-2020 season in late July at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, according to league's spokesperson Mike Bass.

Disney’s facility may be used as a single site for NBA games, practices and housing, Bass added.

"Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place," Bass said in a statement to CNN Saturday.

The current season was scheduled to conclude in June, but was suspended mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

4:05 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

Adviser to UK prime minister says he will not consider resigning after allegedly violating lockdown

From CNN's Nada Bashir, Vasco Cotovio and Nada Bashir

Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, says he will not consider resigning following allegations he broke national lockdown regulations in March. 

Asked by reporters whether he would consider his position, the prime minister’s adviser said "obviously not."

Pressed once again on whether he would resign in light of the general public’s probable anger, Cummings said "I don’t think so."

Some context: Cummings' remarks come after an investigation by the Guardian and Mirror newspapers revealed that he had been spotted in late March in Durham, more than 250 miles from his London home — seemingly in contravention of the government's lockdown regulations. 

Earlier on Saturday, Cummings addressed the allegations, telling reporters that he believes he behaved “reasonably and legally.”

The British Labour Party has, in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary, called for an "urgent investigation" into allegations Cummings.

"I am writing to request the Cabinet Office launch an urgent investigation into allegations Dominic Cummings broke the coronavirus lockdown rules," Labour Minister Rachel Reeves wrote Saturday. "The British people have made important and painful sacrifices to support the national effort … it is therefore vital that the Government can reassure the public that its most senior figures have been adhering to the same rules as everyone else."

According to a Downing Street spokesperson, Cummings acted "in line with coronavirus guidelines” and travelled to “ensure his young child could be properly cared for" after his wife had become infected with suspected coronavirus. 

1:28 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

Hospital admissions due to coronavirus continue to decrease in France

From Barbara Wojazer in Paris 

The number of coronavirus patients currently in hospitals and intensive care units across France continue to decrease, the French Health Agency said Saturday.

According to the latest data from agency, there are now 17,178 patients in hospitals with coronavirus, which is 205 less than Friday.

ICU admissions are also decreasing. There are 1,665 patients currently in ICUs around the country, the agency said. 

12:54 p.m. ET, May 23, 2020

New York governor addresses executive order allowing groups of up to 10 people to gather

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Gov. Cuomo's Office
Gov. Cuomo's Office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the order he signed allowing gatherings of up to 10 people with appropriate mitigation and whether it would affect the infection rate in the state and its ability to reopen.

“Theoretically it shouldn’t,” Cuomo said at his news briefing today, adding it’s also a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline. “It depends on how people act.”

“You can have a safe gathering of 10 people, you can also have a wholly unsafe gathering of 10 people," the governor added.

Cuomo was also asked about a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU Friday which essentially asked for expansion of the original order which was first extended to Memorial Day gatherings and religious services.

“Having recognized that small events now can take place safely, the government does not get to pick who gets to exercise First Amendment rights," Christopher Dunn, legal director at the NYCLU and lead counsel on the case, said in a news release.

Cuomo responded, “I didn’t even know about a lawsuit on this one.”