May 25 coronavirus news

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2:30 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February 

From CNN's Hada Messia, Nicola Ruotolo and Mia Albert

Doctors and nurses treat a patient in the Covid-19 department at the Bari Polyclinic in Bari, Italy, on May 05.
Doctors and nurses treat a patient in the Covid-19 department at the Bari Polyclinic in Bari, Italy, on May 05. Donato Fasano/Getty Images

Italy has recorded 300 new confirmed cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the national Civil Protection Agency confirmed Monday –– the lowest daily increase in new infections since February 29. 

According to the latest data, the number of active cases has also dropped by 2.29% to at least 55,300 on Monday.  

The total number of patients in intensive care is now at 541 –– a decrease of 12 patents over the last 24 hours. 

Italy is also reporting 92 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 32,877, the agency said.

There has been at least 230,158 coronavirus cases in the country so far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

1:41 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing is recovering at home from coronavirus

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

Patrick Ewing Jr. revealed today that his father Patrick Ewing has returned home after a brief stay in a local hospital due to a positive coronavirus test. 

Ewing Jr. tweeted: 

"I want to thank all of the doctors and hospital staff for taking care of my father during his stay, as well as everyone who has reached out with thoughts and prayers to us and since his diagnosis. My father is now home and getting better. We'll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones." 

The Hall of Famer and current head coach of the Georgetown University men's basketball team announced on Friday via Twitter that he had tested positive for Covid-19, and encouraged everyone to remain safe during this time.

Read Ewing Jr's full tweet:

  

1:38 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

UK reports 121 additional coronavirus deaths since Sunday

From CNN's Nada Bashir

An additional 121 coronavirus patients in the United Kingdom have died as of 4 a.m. ET Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed, bringing the total number of fatalities in all settings to 36,914. 

According to the latest data from the government, a total of 261,184 people in the UK have so far tested positive for the virus, with an additional 1,625 confirmed cases registered over the last 24 hours. 

While the total number of people tested for coronavirus so far was not immediately available in Monday’s data due to technical difficulties, the government has confirmed that 3,532,634 tests have been carried out, with the daily increase totaling at 73,726 on Monday. 

Important note: Due to a lag in the data provided by health care institutions over the weekend, the government has cautioned that the latest data is “likely to represent an undercount” in confirmed figures. 

1:26 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

New Jersey reports 965 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Sheena Jones

At least 965 new Covid-19 cases and 16 additional deaths were reported in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted today. 

The state has approximately 155,092 coronavirus cases and 11,144 deaths, he said.

At least 2,755 patients are in the hospital and 719 people are in critical or intensive care, Murphy tweeted.

Read Murphy's tweet:

1:20 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

WHO officials warn countries not to become complacent with Covid-19

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The World Health Organization said the downward trend of coronavirus cases didn’t occur naturally, and is warning countries not to become complacent.

“Many countries have paid a heavy price in doing the measures that have needed to be done to suppress the transmission of this disease, and they deserve credit,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a Monday briefing.

“My concern right now is that people may be assuming that the current drop of infections represents a natural seasonality, and I think that's a dangerous assumption,” he said.

Ryan said it’s “worrisome” when people assume the downward trend occurred naturally. In reality, Ryan said, “that has occurred because of very, very, very tough public health measures that have been tough on the population.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “there's a certain predictability of this virus,” adding, “anytime you become complacent and you think you know, it will surprise you.”

“I understand very well and I am in the same boat as you – we all want this to be over, but we have a long way to go," Van Kerkhove said.

Ryan said removing pressure on the virus at this point and assuming “the real next danger point is sometime in October or November” is a “dangerous assumption.”

Van Kerkhove said it could get worse if we have “co-infection or co-circulation of influenza and Covid-19.”

“That could complicate our understanding because if we don’t have testing in place, we don't know what people are infected with. And so it could potentially flood the system, it could potentially overwhelm the system,” she said.
12:50 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

WHO warns there could be a second peak, not a second wave

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

A TV grab taken from the World Health Organization website shows Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan via video link as he delivers a news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on March 30.
A TV grab taken from the World Health Organization website shows Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan via video link as he delivers a news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on March 30. AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization is warning of a second peak – not necessarily a second wave – of coronavirus cases. 

During a media briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said right now, we are “right in the middle of the first wave, globally."

“We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

“We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's going to keep going down, and the way to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave – we may get a second peak in this way,” Ryan said.

Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, “which will greatly complicate things for disease control.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “all countries need to remain on high alert here. All countries need to be ready to rapidly detect cases, even countries that have had success in suppression. … Even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready.”  

Van Kerkhove said if given the opportunity, the virus will start an outbreak.

“A hallmark of coronaviruses is its ability to amplify in certain settings, its ability to cause transmission – or super spreading events. And we are seeing in a number of situations in these closed settings. When the virus has an opportunity, it can transmit readily," she said.

1:02 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

National Hockey League aims to reopen facilities in early June

From CNN's David Close

A pair of fans walk down an empty walkway at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 12. The game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins was canceled after the NHL's decision to suspend the remaining games in the season due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
A pair of fans walk down an empty walkway at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on March 12. The game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins was canceled after the NHL's decision to suspend the remaining games in the season due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

In an effort to restart the 2019-2020 season, the National Hockey League (NHL) says it is aiming to reopen team facilities in early June.

In a league-wide memorandum sent on Sunday, the NHL outlines a ‘Phase 2’ return to sport protocol that allows small groups of players to utilize home team facilities and ice.

Here are some of the reopening requirements:

  • A maximum of six players will be able to train and skate together at a time.
  • Players must wear face coverings except while on the ice or exercising.
  • Coaches are not allowed to participate in on-ice sessions. 

The league does not give a specific date in June for teams to open. 

The 22-page memorandum also outlines cleaning and disinfecting requirements and includes a checklist form for team staff to utilize.

  

12:49 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Trump honors US military's fight against coronavirus on Memorial Day

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, on Monday, May 25.
President Donald Trump speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, on Monday, May 25. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump attended a second event commemorating Memorial Day on Monday, speaking at a patriotic ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, where he acknowledged the US military’s fight against coronavirus as the US death toll approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 Americans.

“In recent months, our nation and the world have been engaged in a new form of battle against an invisible enemy. Once more, the men and women of the United States military have answered the call to duty and raced into danger. Tens of thousands of servicemembers and national guardsmen are on the frontlines of our war against this terrible virus, caring for patients, delivering critical supplies and working night and day to safeguard our citizens,” Trump said.

“As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans. Together, we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and greater heights," he added.

Some background: The remarks, which also cast a patriotic and historic tone with Francis Scott Key references, came after a morning of tweets threatening to pull the Republican National Convention from North Carolina and railing against media criticism of his weekend golf outings.

Trump and the vice president also made a trip to Arlington National Ceremony, where they observed a moment of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

WATCH:

12:22 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

UK top aide defends lockdown trip: "I don't regret what I did"

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement in London over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restriction, on May 25.
Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement in London over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restriction, on May 25. Jonathan Brady/Pool/AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, has defended his actions after receiving widespread criticism for traveling more than 250 miles from his London home during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, telling reporters on Monday that he traveled to Durham to ensure the welfare of his child.  

“I thought, and I think today, that the rules, including those regarding small children and extreme circumstances, allowed me to exercise my judgment about the situation I found myself in,” Cummings told reporters during the televised briefing.

“I can understand that some people will argue that I should have stayed at my home in London throughout. I understand these views, I know the intense hardship and sacrifice the entire country has had to go through, however I respectfully disagree,” he added. 

Cummings also told reporters that he believes his actions were “reasonable in these circumstances,” detailing the series of events which preceded his decision to leave London. 

“I was worried that if both my wife and I were seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there is nobody in London that we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid,” the prime minister’s adviser said. 

“I don’t regret what I did…I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances,” Cummings told reporters after explaining why he made the decision to travel to Durham during the nationwide lockdown. 

Some context: Following an investigation by the Mirror and Guardian newspapers, Cummings was revealed to have traveled to Durham – more than 250 miles from his home in London – during the lockdown, despite his wife having developed symptoms of coronavirus.

While Johnson has offered his support for Cummings, saying on Sunday that he believes his adviser acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity,” Cummings confirmed on Monday that he did not inform the prime minister of his decision prior to leaving for Durham. 

“I did not ask the prime minister about this decision. He was ill himself, and he had huge problems to deal with…I thought that I would speak to him when the situation clarified over coming days,” Cummings said.

“Arguably this was a mistake and I understand that some will say that I should have spoken to the prime minister before deciding what to do,” he added.