May 28 coronavirus news

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4:15 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Russia's medical workers risk their lives with little applause

From CNN's Zahra Ullah, Darya Tarasova and Matthew Chance in Moscow

Medical workers at Vinogradov City Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia, on May 17.
Medical workers at Vinogradov City Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia, on May 17. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Frontline medical workers in the US, UK and elsewhere may face major risks in their efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic, but they've also seen an outpouring of public appreciation. In Russia, health workers say they face fear, mistrust -- even open hostility.

Tatyana Revva, an intensive care specialist in the city of Kalach-on-Don in southern Russia, shared a video in late March about equipment shortages with the Doctors Alliance, an advocacy group aligned with Russia's political opposition. After the video went viral, she said, she was summoned by local police.

"I was called to the police and gave a statement with a lawyer, but another statement against me was sent to the prosecutor's office," Revva told CNN via Skype after finishing a night shift.

Revva said law enforcement investigators subsequently checked the availability of PPE and ventilators at her hospital.

"But the check was carried out a month after I flagged the problems," she said. "You can imagine how much had been purchased in a month after the buzz the video made."

Revva says she has not been fined by police, but now fears professional retaliation.

Police have not responded to CNN's request for comment. The hospital administration could not immediately be reached for comment, but the hospital's chief doctor, Oleg Kumeiko, said in a March 29 statement on YouTube that the information posted online about PPE shortages was "absolutely untrue."

Rumors and conspiracy theories abound in Russia about Covid-19: that the virus was invented by doctors to control society; that medical workers are hiding the true extent of the casualties from the public; or that medical personnel are falsely attributing deaths to Covid-19 to receive more money from the government.

Read more:

3:45 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Budget airline easyJet to lay off 30% of workforce

From CNN's Simon Cullen


UK-based budget airline easyJet has announced plans to reduce the size of its workforce by up to 30% as it tries to cut costs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released Thursday, the airline said it doesn’t expect market demand to return to pre-coronavirus levels until 2023.

 “Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases,” easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a statement.
“As a result, we anticipate reducing staff numbers by up to 30% across the business and we will continue to remove cost and non-critical expenditure at every level. We will be launching an employee consultation over the coming days.”

Easyjet grounded its entire fleet in March but plans to resume some UK and France routes by June 15.

3:44 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

A moment of reflection as US Covid-19 deaths reach 100,000

Analysis by CNN's Stephen Collinson

Omar Rodriguez organizes bodies in the Gerard Neufeld funeral home on April 22 in the Queens borough of New York City.
Omar Rodriguez organizes bodies in the Gerard Neufeld funeral home on April 22 in the Queens borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The first tragedy of America's bleak coronavirus milestone is that 100,000 people didn't have to die. The second is that no one knows how many more will perish before the pandemic fades.

The desperate toll passed into six figures on Wednesday afternoon: 100,000 victims, who were living Americans several months ago, when the viciously infectious virus made landfall. The landmark is a story of lost mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses and even children. Families are shattered, and the dying expire alone. They can't even be mourned owing to social distancing — one of Covid-19's cruelest impositions.

The virus has been disproportionately infecting communities of color. Black Americans represent 13.4% of the American population, according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations accounted for more than half of all Covid-19 cases and almost 60% of deaths as of mid-April, a study by epidemiologists and clinicians found. The virus has also exploited monetary divides, as infections at meat-packing plants show, while many white-collar workers work from home.

The victims also include the living — the more than 30 million Americans whose livelihoods disappeared in the most dramatic collapse in American economic history. A generation born amid the fear of 9/11 just graduated high school during another national trauma. Families near and far haven't gathered for months — and may not for months to come.

But a pandemic — a signature moment alongside civil war, world wars, assassinations and economic crises, in the near 250-year history of the US — is also a political, governmental story. Politicians, few so vociferously as President Donald Trump, want the credit when things go well. So must they carry the can when they fail.

Covid-19's assault is a once-in-a-century event, and no set of detailed plans, war games and batch of epidemiological theories could have prepared the nation for every unknown challenge.

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3:02 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

NBA working on plan for family members to stay with players in "bubble" when season resumes: reports

From CNN's David Close and Leah Asmelash

As the NBA continues to explore options for the season's return, including playing in a closed environment, news reports say family members may be allowed in.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association are making progress on a plan that would allow players' family members to stay within the so-called "bubble." The bubble is the proposed enclosed environment in which the participants live, practice and play all games.

The report comes days after it was confirmed that the players association and the league were in talks with Disney to hold the rest of the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, as a single campus for all activities.

The discussions are mainly happening among teams that are expecting to go deep into the playoffs, meaning that they would have a longer stay on the campus, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing unnamed sources.

Like the players, family members would be subjected to certain coronavirus testing protocols.

When asked about the report, the NBA did not comment.

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2:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

What Bolsonaro said as Brazil's coronavirus cases climbed

Analysis by CNN's Flora Charner, Shasta Darlington, Caitlin Hu and Taylor Barnes

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

That Brazil saw warning signs would be a dramatic understatement.

As Covid-19 raced across Europe, knocked the UK Prime Minister flat, and throttled New York City earlier this year, Brazil had plenty of notice that a catastrophe was on its way.

But was some of the danger drowned out by the megaphone of its bombastic President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly dismissed the virus as a "little flu"?

Brazil has now claimed the grim title of most Covid-19 cases globally after the US. More than 25,000 people in Brazil have died, and some experts say the toll could quintuple by August. Hospitals and graveyards alike are being stretched to their limits.

Around the world, citizens are asking their governments how local outbreaks spiraled out of control. But in Brazil, where the acting health minister is a military general with no health background, and the President personally attends anti-lockdown rallies, it's not clear who in the federal government might even deign to answer the question.

"What do you want me to do?" Bolsonaro asked reporters last month. "I'm not a miracle worker."

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1:51 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Blood clots fill lungs of black coronavirus victims, study finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Careful autopsies of 10 African-American coronavirus victims show their lungs were clogged with blood clots, researchers reported Wednesday.

All 10 patients had underlying conditions that have been shown to worsen infection, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. But genetic factors could also be at play, the team at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine said.

The findings, published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, may help explain why blacks are suffering so much more from Covid-19 in the US, the researchers said.

"We found that the small vessels and capillaries in the lungs were obstructed by blood clots and associated hemorrhage that significantly contributed to decompensation and death in these patients," Dr. Richard Vander Heide, head of pathology at the medical school, said in a statement.

Read more:

1:05 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Another 41 coronavirus cases identified in Japan

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

An employee conducts a temperature check on a customer at the entrance of the Shibuya Hikarie building in Tokyo on May 26.
An employee conducts a temperature check on a customer at the entrance of the Shibuya Hikarie building in Tokyo on May 26. Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s Health Ministry said 41 new coronavirus cases and nine Covid-19 related deaths were reported in the country on Wednesday.

Tokyo reported 11 new infections and four deaths on Wednesday.

Concerning signs in the south: The mayor of the southern Japanese city of Kitakyushu, Kenji Kitahashi, warned a second wave could be coming, as public health authorities there are seeing a small rise in new cases. After more than three weeks of zero cases, 22 new patients have been identified in the last five days -- including eight on Wednesday.

"We will certainly be attacked by a huge second wave if it goes like this," Kitahashi said.

Japan's coronavirus breakdown:

  • 17,395 cases since the outbreak began -- 16,683 on land and 712 tied to the Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • 889 killed countrywide -- 876 on land and 13 in connection with the Diamond Princess
  • 5,180 infections in Tokyo, as well as 296 deaths
12:28 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

It's nearing 1:30 p.m. in Seoul and 1:30 a.m. in Rio de Janeiro. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Members of the military perform a cleaning work in Health Clinic Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, in Ze Garoto neighborhood during the coronavirus pandemic on May 13, in Sao Goncalo, Brazil.
Members of the military perform a cleaning work in Health Clinic Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, in Ze Garoto neighborhood during the coronavirus pandemic on May 13, in Sao Goncalo, Brazil. Luis Alvarenga/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 5.6 million people globally. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • Bleak milestones: More than 350,000 people have died from the disease worldwide and 100,000 in the United States alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US remains the country with the highest number of cases and deaths.
  • A new cluster emerges in South Korea: Dozens of people have contracted the virus at a logistics center near Seoul. Authorities in the country reported 79 new cases yesterday, the most in a single day since April 5.
  • Cases in Brazil continue to rise: Brazil identified more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in a day, taking the national toll to 25,598. The country has reported a total of 411,821 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Spain begins 10 days of mourning: The country held a moment of silence on Wednesday to honor those who died of the coronavirus. The silent tribute marked the start of a period of national mourning.
  • Mothers in the UK hit hard by layoffs: Moms are more likely than dads to have quit or lost their job in the UK, or been furloughed, since the start of the country's lockdown, according to a new report.
  • UK leader's popularity falls: Boris Johnson's poll numbers have dropped sharply following a scandal over his chief aide's travel during lockdown. Johnson has refused to sack his adviser.
11:56 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Six feet of distance may not be enough to prevent coronavirus transmission, experts say

From CNN’s Arman Azad

People wearing protective masks walk their bicycles past a social distancing sign at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park during the coronavirus pandemic on May 17 in New York City.
People wearing protective masks walk their bicycles past a social distancing sign at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park during the coronavirus pandemic on May 17 in New York City. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Public health officials have called on people to stay six feet apart to slow the spread of coronavirus through so-called respiratory droplets. But three experts are warning that six feet may not be enough – and they say the world needs to take airborne transmission of the virus seriously.

In a commentary published in the journal Science, the experts called for “regular, widespread testing” to find asymptomatic cases, and they pointed to places where mask wearing is universal and the virus has been controlled, like Hong Kong and Taiwan. World Health Organization guidance might not be enough in all situations, they said.

“Evidence suggests that (the novel coronavirus) is silently spreading in aerosols exhaled by highly contagious infected individuals with no symptoms,” wrote Chia Wang of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan and Kimberly Prather and Dr. Robert Schooley of the University of California, San Diego.

“Increasing evidence for (the coronavirus) suggests the six foot WHO recommendation is likely not enough under many indoor conditions where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate over time, and follow air flows over distances further than six feet,” they wrote.

The three experts, who are specialists in chemistry and infectious diseases, said aerosols from breathing and speaking “can accumulate, remain infectious in indoor air for hours, and be easily inhaled deep into the lungs.” That makes wearing masks all the more essential, they said, even when people are keeping their distance. 

More on this: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has focused on so-called respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets don’t linger in the air for long, but the CDC says they “can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.” 

Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another, or “within about 6 feet,” the CDC says. That’s because respiratory droplets are relatively large and fall to the ground – unlike aerosols, which are smaller and more likely to stay in the air longer.

Despite the focus on droplets from US health officials and others, the experts said “a large proportion of the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) appears to be occurring through airborne transmission of aerosols produced by asymptomatic individuals during breathing and speaking.” 

While more research is needed, they called for robust testing schemes and said people need to mask up. “For society to resume, measures designed to reduce aerosol transmission must be implemented, including universal masking and regular, widespread testing to identify and isolate infected asymptomatic individuals,” they said.