Coronavirus hot spots see rare good news as the nation debates over reopening

“The good news is we’re finally ahead of this virus,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a coronavirus briefing Friday. “We haven’t killed the beast, but we are ahead of it.”

The state has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Of the more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases and over 77,000 deaths in the US, New York state has reported more than 330,000 cases and 26,243 deaths. But, Cuomo said Friday, both the death and hospitalization rates for the state are going down.

Numbers appear better in other parts of the US, too. Hawaii on Friday reported no confirmed cases of coronavirus for the first time since March 13. Meanwhile, Friday was the second day in a row that hard-hit New Orleans in Louisiana reported no new coronavirus deaths.

Those bright spots come as swaths of the country continue to disagree on how to move forward with battling the deadly virus.

By Sunday, at least 47 states will have eased restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus. These states are allowing some combination of businesses, services or parks to reopen or restart, often with caveats for spacing and sanitation.
Still, more than two-thirds of Americans worry that their states are reopening too quickly, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center. Yet protesters have taken to the streets in some states, demanding that businesses get people back to work quicker.
Some health experts have warned that states are not ready to relax restrictions, saying they’ve not met all federal guidelines, such as having aggressive testing.
These experts say reopening now could lead to alarming spikes in the number of infections and that because it takes time for symptoms to show, it could be weeks before the US sees the spikes.
With nearly 400 cases of Covid-19 having been diagnosed among the inmates and employees at the Cook County jail, the jail is nation's largest-known source of coronavirus infections.

Infections from the White House to prisons

As states continue to navigate the reopening process, the White House is coping with at least two cases of the virus among its staff members.

Trump sought a reopening but found the virus in the White House instead
One of President Donald Trump’s personal valets, a member of the US Navy, tested positive for the coronavirus, CNN learned Thursday. Valets assist the President and first family and are responsible for the President’s food and beverages.

The President and Vice President have since tested negative, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive Friday for the virus, Trump confirmed. Miller has not come into contact with Trump, but she had been in contact with Pence, the President said.
Elsewhere, federal and state prisons have had thousands of inmates test positive for the virus. The facilities that often are limited in the abilities to socially distance have been the site of some state’s biggest outbreaks.

In Arkansas, more than 1,000 inmates have tested positive — with 876 from a single correctional facility, according to Dr. Nate Smith, the Director of the Arkansas Department of Health. For Ohio, 20% of the state’s infections are attributed to people behind bars.

Throughout the pandemic’s hold on the US, nursing homes also have been especially vulnerable. The large populations in close quarters as well as the virus’s severity on older adults has led to large numbers of infections.

Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing at the Brightpoint Health and UJA-Federation of New York free pop-up coronavirus testing site.

Call for parents’ vigilance after death of 5-year-old

Parents are now also on alert after the death of a child in New York City raised questions about whether data from Chinese health officials showing that the virus was less common and less severe in children is true.

A 5-year-old boy died Thursday from coronavirus-related complications, Cuomo said in a news conference on Friday.

Cuomo warns of 'entirely different chapter' as 5-year-old NYC boy dies from COVID-related complications

“This would be really painful news and would open up an entirely different chapter, because I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to who took peace and solace in the fact that children were not getting infected,” Cuomo said. “We thought children could be vehicles of transmission … but we didn’t think children would suffer from it.”

The governor did not name the child but said the state’s health department is investigating other cases with similar circumstances.

The death comes the same week state officials sent an advisory to health care providers saying that dozens of children in New York have been hospitalized with a condition doctors described as “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.”

Most of them tested positive for coronavirus or had positive antibody tests.

“We were led to believe that the good news about this virus was that it doesn’t affect children … now we have a new issue that we’re looking at,” Cuomo said.

"Support Local Business" signs are posted along Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii, on Friday.

Tempers flare over masks and business restrictions

Tempers have flared in some parts of the country over business closures and over some local or state governments’ guidelines about wearing masks in public places.
Woman body-slammed by off-duty cop in Alabama Walmart grew disorderly after associate asked she wear a mask, police say
In Alabama, police say a woman became disorderly Tuesday at a Walmart in Birmingham after a worker asked her to put on a mask before entering the store. Video shows an off-duty officer lifting the woman up and dropping her to the ground while trying to detain her; police say she’s been charged with disorderly conduct and other counts.
In Michigan, a Family Dollar security guard was shot dead last week after he told a woman to wear a face mask, officials said. Police also arrested a man who allegedly wiped his nose on the sleeve of a Dollar Tree employee who asked him to wear a mask.
Protesters flocked the Michigan Capitol in recent days, demanding an end to the state of emergency in place through May 28. But Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also relaxed restrictions so some businesses can reopen and the public can participate in outdoor activities like golf and motorized boating.
Video shows a man screaming 'fake pandemic' at a Florida officer over wearing a mask in a grocery store
In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, a bus driver says that after she asked a coughing passenger to wear a mask, that person spat on her and fled. In Miami Beach, a man shouted “this is a false flag, a fake pandemic” in a grocery store during a profanity-laced tirade this week as a code compliance officer told him he needed a mask to enter.

The city of Stillwater, Oklahoma, revoked an order requiring residents to wear face coverings inside buildings after workers received threats.

Unmasked protesters in Michigan try to enter the state's House of Representatives chamber but are blocked by masked Michigan State Police.

Employment sees worst numbers since the Great Depression

The coronavirus pandemic has put Americans out of work at historic levels.

The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Many economies began to shut down to curb the spread of the virus in March, which saw 870,000 jobs cut.

Record 20.5 million American jobs lost in April. Unemployment rate soars to 14.7%

The layoffs were more than double the jobs lost during the 2008 financial crisis. In just two months, the pandemic wiped out the progress of years of recovery for the nation.

Unemployment soared as a result, reaching 14.7% in April. That is the highest level since the BLS began recording the monthly rate in 1948.

Americans last saw such severe unemployment during the Great Depression. At its peak in 1933, the unemployment rate was at 24.9%, according to historical annual estimates from BLS.

CNN’s Faith Karimi, Jason Hanna, Andy Rose, Elizabeth Joseph, Kay Jones and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *