Coronavirus: Tennessee reports 1st death of state inmate in outbreak

More than 3.5 million people worldwide – including nearly 1.2 million people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun shifting their focus to reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

Live updates for Tuesday, May 5, continue below:

Tennessee reports 1st death of state inmate in outbreak

Update 11:35 p.m. EDT May 5: Tennessee officials have reported the first death of a state inmate who tested positive for the coronavirus: a man who was among the nearly 1,300 inmates who tested positive at one prison.

The state Department of Correction said Tuesday that the 67-year-old man was an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, which is run by the Tennessee-based private company CoreCivic. The inmate was taken to the hospital April 25, tested positive there and died Monday, the department said. The inmate had underlying health conditions, said state Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey.

The exact cause of death is awaiting the medical examiner’s determination. The department and CoreCivic both declined to release the inmate’s name.

Officials say six inmates who tested positive in Tennessee’s prison system are hospitalized, including one in serious condition.

At the prison, inmates have been housed together according to whether they have the virus, said CoreCivic spokesman Ryan Gustin.

In recent mass testing, nearly 1,300 inmates — about 50% of all prisoners — and 50 staffers tested positive at the facility, while 583 — or about 25% — of the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex’s 2,322 inmates tested positive. Most had no symptoms.

Court upholds California ban on church services in pandemic

Update 10:35 p.m. EDT May 5: California Gov. Gavin Newsom had the right to ban church assemblies in the interest of public health during the coronavirus outbreak, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Newsom’s stay-at-home order did not violate the constitutional rights to free assembly and religion when the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi was ordered to cease holding services, Judge John Mendez ruled in Sacramento.

Pastor Jonathan Duncan had continued to assemble his congregation after the governor banned public gatherings in March despite warnings it was in violation of state and local orders. The church of fewer than 50 members said it was obeying federal guidelines to prevent spread of the virus.

Lodi police entered the church during a service attended by about 30 worshipers in late March and said they were defying the governor’s order. The church responded with a “cease and desist” letter sent to the city and argued they had a First Amendment right to gather and practice their religion.

“Constitutional rights cannot be suspended by a virus,” the church’s attorney, Dean Broyles, said at the time.

Police posted a notice on the building that it’s nonessential use created a public nuisance. San Joaquin County health officials then warned the church’s landlord, Bethel Open Bible Church, it could face a misdemeanor charge if it allowed assemblies to continue.

Democrats drop bid to block Nevada’s June mail-in primary

Update 9:05 p.m. EDT May 5: Democrats have dropped efforts to block the state’s mail-in primary election June 9 after Clark County agreed to provide more in-person polling places in Las Vegas and election officials agreed to other changes intended to protect the rights of elderly and disadvantaged voters.

Lawyers for Nevada’s Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee and congressional campaign committee were scheduled to go before a state judge in Carson City on Thursday via telephone in search of an injunction expanding the number of polling places and mandating mailing of ballots to all registered voters.

The primary is expected to be conducted almost entirely by mail for the first time in Nevada in an effort to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Early voting begins May 23.

Last week, a federal judge in Reno refused a conservative voting rights group’s request to block the primary based on arguments the secretary of state didn’t have the authority to change the election rules. They also said mail-in ballots are more vulnerable to fraud.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du disagreed. She cited the unusual circumstances brought on by the pandemic and noted that five states in the U.S. West currently conduct elections entirely by mail — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii.

NY judge rules primary must take place June 23

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT May 5: The New York Democratic presidential primary must take place June 23 because canceling it would be unconstitutional, a judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled after hearing arguments a day earlier as lawyers for withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang argued that it was wrong to cancel the primary.

The judge said there was enough time before the primary occurs to figure out how to carry it out safely.

The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted to cancel the primary even though New York was still planning to hold its congressional and state-level primaries June 23. They cited the coronavirus as a reason to cancel the election since Joe Biden is now unopposed.

North Carolina easing stay-at-home restrictions

Update 7:20 p.m. EDT May 5: North Carolina’s stay-at-home restrictions are being eased starting Friday.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order on Tuesday. His administration says COVID-19 cases are generally stable, and testing, tracing and health care supplies have improved enough to warrant increased commerce and movement.

Cooper’s decision to loosen the order after five weeks comes after governors in many other Southern states acted.

Cooper says health officials are driving when decisions are made, with input from employers and businesses on the types of restrictions.

North Carolina has reported more than 12,250 positive cases and over 450 related deaths, according to state health data.

N.D. governor’s orders may have overstepped authority

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT May 5: An analysis by legislative lawyers suggests Gov. Doug Burgum may have overstepped his authority by imposing regulatory restrictions on business allowed to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The memo released Tuesday afternoon by the nonpartisan Legislative Council raises the question of whether health officials and occupational licensing boards should have placed the restrictions, and not the governor.

“The broad question is whether an executive order through reference to various industry specific guidelines can impose regulatory limitations and restrictions upon businesses and provide for criminal penalties for violations of the guidelines,” said John Bjornson, director of the Legislative Council, the Legislature’s research arm.

Burgum on Friday allowed most businesses that had been shuttered for weeks to reopen with precautions that included limiting bars and restaurants to half capacity, requiring barbers and cosmetologists to wear masks and prohibiting some high-intensity fitness classes. Movie theaters also may reopen if they do such things as limit seating and stagger start times.

Failing to follow the restrictions is considered an infraction that carries up to a $1,000 fine.

Burgum’s so-called ND Smart Restart relied on input from state officials and members of private sector that developed a protocols ïntended to have the force of law,” the memo said.

The memo, prompted after Bjornson said several lawmakers had inquired about the executive authority, criticizes the protocol for using “legally imprecise language and, therefore, may be vulnerable to a void-for-vagueness challenge.”

Legislative lawyers stopped short of issuing a declarative statement on whether the protocol was proper, and instead said, “These are questions of law that would be most appropriately answered by a court or through legislation.”

Oregon eases some virus-related restrictions

Update 5:50 p.m. EDT May 5: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced a limited opening of some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and other areas for day use in a partial easing of restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus.

Officials say day-use will slowly return to other state parks starting next week. The popular Columbia River Gorge parks and recreation areas and coastal areas will remain closed for now. Brown says Oregonians should recreate responsibly.

Pence confirms coronavirus task force may end work

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT May 5: Vice President Mike Pence confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that the White House is looking to wind down the special Coronavirus task force which has met in recent weeks about the virus outbreak, as the death toll went over 70,000 Americans.

The story was first reported by the New York Times.

“I think we’re having a conversation about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work,” Pence told reporters in a discussion in his office on Tuesday.

Pence indicated the 'ongoing efforts' against the virus outbreak would continue, but at individual agencies, rather than a task force anchored at the White House.

“But it’s - it really is all a reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country,” Pence said. confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that the White House is looking to wind down the special Coronavirus task force which has met in recent weeks about the virus outbreak, as the death toll went over 70,000 Americans.

The story was first reported by the New York Times.

“I think we’re having a conversation about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work,” Pence told reporters in a discussion in his office on Tuesday.

Pence indicated the 'ongoing efforts' against the virus outbreak would continue, but at individual agencies, rather than a task force anchored at the White House.

“But it’s - it really is all a reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country,” Pence said.

>> Read more here.

Pennsylvania tops 3,000 virus deaths as data are reconciled

Update 4:40 p.m. EDT May 5: Pennsylvania reported another 554 deaths from the coronavirus to pass 3,000 total, while Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday that he is not committing to a particular schedule to lift stay-at-home pandemic restrictions in the state’s counties or regions.

The large number of new deaths reported Tuesday by the state Department of Health were spread out over the previous two weeks, the agency said, as it reconciles its figures with deaths being reported by local agencies or hospitals.

Still, it was as stark a figure as the state has reported since the first case of the new coronavirus was detected in Pennsylvania in early March. It comes as the growth in cases appears to slow down in many parts of Pennsylvania and Wolf’s administration moves to lighten its restrictions on movement and business activity.

With the economic fallout of the pandemic shutdown growing, Wolf maintained Tuesday that he would stick to a reopening process that relies on what he sees as indicators tied to safety.

More workers test positive for COVID-19 at meat factories and food processing plants

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT May 5: The number of workers employed at a Tyson Foods processing plant in Portland, Maine, confirmed to have the coronavirus has increased by 20, bringing the number to 37.

The processing plant, which offered its 300-plus employees COVID-19 tests, has been closed since Friday and will remain closed for a few more days, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Tuesday another 1,400 workers at Tyson Foods processing plants tested positive for the virus across the state.

State health officials said 730 workers were confirmed to have the virus at a meat factory in Perry, Iowa, while a plant in Waterloo has had 444 workers test positive and a plant in Columbus Junction has had 221 confirmed cases.

UK officials report 4,406 new cases of COVID-19

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 5: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 4,406 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, raising the country’s number of COVID-19 cases to 194,990. The previous day, 3,985 new coronavirus cases were reported.

Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced that a total of 29,427 have died in the U.K. due to the novel coronavirus. The number is 693 higher than the fatal cases reported nationwide Monday.

Whistleblower says Trump ignored COVID-19 warnings

Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 5: A government scientist says he was ousted from his position after raising concerns that the Trump administration wanted to “flood” coronavirus hot spots like New York and New Jersey with a malaria drug that President Donald Trump was pushing despite scant scientific evidence it helped.

Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed the complaint Tuesday with the Office of Special Counsel, a government agency responsible for whistleblower complaints. He alleges he was reassigned to a lesser role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug favored by Trump.

Bright also said the Trump administration rejected his warnings on COVID-19. He said he “acted with urgency” to address the growing spread of COVID-19 after the World Health Organization issued a warning in January, but he “encountered resistance from HHS leadership, including Health and Human Services Secretary (Alex) Azar, who appeared intent on downplaying this catastrophic event.”

Bright alleges HHS officials “demanded” that New York and New Jersey be “flooded” with hydroxychloroquine, which he said were “imported from factories in Pakistan and India that had not been inspected by the FDA.”

New Jersey reports 2,494 new coronavirus cases

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT May 5: The total number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey is now 130,593 after Gov. Phil Murphy reported 2,494 new cases of the virus Tuesday. State officials reported 334 new deaths, raising the death toll in the state to 8,244.

The state reported 1,621 new positive coronavirus cases the previous day, but the governor warned the number could have been inaccurate as a result of a network outage that may have prevented all cases from being processed.

While the number of positive cases in New Jersey continues to rise, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has decreased about 36% since that number peaked in the state three weeks ago. As of Monday night, the number of hospitalized patients decreased from about 8,300 to about 5,300.

New Jersey has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. behind New York. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York has reported 312, 618 coronavirus cases, and New Jersey has reported 126,744 cases. By comparison, two of the country’s largest states, California and Texas, have reported 53,616 and 31,548 cases respectively.

More than half of the deaths in New Jersey have occurred in long-term care facilities, like nursing homes.

Mexico receives equipment aid from the U.S.

Update 1:35 p.m. EDT May 5: Mexico has received a shipment of 211 medical ventilators from the United States as part of aid that U.S. President Donald Trump promised his Mexican counterpart.

“We want to very fully thank the government of the United States, especially President Trump,” said Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard. “As the saying goes, when there are hard times is when you know who your friends are.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said last month that Trump had promised aid when he called and asked for help in obtaining 1,000 ventilators and other equipment for intensive care units.

Ebrard said the shipment includes equipment made by Swiss-based Hamilton Medical at prices ranging from $16,000 to $24,000.

He said they would be sent to government hospitals.

As of midday Tuesday, Mexico had reported 24,905 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,271 deaths, though officials acknowledge that actual infections are a multiple of the tested figure.

UK surpasses Italy in coronavirus deaths as Italy stabilizes

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 5: The United Kingdom has passed Italy in the number of deaths due to COVID-19, which makes the U.K. the European country with the highest number of coronavirus related deaths.

The U.K. government said 29,427 people with COVID-19 have died in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, an increase of 693 on the figure announced a day earlier. In Italy, 29,315 people have died of the virus.

The United States has the highest number of deaths worldwide -- nearly 70,000 people.

Italy is seeing signs of stabilization. The number of patients in intensive care units decreased by 52 from the previous day. The number of positive cases of coronavirus dropped by 1,513 from the previous day. The number of recoveries increased by 2,352.

This week, Italy allowed 4.4 million people to go back to work and eased restrictions on personal movement for the first time in two months.

New York to shut down MTA to sanitize subway cars

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT May 5: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the Metropolitan Transport Authority of the city will shut down operations tonight for the first time in history to disinfect subway cars.

“Who ever heard of disinfecting a subway car? Well, now you learn," Cuomo said during a news briefing. "You have to disinfect subway cars. Figure out how to do it so you can say to people who use the subways, ‘Don’t worry, it’s safe.’ That’s a starting point for public transportation.”

The New York City subway system has operated continuously, 24 hours a day since October 1904 with few interruptions. The transportation system has continued operating in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, carrying essential workers and commuters around the city.

The shutdown and cleaning are planned to take place from 1 to 5 a.m.

The closure is to be a recurring action that will take place every 24 hours at the same time to allow for sanitizing. Subway cars were previously cleaned at least once every 72 hours.

“I would wager in the history of public transportation in this nation you’ve never had a challenge of disinfecting every train every 24 hours,” Cuomo said at a news conference last week. “Wherever a hand could touch or coughing, sneezing. Wherever droplets could land. So you have to disinfect the entire interior of that car. And then you have to disinfect the stations, the handrails, everything that people could be touching. It is a massive undertaking that we’ve never done before.”

Homeless people taking shelter in train stations and on underground platforms will also be removed.

New York reports 230 new fatal coronavirus cases

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 5: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of new coronavirus-related deaths rose slightly Tuesday with 230 new fatal cases of COVID-19 reported.

The number was slightly higher than the 226 new fatal cases reported Monday. Cuomo said the rise was not unexpected because the cases were reported Sunday, when reporting from hospitals to state officials isn’t always as robust.

“It is painful, painful news for all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said Tuesday at a news conference. Still, he added, the number of hospitalizations, intubations and new infections reported in the state have continued to fall.

“There’s no doubt that we’re coming down the mountain,” he said. “(The) only question is what trail we take, what path we take, coming down the mountain.”

He stressed that social distancing measures need to continue in order to protect life and keep the novel coronavirus from spreading further.

“None of this is preordained,” Cuomo said. “None of this is decided.”

Trump says he wouldn’t allow Fauci to testify in House because it was a ‘setup’

Update 12 p.m. EDT May 5: President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he wouldn’t allow the nation’s top infectious disease expert to testify before a House panel because he said it was a “setup.”

The White House previously blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying in the House while allowing him to appear the following week at a Senate hearing.

“The House is a setup,” the president said while en route to Arizona, where he’s scheduled to tour an N95 mask production facility later Tuesday. “The House is a bunch of Trump-haters. They’ve put every Trump-hater on the committee.”

The president also accused Democrats of playing politics and hoping for the administration to fail as reopening efforts touted by Trump begin in several states nationwide.

“They do everything they can to make things as bad as possible,” Trump said.

In a memo to congressional committees, the White House said Tuesday that no member of the administration’s coronavirus task force may agree to testify on Capitol Hill unless the appearance is expressly approved by the president’s chief of staff.

The Senate is held by Trump’s Republican allies while the House is controlled by Democrats.

Barack and Michelle Obama to speak at virtual events for 2020 high school graduates

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 5: Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama announced plans Tuesday to participate in a trio of online events honoring the high school class of 2020.

The events were announced to celebrate students as the novel coronavirus forced school closures nationwide.

“I’ve always loved joining commencements -- the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice,” Barack Obama said Tuesday in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Even if we can’t get together in person this year, Michelle and I are excited to celebrate the nationwide Class of 2020 and recognize this milestone with you and your loved ones.”

Celebrities including Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Jon Stewart have used the internet to share well-wishes for high school seniors unable to attend in-person commencement ceremonies. Television networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC have also announced plans to hold a prime-time special, dubbed #GraduateTogether2020, to honor this year’s graduating class.

Tyson to resume production at Washington beef facility

Update 11:25 a.m. EDT May 5: Officials with Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of poultry giant Tyson Foods, announced plans Tuesday to resume limited production at one of its facilities in Washington weeks after dozens of workers tested positive for coronavirus infections.

The Tyson Foods facility in Pasco, Washington was closed April 23 to allow for testing of all its employees after nearly 100 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The plant was producing enough beef to feed 4 million people daily, according to Tyson Fresh Meats.

“While the plant was idle, we performed a deep clean and sanitization of the facility and took proactive steps to complement our existing prevention efforts," Shane Miller, Tyson Foods’ senior vice president for beef enterprise, said Tuesday in a statement. "Information is the best tool to fight COVID-19 and we’re focused on further educating our team members about CDC guidance to prevent spreading the virus.”

Company officials said several measures have been implemented to keep employees safe. Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to return only after they’ve met criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the company. Employees who have not been tested will not be able to work and new hires will all be tested for coronavirus infections, officials said.

In recent weeks, several meat manufacturers have been forced to close plants after workers tested positive for coronavirus infections. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 4,913 cases of COVID-19 at 115 meat plants in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal. Twenty people have died, the newspaper reported.

In a full-page ad published in three newspapers last month, including The New York Times, Tyson Foods board chairman John Tyson warned that the closures prompted by coronavirus show “the food supply chain is breaking.”

“As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” he said.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month requiring meat processing plants to stay open under the Defense Production Act.

152 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 11 a.m. EDT May 5: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Tuesday that 152 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 5,322.

Bowser also said six more people between the ages of 56 and 99 died of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, 264 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Most Americans don’t want businesses to reopen, poll finds

Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 5: A majority of Americans don’t believe businesses that were shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic should be allowed to reopen yet, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released Tuesday.

The poll, which surveyed 1,005 Americans by telephone, found that 82% of people believe movie theaters should remain closed while 78% said the same about gyms and 74% said the same about nail salons and dine-in restaurants. People polled also said gun stores, barber shops, hair salons, retail stores and golf courses should remain closed.

A majority of people -- 63% of respondents -- said they feared contracting and becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

Several states have begun phased returns to normal public life, though experts have warned that too many coronavirus infections are still being reported for such a move.

Some Wendy’s restaurants run out of beef

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 5: Meat production facility closures have some customers of the fast-food chain Wendy’s asking, “Where’s the beef?”

Some Wendy’s restaurants in California, South Carolina and Kentucky had to pull burgers from their menus on Monday because of a lack of beef, according to NBC’s the “Today” show and Bloomberg.

“We are working closely with our supplier partners and restaurant teams to minimize the impact to our customers and continue to monitor this closely,” officials with Wendy’s said Friday, according to trade magazine Restaurant Business.

In recent weeks, several meat manufacturers have been forced to close plants after workers tested positive for coronavirus infections.

Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, suspended production at a facility in Pasco, Washington last month after nearly 100 workers tested positive for COVID-19. In Wisconsin, JBS USA, a beef production plant, was forced to close its fourth location after nearly 200 employees tested positive for coronavirus infections. In a full-page ad published in three newspapers last month, including The New York Times, Tyson Foods board chairman John Tyson warned that “the food supply chain is breaking.”

To address the predicted meat shortage, President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month requiring meat processing plants to stay open under the Defense Production Act.

US stocks open higher, oil price rebounds as lockdowns ease

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 5: Stocks opened higher Tuesday on Wall Street and crude oil prices rose as more places ease restrictions on business and public life, raising hopes for a recovery from a historic economic plunge.

The S&P 500 rose 1% in early trading. Technology stocks rose more than the rest of the market.

Traders were relieved to see another rise in the price of crude oil. The price had crashed in recent weeks as demand for energy collapsed because of shutdowns and travel restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump to visit Honeywell facility manufacturing N95 masks in Arizona

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT May 5: President Donald Trump is scheduled Tuesday to tour an aircraft technology manufacturing facility which expanded production in March to include N95 masks needed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump is scheduled to tour Honeywell International Inc.'s Phoenix Engines campus in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon. Company officials said the facility “has been dedicated to the design and manufacture of propulsion engines and power units for a variety of commercial and military aircraft" since 1950.

In March, Honeywell announced it was manufacturing N95 masks at facilities in Rhode Island and Arizona with the capacity to produce more than 20 million N95 masks each month.

Honeywell workers who meet Trump on Tuesday — just like anyone else who comes in close proximity to the president and Vice President Mike Pence — will be first required to take a rapid point-of-care test to determine if they’re carrying the novel coronavirus.

France’s first known COVID-19 case was in December, study shows

Update 9:20 a.m. EDT May 5: French scientists say they may have identified a possible case of the new coronavirus dating back to December — about a month before the first cases were officially confirmed in Europe.

In a study published in the International Journal of Microbial Agents, doctors at a hospital north of Paris reviewed retrospective samples of 14 patients treated for atypical pneumonia between early December and mid-January. Among those were the records of Amirouche Hammar, a fishmonger in his 40s from Algeria who has lived in France for years and had no recent travel history.

Hammar was admitted to the hospital with symptoms doctors say were consistent with COVID-19 patients in China and Italy. One of his children had also gotten sick with an unusual pneumonia shortly before Hammar fell ill. When doctors retested Hammar’s old sample, they found it was positive for the coronavirus.

“Identifying the first infected patient is of great epidemiological interest as it changes dramatically our knowledge” regarding the spread of the coronavirus, wrote Dr. Yves Cohen, one of the French researchers.

Face masks should be worn on all flights, global airlines trade association says

Update 9:15 a.m. EDT May 5: Officials with a trade organization representing 290 airlines worldwide are recommending that all people wear face masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus when flights resume, according to Reuters.

David Powell, medical advisor to the International Air Transport Association, told reporters Tuesday that the group is recommending masks or face coverings be worn onboard planes.

Health officials and agencies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have recommended people cover their faces in public to protect others against the novel coronavirus. Officials say masks can help prevent asymptomatic people with COVID-19 from inadvertently spreading the virus.

Some medical experts, however, dispute the efficacy of masks and other face coverings. A recent report from the Royal Society’s Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics project found face masks effective at slowing the spread of the virus but divided the medical community, according to The Guardian. Doctors told the newspaper Monday that more evidence is still needed to determine whether masks are effective.

54 residents at Massachusetts nursing home die from coronavirus; more than half infected

Update 7:47 a.m. EDT May 5: A coronavirus outbreak at Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, Massachusetts, has left 54 residents dead and more than half of the residents infected in just four weeks, Boston’s WFXT is reporting.

The 224-bed facility is owned by Genesis Healthcare.

According to a statement issued by Genesis Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Feifer, 117 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and an additional 54 residents have died from the disease. In total, 42 staff members have also tested positive for coronavirus.

Feifer said the average age of the residents who died was over 85 years old.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19 during this difficult time,” said Feifer.

The facility serves a mix of both short-stay rehabilitation and long-term care patients, many of whom suffer from dementia.

“We care for largely frail, elderly seniors with multiple health conditions who are already more susceptible to the common cold, not to mention a deadly and highly contagious virus like this one,” said Feifer.

He said the facility has been following all precautions and protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, including restricting visitors, screening patients for symptoms multiple times a day, and equipping staff members will all necessary personal protective equipment.

“I can assure you that we are working around the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible,” said Feifer. “We are doing everything in our power – and everything medical experts know as of at this time – to protect our patients, residents and employees.”

Feifer said the National Guard has tested all of the residents at the Medford home and is working to test all staff members. He said the majority of the residents who tested positive were not displaying any symptoms.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2,428 of the state’s 4,090 COVID-19 deaths came from long-term care facilities.

How soon could Florida theme parks reopen? Officials provide no clear timeline

Update 5 a.m. EDT May 5: It could be a while before our society gets back to having fun and enjoying what Florida’s popular theme parks have to offer.

According to Orlando’s WFTV, members of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force asked theme park leaders on Monday for their timelines during a work-group meeting, saying many other central Florida businesses depend on tourism that comes to the area for the parks.

“At this point, we’re taking bookings that were in June. That doesn’t mean that we are opening in June,” said Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president of resorts at Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando is the only theme park to have a set date of when it will remain closed: through at least May 31. But Rich Costales, executive vice president of resort operations, said that doesn’t mean the parks will definitely reopen on June 1.

“We haven’t made a decision as to when exactly we would open back up our theme parks and really can’t do that until we hear what government and health officials recommend," Costales said.

When asked about the rumored reopening date of Jan. 1, 2021, Mazloum said: "I, as you can imagine, don’t want to comment on any speculations. I’m afraid I simply don’t have a lot of information to share as of this point.”

Costales said Universal is “kind of in limbo right now, and we are certainly hoping to see the statistics we see on a daily basis get better and better.”

Brad Gilmour, director of park operations at SeaWorld, said his park is “in the same situation as Disney and Universal.”

Delta says airline will push on despite billionaire selling off stake in company

Update 4 a.m. EDT May 5: It wasn’t the news Georgia’s largest private employer wanted to hear, but Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said it’s still moving forward after one of the country’s biggest investors sold all of his shares in the company.

A spokesperson for Delta told WSB-TV’s Dave Huddleston that company officials believe in the airline, its people and its brand, and they will get through this.

But they know it will be tough until travelers are ready to hop back on a plane.

Every few weeks, DeKalb County attorney Musa Ghanyem boards a plane. He told Huddleston that the airlines are doing a lot to keep planes clean and passengers spread out.

"I don't advise having to do it unless it is essential to do so," Ghanayem said about flying. "Every other row is not being sold, and neither is the middle seat. So I was shocked at how much space there is between people."

But despite all the precautions, not enough people are flying, and that prompted one mega-investor, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, to sell $4 billion worth of stock from several airlines.

His company owned about 11% of Delta Air Lines’ stock.

"The world changed for airlines, and I wish them well," Buffett said.

WSB-TV consumer adviser Clark Howard said it was a major blow to Delta.

"His vote of no confidence is another nail in the coffin for airlines," Howard said.

To win back that confidence, carriers are now requiring passengers and crew to wear protective masks.

But the flight attendants’ union wants to ban leisure travel until national safety measures are in place.

"Because the flights have been pulled down, we're seeing more and more full flights without policies that really address proper social distancing," said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Monique Biddle, of Smyrna, told Huddleston that she has no problems flying. In fact, she's booked a July trip for her entire family.

"When we see travel come back, that's when we know the economy is coming back," Biddle said.

A Delta spokesperson also told Huddleston that airline will endure as a better, stronger and more resilient airline in the future.

The company employs more than 90,000 people worldwide, including around 33,000 in Georgia.

>> Coronavirus: Can the government make you stay home if you are sick?

′American Idol’ winner Phillip Phillips to play benefit concert for Georgia hospital

Update 3:36 a.m. EDT May 5: Georgia native and “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips is doing his part to help the health care heroes battling the coronavirus.

According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV, southwest Georgia, where Phillips is from, is the hardest-hit area of the state. Hundreds of people have died in the last couple months.

“My small town of Albany has been hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus, and I want to help. My roots run deep in Georgia, so it feels great to be able to support my community during this time,” Phillips wrote.

Phillips posted on Facebook that he will be performing a virtual show to help raise money for the Phoebe Putney Healthcare System.

“We have a goal of $50,000 to raise for the Phoebe Foundation’s coronavirus relief fund, which is going to provide essential support to their employees and emergency response efforts to keep our community healthy and safe,” Phillips wrote.

Phillips’ performance will be at 6 p.m. Thursday on his Facebook page.

I’m so honored to be playing a virtual show for the kind folks at Phoebe Putney Health System. My small town of Albany...

Posted by Phillip Phillips on Saturday, May 2, 2020

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1st phase of Washington state’s reopening plan begins today

Update 1:41 a.m. EDT May 5: The first phase of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to reopen the state begins today as some businesses are able to open and outdoor recreation activities can resume.

During Inslee’s Friday afternoon news conference, he said businesses would be able to reopen in four phases while modifying physical distancing measures, Seattle’s KIRO-TV reported. He also extended the stay-at-home order until the end of May.

Inslee said some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths might be able to open parts of their economy sooner if approved by the Department of Health.

Phase 1

  • High-risk populations: Continue to stay home, stay healthy.
  • Outdoor: Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, boating, hiking).
  • Gatherings: None, drive-in spiritual service with one household per vehicle.
  • Travel: Only essential travel.
  • Business/Employers: Essential businesses open, including existing construction that meets agreed-upon criteria, landscaping, automobile sales, retail (curb-side pick-up orders only), car washes, pet walkers.

Click here for a chart of each phase.

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US coronavirus deaths near 69K, total cases near 1.2M

Update 1 a.m. EDT May 5: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States approached 1.2 million early Tuesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,180,634 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 68,922 deaths. Of those cases, more than 318,000 infections have been reported in New York, meaning the state has, itself, confirmed more cases than any other nation outside the United States, including Germany with 166,152, France with 169,583, the United Kingdom with 191,832, Italy with 211,938 and Spain with 218,011.

Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 24,999 – or roughly 36% of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 7,910 in New Jersey and 4,139 in Michigan.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit state with at least 318,953 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 128,269 and Massachusetts with 69,087.

Ten other states have now confirmed at least 25,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

Illinois: 63,777 cases, resulting in 2,659 deaths

California: 56,135 cases, resulting in 2,289 deaths

Pennsylvania: 52,816 cases, resulting in 2,838 deaths

Michigan: 43,990 cases, resulting in 4,139 deaths

Florida: 36,897 cases, resulting in 1,399 deaths

Texas: 32,812 cases, resulting in 902 deaths

Connecticut: 29,973 cases, resulting in 2,556 deaths

Louisiana: 29,673 cases, resulting in 2,064 deaths

Georgia: 29,452 cases, resulting in 1,246 deaths

Maryland: 26,408 cases, resulting in 1,317 deaths

Meanwhile, Indiana and Ohio each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed closely by Virginia with 19,493; Colorado and Washington state each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Tennessee and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases; Iowa and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Mississippi and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; South Carolina and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases; Nevada, Kansas, Utah, Delaware, Kentucky and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; Oklahoma and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; and Arkansas has confirmed at least 3,000 cases.

Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.