Nearly 3.7 million people worldwide – including more than 1.2 million 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.
Live updates for Wednesday, May 6, continue below:
Update 11:20 p.m. EDT May 6: Democratic members of the state’s Board of Elections filed an appeal Wednesday of a federal judge’s reinstatement of the New York presidential primary.
The appeal by board Commissioner Andrew Spano and other members comes a day after the June 23 primary was reinstated by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan, who said canceling it would be unconstitutional and deprive withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang of proper representation at the Democratic convention.
Torres said there was enough time before the primary to plan how to carry it out safely.
Torres’ decision came after lawyers for Sanders and Yang argued Monday that their clients would be harmed irreparably.
Asked for comment on the appeal Wednesday night, Sanders’ attorney Arthur Schwartz said it’s disappointing and there are safe ways to have a primary on June 23.
The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted last week to cancel the presidential primary even though New York still planned to hold its congressional and state-level primaries June 23.
Update 9:00 p.m. EDT May 6: Lawmakers on Capitol Hill lashed out Wednesday against Frontier Airlines over the budget carrier’s move to charge passengers extra to guarantee they will sit next to an empty middle seat while flying during the coronavirus outbreak.
The chairman of the House Transportation Committee called it “outrageous.” Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the Denver-based airline is using the need for social distancing “as an opportunity to make a buck ... capitalizing on fear and passengers’ well-founded concerns for their health and safety.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., highlighted the fee during a congressional hearing on how COVID-19 is affecting the airline industry.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for some passengers who can’t afford to pay an additional charge for a seat to be less safe than other travelers,” Klobuchar said.
U.S. air travel has dropped more than 90% from a year ago because of the pandemic, and many flights are nearly empty. However, some flights — highlighted on social media — have been much more full, with many passengers not wearing face coverings.
On Monday, Frontier announced that from Friday through Aug. 31 passengers can pay a fee, starting at $39 per flight, to guarantee an empty middle seat next to them. CEO Barry Biffle rejected the notion that his airline is charging for social distancing.
Update 8:05 p.m. EDT May 6: Texas’ Republican governor and top law enforcement officer on Wednesday came to the defense of a Dallas hair salon owner who was jailed for keeping her business open in defiance of the governor’s restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Shelley Luther was booked in the Dallas County jail on Tuesday following a video hearing during which she refused to apologize for repeatedly flouting the order, leading the judge to find her in contempt of court and sentence her to a week behind bars.
Luther was cited last month for keeping her salon open despite state and local directives that kept nonessential businesses closed, but she continued to defy the order and tore up a cease and desist letter in front of TV cameras.
“I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families,” Luther testified Tuesday, saying she had applied for a federal loan but didn’t receive it until Sunday.
Dallas County Judge Eric Moye said during the hearing that he would consider levying a fine instead of jail time if Luther would apologize and not reopen until she was allowed to do so, but Luther refused.
“Feeding my kids is not selfish,” she told Moye. “If you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.”
Update 7:35 p.m. EDT May 6: A person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be able to join the military, according to a memo recently issued from U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command.
The memo sent out this week to the 65 MEPS and RPS locations stated that a coronavirus diagnosis would lead to an eventual permanent disqualification from military service.
Specific guidance for processing applicants with a confirmed case of the coronavirus was included in the document:.
“During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying," according to the memo obtained by The Military Times.
Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 6: President Donald Trump on Wednesday reversed course on plans to wind down his COVID-19 task force, attempting to balance his enthusiasm for “reopening” the country with rising infection rates in parts of the nation.
The indecision on the fate of the expert panel was emblematic of an administration — and a country — struggling with competing priorities of averting more death and more economic suffering. Trump appears focused on persuading Americans to accept the price of some lives lost as restrictions are eased, concerned about skyrocketing unemployment and intent on encouraging an economic rebound ahead of the November election.
Democrats criticized Trump’s reopening strategy Wednesday, saying more federal support for testing and contact tracing is needed. While the daily number of new deaths in the New York area has declined markedly in recent weeks, deaths have essentially plateaued in the rest of the U.S.
One day after the administration suggested that its work would be done around Memorial Day, Trump said the White House task force of public health professionals and senior government officials would continue after all, indefinitely, with its focus shifting toward rebooting the economy and the development of a vaccine.
“I thought we could wind it down sooner,” Trump said, adding, “I had no idea how popular the task force is.”
Update 5:55 p.m. EDT May 6: A south Alabama mayor who said he didn’t pay much attention to the new coronavirus has been diagnosed with COVID-19 along with his wife.
Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon told WSFA-TV that he and his wife Janice both tested positive for the illness, although neither has been hospitalized. Both are quarantined at home waiting for their temperatures to go down, followed by additional testing.
“We’re doing what we need to do,” he said Wednesday.
McClendon said he was among the people who didn’t take the threat of the virus too seriously and, through work, got around someone who had been infected.
“I let my guard down one day and ... I ended up getting the virus,” he said.
Both he and his wife believed they had sinus infections until their tests came back positive on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been sick for over a week, but not anything real bad until a few days ago,” said the five-term mayor.
Greenville is located about 45 miles south of Montgomery and has around 7,500 residents. While some are advocating for a wider reopening of the economy, which was largely shut down to guard against spreading the virus, McClendon said but he is for moving slower after his illness.
“We don’t need to open up all the way,” he said.
Update 4:45 p.m. EDT May 6: Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday, sending the market to its first loss in three days, after more depressing data rolled in on the devastation sweeping the global economy.
The S&P 500 dropped 0.7%, and three out of four stocks in the index sank. But the market’s losses would have been much worse if not for continued gains for technology stocks. Momentum for Microsoft, Apple and other tech stocks has proven to be nearly unstoppable this year, even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and more gains for them almost singlehandedly kept Wall Street steady for much of Wednesday’s trading.
The S&P 500 wavered between modest gains and losses for much of the day as the gains for tech stocks jousted with the more prevalent losses elsewhere, before it turned lower in the last half hour of trading. It ended down 20.02 points at 2,848.42. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 218.45 points, or 0.9%, to 23,664.64. The Nasdaq, which is full of tech stocks, rose 45.27, or 0.5%, to 8,854.39.
Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 6: Tyler Perry announced Tuesday night that his studios will reopen in a limited capacity that includes temporary housing on the studio campus for production crews and staff, according to WSB-TV.
“A special meeting of the Fort McPherson Board Of Directors was called and a resolution was passed to lease a small portion of the property in order to create temporary housing on the Tyler Perry Studios campus,” a spokesperson said, according to WSB-TV.
The resolution will allow production crews and staff to live in temporary housing at Tyler Perry Studios site at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, WSB-TV reported.
Update 3 p.m. EDT May 6: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he did wear a face mask Tuesday at a Honeywell plant in Phoenix that makes them, but did so backstage, out of view of the press, for “not too long” a time.
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office as he signed a proclamation honoring nurses, that, “I actually did have one. I had a mask on for a period of time.”
He added that he couldn’t “help it” if reporters didn’t see him and that the head of Honeywell had told him that he didn’t need to wear one during the public portions of his visit.
Guidelines posted in the factory advise that masks be worn at all times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks when they can’t socially distance to avoid spreading the virus, but Trump and his senior aides are tested regularly, as is everyone he comes into close contact with.
Update 2:50 p.m. May 6: Public health officials in Walla Walla County, Washington, said they’ve received reports of “COVID-19 parties” being held in the community, in which non-infected people mingle with others who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to try to get the virus, KIRO-TV reported.
As of Tuesday, the most recent date for which data was available, officials have confirmed 94 coronavirus cases in Walla Walla County. One person has died of the viral infection.
“As COVID-19 cases in Walla Walla County continue to rise, health officials strongly recommend you remain vigilant with physical distancing to limit community transmission of the virus,” Walla Walla County Department of Community Health officials said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents have in the past sometimes participated in similar parties for chickenpox, meant to expose un-vaccinated children to the disease in hopes they’d be able to fight it while still young and healthy, KIRO-TV reported.
The CDC is recommending against hosting or participating in similar COVID-19 parties and local health officials warn they could lead to further outbreaks, according to KIRO-TV.
Update 2:15 p.m. EDT May 6: President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he didn’t realize the popularity of the White House’s coronavirus task force until after reports surfaced about its planned dissolution.
“I had no idea how popular the task force is until, actually, yesterday,” the president said. “When I started talking about winding it down, I got calls from very respected people.”
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Tuesday that the coronavirus task force was looking to wind down work but the president said Wednesday on Twitter that the task force will “continue on indefinitely.”
“The task force will be around until we feel like it’s not necessary,” Trump said Wednesday. “It’s very respected. People said we should keep it going, so let’s keep it going.”
Update 2 p.m. EDT May 6: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Wednesday that 1,513 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 131,890.
Officials also reported 308 new fatal COVID-19 cases. Statewide, 8,549 people have died of coronavirus.
Update 1:50 p.m. EDT May 6: Administrators in the University of Tennessee System announced plans Wednesday to return to in-person instruction at its five campuses beginning in the fall.
“The health and safety of our students and employees are our first priority,” said Donde Plowman, chancellor of UT’s flagship campus in Knoxville. “The residential campus experience will look different this fall than it did before COVID-19.”
Plowman said social distancing measures will be “part of the new normal” along with “enhanced safety procedures.” The university has created a task force to determine the best way to implement the measures.
Update 1:35 p.m. EDT May 6: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey on Wednesday announced he’s signing an executive order to extend the state’s public health emergency declaration for another 30 days.
In social media posts announcing the decision, Murphy stressed that it wasn’t influenced by any data that might stop the state from moving toward reopening. Instead, he said it was simply a necessity due to the way the declarations are structured.
“If this extension signals one thing, it is this -- we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know is working in this fight: social distancing,” the governor said. “Remember, in the absence of a vaccine, or even proven therapeutics for (COVID-19), our only cure is social distancing.”
Update 1:25 p.m. EDT May 6: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 6,111 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, raising the country’s number of COVID-19 cases to 201,101.
The numbers show the country is the fourth-hardest hit globally and third-hardest hit in Europe by the coronavirus. The U.S. has the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world with 1.2 million infections, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Officials in Spain have reported more than 220,000 cases while authorities in Italy said more than 214,000 cases have been reported.
Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced that a total of 30,076 have died in the U.K. due to the novel coronavirus. The number is 649 higher than the fatal cases reported nationwide Tuesday.
Update 1:10 p.m. EDT May 6: Officials with the University of South Carolina announced plans Wednesday to resume in-person instruction at the school’s campus in Columbia, South Carolina beginning in August, WSOC-TV reported.
The university’s president, Bob Caslen, said in a letter to students, faculty and staff that several factors led to the decision to reopen campus. The announcement comes after an interdisciplinary group led by the university’s public health, medical and academic experts spent weeks figuring out a plan for the way forward, according to WSOC-TV.
“The in-depth, tireless work of the group has given me a new level of understanding and confidence that in-person instruction can safely begin this fall,” Caslen wrote. “As we prepare for August, we recognize that we are embarking on a new normal that will demand from each of us a commitment to public health and safety.”
Update 12:50 p.m. EDT May 6: The number of active coronavirus infections reported in Italy continued to fall Wednesday, continuing a trend begun about two weeks ago, according to numbers released by health officials.
Authorities said that as of Wednesday, 91,528 people were dealing with active coronavirus infections in the country. One day earlier, officials had said 98,467 people in Italy were dealing with infections.
Italian officials said 29,678 people have died of COVID-19 while 93,245 people have recovered. Since the beginning of the viral outbreak, officials have identified 214,457 COVID-19 cases nationwide.
Italy has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind Spain, which has more than 220,000 cases, and the United States, which has more than 1.2 million cases, according to health officials and numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 6: Students at more than two dozen universities nationwide are suing their schools for partial refunds of tuition and other fees, saying that they aren’t getting the caliber of education that they were promised, The Associated Press reported.
The suits reflect students’ growing frustration with online classes that schools scrambled to create as the coronavirus forced campuses across the nation to close last month. The suits say students should pay lower rates for the portion of the term that was offered online, arguing that the quality of instruction is far below the classroom experience.
Colleges, though, reject the idea that refunds are in order. Students are learning from the same professors who teach on campus, officials have said, and they’re still earning credits toward their degrees. Schools insist that, after being forced to close by their states, they’re still offering students a quality education.
Update 11:50 a.m. EDT May 6: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of new coronavirus-related deaths rose slightly Wednesday with 232 new fatal cases of COVID-19 reported.
The number was slightly higher than the 230 new fatal cases reported Tuesday.
Cuomo said officials were focused Wednesday on determining from where new cases of COVID-19 are originating.
“With everything we’ve done ... you still have 600 new cases that walked in the door yesterday,” the governor said during a news conference.
“Where are those people coming from and what can we learn from those people to further target and refine our strategy?”
Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 6: Uber plans to lay off about 3,700 full-time employees -- roughly 14% of its staff -- due to lower demand for the ride-hailing service amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The cuts will come from the company’s customer support and recruiting teams. Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has also agreed to waive his base salary through the end of the year.
According to CNBC, Khosrowshahi made about $1 million last year as his base salary. The news network noted that most of his compensation came in the form of bonuses and stock awards.
“I am truly sorry that we are doing this, just as I know that we have to do this,” Khosrowshahi said in an email sent to staffers, according to CNN Business.
“This is one part of a broader exercise to make the difficult adjustments to our cost structure (team size and office footprint) so that it matches the reality of our business (our bookings, revenue and margins). ... We are looking at many scenarios and at each and every cost, both variable and fixed, across the company.”
The company announced the decisions Wednesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Update 10:20 a.m. EDT May 6: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Wednesday that 139 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 5,461.
Bowser also said 14 more people between the ages of 59 and 100 died of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, 277 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.
Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 6: Stocks opened higher Wednesday on Wall Street as hopes for a global economic recovery rise after more governments eased anti-virus controls. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% in the first few minutes of trading.
Investors are also focusing on earnings reports from major U.S. companies. CVS Health rose after reporting a surge in profits as people rushed to fill medicine cabinets and pantries ahead of the arrival of the coronavirus. Bond yields rose but still remain extremely low. Crude oil prices fell. European markets were mixed after the region predicted a recession “of historic proportions” this year.
Update 9:40 a.m. EDT May 6: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the White House coronavirus task force will “continue on indefinitely” one day after Vice President Mike Pence told reporters the group was looking to wind down work.
In a series of tweets posted Wednesday, Trump said the task force will shift its focus to safety and reopening businesses that have been shuttered nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president said people might be added or taken off the task force “as appropriate" and “also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics.”
Trump also touted his administration’s work and repeated his false claim that the U.S. is doing more testing “than all other countries combined.” The U.S. has tested far fewer people than all other countries combined. It also lags dozens of countries in testing its population proportionally.
Update 7:48 a.m. EDT May 6: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 257,906 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 3,682,968 people worldwide. Meanwhile, nearly one in every four deaths reported worldwide has occurred in the United States, and 10 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 83,968.
The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:
• The United States has reported 1,204,475 cases, resulting in 71,078 deaths.
• Spain has confirmed 219,329 cases, resulting in 25,613 deaths.
• Italy has reported 213,013 infections, resulting in 29,315 deaths.
• The United Kingdom has reported 196,243 cases, resulting in 29,501 deaths.
• France has confirmed 170,694 infections, resulting in 25,538 deaths.
• Germany has reported 167,007 cases, resulting in 6,993 deaths.
• Russia has confirmed 165,929 cases, resulting in 1,537 deaths.
• Turkey has recorded 129,491 cases, resulting in 3,520 deaths
• Brazil has recorded 115,953 cases, resulting in 7,958 deaths.
• Iran has recorded 99,970 cases, resulting in 6,418 deaths.
Update 7:32 a.m. EDT May 6: The European Commission is forecasting a record 7.5% contraction of the European Union this year, CNN reported.
Despite the commission’s spring economic forecast predicting the contraction of “historic proportion,” the economy is expected to rebound in 2021, with growth of 6% projected for that year, the network reported.
“Europe is experiencing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression," said Paolo Gentiloni, European commissioner for the economy. "Both the depth of the recession and the strength of recovery will be uneven, conditioned by the speed at which lockdowns can be lifted, the importance of services like tourism in each economy and by each country’s financial resources. Such divergence poses a threat to the single market and the euro area -- yet it can be mitigated through decisive, joint European action. We must rise to this challenge.”
Update 6:51 a.m. EDT May 6: As the novel coronavirus engulfed New York in March, Dennis Ruhnke mailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo an unused N95 mask, one of the same type he had worn at one point while cleaning his grain bin, writing, “I am a retired farmer hunkered down here in N.E. Kansas with my wife who has but one lung and occasional problems with her remaining lung. She also has diabetes. We are in our 70s now, and frankly I am afraid for her.”
He then asked that the mask be forwarded to a New York medical professional in need and thought nothing more of the request.
On Tuesday, Ruhnke, 73, was awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree by Kansas State University, nearly 50 years after the 1971 death of his father forced him to leave school two credits shy of graduation, the Manhattan Mercury reported.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly bestowed the degree upon Ruhnke in a special ceremony and took to social media to sing his praises a little more, writing, “Dennis’ kindness and lifelong career in agriculture make him more than qualified to receive a degree.”
Update 5:07 a.m. EDT May 6: In a bid to ensure global demand is met, Gilead Sciences announced plans Tuesday to partner with other drugmakers to make and sell remdesivir, its novel coronavirus treatment, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Promising preliminary data released one week ago showed patients participating in a federally funded clinical trial recovered faster taking remdesivir than when given placebos.
According to the Journal, Foster City, California-based Gilead said it is in discussions with pharmaceutical- and chemical-manufacturing companies to license the rights to make remdesivir for Europe, Asia and the developing world through at least 2022.
Meanwhile, Gilead is also working to grant drugmakers in India and Pakistan long-term licenses to sell generic copies of the drug in developing countries, the Journal reported.
Update 4:42 a.m. EDT May 6: At least one university researcher believes not only is the U.S. fight against the novel coronavirus only in its infancy but as many as 70% of Americans could become infected before the pandemic plays out.
“All the things we’re doing to kind of control it will help, but it’s going to keep moving like that. That’s what these viruses do,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told CNN.
Osterholm told the network his research indicates somewhere between 5% and 15% of the U.S. population has contracted COVID-19 to date, but that figure could climb as high as 70%, meaning the nation has “a long ways to go” to attain the herd immunity required to more effectively combat the virus’ spread.
Osterholm and his colleagues outlined three possible scenarios for CNN:
• Transmission will ease a bit in the summer but resurge hard in the fall and winter.
• There will be waves of infections that pop up and create hotspots.
• There will be a “slow burn” that lasts for at least 18 months.
Update 3:28 a.m. EDT May 6: Tyson Foods will reopen the nation’s largest pork processing facility Wednesday after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus prompted a two-week closure.
More than 180 cases of the virus were linked to employees at the Waterloo, Iowa, plant, which processes about 19,500 hogs per day, representing about 4% of U.S. pork-processing capacity, The Washington Post reported.
The facility has been idled since April 22, and Tyson said Tuesday that returning employees will be medically screened daily and have access to an on-site medical clinic.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, their loved ones and our communities,” said Tom Hart, the facility’s manager, in the statement.
Waterloo’s reopening comes two days after Tyson restarted operations at its Perry, Iowa, plant, where more than 700 employees, or nearly 60% of the facility’s total workforce, had tested positive for the virus.
Update 12:44 a.m. EDT May 6: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 1.2 million early Wednesday 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 1,204,479 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 71,070 deaths. Of those cases, more than 321,000 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 167,007, France with 170,687, the United Kingdom with 196,243, Italy with 213,013 and Spain with 219,329.
Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 25,124 – or roughly 35% of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 8,244 in New Jersey and 4,212 in Massachusetts.
In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit state with at least 321,192 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 130,593 and Massachusetts with 70,271.
Seven other states have now confirmed at least 30,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:
• Illinois: 65,889 cases, resulting in 2,834 deaths
• California: 58,685 cases, resulting in 2,388 deaths
• Pennsylvania: 53,864 cases, resulting in 3,179
• Michigan: 44,451 cases, resulting in 4,183 deaths
• Florida: 37,439 cases, resulting in 1,471 deaths
• Texas: 33,912 cases, resulting in 925 deaths
• Connecticut: 30,621 cases, resulting in 2,633 deaths
Meanwhile, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Colorado and Washington state each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Tennessee, North Carolina and Iowa each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Rhode Island, Arizona and Missouri each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Wisconsin, Alabama and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed closely by Minnesota with 7,851; South Carolina and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases; Kentucky, Nevada, Kansas, Utah, Delaware and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases, followed closely by Arkansas with 3,525; and Oregon, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Idaho each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases.