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Coronavirus pandemic in the US

What you need to know

  • All 50 states are at least partially reopened as the country heads into Memorial Day weekend.
  • Some states have recorded a clear upward trend of average new daily cases over the prior week.
  • The nation's top infectious disease expert said it's "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine by December.
  • A large study released this morning found hydroxychloroquine Covid-19 treatments are linked to a greater risk of death. President Trump has repeatedly promoted the anti-malarial drug as a potential coronavirus cure.
5:01 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has ended for the day. Get the latest updates from around the globe here.
6:04 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Louisiana receives third allocation of the drug remdesivir

A vial of Remdesivir is seen in Germany in April. Ulrich Perrey/AFP/Pool/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state is receiving the third allocation of the drug Remdesivir from the Food and Drug Administration. 

"Today, we will receive our third allocation of 3,828 vials. They will be delivered to 47 hospitals," said Edwards. 

The state received the first allocation of the drug on May 14, and the 1,200 vials were delivered to 44 hospitals across the state, the governor said.

The second shipment of 3,366 vials came in on May 19 and were also delivered to 44 hospitals, Edwards said. 

Covid-19 caseload determines which hospitals receive an allocation of the drug. 

"Any hospital with five or more Covid-19 in-patients receives an allocation. Hospitals with fewer than five Covid-19 in-patients can request Remdesivir if they have a patient that they believe the drug would help," Edwards explained.

Louisiana has a total of 36,925 Covid-19 cases, with 2,545 deaths in the state. 

4:50 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Illinois governor says worship is as "essential as food and water" and priority is to ensure it is safe

Gov. JB Pritzker answers questions during his daily press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic held in his office at the Illinois State Capitol, in Springfield, on May 21. Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register/Pool/AP

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker addressed how religious groups can safely expand their services following President Trump's announcement today that places of worship are "essential" and should reopen.
“We continue to collaborate with faith leaders to ensure that they can hold services in safe and creative ways that allow for worship, while protecting their congregants. I know worship is as essential as food and water for most of us, and it's my priority to provide guidance to ensure that it can proceed safely, " Pritzker said in a news conference Friday.

Later in the meeting, Pritzker was specifically asked about the President's threat to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations.

“We're going to continue to operate on the basis of science and data. I'm as anxious as anybody to make sure that our churches, our mosques, our synagogues open back to where they were before Covid-19 came along,” the governor said. “We're gradually moving in that direction, but there's no doubt, the most important thing is we do not want parishioners to get ill because their faith leaders, bring them together."

Pritzker also said he hoped faith leaders would "continue to do as the vast majority of them have done, which is to worship, sometimes online, sometimes in other capacities as we've talked about outdoor and drive-in.”

5:16 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Interfaith Alliance says Trump's order "flies in the face of medical and scientific advice"

President of Interfaith Alliance, Rabbi Jack Moline, speaks at a press conference calling on then President-elect Donald Trump to respect religious liberty, in Washington DC, on November 18, 2016. Ron Sachs/CNP/ABACAPRESS/Reuters

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, said "the President is wrong, plain and simple" for calling on places of worship to open this weekend.

Moline has joined The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in criticizing the President Trump's move to classify houses of worship as "essential" across the country.

"Ordering houses of worship to be opened without robust guidelines around necessary safety precautions flies in the face of medical and scientific advice," Moline said.

The Southern Baptist Convention, however, said they were "pleased" with the President's announcement.

5:49 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

NCAA allows voluntary athletics activities in all Division I sports starting June 1

An open basketball court apart of the Big 12 fan experience sits empty due to the cancellation of the Big 12 Tournament to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Texas Longhorns, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 12. Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The NCAA has announced Friday that Division I student-athletes in all sports will be permitted to participate in voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1.

On Wednesday, the NCAA had announced that Division I football and men’s and women’s basketball players can participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1.
“The return of voluntary activity in addition to the extension of the waiver to allow virtual, nonphysical activity shows sensitivity to local, state and regional differences in how Division I campuses are reopening,” Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “We will continue to be considerate of these differences with wise and flexible administration of our regulations, and we expect schools to keep the well-being of student-athletes as a priority.”
SEC and Pac-12 commissioners discuss on CNN: 

4:52 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Vermont to open churches, restaurants and personal care businesses

Gov. Phil Scott speaks at a press conference in Montpelier, Vermont, on March 13. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur/The Times Argus/AP

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced today that his state will allow churches to reopen at 25% capacity.

Scott's remarks were made before President Trump announced that his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The governor said restaurants and bars can also open for outdoors seating in Vermont.

Barber shops and salons will be allowed to reopen on May 29, Scott said.


5:29 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Southern Baptist Convention "pleased" with Trump's call to open places of worship

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, speaks to members of the Southern Baptist Convention, in St. Louis, on June 14, 2016. Jeff Roberson/AP

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) supports President Trump’s call to open places of worship around the country as soon as this weekend, SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Dr. Ronnie Floyd told CNN in an email. 

“I was pleased to hear President Trump affirm his stand for religious freedom and that churches are essential to the fabric of America,” Dr. Floyd said. “With pastors, church leaders, and church members adhering to proper social distancing practices, our churches should be permitted to open as soon as possible while doing so in a safe and responsible manner.”

More on this: Trump announced today that his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic, calling on governors to reopen religious institutions for services.

Trump threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations, but it was unclear what authority the President was referring to. The recommendations are voluntary.

4:27 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Mississippi governor extends state's safer-at-home order one more week

Pool via Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced today he has extended the state’s safer-at-home order one more week in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
“We must stay vigilant. I know that we’re going into a holiday weekend where we’re used to gathering in large groups and cooking out and having a great time,” Reeves said. “Please remember to stay six feet apart. Continue to wash your hands, sanitize and wear a mask, if at all possible.”

Outdoor places of entertainment, such as playgrounds, racetracks, and water parks, will reopen, with strict health guidelines and rules, on May 25 at 8 a.m.

Mississippi State Department of Health is now reporting 12,624 positive cases of coronavirus and 596 deaths.

4:55 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

The unemployment rate for Indiana was 16.9% in April

Fred Payne, the commissioner for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said that Indiana’s unemployment rate for April was 16.9%, while the unemployment rate in the United States stands at 14.7%.

This is the highest rate that Indiana has seen since 1982, Payne said, noting that leisure and hospitality and manufacturing industries have shown the largest swing, with a combined loss of about 194,000 jobs.

In March, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 3.2%, Payne said.