Coronavirus live updates: US death toll approaching 90,000 – National News

Written by on May 16, 2020


GabrielPevide/iStockBY: WILLIAM MANSELL AND ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 307,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 1.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 87,568 deaths.

Today’s biggest developments:

  • US death toll surpasses 87,000
  • NYC tourist arrested in Hawaii for violating quarantine

Here’s how the news developed Friday. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

2:48 p.m.: California reports 98 deaths

In California, 98 more deaths have pushed that state’s total to 3,204.

Daily death tolls have plateaued over the last five weeks as the total number of confirmed cases in the state has reached 76,793, the state’s health department reported.

Testing in California has ramped up, with 1,179,126 tests conducted and reported to the California Department of Public Health. This represents an increase of 45,220 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period, according to the health department.

2:12 p.m.: Chartered boat services can resume in New Jersey

Fishing and watercraft rentals are set to resume in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

The announcement comes a day after Murphy said Jersey Shore beaches would reopen.

Chartered boat services are permitted to reopen at 6 a.m. Sunday, with mandatory social distancing and sanitizing measures in place. Murphy also said that people will pay either online or over the phone to reduce in-person interactions.

Murphy said the metrics of COVID-19, including patients in hospitals, patients on ventilators and patients in the ICU, all were down in a way that showed “we can move forward.”

The governor added that the declines were not just from peaks but “meaningful,” even over the past couple of weeks.

While deaths also declined, Murphy urged the public to remember that the lives lost are not just statistics. An additional 115 people died in the last 24 hours in New Jersey, putting the total at 10,249.

12:25 p.m.: New red zone set up in Italy

A red zone has been established in a rural town near Naples, Italy, to stop a small outbreak.

Residents in Letino have been ordered to quarantine until May 20, according to a decree from the regional government of Campania.

The small town of about 600 has seen 10 positive COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, in addition to three reported earlier this week, according to the local newspaper Il Mattino. All patients were asymptomatic.

The decree states that residents cannot leave the municipal area, and all non-essential activities, including commercial and restaurant activity, will be prohibited.

The temporary quarantine comes two days before the country’s next phase of lifting restrictions begins. Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and hairdressers, will be allowed to reopen.

12:08 p.m.: Horse racing tracks to open with no fans in New York

Horse racing tracks in New York will open on June 1, but fans will not be allowed to enter, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The three largest horse racing tracks in the state are Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga. Aqueduct, in Queens, is the only facility within New York City’s limits. Belmont Park is on Long Island, and Saratoga is upstate.

The Watkins Glen International automobile racetrack, in Schuyler County in the western part of the state, also will be allowed to reopen, Cuomo said. The governor did not provide details on what events would be held there, but like the horse racing tracks, fans will not be permitted yet.

Cuomo said he’s looking to increase economic activity, including events that can operate without crowds.

Elective surgeries and ambulatory care also will be allowed to resume in Westchester County and Suffolk County. The hospitalization rate, intubations and number of new cases all continue to decline, even with 400 new hospitalizations in the state, Cuomo said.

An additional 157 people died in the last 24 hours.

11:47 a.m.: FDA authorizes 1st standalone at-home sample collection kit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first at-home sample collection kit for COVID-19, which can be used to send samples to specified laboratories for diagnostic testing.

The Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit allows a person to self-collect a nasal sample at home. It can be used by people who have been screened using on online questionnaire that is reviewed by a health care provider, the FDA said.

Additionally, the FDA authorized two COVID-19 diagnostic tests that can be used with the at-home collected samples.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said the development provides “increased patient access to tests” and “protects others from potential exposure.”

“Today’s action is also another great example of public-private partnerships in which data from a privately funded study was used by industry to support an EUA request, saving precious time as we continue our fight against this pandemic,” Shuren said in a statement.

9:40 a.m.: CDC updates guidance for pediatricians on illness associated with COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on treating children during the pandemic to include information on a new illness associated with COVID-19.

The agency said it was working with domestic and international partners to better understand multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), including how common it is and its risk factors.

There are 220 possible and confirmed cases in 20 states and Washington D.C. of the illness in children, according to an ABC News analysis. There have also been three reported deaths.

Some of the cases have tested positive for either COVID-19 or antibodies, while some others have tested negative. Many of the cases are still under investigation.

Children with MIS-C have presented to hospitals with a persistent fever and a variety of symptoms, including multiorgan (e.g., cardiac, gastrointestinal, renal, hematologic, dermatologic, neurologic) involvement and elevated inflammatory markers, according to the CDC.

However, the CDC warned pediatricians that some children may exhibit symptoms not listed

It is possible that a child will begin exhibiting symptoms of MIS-C weeks after they were infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC. However, a child may not have displayed symptoms for COVID-19 and both the child and parents may not have even known they were infected.

The CDC said that evaluating a child for MIS-C could include a chest X-ray, echocardiography or blood testing to determine if there is inflammation.

For questions on the illness, the CDC’s 24-hour Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 is open.

6:55 a.m.: Charges dropped against Tampa pastor who held services during stay-at-home order

The charges against a Tampa pastor who was arrested after holding services despite the local stay-at-home orders have been dropped.

State officials said they dropped the charges against pastor Rodney Howard-Browne because he has complied with social distancing rules on his church campus since his arrest.

“In deciding whether to criminally prosecute violations of stay-at-home orders, compliance is our North Star,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement Friday. “Each case is unique, and each one will be assessed based on the facts and the law. But, in general, if the person who was arrested poses no ongoing threat to public health, then our tendency will be not to prosecute the case beyond the arrest.”

Howard-Browne was initially arrested and charged with unlawful assembly and violation of a public health emergency order after holding large services at his church in defiance of the county’s “safer-at-home” initiative.

“The State Attorney’s Office has recognized that compliance and not criminal punishment is the focus of our emergency health laws,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement Friday night. “Law enforcement’s intervention through arrest has been rare during this health crisis, and while it remains a necessary tool to protect the health and safety of our community, we agree that further criminal sanctions are not necessary in this instance.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that Florida would move into a Phase 1 reopening on Monday, which means gyms can reopen and restaurants can now be at 50% capacity. The state’s partial reopening began on May 4.

There are more than 44,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 1,917 deaths in Florida.

4:09 a.m.: New York tourist arrested in Hawaii for violating mandatory quarantine

A 23-year-old tourist from New York City was arrested Friday in Hawaii for violating the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine rule and for “unsworn falsification to authority.”

Tarique Peters, according to the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, arrived in O’ahu on Monday and quickly posted numerous pictures of himself on the beach on Instagram.

He allegedly left his hotel room the day he arrived and traveled to various places using public transportation, officials said.

Citizens alerted local authorities to Peters’ social media postings, which showed him on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing and walking around Waikiki.

“We appreciate the assistance of local people who spot flagrant violations of our emergency rules on various social media sites and report them to the appropriate authorities,” Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement Friday night.

Officials said the hotel told them Peters was seen leaving his room and the hotel on numerous occasions this week.

Peters, who is from the Bronx, was arrested Friday and his bail is set at $4,000.

Hawaii has only 638 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 17 deaths.

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