Coronavirus: Governors disregarding White House guidelines on reopening

Nearly 3.8 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.

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 Thursday, May 7, continue below:

Governors disregarding White House guidelines on reopening

Update 11:50 p.m. EDT May 7: Many governors across the U.S. are disregarding or creatively interpreting White House guidelines for safely easing restrictions and letting businesses reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, an Associated Press analysis found.

The AP determined that 17 states did not meet a key benchmark set by the White House for loosening up — a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or positive test rates. And yet many of those have begun to reopen or are about to do so, including Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

Because of the broad way in which the nonbinding guidelines are written, other states, including Georgia, have technically managed to meet the criteria and reopen despite not seeing a steady decline in cases and deaths.

Asked Thursday about states reopening without meeting the benchmarks, President Donald Trump said: “The governors have great power as to that, given by us. We want them to do that. We rely on them. We trust them. And hopefully they are making the right decisions.”

The push to ease state lockdowns comes amid pressure from businesses that are collapsing by the day. Over 33 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits over the past seven weeks, and a highly anticipated report on Friday is expected to show U.S. joblessness as high as 16%, a level not seen since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.

Nevada gambling regulators OK rules for casino reopenings

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 7: Nevada gambling officials approved rules Thursday to limit customers, keep gamblers spaced apart from each other and disinfect dice and cards when the state’s casinos are allowed to reopen.

The Nevada Gaming Commission, which is considered the final authority on regulations and licensing, unanimously approved the guidelines that were released last week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which sets rules and regulations.

The commission did not act on a request from the casino employees’ Culinary Union to incorporate the workers’ suggested health guidelines, including testing staff for COVID-19 and screening people with temperature checks upon entry.

The union also called for the commission to publicly release all reopening plans submitted by casinos. The operator of the Wynn and Encore casinos already took that step voluntarily.

“We have to reassure guests that we are ready for them, that they will be safe when they come back. If we don’t get it right when we reopen, the long-term consequences for our industry will be devastating,” the union’s leader, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, said in comments submitted to the commission.

Several other public comments raised concerns that with the stress of the virus, the risk of gambling addiction was high and others suggested using the reopening to limit or ban smoking, noting that protective face masks would have to be lowered if people are allowed to continue lighting up in casinos.

Texans at Chiefs to open season Sept. 10

Update 9:25 p.m. EDT May 7: The Kansas City Chiefs will open defense of their Super Bowl championship by hosting Houston on Sept. 10 in the NFL’s annual kickoff game — pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic, of course.

The Texans won a regular-season game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2019, then blew a 24-0 lead in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Another highlight of the opening weekend will have Tom Brady’s regular-season debut with Tampa Bay against Drew Brees at New Orleans on Sept. 13 — the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL history.

The opening of SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area that Sunday night has the Rams hosting the Cowboys.

California outlines reopening plan for retail and counties

Update 8:55 p.m. EDT May 7: California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined changes to the state’s stay-at-home order that take effect Friday. They allow more retailers to reopen and counties to move forward more quickly with reopening plans if they meet specific criteria.

HOW IS THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER EASING?

Retail stores across the state can reopen but the state recommends they only provide pick-up and delivery services. Manufacturing plants can reopen if they close break rooms and follow a checklist of guidelines from the state that call for keeping workers at least 6 feet apart and wear face coverings.

WHAT ISN’T ALLOWED?

Restaurants can’t open for dining, though three counties are defying the state and allowing it. Public pools and playgrounds are off limits. Movie theaters, nail salons, tattoo parlors and gyms remain closed.

WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR COUNTIES TO GO BEYOND THE STATE ORDER?

A number of requirements aim at ensuring health safety. To move into the next stage of reopening, a county must record no deaths linked to the coronavirus for two weeks and no more than one confirmed case for every 10,000 residents for 14 days. Counties also must be able to test for COVID-19. The requirement is 1.5 tests a day per 1,000 residents. A county also must have enough shelters for at least 15% of its homeless population and at least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents to track down suspected coronavirus cases.

IF COUNTIES MEET THOSE REQUIREMENTS, WHAT CAN THEY REOPEN?

Shopping malls and dine-in restaurants, although bars and gaming areas will remain shuttered. Outdoor museums and galleries can also reopen. Office-based businesses have the option of bringing back their workers, although the state still recommends telework. Tanning facilities can reopen, but nail salons and tattoo parlors cannot. Gyms will also stay closed, in addition to movie theaters, wineries and playgrounds.

Frontier Airlines to implement mandatory pre-flight temperature checks

Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 7: Frontier Airlines will start checking all passengers temperatures before boarding starting June 1.

According to CNBC, anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be taken aside and re-screened 10 minutes later. If the person is still 100.4 or higher, they will be denied boarding and will be rebooked.

Malaria drug shows no benefit in another coronavirus study

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT May 7: A new study finds no evidence of benefit from a malaria drug widely promoted as a treatment for coronavirus infection.

Hydroxychloroquine did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube in a comparison that involved nearly 1,400 patients treated at Columbia University in New York, researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Although the study is observational rather than a rigorous experiment, it gives valuable information for a decision that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients have already had to make without clear evidence about the drug’s risks and benefits, some journal editors and other doctors wrote in an editorial.

“It is disappointing that several months into the pandemic, we do not yet have results” from any strict tests of the drug, they wrote. Still, the new study “suggests that this treatment is not a panacea.”

President Donald Trump repeatedly urged the use of hydroxychloroquine, which is used now for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It has potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use for coronavirus infections except in formal studies.

Doctors at Columbia tracked how 565 patients who did not get the drug fared compared to 811 others who received hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, a combo Trump also has touted.

In all, 180 patients required breathing tubes and 232 died, and the drug did not seem to affect the odds of either.

Pentagon ready for any new wave of coronavirus, Esper says

Update 4:45 p.m. EDT May 7: Venturing beyond Washington for the first time since March, Defense Secretary Mark Esper got updated Thursday on the military’s coronavirus battle plan and declared the Pentagon ready for any new wave of infections.

“We are preparing for a second wave and maybe more,” said Esper, who took a variety of health precautions during his visit to U.S. Northern Command headquarters, including wearing a mask when social distancing wasn’t possible. “We don’t know what the trajectory of this virus will be.”

He added, ”We are preparing for the long haul.”

Esper’s visit comes as he faces criticism from some Senate Democrats who say the Pentagon approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic has been slow and disjointed.

And it reflects Trump’s push for a reopening of the country and demonstrations of the administration’s shift from crisis management to rebooting a battered economy. Trump ended his isolation in the White House with a trip to Arizona on Tuesday to visit a face mask factory, and Vice President Mike Pence has made several recent trips.

Esper met at Northern Command with its leader, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, and participated in a “virtual battlefield circulation” — speaking via video conference with deployed military personnel working in civilian hospitals in New York and Connecticut.

O’Shaughnessy is the most senior commander managing the far-flung military contributions to civilian agencies fighting the pandemic.

Esper offered high praise for the work of the thousands of active-duty medical specialists who pitched it at overloaded civilian hospitals.

“In my view it has been flawless,” he said during the video chat. “You guys made a great difference.”

Restaurants, salons will be allowed to reopen this month in Ohio

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 7: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio announced Thursday that some businesses in the state will be allowed to reopen beginning next week, according to WHIO-TV.

Hair salons, barbershops, day spas and nail salons will be allowed to reopen beginning May 15, according to the news station. Cosmetologists will be required to wear masks while performing services but requirements for customers were at the discretion of individual businesses, WHIO-TV reported.

Restaurants and bars will also be allowed to reopen for outside dining beginning May 15 with some restrictions, including mandatory social distancing measures. Both are slated to be allowed to reopen for inside dining May 21, according to WHIO-TV.

State health officials said that as of Thursday, 22,131 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Ohio. Authorities said 1,271 people have died of the viral infection.

>> Read more on WHIO.com

Effort underway to expand coronavirus testing, NIH chief says

Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 7: With more GOP lawmakers in Congress joining Democrats in calling for a dramatic expansion of coronavirus testing in the United States, a top federal health expert told Senators on Thursday that unprecedented efforts are underway to forge a partnership with private companies to produce large scale efforts on virus tests.

"In 27 years at NIH, I honestly have never seen anything move this quickly," said Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health.

More than 30,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the UK

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 7: Officials in the United Kingdom said that as of Thursday more than 30,000 people have died of coronavirus infections in the country.

Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time, 30,615 people had died of COVID-19.

Numbers released by the Department of Health and Social Care showed the country remained 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 221,000 cases while authorities in Italy said more than 215,000 cases have been reported.

Officials in Washington walk back statements on ‘COVID-19 parties’

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT May 7: Public health officials in Walla Walla County, Washington, have walked back statements they made earlier this week regarding reports of “COVID-19 parties” being held in the community, according to KIRO-TV.

Earlier in the week, county health officials said they’d received reports about parties being held in which non-infected people mingled with others who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to try to get the virus, KIRO-TV reported.

Walla Walla County Department of Community Health Director Meghan DeBolt issued a statement late Wednesday saying her earlier remarks were incorrect.

“After receiving further information, we have discovered that there were not intentional COVID parties," DeBolt said. "Just innocent endeavors.”

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.

>> Read more on KIRO7.com

Delaware governor postpones presidential primary again

Update 2 p.m. EDT May 7: Gov. John Carney of Delaware on Thursday pushed back the state’s presidential primary for the second time due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Carney said the vote will now take place July 7.

The governor added that he’s ordered state election officials to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered Democrats and Republicans.

“Delawareans have a basic, fundamental right to vote, and these changes will allow all Delaware voters to safely exercise that right,” Carney said in a statement released Thursday.

1,827 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 7: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 1,827 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 133,635.

Officials also reported 254 new fatal COVID-19 cases. Statewide, 8,801 people have died of coronavirus.

Coronavirus death toll nears 30,000 in Italy

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT May 7: The death toll in Italy neared 30,000 on Thursday as the number of active coronavirus infections continued to fall, according to numbers released by health officials.

Authorities said 29,958 people have died of COVID-19 in the country. Numbers released by health officials showed the number of people who have recovered from coronavirus infections topped the number of active cases. As of Thursday, 89,624 coronavirus infections remained active while 96,276 people had recovered from the virus.

Since the beginning of the viral outbreak, officials have identified 215,858 COVID-19 cases nationwide. Italy has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind Spain, which has more than 221,000 cases, and the United States, which has more than 1.2 million cases, according to health officials and numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Texas governor amends shutdown order after salon owner jailed for reopening

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 7: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas announced Thursday that he’s modified his coronavirus-related executive orders to “eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating these orders” after a salon owner faced a week in jail for reopening early.

“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said. “As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place.”

The governor said the order was retroactive to April 2 and “if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.”

Luther, owner of Dallas’ Salon A La Mode, reopened her business April 24 after non-essential businesses were told to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reported. A judge ordered her jailed for a week after finding her criminally and civilly in contempt of court but the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday reversed the decision.

US shelves detailed guide to reopening country

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 7: The Trump administration has declined to release a 17-page report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailing recommendations for reopening churches, restaurants and other public places closed due to the coronavirus, according to The Associated Press.

The report, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework," was supposed to be published May 1, but an unidentified CDC official told the AP that agency scientists were told it “would never see the light of day.”

An unidentified source told the AP that CDC leadership never cleared the document to be publicly released and that White House officials have refrained from offering detailed guidance for how specific sectors should reopen because the virus is affecting various parts of the country differently.

During an interview Thursday with CNN, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut criticized the decision to withhold the document.

“What do you got to hide?” he asked, according to the news network. “Let us hear from the experts. I think we’ll be able to make much better decisions accordingly. Don’t politicize this."

New York reports 231 new fatal coronavirus cases

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of new coronavirus-related deaths held steady Thursday with 231 new fatal cases of COVID-19 reported.

The number was slightly lower than the 232 new fatal cases reported Wednesday.

Cuomo said the state’s number of new daily coronavirus infections has continued to fall, though he characterized the move as “painfully slow."

Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 7: Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus has become the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with Neiman Marcus Group Inc. filed Thursday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas. Like many other retailers, the 112-year-old chain closed its stores nationwide in mid-March due to the coronavirus.

“Prior to COVID-19, Neiman Marcus Group was making solid progress on our journey to long-term profitable and sustainable growth,” the company’s CEO and chairman, Geoffroy van Raemdonck, said in a statement released Thursday. “However, like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed inexorable pressure on our business.”

Company officials said they expect to emerge from bankruptcy by fall.

As part of Thursday’s filing, officials with the Dallas-based department store chain said they’ve secured $675 million in financing from creditors to keep operating during the restructuring, holding over two-thirds of the company’s debt.

Last month, J. Crew became the first company to file for bankruptcy as a result of the novel coronavirus. Experts believe there will be more to come even as there are moves to reopen businesses in parts of the country like Texas and Florida.

Valet for Trump tests positive for COVID-19, report says

Update 11 a.m. EDT May 7: A member of the U.S. Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported Thursday, citing an unidentified source.

In a statement obtained by the news network, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley confirmed that “a member of the United States military who works on the White House campus has tested positive for coronavirus.”

“The president and vice president have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health,” Gidley said, according to CNN.

The news network reported the valet, who was not identified, began to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning.

193 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 193 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 5,654.

Bowser also said eight more people between the ages of 71 and 94 died of COVID-19. As of Thursday, 285 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Oklahoma hospital forgiving $2.1 million in outstanding medical debt amid coronavirus pandemic

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT May 7: Officials with Tulsa ER & Hospital in Oklahoma announced Wednesday that they will forgive $2.1 million in outstanding medical debt for patients who got care from the facility between December and April, KOKI-TV reported.

“In the midst of the pandemic, many individuals are struggling financially," said the hospital’s medical director, Dr. Mark Blubaugh, according to KOKI-TV. "This is our way of helping our community and the people that have supported our facility.”

Officials at the physician-owned hospital told KOKI-TV that debts would automatically be forgiven for those who qualify.

>> Read more on Fox23.com

Stocks open higher as acceleration of economic pain eases

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Stocks climbed Thursday in early trading on Wall Street as reports suggested that even though the economy is still suffering severely, the pace of pain may be decelerating. The S&P 500 rose 1.3%, following similar gains in Europe.

The day’s headliner economic report showed another 3.2 million U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total over the last seven weeks to 33.5 million. It’s a shocking number, but it’s also the fifth straight week of decline since hitting a peak in late March. Several companies including Lyft and PayPal said they were seeing some encouraging trends in their businesses.

100 infected, 10 dead as coronavirus sweeps through Atlanta nursing home

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT May 7: More than 100 patients have tested positive for coronavirus infections at an Atlanta nursing home where 10 people have so far died of the virus, according to WSB-TV.

Numbers released by the Georgia Department of Community Health show that only 25 residents at the Legacy Transitional Care and Rehab facility in northeast Atlanta have not tested positive for COVID-19, WSB-TV reported.

As of Thursday morning, officials have confirmed 31,150 cases of COVID-19 statewide, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Officials said 1,328 people have died of coronavirus infections in the state.

>> Read more on WSBTV.com

North Carolina considering taking regional approach to reopening, governor says

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT May 7: Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina told WSOC-TV that officials are considering taking a regional approach to reopening businesses closed by the threat of the novel coronavirus.

“We’re working to see if we can provide a regional approach to this,” Cooper said, according to WSOC-TV.

“We think having a statewide floor is the most important thing we can do, and we are going to continue to work with local legislators and local elected officials as we move from phase to phase in trying to reignite our economy and keep people safe.”

Health officials said 12,758 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections as of Wednesday morning, the most recent date for which data was available. Officials said 477 people have died.

>> Read more on WSOCTV.com

FDA clears coronavirus vaccine candidate for phase 2 trials, company says

Update 9:15 a.m. EDT May 7: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared Moderna Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine for phase 2 trials, the company announced Thursday morning.

Company officials said they plan to start the next phase of trials for the drug, mRNA-1273, “shortly" with 600 participants. Moderna hopes to begin phase 3 trials of the drug in early summer.

Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, called the move a “crucial step” toward potentially approving the drug, a decision which the company expects could come as early as 2021.

3.2 million more Americans file for jobless claims

Update 8:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the business shutdowns caused by the viral outbreak deepened the worst U.S. economic catastrophe in decades.

Roughly 33.5 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the seven weeks since the coronavirus began forcing millions of companies to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is the equivalent of one in five Americans who had been employed back in February, when the unemployment rate had reached a 50-year low of just 3.5%.

On Friday, the government will issue the April jobs report, and it’s likely to be the worst since modern record-keeping began after World War II. The unemployment rate is forecast to reach at least 16%, the highest rate since the Great Depression, and economists estimate that 21 million jobs were lost last month. If so, it would mean that nearly all the job growth in the 11 years since the Great Recession ended has vanished in a single month.

Worldwide cases surge toward 3.8M, total deaths top 264K

Update 7:46 a.m. EDT May 7: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 264,111 early Thursday, 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 3,769,150 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 83,970.

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,228,609 cases, resulting in 73,431 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 220,325 cases, resulting in 25,857 deaths.

Italy has reported 214,457 cases resulting in 29,684 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 202,359 cases, resulting in 30,150 deaths.

Russia has confirmed 177,160 cases, resulting in 1,625 deaths.

France has confirmed 174,224 cases resulting in 25,812 deaths.

Germany has reported 168,162 cases, resulting in 7,275 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 131,744 cases, resulting in 3,584 deaths

Brazil has recorded 126,611 cases, resulting in 8,588 deaths.

Iran has recorded 101,650 cases, resulting in 6,418 deaths.

Britain deems shipment of 400K protective medical gowns from Turkey ‘useless’

Update 7:12 a.m. EDT May 7: Britain’s National Health Service has rejected some 400,000 protective medical gowns purchased from Turkey, calling them unfit for use, the BBC reported.

According to The Telegraph, the long-anticipated delivery was inexplicably delayed before the shipment was “impounded in a warehouse outside Heathrow Airport.”

Job postings plummet amid coronavirus crisis, new tracker shows

Update 6:42 a.m. EDT May 7: Postings for job openings have dwindled steadily since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new economic data tracker developed by economists at Harvard and Brown universities.

The tracker indicates a 40% decrease in job postings between January and April 25, The Wall Street Journal reported, noting the steepest drop occurred among jobs targeting workers without a college degree.

NFL issues protocols for reopening facilities as coronavirus concerns linger

Update 5:34 a.m. EDT May 7: In a memo issued Wednesday, the National Football League outlined the protocols that teams must follow for facilities to reopen once local restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic are lifted.

The following protocols must be in place by May 15, The Washington Post reported, for team facilities to be considered for reopening:

• Temperature checks of employees and visitors

• Social distancing measures inside offices

• Use of face coverings

• Appointment of an infection control officer by each team

Customers violating virus restrictions shot 2 McDonald’s employees when asked to leave

Update 5:22 a.m. EDT May 7: Two customers shot two Oklahoma City McDonald’s employees on Wednesday after being told to leave the location’s dining area which had reached capacity under recent novel coronavirus restrictions.

Oklahoma City Police Lt. Michelle Henderson told media outlets that two workers were shot and a third was injured during “the melee that ensued,” CNN reported.

Coronavirus restrictions pummel Costco’s sales, marking first decline in more than a decade

Update 5:07 a.m. EDT May 7: Costco Wholesale’s monthly sales have decreased for the first time in nearly 12 years, as the company struggles to combat restricted customer flow, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Despite the widespread hoarding of supplies reported in the novel coronavirus pandemic’s early days, comparable sales – meaning those from stores operating for at least 12 months – fell by 0.5% for the four-week period ended May 3.

The figures do not, however, reflect the impact of gasoline and currency fluctuations. According to the Journal, sales decreased by 4.7% with those factors included.

Japan to fast-track approval for remdesivir to fight COVID-19

Update 4:54 a.m. EDT May 7: Japan is set to approve the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for the novel coronavirus, making it the first drug licensed in that nation to address the pandemic, CNN reported.

The United States authorized the emergency use of the drug to treat COVID-19 patients on May 1.

Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s health minister, said on Tuesday that a panel of experts would meet Thursday to help push remdesivir’s approval through as quickly as possible. According to public broadcaster NHK, the traditional one-year approval process has been shortened to one week because of the pandemic’s dire public health and safety effects, CNN reported.

Rhode Island mayor urges residents to ‘socially shame’ people without masks

Update 4:38 a.m. EDT May 7: If residents of Providence, Rhode Island, want to shame their neighbors for refusing to wear masks in public as the novel coronavirus continues its march across the nation, the city’s mayor says go for it.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said Tuesday during an on-air interview with WPRO that the city’s limited resources prevent it from adequately responding to social distancing and personal protection violations, so residents will need to police their neighbors, the Providence Journal reported.

“You should socially shame them, so they fall in line,” he said.

Blood thinners show promise in treating patients with severe COVID-19 infections, study finds

Update 3:26 a.m. EDT May 7: Doctors in New York have noticed a hopeful trend among some of their sickest COVID-19 patients, and the best news is that the medications suspected of improving outcomes already exist and are widely available.

A team of physicians from New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital announced Wednesday that they have determined anticoagulants, or those substances that thin a patient’s blood, are helping virus-infected patients bust potentially fatal blood clots that have caused a shocking number of sudden deaths in otherwise healthy, often younger COVID-19-positive people.

“The patients who received anticoagulants did better than those who didn’t,” Dr. Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of Mount Sinai Hospital, told CNN.

“This has implications already. People, I believe, should treat these patients with antithrombotics,” Fuster told the network.

In their broadest sense, antithrombotics are a class of medications that act upon clotting processes in the human body. Two types are antiplatelets and anticoagulants. While antiplatelets limit the movement and collection of platelets, anticoagulants limit the ability of blood to clot.

The Mount Sinai team continues to investigate and has not yet provided any concrete recommendations for other physicians.

US coronavirus cases top 1.2M, deaths approach 75K

Update12:36 a.m. EDT May 7: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.2 million early Thursday 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 1,228,603 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 73,431 deaths. Of those cases, nearly 324,000 have been reported in New York, meaning the state has confirmed more cases than any other nation outside the United States, including Germany with 168,162, France with 174,224, the United Kingdom with 202,359, Italy with 214,457 and Spain with 220,325.

Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 25,623 – 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 323,978 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 131,890 and Massachusetts with 72,025.

Nine other states have now confirmed at least 30,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

Illinois: 68,232 cases, resulting in 2,834 deaths

California: 60,616 cases, resulting in 2,464 deaths

Pennsylvania: 54,800 cases, resulting in 3,345

Michigan: 45,179 cases, resulting in 4,256 deaths

Florida: 38,002 cases, resulting in 1,539 deaths

Texas: 34,928 cases, resulting in 954 deaths

Connecticut: 30,995 cases, resulting in 2,718 deaths

Georgia: 30,743 cases, resulting in 1,327 deaths

Louisiana: 30,399 cases, resulting in 2,167 deaths

Meanwhile, 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 and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases; Iowa and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Arizona and Missouri each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Wisconsin, Alabama, Minnesota and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; South Carolina and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases; Kansas, Kentucky, Delaware, Nevada, Utah 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 3,611; and Oregon, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Idaho each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.