Coronavirus: Mississippi hospitals facing potential bed shortages as cases increase

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Nearly 3.3 million people worldwide – including more than 1 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

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Live updates for Friday, May 1, continue below:

Mississippi hospitals facing potential bed shortages as cases increase

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT May 1: State health officials said Mississippi is using 554 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients which is the highest number from the hospital so far.

State health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said 160 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU and another 75 are on ventilators.

Dobbs said those numbers are stable but they aren’t improving either.

Additionally, he said health providers are starting to see their bed capacity shrink, and it’s not all from COVID-19

Dobbs said more people are seeking treatment because it was delayed by the pandemic.

“There will be additional stresses, just please let everyone beware are still in a very serious phase of this, we want to get thing back to normal and there are safe ways to do that but the more people do of their own vigilance to be safe helps all of us so we can get back to normal more quickly,” Dobbs said.

Despite the new cases, there have been thousands of recoveries.

The Mississippi health department said more than 34-hundred people have recovered.

Protests mark growing unrest with California stay-home order

Update 10:30 p.m. EDT May 1: Californians weary of stay-at-home orders that have left millions unemployed staged displays of defiance Friday, with hundreds of flag-waving protesters gathering at the Capitol and along a famed Southern California beach, while a sparsely populated county on the Oregon border allowed diners back in restaurants and reopened other businesses.

While much of the state’s population remained behind closed doors to deter the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged the building anxiety while repeatedly teasing the possibility the state could begin relaxing some aspects of the restrictions next week.

“We are all impatient,” the governor said during his daily briefing, adding “We have to be really deliberative on how we reopen this economy.”

Newsom noted the state just passed the grim marks of 50,000 confirmed infections and 2,000 deaths but that hospitalization statistics are heading in a better direction and that has him hopeful.

Georgia budget writers ask agencies to ready cuts amid virus

Update 9:50 p.m. EDT May 1: Forecasting a major blow to the state’s economy and revenue collections due to the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia lawmakers in charge of the state budget sent a memo on Friday asking agencies to prepare for cuts of 14% across the board, totaling nearly $4 billion.

The call for reductions comes as some retail stores and malls in Georgia began to reopen on the first day after Gov. Brian Kemp lifted a statewide stay-at-home order, part of one of the most aggressive pushes of any state in the nation to reopen. Businesses like restaurants, tattoo parlors and movie theaters were already able to allow customers back in with restrictions.

Total confirmed infections in Georgia surpassed 27,490 on Friday, according to the latest data from the state’s Department of Public Health. The state has counted at least 1,166 deaths caused by the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 14 Georgia meat processing plants had reported virus outbreaks through Monday.

N Korea’s Kim Jong Un appears in public amid health rumors

Update 8:50 p.m. EDT May 1: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in 20 days as he celebrated the completion of a fertilizer factory near Pyongyang, state media said Saturday, ending an absence that had triggered global rumors that he may be seriously ill.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim attended the ceremony Friday in Sunchon with other senior officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong, who many analysts predict would take over if her brother is suddenly unable to rule.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published several photos of Kim wearing black and smiling as he looked around the factory and cut a red ribbon, his sister looking from behind. Seemingly thousands of workers, many of them masked, stood in lines at the massive complex, releasing balloons into the air.

It was Kim’s first public appearance since April 11, when he presided over a ruling Workers’ Party meeting to discuss the coronavirus and reappoint his sister as an alternate member of the powerful decision-making Political Bureau of the party’s Central Committee. That move confirmed her substantial role in the government.

White House blocking Fauci testimony, panel spokesman says

Update 7:10 p.m. EDT May 1: A spokesman for a key House panel said Friday that the White House has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying next week at a hearing on the coronavirus outbreak.

House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said the panel sought Fauci — the highly respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — as a witness for a subcommittee hearing on the government’s response to the pandemic, but was denied. Hollander said the panel was informed by an administration official that Fauci’s testimony was blocked by the White House.

He wouldn’t identify who informed the committee that Fauci would not appear.

The White House said Fauci is busy dealing with the pandemic and will appear before Congress later.

“While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”

Washington governor announces phases for lifting virus restrictions

Update 6:30 p.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Friday that the statewide stay-at-home order set to expire Monday was extended through May 31.

During his Friday afternoon news conference, Inslee said businesses would be able to reopen in four phases while modifying physical distancing measures.

There will be a minimum of three weeks between each phase, though he said some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths may be able to open parts of their economy sooner if approved by the Department of Health.

More than 1200 coronavirus cases found at Tennessee correctional center

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT May 1: After more than 1200 positive cases were discovered at one Tennessee correctional center, Governor Bill Lee’s said Friday that a mass COVID-19 testing initiative will begin next week for all Tennessee Department of Correction staff and the inmates in their care.

The Governor’s office released the following information Friday afternoon.

“Knowing the extent of the virus’s spread within our correctional facilities is critical as incarcerated individuals remain one of the most vulnerable populations during this pandemic,” said Gov. Lee. “Thanks to our increased capacity, we’ll test all inmates and staff statewide in order to take appropriate actions to safeguard the health of these vulnerable individuals.”

Today, TDOC confirmed more than 1,246 COVID-19 positive cases, out of 2,450 total tests, among staff and inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Trousdale County, following a targeted testing event at the facility that began on April 28.


FDA allows emergency use of remdesivir

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 1: U.S. regulators on Friday allowed emergency use of an experimental drug that appears to help some coronavirus patients recover faster.

It is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide.

President Donald Trump announced the news at the White House alongside Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who said the drug would be available for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

The FDA acted after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31%, or about four days on average, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The study of 1,063 patients is the largest and most strict test of the drug and included a comparison group that received just usual care so remdesivir’s effects could be rigorously evaluated.

Remdesivir receives emergency use authorization from FDA, Trump says

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 1: President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug remdesivir, according to multiple reports.

Earlier this week, officials said a study conducted in hospitals worldwide showed the drug from Gilead Sciences had reduced the recovery time for patients hit by the virus. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health, heralded the news, which he said proved that the drug could block the virus.

Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences, said during an interview Friday morning on NBC’s “Today” show that the company was working closely with the FDA to get quick approval for emergency use of the drug.

“I expect that they are going to act very quickly and we are prepared as a company to make sure we get this medicine to as many patients as possible as soon as possible after that approval,” he said.

Number of COVID-19 patients declines again in Italy

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 1: The number of active coronavirus infections reported in Italy continues to decline, falling Friday to 100,943, according to numbers released by health officials.

Authorities said that as of Friday, 28,236 people have died in the country of novel coronavirus infections.

Since the beginning of the viral outbreak, officials have identified 207,428 COVID-19 cases in Italy. The country has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind Spain, which has more than 215,000 cases, and the United States, which has more than 1 million cases, according to health officials and numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

New Mexico governor seals off roads in hard-hit city

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT May 1: The governor of New Mexico invoked the state’s Riot Control Act on Friday as she sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in the city of Gallup to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post city on the outskirts of the Navajo Nation.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also announced a ban on routine outings and required that businesses close from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the city of about 70,000 people.

COVID-19 infection rates in Gallup and surrounding McKinley County make it one of the worst U.S. hotspots for the pandemic as patients overwhelm intensive care facilities.

Lujan Grisham said the virus has run amok in McKinley County and physical distancing is not being maintained among residents.

“A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this contagious, is a problem for our entire state,” she said.

2,651 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 3 p.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that 2,651 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 121,190.

Officials also reported 311 new fatal COVID-19 cases. Statewide, 7,538 people have died of coronavirus.

Massachusetts to require people wear face coverings in public

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said Friday that he’s signed an executive order requiring people wear face coverings in public if they can’t keep more than 6 feet away from others, WFXT reported.

Baker said the order, which will go into effect Wednesday, applies to anyone over the age of 2, according to WFXT.

Governor announces re-opening plan for Pennsylvania

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania on Friday announced that two dozen counties statewide will see the lifting of some restrictions put in place due to the novel coronavirus, according to WPXI.

The counties will be moved from the state’s “red” to its “yellow” stage, WPXI reported.

“Working together, we Pennsylvanians have flattened the curve,” Wolf said Friday at a news conference.

He added that officials chose the counties which would be allowed to reopen “in part because they have low per capita case counts.”

“They must continue to abide by the underlying message of yellow: proceed with caution," Wolf said. “The yellow phase recognizes that outbreaks of COVID-19 are still possible.”

White House press secretary to hold 1st news briefing

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT May 1: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is scheduled to hold her first news briefing Friday afternoon.

Everglades National Park reopening in phases beginning Monday

Update 2 p.m. EDT May 1: The National Park Service announced Friday that it will begin a phased approach to reopening Florida’s Everglades National Park starting Monday.

As of Monday, officials will open boat launch ramps, the Flamingo Marina Store, gas pumps and some restrooms. All visitor centers and public buildings, the West Lake area, the Flamingo campground and other areas will remain closed.

“Our action to restore access to the park’s main road and Flamingo provides additional opportunities for people to spread out a little more while practicing social distancing," Superintendent Pedro Ramos said Friday in a statement.

UK officials report 6,201 new cases of COVID-19

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT May 1: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 6,201 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the country’s number of COVID-19 cases to 171,253.

Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced that a total of 27,510 have died in the U.K. due to the novel coronavirus. The number is 739 higher than the fatal cases reported nationwide Thursday.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has prison release rescinded, report says

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT May 1: President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, had been set to serve out the rest of his 3-year sentence under home confinement until Friday, when unidentified sources told ABC News the decision was rescinded, according to the news network.

The Associated Press reported last month that Cohen would be released due to the threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He has been imprisoned at FCI Otisville in New York after pleading guilty to several charges, including lying to Congress and tax evasion.

Authorities previously announced that they would be looking into releasing inmates at risk of contracting coronavirus infections to see if they could be released on home confinement. According to the Bureau of Prisons, 10 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at FCI Otisville.

Citing sources, ABC News reported that along with Cohen, all other inmates at FCI Otisville who had been approved for home confinement also had those orders rescinded. The reasons behind the decisions were not immediately clear.

Louisiana reports spike in new coronavirus cases

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 1: Officials in Louisiana reported 710 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 28,711.

The number is the highest reported in the state since April 11, when 761 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, according to numbers released by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Officials said that statewide, at least 1,927 people have died of COVID-19.

Stores allowed to reopen in Colorado

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT May 1: Getting a haircut and shopping in person at retail stores were allowed again in much of Colorado starting Friday as the state continues to ease restrictions set up to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Stay-at-home orders remained in place in Denver and some surrounding counties, with only essential businesses like grocery, liquor and hardware stores open there.

Goodwill reopened 16 stores around Colorado with changes to protect people’s safety. Dressing rooms are closed and one-way aisles were set up to make it easier for customers to stay 6 feet apart.

Elective surgeries and curbside pickup at retail shops were allowed to begin outside the Denver area on Monday in the first wave of the relaxation of restrictions under Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ “safer at home” order.

Offices can reopen starting Monday but only with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing.

Mnuchin: Private schools should return loans meant for struggling small businesses

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT May 1: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that private schools that have received loans through a federal program meant to shore up small businesses struggling due to the coronaviurs pandemic should return the funds.

“It has come to our attention that some private schools with significant endowments have taken (Paycheck Protection Program) loans,” Mnuchin said in a Twitter post. "They should return them."

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported on several private schools that have taken out PPP loans despite fears over the scrutiny such decisions would bring. Officials with Sidwell Friends School in Bethesda, Maryland, a private school that Chelsea Clinton attended which has a $53.4 million endowment, told the newspaper they would accept a $5.2 million PPP loan.

“We recognize that our decision to accept this loan may draw criticism from some quarters of the community but are fully united in our decision,” school officials told the Times.

Texas Motor Speedway to host ‘hands-free’ high school graduation ceremonies

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT May 1: Several schools in Denton County, Texas, will hold socially distanced commencement ceremonies for their seniors at the Texas Motor Speedway, according to officials.

Organizers said 23 high schools will hold their ceremonies at the speedway in the coming weeks. Parents and family members will be allowed to park in the speedway’s infield. They will be asked to stay in their vehicles during the ceremony, which will also be livestreamed for family members who are at high-risk of contracting a coronavirus infection. Organizers said the events would be “hands-free.”

“A high school graduation ceremony is such an important achievement and lifelong memory for students as well as their families and friends," Eddie Gossage, president and CEO of Texas Motor Speedway, said Friday in a statement. "We are honored by the opportunity to support each and every Denton County high school graduate as best we can in these difficult times.”

Schools to remain closed in New York through end of academic year

Update 12 p.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced Friday that schools in the state will remain closed through the end of the academic year as officials investigate best practices for social distancing in school settings.

The governor said that among the questions officials are looking to answer are, “How many more rooms do you need to do this? how many buses do you need to socially distance on a bus? how about a cafeteria? ... How about a dorm room?”

Cuomo said officials will make a determination later this month about whether to return to classrooms for summer school.

“There’s no decision on the fall because the fall is a long time away,” Cuomo said.

New York reports 289 new fatal coronavirus cases

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 1: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the number of new coronavirus-related deaths continued to slow Friday with 289 new fatal cases of COVID-19 reported.

The number was less than the 306 new fatal cases reported Thursday and the 330 new fatal cases reported the day before.

Cuomo said about 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 are still being reported each day in New York.

“That is still too high a number of new cases to have a day,” the governor said. “It’s a lot better than where we were, for sure, but still, 1,000 new cases every day is a high infection rate.”

Southwest Airlines to require passengers wear masks on flights

Update 11:30 a.m. EDT May 1: Southwest Airlines has become the latest air carrier to announce it will require passengers wear face masks on board its flights to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a message to customers shared Friday morning, company officials said masks would be required beginning May 11. Passengers who forget to bring their masks will be provided one, according to the airliner.

The company also announced it is suspending snack and beverage service to prevent contact between people and limiting the number of people onboard each of its flights.

Nurses holding May Day strikes, demanding better protections against COVID-19

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT May 1: Nurses working at 139 hospitals in 13 states are holding May Day protests calling for more protections against COVID-19 such as “optimal (personal protective equipment),” according to National Nurses United.

The union, which is the nation’s largest for registered nurses, announced the protests in a statement Thursday.

“Nurses signed up to care for their patients,” National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo said Thursday. “They did not sign up to sacrifice their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At least 60 nurses nationwide have died of COVID-19, “although due to lack of testing, the numbers is surely higher,” according to National Nurses United.

Healthcare workers nationwide have complained of PPE shortages. In March, images surfaced of nurses wearing garbage bags instead of surgical gowns at a hospital in New York City, Fox News reported. A similar situation unfolded last month in Oakland, California after nurses said they were not given proper protective gear, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

335 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 1: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that 335 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 4,658.

The number of new cases is higher than the 217 new infections reported one day earlier.

Bowser said seven more people between the ages of 55 and 84 also died of COVID-19. As of Friday, 231 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Spies attempting to steal data on efforts to create COVID-19 vaccine, US official says

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT May 1: A senior U.S. intelligence official has told BBC News that the government has warned medical research organizations of efforts by foreign spy agencies to steal data about efforts to create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

“We have been working with our industry and government folk here very closely to ensure they are protecting all the research and data as best they can,” he said, according to BBC News.

“We have every expectation that foreign intelligence services, to include the Chinese Communist Party, will attempt to obtain what we are making here.”

Last month, Reuters reported that FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Urgoretz said the bureau had seen evidence that state-backed foreign government hackers have broken into companies and research institutions that are conducting research related to COVID-19.

“We certainly have seen reconnaissance activity, and some intrusions, into some of those institutions, especially those that have publicly identified themselves as working on COVID-related research,” Urgoretz said, according to Reuters.

WHO asks to be allowed to join Chinese investigation into origins of novel coronavirus

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT May 1: Officials with the World Health Organization told AFP on Friday that they hope to be invited to join Chinese investigators delving into the origin of the novel coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands of people worldwide and sickened millions more.

“WHO would be keen to work with international partners and, at the invitation of the Chinese government, to participate in (an) investigation around the animal origins,” the U.N. health organization’s spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, told AFP.

Several investigations are ongoing into the cause of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, President Donald Trump speculated China could have unleashed the virus accidentally as part of a laboratory accident. Earlier in the day, U.S. intelligence officials said in a statement that they believe the virus was “not manmade or genetically modified” although they said they continued to investigate whether the outbreak could have been sparked by a laboratory accident.

Wall Street opens lower but stays on track for a weekly gain

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 1: Stocks opened lower Friday on Wall Street but they’re still on track for a weekly gain.

The S&P 500 fell 2% early in the day. Several companies fell after reporting results that showed how severely the coronavirus disruptions are affecting their industries.

Amazon’s revenue rose but its costs related to dealing with the virus also spiked, causing its profits to drop. Exxon Mobil fell after reporting that its profit fell as demand for energy sank.

Bond yields held steady and the price of oil rose slightly.

Stocks fell in Tokyo and London, but many other world markets were closed for the May Day holiday.

Gilead ‘moving very quickly with the FDA’ to get approval for remdesivir

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT May 1: Gilead Sciences is working with the FDA to quickly get approval to use the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat novel coronavirus patients after a recent study touted by officials showed the drug helped speed the healing process for some patients.

“The collaboration with the FDA and with Commissioner (Stephen) Hahn and the team has been terrific," Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said Friday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I expect that they are going to act very quickly and we are prepared as a company to make sure we get this medicine to as many patients as possible as soon as possible after that approval.”

Earlier this week, a study conducted in hospitals worldwide showed remdesivir had reduced the recovery time for patients hit by the virus. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health, heralded the news, which he said proved that the drug could block the virus.

Worldwide cases surge toward 3.3M, total deaths approach 234K

Update 7:53 a.m. EDT May 1: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 233,704 early Friday, 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 3,271,961 people worldwide. Meanwhile, nearly one in every four deaths reported worldwide has occurred in the United States. Meanwhile, 10 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s with Brazil’s cases surging in the past week near 90,000.

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

• The United States has reported 1,070,032 cases, resulting in 63,019 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 213,435 cases, resulting in 24,543 deaths.

Italy has reported 205,463 infections, resulting in 27,967 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 172,481 cases, resulting in 26,842 deaths.

France has confirmed 167,299 infections, resulting in 24,410 deaths.

Germany has reported 163,009 cases, resulting in 6,23 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 120,204 cases, resulting in 3,174 deaths

Russia has confirmed 114,431 cases, resulting in 1,169 deaths.

Iran has recorded 94,640 cases, resulting in 6,091 deaths.

Brazil has recorded 87,187 cases, resulting in 6,006 deaths.

University of Notre Dame rejects federal stimulus funds for coronavirus

Update 7:40 a.m. EDT May 1: The University of Notre Dame has become the latest high-profile institution to reject public funds to respond to the novel coronavirus.

The private Indiana school turned down $6 million it was allocated as part of the $14 billion higher-education provision in the federal CARES Act. The funds are intended to help low-income students pay for school as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks financial havoc, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Notre Dame officials originally said on April22 that the school would accept the funds and direct them “exclusively for direct financial aid to students whose families have been struck by unemployment or otherwise upended by the pandemic.”

Tensions flared, however, when U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R., Ind.) sent the school a letter urging it to consider using its $11 billion endowment toward that purpose instead.

Trump panel to investigate nursing home responses to coronavirus outbreaks

Update 6:18 a.m. EDT May 1: U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday the formation of an independent commission charged with evaluating nursing home responses to the novel coronavirus.

Trump acknowledged during a White House event that nursing homes were “a spot that we have to take care of. I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot, because things are happening at the nursing homes that we’re not happy about,” NPR reported.

In turn, the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes is expected to evaluate nursing home protocols, determine how they were applied in response to the pandemic and make recommendations for improvements.

"We appreciate the commission and the plan of action announced today by the Trump administration as an important step forward to ensure long term care facilities receive the vital support needed during this unprecedented public health crisis,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said in a prepared statement.

Federal judge orders hundreds of immigration detainees released in Florida

Update 3:30 a.m. EDT May 1: A federal judge ruled Thursday in Miami that the U.S. government must release hundreds of immigrants being detained in three South Florida facilities, the Miami Herald reported.

“There is record evidence demonstrating that ICE has failed in its duty to protect the safety and general well-being of the petitioners,” U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke wrote, noting a “deliberate indifference” by the agency toward the health of detainees.

The ruling comes amid increasing concerns about novel coronavirus outbreaks inside detention centers nationwide.

Citing ICE data, The Washington Post reported at least 490 detainees have contracted the novel coronavirus, but none have died in custody.

Read Cooke’s order here.

66K excess US deaths a possible sign of coronavirus impact, CDC says

Update 3 a.m. EDT May 1: New estimates published Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the United States recorded 66,000 more deaths year-to-date than expected, signaling the impact of the novel coronavirus could be more lethal than official counts indicate.

The “excess deaths” estimates might provide public health officials with a more accurate not just of how many more people are dying than anticipated but how many more people are dying specifically from COVID-19 infections caused by the novel coronavirus, CNN reported.

The figures also seek to quantify how many people might not have ever been diagnosed with the virus but were indirectly impacted by it. For instance, anecdotal evidence suggests some people seeking treatment were turned away from overwhelmed medical facilities, while many others avoided hospitals entirely as the outbreak swept the nation and subsequently died at home from fatal conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

“Estimates of excess deaths can provide information about the burden of mortality potentially related to COVID-19, beyond the number of deaths that are directly attributed to COVID-19," the CDC report reads. “Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between observed numbers of deaths and expected numbers.”

US coronavirus deaths hit 63,006, total cases near 1.1M

Published 12:42 a.m. EDT May 1: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed one million early Friday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 1,069,664 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 63,006 deaths. Of those cases, more than 304,000 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 163,009, France with 167,299, the United Kingdom with 172,481 cases, Italy with 205,463 and Spain with 213,435.

Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 23,587 – or roughly 39% of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 7,228 in New Jersey and 3,789 in Michigan.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak with at least 304,372 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 118,652 and Massachusetts with 62,205.

Ten other states have now confirmed at least 20,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

Illinois: 52,918 cases, resulting in 2,355 deaths

California: 50,317 cases, resulting in 2,036 deaths

Pennsylvania: 47,971 cases, resulting in 2,475

Michigan: 41,379 cases, resulting in 3,789 deaths

Florida: 33,690, resulting in 1,268 deaths

Texas: 28,727, resulting in 812 deaths

Louisiana: 28,001, resulting in 1,905 deaths

Connecticut: 27,700, resulting in 2,257 deaths

Georgia: 26,276, resulting in 1,133 deaths

Maryland: 21,742, resulting in 1,140 deaths

Meanwhile, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and Colorado each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed closely by Washington state with 14,327; Tennessee and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases, followed closely by Rhode Island with 8,621; Missouri, Arizona, Iowa and Alabama each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Wisconsin, Mississippi and South Carolina each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases; Minnesota and Nevada each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; Delaware, Kentucky, Utah, Kansas, the District of Columbia and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Oregon, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Idaho each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.