WASHINGTON — This article contains ongoing U.S. and international updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Here are some key updates for Wednesday, May 6, 2020. You can find more details by scrolling through the story.
- President Trump says he did wear mask at Honeywell plant in Phoenix “for a period of time”
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for another stimulus package with more direct payments to individuals, unemployment insurance and small businesses, and help to state and local governments
- U.K. has become second country to record more than 30,000 deaths
- Former CDC director: US will reach 100,000 virus deaths by the end of May
- Republican-led Michigan Legislature suing Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
- Tyson Foods will begin limited operation Thursday of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa
- From Tuesday: US task force could wind down work by early June
There have been 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 72,000 deaths and nearly 190,000 people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been 3.73 million confirmed cases with more than 261,000 deaths and 1.2 million recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Trump says he did briefly wear mask in Phoenix
President Donald Trump says 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.
UK becomes second country to record more than 30,000 deaths
The U.K. has become the second country to record more than 30,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said at the government’s daily briefing that another 649 people in the U.K. have died in all settings, including hospitals and care homes, after testing positive for the coronavirus.
That takes the U.K.’s official death toll to 30,076, only behind the United States, which has more than 71,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
The British government is expected to extend the lockdown restrictions on Thursday when they come up for review, partly because deaths remain elevated despite falling when measured over a seven-day period.
Jenrick also said that just under 70,000 tests for the coronavirus were conducted on Tuesday. That’s short of the 100,000 target the government had set for the end of April, which it managed to achieve twice.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a new target for testing capacity of 200,000 tests a day by the end of May.
Ex-CDC director says US will reach 100,000 virus deaths by end of May
Tom Frieden, a former director of the CDC, testified at a House hearing that there will be 100,000 deaths in the United States by the end of May.
As bad as the crisis has been, “It’s just the beginning,” he said.
“Our war against COVID will be long and difficult.”
Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, a hearing participant, said reopening the economy can’t wait. “We’re safer from death if we’re not born,” he said.
Republican-led Michigan Legislature sues Democratic governor
The Republican-led Michigan Legislature is suing Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, asking a judge to declare invalid and unenforceable her stay-at-home order and other measures issued to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the state Court of Claims, says a 1945 law that gives the governor broad emergency powers to order such restrictions governs local, not statewide, declarations such as the one that has been in place since March.
It contends Whitmer needs legislative approval to extend the declaration and effectively keep intact the stay-home directive.
The order is in place at least through May 15 and generally requires people to shelter in place except to do critical jobs, exercise outdoors and buy groceries or other items.
Nearly 4,200 people in Michigan have died of complications from COVID-19.
Uber laying off 14% of workforce
The ride-sharing company Uber on Wednesday announced it will lay off 3,700 full-time employees in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also agreed to waive her base salary for the rest of the year. CNBC reported he made $1 million in base salary but gained the vast majority of his compensation from bonuses and stock awards in 2019.
Uber stock was down more than three percent as of Wednesday morning.
A 20-year Treasury bond; part of $2.99 trillion borrowing
The Treasury Department is detailing how it plans to borrow a record-breaking $2.99 trillion in debt this quarter which will include issuing for the first time since 1986 a 20-year bond.
The Treasury faces an unprecedented need for credit because of the trillions of dollars the government is spending to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the loss of millions of jobs. And the nation is likely headed for a deep recession.
Treasury officials said the 20-year bond will first be auctioned on May 20 with the goal of raising $20 billion. That will be followed by $17 billion auctions in June and July.
Spain to declare state of mourning over virus
Spanish Prime Minster Pedro Sánchez says that his government will declare a national state of mourning for the more than 25,800 deaths the European nation has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sánchez is appearing before Spain’s Parliament on Wednesday to ask for a fourth two-week extension of the state of emergency that has allowed his government to apply a strict lockdown that has reined in a savage COVID-19 outbreak. It appears he will have the support despite losing the backing of the main opposition party.
Spanish health authorities reported 244 new deaths over the previous 24 hours on Wednesday, taking the toll of virus fatalities to 25,857.
The figures, which are in line with the overall slowdown of the outbreak in Spain, don’t include thousands more who have died in nursing homes before they could be tested.
NYC's subways shut down for virus cleaning
It was the sounds of silence in New York City’s subway system, as the normally round-the-clock system shut down for train cleaning.
The trains, which had been running on a reduced schedule since late March, were scheduled to stop from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday. That's going to be the new daily routine, to allow for daily cleanings and for city workers to move homeless people who have been more visible in subway cars during the coronavirus.
The New York Police Department has assigned more than 1,000 officers to secure many of the system’s 472 stations, as fewer than 200 can be physically locked up.
Pelosi pushes ahead on massive virus bill, but GOP wary
House Democrats are seeking to drive the debate on the fifth coronavirus response bill, promising to produce a mega-package stuffed with Democratic priorities even as a chorus of GOP leaders voices hesitation about more spending.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises that the Democratic-controlled House will deliver legislation to help state and local governments through the COVID-19 crisis, along with additional money for direct payments to individuals, unemployment insurance and a third installment of aid to small businesses. The amount of funding is to be determined.
The California Democrat is leading the way as Democrats fashion a sweeping package that is expected to be unveiled soon even as the House stays closed while the Senate is open in the pandemic.
The contours of the next package are taking shape despite Republican resistance to more spending and a deepening debate over how best to confront the pandemic and its economic devastation. Some Republicans such as Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and a group of GOP governors want to be more generous to states confronting furloughs and cuts to services as revenues plummet and unemployment insurance and other costs spike.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it's time to push “pause” on more aid legislation — even as he repeated a “red line” demand that any new aid package include liability protections for hospitals, health care providers and businesses operating and reopening.
President Trump has a one-on-one interview with ABC News
During an exclusive interview with ABC News' "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir in Arizona, President Trump was asked what he would say to families who lost loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said, "I want to say, ‘I love you.' I want to say that we're doing everything we can."
"We're with you," he continued. "We're working with you. We're supplying vast amounts of money, like never before. We want that money to get to the people. and we want ‘em to get better."
The president said he has only spoken to a handful of families turning this trying time.
President Trump was also asked about the deadly risks if the country is reopened.
"It's possible there will be some because you won't be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is," Trump said. "But at the same time, we're going to practice social distancing, we're going to be washing hands, we're going to be doing a lot of the things that we've learned to do over the last period of time."
Tyson Foods to reopen pork plant in Iowa
Tyson Foods will begin limited operation Thursday of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, more than two weeks after closing the facility because of a coronavirus outbreak among workers, the company announced Tuesday.
Tyson said workers have been invited to tour the plant Wednesday to see enhanced safety measures and social distancing procedures that have been implemented. The plant has been closed since April 22, and the Iowa Department of Public
Health reports 444 workers have tested positive for the virus. The plant is Arkansas-based Tyson’s largest pork processing operation, with the ability to process 19,500 hogs per day. That accounts for 3.9% of the U.S. pork processing capacity, according to the National Pork Board.