More than 4.6 million people worldwide – including at least 1.4 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 to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.
Live updates for Sunday, May 17, continue below:
Florida Keys to reopen to visitors June 1
Update 11:14 p.m. EDT May 17: The Florida Keys will reopen to visitors June 1.
The Keys closed to tourists and visitors March 22. The checkpoints were set up March 27, WTVJ reported.
Hotels and other lodging accommodations will also be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.
Church service exposes more than 180 people to virus
Update 10:38 p.m. EDT May 17: A person who later tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a church service in California on Mother’s Day has possibly exposed more than 180 others to the virus.
“Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures,” officials said in a statement.
The name of the church or which city it is in was not released.
All of the other attendees who were exposed have been notified and told to quarantine.
9 people infected after outbreak at Wyoming nursing home
Update 9:21 p.m. EDT May 17: At least nine people have been infected with the coronavirus after an outbreak at a Wyoming nursing home.
Five employees and four residents at Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Wyoming Department of Health said on Sunday.
More results are expected. All employees and residents at the facility have been tested.
It’s unclear how the virus was introduced to the facility.
Kevin Harvick wins in NASCAR’s return to racing
Update 7:35 p.m. EDT May 17: Kevin Harvick won Sunday at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway in NASCAR’s return to racing.
The season had been postponed because of the coronavirus.
It had been 71 days since the series’ last event. There were no fans inside the speedway.
Alex Bowman finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.
This was the first of 20 races across seven Southern states between now and June 21. Darlington will host two more NASCAR races over the next three days.
Postal worker gives 2020 graduates along his route Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards
Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 17: A postal worker in New Hampshire is handing out Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to 2020 graduates along his route.
When Joshua Crowell noticed signs infomring passers by that a “2020 graduate lives here,” he wanted to do something to help students mark the accomplishment after traditional celebrations were scratched because of the coronavirus, NBC News reported.
Crowell said students who received a card have written him thank you notes in return. He has given out about 25 of the cards.
“I always keep extras in my lunchbox,” he told NBC News. “If I have to be on a different route, if I see a sign, I throw a stamp on it and put it in the box and go about my route.”
Oregon reports no virus deaths for three consecutive days
Update 5:52 p.m. EDT May 17: Oregon health officials reported no deaths because of the coronavirus for the third consecutive day.
The Oregon Health Authority did record nine new confirmed cases on Sunday, KGW reported.
Judge denies ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli’s request to leave prison
Update 3:12 p.m. EDT May 17: U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto denied convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli’s request to leave prison during the coronavirus pandemic so he could research a treatment, The Washington Post reported.
Shkreli, 37, known as “Pharma Bro,” is serving a seven-year sentence at a prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, after his 2017 conviction for defrauding investors.
Shkreli’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, asked federal authorities last month to allow his client to perform lab work from his fiancee’s New York City apartment for three months “under strict supervision.”
US death toll tops 89,000
Update 2:40 p.m. EDT May 17: The number of novel coronavirus deaths in the United States climbed past 89,000 Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the total amount of cases in the country neared 1.5 million across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 1,477,815 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 89,023 deaths.
The hardest-hit states remain New York with 28,049 deaths, and New Jersey with 10,362 deaths. Massachusetts was third with 5,705.
Trump to meet with restaurant industry leaders
Update 1:41 p.m. EDT May 17: President Donald Trump will welcome members of the restaurant industry Monday at the White House to discuss the impact of coronavirus, CNN reported.
Attendees will include chefs and other restaurant executives, the network reported, citing an anonymous source. It also is expected to include representatives of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
Cuomo takes COVID-19 test during news conference
Update 12:42 p.m. EDT May 17: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a coronavirus test Sunday during his daily news conference.
“It is so fast and so easy that even the governor can take this test,” Cuomo told reporters as he got a nasal swab.
The governor took the test to demonstrate there was no reason for people to avoid testing.
“I’m going to show you how fast and easy to take a test and demonstrate why there should be no reluctance,” Cuomo said.
New York is conducting about 40,000 COVID-19 tests per day, Cuomo said.
White House trade adviser: CDC ‘let the country down’ on testing
Update 11:59 a.m. EDT May 17: White House trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying the agency “let the country down” on testing.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Navarro said the CDC’s actions “set us back.”
“Early on in this crisis, the CDC, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space — really let the country down with the testing. Not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy they had a bad test and that set us back,” Navarro said.
A spokesperson for the CDC did not have an immediate comment.
WATCH: @chucktodd asks WH Adviser Peter Navarro: “Does the president have confidence in the CDC?” @PeterNavarro45: “You should ask the president that question, not me. … The CDC, which really had the most trusted brand … really let the country down with the testing.” pic.twitter.com/o2iUgUkV71
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 17, 2020
Elvis’ mansion will reopen Thursday
Update 11:47 a.m. EDT May 17: The gates of Graceland, the home where Elvis Presley lived, will reopen Thursday with a more private and social distanced tour experience, according to the Memphis mansion’s website.
“We are so excited to welcome you back to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, 100 acres dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the website said. “You will have the unique opportunity to walk in Elvis’ footsteps like never before, in your own personal tour space spread out from other touring guests.”
Graceland has been closed since March 21.
NYC mayor says testing will increase across city
Update 10:33 a.m. EDT May 17: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that the city is partnering with 123 CityMd urgent care centers to increase COVID-19 testing across the city,
In a news conference, de Blasio also announced that daily citywide testing capacity has reached 20,000 ahead of schedule.
“We predict to begin 6,000 testings per day,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said testing will take place seven days a week.
Texas reports largest single-day number of positive cases
Update 9:27 a.m. EDT May 17: The Texas Department of State Health Services said the state saw its highest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic Saturday.
The state reported an increase of at least 1,801 positive coronavirus cases, CNN reported. The majority of positive cases, 734 cases, originated from employees of meat plants in Potter and Randall counties, a result of targeted testing of employees at meat plants in the area, DSHS officials said.
China quarantines thousands after new outbreak
Update 9:16 a.m. EDT May 17: A new lockdown was implemented in northeastern China after new cases emerged, The Washington Post reported. Thousands of people were ordered into quarantine and travel was restricted in the Jilin province, which borders North Korea and Russia.
China’s National Health Commission reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, down from eight the previous day. Authorities said three of the cases were located in Jilin city and Shulan city, the newspaper reported.
3rd-party lab provided unreliable COVID-19 test results, Florida health system says
Update 7:30 a.m. EDT May 17: The results of more than 35,000 COVID-19 tests ordered by a Florida-based health care system and performed by a third-party lab have been deemed unreliable.
In a statement released Saturday, AdventHealth didn’t name the third party lab.
The tests were a mixture of positive and negative results.
The company will notify the patients who are affected.
Officials said there have been more than 44,800 confirmed cases of the virus in Florida and at least 1,964 deaths.
12 Democratic state lawmakers urge Massachusetts governor to extend stay-at-home advisory
According to Boston’s WFXT, Rep. Mike Connolly is one of those lawmakers who sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker on Saturday.
“Not only will that allow us to do even more to try to contain this terribly contagious and deadly virus, but another important thing is it will give us some time to build some consensus and some understanding about what to expect on Monday,” Connolly said.
Those lawmakers said everything should stay closed for another two weeks because the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts is still too high.
The World Health Organization’s benchmark to reopen is when there is less than 10% of positive cases in an area, but Connolly said that, right now, Massachusetts has a 12% rate of positive cases.
“We’ve been stuck at 12% for several days, and I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t follow the advice of the scientists and the epidemiologists to tell us we have to do more in terms of testing,” Connolly said.
WFXT reached out to the governor’s office about that letter Saturday. Although staffers didn’t directly respond to these demands from lawmakers, Baker said on Friday that he has ramped up testing with his contact tracing program, and he’ll release more details on the phased reopening Monday.
“I think it would make a lot more sense for the governor to put a draft plan out on Monday and to allow a period of time for the public and businesses who are all concerned to comment on it, and perhaps in a couple weeks, we could all consider where we’re at,” Connolly said.
Connolly added that in other countries like Germany, there’s been another spike in cases after businesses opened up too early, forcing another lockdown.
So he’s hoping the governor takes their letter seriously when he releases his reopening plan Monday.
“You know, the worst possible thing would be is if we all went through this terrible hardship for the past 10 weeks only to see the virus make a big resurgence, and that sends us all back into lockdown,” Connolly said.
Coronavirus has peaked in Pennsylvania, state Department of Health says
Update 6:07 a.m. EDT May 17: The Pennsylvania Department of Health said coronavirus has likely peaked in the state.
According to WPXI-TV, the announcement was tweeted from the department’s official account around 3:45 p.m. Friday, shortly after Gov. Wolf announced another set of counties moving to the yellow phase.
Good news, PA—the current #COVID19 outbreak has peaked in Pennsylvania. Thank you for your efforts!
Although we are on the decline, we must continue efforts, like social distancing wearing masks in public, to help prevent a resurgence keep counties moving in right direction. pic.twitter.com/m7Ha7sawQ5
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) May 15, 2020
“That’s good news for PA as we continue to move to a carefully-coordinated opening,” she said.
The rate of infection has been declining over the last 14 days across the state. That’s good news for PA as we continue to move to a carefully-coordinated opening.
It’s important to remember that as counties move to yellow, we still have to be careful continue our efforts. https://t.co/43JFcI5yWl
— Dr. Rachel Levine (@SecretaryLevine) May 15, 2020
Tennessee Department of Education announces free training on digital learning for teachers
According to WHBQ-TV, the self-paced, online training is available for free through Aug. 1 and will help teachers develop skills for digital learning, including how to design classes for remote instruction, use technology to enhance learning outcomes for all students and more.
“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and related school closures, digital learning has become a critical resource for many districts to deliver academic instruction to students. Teachers are learning to adapt to the new challenges of digital learning and teaching, but they should not have to do it alone, so we are thrilled this resource is available to all Tennessee teachers,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are so grateful to Trevecca for making this training available now to help Tennessee teachers build their digital toolkit to better serve all students.”
Digital and other distance learning methods will continue to be important for our teachers and students as we look ahead to the next school year.
The training will equip teachers with digital skills needed to serve student needs, which will be particularly important should digital instruction continue.
The department plans to release additional resources for teachers in the coming weeks and months, according to the press release.
The self-paced, online training will take place in four modules.
Georgia police department releases emotional ‘thank you’ video for hospital workers
Update 3:45 a.m. EDT May 17: A Georgia police department wants hospital workers to know one thing: that officers appreciate them.
The Thomasville Police Department in south Georgia posted a touching video on Facebook thanking hospital workers at Archbold Hospital and Archbold associated facilities for their “tireless efforts to heal and help the sick in our community.”
“To ALL Archbold Hospital and Archbold associated facilities – for employees who have been fighting on the front lines, putting themselves in danger, from environmental services, security, support staff, medical staff and anyone in between, you are our heroes!!” the department wrote in the post.
The video features Alicia Keys’ song “Good Job” and pictures of the hospital workers. It ends with a picture of police cruisers parked in the shape of a heart.
Boston study: 90% of city’s population may not have been exposed to COVID-19 at all
Update 2:53 a.m. EDT May 17: Nearly 90% of the population of Boston has not been exposed to COVID-19 at all. That is if a Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) study in four Boston neighborhoods holds true for the rest of the city, according to WFXT.
The study evaluated community exposure to COVID-19 through a representative sampling of asymptomatic Boston residents. It found 9.9% of residents tested positive for antibodies, and 2.6% are currently asymptomatic individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
In conclusion, about one in 10 residents in this study has developed antibodies, while about one in 40 currently asymptomatic individuals are positive for COVID-19 and potentially infectious. Mayor Marty Walsh says the results played a part in the decision to not reopen the city Monday.
“We can draw two preliminary conclusions from the results of this study,” said Walsh. “First, that the actions we took early on in this pandemic made a real difference in slowing the spread and, second, that the majority of our population still have not been exposed to the virus. This underscores what we already know, that we have to move cautiously and stay focused on what got us this far. This can be done by a gradual, phased-in approach to reopening that includes clear health criteria and safety guidelines for each industry and depends on testing and hospital metrics reaching certain benchmarks, and continuing to move in the right direction. When May 18th comes, I can’t go to my mother’s house. After this study that shows me 90% of the people in Boston – and that’s a conservative number, so let’s say let’s be a little more liberal side and say it’s 80% of the people in Boston – still have not come in contact with coronavirus. I’m not going to take that risk to my mother.”
Hackers leak bank information of thousands of Arkansas unemployment applicants
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is working to provide some hope for self-employed workers and independent contractors with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Those who have applied for this, though, may have had their personal information comprised, WHBQ-TV is reporting.
According to a report by the Arkansas Times, the Social Security, bank account and routing numbers of about 30,000 people have been exposed.
A computer programmer who was applying for unemployment noticed information being exposed, reports say.
According to reports, the Division of Workforce was notified of the breach Friday morning.
The website was then shut down later that day.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed this issue at a press conference.
“It was necessary to shut the system down,” he said. “These steps have been taken consistent with our state requirements for any potential data breach”.
Hutchinson said the investigation has started.
Applicants who may be impacted will be notified.
If necessary, they’ll be able to use a credit monitoring program.
“Our protocols is that Law enforcement is notified of the breach. We obviously notify our cyber insurance carrier. Forensics are currently being conducted by an outside IT expert that we want to make sure that the system is in good shape before it goes back online,” Hutchinson said.
WHBQ-TV accessed the unemployment assistance page, and it is back up and running.
Hutchison said there are more than 100 people working this weekend to make sure payments are dispersed.
In a statement, the Arkansas Division of Work Services said:
“Yesterday, we learned of a system vulnerability impacting the division of workforce services’ pandemic unemployment assistance application system and have disconnected outside access to the PUA network. ADWS is committed to completing a full forensic review and will take all appropriate action in response to our findings.”
US coronavirus cases top 1.4M, deaths near 89K
Published 12:53 a.m. EDT May 17: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.4 million early Sunday 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 1,467,884 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 88,754 deaths.
The hardest-hit states remain New York with 348,232 cases and 28,049 deaths, and New Jersey with 145,089 cases and 10,261 deaths. Massachusetts, with 84,933 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 5,705, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 92,457. Only 17 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.
Five other states have now confirmed at least 44,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:
• California: 78,789 cases, resulting in 3,208 deaths
• Pennsylvania: 65,185 cases, resulting in 4,480 deaths
• Michigan: 50,538 cases, resulting in 4,881 deaths
• Texas: 47,452 cases, resulting in 1,318 deaths
• Florida: 44,811 cases, resulting in 1,964 deaths
Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 34,000 cases; Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 21,000 cases, Washington state and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Tennessee with 17,263; Minnesota and Iowa each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Arizona, Rhode Island and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; Alabama and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 8,661; Kansas, Kentucky, Delaware, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Nevada has confirmed at least 6,000 cases; and New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.