The Latest COVID-19 Updates (May 11)

Staff Writer

3:30 p.m. NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus may be thousands of fatalities worse than the tally kept by the city and state, according to an analysis released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between March 11 and May 2, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, the report said.
That’s about 5,300 more deaths than were blamed on the coronavirus in official tallies during those weeks.
Some of those excess fatalities could be COVID-19 deaths that went uncounted because a person died at home, or without medical providers realizing they were infected, the researchers at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.
It might also represent a ripple effect of the health crisis, they wrote. Public fear over contracting the virus and the enormous strain on hospitals might have led to delays in people seeking or receiving lifesaving care for unrelated conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
“Tracking excess mortality is important to understanding the contribution to the death rate from both COVID-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions," the report said.

1 p.m. WASHINGTON — The White House is recommending that all nursing home residents and staff be tested for the new coronavirus in the next two weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, told governors on a video conference call Monday that it’s the federal government’s strong recommendation that such testing be done.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, told governors to focus over the next two weeks on testing all 1 million nursing home residents. She says the White House will help states that need it.
Nursing homes and the elderly have been shown to be especially susceptible to the virus.
The Associated Press obtained a recording of the meeting.
ROME — For a fifth straight day on Monday, Italy’s daily number of new COVID-19 infections has declined.
According to Italian Health Ministry data, there were 744 confirmed new cases registered since Sunday evening.
That number is lower than daily caseloads when contagion containment measures went into effect nationwide in early March.
The country where Europe’s outbreak began now has 219,814 cases, a tally that experts say is surely significantly lower than actual infections, since many with mild or moderate coronavirus symptoms didn’t get hospitalized or tested.
In recent days, the number of daily new deaths also has been significantly lower than in early weeks, with 179 registered on Monday.
Still, the known death toll is one of the world’s highest —30,739. Health officials say it will be later this week at earliest before they can assess if a limited easing of lockdown restrictions on citizens’ movements, including the opening of public parks last week, has triggered any uptick in infections.
Italy is moving cautiously and gradually in reopening economic sectors and in removing travel limits.
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says a senior staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, but the governor has tested negative.
The first-term Democrat’s office released a statement Monday saying all employees, including Pritzker, will work from home “for an appropriate isolation period.” The statement didn't specify how long that would last.
The office says the staff member was asymptomatic, but tested positive last week and was in close proximity to the governor. Pritzker and all other staff have tested negative.
Roughly 20 administration officials have been working from a downtown Chicago office building where Pritkzer was holding daily news conferences during the pandemic.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Hair and nail salons along with barbershops began reopening in much of Florida on Monday.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed such businesses to reopen with tight regulations except in hard-hit Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the state’s two most-populous. That comes almost six weeks after they were ordered closed statewide.
DeSantis himself has expressed eagerness to get a haircut, saying last week he hasn’t had one since February.
The state has ordered that barbers, cosmetologists and manicurists wear masks when seeing customers, that they require appointments so that few people will be waiting inside and that they spend 15 minutes between each customer sanitizing the work station.
Customers were already waiting when J. Henry opened his barbershop early Monday in downtown Orlando. Folding chairs lined the outside front window for waiting customers so they wouldn’t be inside and there was a sign-in notebook on a stand next to the door to fulfill the appointment requirement.
NEW YORK (AP) — Several regions of upstate New York that have shown progress in taming the coronavirus outbreak are ready to gradually restart economic activity by the end of the week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Cuomo shut down the entire state March 22 as the New York City area emerged as a global pandemic hot spot, but the outbreak has been less severe in the state’s smaller cities and rural areas. He said three upstate regions have met all criteria for opening some business activity after May 15: the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes. Other upstate regions are making and could follow soon after.
The reopening regions still need to work out logistics, such as creating regional “control rooms” to monitor the effects of the reopening.

12:30 p.m. HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s daily statistical update showed Jefferson County holding fast at seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The surrounding counties stood as follows: Clearfield, 25 cases; Indiana, 76 cases, five deaths; Armstrong, 55 cases, four deaths; Clarion, 23 cases, one death; Forest County, seven cases; and Elk County, five cases, one death.

11:30 p.m. CHICAGO — U.S. children critically ill with COVID-19 have better outcomes than has been seen in adults, a study published Monday found.
Of 48 children treated in several U.S. intensive care units, more than one-third were put on ventilators but only two died.
By contrast, death rates of 50 percent and higher have been reported in adults critically ill with COVID-19, particularly among those on ventilators.
The results in JAMA Pediatrics echo reports from China. COVID-19 is generally a much milder disease in children although they can spread it to others without showing symptoms.

11 a.m. WASHINGTON — Two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff missed a meeting with President Donald Trump over the weekend because of coronavirus concerns.
The Pentagon says Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, is self-quarantining after having contact with a COVID-positive family member, although Gilday tested negative. He is working from home this week.
Also, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday but later tested negative. The Pentagon says he is scheduled to be retested Monday.

9 a.m. WASHINGTON (AP) — A majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread the coronavirus, according to a new poll that also finds the still-expansive support for such limits — including restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders — has dipped in recent weeks.
The new survey from the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the protests that have popped up in some states as some Americans begin chafing at public health measures that have decimated the global economy. Thirty-one percent approve of the demonstrations.
LONDON (AP) — Employees, business owners, police and trade unions in Britain expressed confusion Monday after the government switched from telling workers to stay at home to urging them to return to work — but preferably without getting near other people or using public transport.
In a televised statement Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended most of the draconian restrictions on daily life imposed March 23 to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including closing schools, restaurants and most shops. He also sketched out how the lockdown will be eased in stages if the number of infections in the U.K. continues to fall.
Britain’s official coronavirus death toll stands at almost 32,000, the highest in Europe and the second-highest in the world after the United States. While the number of new deaths and infections is falling, Johnson said it would be “madness” to loosen restrictions so much that there is a second spike in coronavirus cases.
But he made a dramatic shift in tone on the economy, saying “anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.”
He said workplaces should observe social distancing and people should avoid public transport if possible, traveling “by car or even better by walking or bicycle.”
Critics said the advice was confusing, hard to follow and potentially dangerous — especially in a big city like London, where most people do not own cars and where subways are operating at a fraction of their usual capacity.
After Johnson spoke, London Major Sadiq Khan issued a statement stressing that the lockdown had not been lifted and saying Londoners “must not use public transport for any unnecessary journeys.”