Coronavirus live updates: NY beaches to open, with restrictions

By WILLIAM MANSELL and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 304,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 86,228 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

4:35 p.m.: 220 cases of Kawasaki-like illness in US

There are at least 220 possible and confirmed cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19, an inflammatory syndrome with features that overlap with Kawasaki disease.

The illness affecting young people has been reported innearly half of all U.S. states.

Some of these patients have tested positive for either COVID-19 or for COVID-19 antibodies, and some tested negative. Other cases are still under investigation.

There are at least 119 cases of the rare disease in New York state, where three related fatalities also were reported.

New York is leading the national effort to combat the new syndrome, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week.

3:50 p.m.: Louisiana restaurants reopen at 25% occupancy

Friday marks the first day restaurants, museums, malls, gyms, barbershops and hair and nail salons can open in Louisiana. However, all of those business must limit occupancy to just 25% and follow sanitation and physical distancing guidelines.

Restaurants already were allowed to conduct outdoor service.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday he feels optimistic about residents complying with the rules.

“The people of Louisiana took the stay-at-home order seriously. They were responsible, they were safe and we have greatly slowed the spread,” he said.

Louisiana has over 33,000 diagnosed cases.

2 p.m.: TSA screens most passengers since March 25

Transportation Security Administration agents screened over 234,000 passengers across the country on Thursday, highest number of travelers seen since March 25.

The pandemic has caused air travel to plunge. For comparison, this same time last year, 2,611,324 people were screened on one day across the U.S.

1:30 p.m.: Slowing in number of cases at NJ long-term care facilities

While New Jersey’s long-term care facilities have seen an outsized proportion of the state’s deaths — 5,289, more than half the reported 10,138 — Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday reported a slowing in the number of newly reported cases at those facilities.

The state’s nursing homes have been particularly hit hard by the virus. The New Jersey attorney general’s office started investigating the state’s long-term care facilities in April. The state has asked the public to report any misconduct anonymously through an online portal.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs plans to provide five 10-person health care strike teams that will join staffs at long-term facilities until June 30, Murphy said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Murphy said that elective surgery and other invasive procedures can resume on May 26, calling it a “big step forward for public health.”

12 p.m.: New York beaches will be open for Memorial Day

As summer nears, officials in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware have agreed to open state beaches on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend — with strict precautions, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

Cuomo said he agreed to open New York’s state beaches because neighboring states were opening theirs, and if New York remained closed, New Yorkers would flock to the other states’, overcrowding them.

Beaches must remain at 50% capacity, and masks will be required when social distancing isn’t possible, Cuomo said.

Picnic areas, playgrounds, arcades, amusement rides and concessions will remain closed. Playing sports on the beaches will be prohibited.

Beaches run by local governments can also open if the local officials enforce rules. If rules aren’t enforced, those beaches will close, Cuomo said.

In New York state, 132 people succumbed to the virus on Thursday, but the number of cases is on the decline, Cuomo said.

Five New York state regions have met stated benchmarks and can start to reopen Friday.

In those regions — North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier — retail can reopen for curbside pickup. Employees and patrons must wear masks, Cuomo said, and gloves are preferred.

For stores where curbside is not practical, customers can pick up their items inside, but stores must maintain an occupancy of no more than 50%. Employees and patrons must wear masks for these transactions, too, Cuomo said.

For the state’s remaining regions — New York City, Long Island, Mid Hudson, Capital District and Western New York — “New York PAUSE” is extended to May 28, Cuomo said.

11:15 a.m.: Louisiana begins 1st phase of reopening

Friday marks the first day restaurants, bars, museums, malls, gyms, barbershops and hair and nail salons can open in Louisiana. However, all of those business must maintain just 25% occupancy and follow sanitation and physical distancing guidelines.

Restaurants were already allowed to conduct outdoor service.

“Thanks to the hard work of the people of Louisiana under the ‘Stay at Home’ order, we have seen declining new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. This, coupled with increased testing and contact-tracing capacity, is what is allowing us to move to Phase One on Friday,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday.

The governor added that the public and business owners should “proceed cautiously” and protect themselves, including by wearing a face covering and social distancing.

10:30 a.m.: NYC released age, race breakdown of cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome

New York City now has 110 cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, an inflammatory syndrome which has features that overlap with Kawasaki disease, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

 

Pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) is a rare condition, but it is life-threatening. It’s important that parents know the signs and symptoms of PMIS. Symptoms include persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting. Learn more: https://t.co/aJRglkITPl pic.twitter.com/covIk3LqQ5

— nychealthy (@nycHealthy) May 15, 2020

 

Of those 110 young people, 54% tested positive for the coronavirus or antibodies. One young person has died, the mayor said.

De Blasio on Friday released a breakdown of the data by gender, race and age.

New York City’s cases are 57% male.

African Americans make up 24% of the cases. Fourteen percent are among Hispanics, 10% are Asian and 9% white, de Blasio said.

Children ages 0-4 make up 35%; children ages 5-9 make up 25%; kids 10-14 make up 24%; and ages 15-21 are 16%.

There will be weekly webinars with up to 700 pediatric providers to discuss ways to combat the disease, the mayor said Thursday.

Besides New York, 16 other states, as well as Washington, D.C., and six countries in Europe, have reported cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week.

New York state is leading the national effort to combat the new syndrome, Cuomo said.

The mayor said Friday that the NYPD will continue to enforce bans on non-essential gatherings, prioritizing dispersing groups of more than six adults.

But absent a serious danger to the public, the NYPD won’t take enforcement action for failing to wear a face covering.

The city still plans to distribute face coverings and encourage New Yorkers to wear them, the mayor said.

The mayor on Friday also introduced a plan to keep New Yorkers cool and safe during the summer heat, including giving air conditioners to all low-income seniors and creating non-traditional cooling centers like at auditoriums, libraries and gyms.

9:30 a.m.: April retail sales plunge 16.4%

Retail sales in April fell a record 16.4%. The expectation was for sales to fall 12.3%.

The biggest decline in spending happened in clothing and clothing accessories retailers, where sales fell 89.3% from the same period last year.

Furniture stores got crushed, down 66.5%, as did electronics and appliances, down 64.8%. Restaurants and bars fell 48.7%.

The one bright spot was grocery stores — Americans ate at home and spent 13.2% more there than they did last year.

9 a.m.: Las Vegas airport offers PPE vending machines

Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport is now offering PPE vending machines with items including hand sanitizer and gloves for purchase.

McCarran said it was the first airport to install these vending machines.

8:30 a..m.: Oprah to give commencement address on Facebook at 2 p.m. ET

Oprah will broadcast a commencement address for the class of 2020 on Facebook and Instagram at 2 p.m. ET. on Friday.

Miley Cyrus will perform her song “The Climb,” and other celebrities from Simone Biles to Jennifer Garner to Lil Nas X will share their messages for the graduates.

6:38 a.m.: New York barber who gave haircuts despite closures tests positive for COVID-19

A barber in New York who was secretly giving haircuts in defiance of coronavirus closures has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ulster County health officials.

“We are taking extraordinary measures to try and minimize the spread of this dangerous disease and learning that a barbershop has been operating illicitly for weeks with a COVID-10 positive employees is extraordinarily disheartening,” Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said in a statement.

The names of the barber and business were not released by officials, but said the establishment is on Broadway in Kingston, New York.

The county health commissioner advised anyone who received a haircut in the past three weeks at a barbershop in the area to seek testing.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Pause directive says no barbershops, beauty salons and other “personal hygiene services” are allowed to be open at this time.

“As much as we would all like to go out and get a professional haircut, this kind of direct contact has the potential to dramatically spread this virus throughout the community and beyond,” Smith said in a statement Wednesday.

Cuomo extended the state’s stay-at-home order Thursday until June 13.

In New York, there are more than 343,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and at least 27,641 deaths.

5:10 a.m.: Milwaukee order allows salons, malls, playgrounds to reopen

In its new order, the city of Milwaukee announced Thursday how salons, malls and playgrounds can reopen.

The Moving Milwaukee Forward plan allows for some businesses to open provided physical distancing and protective measure requirements are followed.

Other businesses allowed to reopen include days spas, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, most retail establishments, public beaches, nail salons and more.

There are still limits and restrictions on many of these openings, including how many people can be inside establishments at a time and that beaches are only open for walking, biking or running.

“A measured, phased in-approach that utilizes data-driven gating criteria and aligns with federal and state metrics is needed for Milwaukee County,” the city said in a statement.

Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court order overturning the state’s stay-at-home order, the city of Milwaukee said bars and restaurants must still remain closed.

The city’s plan continues to allow for delivery and takeout at restaurants and bars, but no seating is allowed and no food or drink is allowed to be consumed on-site.

“To the residents of Milwaukee, we want things to be back to normal as much as you do, but the virus is still here and our normal has changed. We are all in this together and we will get through this together,” a joint statement from Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, chairwoman of the Public Safety and Health Committee, and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said.

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