Number of U.S. cases reaches 1.1 million as misinformation crosses social divides

Here are the latest updates on the global pandemic.
Image: TOPSHOT-PAKISTAN-HEALTH-VIRUS
People sit maintaining social distancing as Frontier Corps (FC) personnel distribute food on a street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Quetta, Pakistan on May 2, 2020.Banaras Khan / AFP - Getty Images

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As the coronavirus pandemic lingers in the U.S., its social implications are just starting to emerge, but the spread of misinformation has crossed divides on social media, unexpectedly gaining traction with both white conservatives and black liberals.

Meanwhile, scientists are working to find a vaccine for the virus, which has infected more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. and killed nearly 65,000. There are 14 potential coronavirus vaccines under development in the Trump administration's program to fast-track one for use as early as January, according to senior administration officials.

But the personal toll of coronavirus might never be recouped for million of Americans. Aging grandparents are being robbed of spending precious time with their families while millions of people are forced to adjust to life without a stable income for the foreseeable future.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 3 coronavirus news.

Oklahoma mayor ends face mask rule after store employees are threatened

The mayor of an Oklahoma city amended an emergency declaration requiring customers to wear face masks while inside businesses after store employees were threatened with violence.

Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce announced the change Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the declaration took effect.

“In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse," City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. "In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm."

Joyce said in a series of tweets that he expected some pushback on requiring face masks but did not think there would be physical confrontations with employees and threatening phone calls to City Hall.

Read the full story here

Senate, House decline White House offer for rapid coronavirus testing

WASHINGTON — The Senate and the House declined the White House's offer to provide lawmakers with rapid coronavirus testing capabilities on Saturday, just two days before the Senate plans to reconvene and as the House considers coming back to Washington the following week

“Congress is grateful for the Administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a joint statement.

"Our country’s testing capacities are continuing to scale up nationwide and Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly," they added. 

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he would offer rapid tests to Congress after the Capitol physician had initially informed senators that there were not enough tests for everyone; only lawmakers and staffers who displayed symptoms would be tested, and that they did not have the tools for rapid testing. 

Virginia photographer captures high school seniors' images at unprecedented time

A photo project in Virginia seeks to capture the images of a school's high school seniors who, like most of their counterparts across the U.S., have missed many of the usual milestone events of graduates due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Matt Mendelsohn plans to photograph the entire senior class at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia, this year in a photo series project called "Not Forgotten: The Yorktown Seniors of 2020."

Read the full story here

New Jersey coronavirus deaths climb to 7,742 with more than 123,000 cases

The governor of New Jersey announced an additional 205 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 7,742.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 123,717, Phil Murphy said at a news conference on Saturday. 

Although the numbers of cases are continuing to climb, Muprhy noted that hospitalizations have dropped by more than 1,000 patients over the last week. 

"Even with the positive trends that we are seeing, we continue to lose too many of our precious brothers, sisters, residents to COVID-19," he said. 

Murphy also said Saturday that 53 hospitals in New Jersey will receive a $1.7 billion in federal aid for fighting the pandemic. 

China mocks U.S. in 'Once upon a virus' online video

China appeared released a short animated video on Saturday titled "Once upon a virus" that appeared to mock the "contradictory" U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the video, a masked terracotta warrior representing China and a Statue of Liberty figurine talk to each other. The Chinese warrior tells the U.S., "we discovered a new virus," to which the Liberty statue shrugs, "So what?" It goes on to outline a series of time periods where China alerts the WHO and a seemingly unbothered U.S. about the coronavirus.

The move is the latest in a war of words between the two powers, each criticizing the other's handling of the outbreak that has so far killed more than 239,000 people around the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

New Mexico blocks all roads into city of Gallup over 'frightful' coronavirus spread

Signs inside the Walmart to advise shoppers that non-essential items aren't available for purchase in Gallup, N.M., on May 1, 2020.Patrick Sandoval / AP

New Mexico blocked roads into the city of Gallup, with the state's governor saying tougher measures were needed in a county where "the virus is running amok."

The state police and the New Mexico National Guard have put a stop to traffic on all roads into Gallup, which borders the Navajo Nation, where at least 44 people have died of coronavirus. The American Indian territory has the the third-highest infection rate in the country behind the states of New York and New Jersey.

The spread of this virus in McKinley County is frightful,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham upon issuing the order Friday under New Mexico's Riot Control Act. “It shows that physical distancing has not occurred and is not occurring."

"The virus is running amok there," she said. "It must be stopped, and stricter measures are necessary. A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this dangerous and this contagious, is a problem for our entire state."

Read the full story here. 

'Extraordinary' effort to disinfect NYC subways includes workers in hazmat suits

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Metropolitan Transit Authority leaders spoke in Queens on Saturday about the unprecedented decision to shut down the New York City subway system each night as an effort to disinfect trains every 24 hours.

Due to the pandemic, ridership is at its lowest in a century, Cuomo said, which gives the state an opportunity to shut down subways between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when the fewest number of people ride in order to deep-clean each car. A team of 900 cleaners are working each night, and additional contractors are being hired to help. 

"I just viewed the operations on how they’re doing it," Cuomo said. "It’s smart, it’s labor intensive. People have to wear hazmat suits; they have a number of chemicals that disinfect. You have to go through the whole train with a misting device."

"This has never been done before, and it's an extraordinary effort," the governor said in a tweet.

Cuomo has received some criticism for the decision because homeless people at times find refuge on subway cars, but the governor said an "unprecedented" amount of funding has been directed to help the homeless population. 

“You do not help the homeless by letting them stay on a subway car and sleep on a subway car in the middle of a global pandemic," he said.

Photo: New York City hospital workers and NYPD pose with American flag

Masked medical staff from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City pose holding an American flag with members of the NYPD Mounted Unit during the nightly #ClapBecauseWeCare event honoring coronavirus responders on May 1, 2020.Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Number of deaths in New York remains fairly steady

The number of coronavirus deaths in New York state remains fairly steady, with 299 on Friday compared to 289 the day before, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

But he said 299 deaths is still an "obnoxiously and terrifyingly high" number.

The state is also seeing about 900 new coronavirus cases each day, which Cuomo said is still "unacceptably high."  

The governor said New York is attempting to collect more data via antibody testing and by asking hospitals to provide more demographic data on those who are seeking treatment, which will allow the state to specifically address the needs of communities seeing high rates of infection. 

Antibody tests are meanwhile showing an infection rate of 19.9 percent among New York City residents, and 12.3 percent statewide. Experts say it is too early to come to any strong conclusions based on antibody testing, particularly when making decisions about easing the state's lockdown.