National coronavirus updates: City of Charlotte to provide "guidance" next month on RNC convention
- There have been more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
- The U.S. death toll has surpassed 97,000 people, according to Hopkins.
- President Donald Trump booked back-to-back Memorial Day appearances despite the coronavirus pandemic, at Arlington National Cemetery and at a historic fort in Baltimore.
- Nearly two weeks ago, the White House urged governors to ensure that every nursing home resident and staff member be tested for the coronavirus within 14 days, but it’s not going to happen.
- The president on Sunday issued a proclamation suspending entry to the U.S. for any individual who has been in Brazil within the 14 days immediately prior to their arrival.
The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina released a joint statement Monday addressing preparations for the Republican National Convention set to be held in August.
“We are working with stakeholders to develop guidelines for several large events planned for Charlotte in the coming months including the RNC and anticipate providing that guidance in June,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the city, county and “other local entities will continue to plan for the RNC while respecting national and state guidance regarding the pandemic.”
In a series of tweets Monday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina if the state's governor did not "immediately" give on answer on whether the site of the convention would be allowed to be fully occupied.
WHO officials warn countries not to become complacent with COVID-19
The World Health Organization said the downward trend of coronavirus cases didn’t occur naturally, and is warning countries not to become complacent.
“Many countries have paid a heavy price in doing the measures that have needed to be done to suppress the transmission of this disease, and they deserve credit,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a Monday briefing.
“My concern right now is that people may be assuming that the current drop of infections represents a natural seasonality, and I think that's a dangerous assumption,” he said.
Ryan said it’s “worrisome” when people assume the downward trend occurred naturally. In reality, Ryan said, “that has occurred because of very, very, very tough public health measures that have been tough on the population.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “there's a certain predictability of this virus,” adding, “anytime you become complacent and you think you know, it will surprise you.”
“I understand very well and I am in the same boat as you – we all want this to be over, but we have a long way to go," Van Kerkhove said.
Ryan said removing pressure on the virus at this point and assuming “the real next danger point is sometime in October or November” is a “dangerous assumption.”
Van Kerkhove said it could get worse if we have “co-infection or co-circulation of influenza and COVID-19.”
“That could complicate our understanding because if we don’t have testing in place, we don't know what people are infected with. And so it could potentially flood the system, it could potentially overwhelm the system,” she said.
Honoring nation's fallen heroes looks a little different this year
President Trump attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to mark Memorial Day on Monday morning.
As the nation observes Memorial Day in the midst of a global pandemic, the hallowed grounds at Arlington National Cemetery are also adapting to the situation.
Masks, social distancing and other safety precautions have all become a part of the solemn rituals and pageantry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the near daily funerals that still take place in the cemetery.
The new reality: Only 10 family or friends are allowed graveside. As few troops as possible perform funeral honors. Distance is kept, and masks are worn.
Even the ceremonial rifle platoon on hand to fire off their salute at the end of the service wore masks while the entire funeral party stayed physically separated from one another.
Americans are crowding public places; officials fear spikes in cases
At a glance, it may look like many Americans have long forgotten about the dangers of coronavirus.
Crowds packed beaches in Florida, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia and Indiana over the weekend — many venturing out without masks and others failing to keep their distance — even as officials have tirelessly highlighted the importance of both in order to prevent another surge of cases.
In Missouri, hundreds attended a pool party just days after a similar party in neighboring Arkansas caused a cluster of new coronavirus cases. Arkansas' governor said the state is now experiencing a "second peak."
"You tell me how people act today, I will tell you the infection rate three days from now," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, emphasizing the importance residents' actions play in the spread of infections.
But as health officials warn the deadly virus isn't yet contained, local leaders across the country are working to enforce regulations put in place for stores, bars and restaurants that have reopened.
The commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday urged Americans observing Memorial Day weekend to follow federal guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
"With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all," Dr. Stephen Hahn wrote in a tweet.
In Houston, the mayor said authorities will begin enforcing capacity limits for bars and restaurants after the city received hundreds of complaints alleging violations.
"The reality is that there are too many people who are coming together," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "No social distancing, no mask. And then after this Memorial Day weekend is over they're going to be on somebody's job or in close proximity to somebody else."
So far, infections in the country top 1,643,000 and deaths inch closer to 100,000.
Spike of cases in Washington, DC
As Americans push to return to normal lifestyles and the country continues lifting coronavirus restrictions, experts say many parts of the country are still not heading in the right direction.
North Carolina recorded its highest single-day surge of new cases over the weekend and parts of Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and other states are still seeing a high number of infections, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.
In Washington, D.C., health officials are reporting a spike of new cases — an increase that could be a setback for the criteria officials are using to decide when the city will begin its first stage of reopening.
Until this weekend, Washington recorded 11 days of declining community spread of the coronavirus. The city said 14 days of decline were needed before they moved to reopen. Sunday would have been the 13th day of decline — but instead there was a small spike over the last two days.
But because the spike was a small one, health officials say they'll consider setting back to the 11th day of the decline instead of starting the count from the beginning.
"We don't have to go to day zero," Director of the D.C. Department of Health, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, said in a news conference call.
There are two other factors officials will consider before reopening: A positivity rate of less than 20% and a hospital capacity of less than 80%.
As of Sunday, the city's positivity rate is 19% and hospital capacity is at 74%.
A 17-year-old dies in Georgia
In Georgia, one of the first states to begin reopening, officials reported Sunday the state's youngest coronavirus death.
The victim was a 17-year-old boy, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The boy had underlying medical conditions. The department didn't offer any further details.
The boy's death is a grim reminder that while officials have cautioned elderly populations are at a higher risk for complications related to an infection, younger people fall victim to the virus as well.
That includes the 5-year-old daughter of two Detroit first responders who died last month after being diagnosed with the virus.
It also includes the 5-month old daughter of a New York firefighter, who died late April after spending a month in the hospital receiving treatment for the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that while many young people who got coronavirus did not have serious problems, health experts are investigating a virus-related complication in children across the country, dubbed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
Doctors said last week children who may have the syndrome need immediate attention and will probably need to be hospitalized.
Symptoms may mostly include stomach pain and vomiting, along with fever and perhaps a rash, experts say.
White House rolls out travel restrictions
As U.S. officials try to get a handle on the spread of the virus, President Donald Trump announced Sunday he was suspending travel into the U.S. for people who had been to Brazil within the past two weeks.
"I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States," the President's proclamation reads.
Brazil now is second to the U.S. with the highest number of coronavirus cases, recording more than 363,200 infections, according to Johns Hopkins.
Over the weekend, the country recorded more than 15,000 new infections in just 24 hours.