More than 5.1 million people worldwide – including nearly 1.6 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 Friday, May 22, continue below:
Hertz files for bankruptcy protection
Update 10:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company's business.
The Estero, Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
Hertz and its subsidiaries will continue to operate, according to a release from the company. Hertz’s principal international operating regions and franchised locations are not included in the filing, the statement said.
By the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had racked up $18.7 billion in debt with only $1 billion of available cash.
Starting in mid-March, the company — whose car-rental bands also include Dollar and Thrifty — lost all revenue when travel shut down due to the novel coronavirus, and it started missing payments in April. Hertz has also been plagued by management upheaval, naming its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.
Judge orders Los Angeles to move thousands of homeless
Update 9:25 p.m. EDT May 22: A federal judge on Friday ordered Los Angeles city and county to move thousands of homeless people living near freeways after an agreement on a plan fell through.
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter issued a preliminary injunction requiring the relocation, by Sept. 1, of an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people camping near freeway ramps and overpasses, saying they face a health risk emergency.
Carter ordered a status report on the relocation plan to be ready by June 12, with updates to follow, and warned that he would move up the deadline if he doesn’t see “satisfactory progress.”
The city didn’t immediately release any comment on the ruling.
US warns Los Angeles stay-at-home extension could be illegal
Update 8:45 p.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday warned the mayor of Los Angeles and the county's top health officer that an extension of the coronavirus stay-at-home order may be unlawful.
The vague letter sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer did not spell out any specific violations, but noted concern about statements both had made publicly that restrictions may be prolonged without a vaccine.
“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the city and county of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote. “We remain concerned about what may be an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach to continuing stay-at-home requirements.”
Garcetti received the letter, but his office declined comment, spokesman Alex Comisar said.
The letter came the same day the White House coronavirus response coordinator named the LA region as an area where spread of the virus is a concern. Los Angeles County, with a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, accounts for nearly half of its COVID-19 cases and about 55% of the state’s more than 3,600 deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help look into the source of new cases to help prevent future outbreaks.
Patrick Ewing hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus
Update 7:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Georgetown men's basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing announced in a statement on social media that he has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at an area hospital.
"I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this,” Ewing said in the statement.
Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order
Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan's stay-at-home order by slightly more than two additional weeks, through June 12, while keeping theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation closed until at least then.
A day after a judge ruled in her favor in a lawsuit filed by the Republican-led Legislature, the Democratic governor also extended her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. Both the stay-at-home measure and state of emergency had been set to expire late next Thursday, though Whitmer said extensions were likely.
The state on Friday reported 5,158 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 complications, which is the fourth-most of any state. The daily death toll rose by 29 and the number of new confirmed cases in the state increased by 403, to nearly 54,000 since the pandemic started.
Federal prison system to begin moving nearly 7K inmates
Update 5:40 p.m. EDT May 22: The federal Bureau of Prisons will begin moving about 6,800 inmates who have been waiting in local detention centers across the U.S. to federal prisons to avoid jail overcrowding in the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.
It’s not clear when it would begin. The inmates will be sent to one of three designated quarantine sites — FCC Yazoo City in Mississippi, FCC Victorville in California and FTC Oklahoma City — or to a Bureau of Prisons detention center.
All the inmates who are being moved will be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive at the Bureau of Prisons facility and would be tested again before they are moved to the prison where they would serve their sentence.
The prisoners have already been sentenced to federal crimes but were unable to be moved from local facilities as the coronavirus pandemic struck over concerns the virus would spread rampantly.
In a memo issued to staff earlier this week, Bureau of Prisons officials said the inmates would be held there “until such time that inmates can be moved safely to their final destination.” The BOP says it has suspended most transfers of inmates already in the federal system, but there are still exceptions for forensic studies, medical or mental health treatment, residential reentry and inmates who are wanted by other juristictions.
Nevada’s 28% joblessness is worst in US and in state history
Update 4:50 p.m. EDT May 22: More than one-fourth of Nevada's workers don't have jobs after the state's unemployment rate hit unemployment rate of 28.2% in April — the highest rate in the U.S. and the worst joblessness showing in Nevada history.
The previous record for Nevada unemployment was estimated at 25% during the Great Depression.
“They are all sobering numbers, far in excess of anything we have experienced as a state before now,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Nevada was hit especially hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic because so many of its jobs are tied to the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, Schmidt said. He said Nevada’s accommodation and food service industry alone lost nearly 41% of its jobs compared with April 2019
Nearly 37,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana
Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Officials in Louisiana reported 421 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the state's total number of infections to 36,925.
Statewide, at least 2,545 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 26,249 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials with the state Department of Health said.
Harley-Davidson to restart production
Update 3:40 p.m. EDT May 22: After suspending production for about two months because of the coronavirus, thunder is about to roll again at the Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant in Milwaukee.
Work is expected to resume after the Memorial Day weekend for about 1,000 employees at the Menomonee Falls engine and drivetrain facility, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. A worker at the plant who tested positive for the coronavirus is expected to recover.
Pence visits Atlanta for restaurant roundtable
Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Atlanta metropolitan area Friday for a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to WSB-TV.
Social distancing ‘very important’ over Memorial Day weekend, Birx says
Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 22: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus task force coordinator, stressed the importance of continued social distancing efforts over Memorial Day weekend during a news conference Friday.
“When you go out for this weekend, Memorial Day, and you want to do some kind of social gathering, it’s very important to maintain that six feet distance and very important to have your mask with you in case that six feet distance cannot be maintained,” Birx said.
Officials in all 50 states have begun reopening efforts after swaths of the economy were closed by the threat of the novel coronavirus.
Trump says houses of worship ‘essential,’ urges governors to reopen
Update 2 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump urged governors to reopen houses of worship and said he has directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify them as essential amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Today I am identifying houses of worship -- churches, synagogues and mosques -- as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said Friday at a news conference.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right."
Trump holding news briefing amid questions about antimalarial drug he touted
Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump is holding a news conference Friday after a study published earlier in the day in the medical journal The Lancet found an increased risk for death in coronavirus patients treated with antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.
Voting centers reopen in Washington DC ahead of June 2 primary
Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that the area's primary election is set to go on as scheduled June 2.
Voters will be required to wear masks or face coverings while voting, Bowser said.
Business owners sue Pennsylvania governor over closure orders
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Business owners in four counties are suing Pennslyvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his order to close businesses deemed non-essential amid the coronavirus pandemic, WPXI reported.
Tom King, the attorney who filed suit on behalf of the business owners, told WPXI that the case was about Americans' rights, which he said had been limited by the closures and Wolf's planned phased reopening.
“The imposition on people’s constitutional rights even in war time, even in a pandemic … this is America, and people have constitutional rights." King said. “That’s the message that we want to send to the governor.”
1,394 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey
Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that 1,394 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 152,719.
Murphy said the number of hospitalizations, patients in intensive care units and ventilators in use “have all fallen dramatically.”
“Each day brings with it more signs that we’re moving closer to being able to enter Phase 2 of our restart,” the governor said in a post on Twitter.
Murphy raised the capacity for outdoor recreational businesses like driving ranges from 10 to 25, though he stressed that social distancing measures would need to continue at the businesses. Indoor gatherings remained limited to no more than 10 people.
Officials said Friday that 146 more people have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Statewide, 10,985 people have died of coronavirus.
Summer camps, youth activities allowed to reopen in Florida
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said Friday that summer camps and youth activities will be allowed to immediately reopen without restrictions, according to WFTV.
DeSantis said local governments and organizations can put restrictions in place on their own but that the state would not preempt them, WFTV reported.
“We trust parents to use common sense,” the governor said.
109 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York
Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Friday that 109 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly more than the 105 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.
Cuomo said the number of fatal cases “has been stubborn on its way down” but he added that other key indicators -- such as the number of new hospitalizations and the number of people admitted to intensive care units -- continued to fall Friday.
Defense secretary confident coronavirus vaccine will be ready by end of 2020
Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 22: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that officials are "completely confident" the U.S. will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by the end of the year.
"I'm confident we'll get it," Esper said Friday during an appearance on NBC's "Today" show. "(The Department of Defense) has the expertise and the capacity of course, to get the manufacturing done and the logistics and i'm confident that we will deliver."
Scientists have expressed concern over the fast-paced timeline to a given by federal officials, noting that a vaccine would likely take 12 to 18 months to test and approve. The fastest ever vaccine developed, for mumps in 1967, took four years to make it to the market, according to The Verge.
Esper said Friday that researchers in America “have been working on this vaccine now and therapeutics and diagnostics for a few months.”
“This is the next phase of this battle and we will deliver on time the vaccines,” he said.
105 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC
Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that 105 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 7,893.
Bowser also said six more people between the ages of 86 and 95 died of COVID-19. As of Friday, 418 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.
Study finds increased risk of death for COVID-19 patients treated with antimalarial drug
Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 22: Scientists studying the efficacy of treating novel coronavirus patients with an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump found an increased risk of death and heart arrythmias for patients who received the drug.
A large study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet looked at COVID-19 cases from late December to mid-April in which patients were hospitalized. Those included in the study had died or been discharged by April 21.
Using data from 671 hospitals on six continents, researchers reviewed more than 96,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 15,000 in which patients were treated with the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.
"We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine ... on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19," researchers said in a summary of their findings. "Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19."
Wall Street opens lower, but still on track for weekly gain
Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Stocks opened mostly lower Friday on Wall Street following a mixed showing in overseas markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% in early trading Friday, but it's still on track for a weekly gain.
Hong Kong’s main index fell 5.6% after China made more moves to limit political opposition in the former British colony. China also abandoned its longstanding practice of setting economic growth targets.
European markets shook off some early weakness and were mostly higher. Oil prices headed lower after six straight gains, which weighed on energy stocks.
Trading was subdued ahead of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.
3,287 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK
Update 9:30 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 3,287 new coronavirus infections Friday morning, raising the country's total number of infections to 254,195.
Officials said that as of 9 a.m. local time, 36,393 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.
Global deaths top 333K, total cases soar past 5.1M
Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 22: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 333,382 early Friday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,125,612 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China's 84,081.
The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:
• The United States has reported 1,577,758 cases, resulting in 94,729 deaths.
• Russia has confirmed 326,448 cases, resulting in 3,249 deaths.
• Brazil has recorded 310,087 cases, resulting in 20,047 deaths.
• The United Kingdom has reported 252,246 cases, resulting in 36,124 deaths.
• Spain has confirmed 233,037 cases, resulting in 27,940 deaths.
• Italy has reported 228,006 cases, resulting in 32,486 deaths.
• France has confirmed 181,951 cases, resulting in 28,218 deaths.
• Germany has reported 179,021 cases, resulting in 8,212 deaths.
• Turkey has recorded 153,548 cases, resulting in 4,249 deaths
• Iran has recorded 131,652 cases, resulting in 7,300 deaths.
Trump orders flags lowered on federal buildings for 3 days in memory of coronavirus victims
Update 6:02 a.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Thursday he has ordered all flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff for three days in memory of Americans lost to the novel coronavirus.
As is customary, the flags will also fly at half-staff on Memorial Day to honor military veterans who lost their lives in combat.
Young adults also contracting coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome, doctors say
Update 5:25 a.m. EDT May 22: The mysterious coronavirus-linked inflammatory disease affecting children and adolescents has now been confirmed in a small number of young adults, The Washington Post reported.
The condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that causes inflamed blood vessels.
According to the Post, a 20-year-old is being treated for the condition in San Diego; a 25-year-old has been diagnosed at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Medical Center; and several patients in their early 20s are being treated for the syndrome at NYU Langone in New York City.
Doctors told the Post that because Kawasaki disease is typically diagnosed in young children only, they fear the COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome - dubbed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C – is being overlooked as a possible diagnosis in young adults by non-pediatric physicians.
Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor at NYU Langone, told the Post that teens and young adults have more of an "overwhelming" response to MIS-C involving multiple organs, especially the heart.
“The older ones have had a more severe course,” Lighter said.
Catholics, Lutherans in Minnesota set May 26 reopening of churches as coronavirus lingers
Update 3:48 a.m. EDT May 22: Two of Minnesota's largest faith denominations announced plans Thursday to resume indoor worship services May 26, bucking the governor's stay-at-home order enacted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Minnesota has reported a total of 18,200 COVID-19 infections caused by the virus to date, resulting in 818 deaths.
In a news conference conducted by phone, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Catholic leader for the state, and the Rev. Lucas Woodford, president of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, said the time for loosening restrictions on houses of worship has arrived, The Washington Post reported.
Specifically, the faith leaders called it "extreme and prejudicial" for Gov. Tim Walz' order to impose stricter restrictions on houses of worship than on retail stores, the Post reported.
"Our community members are suffering from financial and social and emotional strain," Hebda said on the call.
"It's our sacred duty to meet the spiritual needs of the suffering," he added.
Drug smugglers concealed meth shipments in hand sanitizer bottles
Published 2:28 a.m. EDT May 22: Australian authorities discovered nearly 4.5 pounds of smuggled methamphetamine hidden in shipments of hand sanitizer and face masks sent in early May to help the nation combat the novel coronavirus.
"We know criminals will go to any length to smuggle drugs into the country, so it's no surprise they're trying to use in-demand items such as masks and hand sanitizer to hide them in," John Fleming, superintendent of the Australian Border Force, said in a news release.
The drugs were detected as officers inspected shipments at the Sydney Gateway Facility, CNN reported.
According to the news release, officers inspecting the packages, shipped from Canada, found bottles of hand sanitizer wrapped in bubble wrap. Further investigation revealed the bottles had false bottoms, creating secret compartments in which a crystal-like substance later confirmed to be methamphetamine was discovered.
US coronavirus cases approach 1.6M, deaths near 95K
Update 12:38 a.m. EDT May 22: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 million early Friday 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 1,577,287 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 94,702 deaths.
The hardest-hit states remain New York with 356,458 cases and 28,743 deaths and New Jersey with 151,586 cases and 10,846 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,084 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,148, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 102,688. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.
Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:
• California: 88,031 cases, resulting in 3,583 deaths
• Pennsylvania: 69,252 cases, resulting in 4,869 deaths
• Michigan: 53,510 cases, resulting in 5,129 deaths
• Texas: 53,053 cases, resulting in 1,460 deaths
• Florida: 48,675 cases, resulting in 2,144 deaths
• Maryland: 43,531 cases, resulting in 2,159 deaths
• Georgia: 40,663 cases, resulting in 1,775 deaths
Meanwhile, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia and Ohio each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Indiana, Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Washington with 19,117; Tennessee and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 16,170 and Arizona with 15,348; Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Alabama each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 12,222; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,381; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,472; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.