More than 5.6 million people worldwide – including more than 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 Wednesday, May 27, continue below:
History in the making as House casts proxy votes in pandemic
Update 11:10 p.m. EDT May 27: It was a day for the history books on Capitol Hill: For the first time, House lawmakers voted by proxy, an unprecedented move to avoid the risks of travel to Washington during the pandemic.
To mark Wednesday’s history-making moment, House Republicans sued to stop the Democratic majority’s new system, in which absent lawmakers can instruct those present to vote on their behalf.
The House rules change tries to strike a balance between working from home during the coronavirus outbreak and honoring the Constitution’s requirement to be “present” and voting. But it’s fast becoming a political test on party lines. More than 70 Democrats cast their vote by proxy. Twenty Republicans joined the lawsuit against the move, which House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California says is unconstitutional.
“It’s a dereliction of duty,” McCarthy said.
The House returned to Washington for an abbreviated two-day session as the city remains under stay home orders. The much smaller Senate is on recess after spending much of May in the capital.
Deadlocked over the next big coronavirus relief bill, Congress is shifting its attention to a more modest overhaul of small-business aid in hopes of helping employers reopen shops and survive the pandemic.
US judge refuses again to block Nevada’s mail-in primary
Update 10:35 p.m. EDT May 27: A federal judge has again rejected a conservative voting rights group's bid to block the mail-in primary election now under way in Nevada as part of an effort to guard against spread of the coronavirus at traditional polling places.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du said in a strongly worded opinion late Wednesday the Voters’ Rights Initiative’s “second proverbial bite at the apple is no more fruitful than the first.”
The judge in Reno said she didn’t understand why the group essentially requested reconsideration of her earlier denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the June 9 election instead of appealing it to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, especially given that early voting began May 23.
Ballots already have been mailed to voters statewide. Tens of thousands of voters have filled out their ballots and returned them through the mail to county election offices where many are being processed.
Cheyenne Frontier Days canceled for 1st time in 124 years
Update 9:55 p.m. EDT May 27: Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming was canceled Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time the event billed as the world's largest outdoor rodeo has been called off in its 124-year history.
City and state officials announced the decision.
Event organizers decided the risk of spreading the virus was too great for the more than 140,000 people who visit the city for Frontier Days over the last two weeks in July, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr told The Associated Press.
“What this pandemic means is we just can’t come together,” Orr said. “We really have to stay apart so we can come together again sooner rather than later. It’s clear that we just aren’t going to be ready for this.”
Frontier Days carried on through both world wars and the Great Depression, when tough finances prompted it to become a mostly volunteer-run event.
NHL monitoring situation before choosing where to play games
Update 8:55 p.m. EDT May 27: Concerns about Canadian coronavirus restrictions could push hockey south of the 49th parallel into the U.S. this summer.
Seven of the 10 locations the NHL has zeroed in on to hold playoff games if it resumes are American cities not restricted by Canada's 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival. As 24 teams figure out how to squeeze an expanded roster and limited personnel into one of two "hub" cities, the Vancouver Canucks are even considering relocating training camp to the U.S. if the situation doesn't change in the coming weeks.
“It’s something that we’re thinking about, but also too we just want to give it a few more days just to see if something is going to change,” Vancouver general manager Jim Benning said Wednesday. “The perfect scenario we’d like to use our facilities. We’re probably going to have 30, 32 guys here and we have great facilities for our players, so we would like to do that first and foremost. But we’ve talked about moving it off site.”
Tennessee to halt sharing COVID-19 patient data
Update 7:55 p.m. EDT May 27: Tennessee will soon stop providing the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients to first responders, after initially arguing that doing so would protect those on the front line.
Gov. Bill Lee’s administration decided on the change this week, conceding that the data may have created a false sense of security to those responding to emergency calls. The data sharing will stop at the end of the month.
The announcement follows an Associated Press review that found public officials in at least two-thirds of states are sharing the addresses of people who tested positive with first responders. A small handful of those states, including Tennessee at the time, also shared the patients' names.
Supporters argue that the information is vital to helping them take extra precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. Yet civil liberty and community activists have expressed repeated concerns of potential profiling in African American and Hispanic communities that already have an uneasy relationship with law enforcement.
Nevada casinos start luring customers after opening date set
Update 6:55 p.m. EDT May 27: Casinos from Lake Tahoe to Laughlin started announcing plans Wednesday to lure back customers beginning June 4, with one downtown Las Vegas hotel owner buying more than 1,000 one-way airline tickets to boost interest around the country.
The promotions began the morning after Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the casino shut-down order he imposed in mid-March to prevent people from spreading the coronavirus.
“It’s on us,” Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and Circa Sports said in a 30-second video about his airline ticket giveaway that doesn’t require bookings at his properties. “Las Vegas needs you.”
Not all properties will open at first and business will probably start slowly, said Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resorts Association. Nightlife will be limited.
Casino giant MGM Resorts said it will reopen its Bellagio, New York-New York and MGM Grand resorts, and its Signature gambling-free towers. Caesars Entertainment will reopen Caesars Palace and the Flamingo in Las Vegas and its Harrah’s properties in Lake Tahoe and Laughlin. The Cosmopolitan emphasized its open-air balconies over the Las Vegas Strip.
100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19
Update 5:55 p.m. EDT May 27: The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 100,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
According to the tally, there are at least 1,695,776 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus.
Pro sports can resume in Pennsylvania, without spectators
Update 5:30 p.m. EDT May 27: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that professional sports teams and players are allowed to practice and play in counties that are in the yellow or green phase.
According to a release from the governor’s office, professional sports are defined as “any sporting event at which the participants are paid by a league or team, or at which individuals or teams receive prizes or purse.”
Sports affected by this new guidance include hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf and tennis.
Officials said players and teams are allowed to practice if the team or league has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.
The plan, which must be approved by the Pa. Department of Health, includes several requirements such as testing or screening and monitoring of all “on-venue players and personnel.”
Also, fans and spectators will not be allowed on the venue property for games.
Republicans urge faster processing of unemployment claims
Update 4:55 p.m. EDT May 27: Wisconsin Republicans sparred with leaders in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers administration at a sometimes heated legislative hearing Wednesday, faulting them for not doing enough to quickly process surging unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic.
The hearing laid bare the partisan debate over who is to blame for the backlog of unprocessed claims.
The unprecedented surge in unemployment claims caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a more than quadrupling of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate to 14.1% in April, its highest since The Great Depression. The average number of weekly claims skyrocketed from 45,000 a week to 300,000.
As of Saturday, 2.4 million claims had been received but only about 1.7 million had been processed, according to the Department of Workforce Development. Of the roughly 728,000 unpaid claims, about 11% were ineligible.
Republicans accused DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman of not being prepared for the surge in claims and not doing enough when it arrived.
MGM Resorts on Las Vegas Strip set to reopen in June
Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 27: Officials with MGM Resorts International on Wednesday announced they plan to reopen their casinos on the Las Vegas Strip beginning June 4.
The hospitality and entertainment company closed the Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Signature earlier this year due to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.
“As we plan for these openings, the health and safety of our guests and employees is at the forefront of all we do,” Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts’ acting CEO and president said in a statement. “Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best – entertain.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina reach new single-day high
Update 3 p.m. EDT May 27: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state's highest single-day number of hospitalizations Wednesday connected to the coronavirus pandemic, WSOC-TV reported.
Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 702 people were hospitalized due to severe complications associated with the novel coronavirus. Officials said that 29% of the state’s 19,048 in-patient beds and 22% percent of its 3,223 intensive care unit beds remained open Wednesday.
Officials have reported 24,628 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. Nearly 800 people have statewide have died of coronavirus infections, WSOC-TV reported.
970 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT May 27: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Wednesday that 970 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 156,628.
Officials also reported 148 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, 11,339 people have died statewide of COVID-19.
Murphy said in a Twitter post that the high death toll -- which is the highest report this week -- was likely due to delayed reporting over the holiday weekend.
Dozens of Idaho meatpacking plant employees test positive for COVID-19
Update 2:40 p.m. EDT May 27: Health officials say dozens of workers at a meatpacking plant in southwestern Idaho have tested positive for COVID-19.
The South Central Public Health District said Tuesday that 44 employees at Ida-Beef in the small city of Burley tested positive.
Officials said none of the workers have been hospitalized and there are no fatalities linked to the outbreak.
The food processing plant is the second in the region to be hit by the coronavirus in recent days.
Last week, about 50 workers with potato products company Rite Stuff Foods in nearby Jerome tested positive.
The plant has temporarily shut down despite an order by President Donald Trump in April requiring meat processing plants to stay open amid concerns over growing coronavirus cases and the impact on the nation’s food supply.
“It’s a slaughterhouse and Trump mandated that the slaughterhouses stay open, but we chose to close ours to get everybody healthy,” said Ida-beef CEO Allan Ward.
“We thought we’d give it 10 days plus the long weekend and get everybody healthy. And we’re hoping to get a good crew coming Monday morning to kill cattle.”
443 new coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana
Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 27: Officials in Louisiana reported 443 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, raising the state's total number of infections to 38,497.
Statewide, at least 2,617 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 28,700 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials said.
74 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York
Update 1:05 p.m. EDT May 27: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Wednesday that 74 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly higher than the 73 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.
More than 99,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the US
Update 12:20 p.m. EDT May 27: The death toll associated with the novel coroanvirus in the U.S. surpassed 99,000 on Wednesday, according to a data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins. The second hardest-hit country is Brazil, where 391,222 coronavirus infections were confirmed as of Wednesday morning.
America has lost more people to the coronavirus pandemic than any other country in the world. Health officials in the country with the second-most number of fatal COVID-19 cases, the United Kingdom, said Wednesday that 37,460 people have died of the viral infection.
Washington DC to begin first phase of reopening Friday
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 27: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. announced Wednesday that this week the District will begin its first phase of reopening businesses shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bowser said her previously issued stay-at-home order will be lifted Friday, though she noted that "the virus is still around us."
"The public health emergency will continue and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited despite lifting the stay-at-home order this Friday," she said in a post on Twitter.
Beginning Friday, businesses deemed nonessential will be allowed to reopen for curbside, front-door or delivery service, Bowser said. Barbershops and hair salons will be required to operate on a by-appointment basis with customers sitting no less than 6 feet apart from one another.
The announcement came after Bowser said health officials had noted a 14-day decrease in the community spread of the virus. Earlier Wednesday, Bowser said health officials in the District have confirmed 8,406 cases of COVID-19 so far. At least 445 people have died in the District of coronavirus infections.
Walt Disney World aims to reopen in July, SeaWorld Orlando sets sights on June reopening
Update 11:25 a.m. EDT May 27: Officials with Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday submitted reopening plans to officials in Orange County, Florida.
Walt Disney World plans to reopen in two waves beginning July 11. Officials said they want to open their Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks first and follow the move up with the reopening July 15 of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, WFTV reported.
Officials with SeaWorld Orlando said the theme park plans to reopen to employees June 10 and then to the public on June 11, according to WFTV.
2,013 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK
Update 11:05 a.m. EDT May 27: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 2,013 new coronavirus infections Wednesday morning, raising the country's total number of infections to 267,240.
Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Tuesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,460 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.
72 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC
Update 10:30 a.m. EDT May 27: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Wednesday that 72 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 8,406.
Bowser also announced five more people between the ages of 55 and 75 had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 445.
Wall Street opens higher on economic stimulus hopes
Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 27: Stocks opened higher Wednesday on Wall Street, led by financial stocks.
Global stock markets rose after the European Union proposed more economic stimulus. European markets rose Wednesday after the EU commission proposed a new 750 billion-euro ($825 billion) package of financial aid meant to help the region's economy recover from what is already considered the deepest recession in living memory.
Benchmarks in Shanghai and Hong Kong, however, retreated after the White House said a proposed national security law might jeopardize the Chinese territory's status as a global financial center.
Fauci says he wears a face covering to protect self, others and set an example
Update 9:45 a.m. EDT May 27: The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Wednesday that he's been wearing a face covering anytime he's outside to protect himself and others and to set an example.
"I do it when I'm in public for the reasons that ... I want to protect myself and protect others and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing that we should be doing," Fauci said during an interview on CNN.
Fauci noted that masks are “not 100% effective” at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus, however, he said “It’s sort of (like showing) respect for another person and (having) that other person respect you.”
“You wear a mask, they wear a mask -- you protect each other,”he said.
National Women’s Soccer League to resume play in June
Update 8:55 a.m. EDT May 27: Officials with the National Women's Soccer League announced Wednesday that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup will begin next month, marking a return to play for the league's nine teams.
The 25-game tournament will kick off June 27 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. Officials said the games will be played without spectators.
“As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement.
Officials said the tournament in June will be the league’s first competition since the 2019 NWSL Championship, in which the North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars to be named champions for the second consecutive year.
Global deaths near 351K, total cases soar past 5.6M
Update 7:47 a.m. EDT May 27: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 350,876 early Wednesday, 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 5,614,458 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 13 nations now have total infection counts higher than China's 84,103.
The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:
• The United States has reported 1,681,418 cases, resulting in 98,929 deaths.
• Brazil has recorded 391,222 cases, resulting in 24,512 deaths.
• Russia has confirmed 370,680 cases, resulting in 3,968 deaths.
• The United Kingdom has reported 266,599 cases, resulting in 37,130 deaths.
• Spain has confirmed 236,259 cases, resulting in 27,117 deaths.
• Italy has reported 230,555 cases, resulting in 32,955 deaths.
• France has confirmed 182,847 cases, resulting in 28,533 deaths.
• Germany has reported 181,293 cases, resulting in 8,386 deaths.
• Turkey has recorded 158,762 cases, resulting in 4,397 deaths
• India has recorded 151,876 cases, resulting in 4,346 deaths.
Google plans to reopen some offices in July as coronavirus fears linger
Update 7:29 a.m. EDT May 27: Specifics were sparse, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Tuesday that the company plans to reopen "more buildings in more cities" starting July 6, CNN reported.
Employees at the unspecified locations will return, but only about 10% building occupancy will be allowed in the beginning, ramping up to 30% capacity by September, the network reported.
"We'll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left" Pichai wrote in a blog post, adding, "Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols."
New CDC guidance reveals COVID-19 antibody tests fail about half the time
Update 7:02 a.m. EDT May 27: Antibody tests intended to detect if subjects have been infected previously with the novel coronavirus might provide accurate results only half the time, according to the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
According to the new intelligence, "Antibodies in some persons can be detected within the first week of illness onset," but the results are not consistently accurate enough to base important policy decisions on their outcomes.
"(Antibody) test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities ... (Antibody) test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace," the CDC warned.
Lawmakers urge suspension of Trump’s July 4 military parade amid pandemic
Update 6:09 a.m. EDT May 27: Calling the scheduled event a "vanity project," members of Congress representing the capital region petitioned the defense and interior departments Tuesday to suspend plans for U.S. President Donald Trump's second annual July 4 military parade, The Washington Post reported.
Muriel E. Bowser, mayor of the District of Columbia, is preparing to reopen portions of the nation's capital, while both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have already relaxed some social distancing policies, yet stay-at-home orders remain in place in all three areas.
"Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans," they wrote in the letter to the department chiefs. "Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic."
Read the lawmakers' complete letter to the defense and interior departments.
"The American people have shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence, and both deserve celebration on America's birthday this year," White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in an email to the Post.
Worldwide coronavirus deaths top 350K
Update 4:46 a.m. EDT May 27: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 350,752 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
The United States – with nearly 1.7 million cases, resulting in 98,929 deaths to date – remains the nation with the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths.
Brazil now reports the second-highest number of cases worldwide with 391,222, while the United Kingdom's 37,130 virus-related deaths rank as second highest globally.
Trump gives NC governor 1 week to decide if RNC stays in Charlotte amid coronavirus concerns
Update 3:27 a.m. EDT May 27: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump's tweets threatening to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte.
“I’m not surprised by anything I see on Twitter,” Cooper said. “It’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be.”
According to WSOC-TV, the governor said state health officials will continue to work with convention organizers to draft guidelines that will ensure the event can be conducted safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president threatened to pull the event out of North Carolina if Cooper doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus has infected more than 62K US health care workers, CDC reports
Update 2:10 a.m. EDT May 27: An estimated 62,344 health care professionals in the United States have contracted the novel coronavirus to date, resulting in at least 291 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.
The latest figures represent a nearly seven-fold increase in less than six weeks.
According to CNN, the CDC last highlighted the number of cases among health care workers April 15, revealing a total of 9,282 cases at that time.
US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths near 99K
Update 12:40 a.m. EDT May 27: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Wednesday 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 1,681,212 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,916 deaths.
The hardest-hit states remain New York with 363,836 cases and 29,302 deaths and New Jersey with 155,764 cases and 11,194 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,693 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,473, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 113,195. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each.
Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:
• California: 99,684 cases, resulting in 3,823 deaths
• Pennsylvania: 72,778 cases, resulting in 5,163 deaths
• Texas: 57,230 cases, resulting in 1,546 deaths
• Michigan: 55,104 cases, resulting in 5,266 deaths
• Florida: 52,255 cases, resulting in 2,259 deaths
Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 17,703 and Arizona with 16,864; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed by Rhode Island with 14,210 and Mississippi with 13,731; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,416; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Kentucky, Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,130; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.