Multiple Trump campaign are staffers quarantining after Tulsa rally
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins
Several of President Trump’s campaign staffers are quarantining this week after attending his rally in Tulsa last weekend and interacting with several colleagues who later tested positive for coronavirus, CNN has learned. After eight staffers tested positive, several of the campaign’s top officials decided to quarantine for the week instead of going into the office, two sources familiar told CNN. Staff had only recently returned to the office after months of working from home because of coronavirus restrictions. The fallout from Trump’s push to hold a rally with thousands of attendees has continued in the days since he returned from Tulsa. CNN reported last night that multiple Secret Service officers were also instructed to self-quarantine after two of their colleagues who were on site for the rally tested positive. Several of the campaign’s surrogates who traveled to Tulsa have also undergone coronavirus testing out of an abundance of caution, two sources said. Many of the surrogates — including lawmakers, former lawmakers, and campaign advisers — traveled on a chartered plane together without wearing masks. Trump’s campaign had urged many of them to come so Trump could have a show of force for his return to the campaign trail.
DC mayor urges residents to celebrate July 4th at home
From CNN’s Nicky Robertson
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging residents to celebrate the Fourth of July at home this year. In a news conference Thursday morning, Bowser said that DC will still be in a public health crisis during the holiday, and that “our strong recommendation is that DC residents celebrate the Fourth of July at home or near their home in small gatherings.” “We have not eradicated the virus, we are still reporting new cases each day,” Bowser warned. Although there has been a plateau in coronavirus cases, the government is “still not satisfied” with the number of cases, the mayor said. Bowser noted that the National Park Service will still conduct the fireworks display at the National Mall and that the District will continue to support the Park Service as they do yearly, but she added, “We hope that the crowds that come in non-pandemic years won’t materialize this year.” More measures — including road closures — for the firework display on the Mall will be announced next week.
Texas governor pauses additional reopening phases as cases increase
From CNN's Kay Jones and Konstantin Toropin
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced today that he will pause any further phases to reopen the state as Texas responds to the increase in Covid-19 cases. All businesses that were permitted to reopen under the previous phases can continue to operate at the level designated by the phase while still adhering to the minimum standard health protocols as stated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, according to a press release issued by the governor's office.
Here's what the governor said about the decision: “The last thing we want to do as a state is going backward and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business," Abbott said in the release. "I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be, and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
Where the state stands on reopening: Earlier this month, Abbott announced that the state was moving into its Phase III — meaning that "all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions."
Covid-19 is surging across much of the US. This is what the data shows.
At least 29 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. The nation's three most populous states — Texas, Florida, and California —have set records for new Covid-19 cases. CNN's John King reports that when it comes to the trajectory of the virus, other countries, including European Union nations, have had more success than the US in bringing the case numbers down. Meanwhile, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan, have flattened the curve.
Florida reports more than 5,000 new Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Tina Burnside
The Florida Department of Health is reporting at least 5,004 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 114,018, according to data released on Thursday. Medical experts and elected officials have attributed Florida's rising numbers to a combination of more testing and more social contact as businesses reopen and, in recent weeks, to people's participation in large protests, although that has not been clearly established.
Coronavirus antibody tests work best 2 to 5 weeks after symptoms, study suggests
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
Timing is key when it comes to getting accurate results from Covid-19 antibody tests that are used to determine if someone has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a new Cochrane Review paper. Antibody tests are better at detecting Covid-19 in people two or more weeks after their symptoms started, but there is not yet enough evidence to determine how well they work more than five weeks after, or among people who had milder disease or no symptoms at all, suggests the review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on Thursday. "Time is critical. Use the test at the wrong time – it won’t work," Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics and head of the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation Research Group at the University of Birmingham in England, who was involved in the review, said during a virtual press conference with reporters on Thursday. "This is largely driven by when the samples are taken from the patients," Deeks said. "This isn’t a new science, but it’s something which has not been well thought through in a lot of the studies we were reviewing." A Cochrane Review is a systemic analysis of published studies on a given topic, and often physicians, nurses, patients, researchers or funders turn to Cochrane evidence to help with decision-making or better understanding a medical issue. The new review on the accuracy of antibody tests, spanning more than 300 pages, was authored by Cochrane researchers from institutions across Europe and led by experts from the University of Birmingham.
Kentucky Derby will be held in September with spectators, racetrack announces
From CNN's Jabari Jackson, Jabari
Churchill Downs Racetrack announced in a statement on Thursday that spectators will be allowed at the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville on September 5 amid Covid-19 concerns.
The statement said: “Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery in the statement. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility. We are determined to keep our customers, employees, and communities as safe as we responsibly can.” Thursday's release did not indicate how many fans will be allowed at the track. Churchill Downs says they will disclose more details in the coming days. The statement noted that the venue revised the “Fan Code of Conduct” to help address Covid-19 health concerns. Churchill Downs will “consistently and frequently” encourage guests to wear a mask at all times “unless seated in their reserved seat.” Other guidelines for guests include washing their hands and social distancing when possible. Other changes revealed in the statement include: General admission tickets will be limited and only allow access to the infield area. The barn area will be “restricted to essential personnel” during morning workouts and on race days. The 146th Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled for May 2 but was postponed until September 5 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers in New York City
From CNN's Julian Cummings
The number of people admitted to the hospitals in New York City in the past 24 hours was 60, remaining below the 200-person threshold, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. There were 329 people receiving care in the ICU below the 375 person threshold. The positivity rate of those testing positive for Covid-19 in New York City remained at 2% below the 15% threshold, the Mayor announced.
Texas governor issues order suspending elective surgeries in 4 counties to expand hospital capacity
From CNN's Ashley Killough & Brad Parks
An executive order was issued today by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott meant to ensure hospital bed availability for Covid-19 patients in parts of Texas. The order suspends all elective surgeries in hospitals in 4 counties that are home to the cities of San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Under the order, any procedure that is not immediately and medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient will be postponed. Additionally, the Governor can add or subtract more counties from the list to address surges in hospitalizations. “These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients," Gov. Abbott said in a statement. "As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.” Texas is among at least 13 states that are reporting a 50% increase or higher increase in cases. There are fears of "apocalyptic" surges in major Texas cities if spikes in cases continue.
Here's how the US's coronavirus response fell short, according to a congressional watchdog report
From CNN's Lauren Fox and Gregory Wallace
A new Government Accountability Office report out Thursday highlights how unprepared the US government was to tackle coronavirus and deal with the corresponding economic crisis that required Congress to get trillions in federal stimulus dollars out the door. The report — which is just the latest look at the US government's response to the coronavirus — lays out how the US fell short on everything from testing to ensuring hospitals and states had adequate supplies. It also looks closely at how agencies struggled to ensure billions in stimulus dollars got to American struggling with an economic crisis. "Both the Congress and the administration have acted to mobilize resources quickly to help the nation respond to and recover from the pandemic. However, the negative effects of the pandemic on families, communities, and health care systems and on the long-term economic condition of millions of Americans and U.S. businesses are likely to persist into the future," the report states.
Here are some key findings of the report: On the nation's stockpile: The report laid out that the Strategic National Stockpile was not equipped to handle the demand generated by states and localities in need of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other critical medical supplies. According to officials from the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response who were interviewed by GAO "the Strategic National Stockpile did not have the capacity to provide states with supplies at the scale necessary to respond to a nationwide event such as the Covid-19 pandemic."
On testing: The report also criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on testing for compiling "incomplete and inconsistent" testing data that has hurt the government's response — specifically, the report said, poor data "has made it more difficult to track and know the infection rate, mitigate the effect of infections, and inform decisions on reopening communities." It said the Department of Health and Human Services has directed improvements to reporting of tests to make the data more reliable but notes those requirements do not take effect until August 1.
On the disbursement of stimulus payments: The report also laid out that an influx of trillions in stimulus spending strained agencies like state unemployment offices and the Small Business Administration, which had never doled out the volume of funding they were required to under the pandemic. The report said that when it came to handling an influx of unemployment claims and ensuring that an additional $600 payment was paid out, many states lacked the adequate infrastructure or staff to respond to the escalating number of claims.
On the handling of small business loans: GAO also blasted the Small Business Administration for not providing them with detailed data on who received the loans, information GAO argued was essential to providing oversight. "Congress has charged SBA with implementing the PPP and other provisions crucial to the nation's economic recovery. However, SBA to date has failed to provide information critical to our review, including a detailed description of data on loans made," GAO wrote.
On the preparedness of transportation agencies: It also calls for Congress to require federal officials to develop a preparedness plan for the aviation system. GAO has previously recommended the Transportation Department and other agencies do so, but it reports the agencies are at loggerheads over who is responsible. GAO said the plan should "ensure safeguards are in place to limit the spread of communicable disease threats from abroad while at the same time minimizing any unnecessary interference with travel and trade."
New York City is on track to enter phase 3 of reopening on July 6, mayor says
From CNN's Julian Cummings
New York City is on track to enter into phase 3 of reopening on July 6, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We will work closely with the state of New York to make the final decision,” de Blasio said Phase 3 of reopening will allow sports and recreation to resume, including NYC basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball, dog runs, handball, and bocce, de Blasio said. The city will have more guidance tomorrow on what businesses can reopen during phase 3, the mayor said.
Coronavirus cases are increasing in 29 states
At least 29 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. That includes the nation's three most populous states: California, Texas and Florida. Among those states, at least 13 are reporting a 50% increase or higher. Another 16 are reporting an increase of between 10% and 50% compared to the previous week. There is only one state in the US right now that is reporting at least 50% decrease in new coronavirus cases: Connecticut.
We must normalize masks and social distancing before a possible second wave, expert says
From CNN's Gisela Crespo
Now is the time to normalize the use of masks and practice social distancing to get us prepared for a possible second wave of Covid-19, said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University and a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The time to normalize wearing masks and social distancing behavior is now, so that we get used to it by the time the fall arrives. And I'm very concerned that the second wave this fall will be substantially greater than what we have experienced so far," Schaffner said Thursday during an appearance on "CNN Newsroom." Schaffner added that all sectors of society should model this behavior: politicians, religious leaders, and businesses. "You have to make wearing masks a social norm. Every business has to have a sign outside their door that says, 'If you wish to patronize us, please come in with a mask. If you haven't got one, we'll give you one.' And then everybody who works in the business has to wear it. Religious leaders have to preach that to all faiths, all the time. We need chambers of commerce coming out; local political leaders; all harmonizing with that message to normalize that behavior in our society. And on occasion, you may indeed have to mandate it," Schaffner said.
Pandemic is causing "unprecedented decline in global activity," according to the IMF
From CNN's Julia Horowitz
The International Monetary Fund has slashed its global economic forecasts for 2020, saying the coronavirus pandemic is causing a much steeper recession and a slower recovery than initially expected. The organization said Wednesday that it thinks global GDP will contract by 4.9% this year, downgrading its estimate from April, when output was forecast to shrink by 3%. That was already due to be the deepest slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The pandemic is causing an "unprecedented decline in global activity," according to the IMF. It said the global labor market has taken a "catastrophic" hit, movement outside the home remains depressed, companies have cut back on investment and consumer spending has dropped significantly.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast," the IMF said in its report. Here is the IMF's world economic forecast by country for June: Some key forecasts:
China, which got a head start on the recovery, is expected to log growth of 1%, in part due to policy support from the government. India's economy, meanwhile, is forecast to shrink 4.5% following a longer lockdown and slower-than-expected recovery.
The US economy is expected to shrink by 8%, while output across the 19 countries that use the euro could decline by 10.2%.
Countries in Latin America that are still struggling to contain the virus will also be hard hit. Brazil's economy is expected to contract by 9.1%, while output in Mexico could decline by 10.5%.
The outlook is slightly rosier than those provided by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which have recently forecast that global GDP would shrink by 5.2% and 6%, respectively, before rebounding in 2021. But the IMF warned of a "higher-than-usual degree of uncertainty" around its forecast, which it said was based on a number of assumptions, including stable financial conditions.
"There will be some shutdowns in individual places," but not nationwide, White House adviser says
From CNN's Jason Hoffman
White House Economic adviser Larry Kudlow, when asked about the increase in coronavirus cases across the country and its economic impact, said Thursday that “there will be some shutdowns in individual places or certain stores,” but that he believes the country as a whole will not shut down again. He said that while the US has seen an increase in cases nationally of “just a little bit,” multiple states have seen a decrease in cases. However, data shows, coronavirus cases continue to surge in the U.S. as some states are reporting record numbers, including the country's three most populous states. Kudlow was also pleased the new jobless claims were down for the 12th straight week, and said he still believes the economy will have a strong V-shaped recovery. Conditions in the US labor market are undoubtedly improving, but as CNN's business team noted this morning the road to recovery is long and littered with obstacles. Last week's new jobless claims brought the total claims filed since the mid-March to 47.3 million. Kudlow said he believes the unemployment rate could fall below 10% by year-end.
Stocks open lower
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks kicked off in the red on Thursday, adding onto losses from the prior session. Wednesday had been the worst day for stocks in nearly two weeks following worries of rising Covid-19 infections, quarantine requirements for intra-US travel, and proposed tariffs on European imports. Data from the Labor Department showed Friday that more people than expected – 1.5 million – filed for first-time jobless benefits last week. The weekly claims have declined for three months now but are still higher than they have ever been before the pandemic.
Here's how the markets opened today:
The Dow opened 0.5%, or 121 points, lower.
The S&P 500 fell 0.2%.
The Nasdaq Composite opened flat.
Macy’s eliminates nearly 4,000 corporate positions
From CNN's Alison Kosik
Macy’s announced a restructuring plan Thursday that will eliminate 3,900 corporate and management jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt sales. The department store chain says it expects the layoffs will save the company about $630 million per year. The company is trying to cut costs as “the business recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.” “Covid-19 has significantly impacted our business," said Macy's CEO said, Jeff Gennette. "While the reopening of our stores is going well, we do anticipate a gradual recovery of the business, and we are taking action to align our cost base with our anticipated lower sale.” Macy's will also reduce staffing across its stores, supply chain, and customer support network. In February, Macy’s said it was cutting 2,000 jobs and planned to close 125 underperforming stores over the next 3 years. Macy’s reports its first-quarter earnings on July 1.
Travel by car will be favored alternative for Americans to travel this summer, forecast shows
From CNN's Pete Muntean
A new forecast from the American Automobile Association says Americans will take 700 million trips this summer, but that number is down nearly 15%, the first decline in more than a decade as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. AAA booking trends show Americans are making travel plans, though cautiously and more spur of the moment, the forecast says. With air and rail travel off much more significantly, travel by car is the favored alternative, accounting for 97% of the favored mode of transportation, the forecast shows. AAA expects more long weekend trips than extended vacations. “Americans will get out and explore this summer though they’re taking a ‘wait and see approach’ when it comes to booking and are likely to book more long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of travel. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.” Car trips will also see the smallest decrease in travel volume of just 3% year-over-year. Without the pandemic, AAA would have been predicting more than 850 million trips, up from last year. Gas prices are also expected to be about 15% lower than last year — $2.25/gallon.
New York reports lowest hospitalization rate since pandemic started, Cuomo says
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said the state has now reached the lowest hospitalization rate since the pandemic started. Cuomo said he would announce the state's full coronavirus numbers later today, but told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that there were 996 hospitalizations and 17 deaths across the state as of today. The governor also said that travelers will be fined if they violate the travel advisory issued by his state — along with New Jersey and Connecticut — that requires people arriving from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for 14 days. “We worked very hard in New York, and the people of New York sacrificed for the past three months. They closed down, they [wore] masks, they socially distanced. We have the virus under control, and we don't want to see it go up again. It's that simple, and people understand that,” he said. “People, at the end of the day, they get it now. It took them too long to get it, but this country gets it now,” he added. Cuomo responded to criticism from political leaders such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had mandated a 14-day quarantine for travelers from the New York area back in March. “The people who played politics now are causing this nation great havoc. You're seeing it all across the country. You're seeing the deaths numbers going up. We'll lose tens of thousands more Americans. It's a real American tragedy that we're living through right now,” he said.
Another 1.5 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week as pandemic continues to hit the economy
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
First-time claims for unemployment benefits have fallen in every report for the past 12 weeks. Still, the American jobs crisis is far from over: Another 1.5 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week. That's emblematic of how contradictory the current pandemic recession is. Conditions in the US labor market are undoubtedly improving, but the road to recovery is long and littered with obstacles. Last week's new jobless claims brought the total claims filed since the mid-March to 47.3 million. And that massive number doesn't include claims filed under the pandemic program that Congress created to provide benefits to more workers who typically aren't eligible for unemployment benefits, including the self-employed. At least 728,000 people claimed first-time pandemic unemployment assistance, the Department of Labor said Thursday. Continued regular jobless claims, which count people who have filed for unemployment benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 19.5 million.
Coronavirus cases are rising in the 3 most populous US states
From CNN's Faith Karimi and Douglas Wood
Florida, Texas, and California account for 27.4% of the 328 million people living in the US, according to the latest US Census Bureau estimates. And while some politicians say the higher number of infections is due to increased testing, that is not the case, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota. As new cases and hospitalizations skyrocket, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged people to stay home. "Because the spread is so rampant right now, there's never a reason for you to have to leave your home," Abbott told CNN affiliate KBTX. "Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home." Officials encouraged mask-wearing and social distancing in places like bars that are often overcrowded. Further state actions could be announced if the virus continues to spread at this rate, Abbott said. In the nation's most populous state, Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with Californians to think of others by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, and washing their hands regularly. He told residents to "love thy neighbors, like yourself, please" and urged younger people to be especially cautious. "Be careful about Mom and Dad, and care about your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, your grandparents," he said. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has attributed the rise to more testing but others say community transmission is playing a key role as the state reopens. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he'll ask the city commission to implement a civil fine of up to $250 for those not wearing a mask in public. Miami implemented an order requiring masks or face coverings in public this week. "Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk," said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University. "If you don't get hurt. You might kill somebody else."
Younger people with Covid-19 is a "smoldering fire" that will hit vulnerable populations, expert says
From CNN's Gisela Crespo
Younger people testing positive for Covid-19 at a higher rate is a "smoldering fire" that will hit vulnerable populations, said Erin Bromage, a CNN medical analyst and a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Bromage said health experts didn't focus on younger people at the beginning of the pandemic because the priority was the older population and those with underlying health conditions who required hospitalization. "We're now seeing what is really happening, which is those 18- to 44-year-olds are being affected at a really high rate. Their social networks, their employment, is allowing them to mix at a higher rate, and we're seeing the infection rate – especially in Texas, Florida, and Arizona – just skyrocketing in that demographic," she said while speaking today on CNN’s “New Day,” Bromage explained that while younger people with Covid-19 are not "as prone to severe disease as the elderly," they will still put this population at risk. "It's just that smoldering fire – but as more of them get infected, the chance of them interacting with the vulnerable population increases and hits that vulnerable population, and then the inferno just begins," Bromage told CNN's John Berman. "That's when we end up with lots of sickness and lots of disease."
This Florida county is reporting a 27% Covid-19 positivity rate
From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt
Miami-Dade County in Florida reported a 27% Covid-19 positivity rate on Wednesday, according to data released by the mayor’s office. The positivity rate is tracked daily by the county. According to the Miami-Dade Mayor’s office, the goal is to not exceed 10% positivity rate. The county has exceeded the 10% mark for the past 10 days. The current 14-day average is 13.68%.
How Houston could potentially see coronavirus numbers like Brazil
From CNN's Faith Karimi and Douglas Wood
There are fears of "apocalyptic" surges in major Texas cities if current the coronavirus trends continue — and Houston could become the hardest-hit city in the US, an expert warned. Models show that Houston could have a four-fold increase in the number of daily cases by July 4, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN. If the current case trajectory continues, the Houston numbers rival those in Brazil. Infection numbers are also rising in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, Hotez added. "The big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly and some of the models are on the verge of being apocalyptic," Hotez said.
NFL cancels Hall of Fame game due to pandemic
From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente
The National Football League's 2020 Hall of Fame game scheduled for Aug. 6 has been canceled, and its Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony scheduled for Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio, has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to league sources, reports ESPN. The Hall of Fame, which serves as the preseason-opener, between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the first event to be canceled in NFL history. It was reported last week that members of the Cowboys, including star running back Ezekiel Elliot, Buccaneers, 49ers, and Texans organizations tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that two team members had tested positive but have since returned to the team. CNN has reached out to the NFL.
Europe records increase in Covid-19 weekly cases for first time in months, says WHO
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy
Coronavirus is resurgent across Europe after restrictions were eased in many countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. There was an increase in weekly cases, last week for the “first time in months,” WHO Europe chief Henri Kluge said at a press conference in Copenhagen. Kluge said he had warned of the “risk of resurgence” as countries eased lockdown measures. Thirty countries in Europe have recorded increases in cumulative cases in the past fortnight, he said. Kluge added that accelerated transmission in 11 countries “has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe."
“While the European region is reporting a decreasing proportion of global cases than earlier in the year, the region continues to report close to 20,000 new cases and over 700 new deaths daily,” he said.
Kluge cited Poland, Germany, and Spain as examples of countries that responded quickly to new outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools, coal mines, and food production facilities. “Rapid and targeted interventions,” by those countries helped to control the transmission, the WHO official said. Kluge also emphasized the role that digital technology can play in the suppression of outbreaks. “We need to get smarter in using the evidence and information we have from our Covid-19 surveillance systems," he said. Twenty-seven countries have released national solutions for digital contact tracing with solutions underway in places such as Portugal and Ireland. Kluge also spoke of artificial intelligence projects being piloted including an Italian smartphone app that measures a person's heart rate, oxygen saturation rate and respiration rate in real-time. According to Kluge these digital technologies help health systems to “cope with the delivery of essential health care,” but cautioned that “integrating digital health must be done carefully and wisely in partnership with the public and patients.”
Chuck E. Cheese's parent company files for bankruptcy
From CNN's Jordan Valinsky and Chris Isidore
Chuck E. Cheese's parent company, CEC Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy Thursday, blaming the financial strain caused by Covid-19 and the prolonged closures of its entertainment centers from stay-at-home orders issued across the United States. CEC, which also owns Peter Piper Pizza, said it will use Chapter 11 protection to "achieve a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that supports its re-opening and longer-term strategic plans." The company expects to operate normally, which includes the reopening of its Chuck E. Cheese locations. So far, nearly half of Chuck E. Cheese's 555 locations have reopened, with plans to reopen more locations weekly. Unlike other bankrupt brands, it didn't immediately announce store closures. In a release, CEO David McKillips, said that the past few months have "been the most challenging event in our company's history" and is "confident" about the future of the 40-year-old brand.
It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 9.4 million people worldwide and caused the deaths of more than 480,000. Here's what you need to know today:
"Apocalyptic" virus surges feared in US cities: The three most populous US states are setting records for new coronavirus cases daily. In Texas, if the current case trajectory continues, Houston could be the hardest-hit city in the US with numbers rivaling those in Brazil.
Former leaders issue warning on authoritarianism: An open letter signed by more than 500 former world leaders and Nobel Laureates claims that the pandemic has led to an alarming uptick in authoritarian behavior by governments across the globe.
Trump open to further stimulus payments: A second round of stimulus payments is on the negotiating table in Washington, but the White House is pushing for a more limited approach
Australian state requests troops to help with Covid-19 response: The state of Victoria asked for 200 military personnel to assist in a medical capacity.
Japan suspicious of Kim Jong Un's health: Tokyo has “some suspicions” about the North Korean leader's health, Japan's Defense Minister said at a press briefing on Thursday.
Eiffel Tower reopens: Post-lockdown Paris is allowing people to climb the steps of the landmark. Its elevators, however, will not be operational.
Beijing dismisses fears over the safety of imported meat and seafood aftermarket outbreak
From CNN's Shawn Deng and Jadyn Sham
Beijing health officials have ruled out imported meat, eggs, and seafood as the cause of the virus outbreak at a sprawling food market. China's capital reintroduced strict lockdown measures and rolled out mass testing after the outbreak emerged earlier this month at the Xinfadi market, which supplies most of Beijing's fresh fruit and vegetables. Director of the Infectious Disease Department at the First Hospital of Peking University, Wang Gui-Qiang tried to quell the fears of local residents by saying that “all meat, eggs, and seafood supplied in the regular supermarket are all safe to consume.” Wang acknowledged that the topic was of “great concern” to local residents, many of whom are afraid they could be infected by consuming meat and seafood after market officials blamed the outbreak on imported seafood. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Beijing Municipal People’s Government said the coronavirus outbreak linked to the market has “basically been contained.”
Study projects 388,300 people will die from Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean by October
From CNN's Tim Lister, Mia Alberti and Claudia Rebaza
Around 388,300 people will die from Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean by October, according to a projection by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "Several Latin American countries are facing explosive trajectories, while others are containing infections effectively,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray in a statement. “I cannot overemphasize the imperative of mitigation measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, especially since South American nations are facing increasing infections due to seasonality of Covid-19, an important factor contributing to the transmission of the virus," he added. According to the forecast, Brazil is set to be the most affected country, with an expected 166,000 deaths, followed by Mexico with 88,000 deaths. Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru follow this list of most affected countries. The study expects Paraguay, Uruguay and Belize -- countries with a current low number of cases-- to have fewer than 1,000 deaths by October. IHME's study takes into account factors such as social distancing measures and the percentage of people wearing masks when leaving their homes -- a factor that can reduce transmission by 50%.
Lockdown policing study reveals a disproportionate impact on minorities in Europe
From CNN's Nada Bashir
Lockdown measures introduced by authorities across Europe to limit the spread of coronavirus have disproportionately impacted ethnic minority communities, a new study by Amnesty International has found. According to a report released by the human rights organization Wednesday, minority communities across the continent have been “targeted with violence, discriminatory identity checks, forced quarantines and fines” by local authorities, in relation to new coronavirus-related legislation. “This report highlights systemic human rights concerns regarding institutional racism, discrimination in law enforcement and lack of accountability regarding allegations of unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials,” Amnesty said. “The implementation of the lockdown measures to combat the pandemic has laid bare existing structural inequalities and discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, race, migration and socio-economic status. In some cases, the enforcement of lockdown measures has led to further marginalization, stigmatization and violence,” the report added. The study, which covers 12 countries across Europe, documents several cases in which law enforcement officials reportedly “resorted to the unlawful use of force” to implement lockdown legislation, often occurring in the context of police identity checks. According to Amnesty’s findings, members of the Roma community living in informal settlements, and refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants living in camps, have experienced a “disproportionate and discriminatory” implementation of lockdown measures. “Informal settlements and migrant camps in countries such as Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia have been heavily policed, including the deployment of the army, and subject to mandatory testing. In several instances, Amnesty International obtained information about the unlawful use of force by law enforcement officials against the residents,” the report says. “Instead of ensuring adequate access to water and sanitation and the alternative accommodation necessary to enable people to comply with recommended individual quarantine measures, the authorities in some countries have imposed mandatory quarantines on entire settlements,” Amnesty added.
US states engaged in “gross negligence” in Covid-19 response in jails and prisons, a new report finds
From CNN Health's Jen Christensen
US states have responded to the threat of Covid-19 in jails and prisons with “gross negligence,” according to the ACLU and the Prison Policy Initiative. The organizations published a report Thursday on conditions for prisoners. As of June 22, more than 570 incarcerated people in the US and more than 50 corrections officers have died due to Covid-19, the report said. Jails and prisons have become hotspots for new cases. Early in the pandemic, experts warned states that the prison system could become “petri dishes” for Covid-19. Good hand hygiene is difficult when sanitation in these jails and prisons is typically poor. Medical resources are scarce. Social distancing is not possible. There was an extra level of concern that when prisoners were released they would spread Covid-19 infections to vulnerable communities. This is an especially large threat to poor communities and, due to racial disparities in arrests and sentencing, to communities of color, the report said. Despite the warnings, the systems failed the incarcerated, the report concluded. The highest score any state received for managing Covid-19 cases was a D-. Only nine states achieved that grade: Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maine, and Vermont. The majority got a failing grade.
“It is clear that no state has done enough and that all states failed to implement a cohesive, system-wide response,” the report said. Some states did reduce their jail populations, but no state had “close to adequate” prison population reductions, even in areas where governors issued orders to lower those numbers quickly, the report added. The states earned these poor marks for failing to test people, and for failing to provide personal protective equipment for staff and the incarcerated. Just five states offered comprehensive testing in prisons: Michigan, Massachusetts, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Vermont. New Mexico only tested staff. Alaska and North Dakota didn’t provide any personal protective equipment to the incarcerated, the report said. States were also slow to release prisoners to reduce the jail or state prison populations – even medically vulnerable prisoners, in some cases. In Arkansas, there was a 42% median jail population reduction, but in Texas, it was only 2%, and in some states, there was an increase in prisoners, the report found. Many states also failed to publish regularly updated data about cases in the prison system.
Miami health system reports a 108% increase in Covid-19 patients
From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt
A nonprofit academic medical system in Miami, Florida has reported a 108% increase in Covid-19 patients in the past 16 days, according to data posted by the hospital system on Twitter. Jackson Health System said it recorded 104 Covid-19 patients on June 8. On Wednesday, health workers reported 217. Florida does not release the total number of daily Covid-19 patients in the state.
The Eiffel Tower is reopening today
From CNN's Vivian Song
Chez L'Ami Jean has reopened in Paris with new outdoor seatings on a sidewalk. Vivian Song A garden pail filled with disposable hand wipes and huge bottles of hand sanitizer can be found atop every table at Paris bistro Chez L'Ami Jean. At the entrance of luxury department store Galeries Lafayette, security guards who double as hygiene inspectors pump generous dollops of sanitizer into the palms of shoppers' outstretched hands. Along with one of the busiest traffic arteries of the French capital, cars and scooters have been replaced by a steady convoy of cycling commuters some in suits, some in skirts -- who pedal beside one another in an orderly, but hurried fashion. And finally, on Thursday, the iron steps of the Eiffel Tower began to clang once again to the footfalls of visitors willing to climb up for a view over the city while the elevators remain out of action. Welcome to post-lockdown Paris, where the new normal is characterized by face masks, floor markings, plexiglass, and hand sanitizer. And lots of it.
Coronavirus is being exploited to undermine democracies, former world leaders warn
From CNN's Luke McGee
The outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent pandemic has led to an alarming uptick in authoritarian behavior by governments across the globe, who are using the crisis to silence critics, an open letter signed by more than 500 former world leaders and Nobel Laureates claims. The letter, organized by the Stockholm-based Institute for Democracy and published Thursday, highlights that in the wake of the crisis, both authoritarian and democratically-elected governments the world over have used emergency powers to arrest protestors and sidestep democratic norms. It letter warns: "Authoritarian regimes, not surprisingly, are using the crisis to silence critics and tighten their political grip. But even some democratically-elected governments are fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints, parliamentary oversight, or timeframes for the restoration of constitutional order. "Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere."
Trump administration open to a second round of Covid-19 stimulus payments. Here's what that could look like
From CNN's Katie Lobosco
A second round of stimulus payments is on the negotiating table in Washington, but some of the 160 million Americans who got the money the first time could be left out. Instead, the Trump administration is pushing for a more limited approach. That's more likely to garner Republican support in Congress, where lawmakers are expected to consider another economic spending bill in late July. "There's a lot of discussions going on. Probably, we would want to target those folks who lost their jobs and are most in need," said White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow in an interview with Fox Business Tuesday. His remarks followed comments from President Donald Trump earlier in the week that suggested Americans would be getting a second round of checks that would be "very generous."
"Apocalyptic" coronavirus surges feared in major US cities as most populous states hit record numbers
From CNN's Faith Karimi and Douglas Wood
The three most populous US states are setting records for new coronavirus cases daily -- and an expert fears major Texas cities could see "apocalyptic" numbers if the trend continues. Coronavirus has killed at least 121,979 people and infected nearly 2.4 million across the country, according to Johns Hopkins. Florida and Texas announced Wednesday that they had recorded more than 5,000 new Covid-19 cases the prior day, a new daily record. California reported more than 7,000 cases, obliterating a record hit a day earlier. In Texas, if the current case trajectory continues, Houston could be the hardest-hit city in the US with numbers rivaling those in Brazil. Infection numbers are also rising in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. The big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly and some of the models are on the verge of being apocalyptic," Hotez told CNN's, Anderson Cooper.
Seniors in affordable housing vulnerable to coronavirus
From Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News
Davetta Brooks, 75, who has heart failure, a fractured hip, and macular degeneration, is afraid. Conditions in her low-income senior building on Chicago's Near West Side are "deplorable," she said. Residents are not wearing masks or gloves to guard against the coronavirus, she said: "They're touching everything on the elevator, in the laundry room. And anybody and everybody's relatives and friends are coming in and out with no scrutiny." No one is checking on residents to see if they need help, Brooks said. And no one seems to know whether residents have tested positive for Covid-19 or died, though ambulances have screeched up to the entrance several times.
This building is not safe," she said in mid-June. "With all the things happening in the US, this is what 'seniors lives don't matter' looks like."
Nationwide, more than 1.6 million older adults live in low-income housing subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development - most in apartment buildings with shared common spaces, elevators, staircases, mailrooms, hallways and laundry rooms where the coronavirus might lurk. Most of these seniors have endured a life of disadvantage, have chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, and lack financial reserves to draw upon. Yet in the midst of the pandemic, this population -- the age group deemed most at risk of becoming critically ill and dying -- has largely been overlooked.
"Maskne": Why your face is breaking out under your mask and how to stop it
From CNN's Sandee LaMotte
If you're serious about protecting yourself -- and others — from the very real dangers of Covid-19, you're wearing a mask when you go out around others. For many people that is leading to an embarrassing and unpleasant side effect: blemishes, pimples, zits -- or what dermatologists call acne. Breakouts that occur after wearing a mask have become so common that mask acne's been dubbed "maskne" on social media. Treatment is tricky, experts say. You can't use powerful products like alpha-hydroxy acids, chemical peels, or Retin A to blast the acne because they will further damage the fragile skin barrier, making it more sensitive to the mask's irritating effects.
Masks should be changed or washed and completely dried after every use.
Cotton masks allow the skin to breathe.
Put on a fresh mask after exercising.
Use gentle skincare products and cleanse your skin twice a day.
Wait 15 minutes after applying moisturizer or sunscreen before you put your mask on.
Using a heavy cream or petroleum jelly where the mask rubs could interfere with the integrity of the mask and the seal.
It's best not to take up a new skincare regimen.
Don't leave the mask in a sunny spot or in your car.
"If you just lay it on your couch or put it in your closet and then put it on again in a couple of days, just think about all the microbes that have been growing in the weave of the fabric," said board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "It's dirty. If you've been wearing a little makeup, moisturizer or sunscreen it gets contaminated pretty quickly."
Pride during a pandemic: Why visibility and connection still matter
From CNN's Talid Magdi and Leroy Ah-Ben
Each year, in cities around the world, LGBTQ community members and their allies take to the streets to celebrate Pride -- uniting around the movement's message of self-acceptance and inclusion. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping many celebrants around the world inside. Since the first official marches, which took place in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in June 1970, Pride has become a global movement. Last year, at least 150 official Pride festivals and events took place around the world. As many Pride celebrations go virtual this year because of Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, organizers and activists say the core mission remains the same -- providing visibility and unity in safe and inclusive spaces. "No matter what, there is a need to connect," says Chris Frederick, former executive director of NYC Pride. "Whether it's virtually or it's in person, that's what Pride is all about." On Saturday, over 300 million viewers are expected to tune in for a 24-hour live stream Global Pride celebration, event organizers say. It will feature musical and artistic performances, and speeches from activists and world leaders, including presumptive Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The organizers claim it is the biggest of the many Pride events happening online this year.
Summer travel 2020? Not so much according to the Automobile Association of America
From CNN's Brekke Fletcher
The coronavirus pandemic all but stopped leisure travel in the United States for much of the spring, and with summer upon us, many Americans are still unsure what a vacation is supposed to look like in 2020. After canceling its annual Memorial Day travel forecast because of the pandemic, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) has instead come out with a 2020 summer travel forecast covering July 1 through September 30.
By the numbers: According to AAA, Americans will take over 700 million trips in July, August, and September, which is 120 million fewer trips than in 2019. In an alternate universe where the pandemic never hit, "AAA would be projecting 857 million trips in the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million person-trips this summer." The overall 14.6% decline in travel is primarily because of reduced air travel, according to AAA: "The forecast air travel volume of 15.1 million will be 74% below last year's levels." As to other modes of mass transportation, the AAA forecast projects bus, rail, and cruise ship travel "will see a decrease similar to air travel, as the 9.3 million expected travel volume is 86% below the level seen in 2019."
Trump is not just in denial but also indifferent to an unfolding American tragedy
Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson
It's a "public health train wreck in slow motion," in the words of one health expert, and the best US President Donald Trump cares to offer the thousands more Americans projected to shortly die of Covid-19 is the unsubstantiated prospect of a "beautiful surprise." The US just hit its third-highest ever peak of new coronavirus cases, multiple states are registering their own daily records and three are now taking the extraordinary step of imposing quarantines for citizens from pandemic hotspots. The world's most powerful nation lacks a coherent national strategy to meet another cresting viral crisis, the capacity or even the willingness to take steps that might stop it. It is also led by a man who is suggesting by his actions and attitudes that he doesn't care that much about the unfolding tragedy. Trump, who has previously predicted a "miracle" would occur or the virus would just disappear in the warmer weather, again declared falsely Wednesday that the danger had passed -- even with the nation racing towards another deadly summit of infection.
Hawaii plans to begin easing travel quarantine on August 1
From CNN’s Andy Rose
After three months of encouraging tourists to stay away from Hawaii, the US state will begin easing its mandatory quarantine on August 1. “Now is the time to work together as a community to ensure that our residents and local businesses can safely return to a larger volume of travelers,” Gov. David Ige said in a news conference Wednesday. Currently, anyone traveling into Hawaii from out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days. But the new program will allow visitors to avoid that quarantine as long as they test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival. It comes as Hawaii faces a legal challenge claiming the quarantine is unconstitutional because it targets out-of-state residents. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said it’s critical to his community’s economy to get tourism back on track. “We need to return to welcoming visitors to our shores,” said Caldwell. State Health Director Bruce Anderson says the state is in good shape to prepare for reopening, as he believes most residents have been following social distancing recommendations. “There are not many knuckleheads around that I can see,” Anderson said.
Japan reports 89 new coronavirus cases
From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo
Japan reported 89 coronavirus cases and five deaths on Wednesday, according to its health ministry. The total number of people infected with Covid-19 in Japan stands at 18,822, with 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. At least 981 people have died from coronavirus, with 13 of those from the ship. The ministry said 16,921 patients have either been discharged from hospitals or recovered by Tuesday. The capital Tokyo reported 55 new cases on Wednesday, marking the highest rise since May 5.
Lufthansa agrees $562 million cost-cutting deal with flight attendants
From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin
Germany's flag carrier, Lufthansa, has reached a cost-cutting deal with the representatives of its flight attendants, both the airline and the flight attendants' union said in news releases. According to the airline, the package will entail cost cuts of about 500 million euros ($562 million). The German flight attendants' union (UFO) said the deal involves a guarantee that there will be no layoffs for four years. Any reduction in cabin personnel will be reached via buyouts and early retirement plans, both news releases say. "The package of measures includes a freeze on pay raises, a reduction of flight hours in exchange for lowered pay, and temporarily lowered pension contributions," Lufthansa said. The deal comes as the airline gets set for an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, which has been called to approve a 9 billion euros ($10 billion) bailout from the German government for the ailing carrier.
Hospitals in Ecuador are overwhelmed after a sharp rise in Covid-19 patients
From CNN's Ana Maria Canizares in Quito
Ecuador's vice president warned on Wednesday that public hospitals in the country's capital, Quito, have reached capacity from the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking at a news conference, Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner said that hospitals in Quito are feeling the strain after seeing an increase of Covid-19 patients. Sonnenholzner said that Ecuador plans to increase the availability of intensive care units and hospital beds to help mitigate the strain. Sonnenholzner also said they have learned from the city of Guayaquil, where overwhelmed hospitals prevented many people impacted by the virus from receiving treatment in March and April. The vice president said Ecuador's changes will bring a higher possibility that a patient will get the medical care they need. Quito is now second after Guayaquil with the most number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to the country’s health ministry. On June 3 the capital entered a “yellow light” phase, considered as a mid-level risk, which allows some mobility restrictions to be lifted and the reopening of some businesses. Ecuador has reported 51,643 coronavirus cases, and 4,274 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.