More than 107,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US
There are at least 1,849,560 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 107,093 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. So far on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins reported 17,739 new cases and 913 new deaths. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
US Senate passes Paycheck Protection Program reform bill by unanimous consent
From CNN's Clare Foran, Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly
Delta CEO says airline plans to test all 90,000 employees for Covid-19 and antibodies
From CNN's Greg Wallace
Delta Air Lines CEO said the company would be announcing plans to test every Delta employee for Covid-19 and antibodies. “We’re going to be announcing in the next couple of weeks a partnership with the Mayo Clinic as well as with Quest Labs – a very strategic partnership around testing,” CEO Ed Bastian said. “We’re going to be testing all of our employees, all 90,000, and getting a real baseline, not only on the active virus but on the antibodies so we have a real good – so our people know they’re protected, they know where they stand relative to the virus and we can then continue to surveil them.”
By the numbers: Ten Delta employees have died due to the virus, but the company has now “flattened the curve” in its workforce, he said. While it was once receiving word of between 20 and 25 positive cases daily, it now receives word of “one to two a day” among its 90,000 employees.
New York City Triathlon canceled due to coronavirus concerns
From CNN's Melanie Schuman
The New York City Triathlon has been canceled citing coronavirus concerns. Organizers called it an “incredibly difficult decision,” especially following last year’s cancellation which was due to excessive heat. Announcing the decision Wednesday, organizers said they "believe that it is the right one to protect the safety and best interest of all involved.” The event was scheduled to take place July 19.
Stricter lockdowns are better for economies, new model suggests
From CNN's Maggie Fox
Strict lockdowns like the restrictions put into place in China — when the coronavirus pandemic hit — are better for economies than longer, more moderate closures like the United States and many European countries have taken, a new international study suggests. Shorter but stricter lockdowns don’t hit businesses as hard, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature Human Behavior. Businesses can weather a short, extreme shutdown but run out of supplies and reserves as time goes on. And if the pandemic returns, a second round of lockdowns will really hurt economies, the team led by economist Dabo Guan from Tsinghua University in China found. “While predicting the true cost of lockdowns is not possible at this stage, our research suggests that shorter, stricter lockdowns minimize the impact on supply chains, while gradually easing restrictions over the course of a year may also be less disruptive than a swift lifting of restrictions followed by another lockdown,” Guan said in a statement. The team simulated three kinds of lockdown: a strict lockdown in which 80% of travel and labor ceases, similar to what China did; a more moderate lockdown with a 60% reduction in work and travel, similar to what the US did; plus a third, lighter lockdown with 40% reductions. A gradual easing of the restrictions over a year would minimize damage to the global supply chain, they said. But if the virus resurged in the fall, forcing a second round of restrictions, costs to the economy would worsen by one-third. “Our analysis quantifies the global economic benefits of robust public health responses and suggests that economic justifications to re-open businesses could backfire if they result in another round of lockdowns,” said Steve Davis of the University of California Irvine, who took part in the study. Things will be even worse if countries stagger a second round of closures and restrictions instead of coordinating them if a second global lockdown occurs. A coordinated global lockdown would raise costs by 33%, but if countries just move on their own, costs will rise by 57%, the model predicts.
Nebraska poultry plant reports more Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Dan Shepherd
Lincoln Premium Poultry reports an additional 15 cases of Covid-19 at its poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska, today, bringing their total cases to 88. LPP processes poultry for Costco Wholesale. According to company spokesperson, Jessica Kolterman, “We have watched Covid-19 cases come in each week, but we continue to keep the curve flat within our facilities and are working to improve our mitigation efforts. As we ease into the next phase and what we consider a ‘new normal’ we will report total cases to the public once a month.” That “new normal," according to a written statement sent to CNN, is the continued use of masks, temperature checks, social distancing and additional “interventions.” The company also states that of all their employees tested in Fremont, 110 of those tests came back negative. According to their website, the company was established in 2016 in collaboration with Costco to serve as the poultry management for this poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska.
UK business minister tested for coronavirus after looking visibly ill in the Parliament
From CNN's Milena Veselinovic
UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma has been tested for coronavirus and is self-isolating, after looking visibly unwell while giving a statement at the UK Parliament earlier on Wednesday. Sharma was seen profusely sweating and repeatedly wiping his face with a handkerchief and holding his forehead during his speech at the House of Commons. “Secretary of State Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the chamber delivering the second reading of the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill. In line with guidance he has been tested for coronavirus and has returned home to self-isolate,” the press office for Sharma's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told CNN. Hundreds of MPs returned to UK Parliament to take part in a socially-distanced voting procedure on Wednesday.
Kentucky reports death of 9-month-old with Covid-19 as a contributing factor
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death of a 9-month-old child is now on the list of Covid-19-related deaths. He said while the leading cause of death in this case was not Covid-19, it was a contributing factor. Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said in normal world without Covid-19, SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, would have been considered the cause of death — but because the child tested as positive for novel coronavirus, the state’s reporting methodology has this case listed as a Covid-related death.
Pennsylvania governor to allow stay-at-home order to expire Thursday
From CNN’s Lauren del Valle
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will allow the stay-at-home order to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday evening. He renewed the 90-day disaster declaration which was originally signed March 6. The declaration was set to expire Thursday. The declaration provides the state extra support to respond to coronavirus and for recovery during reopening. “Pennsylvanians have done a tremendous job flattening the curve and case numbers continue to decrease,” Wolf said in a statement Wednesday. “Renewing the disaster declaration helps state agencies with resources and supports as we continue mitigation and recovery.”
Sao Paulo government projects coronavirus cases could double by the end of June
From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo's government projected that the coronavirus cases in the state could double by the end of June. At the end of May, Sao Paulo state – which includes the city of Sao Paulo – had reported a total of 109,698 cases and the government projected that by the end of June the cases could reach between 190,000 to 265,000, the state’s Vice-Gov. Rodrigo Garcia said at a news conference Wednesday. The state on Tuesday reported a record 327 daily coronavirus-related deaths. Claiming the advance of the epidemic is "within the predicted dimension,” Garcia said, “this increase we've seen in the past few days is not surprising. In April, the epidemic grew 10 times. In May, 3.6 times. For June, we expect the number of cases to grow between 1.7 and 2.4 times.” On Wednesday, Sao Paulo reported 5,188 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 123,483. Last week, the mayor of Sao Paulo city announced a gradual reopening of certain sectors, despite the continued spike of infections and deaths.
US stocks closed higher after better than expected employment report
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks finished higher after rallying all day. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite logged their fourth straight day of gains. For the Dow, it was the third up day. Market sentiment was boosted by a much better than expected ADP employment report, which shored up hopes that the worst might be over for America’s battered labor market.
Here's how the markets closed today:
The Dow finished up 2.1%, or 527 points.
The S&P 500 ended 1.4% higher.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8%.
Trump said he took hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus — but new study shows that doesn’t work
From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen
On the heels of several studies showing hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help patients in the hospital with Covid-19, a new study – the first of its kind – shows the drug doesn’t work to prevent infection with the virus, either. The study of 821 people is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, considered the gold standard in medicine. The study was expected to be published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers assigned about half the study subjects to take hydroxychloroquine and half to take a placebo, or a pill that does nothing. Neither the researchers nor the study subjects knew who was taking hydroxychloroquine and who was taking a placebo. They found the drug didn’t make a difference – over the next two weeks, the study subjects came down with Covid symptoms in equal amounts. The study’s senior author, Dr. David Boulware, says that on May 9, the White House physician sent him an email asking his opinion of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against Covid-19. Boulware, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, says he advised Trump’s physician that there was no published research showing hydroxychloroquine worked preventatively and shared that people in his study who took hydroxychloroquine had higher rates of side effects, mostly gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting. On May 18, Trump announced that he’d been taking the medicine for a week and a half. “I knew they were probably going to ignore what I said because the White House had been talking about hydroxychloroquine for weeks and weeks and weeks,” Boulware said.
Trump administration has picked 5 companies most likely to produce coronavirus vaccine
From CNN's Jim Acosta
The Trump administration has selected five companies as the most likely to produce a Covid-19 vaccine, a White House Coronavirus task force source tells CNN. The same source added that the decision came from "Operation Warp Speed," which seeks to quickly ramp up production, organize distribution and determine who gets the first doses of a potential vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has previously suggested January as a potential date for a vaccine, but vaccines typically take years to produce. The New York Times first reported that the administration had selected five companies most likely to produce a vaccine.
World Health Organization "very concerned" about coronavirus in Haiti
From CNN's Mia Alberti, Chandler Thornton and Etant Dupain.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it is "very concerned" about the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in Haiti. "We are very concerned about Haiti at the moment because of its unique circumstances, unique fragility and the fact that the disease is accelerating in a highly vulnerable population", WHO's Executive Director for Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, said during a press conference. "What has been common to many regions has been intense community transmission and it is clear that once community transmission has been established it's very difficult to root the virus out", Ryan added.
By the numbers: Haiti has reported at least 2,507 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and at least 48 deaths, according to the latest report by the Haitian Ministry of Health from June 1.
Brazil will be first country outside UK to test vaccine developed by Oxford University
From CNN’s Shasta Darlington, Mia Alberti and Rodrigo Pedroso
Two thousand Brazilians will participate in June tests of a vaccine against Covid-19 developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical, the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) said in a statement. On Tuesday, the Brazilian Ministry of Health approved the beginning of the study that will vaccinate 1,000 patients in São Paulo and 1,000 more in Rio de Janeiro. The country is the first site of these vaccination tests outside the United Kingdom. The study will happen as Brazil is registering an increase in the number of cases and deaths. Tuesday's reported death toll of 1,262 was a record for a 24-hour period. Brazil's biggest cities have started to relax the social isolation rules imposed since mid-March. “The most important thing is to carry out this stage of the study now when the epidemiological curve is still rising and the results may be more assertive", the lead investigator of the study in Brazil and researcher at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), Lily Yin Weckx, said. Other countries will also participate in the study and the official registration of the vaccine is expected to be made later this year in the United Kingdom, Unifesp said in its statement. Brazil is now the country with the second-highest number of cases after the United States, and the rate of infections continues to rise.
Restaurants in 7 regions across New York can reopen outdoor seating tomorrow
From CNN's Sheena Jones
At least seven regions in New York are ready to enter phase two and reopen restaurants for outdoor seating beginning tomorrow, according to a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Restaurants in Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North County, the Southern Tier and Western New York can all reopen for outdoor seating, the release says.
Here are the guidelines restaurants must follow:
Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart
All staff must wear face coverings
Customers must also wear face coverings when not seated
New York state reported its lowest daily coronavirus death toll so far, with 49 deaths reported yesterday, Cuomo announced in a news conference today. The state confirmed 1,045 additional cases of Covid-19 for a statewide total of 374,085. "Covid-19 is still a real threat and we're still battling it. I know it's not on the front pages today, but it is still in people and in society," Gov. Cuomo said. "But thanks to the people of New York and the nurses, doctors and essential workers, today we have the lowest number of hospitalizations ever and we have the lowest death toll ever. We are continuously evaluating activities that can be safely reopened, and today we are adding outdoor seating at restaurants to phase two."
Dutch government to allow some European tourism starting June 15
From Mick Krever in London
The Dutch government announced Wednesday that it will allow citizens to travel abroad for vacation to a large number of European countries, and will also allow some foreign tourists to come to the Netherlands. The policy goes into effect on June 15. The government will continue to advise against nonessential travel to the United Kingdom and Sweden, “because the health risks there are estimated to be higher.” Travel outside Europe will still be “discouraged.” “The short answer to all questions is that we can indeed go on vacation this summer – but not everywhere, and anyhow, there are uncertainties,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a news conference on Wednesday. Starting on June 15, the Dutch government will lower its health travel warnings for Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the Dutch islands of the Caribbean. France and Spain have yet to make a decision about whether Dutch tourists will be welcomed, the government said, and Denmark has already made clear that it does not want Dutch tourists. The government said that it would welcome “foreign tourists from countries with similar or lower health risks as in our country.” The government uses a three-level, color-coded scale of yellow, orange, and red, to indicate the health risk of a foreign country. “It will therefore be a different summer vacation than usual,” Rutte said. “The main advice is to think carefully about what you do, and if you do go on vacation, travel wisely.”
Governor signs order requiring mail-in ballots be sent to all California voters over health risk concerns
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today requiring mail-in ballots be sent to all registered voters in the state for the upcoming general election in November. The executive order cites the health risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the potential of spreading the virus through in-person voting. In addition to mail-in ballots, county officials are directed to provide voting locations remain available for those wishing to cast their ballots in person. At least one voting location per 10,000 registered voters is required. “We are committed to protecting the hard-fought right for Californians to make their voices heard this November, even in the face of a pandemic,” Newsom said. “As the demonstrations across the country remind us, civic participation is critical to our democracy. If we are to address the racial inequities that exist in our institutions, policies and representation, we must ensure that all eligible Californians have an opportunity to safely cast their ballot.”
ER visits for non-Covid emergencies have dropped 42% across the US, CDC says
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
ER visits during the pandemic for non-Covid emergencies have dropped 42% across the United States, when compared to this same time last year, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new research published on Wednesday found that emergency department visits drastically fell from about 2.1 million visits per week between March 31 and April 27 last year, to 1.2 million between March 29 and April 25 this year. The "steepest decreases" were among children 14 and younger, women and girls, and people living in the Northeast region of the country, CDC researchers noted in the report. Yet overall, "the proportion of infectious disease-related visits was four times higher during the early pandemic period," according to the report. In the report, CDC recommended for people to keep using virtual doctor's visits and triage help lines during the pandemic, but not to hesitate seeking care for serious conditions, such as heart attack. The research had some limitations, including that the number of hospitals reporting to National Syndromic Surveillance Program change over time; the data do not capture all US hospitals, just those who reported to the surveillance program; and the data is limited to emergency department visits only, so people who may have sought treatment elsewhere are not captured in the data.
Spanish Parliament approves a sixth extension of the state of emergency
A sixth, and last extension of the state of emergency was approved in a close vote by the Spanish Parliament, to last until June 21. Now in its third month, the extended state of emergency, which has been in place since March 14, will give the government continued authority to control movement across Spain even as the country continues to relax confinement measures. The country’s 17 regional governments will have the power to determine the pace and course taken during the last, third phase, of the de-escalation process in their communities, which has been managed by the central government until now.
“We’ve overcome the worst of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said during the debate ahead of the vote in Spain’s lower chamber. He said the state of emergency, considered to be Europe’s strictest confinement measures, were fundamental to controlling the spread of Covid-19. Answering the main conservative opposition Popular Party leader Pablo Casado’s accusation that the Prime Minister “was unable to save lives", Sánchez said: “Today, we have zero deaths from Covid-19 in Spain,” referring to the previous day’s zero mortality statistic. He continued by saying that “the strict confinement has been efficient” in battling Spain’s health emergency. Sánchez, whose Socialist minority government worked in recent days to ensure enough votes from other parties to pass the extension, urged parliamentarians to approve it this last time, saying said it is needed in order to complete the country’s de-escalation towards a “new normality.” Opposition parties, including the far-right Vox party, the third largest in parliament, have accused the government of dictatorial rule through the state of emergency, and pushing the country into economic ruin. Sanchez responded by saying “the government understands the impatience of economic sectors, but health takes priority. Without health, no business will stay open.” Sanchez also said his cabinet will approve a decree for a “new normality,” with necessary containment measures until a vaccine or treatment is found.
Some more context: 70% of Spain is currently in Phase 2 of de-escalation from the severe confinement measures in place at the height of the pandemic, but the capital, Madrid, and Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona, are behind in Phase 1. They were the hardest hit areas by the virus, with the most cases and deaths. Four small islands in Spain’s Canaries and Balearic Islands have already advanced to Phase 3, which has the fewest restrictions on activity and movement. Most recent data from Spain’s Ministry of Health published Wednesday afternoon show a total of 27,128 deaths due to Covid-19, and 240,326 infections. One new Covid-19 death has been reported in the latest data.
WHO says coronavirus is not mutating, but that doesn't mean it is not dangerous
From CNN's Amanda Watts
The World Health Organization (WHO) said a large number of scientists across the world are studying coronavirus and none of the genome sequences show the virus is mutating to become more dangerous. But WHO warns that doesn’t mean the pandemic is not getting more dangerous. “There are more than 40,000 full genome sequences that are available,” WHO infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove told a briefing. “Scientists are looking to see, are there changes in the virus? And as it is a coronavirus — it is an RNA virus — there are normal changes in this virus that one would expect over time,” she said. RNA viruses such as influenza and coronaviruses are generally more unstable and prone to mutation than viruses that use DNA to replicate. “None of these changes so far indicate that the virus itself is changing in terms of its ability to transmit or to cause more severe disease,” Van Kerkhove added. But Van Kerkhove said that doesn’t mean the spread of the virus isn’t becoming more dangerous. “People grow tired,” she said. They may become lax in the measures needed to control the spread of the virus, such as social distancing. “It's very difficult to keep up all of these measures and we must remain strong and vigilant,” she said. As lockdowns are lifted, slowly, across the globe, some “social measures may need to be reintroduced again, and that may frustrate people,” Van Kerkhove said. “And that, in a sense, could make the virus more dangerous because people become complacent. And it's important that no one becomes complacent. This is far from over.” Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of Health Emergencies Program, said the virus does remain stable, but added, “This is already a dangerous virus; we've been seeing this consistently for months now.”
New Jersey to allow restaurants and bars to offer outdoor dining on June 15
From CNN’s Anna Sturla
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will sign an executive order Wednesday to allow restaurants and bars to begin offering in-person, outdoor dining beginning June 15. Guidance on the subject will be issued later today, he said in a news conference. Murphy announced that there were 112 new coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 11,880. During his daily briefing, he also announced 652 new coronavirus cases across the state, bringing statewide total to 162,068.
WHO committee recommends continued study of hydroxychloroquine as a potential Covid-19 treatment
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
The World Health Organization's Data Safety and Monitoring Committee has recommended for WHO to continue studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential Covid-19 treatment in its Solidarity Trial, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva on Wednesday. Last week, WHO announced that it had temporarily paused the hydroxychloroquine arms of the trial due to concerns surrounding the drug's safety. "This decision was taken as a precaution while the safety data were reviewed. The Data Safety and Monitoring Committee of the Solidarity Trial has been reviewing the data," Tedros said on Wednesday. "On the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol," Tedros said, adding that the recommendation about resuming hydroxychloroquine studies will be shared with the trial's principal investigators. Currently, there is no approved treatment for Covid-19. "As of now, there’s no evidence that any drug actually reduces mortality in patients who have Covid-19," WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during Wednesday's briefing. "In fact, it’s an urgent priority for all of us to do the needed studies, to do the randomized clinical trials, in order to get that evidence," Swaminathan said. "You can do analyses but there are so many potential biases in the way that patients are managed in a regular clinical setting that the only way to get definitive answers is to do a randomized trial."
Europe saw fewest coronavirus cases reported yesterday since March 22, WHO says
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
The World Health Organization said that “cases in Europe continue to decline” during a briefing Wednesday. “Yesterday saw the fewest cases reported in Europe since the 22nd of March,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Though Tedros added, WHO is “especially worried” about Central and South America where “many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.” “More than 100,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported to WHO for each of the past five days. The Americas continues to account for the most cases,” Tedros said. “For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together,” Tedros said. He added WHO is also seeing an increase of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Maduro government and opposition sign rare cooperation agreement to fight Covid-19 in Venezuela
From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon, Mia Alberti and Jorge Luis Perez Valery
The Venezuelan government, led by embattled President Nicolas Maduro, and the opposition led by Juan Guaidó, have signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19 by allowing aid into the country through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This is one of the few times the two sides are known to have signed an agreement. "The Ministry of Health signed an agreement with the (...) Venezuelan opposition. In the context of the blockade against Venezuela, it is necessary that we, Venezuelans, find common ground to fight against Covid-19," the government said in a statement. In the same statement, the Vice President for Communication, Culture, and Tourism, Jorge Rodríguez, added that both sides need to "set politics aside and work together to fight Covid-19"
More on the agreement: The agreement was signed on Monday by the Venezuelan Minister of Health, Carlos Alvarado, the Health Adviser of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Castro, and the Venezuelan representative of the Pan American Health Organization, Gerardo de Cosio. On their website, PAHO says it is the specialized international health agency for the Americas. It serves as Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. The Venezuelan opposition confirmed the agreement in a statement: "The interim government and the president Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly, reaffirm its commitment to do whatever it takes to alleviate the suffering of Venezuelans," they said.
"We took an important step, but it won't be enough for what's ahead," the statement added. Guaidó is recognized as the interim leader of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, including the United States. According to the opposition, the agreement will allow the PAHO to receive and manage the funding allocated for humanitarian aid. The funds will be used towards protection equipment, "improving diagnostic capacity" and treating confirmed cases, according to the opposition. The PAHO confirmed to CNN in an email that "this agreement is real and that PAHO is taking action to support its implementation."
Covid-19 study links obesity with higher risk of children getting more severe illness
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
Researchers are learning more about how Covid-19 affects children, and a new study finds that among a group of children and adolescents in New York who were hospitalized with the disease, about a fifth — 22% — had obesity. The study, published in the journal The Lancet on Wednesday, suggests that having obesity could put a child at an increased risk of getting severely ill with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "The significance of obesity as an independent risk factor for severity is now being increasingly described in adult studies of Covid-19, so it was interesting that many of the hospitalized patients in this study had obesity and/or overweight," the researchers, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, wrote in the study. "Obesity was the most significant factor associated with mechanical ventilation in children 2 years and older," the researchers added. "Contrary to some previous reports, infants seemed largely spared severe manifestations."
More on the study: The study included data on 50 young people, ages 21 and younger, who were diagnosed with Covid-19 between March 1 and April 15 and hospitalized for at least a day or longer. The data, which came from the patients' electronic medical records, showed that about half of the patients — 52% — had an adult family member or was living with someone with symptoms associated with Covid-19. None of the patients had a history of international travel around the time they were diagnosed. Most of the patients — 80% — had a fever, and 64% had some respiratory symptoms, but three of the patients only experienced gastrointestinal problems, the researchers found. Nine of the patients, or 18% of them, needed mechanical ventilation and one patient died. Overall, the researchers found that obesity was significantly associated with needing mechanical ventilation among children ages 2 or older. Among the patients who required mechanical ventilation, six of them — 67% — had obesity.
About the study: The study had some limitations, including that the group of patients included in the data was small and half of the patients were Hispanic. The researchers noted that the hospital serves a predominantly Hispanic community. So more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a more diverse group of patients. Yet overall, "studies such as this one emphasize that certain groups of children may be disproportionally affected. In this study, 50% were Hispanic," Dr. Jason Newland of the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and Dr. Kristina Bryant of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, co-wrote in an editorial that accompanied the new study. "As the Covid-19 pandemic has spread and created adversity for many people physically, emotionally, and economically, the groups most affected have been those of color," Newland and Bryant wrote. "Going forward, multicenter collaborative studies are needed to define the infectious and postinfectious sequelae of Covid-19 in children in communities across the US, including rural communities, and in all racial and ethnic groups. We also need to understand the association of the pandemic with adverse health outcomes in children beyond the consequences of viral infection," they wrote. The researchers noted that on May 15, "the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a precipitous drop in the ordering and administration of pediatric vaccines. Are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases on the horizon? That could be the next important chapter of the evolving Covid-19 story."
New York state reports lowest daily coronavirus death toll yet
New York state reported its lowest daily coronavirus death toll so far, with 49 deaths reported yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. That's down from 58 deaths on Monday and 54 on Tuesday, the governor said. Hospitalizations are also at an all-time low. Cuomo warned that although many headlines are focusing on the nationwide protests over George Floyd's death at the hands of police, coronavirus remains a threat. "It is still in people and in society. We're still battling that," he said of the virus.
Brazil's president appoints general as provisional minister of health
From Mia Alberti and Rodrigo Pedroso
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday officially appointed Army General Eduardo Pazuello as interim health minister. Brazil has been 19 days without a health minister so far. Bolsonaro suggested that for the time being, he does not plan on naming a permanent replacement for Nelson Teich, his second health minister to resign. In practice, Pazuello has been acting as the head of the ministry since the resignation of former minister Teich on May 15.
Some background: Brazil has had two health ministers since the beginning of the pandemic. The original cabinet minister, Nelson Mandetta, was dismissed on April 16 by Bolsonaro for disagreeing with the president's handling of the pandemic. Mandetta’s replacement, Teich, also resigned after less than a month in office for the same reason. Bolsonaro has been nominating military personnel to key positions in the health ministry for the past month.
Latest numbers: On Tuesday, Brazil registered at least 1,262 new deaths by coronavirus, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. The country has had more than 555,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 31,199 reported deaths.
More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from coronavirus, group says
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from Covid-19, and more than 230,000 health care workers have contracted the virus, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said Wednesday in a statement. The ICN represents more than 130 national nursing associations with 20 million members globally, and “has been highlighting the lack of systematic data on COVID-19 infection rates of healthcare workers (HCWs) and related deaths of nurses," an ICN spokesman told CNN. It “implores" governments to act to protect their health and save lives. “Without this data we do not know the true cost of COVID-19, and that will make us less able to tackle other pandemics in the future,” ICN CEO Howard Catton added in the statement. The ICN report is based on data from national nursing associations, official figures and media reports from a limited number of countries.
2.8 million private sector jobs disappeared in the US in May, according to report
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
Another 2.8 million jobs in the private sector disappeared in May, according to the ADP national employment report. The private sector lost far fewer jobs than expected, however. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had forecast 9 million lost jobs last month. In April, ADP reported a revised 19.6 million jobs vanished, the worst month since the company began reporting national employment numbers in 2002. All segments of the economy were decimated again in May, but large businesses with 500 employees or more accounted for more than half the jobs lost — 1.6 million. Nearly 2 million of the losses occurred in the battered services industry, with the trade, transportation and utilities sector leading the declines. In the goods-producing industry, manufacturing shed the most jobs. “The impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to weigh on businesses of all sizes,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “While the labor market is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, job loss likely peaked in April, as many states have begun a phased reopening of businesses.” The ADP report comes two days ahead of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report, which is due Friday morning. Economists polled by Refinitiv expect another 8 million jobs lost in May, following a 20.5 million drop in April. That would push the unemployment rate to nearly 20%, a new record high.
Portugal wants to welcome British tourists this summer
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin Portugal hopes to welcome British holidaymakers this summer according to Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, Santos Silva said the UK and Portugal were considering a potential “air bridge” between the two countries. Calling quarantine “an enemy of tourism,” Santos Silva said that UK and Portuguese diplomats “will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected in their return to England to any kind of quarantine”. The UK is set to introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas travelers from Monday with the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel expected to set out the details in Parliament Wednesday. UK Health Minister Edward Argar also confirmed on the BBC Radio 4 that the UK government was looking into the possibility of airbridges. “One of the mitigating aspects for the industry that is being looked into a lot is this concept of airbridges where you do come to agreements with other countries were they are happy with your levels of infection and your control of it and you are happy with theirs” he said. Argar refused to “pre-empt” any further details about the potential air bridges.
European rail operator will gradually resume international train services
From CNN's James Frater in London European rail operator Thalys is to gradually resume its international train services between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany starting next week. Thalys, which normally carries 7.5 million passengers a year to 26 destinations has been running four trains a day between Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris since March 10. Beginning on June 9, the operator will restart a daily service between Dortmond and Paris and increase other services to 20% of its normal offering by the middle of July, with the hope of running 50% of its trains by August. In an email to customers, Thayls CEO Bertrand Gosselin said: “We do not know when the Covid-19 pandemic will end, nor when our lives will regain some normality.” Gosselin also assured passengers, “that the safety, well-being and health of our clients and employees is at all times at the core of our decisions.” Passengers will be required to wear a face covering at all times while onboard and the number of seats available on Thalys trains has been halved to maintain social distancing. Since April 8, anyone traveling to and from France is required to complete an International Travel Certificate to Mainland France form, confirming their journey is necessary and they are free of Covid-19 symptoms. Other international European rail operators Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and NS — who have also been running a limited service or no service at all — have begun to slowly resume services from 1 June. Eurostar, which runs trains between mainland Europe and the United Kingdom will continue to run a reduced service. A spokesperson for Eurostar told CNN, “We continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops, and we hope to gradually increase our number of services and destinations over the coming weeks in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions.”
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If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic:
European travel: Austria and Germany are preparing to ease travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Austria will reopen its borders with seven neighboring countries from Thursday -- but not with Italy.
First Rohingya death: A Rohingya refugee has died in Bangladesh in the first Covid-19-related fatality at the world's largest refugee camp, the UN agency charged with protecting refugees said.
Ibuprofen trial: A new London-based coronavirus treatment trial launched this week will test if a formulation of ibuprofen can treat one of the complications of coronavirus: severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Australia in recession: The country's economy shrank 0.3% in the first quarter, as Australia entered recession for the first time in nearly three decades. Covid-19 was largely to blame, said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, adding he expected second quarter figures to be worse.
Storm over India's virus epicenter: Cyclone Nisarga is moving across the state of Maharashtra, a region home to the megacity of Mumbai, which is already reeling from the impact of the virus. Covid-19 patients were among more than 100,000 people evacuated from low-lying coastal areas before the storm hit.
Meanwhile, India cases surge: The country reported nearly 9,000 new Covid-19 infections today -- a highest single-day spike that pushes its total over 200,000 cases.
US protest fears: Members of the White House coronavirus task force discussed the "increasing" risk that the virus could spread among protesters at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, a source familiar with the discussion said. The US surgeon general said he expects new outbreaks due to the protests.
UK trials "unique formulation" of ibuprofen to treat coronavirus
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac in London
A new London-based coronavirus treatment trial launched this week will test if a formulation of ibuprofen can treat one of the complications of coronavirus: severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. The trial is jointly headed by King's College London, a London research hospital and the pharmaceutical organization, the SEEK Group. It aims to reduce Covid-19 related respiratory failure, which in turn may decrease the need for more aggressive intervention such as ventilation, Kings College London said in a statement. The drug would be given at a “very specific stage” of the virus to hospitalized patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in a randomized study. Researchers say the drug differs from standard ibuprofen and is already licensed for use in the UK to treat other conditions. If proven successful, the treatment could be “invaluable” because of the low cost and high availability of the drug, the statement adds.