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May 29 coronavirus news

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What you need to know

  • The numbers: More than 5.8 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide, as well as more 360,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Brazil infection rate accelerates: The Latin American country has the second-highest number of cases globally. Some experts say the toll could quintuple by August.
  • The world reopens: Spain, Turkey, France, Britain and Brazil have all announced plans to at least partially lift lockdowns and resume businesses. Restrictions are also easing in Asian countries like the Philippines and Japan.
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Peru reports more than 6,500 new coronavirus cases

Doctors look at photos of their colleagues who died of COVID-19 after attending patients during the new coronavirus pandemic in Lima, Peru, Friday, on May 29.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Peru rose to 148,285 on Friday, a jump of 6,506 from the previous day, according to the country’s health ministry. 

The country also reported 131 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking the national death toll to 4,230, according to the ministry.  

Peru has the second-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Latin America, following Brazil.

Having Covid-19 around the time of a surgery is tied to higher risk of complications, research suggests

Being sick with Covid-19 around the time you undergo surgery has been linked with an increased risk of complications and death in a new study.

The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, found that among patients who had surgery for various reasons this year and were also diagnosed with Covid-19 around the time of surgery, about a quarter died and half experienced complications relating to their lungs.

The study, conduced by an international team of researchers, included data on 969 patients who had surgery between January and March 31 at 235 different hospitals across 24 countries, and who also were diagnosed with Covid-19 either before or after their surgery. 

Almost 24% of those patients died within a month after their surgery. More than half experienced complications relating to their lungs.

The researchers noted that men 70 and older who had emergency or major elective surgery were found to be at a particularly high risk of death. It’s not clear why there seems to be an association between Covid-19 and a risk of lung-related complications after surgery, the researchers said.

It might be important to be careful about who has surgery during the pandemic, they added.

“Although the risks associated with Covid-19 need to be carefully balanced against the risks of delaying surgery for every individual patient, our study suggests that the thresholds for surgery should be raised, compared to normal practice,” Aneel Bhangu of the University of Birmingham in the UK, who worked on the study, said in statement.

“Medical teams should consider postponing non-critical procedures and promoting other treatment options, which may delay the need for surgery or sometimes avoid it altogether.”

Brazil passes Spain in reported Covid-19 deaths

An open mass grave is seen at the Parque Tarumã cemetery on May 27 in Manaus, Brazil.

Brazil recorded 1,124 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, according to the country’s health ministry, raising the overall death toll to 27,878.

The new fatalities push Brazil’s nationwide death toll ahead of Spain, which has reported 27,121 Covid-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil also reported 26,928 cases of novel coronavirus, another record high for the country, bringing the nationwide total number of cases to 465,166.

Friday is the fourth day in a row that Brazil has recorded more than a 1,000 deaths in a day.

Washington will end stay-at-home order on May 31

Downtown Seattle is seen on March 12.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state’s stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire this Sunday.

“Under this approach, counties will have more flexibility to demonstrate that they have the capability to stay on top of the virus,” Inslee said at a news conference Friday.

The earliest coronavirus hotspots in the United States were in Washington, but Inslee said enough progress has been made to allow more activities.

“This does not mean, obviously, that we’re returning to normal,” Inslee said. “It means that, three months to the day after we declared a state of emergency, we’re successfully moving forward.”

Inslee said counties with few cases may be able to move into phase three soon, but the earliest date would be June 3.

NBA considering four return-to-play scenarios, reports say

Pedestrians walk past an NBA store in New York City.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s Board of Governors are considering four possible scenarios to restart the suspended season.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania are reporting that Silver presented the options on Friday that owners will need to decide on before approaching the players union.

Both Wojnarowski and Charania, quoting unnamed sources, outlined four similar options:

  • 16 teams head straight to the playoffs
  • 20 teams play a World-Cup-like playoff tournament
  • 22 total teams with some teams having to play into a post-season tournament
  • All 30 teams return to finish a shortened 72-game regular season followed by playoffs

ESPN’s Wojnarowski says the Board of Governors will vote on the proposals Thursday. Charania said Silver is targeting a July 31 restart date.

Asked about the reports, the NBA did not have a comment.

Trump again claims coronavirus is "going away"

President Trump again claimed without evidence that coronavirus is “going away” and said that there may even be a cure on the horizon. 

In response to Geoff Ballotti of Wyndham Hotels speaking about consumers feeling comfortable traveling again, the President repeated one of his favorite refrains throughout the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the virus is “going away.” 

On the possibility of a cure, Trump said “it won’t be in the long distance.”

Some background: Many scientists around the world are frantically working on therapeutics, vaccines and potential treatments. 

No one knows when, or even if, any of them will pan out – or when the virus will no longer be a threat, let alone “disappear.”

Experts on viruses have also said that at the very least this virus will enter the mix of viruses that make people sick every year. 

Florida approves Walt Disney World and Sea World reopening plans

Florida approved reopening plans for Walt Disney World and Sea World. 

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings submitted an endorsement to the state after both parks presented reopening plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force Wednesday.

Sea World will reopen on June 10 and Walt Disney World will begin the reopening process on July 11, according to correspondence from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Combinations of drugs may be needed to fight coronavirus, FDA scientists say

Combinations of antivirals, anti-inflammatories and other drugs will likely be needed to treat people with coronavirus, a team of US Food and Drug Administration scientists said Friday.

It might even be necessary to customize treatment patient by patient, the FDA team said in a review of the treatments being tested against Covid-19.

“As the results of clinical trials become available, it may become increasingly clear that there is likely no single magic bullet to resolve the disease but a combination of several interventions that target different key factors of COVID-19 may well be required,” FDA drug researcher Montserrat Puig and colleagues wrote in a report published in Frontiers of Immunology. 

“Until vaccines and targeted drugs for COVID-19 are available, there may be a need to intervene with personalized therapeutic approaches. We are learning day after day, that patients may be affected by SARS-CoV-2 differently and that many factors influence the outcome of the disease.”

They reviewed 30 different drugs being tried out, including drugs designed to stop the virus from getting into cells, such as already-approved blood pressure drugs; drugs aimed at stopping the virus from replicating, such as the immune suppressors sirolimus and the antiparasitic drug ivermectin; drugs that control the immune system response, such as type 1 interferon; and drugs meant to block the overwrought inflammatory response to the virus, which include some rheumatoid arthritis drugs.

Different drugs could help people at different stages of the disease. Early on, it could be enough to stop the virus from getting into cells and replicating itself, Puig said. In patients with more severe disease, it will be more important to intervene in the body’s immune response to infection, which can include an overreaction known as the cytokine storm.

No drug is approved to specifically treat coronavirus infections although the FDA has given emergency use authorization to the antiviral drug remdesivir. 

Louisiana governor reports "big dip" in number of people hospitalized

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 took a “big dip” Friday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in during a news conference.

“We do have some information for you, and that information is actually rather positive. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 actually took a big dip over the last 24 hours, down to 714,” he said. “Several weeks ago, we were well over 2000.” 

Additionally, the state has less than 100 people on ventilators for the first time since March 23, the governor said. 

He did not give an update on the number of coronavirus cases today because of “technical issues.”

The Louisiana Department of Health posted on its website: “Due to network technical issues, case and testing data could not be updated today. The data on deaths and hospitalization have not been impacted. Once resolved, LDH will update at the next noon update.”

Trump says US has conducted more than 15 million tests

President Trump said the US has now conducted more than 15 million Covid-19 tests.

The President then teased an announcement on new tests for tomorrow.

“We’re gonna give you a big report on testing tomorrow. We have new tests coming out that are above and beyond anything that anybody would have thought even possible just a couple of months ago,” Trump said.

Trump said certain places have more tests available than people seeking them. He mentioned Florida as an example.

Acute kidney injury may be higher than expected in Covid-19 patients, research finds 

Patients hospitalized with Covid-19, especially in an intensive care unit, may suffer higher rates of acute kidney injury than previously thought, according to new research.

More than a third of patients treated at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center during the height of the outbreak there developed acute kidney injury, the researchers reported. And 78% of those admitted to an intensive care unit had kidney injury, Ruijun Chen of Columbia University and colleagues reported in the BMJ.

They said nearly 14% of those admitted to hospital and 35.2% of those in intensive care needed inpatient dialysis treatment. That is a higher percentage than seen in similar studies in China and Seattle, the researchers said.

Chen’s team looked at the first 1,000 Covid-19 patients who either went to the emergency department or were admitted to the hospital between March 1 and April 5. 

Patients with kidney damage can need intensive dialysis and may develop blood clotting. There could be a variety of reasons for the injuries, Chen’s team said. Sometimes doctors limit delivery of fluids when treating these patients, and that could damage the kidneys, they said. The virus could directly attack the kidneys, also. Plus many of the patients with severe coronavirus infections had other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes or pre-existing kidney disease. 

WHO declines to comment on Trump’s decision to cut ties

The World Health Organization said it has no comment regarding President Trump’s announcement that he would be cutting ties with WHO.

On Friday, a WHO spokesperson said in an e-mail to CNN, “We have no comment to offer at this point.”

Earlier this month, Trump sent WHO an ultimatum saying he would cut funding if WHO didn’t “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.”

On Friday afternoon, Trump said WHO “failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms,” adding that the US would be “terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs.”

Hair salons and barber shops to reopen in Los Angeles

Hair salons and barber shops will reopen in Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Drive-in theaters, flea markets and swap meets can also reopen.

“We are eager to bolster more businesses and reunify our community,” Barger said.

Infectious Diseases Society says they "stand strongly against" Trump's decision to cut ties with WHO

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at the White House on Friday, May 29, in Washington, DC.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America said it opposes President Trump’s decision to terminate US relations with the World Health Organization. 

“As infectious diseases physicians on the front line of combating the current global crisis, we stand strongly against President Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization,” IDSA President Dr. Thomas File said in a statement.

“This pandemic has demonstrated that neither national boundaries nor political positions can protect us from the spread of an infectious disease. We will not succeed against this pandemic, or any future outbreak, unless we stand together, share information, and coordinate actions,” the statement added.

WHO has not yet responded to request for comment by CNN.

Watch Trump’s announcement here:

WHO launches global information access portal for Covid-19       

The headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) is seen in Geneva on Friday, May 29.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global portal Friday to share Covid-19 information around therapeutics and vaccines.

The Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) “will provide a one-stop shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property to be shared equitably by the global community,” WHO said in a statement. 

The pool, first proposed in March by Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, “will ensure the latest and best science benefits all of humanity — vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response — must be made universally available as global public goods,” he said. 

“Science is moving with incredible speed. Almost every day there is more news about research into vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a Friday briefing. 

Tedros said C-TAP has five priorities: Public disclosure of gene sequencing research, public disclosure of all clinical trial results, encouraging governments and research funders to have equitable distribution of trial data, licensing therapeutics and vaccines to both large and small producers and promoting open technology that increases supply capacity. 

WHO is encouraging companies that develop an effective therapeutic to “contribute the patent to the medicines patent pool, which would then sublicense the pattern to generic manufacturers.”

“Science is giving us solutions, but to make the solutions work for everyone - we need solidarity,” Tedros said. 

Israel sees spike in coronavirus cases after reopening

People sit outside a cafe in Israel's Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 27.

Israel has recorded a sudden spike in new coronavirus cases after lifting lockdown restrictions, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, mostly blamed on a lack of discipline in maintaining social distancing guidelines.

The country recorded at least 101 new cases on Friday and 79 new cases on Thursday, according to Ministry of Health data, after experiencing less than 20 new cases a day earlier in the week.

The wave of new cases comes just weeks after Israel made the decision to reopen schools and most commercial enterprises. 

“This a warning siren,” Ministry of Health Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said during a news conference held Friday.

The decision to hold the news conference during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, when government offices are closed, was a clear indication of how seriously officials are taking the spike.

In another rare move, the government will meet tomorrow, on the Sabbath, to discuss the possible re-closing of school grades seven through 12, in an effort to prevent a second wave of infections.

As of Friday evening, Israel had at least 16,987 coronavirus cases, though the vast majority have recovered. The country has 1,927 active cases, according to the Ministry of Health. In total, 284 people have died as a result of coronavirus.

UK prime minister discusses coronavirus response and vaccine development with Trump 

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands outside 10 Downing Street in London on May 28.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to US President Trump on Friday to discuss coronavirus response, according to a Downing Street statement. 

“On the upcoming G7 Summit, the prime minister and President discussed the importance of leaders meeting in the US in person if possible,” the spokesperson added.

Johnson invited Trump to take part in the Global Vaccine Summit that the UK is hosting on June 4 “to raise vital funds to save the lives of millions of children around the world,” the spokesperson said.

Coronavirus cases in Italy continue a steady decrease

An Italian Navy doctor administers a Covid-19 test inside a health facility on May 21 in Tempio Pausania, Italy.

Italy recorded 516 new coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 46,175, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency. However, officials say the number of active Covid-19 infections in the country continues to drop.

There was an increase of 87 new deaths, which is in line with daily death tolls of the last few days, authorities said. The total number of fatalities currently stands at 33,229.

Over the last day, 2,240 more people recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 152,844. There were 475 people still in intensive care on Friday, 14 fewer than on Thursday, according to authorities.

Monkeys snatch blood samples of suspected Covid-19 patients in India

A troop of monkeys snatched the blood samples of suspected coronavirus patients at a government hospital in the Meerut district of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The incident happened on Thursday when a lab assistant working with the Covid-19 facility of the hospital was carrying blood samples due for testing, Dr Dheeraj Baliyan, medical superintendent of Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College and Hospital, told CNN.

The monkeys attacked the lab assistant and stole the sample box with three samples, added Baliyan.

Read more here.

UK coronavirus fatalities reach 38,161

Night falls on a temporary morgue that has been constructed on the grounds of Haycombe Cemetery to accommodate victims of COVID-19 on May 1 in Bath, United Kingdom.

An additional 324 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to at least 38,161, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Friday.

So far, 271,222 people have tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 2,095 cases since yesterday, Sunak said at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing. 

Overall, 4,043,686 tests have been carried out in the UK, including 131,458 tests on Thursday, Sunak added.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect the latest figures on the numbers of tests carried out in the UK.

Canada looking to ease border restrictions for some families stuck in the US

The Detroit Windsor Tunnel entrance to the customs area to enter Canada is pictured empty in Detroit on April 1.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is looking into possibly easing some Canada-US border restrictions that would allow immediate family members to reunite.

Trudeau made clear that anyone entering Canada would still have to quarantine for 14 days but acknowledged that a number of families are facing undue hardship with the border closure.

He said he would continue to look at ways to support families going through extremely difficult times.

Some context: Canadians and permanent residents of Canada are currently allowed to enter the country at any time as long as they offer proof they will quarantine for 14 days.

The US-Canada border has been closed to all non-essential travel since mid-March.

The current agreement, set to expire on June 21, allows for essential commercial goods and workers to cross the border. 

US missed early chance to slow coronavirus, genetic study indicates

The US missed a chance to catch imported cases of coronavirus earlier this year, genetics experts say in a new report.

Analysis of the virus by evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona and colleagues shows the first person known to have carried the infection to the United States, in Washington state back in January, may not have been the source of the later cases there.

“Our analyses reveal an extended period of missed opportunity when intensive testing and contact tracing could have prevented SARS-CoV-2 from becoming established in the US and Europe,” they wrote in a report, which is not yet peer-reviewed and published on the preprint server bioRxiv.

Worobey and colleagues compared the strains of the virus that infected the first known US case, a 30-year-old traveler from Wuhan who arrived on January 15, and samples taken from a cluster of cases that popped up in the state at the end of February.

Genetic sequencing showed the samples were very similar, a finding that led officials to believe the first patient must somehow have spread the virus. 

But Worobey said scientists have since found that coronavirus mutates very slowly. He and colleagues ran computer simulations that showed there was no way the virus that came into the country with the first patient in January was the same virus infecting people six weeks later, even though it was very similar.

They concluded there had to be a second introduction of the virus in mid-February. “It looks like early to mid-February appears to be the time frame when this virus was introduced to Washington state,” Worobey told CNN.

“It seems that a virus that was probably identical to the Washington epidemic cluster got in at some point in early February and gave rise to a bunch of identical viruses,” said Joel Wertheim of the University of California San Diego, who also worked on the study.

Worobey said the second introduction of the virus may have come from Canada.

“It seems possible that the virus that eventually wound up in Washington state moved first into Vancouver and then down into Washington,” he said. “We can’t exactly say when. We can’t say who. We can’t say where from.” 

The Louvre museum in Paris to reopen on July 6

A woman walks in front of the Louvre museum on May 13 in Paris.

The Louvre museum in Paris is working to reopen on July 6, according to a statement released Friday on museum’s website.

The museum’s statement said it’s implementing a new system that will allow people to visit with “optimum security conditions.” The museum said it will follow all health rules, and visitors will have to book a slot to enter.

“Even if we were able to showcase the Louvre’s treasures virtually during confinement, nothing can replace the emotion of a real encounter with a piece of art, which is the raison d’être of museums,” president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, said.

On Thursday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that museums and monuments across France would be allowed to reopen from June 2 as France eases some coronavirus lockdown measures.

Brazil economy shrinks 1.5% in the first quarter of 2020, worst drop in 5 years

People wait in line to have their body temperature checked before entering a shopping mall in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 27.

Brazil’s economy contracted 1.5% in the first quarter of 2020 as the country became a global coronavirus hotspot.

The slowdown was the worst quarterly drop since the second quarter of 2015 (2.1%), which was the peak of the country’s last recession.

Brazil’s official statistical agency, IBGE, said the numbers reflect the impact the coronavirus is having on the economic activity of the country.

Analysts expect the country to suffer even more economic pain in the next quarter forecasting a contraction between 11-12%.

Travelers entering Denmark will receive random Covid-19 tests, prime minister says

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 29.

Travelers entering Denmark will be encouraged to take a randomized coronavirus test, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced Friday.

The government will add mobile testing stations to tourist areas and at hot spots, with the aim of keeping track of the development of the virus and possible new chains of infection.

The prime minister said at a news briefing that tourists from Germany, Norway and Iceland will be able to enter Denmark starting June 15.

“It will take place under restriction,” Frederiksen said, adding “we have to open Denmark in a controlled way.”

Tourists must document that they have booked a stay of at least six overnights in Denmark. And while tourists are welcome to visit Copenhagen, they will not be allowed to spend the night in the capital.

The prime minister noted that the government expects to open up for other Schengen areas and the United Kingdom after the summer. The border to Sweden will remain closed for now.

Some context: Denmark has recorded zero coronavirus deaths in 24 hours for the fifth time in the past two weeks, according to the country’s Serum institute for disease control said. 

WHO says the tobacco industry is taking advantage of the global pandemic

A person holds a cigarette in Moscow on May 12.

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on tobacco and nicotine industries across the world to stop taking advantage of the global pandemic and marketing directly to children and teens. 

Ruediger Krech, health promotion director at the WHO, said Thursday that more than 40 million teenagers around the globe have already started to use tobacco. 

“We’ve made great strides… but we’ve also had some setbacks. If we are not careful, we may lose ground in tobacco control as the industry persists and is looking to hook a new younger generation on its products,” Krech said.

Every year on May 31, the WHO celebrates World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) to raise awareness on the deadly effects of smoking. 

“We see hundreds of thousands of people - of smokers - wanting to quit during this crisis,” Krech said. “There’s a huge uptake of tobacco cessation programs and demand to us to support people in quitting smoking.”

Countries like Mexico, India, Jordan, Indonesia and China, along with parts of central and eastern Europe, have all seen an increase of cessation during the pandemic. 

“We are now looking for new technology solutions to make available to help those who want to quit,” Vinayak Prasad, coordinator with the No Tobacco Unit at WHO, said.

WHO said in a statement that it is launching a kit aimed at teenagers to “alert them to the tobacco industry tactics used to hook them to addictive products.”

“The toolkit exposes tactics, such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” Prasad said.

Adriana Blanco Marquizo, convention secretariat head at WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, said it is important to arm younger people to fight the tactics.

“Adolescents and young people can be empowered to protect themselves when they understand the intention of this industry – an industry that really wants them hooked in an addictive behavior, just in order to keep the profits, even if it goes against public health,” she said. 

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5.8 million people globally. If you’re just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • Berlin eases lockdown restrictions: Pubs in the German capital will reopen from Tuesday, June 2. Open-air events such as concerts or film screenings will be allowed to start from the same date, but will be capped at a maximum of 200 people.
  • Seoul closes schools: More than 500 schools in the South Korean capital closed on Friday after briefly reopening. The country’s health officials are trying to stamp out a new coronavirus cluster in the city.
  • Renault slashes jobs: The carmaker announced that it would cut 14,600 jobs, in an attempt to cut costs during the pandemic.
  • English Premier League to restart: The soccer competition will provisionally resume from June 17, ending a three-month break brought about by the pandemic.
  • US death toll rises: At least 101,621 people have died from coronavirus in the country, which has suffered the highest number of deaths globally.

Hundreds of South Korea schools close again after reopening

A cleaner wearing a protective mask walks past a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, May 29.

More than 500 schools closed again Friday to students after briefly reopening, as South Korea moves to stamp out a resurgence of the coronavirus in the capital, Seoul, and its surrounding metropolitan area.

Parks, art galleries, museums and theaters operated by the government in the Seoul metropolitan area – home to about half the country’s population of nearly 52 million – have also been closed to the public for the next two weeks.

Government hosted events in the metropolitan area will be canceled or postponed as well, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Thursday. The authorities have recommended that private academies and internet cafes there close too until June 14.

Park also asked people living in the Seoul metropolitan area to refrain from going outside or holding events for the next fortnight.

The coronavirus outbreak includes a cluster in a logistics center in Bucheon. Almost 100 cases had been linked to the logistics center cluster as of Friday, Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said in a briefing. So far, 3,836 people out of 4,351 workers and visitors at the center had been tested, he said.

Read more here.

Police request six Premier League games to be played at neutral venues as soccer competition resumes

English Premier League soccer matches will make a provisional return on Wednesday June 17, ending a three-month break to the top-flight competition because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police forces in England have requested that six of the matches – including the game in which Liverpool could secure the league championship – take place at neutral venues, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) confirmed Friday.

“The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed,” Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, NPCC Football Policing Lead, said in a statement.
“This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums,” added Roberts.

Liverpool are two currently wins away from claiming a historic title – its first in 30 years. The team sits 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City with nine full rounds of match fixtures remaining.

US death toll rises to 101,621

A hearse arrives at a temporary morgue near Green-Wood Cemetery the Brooklyn borough of New York City on May 27.

At least 101,621 people have died in the US from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, with at least 1,721,926 cases recorded across the country.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

The US has the highest number of deaths and cases globally.

CNN is tracking Covid-19’s spread across the nation here.

Are lockdowns more damaging than the virus? Experts say it's a false choice

Is the damage caused by the lockdown worse than the virus itself? That’s a question raised by some world leaders and commentators who claim that economic and social hardship caused by strict coronavirus restrictions places a heavier burden on society than the death rate caused by the disease.

These lockdown skeptics point to the tens of millions of US jobs lost in an economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression, the warning by the European Commission of a recession of “historic proportions” and the Bank of England’s fear that the British economy is facing its worst crash in three centuries.