June 11 coronavirus news

By Steve George, Joshua Berlinger, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:06 PM ET, Thu June 11, 2020
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2:18 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Moderna expects to begin phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial next month

From CNN's Wes Bruer and Elizabeth Cohen

 

Moderna Inc. headquarters stands in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 25.
Moderna Inc. headquarters stands in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 25. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Moderna confirmed it expects to begin a phase three study of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in July, according to a statement on Thursday.

The final phase of the placebo-controlled study will include 30,000 subjects in the United States. Participants not in the placebo group will receive 100 micrograms of the vaccine candidate, which was determined to be “the optimal dose level to maximize the immune response while minimizing adverse reactions,” according to the statement. Phase three of the trial will be conducted with the National Institutes of Health. 

About the vaccine: Moderna said it is still on track to deliver about 500 million to a billion doses per year, beginning in 2021 and said its primary endpoint will be prevention of symptomatic Covid-19, with secondary endpoints to include the prevention of severe Covid-19 that leads to hospitalization. 

What the phases mean: While there is some overlap, phase one of a vaccine trial typically involve several dozen study subjects and looks at whether the vaccine is safe. Phase two is several hundred people and looks at safety, immune response and dosage, and phase three involves thousands of patients and looks at efficacy. In phase three, there is a placebo arm, so it can be determined if the vaccine worked better than no vaccine at all.

1:54 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

"Seasonality will be a very big driver" of possible second wave, health researchers say

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The latest coronavirus forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington takes into account seasonality predictions.

"Seasonality will be a very big driver of the second wave, we believe," Dr. Christopher Murray, IHME’s director, said today.

Late yesterday, IHME released a “third generation model” which forecasted nearly 170,000 deaths from coronavirus in the United States by October 1. 

“The increase in daily deaths really starts to gather more momentum from mid-September, onwards,” Murray said.

Contributing to that increase are two main factors: “The steady rise in contact rates, the steady rise in mobility and the likely continued reaction of mandates over the course of the summer, combined with the increasing clear signal that seasonality is important,” he said.

What the model suggests: The closely watched model — which is currently featured on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website — said the summer should remain in plateau. “We think, because there’s still some progressive protective effect from seasonality between now and August, that even if there are increases, they will not turn into exponential growth,” Murray said. 

“But once the protective effect of seasonality goes away, those same phenomenon may turn into much more rapid increases," he added.

The “biggest and most difficult choice” states will face in the fall is managing a potential second shutdown, Murray said. 

“Because of quarantine fatigue, because of the economic effects of quarantine, another round of shutdowns might have even larger effects on businesses that may be on the edge of not being able to stay solvent," he said.

1:45 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Texas health official on Covid-19 spike in state: "This is still a serious situation" 

From CNN's Ashely Killough and Gregory Lemos 

As Texas continues trending upwards in its average of daily new cases of Covid-19 and hospitalizations, an official from the health department said "this is still a serious situation." 

"We’re certainly still seeing COVID-19 spread in Texas, as evidenced by the increased number of hospitalizations, down about 150 today to 2,008, and it’s an important reminder that this is still a serious situation," Chris Van Deusen, spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told CNN in an email Thursday.

He added: "People still need to be taking action to protect themselves and their communities by continuing social distancing, wearing a face covering in public, and continuing to wash their hands and disinfect surfaces frequently." 

Here are the numbers: Texas averaged approximately 1,700 new cases per day over the week ending June 10, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.  

Van Deusen said numbers out of Texas were notably large Wednesday because a few counties have changed the way they are reporting their numbers.  

He said hospitals around the state are prepared for a surge both in the way of beds and staff preparedness.  

1:43 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Myrtle Beach is seeing an upward trend in new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Natasha Chen 

Beach Patrol police officers talk to beach goers from their vehicles in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on  May 23.
Beach Patrol police officers talk to beach goers from their vehicles in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on May 23. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Myrtle Beach Director of Public Information Mark Kruea told CNN the Myrtle Beach area has seen an upward trend in new Covid-19 cases over the last few days, mirroring the increase seen across South Carolina.

“If you plan on vacationing in Myrtle Beach,” Kruea said, “bring your mask and your patience.”

Masks are not expected to be worn on beaches, Kruea said, since there is enough room on the beach to socially distance between parties. But, Kruea did encourage all residents and visitors to wear masks when walking around town.

Some background: Myrtle Beach saw an influx of visitors over Memorial Day weekend two weeks ago, when city code enforcement noted a couple of restaurants operating above the 50% capacity.

Kruea said there has not been proactive monitoring of that capacity limit since the holiday weekend, unless someone calls in a complaint.

He said that restaurants have adjusted well to the capacity limit with indoor dining, but that the problem is when guests are waiting to enter or gathering by the door, not social distancing.

Track your state's Covid-19 cases here.

1:33 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Louisiana increase for third straight day

From CNN’s Kay Jones in New Orleans

Medical personnel talk to a person at a drive-thru Coronavirus Covid-19 testing station at West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans, on March 17.
Medical personnel talk to a person at a drive-thru Coronavirus Covid-19 testing station at West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans, on March 17. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Louisiana increased by more than 400 for the third straight day.

Louisiana Department of Health reported 44,472 total cases on Thursday with 2,874 total deaths, up 19 since Wednesday’s report.

At least 469,673 tests have been completed statewide. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Wednesday that while the state is not seeing a spike in cases, there are three regions of concern. He said that cases are increasing in Monroe, Lake Charles and Alexandria due to community spread and congregate settings.

Edwards is slated to take part in a town hall with The Advocate later this afternoon to discuss the state’s response to the pandemic.

1:32 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Former CDC director says the US is "giving too much weight to numbers that have little meaning"

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivers remarks during a press conference in Washington, on September 29, 2016.
Dr. Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivers remarks during a press conference in Washington, on September 29, 2016. Win McNamee/Getty Images

There are serious errors being made in the metrics that are being tracked in the United States when it comes to Covid-19, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and current president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.

These errors are undermining how quickly and how well the US can control Covid-19 and restore the economy, Frieden said during a webinar on Thursday.

“Today, the United States isn’t focusing on the most important trends, and we’re giving too much weight to numbers that have little meaning,” he added.

Some of the areas that are being focused on which Frieden says are not as important as they are being made out to be include case counts — which he says are relatively meaningless in most of the country — as well as the total number of tests being conducted, and the test positivity rate.

Frieden and his colleagues believe that other metrics are more important when it comes to understanding and controlling Covid-19.

Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, Resolve to Save Lives’ director, listed some of the more important numbers to focus on to help governments and communities to form response plans for Covid-19.

These included unlinked infections, proportion of cases among quarantine contacts, number of health care worker infections, trends in excess mortality and demographic trends.

Unlinked infections, for example, are a good number to track because details about them can be used to improve contact tracing.

“If the metrics that matter are used by governments and communities, we will be better equipped to fight the virus [and] save more lives,” Shahpar said.

1:17 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Nashville delays phased reopening due to "slightly elevated" coronavirus cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Downtown Broadway is seen at night in Nashville, on April 8.
Downtown Broadway is seen at night in Nashville, on April 8. Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Nashville city officials announced today that they will be delaying the next phase of the city's reopening plan following an increase in new virus cases, according to a news release from the health department. 

“As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory. But our 14-day new case average remains slightly elevated, prompting us to stay in phase two of our Roadmap for Reopening Nashville," Mayor John Cooper said in the statement.

"The level of cases in Southeast Nashville warrants further attention, and I have instructed the Metro Public Health Department to concentrate its efforts there. We will continue with Phase Two while carefully observing our public health data every day,” the mayor continued.

The latest numbers: Metro Public Health Department officials announced today a total number of 6,627 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nashville/Davidson County, an increase of 56 in the past 24 hours. The confirmed cases range in age from 1 month to 100 years.

One additional death was reported in Davidson County, a 46-year old male with underlying health conditions.

At least 80 people have died after a confirmed case of Covid-19. At least 5,110 individuals have recovered from the virus.

1:14 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

FAA chief says it will take "years rather than months for a full recovery" for airline industry

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A pilot walks by United Airlines planes as they sit parked at gates at San Francisco International Airport, on April 12.
A pilot walks by United Airlines planes as they sit parked at gates at San Francisco International Airport, on April 12. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Stephen Dickson, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said there will be a long path before the airline industry recovers.

Speaking in a virtual chat with the Air Traffic Control Association, the former Delta Air Lines executive said, "I think we're talking about years rather than months for a full recovery."

Dickson said the agency has been working on the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX, but wouldn’t put a date on a potential certification flight or its return.

“We shouldn’t be talking about any timelines with the MAX. We continue to work very effectively even in this Covid environment with Boeing. … we continue to work through all of the issues. The next big milestone is a certification flight. We don’t have everything accomplished” to be ready for that, he said.

“It remains to be seen what date that will occur but we certainly have that as the next point in the process," Dickson said.

1:01 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Trump's economic adviser downplays possibility of another coronavirus wave

From CNN's Betsy Klein

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow pauses while speaking to members of the media in Washington, on May 8.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow pauses while speaking to members of the media in Washington, on May 8. Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow called today a “rough day” for markets when he appeared on Fox Business today — but he added that it isn’t the “last word" and downplayed the threat of a second wave of coronavirus. 

Kudlow was asked about market reaction to concerns about another spike of cases in the fall.  

“Go talk to Deborah Birx about that, she doesn’t seem to think so,” Kudlow said of a second wave, noting that he gets the numbers every night and the growth of new cases and fatalities remains between zero and 1%. 

Pressed on the fact that there have been 100,000 cases in the last week, he said he is “not a medical expert,” and suggested it was because “we are testing much more.” He also said hospitalizations have increased because elective surgeries have resumed. 

Kudlow said they are “looking at a lot of options” for additional stimulus funding, but he wouldn’t get into specifics. During a very brief gaggle with reporters, he suggested there’s consensus for a tourism stimulus in some form. 

“Could be a deduction, could be a credit, could be a refundable credit,” he said, adding, “There seems to be a very broad agreement with congressional members that would be a good thing to do.”