June 11 coronavirus news

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11:27 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

White House coronavirus task force will meet today as US cases surpass 2 million

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, on April 24.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, on April 24. Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the US has passed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and a trusted model is projecting a steep increase in the fall, Vice President Mike Pence will lead a White House coronavirus task force meeting today. 

The task force will meet at 2:30 p.m. ET in the Situation Room, according to Pence’s schedule. This will be the second meeting this week – the group last met on Tuesday.

The meeting also comes as President Trump is moving full-steam ahead with reopening and packed campaign rallies, returning to the campaign trail next week for a rally in Tulsa, his first since March 2.

Pence is also set to return to the campaign trail for the first time since he was tapped to lead the task force, attending an event for the Trump-aligned America First super PAC tomorrow in Pennsylvania.

As CNN reported last month, the task force has been sharply curtailed, meeting about once a week. Task force members have been on conference calls with governors weekly, but there has not been a briefing from the task force since April 27.

And Pence, the task force leader, openly flouted CDC guidelines yesterday, posting a photo with a large group of tightly-clustered campaign staff at headquarters with no masks. The cap on gatherings is 10 people in Virginia. The tweet has since been deleted.

11:03 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

New York City announces $3 million initiative to help city's small restaurants

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 11.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 11. NYC Media

New York City will donate $3 million dollars to assist “mom and pop” restaurants and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during the city’s daily news conference. 

The funds will be part of the city’s "Restaurant Revitalization Program" which will provide grants up to $30,000 to 100 selected restaurants.

The program will be funded by the mayor’s fund to Advance NYC and One Fair Wage, an organization that fights for fair wages.  

Workers at the restaurants are eligible for a one-time $500 cash fund, NYC first lady Chirlane McCray said during the news conference.

11:03 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

New York City is meeting all Covid-19 thresholds, mayor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

BioReference Laboratories, Inc., and New York City provide coronavirus antibody blood testing on June 1 in the Staten Island borough in New York. 
BioReference Laboratories, Inc., and New York City provide coronavirus antibody blood testing on June 1 in the Staten Island borough in New York.  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for BioReference Laboratories, Inc.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is meeting all of its coronavirus thresholds.

At least 69 people across New York City were hospitalized for Covid-19 on Tuesday, de Blasio said at the city’s daily press conference this morning.

At that time, 337 people were in ICU’s across NYC Health and Hospitals, he said, adding that number is below the 375 threshold that allows the city to reopen safely, de Blasio said. 

Of the people tested for Covid-19, as of Tuesday, 3% have tested positive. 

10:44 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Trump heads to Texas today. Here are the state's latest coronavirus numbers.

From Liz Stark and Ethan Cohen

President Trump is expected to travel to Dallas, Texas today to participate in a roundtable with “faith leaders, law enforcement and small business owners” before attending a political fundraiser. 

Here is a look at the coronavirus trends in the Lone Star State:  

Texas is trending upward in its average of daily new cases, averaging about 1,700 new cases per day over the week ending June 10, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

Testing also appears to be trending upward — but not as sharply as the rate of new cases, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

 

Meanwhile, the average of new confirmed deaths in Texas has fluctuated in recent weeks but is lower now than in mid-May. 

Texas is also seeing an uptick in hospitalizations, according to COVID Tracking Project data.

10:15 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

US treasury secretary: “We can’t shut down the economy again"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing to examine implementation of Title I of the CARES Act on June 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing to examine implementation of Title I of the CARES Act on June 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AP

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Thursday that the US economy will not be shut down again, despite continued rising cases and a key model projecting a steep increase this fall.

“We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage, and not just economic damage, but there are other areas,” Mnuchin told CNBC, calling President Trump’s initial decision “very prudent” but saying “we’ve learned a lot” since then. 

Mnuchin noted that over the next month, “over another trillion dollars” will be pumped into the economy.

He also reiterated that the next round of CARES Act funding will focus on industries that are especially impacted, citing hotels, travel, entertainment, and restaurants, and saying it will be “much more targeted.” 

“We’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker,” he said.

Mnuchin said he expects the restaurant industry will “come in and now take up a bunch” of remaining Paycheck Protection Program funding after additional flexibility legislation was passed, and said it is an industry “that will need a lot of help – continued help – until we have a vaccine.”

10:11 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

US Army lab picks lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate 

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The US Army laboratory at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has selected a lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate as well as two backup vaccine candidates “that will advance to the next stage of research,” the Army announced today.

The lead vaccine candidate was selected from more than two dozen prototypes. 

“The candidates were narrowed down from more than two dozen prototypes in order to determine the candidates that elicited the most promising antibody response in preclinical studies,” the statement said.

The Army is supporting the government’s intergovernmental vaccine project known as Operation Warp Speed, which is aimed at accelerating the development, manufacturing, and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

10:04 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Stocks down sharply as fears over rising coronavirus cases grow

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

The New York Stock Exchange stands in lower Manhattan on May 26 in New York.
The New York Stock Exchange stands in lower Manhattan on May 26 in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks dropped sharply at Thursday’s opening bell, as investors shifted their focus to rising cases of coronavirus infections during the reopening of the US economy.

The Federal Reserve committed to ultra-low interest rates for years to come in Wednesday’s monetary policy update, which should be positive for stocks. But the central bank also said the outlook on the economy was highly uncertain.

Here's how the markets opened today: 

  • The Dow opened 3.4%, or 900 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 fell 2.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.2%.

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9:20 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic “accelerating” in Africa, World Health Organization says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

A City of Tshwane Health official looks on as she conducts a screening exercise on a taxi operator before testing for COVID-19 at the Bloed Street Mall in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 11.
A City of Tshwane Health official looks on as she conducts a screening exercise on a taxi operator before testing for COVID-19 at the Bloed Street Mall in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 11. Phil Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Covid-19 cases in Africa has doubled in less than 20 days and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of a shortage of test kits. 

“It took 98 days to reach the first 100,000 cases and only 19 days to move to 200,000 cases, so even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3% of the global total, it's clear that the pandemic is accelerating,” WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday during a press briefing.

There are currently more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,000 deaths on the continent, he said. 

Moeti added that until a vaccine is developed, he expects a “steady increase” of coronavirus cases in the region, “with some hotspots having to be managed in a number of countries, as is happening now in South Africa, in Algeria, in Cameroon for example, which really require very strong measures, public health measures, social distancing measures to take place.''

According to Moeti, in most African countries coronavirus entered through the capital cities with travelers.

“It was through international travel, particularity people traveling in from Europe and as far as we know it has not yet reached in significant numbers those areas where we tend to find refugee camps or camps of internally displaced people but we certainly done the work with our partners to prepare for that,” Moeti said.

Moeti stressed that one of the biggest challenges in the African continent is the availability of supplies, “particularly test kits and this is due to disruptions in the global supply chain”, Moeti said, adding that “the U.N. has established a supply chain task force and other mechanisms are in place to address these shortages including work done by the African Union and more than 8 million diagnostic supplies and 200 million items of personal protective equipment are in the pipeline to be shipped to African countries.''

8:59 a.m. ET, June 11, 2020

1.5 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

At least 1.5 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total claims filed to 44.2 million since mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the US economy to shut down.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who filed for benefits for at least two weeks a row, slipped to 20.9 million, from 21.3 million in the week prior.

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