June 12 coronavirus news

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1:46 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Brazil President Bolsonaro denies accusations of downplaying Covid-19 data 

From journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wears a face mask when arrives for the National Flag Raising ceremony in front of Alvorada Palace amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, June 9.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wears a face mask when arrives for the National Flag Raising ceremony in front of Alvorada Palace amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, June 9. Andre Borges/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has denied accusations that he tried to downplay the current coronavirus situation in Brazil by not reporting cumulative data.

The government had stopped reporting cumulative coronavirus deaths and cases, with Bolsonaro arguing they didn't reflect the current state of the pandemic in Brazil.

The Supreme Court, however, later ruled the ministry must provide comprehensive data.

In a Facebook Live post on his official account on Thursday, Bolsonaro argued the numbers were released, even if they were late. He attributed the change to interim health minister Eduardo Pazuello, who he says was changing the way the numbers were presented to be more accurate.

“They said we wanted to hide everything, they started to compare us with Venezuela, with North Korea, with other communist countries. Nobody wants to hide numbers,” Bolsonaro said.

Allegation of politics in the pandemic: Bolsonaro also argued the brief change in data was aimed to fight supposed political use of the pandemic by local politicians.

“There are a lot of complaints from the population that we are investigating. A person with a health problem dies and in the death certificate it appears as if it was caused by Covid-19, but the family didn't know that he was infected in the first place," Bolsonaro said.

"We receive dozens of cases per day like this. I don't know what is happening, who profits with that situation? It can only be to gain political power and blame the federal government."

1:34 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

The widow of Wuhan whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang gave birth to their son today

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

A memorial for Dr Li Wenliang, who was the whistleblower of the coronavirus, that originated in Wuhan, China and caused the doctors death in that city, is held outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California, on February 15.
A memorial for Dr Li Wenliang, who was the whistleblower of the coronavirus, that originated in Wuhan, China and caused the doctors death in that city, is held outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California, on February 15. Mark Ralston/AFP) ( Images)

The wife of Li Wenliang, the Wuhan whistleblower doctor who died of coronavirus in February, has given birth to their son, according to the Chinese state-run Litchi News.

Li's wife told Litchi News early Friday morning local time that she gave birth to a baby boy in a Wuhan Hospital.

"Can you see it from heaven? The last gift you gave me was born today. I will definitely take good care of them," she wrote on the Chinese social media platform WeChat.

Who was Li Wenliang? Li was a doctor in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic.

In late December, when reports emerged of a dangerous new virus in the city, he texted fellow medical school alumni warning them of the news. "I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful," he told CNN in February.

Soon after, he was targeted by Wuhan police, who accused him of rumor-mongering. He was made to sign a statement acknowledging his "misdemeanor" and promising not to commit further "unlawful acts."

On February 1, he tested positive for the virus. He died less than a week later -- sparking a rare online wave of grief, fury, calls for freedom of speech and government accountability.

1:41 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Trump to accept nomination in Jacksonville after moving most convention due to coronavirus row

From CNN's Dan Merica and Jeff Zeleny

Ronna Romney McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, speaks during the RNC winter meeting at the Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, on Friday, January 24.
Ronna Romney McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, speaks during the RNC winter meeting at the Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, on Friday, January 24. Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/AP

President Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination for the 2020 presidential election this year in Jacksonville, Florida, announced Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Thursday.

"We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville," McDaniel said in a news release. "Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump's heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months."

Trump will make the speech at the 15,000-person VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the release said.

Coronavirus complications: The announcement caps a weeks-long row between North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, whose team had been working to keep the convention in Charlotte despite coronavirus fears, and Trump, who refused to let the caution of health officials stop Republicans from having a fully attended convention.

Because the party signed a contract to hold the convention in Charlotte, they are obligated to hold some portion of the convention in the North Carolina city. But the announcement now guarantees that this year's Republican convention will be unlike any other in modern history, where delegates officially elect their nominee in one location, while the nominee accepts the nomination hundreds of miles away.

Read more here.

1:51 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Latin America and the Caribbean surpass 1.5 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Matt Rivers in Mexico City

Streets vendors and shoppers wear masks during the coronavirus global pandemic in Lima, Peru, on Monday, June 8.
Streets vendors and shoppers wear masks during the coronavirus global pandemic in Lima, Peru, on Monday, June 8. Martin Mejia/AP

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have recorded more than 1.5 million combined Covid-19 cases as of Thursday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University.

33 countries are included in this region: Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Belize, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The region has a combined total of 1,508,683 confirmed cases, according to JHU's tally.

2:02 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Masks and social distancing work, but Americans aren’t doing it right

From CNN's Jen Christensen

People walk along Harbor Boulevard in downtown Fullerton on a warm late Spring day on Thursday, June 11, in Fullerton, California.
People walk along Harbor Boulevard in downtown Fullerton on a warm late Spring day on Thursday, June 11, in Fullerton, California.

When Americans started moving around again in April, they started driving up transmission of the coronavirus again -- and it's not a good sign of what is to come in the fall, a top pandemic modeler said Thursday.

Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said data shows that since the end of April, the number of contacts people have with others are “going up and up.” 

That explains the recent rise in cases, Murray told CNN.

The pandemic forecast: His team’s model now projects that 169,890 people will die from Covid-19 in the US by October 1.

Daily deaths will likely decrease through June and July, but the country likely will see a sharp rise in deaths in September, the model projects.

Murray said the summer months should see a dip in cases, in part, due to seasonality. More testing is also available and more people have started to wear masks.

“But the whole thing turns around at the end of August, and we go from just under 400 deaths a day all the way up to about 1,000 deaths a day by the end of September, which bodes really badly past September 1,” Murray said.

What we can do to change the predictions: “Masks really work,” Murray said.

Masks provide about 50% protection, but only 40% of Americans wear one now, he said. He predicts that number will slip. Social distancing works, he said, but people will steadily continue to widen their circle of contacts. 

“Those are two things that are really within the control of people,” Murray said. “We will have to see.”

12:47 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

A bad Covid-19 autumn "is not a done deal," but people have to be proactive, experts say

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Dr. Mark McClellan, the former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, said he is concerned about the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in a number of states.

“This is becoming a regional set of outbreaks, so once you start to have spread in the community, it becomes harder to stop it,” McClellan told CNN on Thursday.

He added that local leaders should watch hospitalization numbers carefully because those are a good measure of the pandemic. There is often a lag behind the actual transmission of the virus, by about 10 days or more, so local leaders need to take steps like slowing re-opening if they begin to see surges again. 

The good news is that we know a lot more now about how to contain the outbreaks, McClellan said. 

“With masks, with some respect for social distancing, with not staying too close to too many people for too long, we can make a difference in these curves,” he said. “The steps that people are taking, the businesses are taking, can make a difference.” 

“This is not a done deal,” he added. “It really does depend on what we do from here.”

In the coming days, the thousands of people who have been outside protesting during the Black Lives Matter marches should watch for symptoms and get tested, he said, adding, “Very important reasons for protesting, but very important reasons to contain the further spread of the coronavirus." 

2:14 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

"Covid’s not taking a summer vacation," warns infectious disease expert

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

From left: CNN's Chris Cuomo and Dr. William Schaffner
From left: CNN's Chris Cuomo and Dr. William Schaffner CNN

The United States needs to watch the recent rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations, an infectious disease expert warned on Thursday.

Dr. William Schaffner told CNN that the experts knew reopening would be tricky. 

“If people are carefree rather than careful, well, then you’ll see an increase in cases,” said Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Schaffner said the additional 57,000 deaths predicted by an influential model of the pandemic Thursday is “substantial.” 

“It’s just a model, but nonetheless, it’s a substantial number anticipated during what were supposed to be, or hoped for, the quieter months,” Schaffner said. “Covid’s not taking a summer vacation.”
12:09 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Trump campaign says it can't be held liable if rally attendees contract coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Attendees of President Donald Trump's upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract coronavirus.

Rallygoers are asked to RSVP to gain admission to the event and by registering, they must agree to a disclaimer that states they acknowledge the "inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present."

"By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury," the disclaimer reads.

Trump's campaign officially announced plans on Wednesday for the President's first campaign rally since most of the country shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. He will appear at an indoor venue, the BOK Center, in Tulsa on July 19.

Catherine Sharkey, a law professor at New York University School of Law, said waivers like the Trump campaign's are likely to become a regular part of American life as the country reopens and the coronavirus remains a threat. However, the waivers offer only a base-level protection against liability.

"They only give limited protections, so they never would protect against, for example, gross negligence or recklessness," said Sharkey. "One could argue that holding a large public gathering that will draw people together in a context in which they're not able to do social distancing or follow the directive of the CDC, et cetera. One could argue that is grossly negligent."

Read the full story here.

12:09 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

How future generations will remember the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Scottie Andrew

A window conversation between generations forced to stay apart. Once-bustling city streets sitting deserted. A grocery shopper dressed in a makeshift hazmat suit. A healthcare worker clearly exhausted from the frontlines.

These are some of the images that capture a pivotal time in history, as museums and cultural institutions around the globe work to document the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's really important future generations are able to look back and see what all had to happen for us to be safe," said Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programs and Campaigns at Historic England. "And (exhibits about coronavirus are) a really useful way of processing some of the really difficult feelings and frustrations that we all experience."

In late April, Historic England -- which archives English heritage by documenting archeology, building, and social history -- began collecting photos for its "Picturing Lockdown Collection." It marked the public body's first call for public submissions since World War II. After one week, they received nearly three thousand entries from around the country, illustrating a diverse collective experience.

Read the full story here