June 16 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 2:11 AM ET, Wed June 17, 2020
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10:56 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Fauci hasn’t spoken to Trump in 2 weeks

From CNN’s Amanda Watts


President Donald Trump is flanked by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington.
President Donald Trump is flanked by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15 in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he last spoke to President Trump two weeks ago.

“Not last week, but the week before. I spoke with him when we made the presentation to explain to him our vaccine development efforts,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said while speaking to NPR’s 1A program on Tuesday,

“So it was two weeks ago," he added.

Remember: Even as cases rise, an administration official familiar with discussions inside the coronavirus task force told CNN the panel remains sidelined and muzzled. Key members — such as Fauci along with Dr. Deborah Birx and Robert Redfield — are now far less visible than they were during the early weeks of the pandemic.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, requested a briefing next week from top administration public health officials, including Fauci and Birx, on recent coronavirus spikes in states around the country.

"As the President continues to fixate on the stock market and Senate Republicans are ready to prematurely declare victory, we need to wrest the focus back to these crucial issues," Schumer said last week on the Senate floor.


10:56 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Passengers are more cautious about flying now than they were in April, survey shows

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney and Chris Liakos

A passenger waits at Frankfurt Airport on June 15 in Frankfurt, Germany.
A passenger waits at Frankfurt Airport on June 15 in Frankfurt, Germany. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Only 45% of passengers intend to fly within two months of the pandemic subsiding, compared to 61% in early April, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday. 

According to a survey carried out by IATA, overall bookings are down 82% on 2019 levels and demand for long-haul travel remains close to zero.

Normally, airlines would have sold 14% of tickets for winter at this point in the year but IATA said passengers are booking tickets much closer to the date of departure.

“Airlines in the Northern hemisphere rely on a strong summer season and a predictable booking curve to get them through the lean months. But neither of these conditions are in place and airlines will need continued help from governments to survive a hard winter,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said.

As travel in Europe is restarting IATA, expressed again the need for an extension of the slot waiver into the winter season to give “fragile” airlines the flexibility they need to focus on meeting passenger demand as it evolves.

The association also called for Covid-19 testing government collaboration, emphasizing it is by far a preferred alternative to quarantine measures.

 “We have seen a few countries, like Iceland, implement testing on arrival as an alternative to quarantine. The point to emphasize here is that testing before departure would be much more efficient. It would keep people who test positive completely out of the travel system. The challenge, however, is for governments to work together so that testing data from the departure location is accepted by the arrival state,” said de Juniac.


10:35 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

NYC mayor says Covid-19 contact tracers are tracking more than 4,000 cases

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 16.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 16. NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said today that the city's team of Covid-19 contact tracers has begun tracking approximately 4,300 cases.

Over the summer, de Blasio said, they will build capacity to trace potentially 250,000 people. The trace core was launched on June 1.

Dr. Ted Long, executive director of the Test and Trace core, said more than 1,000 have been assigned as a resource navigator to assist with food delivery and medications.

The team is working on closing the gap for individuals that they do not have phone numbers and contact information for.

Latest on Covid-19 indicators: The mayor also said all of the city's Covid-19 indicators are below desired thresholds.

“These are the kind of indicators we want to see,” he said.

The daily number of people admitted to hospitals with suspected Covid-19 is at 52, well under the 200 person threshold

The daily number of people in ICU’s is at 334, under the 375 threshold.

The daily percentage of people who tested positive for Covid-19 is at 2%, under the 15% threshold.

10:11 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

People under the age of 20 are half as likely to contract Covid-19, researchers estimate

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

People under 20 years old are estimated to be about half as susceptible to the Covid-19 infection as those age 20 or over, according to a new modeling study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Medicine.

The research, conducted by Nicholas Davies, Rosalind Eggo and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, used transmission models to estimate disease susceptibility and the relation of age to cases. 

The researchers estimate that clinical symptoms manifest in around 21% of 10- to 19-year olds. This estimate rises to around 69% in people aged 70 or over. 

They write that children could be less susceptible to catching Covid-19 from contact with an infected person and could experience less severe disease. 

The authors said more research is needed into transmission caused by asymptomatic infections, but interventions to curb transmission that are aimed at children might have only a relatively small impact – especially if transmission from asymptomatic infections is low.

 “Direct evidence for decreased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in children has been mixed, but if true could result in lower transmission in the population overall,” the study says. 

Countries with lower average population age could have fewer cases of Covid-19 per capita, the study said. 

“If the number of infections or cases depends strongly on the role of children, countries with different age distributions could exhibit substantially different epidemic profiles and overall impact of Covid-19 epidemics,” the study says. 

11:41 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

At least 18 US states report upward trend in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Persons  wait in line at a walk up COVID-19 test site in front of American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 11.
Persons wait in line at a walk up COVID-19 test site in front of American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 11. Tony Gutierrez/AP

The United States could see more than 200,000 deaths from Covid-19 by October 1, a closely watched model predicted Monday as states continue to reopen.

Though many states are seeing improved conditions, the pandemic has not yet reached its conclusion. The projection comes as 18 states are still seeing an upward trend in new cases.

"Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states," said Ali Mokdad, one of the creators of the model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "This means more projected deaths."

Although daily death rates are expected to drop in June and July, the model forecasts a second hike in deaths through September, culminating in 201,129 by October 1. The model's certainty decreases the further out in time it projects.

Projections such as the one from the IHME, as well as metrics on infections and hospitalizations, are important as states decide how to proceed. Looking at the infection rates currently, Dr. Anthony Fauci told British newspaper The Telegraph, it will likely be months before life can return to normal again.

How US states are trending:

  • 18 states trending upward in newly reported cases from one week to the next: California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • 10 states are seeing steady numbers of newly reported cases: Washington, Utah, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Maine and Rhode Island.
  • 22 states with a downward trend: Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware.

Track the Covid-19 cases in your state here.

9:41 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Pence suggests they're looking at another Trump Tulsa rally venue following Covid-19 concerns

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence makes remarks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 26 in Washington.
Vice President Mike Pence makes remarks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 26 in Washington. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence was pressed by Fox News hosts today on why the campaign couldn't host its Saturday Tulsa rally at an outdoor venue, given the spread of coronavirus through aerosols in enclosed spaces. He suggested that was a possibility.

“You raise a good point and what I can tell you is it’s all a work in progress and we’ve had such an overwhelming response that we’re also looking at another venue. We’re also looking at outside activities and I know the campaign team will keep people informed as that goes forward,” Pence said, reiterating that there will be temperature screenings, hand sanitizer, and masks provided for people attending.

But, as CNN has reported, attendees will not be required to wear a mask. Trump has notably declined to wear a mask in public.

The Tulsa Health Department said in a statement obtained Sunday by CNN that it is "concerned about the safety of any large gathering of people in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain."

The Trump campaign has said that more than one million people have registered to attend the rally. The RSVPs are not tickets, and a ticket is not required for admission. Entry into the rally is first come, first serve.

Pence also noted that he spoke with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Monday night.

“It really is time, Ainsley, for us to begin this campaign. The President wants to be out, he wants to be connecting to our supporters. Literally over a million people have signed up to try and obtain the opportunity to come and attend the rally,” he said.

He continued, “The freedom of speech, the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution and the President and I are very confident that we’re going to be able to restart these rallies to tell the story of what the President has done thorough these unprecedented times but also over the last three and a half years.”

9:40 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

US stocks surge on stimulus hopes

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in an empty Financial District on June 15 in New York.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange in an empty Financial District on June 15 in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks opened sharply higher on Tuesday, boosted by hopes for more fiscal and monetary stimulus, as well as a rebound in the economy. 

US retail sales soared in May, beating economists’ expectations and shoring up hopes that the reopening of the economy could bring the bounce-back investors had hoped for.

The Federal Reserve launched its Main Street Liquidity Program Monday, which will help small and medium-sized businesses. 

The central bank also announced it would begin to buy corporate bonds. Meanwhile, investors are growing hopeful that the Trump administration could unveil an infrastructure spending plan.

Here's how the markets opened:

  • The Dow opened 818 points, or 3.2%, higher.
  • The S&P 500 climbed 2.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened up 2.3%.
11:33 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Steroid reduces risk of dying in sickest coronavirus patients, preliminary study results suggest

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The widely available steroid drug dexamethasone may be key in helping to treat the sickest Covid-19 patients in the hospital who require ventilation or oxygen, according to researchers in the United Kingdom. Their findings are preliminary, still being compiled, and have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal — but one outside expert called this a "breakthrough."

The two lead investigators of the Recovery Trial, a large UK-based trial investigating potential Covid-19 treatments, announced to reporters in a virtual press conference on Tuesday that a low-dose regimen of dexamethasone for 10 days was found to reduce the risk of death by a third among hospitalized patients requiring ventilation in the trial.

"That’s a highly statistically significant result," Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the trial and a professor at the University of Oxford, said on Tuesday.

"This is a completely compelling result. If one looks at the patients who did not require ventilators but were on oxygen, there was also a significant risk reduction of about one-fifth," Landray said. "However, we didn’t see any benefit in those patients who were in hospital, had Covid, but whose lungs were working sufficiently well -- they were not taking either oxygen or on ventilators."

Landray added that "there are outstanding questions" and people treating Covid-19 at home should not be taking dexamethasone on the back of these results.

"We have not studied patients in the community," Landray said. "We show no effect in the patients who are not on oxygen and we did not study the patients who are not in hospital."

About the trial: The dexamethasone arm of the Recovery Trial — which closed last week and researchers are now compiling its data — included about 2,100 hospitalized Covid-19 patients who were randomized to receive dexamethasone and about 4,300 hospitalized Covid-19 patients who were randomized to receive the usual standard of care at their hospitals.

In the trial, dexamethasone was provided at a dose of 6mg once a day for up to 10 days, administered either as an injection or taken orally. The researchers reported no serious adverse events among the patients taking dexamethasone, but the results are preliminary.

"At this stage, we found no clear adverse effects of doing this. Let’s recognize that there are sort of two messages here. In the people who required oxygen or ventilation, it clearly works, and the benefits are biggest for those on ventilators. In the people in hospital with Covid who do not require oxygen -- so, their lungs are working moderately well -- then actually there’s no benefit," Landray said on Tuesday.

He continued: "In the trial, our focus was on mortality, which obviously a drug can affect in either direction, but the overall results in the patients on oxygen and ventilation was a clear, clear benefit. We’ve looked, for example, were there deaths due to other forms of infection, which are sometimes considered a risk? And the answer is no, there was no excess of any other particular cause of death."

9:28 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Harvard drops standardized test requirement for admission to class of 2025

From CNN's Laura Ly

A general view of Harvard University campus is seen on April 22 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A general view of Harvard University campus is seen on April 22 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Harvard is dropping its standardized testing requirement for applicants to the undergraduate class of 2025 due to challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created insurmountable challenges in scheduling tests for all students, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds, and we believe this temporary change addresses these challenges,” a statement on the college’s website reads. 

The school also said that students who are limited in the activities they can participate in, and students who are only able to present pass/fail grades for the spring semester due to the pandemic will not be disadvantaged in the application process.

Some background: Throughout the pandemic, an increasing number of universities have announced they are dropping the SAT and ACT requirement for fall 2021 admissions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the University of California announced it is suspending ACT and SAT tests as an admissions requirement until 2024.