June 16 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 2:11 AM ET, Wed June 17, 2020
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10:11 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.

9:24 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Spain announces billions in spending to help economy recover after Covid-19 lockdowns

From CNN's Tim Lister and Al Goodman in Spain

Spanish Education Minister Isabel Celaa, left, and Treasury Minister and Government's spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero address a press conference after the weekly Cabinet Meeting held at Moncloa Palace in Madrid on June 16.
Spanish Education Minister Isabel Celaa, left, and Treasury Minister and Government's spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero address a press conference after the weekly Cabinet Meeting held at Moncloa Palace in Madrid on June 16. Chema Moya/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Spanish government has announced details of further public spending to kick-start the economy, after more than three months of severe restrictions due to the coronavirus. 

At a news conference Tuesday in Madrid, government chief spokeswoman María Jesús Montero announced that some 16 billion euros ($17 billion) would be disbursed to Spain's 17 regional governments over the next few months, beginning in July. She described it as "the largest transfer of resources ever made to regions."

How the money will be dispersed, according to Montero:

  • At least 9 billion euros will go to the health sector, to add staff and increase capacity to handle any new outbreaks of the coronavirus
  • 5 billion will aim to compensate people for loss of income
  • 2 billion euros will go to education. Part of the education spending will be to improve online teaching, including the purchase of 500,000 computers and tablets for schools

The government has also approved a final installment of 15.5 billion euros in state credit guarantees to companies and the self-employed, focusing on the tourism and car industries.

This would be in addition to the 69 billion euros already provided in financing guarantees to Spanish business.

Montero also said the government would announce an ambitious plan to revive Spain's vital tourism sector later this week. 

Spain plans to relax quarantine requirements for European visitors starting on July 1, but whether that will apply for British visitors is still unclear because of the UK's own requirement that visitors, including Spaniards, self-quarantine for two weeks on arrival.  

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, María Reyes Maroto told the news conference that the new experiment this week of having a "secure air corridor" between the Balearic Islands — which include Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza — and Germany was "proving very useful from a security point of view to test the protocols [to prevent the spread of Covid-19."]

Despite the government spending, which will take public borrowing well above 100% of GDP, Spain's central bank is forecasting a deep recession this year.

Last week it predicted the economy would shrink between 9% and 11.6% in 2020.

9:11 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

US retail sales surged 17.7% in May, crushing estimates

From CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn

People line up at a store inside the Mall of America before it opens on June 10 in Minneapolis.
People line up at a store inside the Mall of America before it opens on June 10 in Minneapolis. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

America's retail sales surged 17.7% in May, as shoppers headed back to newly reopened stores that had closed their doors for months. 

The increase was far better than economists had expected.

Industry sales in May were expected to climb 8% from April, according to consensus estimates from Refinitiv. 

8:52 a.m. ET, June 16, 2020

UK government announces Covid-19 "summer food fund" for children following Manchester United star's campaign

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United is pictured during a match in Manchester, England, on January 11.
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United is pictured during a match in Manchester, England, on January 11. Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The UK government has reversed its decision to not extend free school meal vouchers throughout the summer holidays.

The announcement comes after a prominent English football player criticized the UK over a lack of free meals for children over the summer.

Britain provides free school meal vouchers for low-income families but the program was due to finish at the end of the current academic year in July.

Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford had pleaded with lawmakers to extend the scheme through the summer for low-income families.

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that there would now be a so-called summer food fund.

The spokesperson added that Johnson understood the issues families were facing during the pandemic and that the expected costs for the fund were expected to be around 120 million pounds (about $152 million).

Johnson initially rejected the idea. Rashford then wrote to lawmakers urging them to "put their rivalries aside" and make a U-turn as many families continue to struggle with the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Following up on the open letter he published Monday, Rashford wrote an article in The Times newspaper asking MPs to "help us break the cycle of hardship" of child poverty in the UK.

Downing Street's comments were first reported by Reuters and confirmed by CNN.

Rashford reacted to Tuesday's announcement on Twitter:

"I don’t even know what to say," Rashford said in the tweet.

"Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."