Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has ended for the evening.
June 16 coronavirus news
Arizona reported a record high daily number of new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, according to the state’s Department of Health.
The state reported 2,392 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 39,097 confirmed cases.
The agency also reported an additional 25 deaths, bringing the state’s total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 1,219.
Mexico and the United States have agreed to extend restrictions on travel over their shared land border through July 21, according to announcements from the US ambassador to Mexico and the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau cited in a tweet the “public health situation in the border area” as the reason for extending the restrictions. The Mexican Foreign Ministry said the decision to extend the restrictions followed “a review of the development of the Covid-19 outbreak in Mexico and the US.”
The US-Canada border will also remain closed to most travel until July 21, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
The United States’ two land borders have been largely closed since March 21.
If and when an Operation Warp Speed Covid-19 vaccine is approved, it will be free for vulnerable populations, essential workers and any American who wants it but cannot afford it, a senior Trump administration official said during a briefing on Tuesday.
As a condition of receiving support from Operation Warp Speed, the White House’s plan to accelerate a vaccine for Covid-19, companies will provide the US government with vaccines. The administration describes this as a measure to make the products affordable for Americans.
“We will be simultaneously working with insurers who have already, in our communications with them, expressed an eagerness to cover this vaccine as most if not all of them have covered other Covid related services without copay. And we anticipate that they will extend that to the vaccine,” a senior administration official said during the briefing.
Operation Warp Speed will also assist in the distribution of a vaccine to Americans through retail pharmacies and physician offices, officials said.
A combination of physical distancing, isolation and contact tracing could be the most effective way to control transmission of Covid-19, researchers in Britain reported Tuesday.
“Our findings reinforce the growing body of evidence which suggests that we can’t rely on one single public health measure to achieve epidemic control,” said Dr. Adam Kucharski of the Center for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who worked on the study.
Kucharski and colleagues estimated that when communities combine isolation of those with symptoms with household quarantines and testing of contacts, transmission rates could be cut by up to 64%.
“We estimated that if some level of physical distancing were maintained, it could supplement reductions in transmission from contact tracing,” they wrote in their report, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.
This can be compared to a situation where there is mass random testing done on 5% of the population each week. That, the team projected, would only lead to a 2% decrease in transmission. This is because substantially fewer infections would be detected and many of the newly diagnosed cases could have already transmitted the infection to others.
“For this mathematical modelling study, we used a model of individual-level transmission stratified by setting (household, work, school or other) based on BBC Pandemic data from 40,162 UK participants,” the researchers wrote.
They simulated how a range of different testing, isolation, tracing and physical distancing scenarios would work to reduce transmission.
The study did not consider the possibility of mass gatherings and assumed that any contacts made outside the home would be different each day.
The Brazilian health ministry reported a record high of 34,918 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total to 923,189.
Brazil’s last daily record for new cases was on May 30, when the country reported 33,274 cases.
The country also recorded 1,282 new Covid-19 fatalities over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 45,241 according to the health ministry.
After partially reopening New York City more than a week ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is encouraged by the latest Covid-19 numbers.
"We’ve been cautious... and it’s served us well," de Blasio told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "The coronavirus has been receding in New York City, thank God. People have done an amazing job with the face coverings, and the social distancing."
Phase two of the city's reopening plan would see "many hundreds of thousands of people come back to work," the mayor noted, but it can't happen unless the statistics tell the appropriate story.
"We need to see data that convinces both the city and the state that we're ready to go as early as June 22nd… it may take another week or more before we're totally confident, but really it is about the numbers," he said.
One of the wild cards in the reopening schedule centers around recent "Black Lives Matter" gatherings. With so many New Yorkers coming together physically, the mayor admits concern of a possible Covid-19 resurgence.
"We had a lot of protests here. We're going to know in the next four, five days what the impact of that was," de Blasio told Blitzer, noting that despite potential health risks, he doesn't regret allowing residents to take to the streets.
"There are moments in history you got to see what's really going on. There's been an outpouring of frustration, of pain, of anger, demanding changes," he said. "That kind of grassroots spontaneous outpouring, you can't just ignore it."
However, for New York City to move forward in its opening, Covid-19 data will have to continue to display a decrease.
"We like what we see. People are still following the rules," the mayor said, adding that with the return of outdoor dining on the horizon, "bars and restaurants are going to take a lot of monitoring."
A group of Tulsa based attorneys have filed a lawsuit to prevent the Trump campaign from holding a planned rally on Saturday unless the organizers agree to take steps to adhere to recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to the lawsuit, the attorneys are requesting a hearing to ask for an emergency temporary injunction to prevent the rally from happening this weekend while the lawsuit moves forward.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a series of community groups and two specific individuals who the attorneys describe as particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. In their complaint they describe the indoor event as a “super spreader” that could end up impacting even people who choose not to attend. They point to the CDC recommended guidelines in their complaint as evidence that the proposed event could cause a great danger to the public.
“We're not asking to stop the rally. So you need to understand that first, if Joe Biden, if the thunder, if Garth Brooks was wanting to have a 19,000 person event and this center on Sunday, without abiding by the government mandated CDC guidelines, with respect to mass events, we'd be making the same allegations and filing the same lawsuit," said Paul DeMuro, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “All we're asking. It's very simple. If the President wants to hold a rally here, he needs to abide by the social distancing guidelines on his own CDC.”
The Trump campaign plans to hold the event in the 20,000-seat BOK Center in downtown Tulsa and administration officials say they plan to pack the space without taking any mandatory social distancing precautions.
Lara Trump, senior Trump campaign adviser and daughter-in-law to Trump, said in an interview with Fox on Monday that the campaign will not “enforce that everybody wear a mask” at the rally. “We are offering people masks,” Lara Trump said. “If they choose to wear them, we are happy with that. If they choose not to wear them, we are not going to go around and enforce that everybody wear a mask.”
The suits were not filed against the President or his campaign, instead they were filed against SMG, the company that manages the BOK Center where the event is scheduled to take place.
The lead attorney on the case is Clark Brewster, who has represented Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claimed to have had an affair with Trump and entered into an arrangement with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to keep her story quiet.
The Trump campaign declined to comment on the lawsuit.
A study showing that children and teens are half as likely as adults to become infected with coronavirus might be good news for schools seeking to reopen, a former top health policy adviser to former President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Medicine, estimated that people under the age of 20 are about half as susceptible to Covid-19 infection as those age 20 or over.
“Well, first of all, if they're much less likely to get infected — that's actually good news,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former White House health policy adviser, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
There are some cautions, added Emanuel, who is now chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. The study also found 80% of those infected did not have any symptoms.
“It does mean that they're not likely to be symptomatic, so it might be hard to pick out which students to keep home, and it might spread in schools,” Emanuel said.
“But on the other hand, given the fact that they have a low infection rate, they get it less frequently, and they tend to be asymptomatic, and so it's not so problematic if they do get it, I think those are good signs. And I think, in general, people are interpreting this as we probably can reopen schools, with lots of things — physical distancing, hand hygiene, face mask wearing ,and de-densification of the schools," he said.