June 18 coronavirus news

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8:44 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Fauci says "anti-science bias" is a problem in the US

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens during a speech by President Donald Trump about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. 
Dr. Anthony Fauci listens during a speech by President Donald Trump about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the US, the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says that anti-science bias in the country is causing problems.

"One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are — for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable — they just don't believe science and they don't believe authority," Fauci said in an episode of the US Department of Health and Human Services' podcast "Learning Curve" on Wednesday.

"So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who's talking about science, that there are some people who just don't believe that -- and that's unfortunate because, you know, science is truth," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci, who has served six US administrations so far, was seemingly referring to his appearances in White House press conferences during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's amazing sometimes the denial there is, it's the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don't want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines," Fauci added. "That's really a problem."

8:17 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

"Football may not happen this year," Fauci says

From CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Wayne Sterling

A Dallas Cowboys helmet at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.
A Dallas Cowboys helmet at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

 Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's "very hard to see how" football could be played this fall.

This comes as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to kick off the 2020 regular season at home on September 10 against the Houston Texans. Players are due to NFL training camp on July 22 with the Hall of Fame Game taking place in Canton, Ohio, on August 6.

And the NCAA, which began to allow voluntary athletics activities in all Division I sports this month, on Wednesday approved a plan for summer athletic activities and preseason practice for the upcoming 2020 college football season, which is slated to get underway on August 29.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble – insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day – it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

On Monday, several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players tested positive for coronavirus, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. None of the players were in the teams' facilities, and both teams followed proper health protocols, per the report.

When asked how the positive tests impact the league planning in terms of beginning training camps and the upcoming season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN on Monday, "We expect we are going to have positive tests. That is part of the increased testing that we will be going through and that is something that we just want to make sure that our protocols are working and to date. We are seeing very positive reactions in the sense that we are making sure we respond quickly, protect the personnel that may be impacted by that and others that may be in contact with them.��� 

In a memo in May, Goodell provided protocols on a gradual reopening of team facilities, starting with a limited amount of employees, and later moving on to players. The league expanded the reopening earlier this month to allow coaches to return to training facilities.

In May, the NFL canceled all planned international games due to the pandemic, moving them instead to the US. The league had previously planned to play four games in London and one game in Mexico City.

If both NFL and college football seasons are able to finish, the Super Bowl will be played on February 7 in Tampa, Florida. The College Football Playoff National Championship game takes place on January 11 in Miami Gardens, Florida. 

 

8:53 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus takes the opportunity to sell umbrellas as it rains in Beijing on Thursday, June 18, 2020. 
A man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus takes the opportunity to sell umbrellas as it rains in Beijing on Thursday, June 18, 2020.  Ng Han Guan/AP

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 8.3 million people worldwide and caused more than 449,000 deaths. Here's what you need to know:

UK accuses Russia of trying to exploit pandemic: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Thursday that Russia and others were trying to exploit the opportunities and challenges created by Covid-19.

China says Beijing outbreak is under control: The country's Center For Disease Control and Prevention says that while new cases are likely to emerge in the coming days, these are unlikely to be caused by fresh transmission.

Indigenous Amazon chief dies: Paulinho Paiakan, a chief from an indigenous community in Brazil, has died in an area where several tribal elders have died of Covid-19. It is not known whether Paiakan died of coronavirus.

Doctors in Egypt face harassment: Amnesty International has urged the Egyptian government to stop jailing medical workers who criticize the country's response to the pandemic.

Seven million airline jobs at risk in Europe: The International Air Transport Association said Thursday that the European airline industry could face a $23.1 billion loss in 2020.

7:56 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

China's CDC says Beijing's Covid-19 outbreak is under control

From CNN's Steven Jiang

People wait to take a swab for COVID-19 at a testing site in Beijing on June 18.
People wait to take a swab for COVID-19 at a testing site in Beijing on June 18. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

China's Center For Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has said a new outbreak in Beijing is now under control.

A sudden outbreak of the disease in the Chinese capital has been linked to the city's largest wholesale food market, Xinfadi. The flare-up is the worst coronavirus resurgence in China since the initial epidemic was largely brought under control in March.

Chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou said Thursday that the situation was under control, adding that newly confirmed cases linked to the market would likely emerge in the coming days, but that these were unlikely to be caused by fresh transmission.

"Newly diagnosed cases reported every day does not equal new infections and the outbreak being under control doesn’t mean there will be zero new cases tomorrow," Wu said at a press conference in Beijing.  
“There will be cases reported tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. These reported cases are the detection process of the previous infections. Not new infections. The new infections are only sporadic,” Wu added.

The CDC chief epidemiologist said other outbreaks could happen across China because of the nature of the global pandemic and the risk of imported cases.

“The global pandemic is still at a high level. On average, there are more than 100,000 new cases reported every day. As long as there are risks of imported cases, imported infections and small-scale clusters caused by imported infections might occur anywhere in China,” he said.  

The expert praised the actions of the Beijing authorities in taking rapid action to cut off the transmission of the virus. 

Beijing has embarked on a mass testing spree of some 356,000 people connected to the market. The site itself has been closed and several nearby neighbourhoods were sealed to contain the outbreak.

7:29 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Doctors in Egypt face arrests and death over pandemic criticism, Amnesty International says

From CNN's Nada AlTaher

Hospital beds are prepared to receive COVID-19 patients at a field hospital in Cairo, Egypt, on June 17.
Hospital beds are prepared to receive COVID-19 patients at a field hospital in Cairo, Egypt, on June 17. Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Human rights group Amnesty International called on the Egyptian government Thursday to stop jailing and harassing doctors who criticize the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Health care workers have to make an impossible choice: risk their lives or face prison if they dare to speak out,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.

At least eight health workers have been “arbitrarily detained” in Egypt since March for “expressing their health-related concerns” on social media, according to the rights advocacy group.

Health care workers in Egypt have been arrested, criminalized and prosecuted simply for daring to express their personal safety concerns and, in some cases, have been denied access to adequate health care,” Luther said.  

Medical workers face charges such as “spreading false news” and “terrorism,” Amnesty International added.

The Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate said Wednesday that at least 73 medical workers had died in the country due to coronavirus.

The group sent an official letter on Sunday to the country's Prosecutor General demanding the release of medical workers who were jailed for “expressing their opinion” about the pandemic.

Health care workers in Egypt are also subjected to attacks by patients’ angry family members, the syndicate said.

Dar al-Iftaa, the country’s highest religious authority, has issued a religious edict -- a fatwa -- against assaulting medical workers.

Egypt has recorded 49,219 cases of coronavirus and 1,850 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

7:24 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

International Air Transport Association says millions of airline jobs are at risk

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney 

Travelers wait in a departure lounge at Berlin Shoenfeld Airport on June 15.
Travelers wait in a departure lounge at Berlin Shoenfeld Airport on June 15. Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the economic fallout from the pandemic may not be over for European airlines.

IATA predicts a $23.1 billion loss for the European airline industry in 2020, with passenger demand declining by half, putting up to 7 million jobs at risk in Europe alone.

Air traffic remains much lower than last year and the recovery is going to be very slow despite a slight upturn since a low point in April, IATA said on Thursday.

It is not far-fetched to say that the worst might be yet to come," said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA's vice president for Europe.

IATA repeated its calls for a coordinated response from European governments as countries begin to open their borders. The group also called for continued financial support for the industry. 

The association reiterated that quarantine measures were damaging for airlines, adding that 70% of people in France, 76% in Germany and 83% in the UK will not travel if they remain in place, according to a survey.

7:06 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Argentina's president enters self-isolation as preventive measure against Covid-19 

From CNN Espanol's Daniel Silva

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez is pictured speaking at a press conference about coronavirus lockdown measures in Olivos, Argentina, on May 23.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez is pictured speaking at a press conference about coronavirus lockdown measures in Olivos, Argentina, on May 23. Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images

Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez is self-isolating from Wednesday at his official residence Quinta de Olivos, according to a statement released by the Casa Rosada, seat of executive power in the country.

The measure was recommended by Dr. Federico Saavedra from Argentina's Presidential Medical Unit.

According to a statement released by Saavedra, Fernandez will "continue to carry out his usual tasks in his residence and to restrict as much as possible interpersonal contact." 

Face-to-face meetings will only be held if they are matters of vital importance.

As part of the isolation measures Fernandez will not travel to the port city of Rosario to attend celebrations marking the Day of the Flag, a traditional Argentinian holiday.

Several Argentinian politicians have tested positive for coronavirus, including several mayors who were supposed to meet Fernandez last week.

Argentina currently has more than 35,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 913 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University

5:58 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Germany's Angela Merkel urges EU leaders to agree on pandemic recovery plan

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, June 18.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, June 18. Markus Schreiber/AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the coronavirus pandemic has deepened inequality within the European Union (EU) and has called on member states to agree on an economic recovery package before the end of July.

Speaking in Germany's lower house of parliament -- the Bundestag -- on Thursday, Merkel said the EU's approach to the crisis will determine the region's place in the world. 

“Europe needs us as much as we need Europe,” she said, adding: “The virus has revealed how fragile our European project is.”

Merkel also laid out her vision of Germany's presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year.

She said the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout remains “the biggest challenge in the EU’s history.” The German leader also warned that the union needs to work together to keep EU member states from drifting apart.

“The pandemic has also made it clear that Europe is dependent on other countries when it comes to medicines and protective equipment. This situation has laid bare deficits in terms of sourcing, stocking and distributing medical supplies,” she said.

Merkel added that the situation has also exacerbated differences in EU member states’ economies and budgets.

“As well as that, there is also the fact that while the pandemic has also affected everyone -- some have been more affected than others,” she said.
“The medical and economic consequences of the crisis have deepened inequalities within the European community. The pandemic has shown us, our Europe is vulnerable." She added that "unity and solidarity" is more important than ever.

EU leaders are debating a proposal for a 750 billion euro aid package designed to help the 27 member states to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. 

European finance ministers have previously struggled to agree a response to the economic impact of Covid-19.

Merkel said she would join her counterparts on a video conference on Friday to debate the proposal, which needs the backing of all individual EU member states. The German Chancellor said she was expecting an agreement on the recovery plan in July. 

Merkel warned that the bloc must also take on more global responsibility and speak with one voice to China to represent its values. 

“At this time, the world needs Europe's strong voice for the protection of human dignity, democracy and freedom,” Merkel said.

8:24 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Amazon indigenous chief Paulinho Paiakan dies during hospitalization for coronavirus

From CNN's Jonny Hallam and Maija Ehlinger

Indigenous leader Paulinho Paiakan of the Kayapo community takes part in a demonstration for indigenous people's rights in Brasilia, Brazil, in April 2017.
Indigenous leader Paulinho Paiakan of the Kayapo community takes part in a demonstration for indigenous people's rights in Brasilia, Brazil, in April 2017. Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

A chief of Brazil's indigenous Kayapó community has died, according to advocacy group Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). 

Paulinho Paiakan, 66, died Wednesday in Redenção, a town in Brazil's southern Pará state. He had recently been hospitalized for coronavirus, Brazil’s Health Ministry said.

Several tribal elders have died of coronavirus in the state and the disease has been spreading among indigenous communities there, according to CNN Brasil. It is not known whether Paiakan died of coronavirus.

Paiakan was known for his environmental activism, particularly for drawing attention to the cost of building the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant on the Amazon's Xingu River in the 1980s. 

"His legacy leaves in the history and in the lives of peoples a lot of strength. Internationally recognized as a great advocate for the forest and its peoples, Paiakan was a source of inspiration in the struggle for all of us," APIB said in a statement.

Brazil's indigenous people are dying at an alarming rate from Covid-19. The mortality rate is double that of the rest of Brazil's population, according to APIB, which tracks the number of cases and deaths among the country's 900,000 indigenous people.

The country has the second-highest number of cases globally. At least 955,377 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Brazil and 46,510 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.