June 22 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Nectar Gan, Steve George, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:07 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020
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7:48 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Former acting CDC director says he's worried about the reopening of certain cities

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

Paul Morigi/Getty Images/FILE
Paul Morigi/Getty Images/FILE

The former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Richard Besser, expressed concern that cases of Covid-19 will start rising again as certain locations begin to gradually open up — because public health measures meant to control infection aren’t quite up to speed.

“I see some real danger signs for places like New York, New Jersey, Washington [DC],” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” on Monday. 

Besser’s comments come at a moment when New York City, Washington, DC, and the state of New Jersey enter phase two of reopening. They also coincide with the latest numbers that show 23 states have rising infection rates.

“Because as you reopen … you expect to see more cases. But what we're hearing, in terms of the public health model — of testing people, through contact tracing, and then isolation and quarantine — it doesn't sound like it's working as well as it really needs to,” Besser said.

He said we're not providing the services that people need to be able to isolate and quarantine safely. 

“If you think about somebody who lives in a crowded household where they have elderly relatives, and they're being told that they had contact with somebody who had Covid, or they have a Covid infection. If you're not able to provide them with a safe place to isolate and quarantine, and provide them with economic support and help them in terms of their caregiving needs, people aren't going to own up in terms of their exposures. And that's going to lead to ongoing community transmission, and it's going to lead to the pandemic hitting the same groups — Black Americans and Latinos — who've been hit so hard to date,” he said.

Besser served as acting director of the CDC for the first half of 2009. He is now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


7:14 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Shift of pandemic to younger people means more spread, expert says

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

The shift of the coronavirus pandemic to younger Americans is not necessarily good news, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Parts of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states — many of which were some of the first to reopen following shutdowns — have reported that new coronavirus cases are being diagnosed in increasingly younger populations.

“We have known that younger people are less likely to get sick and less likely to die from the virus,” Jha told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. But even if they don’t get sick themselves, they can infect others, Jha noted.

“Those younger people have parents. They have grandparents, and they are going to go see those people,” Jha added.

“The more the virus spreads, the more everybody is vulnerable," Jha said.


6:57 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus developments from around the US

It's almost 7 p.m. in New York and midnight in London. Here's a look at the latest headlines on Covid-19:

  • These 9 hand sanitizers may contain a potentially fatal ingredient, FDA warns: The US Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA due to the potential presence of a toxic chemical. The FDA has discovered methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through skin or ingested, in samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ hand sanitizers, both produced by the Mexican company.
  • Two more staffers test positive for coronavirus after Tulsa rally: The two positive tests bring the total number of President Trump's advance team staffers in Tulsa who tested positive for coronavirus to eight. Hours before Trump's Saturday rally, the campaign said that six staffers working on the rally tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Young people in the US South and West are increasingly getting coronavirus: The major thrust of new coronavirus cases in the United States is in the South and West, where officials say more young people are ignoring social distancing measures and testing positive. Young people are more likely to have milder outcomes from coronavirus, but they can still infect others who are more at risk.
  • Texas bars temporarily lose alcohol permits: Texas currently requires bars to limit their indoor customer capacity at 50% and have customers socially distance with at least six feet between groups. The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, however, found in an undercover investigation dubbed "Operation Safe Open" that a dozen bars were not enforcing the rules.
6:39 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Brazil reports more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

Bathers sunbathe on the sand of Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday, June 21. The military police tried to isolate the beach on June 21, the first weekend of winter. Even with the death toll in the corona virus pandemic, the number of people increased, many people could be seen in the sand, which is still not allowed, according to the measures of easing social isolation.
Bathers sunbathe on the sand of Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday, June 21. The military police tried to isolate the beach on June 21, the first weekend of winter. Even with the death toll in the corona virus pandemic, the number of people increased, many people could be seen in the sand, which is still not allowed, according to the measures of easing social isolation. Fabio Teixeira/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazil’s health ministry has reported 21,432 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of reported infections in the country to 1,106,470.

The ministry said 654 deaths have been reported since yesterday, bringing the total number of those who have officially died from coronavirus in Brazil to 51,271. 

More on this: Brazil has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America and second-highest in the world after the US. The country has reported an average of a thousand coronavirus deaths a day over the past week.

6:30 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

FDA sends warning letter and tells people not to buy North Isle Wellness Center's Covid-19 products

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

The US Food and Drug Administration said it has sent a warning letter to North Isle Wellness Center in New York and is advising consumers not to purchase products the company has misleadingly claimed work as a treatment for Covid-19, according to an agency release sent out Monday.

The FDA gave the company 48 hours to take immediate corrective action and fix its website, product labels and any other labeling and promotional material.

The company’s website falsely says its Methylene Blue product “shields against coronavirus,” according to the FDA. North Isle Wellness Center claims its product works by producing a “hydrogen peroxide burst within the blood to kill the coronavirus on contact.” The company also falsely claims that its skin tonic can build up the immune system in a patient with Covid-19, and kill the virus on contact.

There are no FDA approved products to prevent or treat Covid-19.

The FDA said it will place North Isle Wellness Center on its health fraud and scams list until there is corrective action. Failure to comply, the FDA said, could result in legal action.

As of Monday afternoon, there was no mention of any coronavirus treatment on North Isle Wellness’ site.

6:29 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Los Angeles records another single-day high in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Los Angeles has recorded another single-day high in confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Unlike in other previous highs, this record number is not attributable to a backlog in lab reports, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.

Despite only holding about a quarter of the state’s residents, Los Angeles County is home to nearly half the coronavirus cases in California.

According to the county's health department, Los Angeles County recorded 2,571 new cases on Monday.

6:19 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Infectious disease expert worries Houston area could be the next Covid-19 hotspot

From CNN’s Andrea Kane

Infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez is worried that Houston and Harris County could become the worst-affected spot for Covid-19 in North America. 

“If we continue on the same trajectory, my worry is Houston could become the worst affected city right now in North America,” Hotez told CNN Houston affiliate KPRC-2.

Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has been sounding steady warnings about the pandemic. 

“Latest #COVID19 for Harris County, my observation if this trajectory persists: 1) Houston would become the worst affected city in the US, maybe rival what we’re seeing now in Brazil 2) The masks = good 1st step but simply won’t be enough 3) We would need to proceed to red alert,” Hotez tweeted on Saturday. 

Harris County is listed at Orange Level 2 on the county’s own Covid-19 threat level system, with “significant uncontrolled” spread of the virus. Red Level 1 means the virus is classified as “severe uncontrolled.”

Numbers for Harris County show a sharp increase in the seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 cases and in hospitalizations.

The other counties that make up the Houston region did not see a similar spike.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo last week called the county the “epicenter” of the virus in Texas.

6:14 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

UK prime minister to ease restrictions on arts and culture sector

From CNN’s Luke McGee

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a further easing of the nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, a government spokesperson told CNN, adding that changes to the government’s coronavirus guidelines will allow for the country to “gradually open up” starting July 4. 

“The government will move to help restore the UK’s arts and cultural sector, with venues including cinemas, museums and galleries able to reopen from the same date,” the spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. 

“Additional guidance will be published shortly on establishing safe ways to reopen for these sectors – which could include introducing one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation, and pre-booked tickets,” the spokesperson added. 

According to the statement, the prime minister is also expected to reveal the findings of a review into the two-meter social distancing rule.

While some restrictions introduced by the government will be relaxed, the spokesperson cautioned that Johnson will “make clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines” in order to keep the pandemic under control.  

“Any easing of restrictions could be reversed if the virus risks running out of control,” the spokesperson added.

6:10 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Kansas governor says Covid-19 spread is trending upward

From CNN's Raja Razek

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Covid-19 spread is trending upward in the state. 

"The three metrics we use for reopening are disease spread, death, and hospitalization. Unfortunately for the first time in a while, our disease spread is trending upward," Kelly said in a news conference Monday.

She added: "Therefore, it is my recommendation, along with officials over at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, that communities in Kansas stay in phase three of Ad Astra reopening plan."

Kansas reported an increase of 406 Covid-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total of cases to 12,465, with 259 deaths in the state.