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June 23 coronavirus news

Crematorium busier than ever as Mexico reopens economy

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Phoenix not enforcing its mandatory mask order as few Trump event attendees choose to comply

The Phoenix Police Department and the mayor’s office say that they will not enforce the city’s mandatory mask order at President Trump’s event today — despite reports of non-compliance among attendees.

The event, which is being held at The Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, will feature the President speaking to members of a student group. CNN’s Ryan Nobles, who is at the event, reported that few attendees are wearing masks and that social distancing is not being practiced. He said there were no temperature checks at the entry points today.

In responses to these reports, Phoenix police told CNN that they will “continue to lead with education.”

“We will remind everyone at the event, including officers, the importance of the mayor and City Council’s order, as well as Maricopa County’s order, in helping stop the spread,” said police spokesperson Ann Justus.

Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement released yesterday that officials had “contacted both the church and presidential campaign staff to alert them to the city’s masking policy.” But she noted that “the goal of this policy is not to hand out citations.”

“While I do not believe an event of this magnitude can be held safely, particularly as Arizona sees rising Covid cases, the President has decided to continue with this rally,” Gallego said in the statement.

She also noted that church “has indicated that they will be handing out masks to eventgoers and taking temperatures upon check-in.” 

Some background: Arizona has reported record high numbers of both new daily cases and deaths today and has seen a sharp rise on Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks.


Brazil records nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases

Brazil’s health ministry reported 39,436 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the second-highest daily jump since the start of the pandemic.

The total number of confirmed infections in the country now stands at 1,145,906, the ministry said on Tuesday.

It also said that 1,374 deaths have been reported since yesterday, bringing the total number of those who have officially died from coronavirus in Brazil to 52,645. Tuesday’s death toll was similarly the second-highest daily count.

Brazil has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America and second-highest in the world after the US. The country’s largest daily rise in cases was reported as 54,771 on June 19; its largest daily death toll was reported as 1,473 on June 4.

SEC commissioner says he is preparing to "play the season as scheduled" in the fall

Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), said that while he is expecting sports to resume in the fall, the data and the virus will guide what the season will look like.

“We’re on a journey and my focus is preparing to play the season as scheduled, but the reality is the circumstances around the virus will guide us in that decision-making,” he told CNN on Tuesday.

The SEC is a college athletic conference whose member schools are located in South Central and Southeastern part of the country.

Sankey said he has been talking to medical experts every day about how to keep athletes safe – especially as many schools have allowed students to return to campus for voluntary workouts.

Sankey said he expects student-athletes in the SEC to test positive for the virus, but “we want to be aggressive to stop the spread” and take precautions now that will allow for competition to resume, he said.

On fans in the stands: Sankey said while he is expecting college football to play as scheduled, he does not expect stadiums to allow fans at full capacity.

“We’re seeing opportunities for fans to be at events” in a small numbers, he said. He also said there will likely be other safety measures, like masks.

“I would think the game itself would look much like we’re accustomed to, but you’re going to have fewer people around the sidelines. The presence of masks, I would expect to be some place around our competitions,” Sankey said.

“That doesn’t mean in but if we’ve got people measuring first downs, you’re going to see that type of reality we’re seeing in our lives every day,” he added.


Washington state will require people to wear masks starting Friday

As the concern over coronavirus rises again in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new statewide rule to require people to wear masks starting Friday.

“Any facial covering that will cover the nose and mouth will do in this case,” Inslee said at a news conference Tuesday.

The requirement applies in any indoor public space, and also outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained.

The new rule is in response to a major spike in cases in Yakima County, which has strained local hospitals trying to serve Covid-19 patients.

“There are no rooms available for this treatment in Yakima County,” Inslee said, adding it is forcing new coronavirus patients to be moved to hospitals in other parts of the state.

EU considering recommendation to block American visitors due to Covid-19

As European Union nations continue to ease coronavirus restrictions, the EU is considering recommending that member states block American visitors from visiting their countries due to the surge of coronavirus cases in the US, according to two EU diplomats.

“The criteria will be focused on circulation of the virus,” said one EU diplomat, adding that Brussels is looking to keep out travelers from countries “where the virus is circulating most actively.”

No final decisions have been made and it is ultimately up to individual members to decide who can enter each country.

The New York Times was first to report on the possibility. The EU diplomats had not seen the draft lists of acceptable travelers the Times reported on, but they said they are aware that discussions are ongoing.

Sources told CNN the criteria of countries on being considered for the EU’s travel ban list is being based on a maximum per capita infection rate of 50 people infected per 100,000 residents.

Among the options being discussed is travel restrictions based on US geographic regions, rather than a sweeping ban on the entire country, since some regions have higher infection rates than others, these people said.

Keep reading.


Peru reports more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases

Health workers disinfect the main Plaza of Puno, Peru on June 18.

Peru’s health ministry reported 3,363 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the country’s total count up to 260,810. 

The ministry also reported 181 new fatalities from the virus, raising Peru’s death toll to 8,404. 

Tuesday marks 100 days since Peruvian authorities declared a state of emergency in the country in order to fight the pandemic.

Illinois schools to resume in-person learning this upcoming academic year 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced in a statement on Tuesday “guidelines that will allow K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions to safely resume in person instruction for the upcoming academic year.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts with 2.5 million cloth face masks, according to the statement. 

“When students return to campus this fall, they can expect new prevention measures from colleges and universities including social distancing, physical spacing, hand sanitizing stations, face covering requirements, and regular monitoring of students for symptoms of COVID-19,” the statement said. “Each school district will determine how to implement the guidance based on its unique student enrollment, school facilities, staffing, transportation, and technological capacity.”

Additionally, Pritzker announced in a news conference that every region in Illinois is on track to begin phase four on Friday. 

About the numbers: Illinois has a total of 137,825 Covid-19 cases and 6,707 deaths.

California farms and ranches will incur up to $8.6 billion in pandemic-related losses this year

Pandemic-related losses to California farms, ranches and agricultural businesses will range between $5.9 billion and $8.6 billion this year, the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) said in a statement Tuesday.

“Analysts have looked specifically at 15 different agricultural sectors, using data on production, exports and prices through early May, plus interviews and surveys of people and businesses,” a CFBF spokesperson said. “The study showed the greatest dollar-loss impact to dairy, $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion; grapes, $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion; and flowers and nurseries, $660 million to $740 million.”

The CFBF, which represents family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 34,000 members statewide, said California’s agricultural sector has already suffered over $2 billion in losses this year from large shifts in retail demand and rising production costs. 

“California farmers, ranchers and their employees have continued the essential work needed to keep American families fed, but that work has come with sacrifice,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “The impact is being felt in rural communities throughout the state that rely on agriculture for their residents’ livelihoods.”

Farms, ranches and agricultural businesses have also incurred higher operating costs for measures intended to increase employee health and safety, and in the more complex logistics required to move crops and commodities to market during the pandemic. Many California farmers will never be able to recoup these operational costs, the CFBF said. 

While many California farmers say their live-crop businesses may not survive the pandemic, shelf items like rice, processed tomato products and canned fruit have seen an increase in demand, according to data from the study. But in aggregate, “the losses far outweigh the isolated benefits,” the CFBF said.

Sanofi aims for September to begin human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine

The drug maker Sanofi does not expect to begin human trials for one of its Covid-19 vaccine candidates until September at the earliest, the company announced Tuesday.

The Phase 1/2 study will test a vaccine approach that Sanofi has used previously to produce an influenza vaccine. Development of the vaccine has been expedited with more than $30 million in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Sanofi said it hopes to have full approval of the vaccine by the first half of 2021 and aims to produce 1 billion doses. The vaccine may require one or more booster doses, according to a presentation made to investors.

Sanofi is also developing a second Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The company expects a human trial for that vaccine approach to start by the end of the year, with a goal of getting approval as early as the second half of 2021. The company says it expects to be able to supply 90-360 million doses of that vaccine annually.

Thirteen Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Coronavirus pandemic could be making "childcare deserts" worse, lawmakers warn

Parents have lost access to childcare services because of pandemic shutdowns and childcare providers have had to confront new costs and protocols to keep children and workers safe from the virus, experts told a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Tuesday. 

These challenges could worsen “childcare deserts” – areas where there is not enough licensed childcare providers to serve a community, Rasheed Malik, a senior analyst for early childhood policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, told lawmakers during Tuesday’s hearing.

“The signs we’re seeing from the industry are worrying,” Malik said.

“One-third of the childcare workforce lost their jobs in April and those jobs may not come back without a public investment. Revenues have been decimated due to lower enrollment while operating costs associated with reopening have increased dramatically,” Malik said. “Without new federal funds to support the physical infrastructure of childcare facilities, we should expect diminished childcare supply, which could inhibit our economic recovery.”

Malik, his colleagues at the center and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota have launched an online tool that features interactive maps showing where childcare deserts exist in neighborhoods across the United States. “Our team could identify the location and capacity of more than 235,000 child care providers, including both home-based childcare and childcare centers,” Malik said.

“We found that approximately 51% of families with a young child live in a childcare desert,” Malik said. That was before the pandemic.

“Childcare deserts primarily impact low- and middle-income families. Predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods are very likely to be childcare deserts and many but not all predominantly Black neighborhoods lack sufficient childcare,” Malik said. “Also rural areas have very little licensed childcare and tend to rely more on home-based providers, whose numbers have been in decline over the past decade.

Tucson postpones July 4 fireworks due to spike in coronavirus cases

Tucson, Arizona, will postpone its annual Fourth of July fireworks show this year, according to a statement released Tuesday.

City leaders pointed to “the risk of increased community spread of Covid-19” as well as “the extreme fire danger in the region” as the reason for the cancellation.

“With the recent large spike in Covid cases and the current administrative order to postpone re-opening our City facilities to August 3, postponing the event at this time is the right decision to ensure that we stay on track slowing the spread and for our planned re-opening,” City Manager Michael Ortega said in the statement.

“It is our intent to hold the event sometime in the future,” Ortega added.

The numbers: Arizona is reporting 3,591 new cases of Covid-19 and 42 deaths over the last 24 hours, according to state data.

Texas governor to residents: "The safest place for you is at your home"

As Texas sees its highest numbers of positive tests and hospitalizations, Gov. Greg Abbott advised residents of the state to stay at home. 

“Because the spread is so rapid right now, there’s never a reason for you to leave your home, unless you do need to go out,” Abbott added.

New restrictions could be put into place if the virus spread continues at its current rate, Abbott said, but the state is already encouraging and reinforcing the ideas of mask wearing, hand sanitization and social distancing. 

There is increased enforcement in areas, such as bars, that are seeing overcrowding, he said. He added that his first obligation is that people in the state understand the magnitude of Covid-19. 

Officials say 50% of new coronavirus cases in Tennessee are likely from community spread

Dr. Lisa Piercey

Half of newly diagnosed coronavirus patients in the state say they don’t know where they may have contracted the virus, said Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner for the Department of Public Health.

Piercey said that indicates many of the new cases are from community spread.

She said state officials are still waiting on Tuesday’s case numbers but said they are trending up. The daily average has increased in the past two weeks, Piercey said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said they are closely watching coronavirus trends after Tennessee experienced its highest single-day case total last week.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic says it was "too soon" to hold tournament after testing positive for Covid-19

The world’s top ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic has issued another statement hours after announcing that he had tested positive for Covid-19 after competing in the Adria Tour, a tennis event that he organized. 

Djokovic’s new statement follows the announcement that the remaining events on the Adria Tour have been canceled.

In his new statement, Djokovic said he is sorry that the tournament caused harm.

“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good condition to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons. We were wrong and it was too soon. I can’t express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection,” he said.

He said tournament organizers will be sharing health resources with those who attended the events in Belgrade, Serbia, and Zadar, Croatia.

Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov and Croatian tennis player Borna Coric announced they had tested positive after attending the tournament.  

Read Djokovic’s full statement here.

Texas Children's Hospital is admitting adult patients due to spike in cases in Houston area

Texas Children’s Hospital is admitting adult patients, according to a statement sent to CNN.

The hospital is providing “additional capacity through ICU and acute care beds across our hospital campuses to take on both pediatric and adult patients,” according to a statement. 

Both non-Covid-19 positive and Covid-19 positive adult patients are being accepted at facilities run by Texas Children’s Hospital. 

“Those adults who are Covid-19 positive will be cared for in our expanded Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus,” according to a hospital spokesperson.

The numbers: Harris County, which includes Houston, has seen a sharp increase in the seven-day rolling average of new cases and in hospitalizations. There are more than 23,000 cases reported in the county and over 118,000 positive cases reported across Texas. 

A Florida bar's liquor license was suspended for violating reopening guidelines

An Orlando area bar had its liquor license temporarily suspended for violating reopening guidelines.

According to the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears The Knight’s Pub was in “flagrant violation” of the required social distancing guidelines set forth by the state, and had 13 of the pub’s employees tested positive for the virus.

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino tells CNN affiliate WFTV that they have linked 152 cases to the Knights Pub. “That’s about 50 percent of the people who entered the bar,” Pino said. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said businesses failing to comply with state rules will get a visit from Beshears, whom DeSantis called “the grim reaper for business licenses.”

Masks now mandatory in Florida's Palm Beach County

People wear protective face masks as they walk along Worth Ave. as shops began to reopen during the new coronavirus pandemic, Monday, May 11, in Palm Beach, Florida.

It is now mandatory for Florida’s Palm Beach County residents to wear face masks in public.

The Palm Beach County Commission approved a motion on Tuesday to require all residents to wear face masks in public places when social distancing is not possible. 

Several counties across the state including Hillsborough, Orange and Miami-Dade counties approved similar mandates in the last few days requiring the use of facial coverings while in public. 

On Tuesday, Florida reported nearly 3,300 new cases of coronavirus. 

British health leaders urge UK government to prepare for second wave of Covid-19

Leaders of the UK’s medical, nursing, and public health professions are urging the British government to set up a cross-party review to prepare for a second coronavirus wave, according to The British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Tuesday. 

The letter calls for an urgent review, to be completed by October, which evaluates the UK’s national preparedness to deal with coronavirus ahead of winter. 

“As stakeholders and leaders of the UK’s medical, nursing and public health professions, we urge you to establish such a review,” the health leaders wrote. “We think there’s a strong case for an immediate assessment of national preparedness, with the first results available no later than August, and that all its work should be completed by the end of October.”

The health leaders wrote that a review should look to the future rather than attribute blame for past mistakes and should “focus on those areas of weakness where action is needed urgently to prevent further loss of life and restore the economy as fully and as quickly as possible.”  

“We believe that such a review is crucial and needs to happen soon if the public is to have confidence that the virus can be contained,” said the letter. 

The letter has been signed by the president of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Andrew Goddard; the president of the Royal College of Nursing, Anne Marie Rafferty; the Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association, Chaand Nagpaul; Editor in Chief of The Lancet medical journal, Richard Horton; and Editor in Chief of The BMJ, Fiona Godlee.

The letter added, “We don’t underestimate the complexities of establishing this in the required timeframe. We stand by ready to help in whatever way we can.”

Trump is in Arizona today. Here are the latest coronavirus figures in the state.

President Trump is visiting Arizona today, despite ongoing concerns about an uptick in coronavirus cases in the state.

He will be participating in a border security roundtable in Yuma and head to a section of the border wall. Later in the day, he will be participating in an indoor rally in Phoenix.

Arizona is seeing a rise in new reported cases compared to the previous week, according to John Hopkins University data. Arizona is reporting 3,591 new cases of Covid-19 as well as 42 deaths from the disease over the last 24 hours, state data shows.

Today’s numbers are a new record high for both new daily cases and deaths since the state started posting data publicly in mid-March.

Arizona is also reporting that it conducted 15,940 new tests for the infection in the last 24 hours.

The state has been battling a surge in Covid-19 cases and had nine days in the last two weeks where there were more than 1,500 new cases being reported by Arizona’s Department of Health Services.

The state has also been reporting that more than 80% of its available intensive care hospital beds have been in use since last week.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the state would allow local communities to require masks in public if they choose, but would not issue a statewide order.

The coronavirus pandemic could lead to up to 500,000 fewer US births according to one study

The coronavirus pandemic is more likely to lead to a baby bust in the United States rather than a baby boom, possibly leaving the nation with about half a million fewer births than otherwise would be expected, experts at the Brookings Institution and nonprofit March of Dimes predict.

Researchers at Brookings in Washington, DC examined data from previous economic studies on fertility in the United States during the recession of 2007-2009 and the 1918 influenza pandemic. After analyzing that data, along with other factors such as job losses during the coronavirus pandemic, the researchers predicted in a report published last week that the United States could see a drop of around 300,000 to 500,000 births due to Covid-19.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer at March of Dimes in New York, told CNN on Monday that he and his colleagues have come to a similar conclusion.

“When we started to do the math, we looked at the 1918 pandemic – as did Brookings – and we saw that there was about a 10% drop in fertility about nine to 10 months after peak mortality,” Gupta said, “A drop in 10% or 15% or 20% in the next few years could really spell trouble.”

“The economic and demographic implications that stem from a severe drop in pregnancies could have a tremendous impact on the next generation, which is why this is an important and very serious issue.”

According to the Brookings Institution, data from the recession suggests that the US birth rate dropped from about 69 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2007 to 63 births per 1,000 women in 2012 – marking a decline of about 9% or roughly 400,000 fewer births.

The Brookings team also found that in 1918, each spike in deaths due to the flu pandemic led an otherwise steady birth rate to fall roughly 21 births per 1,000 – representing a 12.5% decline.

They also noted that the uncertainty and anxiety associated with the coronavirus pandemic, job losses and to some extent physical distancing, could play a role in a further decline of births. This is something that Gupta, a specialist in internal medicine and preventive medicine, said he has seen among his own patients.

“As I see my patients, I see more and more demands on family planning and contraceptives and other things, coupled with the economic forces and people losing their jobs,” Gupta said, adding that the lives of many of his patients changed drastically, as they not only had to work from home but their home lives became hectic with their children having to stay home too.

This new research has some limitations, including that the findings are based on comparisons with two previous events and might not reflect the real nuances of the current coronavirus pandemic. “Some of these estimates are also dependent on what happens next,” Gupta said. 

“For example, the fear factor could be addressed with a robust plan and call to action that prevents a second wave of Covid infections this fall. On the other hand, if you do get several waves like we saw in 1918, the situation could be even worse,” Gupta said. “This pandemic and our response to it and the trust of the public in its government could have a consequential, long-term impact.”

See full report from the Brookings Institution here.

New Jersey reports increase in Covid-19 cases in people under 30

New Jersey has seen an increase in the percent