June 24 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Zamira Rahim and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020
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5:43 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

CDC urges keeping a Covid-19 "emergency kit" on hand

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

People should keep a coronavirus emergency kit on hand with a mask, tissues and hand sanitizer whether they are going to the grocery store or attending a gathering over the Fourth of July holiday, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert urged Wednesday

“Continuing to wash your hands regularly, covering your coughs and sneeze, wearing a cloth face covering are all very important as we go about daily living outside of our household,” health scientist Sarah Lee said during a briefing on how to safely engage in activities outside the home.

Both Covid-19 cases and deaths are continuing to increase across the country and half of all states have seen a rise in cases since June 1, Lee said.

Lee urged extra vigilance as people congregate in different places for various events, such as July 4 celebrations.

“It’s important as you do plan to go out and do these types of activities, you keep your stash of items with you that will help you practice those everyday activities,” she said.

“A cloth face covering, having tissue and hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if possible,” she added.

 “Like we talk about emergency kits, this is a kit for those everyday preventive actions that you can have on hand. You find yourself in a grocery store and you want the hand sanitizer, you’ve got it accessible.”

5:41 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Arizona seeing highest number of new coronavirus cases per capita

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen

Ambulances are parked outside the emergency room entrance at Banner Desert Medical Center, on June 16 in Mesa, Arizona.
Ambulances are parked outside the emergency room entrance at Banner Desert Medical Center, on June 16 in Mesa, Arizona. Ross D. Franklin/AP

Arizona is currently seeing the highest number of new coronavirus cases per capita of any state in the country, and more new cases per capita than any other state besides New York or New Jersey has seen, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Arizona added about 2,742 new cases per day over the seven days that ended on June 23. Adjusted for population, that’s about 38 new cases per 100,000 people per day.

New York and New Jersey are the only states that have seen higher per-capita rates of new cases.

New York saw its highest number of new cases during the week that ended April 10, when the state added about 9,909 new cases per day, or about 51 new cases per 100,000 people per day. New Jersey’s seven-day peak was April 7, when the state averaged about 3,674 new cases per day or about 41 new cases per 100,000 people per day.

5:09 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Republican senators met Wednesday to chart course on stimulus 

From CNN's Lauren Fox 

A small group of Republican senators met Wednesday afternoon in the Capitol in the Strom Thurmond room near Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to discuss the next stimulus proposal. 

The meeting was just the beginning of discussions for the party as they begin charting their course over the weeks ahead. Republican senators have repeatedly said they don’t plan to tackle the issue until the end of July on the floor of the Senate, but the meeting is an indication that the party is beginning to get organized about how to approach boosting the economy. 

The senators spotted attending the meeting include Sen. Mike Crapo, the Banking Chairman, Rob Portman of Ohio, David Perdue of Georgia, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. 

“We’ve been trying to figure out what is working and what isn’t working,” Cornyn said. 

Asked why this group was selected, Cornyn joked it was just “all the smartest people.”

5:33 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Los Angeles surpasses Cook in Illinois as county with most coronavirus cases in US

From CNN's Jon Passantino

A worker administers a coronavirus test swab at a drive-thru testing site on April 24 in Los Angeles, California.
A worker administers a coronavirus test swab at a drive-thru testing site on April 24 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Los Angeles County has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other county in the nation.

According to data generated by Johns Hopkins University, L.A. County surpassed Cook County in Illinois on Wednesday to become the single US county with the highest number of coronavirus cases.

Los Angeles County — the nation’s most populous with roughly 10 million residents — reported 88,512 cases as of Wednesday. Cook County, which includes Chicago, reported the second highest number of confirmed infections with 87,784 cases.

New York’s Queens County was third with 64,099, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

The surge in cases in Los Angeles comes as California sees record numbers of new infections, hospitalizations, and patients in intensive care units.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the increased infections, pleading with residents to think of others when it comes to wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance, and hand washing.

Loosely quoting scripture, Newsom implored residents to “love thy neighbors, like yourself, please.”

5:11 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Expert says people "have to be very careful" assuming weather will play role in coronavirus transmission

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

People shouldn’t count on getting a hiatus from Covid-19 in the summer months to prepare for fall, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Infectious Disease Research and Policy Center at the University of Minnesota, at a JAMA live event on Wednesday.

“I think we have to be very careful about assuming that there will be waves, or that the weather or climate will play a major role,” he said.

Using areas with recent case increases to demonstrate this, Osterholm pointed out that some of them have been happening in very hot places and some in places with very moderate climates, and that there is no difference in the way Covid-19 is acting.

“I am not convinced there will be a second wave. I don’t think there will be. I think that we’re just going to see one onslaught where it shows up here, shows up there; a little higher there, a little lower there; but in the end, it’s just going to be like one river of virus flowing downstream.”

5:00 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 is as hard to fight as a leaky bucket is to fix, expert says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Fighting coronavirus is like trying to fix a leaky bucket, a pandemic expert said Wednesday; something is going to get out.

“This virus is what I call a leaky bucket virus. If there’s one small micro leak in it, it will get out and it’s going to keep transmitting,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, said at a JAMA live event on Wednesday.

There are not many weapons against it, Osterholm said. 

“I think distancing, distancing and distancing, really, the only focus we have, and it has proven to be successful,” he said.

Mitigating the spread of infection: Wearing masks can also work, but a lot depends on what people use. N95 respirators, used to protect health care workers, are far more effective than surgical masks or cloth face coverings, for instance, Osterholm said.

“It’s kind of like saying I have a semi-truck, a VW beetle and a trike and they’re all the same because they have tires,” he said.

More work is needed to understand how different types of masks work in the environments they are used in.

Osterholm also pointed out that masks need to be worn correctly to be effective.

CIDRAP has found that 25% of people who use masks are wearing them with their noses uncovered. 

“It’s like fixing three of the five screen doors in your submarine. If we’re going to use them we have to use them correctly,” Osterholm said.

 

4:58 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Peru's president admits Covid-19 challenges and asks residents "not let our guard down"

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

A municipal worker sprays disinfectant at a market on June 10 in Puno, Peru.
A municipal worker sprays disinfectant at a market on June 10 in Puno, Peru. Carlos Mamani/AFP/Getty Images

During a news conference to mark 101 days since the state of emergency was imposed due to Covid-19, Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra recounted his administration’s accomplishments against the pandemic but also acknowledged the current challenges.

Vizcarra told the nation his government has managed to do 1,560,653 tests until Wednesday while it started with a capacity of 500 tests per day. The country’s capacity is now from 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day, according to Vizcarra.

He also acknowledged his government faces what he called "structural problems" to fight the pandemic but responded to his critics saying “they demand us to fix the country’s problems in one hundred days while these problems have not been solved in one hundred years." 

Vizcarra also recognized current problems in the fight against coronavirus in his country such as the lack of oxygen for patients and the need to improve rules for local markets, which have become hubs of infection across the country for example.

His government allowed shopping centers to reopen starting last Monday in order to relieve the economy but the president implored the population not to relax the current social distancing and hygiene rules when going shopping.

“We can’t relax and trust yet, we will only be relaxed when science finds a vaccine or a treatment to neutralize the virus ... Please do not let our guard down,” Vizcarra added. 

The numbers: Peru has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America, following Brazil. Peru reported 260,810 Covid-19 cases and 8,404 deaths on Tuesday. Peru was one of the first countries in the region to impose a state of emergency and lockdown in order to fight the pandemic. 

5:02 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 cases have tripled in Latin America since last month, PAHO says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

A member of the medical team treats a patient in the ICU of Mater Dei hospital on June 23 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
A member of the medical team treats a patient in the ICU of Mater Dei hospital on June 23 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Covid-19 cases in Latin America have now tripled since the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced the region had become the new epicenter of the pandemic, the organization's director said Wednesday.

"Last month I announced here that our region had become the new epicenter of the pandemic," Dr. Carissa Etienne said during a news briefing. "Since then, cases of Covid-19 in Latin America have now tripled from almost 690,000 [on] May 23 to more than 2 million today."

There is now widespread transmission in most of Central America, while the Caribbean has hotspots on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as in northern South America, Etienne said. 

"Brazil surpassed 1 million Covid-19 cases, joining the United States as the only other country in the world with cases in the six digits," Etienne said of the South American country. 

"While the recent increase in cases is extremely concerning, we have averted an even greater tragedy, thanks to the early adoption of public health measures, which have helped protect health systems and saved lives in many countries," Etienne added. 

However, the PAHO director warned that governments are now facing pressure to ease these public health measures due to economic and political reasons, even though transmission is increasing.

"In the absence of effective treatments, or of widely available vaccines, we expect that over the next two years in the region of the Americas we will experience recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, which may be interspersed with periods of limited transmission," Etienne said. "We must be realistic about the future. All of us must adjust to a new way of life, and redefine our sense of normal,” she added.

“The question is no longer how do we go back to the way things were before, but rather, how do we move forward and build a sustainable outbreak response."

7:24 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Trump predicts a "beautiful surprise" for coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Allie Malloy

US President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on, June 24 in Washington.
US President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on, June 24 in Washington. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said he would welcome getting Poland involved in a potential vaccine for Covid-19 and predicted there will be a “beautiful surprise, sooner than anybody would think.”

He made the remarks during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“The answer is yes we will be getting Poland involved in terms of helping and taking care of the polish people,” Trump said.

On the progress of vaccines and therapeutics, Trump said: “I think you’re gong to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise, sooner than anybody would think.”

He offered no specific details.

Trump also told reporters in the Rose Garden that he plans to visit Poland after the 2020 election. Trump canceled a trip to Poland due to hurricanes last year.