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
11 Posts
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2:04 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Mexican doctors baffled as triplets are born with Covid-19, but parents test negative

From CNN's Mia Alberti

A set of premature triplets born in Mexico on Monday tested positive for Covid-19, although both parents do not have the disease, the health secretary of the Mexican state of Potosí said in a Facebook post.

Health authorities say the case is "unheard of" and "a very relevant scientific feat." They are investigating several potential sources of contagion such as the mother's breast milk.

"Now that we have the negative result of the PCR tests done on both parents, the case it's even more relevant, not only for the investigation our doctors in the state are doing but for the worldwide research on the behavior of the virus itself," said Potosí's Health Secretary Monica Liliana Rangel Martinez. 

The premature triplets were born in the Ignacio Morones Prieto Central Hospital and are in a stable condition. Authorities say one of the babies has developed a respiratory infection but "is responding well to antibiotics." The mother is also recovering in hospital. 

1:39 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

US National Institutes of Health was "told to cancel" grant to group studying bats, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts, Zachary Cohen, and Maggie Fox

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Trump administration's Response to the pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Trump administration's Response to the pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 23. Kevin Dietsch/AFP/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health canceled a grant to a US nonprofit that was studying viruses in bats because it was told to, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

Speaking at a hearing Tuesday of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Texas Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey asked Fauci about the cancellation earlier this year of NIH funding for the EcoHealth Alliance to study bats in China and elsewhere.

For years, the group has studied viruses in bats because of the known risk that bats can transmit viruses -- such as the novel coronavirus -- to people. 

Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, has been funding the EcoHealth Alliance for five years.

“It was cancelled because the NIH was told to cancel it,” Fauci said, adding that he did not know the reason for the cancellation, and without saying who gave the order.

A spokesperson for Veasey told CNN the Texas congressman and other members of the Energy and Commerce Committee were planning to look further into the matter.

“The (scientific) community continues to demand answers from the NIH's leadership over this decision,” Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, said in an email to CNN.
“Why did Dr. (Francis) Collins put politics ahead of his job as the director of the NIH -- essentially the caretaker of the nation's biomedical research enterprise? The politicization of science endangers America's position as a global leader of science and innovation, and during a pandemic the politicization of science endangers the lives of Americans. “
1:13 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Coronavirus is not tired of making us sick, former US CDC director says

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Dr. Tom Frieden talks to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Dr. Tom Frieden talks to CNN's Chris Cuomo. CNN

Former United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden says the country is not doing enough to keep the Covid-19 pandemic at bay.

“We may be sick and tired of staying home, but the virus is not tired of making us sick,” Frieden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday. 

Frieden is currently the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of global public health organization Vital Strategies. 

The uptick in the number of cases in parts of the US are not the result of the country doing more testing, as some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued. Instead, the numbers are going up because there is more disease and it is spreading, Frieden said.

“The US response is just lagging,” Frieden said. “We’re not doing what we need to do to keep physically distant. We are not across the country scaling up contact tracing as effectively as needed so we can prevent cases into exploding into clusters and outbreaks.”  

Frieden compared the US' response to South Korea’s.

“Facts don’t lie,” Frieden said. “There are 120,000 dead Americans from this virus. There are, at last count, 270 who died from it in South Korea.”

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, South Korea has reported 281 coronavirus deaths while the US has seen more than 121,000.

Countries around the world have lower rates of infection because they are better at testing, tracing and isolating people who are sick, Frieden said. He believes there needs to be a better national response in the US.

In the absence of an adequate national response, there is something individuals can do to keep case numbers down, he said.  

“Remember the three W’s. Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance,” Frieden said. “You do these three things, we can keep the virus at bay.” 

12:48 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Mothers with Covid-19 should continue breastfeeding, WHO says after inconclusive study

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The World Health Organization is urging women who have contracted -- or are suspected of contracting -- coronavirus to continue breastfeeding their babies or young children.

In a scientific brief released Tuesday, the WHO said the benefits of breastfeeding “substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission” of the coronavirus.

“Recommendations on mother-infant contact and breastfeeding must be based on a full consideration of not only of the potential risks of Covid-19 infection of the infant, but also the risks of morbidity and mortality associated with not breastfeeding, the inappropriate use of infant formula milks, as well as the protective effects of skin-to-skin contact,” the agency said in a news release.

How WHO came to its conclusion: The WHO said researchers reviewed studies that included mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 and their babies or young children. 

A total of 153 cases of mothers with the virus were included in the review. The breast milk of 46 mothers was tested. All had Covid-19 and while 13 infants tested positive for the virus, the researchers were unable to determine conclusively how the babies contracted the virus. It wasn’t clear if the breast milk was the source of the infection, or simply close contact with the infected mothers.

“In infants, the risk of Covid-19 infection is low, the infection is typically mild or asymptomatic, while the consequences of not breastfeeding and separation between mother and child can be significant,” the review concluded. 

Researchers said other infections that breastfeeding protects against pose a much bigger risk to babies and children than the coronavirus. 

“Based on available evidence, WHO recommendations on the initiation and continued breastfeeding of infants and young children also apply to mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19,” the WHO said.
12:12 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Beijing reports lowest new coronavirus cases since shutting down wholesale food market 

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

An epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a man at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing, China.
An epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a man at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China’s National Health Commission reported seven new cases of Covid-19 in Beijing on Tuesday.

It's the lowest number of daily new cases reported in the Chinese capital since a wholesale food market was shut down on June 13 after becoming the center of a new outbreak.

Across mainland China, the NHC reported 12 new coronavirus cases, including three imported infections and nine locally transmitted cases.

The local cases include the seven from Beijing along with two from Hebei province. No new deaths were reported.

In addition, three new asymptomatic cases were reported by the NHC. Currently 100 asymptomatic infections are under medical observation. 

Mainland China has reported more than 84,000 coronavirus cases, including at least 4,640 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

11:53 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

US reports more than 36,000 new Covid-19 cases

At least 36,151 new coronavirus cases and 831 additional deaths were reported in the United States on Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The national total now stands at 2,346,937 cases, including at least 121,224 fatalities, according to JHU.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

11:03 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Latin America and the Caribbean surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Matt Rivers in Mexico City

A member of the medical team of the Brazilian Armed Forces tests an indigenous person of the Marubo ethnic group for coronavirus in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil on June 20.
A member of the medical team of the Brazilian Armed Forces tests an indigenous person of the Marubo ethnic group for coronavirus in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil on June 20. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean have surpassed 100,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally and government figures.

As of Tuesday evening local time, the total number of reported Covid-19 deaths in 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries is at least 100,145. 

Brazil, one of the countries hit hardest by the virus, accounted for more than half of the total, with a confirmed death toll of 52,645. Mexico has reported that 23,377 people have died as a result of the virus.

 

9:47 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

A judge ordered Bolsonaro to wear a face mask. Brazil's attorney general is looking to reverse that

From journalists Marcia Reverdosa and Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo

Brazil's attorney general's office said Tuesday it was looking to "reverse" a federal judge's decision ordering President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask.

The attorney general's office told CNN that it is "already studying all the appropriate measures to reverse the injunction and preserve the independence and harmony between the Powers."

The background: On April 30, the Federal District government issued a decree making the wearing of face masks in public spaces mandatory, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Bolsonaro has since appeared in public at several events without wearing a mask, including at rallies with supporters. 

Mask order: On Monday, Federal Judge Renato Borelli issued a decision, ordering Bolsonaro to wear a mask while in public in the country's capital Brasilia.

The judge’s order said failure to do so could potentially lead to a fine of up to 2,000 Brazilian real ($388) a day.  

The decision extends to all government employees in the Federal District, where Brasilia is located. 

Brazil is the country with the world’s second highest coronavirus rate. More than 1.1 million cases and at least 52,000 deaths have been confirmed by Brazilian health authorities.

10:43 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Trump either doesn’t understand how to curb the pandemic or is promoting a false narrative, health expert says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on June 23, in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on June 23, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump either doesn’t understand the two most effective tools for putting the pandemic down or he’s trying to promote a false narrative, says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University.

“The President of the United States doesn’t believe, apparently, in the two pillars of our pandemic response: the need to test and the need to wear face masks,” Reiner told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Trump has refused to wear a mask in public and at meetings and events at the White House. He has also questioned the need for coronavirus testing.

“What he does not understand is that’s how we extinguish the virus,” Reiner said. “That’s how you get people to quarantine. We contact trace their contacts, they stay home. That’s how you drop the transmission of the virus.”

“By the same token, he doesn’t believe in face masks and we know now with certainty that’s the principal way we prevent person-to-person transmission outside the home,” he added.

Reiner questioned why the President doesn’t seem to understand the simple formula that has driven Covid-19 cases down in other countries.

“How is it that our chief pandemic officer, the President of the United States, doesn't believe in the two most effective tools for putting the pandemic down? It’s either that he doesn’t understand, which raises unfathomable cognitive questions, or he's trying to promote a false narrative that everything is fine and, you know, we all have our heads in the sand."