US average of daily new coronavirus cases hits highest point of pandemic
The US is currently averaging more new coronavirus cases per day than at any point in the pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day moving average of new cases stood at 33,035 Thursday. The previous peak was 31,630, reached on April 10.
Thursday marked a record for the most new cases reported in a single day in America — at least 39,972.
9:43 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
US stocks open lower as worries over a resurgence in Covid-19 cases continue
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks kicked the session off lower on Friday. Worries about the state of the economy, as well as a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, remains on investors' minds following Thursday’s stress test results from the Federal Reserve.
While the results gave banks a clean bill of health, it highlighted the fragility of the economy once more. America’s big banks, which were among the top gainers Thursday, dropped at the opening bell.
Here is where things stood at opening:
The Dow opened 0.7%, or 190 points, lower.
The S&P 500 slipped 0.4%.
The Nasdaq Composite kicked off 0.2% down.
9:53 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
Fauci says US considering new testing strategy because "something’s not working" currently
From CNN's Jim Acosta and Sam Fossum
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Friday that the White House coronavirus task force is “seriously considering” pool testing for Covid-19.
The proposal is still in the discussion stage, and is not expected to be announced at the task force briefing later today, Fauci told CNN. Dr. Fauci first mentioned the discussions in an interview with The Washington Post published on Friday morning.
“Something’s not working,” Fauci said of the nation's current approach in an interview with The Post. “I mean, you can do all the diagramming you want, but something is not working.”
Here's what "pool testing" means: The strategy works by mixing several samples together into a "batch," or pool, and then testing the pooled sample with one diagnostic test.
This way you can test a group of, for example, 25 people with one test rather than 25 separate diagnostic tests.
If the test comes back negative, then you have eliminated 25 people with one test. If you get a positive result you go back and test people individually.
Fauci's comments come after the US Food and Drug Administration recommended such a strategy earlier this month on to companies seeking to make tests for mass screening of people for coronavirus. And last month, local health authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan said they managed to test more than 9 million people using 6.6 million tests. Chinese media reported that Wuhan used a pooled testing approach.
“What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society,” Fauci told The Washington Post. “And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net.”
Fauci also told The Post that the high levels of asymptomatic spread of the Coronavirus are forcing health experts to rethink how to approach mitigating the spread of Covid-19.
“We now know the level of virus in an asymptomatic person is about the same as the level of virus in somebody who has symptoms,” Fauci said. “So it’s like, oh my goodness, how do you address that?”
Fauci stressed to CNN that this is not a new policy, but it is under consideration.
9:26 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
American Airlines will allow full flights to fly next week
From CNN's Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean
American Airlines plans to begin selling every seat on its aircraft, something it has not done since the pandemic struck this spring – leading to the prospect of more full flights.
The move comes ahead of the July 4 travel weekend. An American spokesperson said the holiday could be its busiest period since March.
Air travel overall is down about 80% from where it stood last year, according to Transportation Security Administration data. But it is steadily increasing: The 623,000 people it screened yesterday were 23% of the 2.7 million the agency saw a year before, and the agency’s busiest day since air travel cratered in mid-April.
Airlines for America — which represents major US air carriers, including American — told CNN this week that the average flight is about half full at 54.7%. But the group declined to say how many flights are full.
American has been limiting capacity on its flights since April.
“As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “American will continue to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, all without incurring any cost.”
The airline said it will begin notifying all customers that their flights may be full and will continue to waive change fees through September 30.
What other airlines are doing: United said it has been notifying customers whose flights may be more than 70% full, but an American spokesperson said putting a specific number to their notifications is not practical because flights could fill up after the notification window has passed.
Delta and Southwest have said they are capping capacity in an attempt to keep middle seats open and promote social distancing.
9:12 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
WHO hopes to deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of 2021
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
By the end of 2021, the World Health Organization plans to deliver about 2 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine to people across the globe, WHO officials announced during a virtual media briefing on Friday.
One billion of those doses will be purchased for low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO.
This new goal is part of WHO's Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator program, which launched in April to bring together governments, health groups, scientists, businesses and philanthropists to support efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic.
The program has four pillars focused on Covid-19 tests, treatments, vaccines and health systems.
WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during Friday's briefing that "the only way to prevent further spread and transmission" of the coronavirus would be to have an effective and safe vaccine.
"Obviously this virus has affected all countries and all populations and therefore a vaccine — ideally and from an ethical standpoint — should also be available across the world," Swaminathan said, adding that only a small proportion of the world's population has developed natural immunity to Covid-19.
"The principle of equitable access is a simple thing to say, but a complicated thing to implement. It requires active collaboration between governments, industry, health organizations, civil society organizations and communities," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during Friday's briefing. "Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools — but to be truly effective, they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity."
According to WHO, the ACT-Accelerator initiative's plans to deliver tests, therapeutics and a vaccine all over the world are estimated to cost about $31.3 billion in funding, of which $3.4 billion has so far been pledged.
8:44 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
Miami mayor says "you can't discount" the possibility of another stay-at-home order
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said “all options have to be on the table” when asked if he would consider implementing another stay-at-home order for the Florida city as Covid-19 cases rise.
“I hope we don't get to that point, but you can't discount that option as a possibility,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
Since Pence was tapped to lead the coronavirus task force on February 27, there have been a total of 47 briefings at the White House, most led by President Trump, and a few led by the vice president.
Note: This briefing count does not include a Rose Garden event in which President Trump touted the administration's testing efforts on May 11, since it was not an official coronavirus task force briefing.
8:27 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
New coronavirus cases are declining in just 7 US states
At least 32 states are reporting an increase in new coronavirus cases in the past week compared to the previous week.
Of those, 11 states — included as Florida, Texas and Arizona — have seen a 50% increase or more.
New cases are declining in just seven states: Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Here's a look at where things stand:
8:36 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020
These countries have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America
From CNN's Gisela Crespo and Mia Alberti
The number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America reached a total of more than 2 million infections this week, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Cases of Covid-19 in Latin America tripled from almost 690,000 on May 23 to more than 2 million as of yesterday, PAHO's director Dr. Carissa Etienne said Wednesday.
This week, Brazil has surpassed 1 million Covid-19 cases, joining the United States as the only other country in the world with cases in the seven digits, PAHO said. Mexico also rose to the fourth country with most cases in the continent. On Thursday, Colombia reported a new record high number of daily Covid-19 deaths.
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, according to Etienne.
The 10 countries with the highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in Latin America are:
Brazil: 1,228,114 cases, 54,971 deaths
Peru: 268,602 cases, 8,761 deaths
Chile: 259.064 cases, 4,903 deaths
Mexico: 202,951 cases, 25,060 deaths
Colombia: 80,599 cases, 2,654 deaths
Ecuador: 53,156 cases, 4,343 deaths
Argentina: 52,457 cases, 1,150 deaths
Dominican Republic: 29,141 cases, 698 deaths (last updated on June 24)
Panama: 29,037 cases, 564 deaths
Bolivia: 28,503 cases, 913 deaths
Those figures current as of 6:00 a.m. ET today.
Nearly 400,000 people will die from Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean by October, according to a new study released Thursday from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects.