June 26 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Lindsay Isaac CNN

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Fri June 26, 2020
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5:37 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence claims Americans are seeing "encouraging news" as cases surge

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Vice President Mike Pence asserted Friday that “all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly” even as cases surge in many states, and eight states across the country have paused their reopening efforts.

One state, Texas, has even scaled back their reopening plan, closing bars after they had been a part of the states reopening plan.

Pence said at the White House coronavirus task force briefing Friday that the country has “made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward” and that “we've all seen the encouraging news as we open up America again.”

His remarks come as 32 states across the country have seen an increase in cases over the past week, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Pence also discussed the return of jobs that came with reopening America, and said that some of the original coronavirus hotspots such as the New York metro area and New Orleans have made “extraordinary progress.”

He said the task force is focusing on 16 states that have been most impacted by coronavirus in recent weeks with both rising cases and rising positivity rates.

Pence also repeated the President's refrain that more testing has led to more cases, however the rise in new cases has outpaced the increase in coronavirus testing.

“To one extent or another, the volume of new cases coming in is a reflection of a great success in expanding testing across the country,” Pence said.

Pence said that while the US has made progress, the country “still has work to do.”

Watch:

5:38 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Young Americans "have a particular responsibility" to not spread coronavirus to vulnerable populations

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Vice President Mike Pence said that while it is "encouraging news" that new cases of coronavirus are increasingly among young Americans, young people also "have a particular responsibility" to ensure they're not spreading the virus to vulnerable populations.

Pence said about half of news cases among people under the age of 35, "which is at a certain level, very encouraging news, as the experts tell us." Pence said.

Yesterday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the pandemic has moved into younger populations — a change that could mean less serious illness and lower rates of death.

"As we know, so far in this pandemic, younger Americans are less susceptible to serious outcomes of the coronavirus," Pence said at an ongoing coronavirus task force briefing.

However, Pence added that young Americans must be careful to not spread the virus to older or more vulnerable people.

"Younger Americans have a particular responsibility to make sure that they're not carrying the coronavirus into settings where they would expose the most vulnerable," he said.

The risk of serious complications and death rises with age, the CDC says, although there's no clear age cutoff for higher or lower risk. People with diabetes, kidney disease, moderate to severe asthma, and obesity are also at higher risk.

Watch:

5:26 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence: Coronavirus cases starting to "rise precipitously" across the South

Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged that the country is now seeing coronavirus cases "rise precipitously" across the South.

“We stand here today because with the rising cases among southern states, President Trump asked us to brief the American people, to give details on what we're seeing, what we're doing, and how it's different from two months ago,” Pence said at the opening of the coronavirus task force briefing.

Pence added that according to data used by the task force, there are "16 states with rising cases and rising percentages."

"We want to move America forward, even while we take and continue to take the steps necessary to protect lives and the health of the American people," Pence said.

According to data from John Hopkins University, 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 — including 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.

Watch:

1:35 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

This Texas county is close to running out of hospital capacity

From CNN's Kay Jones

A health care worker organizes Covid-19 tests that were just administered at a testing site in Houston on June 25.
A health care worker organizes Covid-19 tests that were just administered at a testing site in Houston on June 25. Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told reporters today that they are close to running out of capacity at hospitals in the area.  

She also said that NRG Stadium in Houston is on standby to activate as a medical shelter of last resort. Once hospitals are at the point of having to convert beds to intensive care beds, then NRG will be activated, she told reporters. 

NRG Stadium is home to the NFL's Houston Texans. 

5:23 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence will travel to states hard-hit by coronavirus next week

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Vice President Mike Pence will travel in the coming days to three states hit hardest by a recent surge in coronavirus cases, he announced on Friday.

Pence said he would visit Texas on Sunday alongside Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. He said he would travel to Arizona on Tuesday and Florida next Thursday to "get a ground report" in places where coronavirus is rising dramatically.

Pence said he'd spoken to the governors of those three states in the last 12 hours, and announced he would also convene a call with the nation's governors and the White House task force on Monday.

Watch:

5:09 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence says "we want to open our economy up" as cases spike

Vice President Mike Pence said the US's mission right now is to "partner with states to save lives and safely reopen."

The comment comes as more that half of US are reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week compared to the week before. Today, Florida reported its highest single day of cases since the pandemic began — nearly 9,000, up from about 5,000 the day before.

"We want to open our economy up. We want to move America forward," Pence said at an ongoing briefing.

He added that while the US reopens, officials must take steps to protect Americans.

Watch:

5:13 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence says "no outstanding requests" of PPE, medical supplies in any US state

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

In the first public coronavirus task force briefing in nearly two months, Vice President Mike Pence said there are currently "no outstanding requests" from any state at this moment for personal protective equipment, including the hard-hit states in the South.

Pence said the administration is ready "at a moment's notice" to provide supplies as needed.

"Let me say that again, in the affected areas, particularly the states down South that are seeing rising cases, we have no outstanding requests. But as I told the governors, we're ready at a moment's notice to surge personnel, to surge supplies, to expand capacity and to support their health care response," Pence said.

Watch:

12:46 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Fauci is at today's coronavirus task force briefing

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, is attending today's White House coronavirus task force briefing.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar are also on stage at the briefing.

Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the task force, kicked off the briefing by announcing he will travel to Texas, Arizona and Florida next week.

Everyone is wearing masks including Secret Service, except for Pence and his staff. The vice president did have a mask on when he first took the stage, but removed it to speak.

12:49 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Oklahoma records 395 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Oklahoma has recorded 395 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the state’s Department of Health said Friday.

There is now a total of at least 12,343 cases, including 377 deaths, in the state, according to the agency.