June 26 coronavirus news

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2:42 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

The US needs to consider "flooding the system with testing," Fauci says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at the White House coronavirus task force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC on June 26.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at the White House coronavirus task force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC on June 26. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The US needs to start considering "flooding the system with testing" in light of new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that for every person infected with Covid-19, 10 more people in the country go undiagnosed, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday.

Speaking during a pre-recorded interview with CNBC, Fauci called the CDC's findings "sobering news."

"No way is it good news when you think there are 10 times more people infected than you thought there were," Fauci said. "So I think that's something that we need to address … to consider start literally flooding the system with testing, to really get a good handle about what is going on in the community."

Fauci said contact tracing was not going well ⁠— with some exceptions ⁠— and argued for pool testing over individual identification, particularly in areas where people don't want to cooperate with contact tracing efforts.

"Instead of I test me, and I test you... you could take 20, 30, 40 pool them, do one test. If they're all negative, then you know that that's negative. You now have 40 people who are negative. If you get a positive, then you backtrack and try and figure out who that positive is," Fauci said.

2:41 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

At least 11 states have currently paused or rolled back their reopening plans

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The governors of Florida and Texas pulled back some of the measures put in place to reopen those states as coronavirus infections rise.

Additionally, governors of Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina have announced they will not move ahead to the next phase of reopening.

2:20 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Florida

Florida has erupted as a hotspot in the US's coronavirus pandemic.

  • New case record shattered: Florida reporting nearly 9,000 new cases of Covid-19, today, bringing the state total to nearly 123,900. The previous highest single-day increase had been about 5,000.
  • On-site drinking banned at Florida bars: The state on Friday also banned on-premises alcohol consumption at bars, according to a tweet from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Pence visiting next week: Vice President Mike Pence announced today he would travel Florida next Thursday to "get a ground report" on the situation in the state. He'll also travel to Arizona and Texas.
  • In Miami: 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. 

Here's a look at the rise of coronavirus cases in Florida:

4:32 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Fauci: Some states may have opened "a bit too early"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Contrasting some of the optimistic messaging coming out of the Trump administration in recent days, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said it may be time to “drop back a few yards” to think about the original reopening guidelines.

He had a stark message for anyone comfortable with the risks of Covid-19: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you because if you get infected, you are part, innocently or inadvertently, of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic.”

Fauci began his comments at the White House coronavirus task force briefing by admitting that some states may have opened too soon.

“I don't think there's time enough now all day to try and analyze and figure out the multifaceted elements that went into that,” Fauci said. “Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some to opening at the right time, but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion, but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that for a number of reasons. Likely, because everyone feels the common feeling of being picked up for such a long period of time.” 

“So, we're not going to say blame we're not going to try and analyze it,” he continued, “but there is something that's very important about it, that I'd like to get a message to the country in general.”

Fauci said it may be necessary to think about the original guidelines from the task force about reopening the country, some of which were ignored by the states.

“When the vice president went back, pulling back a couple of months ago, when we showed about the guidelines to safely reopen the country, we've got to make sure we drop back a few yards and think about that, that this is part of a process that we can be either part of the solution or part of the problem.” 

“We need to take that into account because we are all in it together,” he said. “And the only way we're going to end it is by ending it together.”

Watch:

4:38 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Despite case spikes, Pence says Americans have freedoms of speech and assembly

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the Constitutional rights to speech and free assembly explained the push to hold campaign rallies even as coronavirus cases surge.

"The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States," Pence said when asked why he and President Trump moved forward with campaign events even as public health experts advise against large gatherings.

"We have an election coming up this fall. And President Trump and I believe that taking proper steps ... and giving people the very best counsel that we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process. And we respect that," he added.

Trump held a campaign rally last weekend in Tulsa. Afterward multiple campaign staffers tested positive for coronavirus.

He later spoke to a large crowd in Arizona, one of the states where cases are rising.

Watch the moment:

4:41 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence insists mask guidance is up to state and local officials

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

Vice President Mike Pence said it's up to state and local governments to issue guidance and orders on face masks.

Asked if he had a message to Americans about the importance of wearing masks, Pence said "people ought to listen to their state and local authorities."

While a handful of states require people to wear masks in public, many others have not issued any guidance. Some individual cities and counties have also issued orders to require facial coverings.

Pence said he's in contact with many state and local leaders, and said he's assured them that he will urge Americans to follow local directives.

"In some cases, there's statewide guidance with regard to facial coverings and with regard to events and gatherings. In other cases, there's specific county-wide or city-wide directives, and we just believe that what's most important here is that people listen to the leadership in their state, the leadership in their local community, and adhere to that guidance," Pence said.

Face masks — which has been proven to be an effective way to stop person-to-person spread of coronavirus — has become a contentious topic.

President Trump has been reluctant to wear a face mask in front of cameras, and the debate over their use has spilled into local communities. This week, residents of Palm Beach County in Florida erupted in anger at a commissioner's meeting after an unanimous vote to make masks mandatory.

Watch more:

1:50 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Chile's Covid-19 deaths surpass 5,000

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza, Florencia Trucco and Ingrid Formanek

Aerial view showing graves at the General Cemetery in Santiago, Chile amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on June 23.
Aerial view showing graves at the General Cemetery in Santiago, Chile amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on June 23. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Chile reported a total of 5,068 fatalities from Covid-19 Friday, with 165 new deaths in the last day, according to figures from the country’s health ministry.

The daily death toll decreased slightly compared to the two previous days.

The total number of Covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic stands at 263,360, with 4,269 new cases, according to the statistics reported by the health ministry.

The numbers “show hopeful results,” Enrique Paris, Chile’s Minister of Health, said, pointing to lightly decreasing numbers of new daily infections in recent days.

But even with the small improvements in the statistics, Paris urged people to “continue the fight” against Covid-19.

4:49 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

CDC director urges millennials to follow Covid-19 guidelines

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks at the White House in Washington, DC on June 26.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks at the White House in Washington, DC on June 26. Pool

Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country is "not defenseless" in its fight against Covid-19, urging the public, especially millennials and those under 40, to commit to following CDC Covid-19 guidelines.

"I also want to appeal to the millennials and those that are under 40. It's really important that this group really commit themselves to these practices to protect those at risk. And it's not just the elderly that are at risk. Many of us may have friends and colleagues that are younger that may not advertise their underlying co-morbidities," Redfield said.

Redfield called coronavirus precautions "powerful weapons" and said the American people have a "collective responsibility to recommit ourselves to put them into routine practice."

The CDC director reiterated the importance of staying six feet apart from each other as much as possible, to wear face coverings when in public, and to practice vigorous hand hygiene. 

Watch:

4:57 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

More than 120,000 courses of remdesivir have been distributed to states, Health secretary says

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at the coronavirus task force meeting in Washington, DC on June 26.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at the coronavirus task force meeting in Washington, DC on June 26. Pool

More than 120,000 courses of remdesivir have been distributed to all of 50 states, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at today's coronavirus task force briefing.

Remdesivir is the only drug known to work against Covid-19. While not a blockbuster drug, a study shows it shaves four days off a hospital stay, from 15 to 11 days.

Some background: In May, the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral medication studied to treat Ebola but now used on hospitalized Covid patients.

In early May, the government distributed a small amount of remdesivir directly to about two dozen hospitals nationwide without explaining why those hospitals were chosen over others.

Following an outcry, HHS started to distribute remdesivir to state health departments, but questions still remained. For example, the week of May 4, California and Texas received the same amount of remdesivir, even though California had far more coronavirus patients.

While HHS didn't originally disclose where remdesivir was going, the agency is now publishing on its website how much drug is going to each state.

Watch more: