Live Updates

June 26 coronavirus news

Updated 8:03 PM EDT, Fri June 26, 2020
Dr. Gupta fires back with facts after Pence's 'encouraging news'

What you need to know

  • More than half of US states are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases. In Texas, some bars have been ordered to close as officials fear “apocalyptic” surges if current trends continue. Meanwhile, Florida reported its highest single day of cases.
  • Travelers from the United States are “unlikely” to be allowed into the European Union, several EU officials told CNN.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci says the White House coronavirus task force is “seriously considering” a new testing strategy.
  • Number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America has tripled in the past month, surpassing 2 million infections, the Pan American Health Organization said.

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has ended for the evening.

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Tennessee reports highest daily number of new Covid-19 cases

Medical personnel prepare to administer coronavirus tests at the Robertson County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Tennessee, on April 18.
Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean/USA Today
Medical personnel prepare to administer coronavirus tests at the Robertson County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Tennessee, on April 18.

Tennessee has reported its highest number of new cases of coronavirus today since the start of the pandemic.

The state has reported 1,410 new cases of coronavirus, which is the highest daily number of new cases reported to date.

The previous highest day was June 19, which is when 1,188 new cases were reported.

The state is reporting 39,444 total cases and 577 total deaths.

According to statistics on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 16,513 of the cases are people between the ages of 21 and 40.

One thing to note: This data was released by the state of Tennessee and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

Covid-19 vaccine trials started in Brazil this week

Brazil began human trials this week to test an experimental vaccine for Covid-19 developed by the University of Oxford.

Volunteers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are being given 3,000 shots of the vaccine.

Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers are among those recruited for the trial due to their increased risk of exposure to the virus. Volunteers are between 18 and 55 years old and must have tested negative for Covid-19.

Brazil’s Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) gave pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca permission earlier this month to begin the trial. The studies of the vaccine could take up to a year, according to the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

Why this matters: Brazil was selected because it’s one of the countries hardest-hit by the virus. Second only to the United States, the country has recorded more than 1.2 million cases and at least 55,000 deaths, according to Brazil’s health ministry.

The country has not yet signed a deal to produce the vaccine.

Human trials of the vaccine are also underway in the United Kingdom, where researchers announced last month that they had moved into the second phase, involving 10,260 participants.

The surge in Covid-19 cases is real and serious, Houston mayor says

Houston M
Houston M

There are at least 18,056 cases of coronavirus in Houston and at least 216 people have died from the virus in the city, Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a news conference on Friday.

The current surge in Covid-19 cases in Houston is real and it is serious, Turner added.

“The community’s infection rate is three times higher today than it was three months ago,” he said.

The Texas city has seen increases in hospitalizations, intensive care unit numbers and the number of young people testing positive for Covid-19, according to Turner.

“I do support the government’s decision to close bars and reduce restaurants capacity from the current closed bars completely for now,” Turner said.

Some context: The mayor’s comments comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Friday in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

The new order places strict limitations on businesses and services. Bars that get more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages must close today, among other measures. 

Turner added that he’s working on a “wall of shame” for businesses that are caught not following the governor’s new order.

The “wall of shame” will include posting onto the city’s social media site and onto a huge board during news conferences, Turner said.

"We have a four-alarm fire" with coronavirus surge, former health commissioner says

Leana Wen, former Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore.
Leana Wen, former Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore.

The first White House coronavirus task force briefing in months demonstrated a “stunning disconnect” between the administration and the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, a former Baltimore city health commissioner said Friday.

“It just appeared that there was this stunning disconnect between what the vice president was saying and the reality on the ground, because, frankly, we have a four-alarm fire,” Dr. Leana Wen told CNN. “We have exponential spread of coronavirus in multiple metropolitan areas around the country. In multiple states, we’re seeing ICUs being filled.”

“We’re basically seeing the same picture that we saw back in March, in New York City, but in many places in the country and without a plan to be able to address it,” Wen added.

Wen said she agreed with Vice President Mike Pence when he said the US had flattened the curve of the disease.

“But then what happened?” Wen asked. “When we reopened without having the capability to rein in these infections, and now all the sacrifices that people have made are going to go in vain and we still don’t have a national strategy, or even recognition from the vice president that we have a problem here.”

Wen faulted Pence for not endorsing the simple act of wearing a face covering. The administration, on the other hand, has touted the drug remdesivir, which helps critically ill Covid-19 patients.

“Well, we actually have a treatment right now, if you will. If you wear a mask, that reduces your risk of getting coronavirus by up to five times,” Wen said. “Imagine that this is a medication that we can all be taking. This is a basic intervention that all that should be doing right now in order to save lives.”

Watch more:

UK government to announce travel agreements with countries next week

An airline passenger wearing a face mask pushes her bags past a post box at Heathrow Terminal 5 departures on March 15, in London.
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
An airline passenger wearing a face mask pushes her bags past a post box at Heathrow Terminal 5 departures on March 15, in London.

The British government will announce travel agreements with countries, such as France, Greece and Spain, next week as it reviews its policy of imposing a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in Britain, the UK government said in a statement on Friday.

“Countries have been classified as green, amber and red depending on their risk assessment, informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country, our confidence in the reliability of their data, and crucially the trajectory of the disease in the country,” the statement read. “Low risk countries in the green and amber categories will be exempt from public health measures at the border.”

A full list of the low risk countries will be published next week and travel to those destinations will be able to resume the following week.

“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world — giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business,” a government spokesperson said. “But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge, and this system will enable us to take swift action to re-introduce self-isolation measures if new outbreaks occur overseas.”

Vice President Pence and airline executives agree to move forward with contact tracing of passengers