June 28 coronavirus news

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12:52 p.m. ET, June 28, 2020

HHS secretary says a rise in deaths and hospitalizations is an appropriate concern

From CNN's Wes Bruer

HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks on June 26.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks on June 26. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday that a rise in deaths and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 in the coming weeks are “appropriate to be concerned about.” 

Azar told CNN that while fatalities and hospitalizations are at “two month lows,” there is an increase in hospitalizations across the Southern states.

When asked if he was aware that an increase in hospitalization and fatality rates would lag behind an increase in positive cases, Azar said “those are certainly risks” and said that is why he is encouraging those who have “not exercised appropriate social distancing” in the last couple of weeks should wear face coverings and get tested. 

12:21 p.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Face coverings are required starting tomorrow in Tupelo, Mississippi

From CNN’s James Froio

The city of Tupelo, Mississippi, will require face coverings at all indoor public spaces and businesses starting at 6 a.m. Monday, they city said in an executive order posted on Facebook. 

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said his job as mayor is "to keep our community safe, not make easy or politically popular decisions," he wrote on Facebook.

“As we have said from the beginning, we will follow the advice of our health care professionals and we will continue to do so,” Shelton said on Facebook.

Shelton said the city is "committed to listening to our local doctors and health care professionals regarding Covid-19 and we are doing all that we can to keep our community safe," he told CNN over email.

"It is very unfortunate that in today’s political climate and due to the words and actions of some of our political leaders that many Americans simply refuse to believe the urgency and severity of the Covid-19 crisis," Shelton added. "Stable and rational leadership is desperately needed on the national level and in many states across our nation. We should all listen to our health care professionals regarding health care matters."

12:08 p.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Chuck Schumer wants the Trump administration to extend the public health emergency declaration

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks at a press conference on June 9.
Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks at a press conference on June 9. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on the Trump administration to extend the public health emergency declaration.

The Covid-19 related declaration is set to expire July 25, Schumer said.  

"We are here because the clock is ticking," Schumer, the senior senator from New York, said.

If the declaration expires, New York could lose more than $1 billion, according to Schumer.

New York would lose assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Schumer said. 

"You may refuse to wear a mask, that's bad, but you can't cover your eyes and ears to what is happening. We have an emergency. we need you to renew it now,” Schumer said. 

11:56 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Former FDA commissioner says US will likely see a rise in daily coronavirus-related deaths

From CNN's Wes Bruer

Dr. Scott Gottlieb in 2017
Dr. Scott Gottlieb in 2017 Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS that the US is “likely to see total daily deaths start to go back up again.” 

Gottlieb cited “major epidemics underway” in the South and Southeast and said we will see continued growth in Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks, even if we “take aggressive actions right now.”

While he noted many of the new cases may be clustered in younger populations, Gottlieb said “this spread is likely to seep into more vulnerable communities.” 

Gottlieb said we have a hard six months ahead but “if a large percentage of the population, not everyone, but a large percentage of the population wore masks on a regular basis, reasonable quality masks, that alone could reverse the epidemic.”

10:58 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Florida reports 8,530 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Melissa Alonso

Florida health officials have reported 8,530 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH). 

On Saturday, the state saw its highest single day for cases since the start of the pandemic with 9,585.

Florida now has 141,075 Covid-19 cases and 3,518 virus-related deaths, according to DOH's daily report.

10:41 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

The virus "still has the upper hand," former CDC director says

From CNN's Wes Bruer

Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden at a hearing on May 6.
Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden at a hearing on May 6. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said on Fox News that although the US is doing more testing and hospitals are better prepared, “this virus still has the upper hand.”  

The increase in cases in Southern states is the result of reopening too fast and it “is going to continue to get worse for weeks,” Frieden said.

Frieden said the deaths will lag cases of infections by about a month. And while the increase in cases appears to be in younger populations, Frieden said “what starts in young adults doesn’t stay in young adults.”

Frieden estimated that in the next month, the US will see at least 15,000 more deaths from Covid-19. He also said cases will continue to rise.

“As a doctor, a scientist, an epidemiologist, I can tell you with 100% certainty that in most states where you're seeing an increase, it is a real increase. It is not more tests, it is more spread of the virus," Frieden said. "And the one number to look at that's very important is the percent of tests that’s positive. The number of cases, that can vary some because we are only diagnosing 10, 20% of all cases. So the numbers you're seeing are just a reflection, a tip of the iceberg of even more spread.”
10:27 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Mexico reports more than 4,400 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Florencia Trucco and Karol Suarez

Mexico recorded 4,410 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the total case count for the country to 212,802.

There were also 602 additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the country’s death toll to 26,381.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, Deputy Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, who leads Mexico's Covid-19 response, said that despite encouraging data from some states that are gradually reopening their economic activities, there’s always a risk coronavirus cases might go up again.

“We are not exempt from the fact there can be an uptick in the outbreak anywhere in the country. It can happen, it happened in other countries,” López-Gatell said.

In a video posted to his Twitter page Saturday evening, Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, "It was a tough week because we do not just continue suffering from the pandemic, which is gradually going down, but also the earthquake, and yesterday's attack against Mexico City Police Chief Omar García Harfuch. We need to move forward so things can get better."

Mexico is the country with the fourth highest number of Covid-19 cases in Latin America, after Brazil, Peru and Chile.

10:23 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

South Korea to allow a limited number of fans at professional sporting events

From CNN's Jake Kwon and Sharif Paget

South Korea will allow a limited number of fans at professional sports games, the country's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Sunday.

The details, including the number of spectators and the timing of the matches, will be determined next week.

South Korea reported 40 new domestic cases of Covid-19 and 22 imported cases on Sunday. No new deaths have been reported.

There are now a total of 12,715 confirmed cases and 1069 patients are currently being treated, according to South Korea's health ministry.

10:15 a.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Leading GOP senator says it would "help" if Trump wore a mask

From CNN's Rebecca Grandahl and Ali Main

Sen. Lamar Alexander at a hearing on June 23.
Sen. Lamar Alexander at a hearing on June 23. Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senior Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the committee on health, education, labor and pensions, told CNN it would "help" if President Trump wore a mask because it would eliminate political stigma around doing so.  

"If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do," the Tennessee Republican told CNN.

When asked whether the American people should look to the President for public health advice given his past remarks, including his comment about slowing down testing, the senator said the public should listen to medical experts.

"My suggestion to the President all along and for the other political leaders is let the experts do the talking about medicine. People trust them," Alexander said.