June 29 coronavirus news

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11:39 p.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Global coronavirus deaths surpass half a million

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

More than 500,000 people worldwide have died from the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

The death toll currently stands at 501,206, with the United States holding the highest death toll.

The US has witnessed 125,793 deaths from Covid-19, according to JHU, accounting for more than a quarter of the global total.

11:37 p.m. ET, June 28, 2020

Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Eliott C. McLaughlin

Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases compared to last week: Connecticut and Rhode Island.

A rise was reported in a staggering 36 states, including Florida, which some experts have cautioned could be the next epicenter for infections. Officials there and across the United States are also warning of an increase in cases among younger people.

Florida reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a single-day high since the start of the pandemic. The number rivals those of New York's peak in early April (New York's new case tally Saturday was about 6% of Florida's). On Sunday, Florida's Department of Health reported another 8,530 new cases.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state's surge in cases in the past week was the result of a "test dump," echoing an assertion from the White House that an increase in testing is resulting in the higher numbers.

The ex-head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contended the increase was actual, not an anomaly related to testing numbers, and warned more spread and deaths were in the country's future.

Read the full story:

12:04 a.m. ET, June 29, 2020

US Vice President Mike Pence encourages young Americans to get tested and people to wear masks

From CNN's Nicky Robertson and Kevin Bohn

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference alongside Gov. Greg Abbott  at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center West Campus on June 28 in Dallas, Texas.
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference alongside Gov. Greg Abbott at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center West Campus on June 28 in Dallas, Texas. Tony Gutierrez/AP

US Vice President Mike Pence has encouraged young Americans to get a coronavirus test if they have concerns.

During his briefing with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday, Pence discussed how they can “accelerate results of testing.” He said he would take the feedback to the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the administration’s private partners.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the need for increased testing. At his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally last week Trump suggested that he had asked for testing to be slowed down.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, told reporters that Texas health officials are seeing an increase in hospitalization rates among 20- to 40-year-olds, which she said indicated there is a large percentage in this age group who are positive but were asymptomatic.

Pence also encouraged Americans to wear masks, but again deferred to local ordinances for mask requirements.

“If your local officials in consultation with the state are directing you to wear a mask, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in the affected areas and where you can't maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea and it will, we know, from experience, will slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Pence said at a briefing at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas on Sunday.

Later in the briefing, Birx said, “I'm really appealing to every Texan to wear a mask.” Pence and Birx both stressed that younger Americans need to take steps to protect older Americans.

This is a moment where you really have -- we have to put our arms around and protect the most vulnerable among us and particularly seniors with underlying health conditions are precisely those for whom the worst outcomes occur,” Pence said.

Pence wore a mask earlier Sunday while visiting a church but has not always worn masks in public events.