TSA says it is opening more screening lanes at airports to help travelers with social distancing
From CNN's Pete Muntean
In a briefing with reporters today, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency is taking a number of steps to protect travelers and employees and maintain social distancing, including opening more screening lanes at airports.
He said the agency is opening the lanes to limit exposure, with the hope of keeping wait times to nine minutes or less.
TSA is also asking passengers to self-scan their boarding pass on new machines it is using at some locations.
Officers now use face shields when they are doing passenger pat-downs, Pekoske said. He also said they are cleaning bins more often and changing gloves more often.
“We will continue to evaluate more safety measures,” Pekoske said.
11:18 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
New York reports 13 new deaths from Covid-19
From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph
There were 13 coronavirus-related deaths across New York State Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted today.
About 1% — 524 of 52,025 — individuals who tested for coronavirus Monday tested positive, he posted, adding that there were 891 coronavirus-related hospitalizations across the state.
Read his tweet:
11:17 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
FDA authorizes company to conduct emergency coronavirus antibody tests
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization to the company Beckman Coulter for its Covid-19 antibody test.
Beckman Coulter announced the authorization on Monday and noted that it has already shipped tests to more than 400 hospitals, clinics and diagnostics labs in the United States, as well as begun distributing the test globally. The company claims it is able to deliver more than 30 million tests a month.
"At a time when significant confusion was created by the initial influx of poor-quality antibody tests, our team worked meticulously to develop a highly sensitive and specific assay," Julie Sawyer Montgomery, president of Beckman Coulter, said in the company's announcement.
"With 100% Positive Percent Agreement and 99.6% Negative Percent Agreement, our test significantly reduces the risk for false positives, delivering the results that health care providers and their patients can trust," Sawyer Montgomery said. "A lot has been written about accuracy issues with the initially launched antibody tests, but a test at this level offers positive predictive values greater than 90% even in very low prevalence communities. And, in areas hardest hit by the virus, the positive predictive values of our assay are greater than 98%."
Some context: As of Monday, the FDA has authorized 24 antibody tests for emergency use in the United States, according to the agency. The tests are an important public health tool to determine who has had Covid-19 in the past. They look for antibodies that are evidence of an immune response to coronavirus infection.
11:16 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
GOP senator doubles down on suggestion Trump "occasionally" wear a mask
From CNN's Alison Main
Before making his opening statement in Tuesday's hearing on the US response to the coronavirus pandemic, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander reiterated his support for wearing masks and his view that President Trump should wear one to eliminate the political stigma around doing so.
Alexander lamented the politicization of face coverings, saying the growing divide is why he has suggested that the President "occasionally wear a mask, even though in most cases it's not necessary for him to do so."
"The President has plenty of admirers. They would follow his lead. He would help end this political debate," the Tennessee Republican told his committee and witnesses, adding that the "stakes are too high" for the divide to continue.
More on this: On Sunday, Alexander told CNN's Manu Raju on "Inside Politics" that he thinks it would "help" if President Trump wore a mask.
As he made these remarks, Alexander told the committee that he was not wearing a mask because he was at least six feet apart from others in the room, as is permitted in the Office of Attending Physician's guidance.
11:11 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
Americans will not be allowed to travel to the EU as countries open borders
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz
The European Union published its list of countries to start lifting travel restrictions. The US is not on that list.
“Council agrees to start lifting travel restrictions for residents of some third countries," a readout says.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out, starting tomorrow, member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
China is also on the list, but subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
According to the readout, regarding the epidemiological situation, the countries on the list should meet the following criteria:
Number of new Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on June 15)
Stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
The countries' overall response to Covid-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
The European Union said this list of countries allowed to enter the EU should be reviewed every two weeks and may be updated.
11:03 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
Stocks dip as reopening setbacks weigh on the market
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks opened lower on Tuesday, taking back some of the prior session’s big gains.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite had their best day in nearly two weeks Monday, while the Dow recorded its best session since June 5.
Ecuador announces more Covid-19 measures in Quito as country's cases pass 55,000
From CNN's Claudia Rebaza
Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced additional controls for the country’s capital Quito due to the coronavirus pandemic, while he again implored the populaiton to follow the government’s health safety guidance, social distancing and hygiene rules.
In a speech via social media on Monday evening, Moreno announced more controls will be established across four areas in Quito: the capital’s historical centre, Panecillo, Chilibulo, and La Ecuatoriana neighborhoods, in order to reduce the movement of people.
The president also announced stronger controls on informal street vendors in the city, as well as improving the capacity of the health services.
Moreno told Ecuadoreans that after more than 3 months of fighting the pandemic, no measure is enough if each citizen does not take individual responsibility in fighting the pandemic.
The president also said that during the first 15 days of June, a total of 1,200 social parties were stopped by the National Police, while 106,000 citizens were fined for breaching curfew.
Moreno implored Ecuador’s citizens to keep wearing face masks, keep social distance and wash their hands at all times. “We can’t assign a policeman for each citizen”, he said.
“Even if you have experienced symptoms, mild symptoms, and you feel better in a few weeks, you can still spread the virus to your parents, your grandparents” the President added.
On Monday, Ecuador’s Health Ministry reported a total of 55,255 Covid-19 cases, while the death toll stands at 4,429.
9:52 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
There "won’t be social distancing" at Mount Rushmore July 4th event attended by Trump, governor says
From CNN's Betsy Klein
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said there "won’t be social distancing" and masks will be optional at this weekend's Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Trump said he'll attend.
In an interview with Fox News, Noem said those who are concerned about the event — which is actually taking place on July 3 — should stay home.
"We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we'll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one," she said.
However, she added:
"But we won’t be social distancing. We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country and to talk about our history and what it brought us today with an opportunity to raise our kids in the greatest country in the world.”
What we know about the event: According to Recreation.gov, there was an online lottery for tickets, and the park will be closed to general visitation during the event, opening to ticketed guests at 3:00 p.m. local time.
There may be health screening for ticketed guests in one area, but the website warns: “This event will be attended by thousands. Participants will be in close contact for an extended amount of time, please plan accordingly.”
CNN put in requests with the park, the National Park Service, and the Governor’s office for details on how many tickets have been distributed and what, if any, measures will be taken to enforce social distancing or the wearing of face coverings.
A recording on the park’s main telephone line Monday said, “There are no social distancing requirements in place at this time.”
9:44 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
Major League Baseball is coming back — but spitting will be banned
From CNN's David Close
As Major League Baseball gets ready to restart its season next month, the league is encouraging players to not socialize or come within six feet of each other during upcoming games. The league is banning spitting of any kind with chewing gum permitted as an alternative.
On Monday, MLB revealed a sampling of the unique on-field rules and procedures teams will adhere to starting this week. Players and staff are required to report to their teams this Wednesday.
MLB said all personnel will be required to complete Covid-19 screening and testing before entering club facilities. Clubs can begin full workouts starting Friday with Opening Day games on either July 23 or 24.
The league has told all 30 clubs that they must submit coronavirus health and safety action plans for league approval. Clubs are also being told that they need to physically expand dugout and bullpen spaces at their respective ballparks.
As for players socializing, the league said this:
“Players on opposite teams should not socialize, fraternize, or come within six feet of each other before the game, during warm-ups, in between innings, or after the game.”
New non-traditional rules will be in place when the season starts including the addition of a designated hitter in the National League and placing a runner on second base at the start of each teams’ extra-inning frame.