Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, June 14-16
Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous listed in eastern time.
June 16, 10 p.m.
Nevada will have to wait longer before transitioning from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of reopening the state. “Nevadans have made enormous sacrifices to get us to where we are today,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said during a press conference on Monday. “I don't want to let that all go for naught by us having to take a giant step backwards." The state has recorded an upward trend in daily COVID-19 cases over the past three weeks, according to ABC News. As of Tuesday afternoon, Nevada had reported over 11,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in 467 deaths. "Now is not the time to abandon these protective measures. It is the time to double down on them. We can only stay open if we stay safe,” Sisolak said.
June 16, 9:14 p.m.
Two weeks after thousands protested in Philadelphia, the health department said the city hasn’t seen a spike in coronavirus cases. However, there was an increase in the number of people getting tested recently, the health department reported. "The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has not seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases due to recent protests thus far.We have, however, seen an increase in the number of people getting tested, which the Health Department encourages for everyone who may have been exposed to COVID, including at a protest, to get tested. (Health Commissioner) Dr. (Thomas) Farley reported that fewer than 6% of the tests completed recently came back as positive, which is the lowest we’ve seen,” a health department spokesperson statement said, according to CNN.
June 16, 8:08 p.m.
The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21. "I can now confirm that Canada and the United States have once again, agreed to extend by 30 days until July 21 the current measures in place along our border," Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday. Mexico also said that the country’s northern border would remain closed through the same date, AFP reported. The closures initially went into place on March 21 in the early stages of COVID-19 lockdowns across North America, and could potentially be extended longer depending on the situation across the three countries come mid-July.
June 16, 6:58 p.m.
Hilton announced the company will cut 2,100 corporate employees as they deal with “unprecedented challenges for the travel and tourism industry.” Lockdown orders have caused the hotel industry to take a massive hit during the pandemic. Only 21.6% of hotel rooms in the U.S. were occupied between March 29 and April 4, data from hospitality analytics company STR showed. However, the data also revealed occupancy levels have improved since. Even with the good news, Hilton will also extend previously announced furloughs, reduced hours and corporate pay cuts for up to an additional 90 days, according to CNN. “Never in Hilton’s 101-year history has our industry faced a global crisis that brings travel to a virtual standstill," Hilton’s President and CEO Christopher Nassetta said in a statement. Nassetta said he’s devastated that in order to protect the business “we have been forced to take actions that directly impact our team members.”
June 16, 5:46 p.m.
Will this new hat become a fashion trend in the age of social distancing? Hakan Lidbo, an artist in Sweden, created what he calls his “corona hat.” The helmet-looking headwear has sensors and will sound an alarm whenever anything, or anyone, comes within 1.5 meters (5 feet) of the person wearing it, AFP said. This will help people maintain a safe distance from each other, adhering to social distancing guidelines. Watch the corona hat in action:
June 16, 4:24 p.m.
"End of social prohibition" might not last so long in Southwest Florida if people don't embrace mask-wearing, expert says. The bar scene in St. Petersburg over the weekend was busy, to say the least. But masks were almost completely non-existent on the patrons filling those bars and restaurants, AccuWeather's Jonathan Petramala reports. The months of stay-at-home measures had come to be known as "social prohibition" by staff at Five Bucks Drinkery, but health officials warn that social prohibition might need to be put back into effect if people don't heed mask-wearing guidelines. Florida saw a sharp rise in cases over the weekend, and one expert Petramala spoke with offered a sobering prediction for what could happen by July 4 if the trend continues. Watch below.
June 16, 3:17 p.m.
Casinos in Las Vegas may soon take a step forward into the digital world to allow cashless payments, which could help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Casinos across the city have been outfitted with plexiglass shields and ample sanitizing stations in response to the pandemic, but moving away from physical money could add another level of health and safety. Currently, no state allows cashless payments in casinos, CNBC said, but that could change in the coming weeks. On June 25, Nevada gaming regulators will hold a hearing about cashless payments. “The COVID-19 pandemic made it all the more important to advance our efforts to provide customers with the payment choice they are more comfortable with and have increasingly come to expect in their daily lives,” said Bill Miller, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). Research conducted by the AGA revealed that nearly 60% of guests are less likely to use cash due to COVID-19. Transitioning to digital payments could also help to draw in more people to Las Vegas to the benefit of the city's economy.
June 16, 2:15 p.m.
As many as 30,000 NASCAR fans will gather at Bristol Motor Speedway in northeastern Tennessee to watch the all-star race in person on on July 15, which could make it the largest gathering of fans at a sporting event in the U.S. since before the pandemic. The race was originally scheduled to be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, but the location was moved due to COVID-19 restrictions in the states. “While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer,” said Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports.
By moving the event to Tennessee, more fans will be able to sit in the grandstands to watch the sport’s best drivers compete in a winner-take-all contest for $1 million. The 30,000 spectators will be able to spread out across the venue, which can hold over 150,000, meaning the track will be at less than 20% capacity, according to NBC Sports. Those that attend will need to agree to a waiver and an assumption of risk, which states that guests may be required to have a temperature check and answer a questionnaire prior to entry. However, face coverings will not be required, but are still highly encouraged. “Although preventative measures set forth by the facility are intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit,” Bristol Motor Speedway’s notice of risk and policies stated.
June 16, 1:33 p.m.
A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how COVID-19 can affect those with underlying conditions. According to the report released on Monday, patients with reported underlying conditions were six times more likely to be hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die as a result of the virus. The report illustrates the results of 1,320.488 reported cases in the U.S. from January 22 through May 30. The most common underlying conditions, as shown by the data collected, are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease. Additionally, the data showed that incidence was highest among persons aged 80 or older and lowest among children aged 9 or lower.
June 16, 12:38 p.m.
A July Fourth tradition in New York City will take place as scheduled this year, but without spectators in attendance. The annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest, which regularly features some of the top competitors eaters in the world, is still set to take place at 12 p.m. EDT on July 4, but not at its famous Coney Island location and fans won't be allowed to attend. Major League Eating announced the event will take place at a private location and COVID-19 precautions will be put in place. The event will also take time to raise money for food banks and generate awareness to highlight the ongoing needs of food banks and support they provide to those struggling, particularly during the pandemic. The hot dog eating contest annually donates 100,000 hot dogs to Food Bank for New York City. Twelve-time champion Joey Chestnut, who holds the world record downing 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, is scheduled to compete along with Miki Sudo, a six-time champion whose personal best is 41 hot dogs and buns.
June 16, 11:05 a.m.
After two straight months of sharp decline, U.S. retail sales increased by 17.7% in late May as the economy is reopening. The retail report from the Commerce Department on Tuesday came over a week after the surprising jobs report from the Labor Department, which showed that the country added 2.5 million jobs back into the economy in May. However, the retail sector has yet to recover after a major decrease in sales in the months of March and April. “The economy and retail sales have hit the bottom in May, and we have a V-shaped first stage of recovery,” Sung Won Sohn, a business economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, told Reuters. “However, it will take quite some time to get back to anywhere near the levels of retail sales and economic activity we enjoyed around the turn of the year.”
June 16, 10:41 a.m.
Scientists say they have found a new drug that can improve COVID-19 survival. A team of researchers in England has discovered new evidence that a cheap, widely available drug could potentially help thousands of people who have the illness. The steroid, called dexamethasone, reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospital patients, according to the researchers. These results were announced on Tuesday and the study will be published soon, according to The Associated Press. In the study, the researchers randomly assigned 2,104 patients to receive the drug and compared their results to the results of 4,321 patients who did not receive the drug. What they found was that, after 28 days, it had reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines. “This is an extremely welcome result,” Peter Horby, a study leader from the University of Oxford, said in a statement. “The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.” Although it’s worth noting that the drug only helps those who are suffering from severe symptoms, it can still help save thousands of lives, as it can prevent one death in every eight patients who are connected to breathing machines.
June 16, 10:11 a.m.
Amazon, which has faced severe scrutiny for warehouse working conditions amid the pandemic, introduced its latest innovative product known as "Distance Assistant" on Monday. The product will help associates working in the company's fleet of warehouses maintain a proper social distance. The tech giant said in a blog post that its team of engineers has found a way to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to camera footage installed around buildings to track problematic high traffic areas. The result is a type of augmented reality that creates "a magic-mirror-like tool that helps associates see their physical distancing from others." "Working backwards from a concept of immediate visual feedback, and inspired by existing examples like radar speed check signs, our 'Distance Assistant' provides employees with live feedback on social distancing via a 50-inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device," Amazon said.
Amazon explained further: "As people walk past the camera, a monitor displays live video with visual overlays to show if associates are within 6 feet of one another. Individuals remaining 6 feet apart are highlighted with green circles, while those who are closer together are highlighted with red circles. The on-screen indicators are designed to remind and encourage associates to maintain appropriate distance from others." Amazon said it has already installed several distance assistants at a handful of its buildings. Watch a video below that shows the distance assistant in action.
June 16, 9:41 a.m.
U.S. airline passengers could have their flying privileges revoked if they refuse to wear face masks. The country’s top three airlines, American, United and Delta, are among the airlines who have updated their policies due to the pandemic, Reuters reported. American Airlines said its updated policy will go into effect on Tuesday, while United's will start on Thursday. Although the consequences of not wearing a mask will be determined by each specific airline, the biggest consequence includes being put on the airline’s no-fly list. According to United, those who don’t comply with the policy will be placed on an internal travel restriction list that would prevent them from flying on the airline “for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.”
June 16, 9:08 a.m.
Officials in China are ramping up lockdown restrictions again following a spike in coronavirus cases. Authorities in Beijing have launched what's being described as a "wartime" response to the rise in cases and are banning high-risk people from leaving the capital city while also limiting public transport,Reuters reported. In Shanghai, city officials demanded travelers from Beijing be quarantined for two weeks. Reuters said 22 neighborhoods in Beijing are considered "medium-risk areas." The current outbreak in Beijing has grown to 106 cases and is being linked to a wholesale food market in southwestern Beijing.
Residents line up to get tested at a coronavirus testing center set up outside a sports facility in Beijing, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. China reported several dozen more coronavirus infections Tuesday as it increased testing and lockdown measures in parts of the capital to control what appeared to be its largest outbreak in more than two months. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
June 16, 8 a.m.
🚨 Global cases of COVID-19 topped 8 million on Monday. With 2020 nearly halfway done, the global pandemic that has turned the world on its head this year shows no signs of stopping. Fears of spikes that could trigger the much discussed second wave of the virus are underway around the world including in Beijing, where authorities had to recently shut down another wet market and institute another lockdown. Officials say a wet market in Wuhan, China, could be the source for the original outbreak back in late 2019. In the U.S., Arizona, Texas and Florida are reporting their highest case numbers yet, The New York Times reported.
The United States remains the clear leader for total cases with over 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Brazil, which is about to enter its winter season, has more than 867,000 while Russia is third with around 536,000. Over 433,000 deaths worldwide have been attributed to the contagion, but nearly 4 million people have recovered from the disease.
June 16, 7:54 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 8,056,492
Total deaths: 437,412
Total recoveries: 3,889,788
June 15, 10:08 p.m.
Mattress sales are springing back up. After the COVID-19 pandemic affected industries across the world, a mattress company in Indiana is back to business due to the reopening of the state, Reuters reported. Holder Mattress Co. sales were up 30% last month in comparison to a year ago. While the company is still abiding by new rules, such as restrictions on delivery and appointment only visits to their shops, Lauren Taylor, president and granddaughter of the company’s founder, guessed that there is a “pent-up demand” for mattresses and bedding that is bringing in new sales. “Or people are looking at spending money at home, since they can’t spend it on things like vacations,” she said.
June 15, 9:16 p.m.
New infections trigger Chile to extend the country's state of catastrophe by 90 days. The state of catastrophe has been in place since mid-March, and will likely continue until September. The pace of new COVID-19 infections increased sharply in May and June, averaging more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks. The rise in infections has filled critical care wards and prompted authorities to declare a full lockdown in the capital Santiago, according to Reuters. The state of catastrophe gives the government extraordinary powers to restrict freedom of movement and assure food supply and basic services. In Santiago, quarantine measures have been enforced by soldiers in the city, Reuters reports. Chile has recorded almost 180,000 infections and more than 3,300 people have died, John Hopkins University data shows.
June 15, 8:34 p.m.
Next year’s Oscars postponed due to the pandemic. The coronavirus crisis is beginning to have a ripple effect into 2021 as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the 93rd Academy Awards celebration is being postponed by nearly two months. The event, originally scheduled to take place on Feb, 28, 2021, will now be held on April 25. This is not the first time the awards ceremony has been postponed, though such a move is highly unusual -- and the show has never been delayed by more than a week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscars celebration and show was delayed most recently in 1981 following an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Prior to that, the Academy postponed the 1968 edition of the awards banquet in the wake of the Martin Luther King’s assassination. And the Oscars were postponed in 1938 due to flooding in the Los Angeles area.
June 15, 7:21 p.m.
Significant restrictions are being lifted in France, French President Emmanuel Macron announced. People will be able to visit family members in retirement homes, restaurants and cafes are reopening and travel to other European countries will be allowed. Almost 30,000 people have died of coronavirus in France, however the number of new cases has slowed markedly in recent days. Croatia, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland are fully reopening borders with European countries on Monday, according to BBC News. Travelers from the United Kingdom will be able to visit those countries without quarantine or restrictions upon arrival, but quarantine is mandatory upon arrival to the United Kingdom.
June 15, 6:28 p.m.
For travelers planning to stay in a hotel this summer -- many changes to the experience can be expected. A survey of 1,000 Americans in May found that 31% plan on staying in a hotel this summer for a vacation. If they do, however, they will be missing out on keys parts of the experience, according to The Los Angeles Times. On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed COVID-19 guidelines to allow hotels to reopen, but the reopening came with very stringent guidelines. According to guidelines set by the state, guest room service, laundry and dry-cleaning and amenity services should be done through contactless delivery. Additionally, high-traffic doors should either be propped open, automatic or opened by an employee, swimming pools should be limited in capacity and restaurants should be contactless pickup and delivery only. “Now, more than ever, travelers need to believe in the places where they stay,” Scott McCoy, Marriott’s vice president of market operations and guest experience in the Americas, said.
June 15, 5:19 p.m.
The FDA rescinded emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. The FDA reportedly made the decision because the drug carries too many risks without a clear benefit. The authorization was issued in March and was given to patients who were hospitalized and in clinical trials, according to NBC News. The drug is traditionally used to treat malaria and autoimmune conditions. "In light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects, the known and potential benefits" do not outweigh the risks, the FDA said.
June 15, 4:32 p.m.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is set to announce this week that both the men's and women's U.S. Open tournaments will take place as scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, The New York Times reported. The only difference will be that spectators won't be in attendance at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in Flushing, New York. The Times reports that even if the tournament does take place, it could have a smaller field, as athletes decide whether or not they want to compete. Some international players are reportedly not keen on the USTA's centralized plan. The plan will reportedly make all competitors stay at the same hotel outside of Manhattan and players will need to be tested regularly. The number of support staff players can bring with them to the tournament is also expected to be reduced. Simona Halep, the world's second-ranked female player who is from Romania, is one who expressed concerns, according to The Times. “Not only because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic,” Halep said. “But also because of the risk of travel, potential quarantine and then the changes around the tournament,” she said.
June 15, 3:24 p.m.
With demand building for President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump's first rally since the pandemic forced nationwide lockdowns, the president's campaign manager said supporters will receive temperature checks, masks and hand sanitizer before entering the venue. “Masks will be optional but each attendee will receive one,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNBC in an email. In addition, organizers are taking steps to account for the mid-June heat by having bottled water for all attendees, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted. Parscale also said on Twitter that there have been over 1 million ticket requests for the rally, scheduled to take place at Tulsa's BOK Center. “The campaign takes the health and safety of rally-goers seriously and is taking precautions to make the rally safe,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Erin Perrine said in a statement. A registration form for the rally states, “By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”
June 15, 2:38 p.m.
The American Red Cross has announced that all blood, platelet and plasma donations will now be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. In doing so, it will provide donors the ability to know if they have been exposed to the coronavirus. The testing will show if the donor's immune system contains antibodies to the coronavirus even if the donor hasn't developed symptoms yet. The antibody testing results will be available seven to 10 days after donating blood. The Red Cross says that there is still an urgent need for blood donations amid hospitals resuming surgeries and other blood-related treatments. Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
June 15, 2:07 p.m.
COVID-19 case counts have been spiking in India, and the country has now begun to ramp up testing to combat further spread of the virus. While the nation is up to 150,000 testing samples a day in contrast to 1,000 a day when the pandemic began, India still holds one of the lowest per-capita testing rates in the world. In the country's capital, New Delhi, where cases are rampant, 18,000 tests are expected to take place each day, beginning June 18. In Delhi, cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all spiked, leaving officials to set up temporary hospitals in hotels, stadiums, wedding halls and railway carriages. "If infections continue to rise, these places will be as overwhelmed as New York," a physician told the BBC. As if the outbreak isn't enough to deal with, the weather has been a little hotter than usual -- and will continue to be. In New Delhi, temperatures are forecast to reach higher than the historical average throughout the week. On Thursday, the temperature will reach as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures soaring even higher than that.
June 15, 1:43 p.m.
Several players on the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have tested positive for COVID-19, including Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys' star running back. It is unclear how many players from each team have tested positive, but NFL reporter Ian Rapoport confirmed that Elliott is one of the players and that he is “feeling good.” The NFL is still in its offseason, but players are not allowed into team facilities due to restrictions across the league in response to the pandemic to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.
June 15, 12:58 p.m.
UV light theater company conducts performances in front of buildings to entertain locals in Uruguay. Residents in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, are able to see these performances from their windows amid bans on public gatherings that are still in effect due to the spread of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, the Romanelli black theater company had performed in more 15 countries around the world. "I have never seen anything like this and I am grateful to the people working for the FUCVAM organization and all those who have been able to bring this to our cooperative," spectator Niba Soba said in an interview by AFP news agency. In the video below, check out what their performances look like.
June 15, 12:21 p.m.
Coronavirus crisis could go on "for years" and 60% to 70% of Americans could become infected, one of the nation's top epidemiologists says. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, addressed the recent spikes in coronavirus cases and said SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not going to rest until it infects about 60-70% of the U.S. population. "When I say rest, I mean slow down," Osterholm told host Chris Wallace. So far about 5% of the country has been infected, he said. Last week, Osterholm said, "This is going to be a rough couple of years" for the U.S.
Osterholm said there are 22 states where cases are increasing, eight where the cases are level and 21 where the numbers are declining. He said the biggest thing researchers are examining now is what the reopening of states has done as well as how the recent protests following the death of George Floyd may have contributed to a rise in cases. "We're not sure what's happening," Osterhold said. "We just have to be humble and say we're in an unsure moment right now what's happening in this country." Watch a portion of the interview below.
June 15, 11:50 a.m.
The accuracy of coronavirus tests used in the U.S. is still in question. Months after the start of the pandemic in the country, scientists are still unsure of the accuracy of these tests and say it’s time to do studies to find out. The tests, which were created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on a small number of lab studies, have yet to be tested for accuracy by doctors. This issue recently sparked controversy, as it was reported that faulty tests have led thousands of Americans to believe that they are virus-free, when they are not. “In the beginning, the FDA was under a lot of pressure to get these tests to the marketplace,” said Dr. Steven Woloshin of Dartmouth College, who wrote about the inaccuracy of the tests in the New England Journal of Medicine last week. “But now that there are plenty of tests out there, it’s time to raise the bar.” The Associated Press reported that the FDA has addressed this issue by asking multiple test makers to do follow-up accuracy studies on their tests.
June 15, 11:32 a.m.
Since the cruise industry shut down over three months ago amid the pandemic, more than 40,000 workers remain stuck on stationary ships, and many are not getting paid, according to the Miami Herald. The newspaper reported that many countries in the Caribbean are struggling with how to repatriate cruise workers. Cruises are responsible for about half of the cases in Trinidad and Tobago, and the island nations of Jamaica, Dominica, and several others have reported positive cases from repatriated workers, the Herald said. The U.S. currently has a ban on cruise ships that lasts until July 24. However, some employees have managed to return to land recently. The Herald reported that about 3,000 Carnival Cruise Line workers recently were allowed to debark in Croatia, where they caught flights to return to their various homes in Europe.
June 15, 11:12 a.m.
Seniors at a New Hampshire High School took the air to embark on a unique graduation ceremony. On Saturday, June 13, seniors at Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire, rode chairlifts up to the top of nearby Cranmore Mountain Resort, where they could receive diplomas and say goodbye to classmates and faculty members one last time. The students donned traditional caps and gowns along with face masks while posing for pictures atop the mountain. It was a nice day for the ceremony with temperatures in the upper 60s, a bit cool for this time of year in North Conway. Watch a video of the ceremony below and find out why one student says she feels "fortunate."
June 15, 10:43 a.m.
A second wave of COVID-19 has started in the U.S., according to William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. With several states across the country experiencing spikes in cases, Schaffner says that people need to remain careful, even if restrictions have been lifted in most states. According to Schaffner, the government need to promote the use of masks and enforce social distancing in order to flatten the curve. “We’re opening up across the country, but many, many people are not social distancing, many are not wearing their masks,” Schaffner told CNBC. Although he believes a second lockdown of the country is “off the table” due to the economic impact of the first one, he says that people need to be conscious that the virus is still spreading. “Many people are simply not being careful, they’re being carefree,” he said. “That, of course, will lead to more spread of the Covid virus.”
June 15, 10:24 a.m.
A Thai grandma is an “unsung hero” for her community. 77-year-old Surin Makradee, who has been working with Village Health Volunteers for 38 years, has recently been praised for her effort in helping her town during the pandemic. Makradee rides her motorcycle every day as she visits dozens of homes to do temperature checks.“This is a volunteer job that I’m proud of even though I’m not earning any money,” she told Reuters. “I’m blessed that people are admiring my work.” Watch a video embedded in the tweet below that shows Surin in action.
June 15, 10:01 a.m.
Some 74.3% of U.S. respondents in a survey conducted by the CDC in early May said that they would not feel safe if restrictions were lifted nationwide. The survey reflects the results of 4,042 adults in New York City and Los Angeles and its goal was to learn about “Public Attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs related to COVID-19, Stay-at-Home Orders, Nonessential Business Closures, and Public Health Guidance.” The survey was taken more than a month ago, but the results were released late last week as states across the country have eased some stay-at-home orders and many places are experiencing a rise in cases. The CDC also cautioned that the federal government may put strict mitigation measures back into effect if cases go up "dramatically," CNBC reported. According to the results, 88% of the respondents agreed that people should always keep at least 6-feet apart and 80% supported stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures.
June 15, 9:28 a.m.
An apartment block in Rome has been placed under lockdown, creating fear for a second wave of the coronavirus in Italy. The apartment block, located on Piazza Pecile in the Garbatella district of Rome, has reported more than 17 new cases of the virus. Infected residents were moved to a nearby hospital where they will receive medical attention, while those who are not infected were moved to a hotel and placed under quarantine. On Saturday, the country reported 78 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 34,345, according to Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center.
June 15, 8:30 a.m.
Alabama added 1,000-plus cases in a day for the first time during the pandemic, AL.com reported. On Sunday, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) listed 25,235 cases in the state, an increase of 1,014 since Saturday, AL.com said. Alabama is one of several states, along with Texas, Arizona and Florida that are seeing a rise in new cases over the past several weeks.
As cases mount, the ADPH cautioned the public that the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus COVID-19 remains. “COVID-19 spreads quickly, and your actions affect others. More than ever since the pandemic began, we need people to social distance, wear face coverings in public, and practice good respiratory hygiene,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a statement on Friday, June 12.
June 15, 6:55 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Confirmed cases: 7,930,989
Confirmed fatalities: 433,783
Confirmed recoveries: 3,789,462
June 14, 6:45 p.m.
Researchers in Florida believe a mutated version of COVID-19 could be much more contagious than the original virus. One researcher not involved with the study believes the mutation could change the course of the pandemic and may even be responsible for the large number of infections in Latin America and the U.S., CNN reported. "Viruses with this mutation were much more infectious than those without the mutation in the cell culture system we used," Hyeryun Choe, a Scripps Research virologist who helped lead the study, said.
The World Health Organization said the mutations they have seen so far with the virus will not impact the effectiveness of vaccines in development. They also said they have not seen any mutations yet that would cause the virus to be more infectious. According to researchers on the study, the mutation changes the outside structure of the virus to enter human cells easier.
June 14, 5:10 p.m.
Parts of New York could see their relaxed COVID-19 guidelines reversed after an influx of violations have been reported, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. During a news conference, Cuomo said there have been 25,000 reports of establishments violating the guidelines statewide, with Manhattan and the Hamptons being the biggest offenders, New York Daily News reported. “I am warning today in a nice way: consequences of your actions,” he said. Cuomo reminded business owners that their liquor licenses could be revoked for violating the rules. "I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus,” he said.
June 14, 3:50 p.m.
As sporting events across the world find new ways to return to the fields, players are being put at new risk for catching COVID-19. In order to return to voluntary workouts, Ohio State University football players are now required to sign a waiver acknowledging the heightened risk of contracting the virus. The waiver also asks the players “pledge to take responsibility for [their] own health and help stop the spread of the COVID-19.” If the student athletes do not abide by the pledge, they could risk losing their ability to participate in athletic activities and using team facilities. Ohio State is not the only school to require some form of acknowledgement from student athletes regarding the risks of training, according to USA Today. Indiana released a COVID-19 participant expectations and commitment pledge for their football players as well.
June 14, 1:58 p.m.
New York City has installed 4,500 air conditioning units for low-income seniors who are at a higher risk for heat exposure this summer. The Get Cool NYC program will be a huge relief for those who are staying inside for social distancing, especially for those most at risk of COVID-19 complications. The City has reached out to over 180,000 low-income seniors, of which over 25,000 have requested air conditioning units. The New York State Public Service Commission has also approved the City’s request to provide financial assistance with their summer utility bills. The $70 million in aid will give much needed relief for approximately 440,000 families in New York City, which will provide up to $140 from June to October, according to a New York City press release. “Extreme heat is potentially deadly and with COVID-19 keeping more New Yorkers indoors, the risks only increase,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. “The City’s efforts to keep New Yorkers cool are potentially life-saving. We can also look out for each other by checking in on friends, family members and neighbors who are sick, elderly, or disabled and may need assistance in a heat emergency.”
June 14, 12:30 p.m.
More and more states across the U.S. are reporting record high hospitalizations and new cases of COVID-19. On Saturday, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina all reported a record high number of new cases for the third day in a row. Oklahoma also reported record high new cases for the second day in a row, and Alaska reported a record high number of cases for the first time in two weeks. On Saturday, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Utah all saw a record high number of new hospitalizations due to the virus. According to Reuters, many health officials believe the high numbers could be related to recent Memorial Day gatherings.
A man wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as he walks alone on the beach Sunday, May 31, 2020, at Satellite Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
June 14, 10:48 a.m.
Key sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 are seeing improvement as the U.S. reopens. Certain industries are showing signs of recovery as consumers start to eat out more at restaurants, buy more homes and travel more. Compared to last year, home purchases are up, reservations are increasing at restaurants and hotel occupancy rates are on the rise, according to CNBC. Even the air travel industry has seen some slight growth in passengers, indicating that the worst might be over for the U.S. economy.
June 14, 9:09 a.m.
From California to North Carolina, some health officials have not been up to the job during the biggest health crisis in a century as the pressure and scrutiny rise. A review by KHN and The Associated Press found at least 27 state and local health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 13 states. Many have left their jobs due to a mix of backlash and stressful working conditions while dealing with chronic staffing and funding shortages. Ohio’s state health director resigned on Thursday after armed protesters came to her house. The health officer for Orange County, California, quit Monday after weeks of criticism and personal threats from residents and other public officials over an order requiring face coverings in public.
June 14, 7:42 a.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced people's routines all across the country to change this spring and that appears to have proven beneficial in preventing a different type of tragedy. Two children have died in hot cars so far this year across the U.S. well below the normal average for this time of year of nine. By the end of May 2019, there had already been 10 tragic instances of children perishing in hot cars. But although this low number of deaths is a silver lining of the health crisis, child safety advocates say the danger still exists, even if people aren't heading out on the road as much.
“We absolutely believe that COVID has had a major impact on the lower number of hot car deaths this year. Our big concern is that as families begin to go back to work, that the changes in routine could pose an increased risk for hot car deaths,” Amber Rollins, the director of KidsandCars.org, told AccuWeather. “Additionally, with children being home more often, we are concerned that there could be an increased risk for children becoming trapped inside hot cars and other home accidental injuries.”
Reporting by Lauren Fox, John Murphy, Brian Lada, Mark Puleo, Maria Antonieta Valery Gil, Kevin Byrne, Chaffin Mitchell, Adriana Navarro, John Roach, Dexter Henry, Bill Wadell, Jonathan Petramala, and Monica Danielle
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