Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, June 17-18
Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous listed in eastern time.
June 18, 10 p.m.
Fauci says football season will be nearly impossible this year -- "unless players are essentially in a bubble." As different sports begin to find ways to start their seasons, one sport might be sidelined this year. “Unless players are essentially in a bubble -- insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day - it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year,” Fauci said.
FILE - In this April 6, 2020, file photo, an empty MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. , is viewed. Timing favored the NFL over other major pro sports leagues in trying to figure out how to keep the coronavirus pandemic from wrecking the 2020 season.\AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)
However, the NFL has stood by its plan to start the season on Sept. 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled host the Houston Texans, according to ESPN. “Make no mistakes, this is no easy task,” NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said in response to Fauci’s comments in a statement. We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the pubic health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees. We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed.” The NCAA Division I Council approved of a six-week practice plan for football that will kick off in July ahead of a possible 20020 season. In May, ESPN reported Fauci had said football is the “perfect setup” to spread the coronavirus, bringing up the close contact the players engage in on every play. Watch a CNN clip on Fauci's remarks below.
June 18, 9 p.m.
Coronavirus cases in Mexico are continuing to increase. On Wednesday, the health department reported 4,930 new confirmed cases, the second highest daily increase yet, according to The Associated Press. Additionally, 770 new deaths have also been reported. Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said the growing numbers represent a “progressive tendency of prolonging the epidemic ... longer than originally predicted.” López-Gatell originally believed cases would peak in May, but figures now show a peak in June.
June 18, 7:45 p.m.
States, counties and towns across the U.S. have started shifting toward reopening their economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As life begins to return to normal, how safe is it to stay in a hotel? According to The Associated Press, the safety of a hotel varies by each establishment, and patrons should call ahead of booking to ask about the hotel's response to the virus. Many hotels have response plans posted to their websites, as well. Dr. Albert Ko at the Yale School of Public Health said to stay safe in a hotel, it is a good idea to continue following social distancing guidelines, dine outside when possible and avoid crowding into elevators. The CDC also recommends skipping out on elevators entirely, using stairs when possible and avoiding common areas.
June 18, 6:15 p.m.
Rene Abelardo has been using his skills as a special effects makeup artist to create a unique way to combat the spread of COVID-19 -- monster masks. The first mask he made was to kill time, according to ABC News, however when a photo his daughter posted went viral he realized the interest people had in getting one of their own. Abelardo, who was out of work due to the pandemic and financially struggling, now has hundreds of orders and is even bringing in friends to help make them as well.
June 18, 4:55 p.m.
Texas students will return to class in person this fall.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told lawmakers in a conference call on Thursday his decision, according to The Texas Tribune. "I will tell you that my goal is to see students back in classrooms in seats interacting personally with teachers as well as other students,"Abbott said on Monday. "This is a very important environmental setting for both the students, for the teachers and for the parents.” As schools return to business as usual, students will not be required to wear masks or be tested for COVID-19. More information on the transition back to in-person schooling will be announced next Tuesday. "It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall. But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses," Mike Morath, Texas education commissioner, said.
June 18, 3:53 p.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday he’s considering imposing a quarantine on travelers arriving to New York from states with spikes in coronavirus cases, such as Florida. Cuomo said health experts had advised him on the decision, and that it is “a real concern.” When New York had been a hotspot for the virus back in March, both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had issued executive orders that travelers from the New York trip-state area needed to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days after arriving. Now, the roles could be reversed.
“If you went to Florida, you had to quarantine for two weeks because they were afraid that New Yorkers were bringing the virus to their state. Fast forward a 100 days, now we’re afraid they’re bringing the virus to our state,” Cuomo said. Florida reported a three-day moving average of 2,384 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, which is an all-time high, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state has reported a spike in confirmed cases since June 8.
June 18, 2:51 p.m.
A significant outbreak broke out at a slaughterhouse in Germany with over 730 people testing positive at the Toennies Group meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck. Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said the conditions were untenable and backed an official investigation into the outbreak. The German government pledged to crack down on using subcontractors that hire migrant workers to work in cramped places after an earlier coronavirus cluster at abattoirs, according to the AP. Andre Vielstaedte, a spokesman for the company, said the cause of the outbreak could be due to the conditions of the workplace which had a humid atmosphere where aerosols are formed causing easy virus spread. Outbreaks have affected other meatpacking plants around the world, including an outbreak in the United States where at least 44 slaughterhouse workers have died and 3,000 have tested positive.
June 18, 1:56 p.m.
Casinos in Detroit won't open again until at least July, and when they do it will only be at 15% capacity. The three casinos in Detroit employ thousands of people and provide hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Michigan, but the casinos have been shut down since March 16. The Michigan Gaming Control Board recently released new guidelines telling casinos how to operate once they get the OK to reopen, according to CBS News. Currently, the requirement to open will involve temperature checks at the door, requiring everyone to wear masks, a ban on smoking, and limiting capacity to 15%. A spokesperson for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said casinos will return during Phase 5 of reopening and that the rest of Michigan will likely enter Phase 5 before July Fourth.
June 18, 1:12 p.m.
Paris, known as the world’s biking capital, has seen an increase in the number of cyclists. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, thousands of Parisians opt for bikes instead of public transport, as it's a safer option. Since France began to lift its lockdown restrictions on May 11, the number of cyclists has increased by 28%, according to the national bicycle group Vélo et Territoire. Additionally, sporting chain Intersport reported daily sales of 4,000 bikes per day, and the online repair service network Cyclofix said that its sales have increased more than 10-fold since lockdown measures were lifted. “Demand has completely shot through the roof,” Stein Van Oosteren, spokesman for a bicycle association in the Paris area, told France 24. “Shock events have always paved the way for the ‘bicyclization’ of many countries – in Denmark for example, it was the economic crisis in the 1980s that made bigger infrastructure projects too expensive, and in the Netherlands, it was the oil crisis of the 1970s. And today, the coronavirus is having the exact same effect.”
June 18, 12:19 p.m.
As phase 2 of reopening approaches in New York, people in New York City are left with uncertainty. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to start phase 2 on June 22, but Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reply left everyone in confusion. “We’ll see,” de Blasio said. However, Cuomo said that NYC should also be included in this phase, despite de Blasio’s hesitance. “We don’t change the rules for New York City,” Cuomo said, according to CBS New York. “The metrics we use in New York City are the same metrics we’ve used in every region across the state.” De Blasio fears that introducing phase 2 too quickly could set the city’s progress back. “We are watching to see how these things are affecting the reality,” de Blasio said, in reference to the weeks crowded protests. “We still need a few more days to confirm that we’re ready for phase 2.” This phase would allow for the reopening of outdoor dining, playgrounds, hair salons and in-person retail. New York City residents and restaurant owners are not happy with the mayor’s lack of clarity. “It is incumbent upon the mayor to inform us,” said Emile Akleh, the owner of Sido restaurant in Columbus Avenue.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK-MAY 21, 2020- New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, New York First Lady Chirlane McCray hold press conference after donating blood at the New York Blood Center with New York Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO of New York Blood Center (NYBC) in attendance requesting New Yorkers to donate blood. Photo Credit: Mpi43/MediaPunch /IPX
June 18, 11:36 a.m.
Hong Kong Disneyland reopened on Thursday, becoming the second Disney park to reopen, after Shanghai Disneyland. Thousands of people visited the park on June 18, after nearly five months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Signs across the park reminded people to maintain social distancing guidelines as they queued for rides and the use of masks was also mandatory, AFP said. With summer approaching in Hong Kong, the weather played a big role in the success of the reopening. On Thursday, temperatures reached a high of 91 F and an AccuWeather RealFeel of 103 F.
June 18, 11:11 a.m.
MLB players and owners inch toward deal to start 2020 season. The saga surrounding whether Major League Baseball will be played this year took yet another turn late Wednesday after league commissioner Rob Manfred and players’ union chief Tony Clark sat down for a face-to-face meeting in Arizona and came away with a framework for how a 2020 season would look, The Associated Press reported. According to the report, Manfred issued a brief statement on the proposed deal, saying, “We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement,” and added, “I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.” Here are a few highlights of the potential deal, according to the AP:
• Each team would play a 60-game season over a 10-week period beginning approximately July 20
• All games likely would be played in empty stadiums
• Postseason would include 16 teams, up from the usual 10 teams
• Playoff structure would result in 14 more post-season games than usual
June 18, 10:07 a.m.
Another 1,508,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The data released from the week ending June 13 suggests that people are still suffering the financial consequences of the pandemic. States that saw the biggest decrease in unemployment include Florida and Oklahoma, which were down 25,863 and 20,788 claims from the previous week, respectively. Texas, however, had an increase in unemployment, as it was up by 4,219 claims.
June 18, 9:33 a.m.
Got any loose change? The United States federal government is reportedly facing a shortage of coins. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday that "the flow of coins through the economy has kind of stopped," due to the partial closure of the economy, Reuters reported. The U.S. Mint slowed production of new coins during the pandemic in order to ensure the safety of employees. “We are working with the Mint and the Reserve Banks and as the economy reopens we are seeing coins beginning to move around again,” Powell said, according to Reuters.
June 18, 8:47 a.m.
President of Honduras hospitalized with COVID-19. Juan Orlando Hernández was checked into a hospital Wednesday, less than a day after announcing that he’d tested positive for the new coronavirus. Reuters reported that Hernández was admitted after he developed a case of pneumonia, a common complication associated with COVID-19, and is being treated for both ailments. A spokesperson for the president said X-rays of Hernández’s lungs revealed problems, but said, “His general health status is good.” Honduran first lady Ana Garcia also tested positive for the illness, but has yet to show any symptoms, the spokesperson said, according to Reuters.
June 18, 6:56 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 8,362,238
Total deaths: 449,397
Total recoveries: 4,089,168
June 17, 9:46 p.m.
The US Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to three companies selling coronavirus tests for reportedly marketing adulterated or misbranded test kits. The FDA said they were “inappropriately” marketed and “potentially placing public health at risk” and asked these companies to take immediate steps to fix violations and stop the sale of the products. The FDA said the companies violated policy by offering at-home test kits in the US for sale without getting marketing approval or authorization. Products were misbranded as “FDA approved,” when they weren’t, and the products used the FDA logo which is only supposed to be used by the FDA and not used by the private sector, the agency said. The FDA said that if the companies don’t take immediate action, the agency may take legal action that could include seizing the product. There is no home diagnostic or antibody test for Covid-19 authorized by the FDA at this time.
June 17, 8:34 p.m.
European scientists report they have found a link with blood type and two genetic variations that may show who is more likely to get very sick and die from coronavirus.The study that was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows a possible explanation of why some people get so seriously ill with the virus, while most barely show any symptoms at all, CNN said. The team found people with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching the virus and of developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk. “Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring Covid-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups,” the researchers wrote in their report. They found people with Type O blood were just 65% as likely to become infected as people with other blood types, and people with Type A blood had a 45% higher risk of becoming infected than people with other blood types.
June 17, 7:22 p.m.
As Greece welcomes tourists to come back, some locals aren’t as welcoming after enjoying tourist destinations all to themselves. The picturesque island of Santorini saw more than 2 million overnight visitors in 2019; however, due to the pandemic, locals have been able to wander around and barely see another person. "It's just unbelievable," Oia, Santorini resident Michael Ermogenis said, according to BBC News. "I feel like I've been given the keys to Disneyland. But at the same time, I know this hasn't been done for my benefit. It's a major global disaster." Greece is set to reopen its borders on Monday with the aim of kick-starting its tourist season. Tourism in Greece makes up as much as 30% of economic output and commands up to one in five jobs, so the sudden halt to travel has been devastating to the Mediterranean county.
June 17, 6:14 p.m.
Arizona is rapidly becoming a coronavirus hotspot since reopening last month, with a total of 7,121 new cases reported between May 31 and June 6. This is a 54% increase from the previous week, and the largest week-to-week increase since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles Times. Gov. Doug Ducey lifted Arizona’s stay-at-home order on May 15, placing the responsibility on individuals to gauge the risk posed to by the virus. Despite the rise in cases and an open letter of two groups of Arizona doctors calling for action, Ducey has yet to issue a statewide requirement for masks. “What an Arizonan decides to do is up to them,” Ducey said. Data has shown that the spike is unlikely to be from an increase in testing with positive tests rising from 5% in late April to 13% more recently. As the state opened its restaurants, a few nightclubs found a loophole to open as well, selling food to call themselves restaurants, according to The LA Times.People began flocking to bars and nightclubs in the state, including people from other states with stricter guidelines, such as California.
June 17, 5:03 p.m.
A survey by Italy’s top health body stated the country’s nursing homes were unequipped to deal with the surge of cases as the coronavirus killed thousands of people. When the outbreak emerged, they did not have the equipment needed to protect staff or residents, Reuters reported. Nursing homes in the northern region of Lombardy reported a steep increase in fatalities, although many patients died without being tested. The survey by the Superior Health Institute, which covered more than a third of Italy’s nursing homes, reported 9,154 fatalities and more than 3,000 had “influenza-like” or pneumonia symptoms, which may have been related to coronavirus.
June 17, 4:08 p.m.
The coronavirus crisis has become the second-worst pandemic in modern American history. The U.S. death toll eclipsed 117,000 this week, passing the number of fatalities the country suffered from the 1957 flu pandemic, which was blamed for about 116,000 deaths. Only the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is more deadly than the coronavirus pandemic -- by far. Some 675,000 Americans lost their lives in that pandemic among 50 million fatalities globally. The death toll from the 1957 pandemic could've been much worse -- if not for the forward-thinking of American microbiologist Maurice Hillman. AcccuWeather's John Roach reports on how Hilleman recognized the threat long before it reached U.S. shores.
June 17, 3:01 p.m.
Horseshoe crab blood could be used to ensure the safety of potential coronavirus vaccines, according to the Cape Cod Times. Horseshoe crab blood can rapidly respond to bacteria by clotting quickly and has been used in testing for medical procedures such as hip replacements, heart stents and even the development of pharmaceuticals, the Times reports.
According to Brett Hoffmeister, limulous amebocyte lysate (LAL) production manager for Associates of Cape Cod in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, the LAL test for bacteria is the gold standard for all medications before they go on the market. However, he told the Times he doesn’t foresee an increase in demand for the product, as very little is needed to test a sample of the potential COVID-19 vaccine, and it would only take one day to produce enough product to assure the safety of up to five billion vaccines.
June 17, 2:35 p.m.
More than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths were reported in India on Wednesday, a new daily record for the country, according to AFP. According to authorities, this increase in deaths is due to the easing of restrictions in Mumbai and Delhi, as more than half of the fatalities reported came from these two cities, AFP said. Hospitals in the country have also been overwhelmed by the rapid increase in cases. Germany’s government recommending its citizens in India to return to the Germany, while France made a similar request to its own nationals. “Case numbers are still rising strongly. This increases considerably the risk of infection,” the foreign ministry said, as reported by AFP. The ministry also added that people with the virus have “no or very little chance of being admitted to hospitals. This increases considerably the health risks of a stay in India.” The Delhi government has warned that it could have 550,000 cases by the end of July if restrictions aren’t re-introduced. The total number of COVID-19 fatalities in India is nearing 12,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
India health workers wearing personal protective equipment arrive to take part in a check up camp at a slum in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
June 17, 2:16 p.m.
Bauer Hockey, one of the leading manufacturers of hockey equipment worldwide, announced a new line of products to ensure the safety of hockey players in the age of COVID-19 on and off the ice. This summer, the company says it will "launch facial protection specifically designed for players, coaches, administrators, on-ice officials, parents and fans." The company had pivoted from sports equipment production to helping produce medical-grade face shields to help address a shortage that medical professionals faced in the early stages of the pandemic.
The company's new products include an integrated cap shield, that attaches to the brim of a baseball hat or can be worn separately, a reversible fabric mask that can be worn in combination with the cap shield, and a splash guard. The splash guard in particular will provide extra protection to players on the ice. "This new product is designed to enhance coverage around the mouth and maintain a high level of vision and breathability," Bauer says. Check out a picture of the cap shield below.
The Bauer Integrated Cap Shield attaches to the brim of a baseball hat or can be worn separately. It is designed to provide protection that stretches from the forehead to chin, offering important eye, nose and mouth splash coverage. (Photo/Bauer)
June 17, 1:57 p.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced “really good news on testing” as results show that there is a decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the state. Cuomo said on Twitter that out of the 59,341 people who were tested on Tuesday, only 567 tests came back positive. This brings the positivity rate to 0.96%, which Cuomo says is a “record low.” The governor also said that New York City is on track to enter the second phase of the state's reopening plan on Monday. During phase 2, restaurants and bars in the city will be allowed to open for outdoor dining, ABC 7 reported.
June 17, 1:28 p.m.
A group of friends tested positive for the coronavirus after a night out at a bar in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Erika Crisp, a 40-year-old health care worker from Jacksonville, believes she contracted the virus on June 6 after attending a gathering with friends at Lynch’s Irish Pub. Like her, 15 of Crisp's friends who were also at the bar tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to bar outing, Crisp said that she and her friends had been social distancing and following stay-at-home orders. “And then the first night we go out, Murphy’s Law, I guess,” Crisp told News4JAX. “The only thing we have in common is that one night at that one bar.” Crisp hopes that her mistake can help others understand the serious consequences of not following the recommended safety measures. “We should be wearing masks,” Crisp said. “We should be social distancing. It was too soon to open everything back up.” Watch the video below to hear from Crisp as well as the general manager of Lynch's Irish Pub, Keith Doherty, who had to close the bar for cleaning.
June 17, 1:10 p.m.
Flushing a toilet can spew coronavirus particles into the air, a new study suggests. Researchers used computers to simulate the dynamics of flushing a toilet in order to examine how that process can sling virus aerosols, and their findings were published in the journal Physics of Fluids on Tuesday. "The simulation results are alarming in that massive upward transport of virus particles is observed, with 40%–60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, leading to large-scale virus spread,” the authors of the study wrote in the abstract. Not only could flushing a toilet transport respiratory droplets upward, but the scientists said that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, can also be spread through fecal-oral transmission. Experts recommend taking the following precautionary steps to reduce the risk of virus spread in bathrooms:
Keep toilet seat down when flushing
Frequently clean toilet seats and bathroom surfaces
Thoroughly wash your hands when using a toilet
Even though not all scientists agree that there is clear evidence for fecal-oral transmission of the contagion that causes COVID-19, the study’s recommendations resonated with other aerosol experts. "The viral load in fecal matter and the fraction of resulting aerosol containing the virus is unknown. Even if the virus were contained in the produced aerosols, it is unknown whether the virus would still be infectious; there is not yet clear evidence for fecal-oral transmission," Bryan Bzdek, an aerosol researcher at Britain's University of Bristol, told CNN. “While this study is unable to demonstrate that these measures will reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, many other viruses are transmitted though the fecal-oral route, so these are good hygiene practices to have anyway."
June 17, 12:33 p.m.
Fauci sounds off on MLB season, the potential for a second lockdown and controversial Trump rally. Major League Baseball players and the team owners are at a standoff over whether to start the 2020 baseball season. If the two sides ever agree to begin playing games, Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID, suggested they should make it a quick season. "I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold," Fauci told The Los Angeles Times. "I would avoid that."
In a separate interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday, Fauci weighed in on whether a second nationwide lockdown is in order. He said it's premature to discuss that option. "I don't like to talk about a second wave right now, because we haven't gotten out of our first wave,” he said in the interview. He also reminded readers that he believes a second wave in the U.S. is not inevitable. Fauci was also asked whether he would attend a rally President Donald Trump is planning to hold this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Health officials have expressed concern that the indoor event could be "the perfect storm" and turn into a super spreader occasion. "I'm in a high-risk category," Fauci responded. "Personally, I would not. Of course not." He also added that an outside rally would be "better than inside, no crowd is better than [a] crowd” and “[a] crowd is better than [a] big crowd.”
June 17, 11:53 a.m.
With Florida experiencing an uptick in new coronavirus infections, as many as five newly reported cases have been linked to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane hunter base in the city of Lakeland, located about 40 minutes east of Tampa. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the five individuals work at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) located within the Lakeland Linder International Airport. The site is regularly used to deploy aircraft to investigate developing tropical systems. The Sentinel reported that as many as 68 employees were tested overall and the five infected employees were said to be in the facility most recently between June 3-8.
June 17, 11:30 a.m.
The Orlando International Airport becomes a coronavirus hotspot after hundreds of workers test positive for the virus. The development was announced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after 500 employees at the airport were recently tested. “An airport in Central Florida had a couple of cases, they did the contract tracing. They looked at almost 500 workers and 260 people working close together were positive, 52 percent positivity rate on that one,” DeSantis said, according to ClickOrlando. On Tuesday, more than 2,780 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, bringing the total number of cases in the state to more than 80,100. The Florida Department of Health reports that roughly 5.5 percent of people who have taken the test in the state have tested positive for the virus. DeSantis says that as of June, 30,000 COVID-19 test results are being reported on a daily basis, and the percentage of positivity has gone up since May 17.
June 17, 11:14 a.m.
A pair of women from Britain managed to bring COVID-19 into New Zealand, less than a week after New Zealand officials celebrated being entirely free of the virus. The country has performed rigorous testing on all travelers and has only allowed New Zealanders, their families and essential workers to enter the country. The country previously had lifted all restrictions on daily life outside of the tight border controls. The infected women reportedly came in close contact with 320 other people while they were in New Zealand, all of whom are now being urged to get tested.
June 17, 10:18 a.m.
China enforces new restrictions amid new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing. Due to the sharp increase in cases in the Chinese capital, 1,255 flights to and from Beijing were canceled on Wednesday as the country raised its emergency warning to its second-highest level. This is a setback for the country, as the number of new cases had been in a constant decline since March. “This has truly rung an alarm bell for us,” Party Secretary Cai Qi said in a meeting of Beijing’s Communist Party Standing Committee, according to The Associated Press. Although it was believed that the source of the outbreak had to do with salmon sent from Norway, this theory has since been proven to be incorrect. “We can clear away uncertainty,” Norwegian politician Odd Emil Ingebrigsten said in a video conference, Reuters reported. According to Ingebrigsten, Chinese and Norwegian officials concluded that the source of the outbreak did not originate from in fish from Norway.
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 17, 9:35 a.m.
One of Europe's iconic monuments is set to reopen next week. According to The Associated Press, the Eiffel Tower will reopen on June 25, following the longest closure for the landmark since World War II. Only limited numbers of people will be allowed to visit the Eiffel Tower with only the first and second floors expected to be accessible for the public, The AP reported. Visitors over 11 years old will be required to wear a mask, according to the report. The tower's director said in an interview with the AP that he is hoping full access will be allowed by August.
Visitors stairs access of the Tour Eiffel are demarcated with social distancing stickers during a presentation of the security measures at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. On June 25 the Eiffel Tower will be re-opening after the longest pause to its activity since World War II. The iconic Paris monument was closed for more than three months from March over amid the nationwide virus lockdown. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
June 17, 8:49 a.m.
President of Honduras the latest world leader to test positive for COVID-19. Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras, made a television appearance late Tuesday to inform citizens that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Hernández said he began experiencing symptoms over the weekend, and the test results came back positive on Tuesday. He added that his wife, Ana García, also tested positive, though she was asymptomatic, and two aides also are infected, according to The New York Times. Hernández joins U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who came down with COVID-19 in March and recovered after a stint in intensive care, and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin as notable world leaders who have had bouts with the illness. Hernández said he's feeling well enough to work and will do so from home. He also urged citizens of Honduras, which has reported close to 10,000 cases and more than 300 fatalities, to be vigilant about social distancing. "I feel enough strength and energy to continue forward and beat this pandemic,” Hernández said. “We are going to get ahead of this. I trust in God, Honduran doctors and medicine."
June 17, 6:54 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 8,191,391
Total deaths: 444,111
Total recoveries: 3,971,560
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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