Previous coronavirus daily briefing updates, June 19-21
Current daily briefings on the coronavirus can be found here. Scroll below to read previous listed in eastern time.
June 21, 7:57 p.m.
An Italian infectious diseases doctor believes the coronavirus is weakening, and could disappear without a vaccine. Dr. Matteo Bassetti, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital, said the virus is becoming less potent, which could potentially be due to genetic mutations, The New York Post reported. “In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia … The picture has completely changed in terms of patterns,” Bassetti said. He said the virus was like “an aggressive tiger” in the spring, but he said it has dwindled to be reminiscent of a “wild cat.” However, Bharat Pankhania, a professor at the UK’s University of Exeter Medical School, does not believe the virus could die out as quickly as Bassetti says. “It will if it has no one to infect. If we have a successful vaccine then we’ll be able to do what we did with smallpox. But because it’s so infectious and widespread, it won’t go away for a very long time,” Pankhania said.
June 21, 7:20 p.m.
New York City will enter Phase II of reopening on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. Phase II will allow for outdoor dining, in-person retail, hair salons and barbershops, to reopen, as well as some office based jobs, NNC New York reported. People will still be required to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks and establishments can only open at half capacity. "It includes the single biggest piece of our economy. We're all in agreement this is the right thing to do," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "It's time to move forward, and if anything comes up in the data that's a concern we're going to talk about it publicly."
June 21, 5:45 p.m.
After months of Americans staying at home, U.S. banks are seeing record high deposits. In April alone, deposits totaled to $865 billion, with a total of $2 billion worth of deposits hitting U.S. banks since the pandemic struck the U.S. in January. A sum of deposits so large has never happened in American history. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC that accounts with less than $5,000 in them grew by 40%. The record-breaking deposits come directly in response to the pandemic and lockdown orders, as small businesses received governmental aid, and Americans were left with few spending opportunities due to the closure of non-essential businesses. "Any way you look at it, this growth has been absolutely extraordinary," Brian Foran, an analyst at Autonomous Research, said. "Banks are flooded with cash, they're like Scrooge McDuck swimming in money."
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2019, file photo photo a Bank of America flag waves in front of the Bank of America Financial Center building, in Boston. Bank of America reports financial results Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
June 21, 4:10 p.m.
After collapsing onstage in Nashville, Comedian DL Hughley tested positive for COVID-19. After being taken to the hospital for losing consciousness while performing onstage, Hughley was treated for exhaustion and dehydration, when he later discovered he also had COVID-19, according to USA Today. “I also tested positive for COVID-19, which blew me away,” he said. “I was what they call asymptomatic. I didn’t have any symptoms, the classic symptoms.” On Saturday, a representative for Hughley, Yvette Shearer, said he was feeling better.
June 21, 2:32 p.m.
Twenty-three Clemson University football players have tested positive for COVID-19. At least five staff members for the university’s athletic department have tested positive as well. "Clemson has notified and isolated each of those individuals who tested positive for a period of at least 10 days," the university said in a news release. Anyone who has come into close contact with the individuals who tested positive is also being asked to self isolate, CNN reported. Most of the cases have been asymptomatic and none have required hospitalization, according to the news release.
June 21, 1 p.m.
Across the South, demographics are shifting and young people are now accounting for a growing number of COVID-19 cases. Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas are among the states that are recording higher numbers of cases among young people, according to CNN. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said cases are "shifting in a radical direction" toward people in their 20s and 30s. The uptick in cases among young people could be due to a lack of social distancing. "We're also seeing that not only are they testing positive because they're testing more, they're also testing positive at a higher rate increasingly over the last week," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
June 21, 11:16 a.m.
Spain opened its borders to most European countries as their state of emergency ended. Spain’s borders are now open to all European Union countries except Portugal, as well as Schengen area members outside the bloc and Britain. The reopening will give the country’s tourism industry a much-needed boost to which accounts for more than 12% of their economy, Reuters said. British tourists will be allowed in without having to quarantine, even though they will still be subject to 14 days isolation upon their return, Spain said on Saturday. According to Reuters, Spaniards were also allowed to move freely around the country to other regions Sunday.
June 21, 9:04 a.m.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make an updated recommendation on masks following scientific review about the public health benefits of masks, a senior CDC official told CNN. Science is being studied as to whether masks are not only “good for source control — and keeping you from giving it to others — but we’re also seeing if masks are going to protect you from getting [Covid-19] yourself,” A senior official with knowledge of the review said. The CDC has already published guidance on its website but is reviewing the science if it will actually keep people safe. “We know it’s a good thing to wear a mask to protect others. We are studying if it is also potentially going to keep you safe,” the official added. An official at the agency says recommendations from a final scientific review by its incident management “will happen soon,” according to CNN.
June 21, 7:35 a.m.
Here are the latest global numbers of COVID-19, provided by researchers at Johns Hopkins University:
Confirmed Cases: 8,809,872
June 20, 7:05 p.m.
Brazil surpassed 1 million cases of COVID-19, making it the country with the second highest count of confirmed cases in the world. The U.S. is the only country with more confirmed cases. As Brazil surpassed 1 million on Friday, their fatality count inched higher as well, nearing 50,000. While the number of confirmed cases just hit the 1 million mark, some healthcare professionals believe the real number of cases could be much higher, according to CNBC. "That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times," Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at the São Paulo State University, said. "The true number is probably at least 3 million and could even be as high as 10 million people."
Emergency health workers wearing protective face masks, take part in a protest to demand payment of their salaries and improvement in their benefits amid the new coronavirus pandemic, outside Guanabara Palace, the seat of state government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 20, 2020. Brazil's government confirmed that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, second only to the United States. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
June 20, 5:34 p.m.
Six Donald Trump campaign staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. The news comes before a campaign rally in Tulsa that the staff members were working on. "Per safety protocols, campaign staff are tested for COVID-19 before events,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement, according to CNN. “Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented." Murtaugh said the staff members who tested positive will not be present at the rally or in contact with any attendees or officials.
June 20, 4:05 p.m.
A new potential COVID-19 vaccine is about to begin human trials. Clover Biopharmaceuticals will become the sixth Chinese company to test a possible vaccine, but experts say it could take some time before results are found. The company is planning to enroll 150 adult participants in their initial trial, which will include two different booster shots, Reuters reported. “The entire Clover team and our collaborators around the world have been working nonstop since late-January on this important program for the world,” said Joshua Liang, CEO of Clover said. Results from this trial are not expected until August with the next phase of the study not set to begin until the end of 2020. Both the U.S. and China have been racing to find a possible vaccine for the new coronavirus, but none are ready to hit the market yet. The virus first emerged from Wuhan, China, late in 2019. To date, COVID-19 has claimed more than 454,000 lives around the world as global confirmed cases eclipsed 8.5 million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
June 20, 2:32 p.m.
As the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., some parts of the country are “on the cusp of losing control,’ according to former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. As reported by CNBC, the virus continues to infect about 20,000 people on a daily basis, as it spreads from bigger cities to the inner parts of the country. “The question is ‘can we keep this from getting out of control.’ This is a virus that wants to infect a very large portion of the population,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “They’re on the cusp of losing control of those outbreaks in certain parts of those states. Arizona, Houston, Austin, parts of Florida certainly look very concerning right now.”
Since Memorial Day weekend, cases have increased in many states, including Arizona. On Wednesday, the state reported that hospitals are approaching capacity as 85% of hospital beds are in use. Gottlieb fears that the situation could worsen if officials fail to implement stricter guidelines. “I’m more concerned than I was three weeks ago heading into the fall,” he said. “Unless we get comfortable taking some common sense measures, where we can, some limited measures, we’re going to be stuck with a lot more spread.”
June 20, 1 p.m.
And now, a heartwarming story, which we can't get enough of during the pandemic. A man and woman who have been married for 67 years were finally reunited after being separated due to COVID-19. Joyce and Don Hoffman from Indianapolis had been forced to stay apart while Joyce recovered from COVID-19. Thankfully, Joyce only suffered minor symptoms and was able to reunite with her husband after five weeks. The couple's reunion in the COVID-19 unit at Hooverwood Living in Indianapolis was captured on video and posted on Facebook. “I have to cry from happiness, I have to cry,” Don said in the video as he held Joyce’s hand. “You look so wonderful. You look beautiful.” 😢 Watch the full video below.
June 20, 11:24 a.m.
One of the world's largest summer solstice celebrations in the world usually takes place at Stonehenge, however, this year the site is closed amid the pandemic. The Twitter account for Stonehenge asked people not to travel to the closed site. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official start of summer. Usually, tens of thousands would gather at the site, but English Heritage has renewed its pleas for people to enjoy the occasion from their homes after declaring the site closed for the celebration. "For everyone's safety and wellbeing, we've had to cancel this year's summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge. We know how special this occasion is to so many of you but please don't travel to Stonehenge - enjoy our livestream on here instead," English Heritage said on Twitter.
June 20, 10:10 a.m.
Major League Baseball (MLB) training sites will close due to concerns of coronavirus after Philadelphia Phillies announced five players tested positive for the virus, according to The Associated Press. The closures come as MLB owners and players try to negotiate a deal to start the season. A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press the spring complexes in Florida and Arizona will temporarily close. No one will be permitted back inside without a negative test for the virus after the facilities have undergone a deep cleaning and disinfecting.
Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to players’ union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer that “the proliferation of COVID-19 outbreaks around the country over the last week, and the fact that we already know of several 40-man roster players and staff who have tested positive, has increased the risks associated with commencing spring training in the next few weeks.”
June 20, 9 a.m.
With face coverings becoming mandatory in more and more places, those who may need any convincing about a mask’s efficacy could be swayed by a video released recently by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The video, which has racked up more than 6 million views on social media, depicts a high-speed visualization of the airflow caused by coughing and just regular breathing. It’s worth noting, it does not show the spread of actual virus particles, but it’s very compelling -- particularly when it shows what happens when someone wears a mask improperly. And if you’re looking for tips on how to wear a mask and stay cool in the hot weather this summer, be sure to check out our tips for doing just that. Below, watch the high-speed visualization video.
June 20, 7:30 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 8,685,046
Total deaths: 460,506
Total recoveries: 4,269,861
June 19, 9:50 p.m.
Researcher Anna Honko preparing the dilutions in deepwell plates to test nanosponges at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories)
Researchers are working on microscopic "nanosponges" that could soak up the coronavirus. Scientists from U.C. San Diego have developed a new technology they say could one day stop SARS-CoV-2 from infecting people and spreading inside human cells. The nanosponge technology is designed to mimic human cells – they have the same external-facing proteins and receptors as real human cells, but they’re fakes. A team of nanosponges is deployed to surround the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, and latch on to it, which renders the virus unable to infect a human cell. “If a virus can’t enter a cell, it can’t replicate and is neutralized,” the team of researchers explained. The whole process occurs on a microscopic level and is illustrated in an easy-to-understand video, which can be seen below. “In lab experiments,” the researchers said in a statement, “both the lung cell and immune cell types of nanosponges caused the SARS-CoV-2 virus to lose nearly 90% of its ‘viral infectivity’ in a dose-dependent manner.” Liangfang Zhang, a nanoengineering professor at the U.C. San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, explained the process further, saying, “Traditionally, drug developers for infectious diseases dive deep on the details of the pathogen in order to find druggable targets. Our approach is different. We only need to know what the target cells are. And then we aim to protect the targets by creating biomimetic decoys.”
According to the statement released by U.C. San Diego, Zhang has been working with nanosponges for more than a decade and he said the idea to apply the technology to fighting the coronavirus occurred to him “almost immediately.” The nanosponge technology still has a long road of testing in front of it, Zhang said, as scientists determine whether it’s a safe treatment for humans to receive. Watch the video below.
June 19, 8:41 p.m.
Mexican wrestlers are among those whose industry has fallen to COVID-19. A video from AFP shows masked wrestlers lined up for supplies after losing their jobs due to fighting rings having been shut down.“I have three children, so it has affected us. And it has particularly affected those of us who are fully dedicated to wrestling,” one wrestler told AFP. Mexico currently has over 165,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and has reported nearly 20,000 deaths due to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
June 19, 7:10 p.m.
The coronavirus pandemic could be reaching a "new and dangerous phase,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While Europe has started lifting the extreme lockdown measures in many countries, the outbreak is just starting to get worse in the Americas and parts of Asia, according to AFP. "The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home ... but the virus is still spreading fast," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual press conference.
June 19, 5:52 p.m.
After spending months in lockdown due to to the coronavirus, Dhaka, Bangladesh, is slowly starting up once more. In an effort to beat traffic and avoid relying on public transportation, more people have turned to using bikes. “People are not feeling comfortable using buses, taxis or auto rickshaws anymore as coronavirus has spread everywhere,” bicycle seller Mohammad Ibrahim told AFP. “So many are choosing bicycles as an alternative. The sale [of bicycles] has increased.” While the temperatures in Dhaka look to stay in the upper 80s to lower 90s through the weekend and into next week, the days will hardly hold ideal biking conditions.
“A monsoonal low that is located over Odisha will be responsible for enhanced shower and thunderstorm activity across Bangladesh, especially on Sunday as deep tropical moisture is lifted northward from the Bay of Bengal,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said. “Some of these storms can be heavy and will lead to flooding in some areas, especially where storms back build over the same locations. Beyond the weekend, more ‘normal’ conditions can be expected with typical pop-up shower and thunderstorm activity during peak daytime heating.”
June 19, 4:30 p.m.
Five Phillies players who had been training in Clearwater, Florida, have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. Three staff members have also tested positive as a significant number of team personnel are waiting for their own test results. The identities of the people infected were not given. “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement. The outbreak comes as the MLB and Players Association are trying to settle a financial dispute for a shortened season to begin in July.
June 19, 3 p.m.
New research in a non-peer reviewed paper on antibodies suggests humans may never develop immunity against COVID-19. The conclusion from both Chinese and American scientists was based around a study on Wuhan hospital workers who were previously exposed to infected patients early on during the outbreak and had developed antibodies, according to the South China Morning Post. Of the more than 23,000 samples tested, at least a quarter could have been infected with the virus at some point, according to the scientists. However, only 4% had developed antibodies as of April.“People are unlikely to produce long-lasting protective antibodies against this virus,” the researchers said in a non-peer-reviewed paper published on Tuesday.
June 19, 1:43 p.m.
Health officials in Spain revise coronavirus death toll. It had been nearly two weeks since Spanish officials had provided an update on fatalities, and on Friday they released some new numbers showing that the death toll had increased to more than 28,000 and by more than 1,000 since June 7 – the date of the most recent update. According to Reuters, the new reporting showed more than 50 fatalities this week were blamed on COVID-19 and the revision was meant to clear up errors and duplications. There are still nine coronavirus clusters in Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak, but officials are planning to move ahead on Saturday with lifting the state of emergency that’s been in place for months.
June 19, 1:29 p.m.
Apple is closing stores in four states experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases. The tech giant began opening retail stores across the nation last month after shutting down all of its stores around the world as the pandemic worsened, and, according to the tech website MacRumors, had reopened 154 of its 271 U.S. stores. But now, the company has reportedly decided to re-close 11 stores across Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona – all states experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases. MacRumors reported that it’s not yet clear which stores exactly will close, but all 18 of its stores in those states had recently been reopened.
June 19, 12:42 p.m.
Canada hit the grim milestone of 100,000 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Reuters reported, despite a slowdown in the outbreak. Authorities are worried about the country's ongoing response to the pandemic, especially as the majority of deaths have occurred at nursing homes. According to Dr. Camille Lemieux, University of Toronto epidemiologist and head of the COVID-19 testing center at the city’s University Health Network, the pandemic served as a “wake-up call” for the country’s healthcare system. “We haven’t done brilliantly, we’ve done acceptably,” Lemieux said. As the outbreak is slowing down in most parts of the country, the 10 provinces are reopening their economies while still enforcing restrictions in Montreal and Toronto, the country’s biggest cities. However, officials fear that people will not follow the guidelines now that restrictions have been lifted. “It’s the sustainability of our response going forward that is going to be really tough. We will just have to keep reminding people,” said Chief Medical Officer Teresa Tam. “The virus hasn’t disappeared… what we’re asking all Canadians to remind themselves is it’s not normal times.”
June 19, 12:04 p.m.
A Colorado woman has tested positive for COVID-19 two times in less than two months. Michelle Hart of Lafayette, Colorado, was tested for the new coronavirus in late April after she began to experience symptoms. The test came back positive and her symptoms reportedly came in waves, but eventually she tested negative for COVID-19 on two different occasions, 9News reported. However, a month-and-a-half after her initial diagnosis, Hart still had some lingering symptoms, so she took yet another test, which came back positive on June 17. "The physician assistant who owns the urgent care actually called me and just said she’s so sorry," Hart said. "She doesn’t know why I’m still positive, but I am." Doctors believe that she did not develop antibodies after her first fight against COVID-19, leaving her susceptible to becoming infected a second time. "With this woman not having mounted an antibody response, it is certainly possible that she developed a second infection or became reinfected," 9Health expert Dr. Payal Kohl said. However, with so many uncertainties about COVID-19, it is possible that other factors could have played a role in Hart becoming infected a second time. Hart remains hospitalized as doctors observe her and conduct further tests.
Hart is not the only one to come down with COVID-19 a second time in recent days. According to NBC5, a Dallas woman last week also tested positive this week for COVID-19 -- four months after her first diagnosis. "I had a dry cough like you would not believe. It would not stop," a tearful McKee told the news station from her hospital bed, adding that she'd even donated plasma twice after initially beating the illness.
June 19, 11:34 a.m.
Even nudists are being asked to join mask-wearing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. A highly contagious pathogen has disrupted life on Earth and study after study shows that wearing a face mask is "the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission." But what happens when that concept collides with a worldview based on not wearing anything at all? This very rubber-meets-the-road moment occurred earlier during the pandemic in the Czech Republic when police responded to a complaint about nudists who were sunbathing and not wearing masks. The authorities issued a warning, according to CNN, and noted that "citizens are allowed to be without clothes in designated locations, but they still must cover their mouths." Wearing a face mask is essential, and as summer begins -- even if you're not a nudist -- wearing one in the heat might seem like an especially uncomfortable idea. That's why AccuWeather compiled some summer mask-wearing tips to help you try to stay cool while slowing the spread. It covers everything -- like choosing light colors and the type of wood that makes for mask fabric that's absorbent and comfy.
June 19, 10:46 a.m.
Movies will soon return to the big screen, but the cinematic experience will be slightly different for those going to AMC Theaters. After closing more than 600 venues across the U.S. in March, AMC is planning on reopening 450 theaters on July 15. “In my heart of hearts, I think we can manage AMC through this crisis,” Adam Aron, president and CEO of AMC told Variety in an interview. People will not be required to wear face masks when going to see a movie, but the company will be taking extra precautions for the health and safety of both the guests and employees. This includes reduced seating capacity, cashless concessions, new cleaning procedures and the instillation of hand-sanitizing stations, Variety said. “We’re going to make every effort to make sure that AMC continues to be well positioned as a leader of the movie theater industry,” Aron said.
June 19, 9:49 a.m.
More U.S. states mandate the use of masks as the coronavirus continues to spread in the country. After at least six states set daily records of COVID-19 cases, U.S. governors and mayors from multiple parts of the country are enforcing stricter guidelines. Among these states are California and North Carolina, where the use of masks is now compulsory for everyone.“This piece of protection may even save your life,” North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper told reporters, according to Reuters. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the use of masks after more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state for the second day in a row. In Florida, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings also mandated the use of face masks, telling Orlando residents that it would help them avoid a possible shutdown in the future. Similarly, the use of masks is now mandatory in the Florida Keys through June 2021. Visitors to the Florida Keys who were previously not required to wear masks will now face a $500 fine if they ignore the new guideline.
June 19, 9:06 a.m.
A new study produced by Italian scientists suggests that the novel coronavirus was already circulating in Italy in December 2019 and perhaps even before China reported its first cases, according to a Reuters report. When researchers with Italy's National Institute of Health examined 40 sewage samples that were acquired from wastewater treatment plants across the country's north, they found SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in samples taken from the cities of Milan and Turin, according to Reuters. The research team examined over 40 sewage samples collected over a period from October to December 2019. “This research may help us understand the beginning of virus circulation in Italy,” Giuseppina La Rosa, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a statement.
June 19, 6:46 a.m.
Here are the latest global COVID-19 numbers, provided by Johns Hopkins University researchers:
Total confirmed cases: 8,507,721
Total deaths: 454,359
Total recoveries: 4,174,429
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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