June 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 0103 GMT (0903 HKT) June 4, 2020
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12:18 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Europe saw fewest coronavirus cases reported yesterday since March 22, WHO says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 1.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 1. AFP

The World Health Organization said that “cases in Europe continue to decline” during a briefing Wednesday.

“Yesterday saw the fewest cases reported in Europe since the 22nd of March,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Though Tedros added, WHO is “especially worried” about Central and South America where “many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.”

“More than 100,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported to WHO for each of the past five days. The Americas continues to account for the most cases,” Tedros said.

“For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together,” Tedros said.

He added WHO is also seeing an increase of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Africa. 

12:35 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Maduro government and opposition sign rare cooperation agreement to fight Covid-19 in Venezuela

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon, Mia Alberti and Jorge Luis Perez Valery

People stand over yellow circles painted on pavement that serve as visual cues to help shoppers adhere to social distancing before entering a popular market in the neighborhood of Catia in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 28.
People stand over yellow circles painted on pavement that serve as visual cues to help shoppers adhere to social distancing before entering a popular market in the neighborhood of Catia in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 28. Ariana Cubillos/AP

The Venezuelan government, led by embattled President Nicolas Maduro, and the opposition led by Juan Guaidó, have signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19 by allowing aid into the country through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

This is one of the few times the two sides are known to have signed an agreement.

"The Ministry of Health signed an agreement with the (...) Venezuelan opposition. In the context of the blockade against Venezuela, it is necessary that we, Venezuelans, find common ground to fight against Covid-19," the government said in a statement.

In the same statement, the Vice President for Communication, Culture, and Tourism, Jorge Rodríguez, added that both sides need to "set politics aside and work together to fight Covid-19"

More on the agreement: The agreement was signed on Monday by the Venezuelan Minister of Health, Carlos Alvarado, the Health Adviser of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Castro, and the Venezuelan representative of the Pan American Health Organization, Gerardo de Cosio. 

On their website, PAHO says it is the specialized international health agency for the Americas. It serves as Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.

The Venezuelan opposition confirmed the agreement in a statement:

"The interim government and the president Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly, reaffirm its commitment to do whatever it takes to alleviate the suffering of Venezuelans," they said.

"We took an important step, but it won't be enough for what's ahead," the statement added. Guaidó is recognized as the interim leader of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, including the United States. 

According to the opposition, the agreement will allow the PAHO to receive and manage the funding allocated for humanitarian aid. The funds will be used towards protection equipment, "improving diagnostic capacity" and treating confirmed cases, according to the opposition. 

The PAHO confirmed to CNN in an email that "this agreement is real and that PAHO is taking action to support its implementation."

12:16 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Covid-19 study links obesity with higher risk of children getting more severe illness

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Researchers are learning more about how Covid-19 affects children, and a new study finds that among a group of children and adolescents in New York who were hospitalized with the disease, about a fifth — 22% — had obesity.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet on Wednesday, suggests that having obesity could put a child at an increased risk of getting severely ill with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

 "The significance of obesity as an independent risk factor for severity is now being increasingly described in adult studies of Covid-19, so it was interesting that many of the hospitalized patients in this study had obesity and/or overweight," the researchers, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, wrote in the study.

"Obesity was the most significant factor associated with mechanical ventilation in children 2 years and older," the researchers added. "Contrary to some previous reports, infants seemed largely spared severe manifestations." 

More on the study: The study included data on 50 young people, ages 21 and younger, who were diagnosed with Covid-19 between March 1 and April 15 and hospitalized for at least a day or longer.

The data, which came from the patients' electronic medical records, showed that about half of the patients — 52% — had an adult family member or was living with someone with symptoms associated with Covid-19. None of the patients had a history of international travel around the time they were diagnosed. 

Most of the patients — 80% — had a fever, and 64% had some respiratory symptoms, but three of the patients only experienced gastrointestinal problems, the researchers found. Nine of the patients, or 18% of them, needed mechanical ventilation and one patient died.

Overall, the researchers found that obesity was significantly associated with needing mechanical ventilation among children ages 2 or older. Among the patients who required mechanical ventilation, six of them — 67% — had obesity.

About the study: The study had some limitations, including that the group of patients included in the data was small and half of the patients were Hispanic. The researchers noted that the hospital serves a predominantly Hispanic community. So more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a more diverse group of patients.

Yet overall, "studies such as this one emphasize that certain groups of children may be disproportionally affected. In this study, 50% were Hispanic," Dr. Jason Newland of the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and Dr. Kristina Bryant of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, co-wrote in an editorial that accompanied the new study.

"As the Covid-19 pandemic has spread and created adversity for many people physically, emotionally, and economically, the groups most affected have been those of color," Newland and Bryant wrote.

"Going forward, multicenter collaborative studies are needed to define the infectious and postinfectious sequelae of Covid-19 in children in communities across the US, including rural communities, and in all racial and ethnic groups. We also need to understand the association of the pandemic with adverse health outcomes in children beyond the consequences of viral infection," they wrote.

The researchers noted that on May 15, "the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a precipitous drop in the ordering and administration of pediatric vaccines. Are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases on the horizon? That could be the next important chapter of the evolving Covid-19 story."

12:13 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

New York state reports lowest daily coronavirus death toll yet

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Albany, New York, on June 3.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a coronavirus briefing in Albany, New York, on June 3. State of New York

New York state reported its lowest daily coronavirus death toll so far, with 49 deaths reported yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

That's down from 58 deaths on Monday and 54 on Tuesday, the governor said. Hospitalizations are also at an all-time low.

Cuomo warned that although many headlines are focusing on the nationwide protests over George Floyd's death at the hands of police, coronavirus remains a threat.

"It is still in people and in society. We're still battling that," he said of the virus.

WATCH GOV. CUOMO:

10:57 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Brazil's president appoints general as provisional minister of health

From Mia Alberti and Rodrigo Pedroso

Executive Secretary of the Ministry Health Eduardo Pazuello sits during a press conference at the Ministry of Health on May 15 in Brasilia, Brazil.
Executive Secretary of the Ministry Health Eduardo Pazuello sits during a press conference at the Ministry of Health on May 15 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday officially appointed Army General Eduardo Pazuello as interim health minister.

Brazil has been 19 days without a health minister so far.

Bolsonaro suggested that for the time being, he does not plan on naming a permanent replacement for Nelson Teich, his second health minister to resign.

In practice, Pazuello has been acting as the head of the ministry since the resignation of former minister Teich on May 15. 

Some background: Brazil has had two health ministers since the beginning of the pandemic. The original cabinet minister, Nelson Mandetta, was dismissed on April 16 by Bolsonaro for disagreeing with the president's handling of the pandemic. Mandetta’s replacement, Teich, also resigned after less than a month in office for the same reason.

Bolsonaro has been nominating military personnel to key positions in the health ministry for the past month.

Latest numbers: On Tuesday, Brazil registered at least 1,262 new deaths by coronavirus, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. The country has had more than 555,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 31,199 reported deaths.

10:07 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from coronavirus, group says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

The National Nurses United set out 88 empty pairs of shoes on May 7 in Washington representing nurses that they say have died from COVID-19.
The National Nurses United set out 88 empty pairs of shoes on May 7 in Washington representing nurses that they say have died from COVID-19. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from Covid-19, and more than 230,000 health care workers have contracted the virus, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said Wednesday in a statement.

The ICN represents more than 130 national nursing associations with 20 million members globally, and “has been highlighting the lack of systematic data on COVID-19 infection rates of healthcare workers (HCWs) and related deaths of nurses," an ICN spokesman told CNN.  It “implores" governments to act to protect their health and save lives.

“Without this data we do not know the true cost of COVID-19, and that will make us less able to tackle other pandemics in the future,” ICN CEO Howard Catton added in the statement.

The ICN report is based on data from national nursing associations, official figures and media reports from a limited number of countries.

9:23 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

2.8 million private sector jobs disappeared in the US in May, according to report

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk past a shuttered business in Brooklyn on May 12.
People walk past a shuttered business in Brooklyn on May 12. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Another 2.8 million jobs in the private sector disappeared in May, according to the ADP national employment report.

The private sector lost far fewer jobs than expected, however. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had forecast 9 million lost jobs last month.

In April, ADP reported a revised 19.6 million jobs vanished, the worst month since the company began reporting national employment numbers in 2002.

All segments of the economy were decimated again in May, but large businesses with 500 employees or more accounted for more than half the jobs lost — 1.6 million.

Nearly 2 million of the losses occurred in the battered services industry, with the trade, transportation and utilities sector leading the declines. In the goods-producing industry, manufacturing shed the most jobs.

“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to weigh on businesses of all sizes,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “While the labor market is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, job loss likely peaked in April, as many states have begun a phased reopening of businesses.”

The ADP report comes two days ahead of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report, which is due Friday morning.

Economists polled by Refinitiv expect another 8 million jobs lost in May, following a 20.5 million drop in April. That would push the unemployment rate to nearly 20%, a new record high.

9:06 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Portugal wants to welcome British tourists this summer

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

Beachgoers in Praia da Rainha in Cascais, Portugal, on May 29.
Beachgoers in Praia da Rainha in Cascais, Portugal, on May 29. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Portugal hopes to welcome British holidaymakers this summer according to Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, Santos Silva said the UK and Portugal were considering a potential “air bridge” between the two countries. 

Calling quarantine “an enemy of tourism,” Santos Silva said that UK and Portuguese diplomats “will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected in their return to England to any kind of quarantine”.

The UK is set to introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas travelers from Monday with the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel expected to set out the details in Parliament Wednesday. 

UK Health Minister Edward Argar also confirmed on the BBC Radio 4 that the UK government was looking into the possibility of airbridges.

“One of the mitigating aspects for the industry that is being looked into a lot is this concept of airbridges where you do come to agreements with other countries were they are happy with your levels of infection and your control of it and you are happy with theirs” he said.

Argar refused to “pre-empt” any further details about the potential air bridges.

9:04 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

European rail operator will gradually resume international train services

From CNN's James Frater in London

A Thalys high speed train in Belgium in 2018
A Thalys high speed train in Belgium in 2018 Sergi Reboredo/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

European rail operator Thalys is to gradually resume its international train services between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany starting next week.

Thalys, which normally carries 7.5 million passengers a year to 26 destinations has been running four trains a day between Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris since March 10.

Beginning on June 9, the operator will restart a daily service between Dortmond and Paris and increase other services to 20% of its normal offering by the middle of July, with the hope of running 50% of its trains by August.

In an email to customers, Thayls CEO Bertrand Gosselin said: “We do not know when the Covid-19 pandemic will end, nor when our lives will regain some normality.”

Gosselin also assured passengers, “that the safety, well-being and health of our clients and employees is at all times at the core of our decisions.”

Passengers will be required to wear a face covering at all times while onboard and the number of seats available on Thalys trains has been halved to maintain social distancing.

Since April 8, anyone traveling to and from France is required to complete an International Travel Certificate to Mainland France form, confirming their journey is necessary and they are free of Covid-19 symptoms.

Other international European rail operators Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and NS — who have also been running a limited service or no service at all — have begun to slowly resume services from 1 June.

Eurostar, which runs trains between mainland Europe and the United Kingdom will continue to run a reduced service.

A spokesperson for Eurostar told CNN, “We continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops, and we hope to gradually increase our number of services and destinations over the coming weeks in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions.”