June 4 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brett McKeehan, Laura Smith-Spark and Peter Wilkinson, CNN

Updated 7:57 a.m. ET, June 5, 2020
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4:21 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

CDC director says flu vaccine will be important defense against coronavirus in upcoming months

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A man gets a flu shot at a health facility in Washington January 31.
A man gets a flu shot at a health facility in Washington January 31. Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

Flu vaccines and social distancing will be important defenses against coronavirus in the upcoming months, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Thursday. 

If a second wave of coronavirus hits when flu season is underway, it could really strain hospitals, Redfield said at a House Appropriations committee hearing on the Covid-19 response. If more people got flu vaccines, that could ease the strain, he said.

“Only about 47% of the American public take advantage of flu vaccine. We're really hoping that the American public will see that the flu vaccine is one major way they can help this nation get through this fall.” 

Plus, social distancing will continue to be important. “These social distancing strategies that we’ve learned are something we need to perfect, because we’re going to need them to be out major defense again, in October, November, December,” Redfield said. 

 

4:17 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Expect Covid-19 vaccine to be available early next year, NIH director says

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said 100 million doses of coronavirus could “perhaps” be available by early next year.

Asked when a coronavirus vaccine would be approved and available to the public, Collins said we could “perhaps have, if all goes well, maybe as many as 100 million doses by early 2021.”

That’s somewhat less optimistic than what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday. 

“By the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses,” Fauci said during a live question and answer session sponsored by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some context: The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is currently funding research on five different experimental vaccines.

Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and AstraZeneca are currently in clinical trials, testing the vaccines on humans. Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and Merck are developing a vaccine, but have not yet started clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

“Because we have a number of these, and they all use a different strategy, I am optimistic that at least one maybe two, maybe three will come through looking like what we need,” Collins told CNN. “We want to hedge our bets by having a number of different approaches, so that it's very likely that at least one of them and maybe more will work.”

He said that large-scale clinical trials of “several” vaccines will start in July. He said each vaccine would be testing in a phase three trial involving 30,000 people, some of them receiving a vaccine and some receiving a placebo, or a shot that does nothing.

The study subjects will then go about their lives, and the researchers will tally up who contracts Covid-19 and who does not. 

4:16 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

A restaurant should shut down if faced with Covid-19 outbreak, top US health expert says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on April 29.
Dr. Anthony Fauci , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on April 29. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that if a restaurant is facing a Covid-19 outbreak among its employees, it should shut down.

"I know it would be difficult for business, but you've got to shut down until you clear your employees to come back," Fauci told chef José Andrés during an Instagram Live interview.

Fauci went on to explain that if an establishment has only one employee infected, then it becomes a "judgment call."

"You can get help from health authorities to say, what is the connectivity between that one person and everyone else," Fauci said, adding, "if they're not a high risk contact, you just make sure they get symptoms, they don't come to work."

"You've got to have a responsibility of not only protecting yourself and your employees, but also your clients and your customers," Fauci said.

4:13 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NIH director worried vaccine "skepticism" might cause some people to skip coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins listens during a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on new coronavirus tests on Capitol Hill May 7 in Washington.
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins listens during a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on new coronavirus tests on Capitol Hill May 7 in Washington. Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN he’s concerned that vaccine “skepticism” could hinder the effort to immunize the country against Covid-19.

“I’m a bit concerned to see there’s a fair amount of skepticism in the American public about whether or not they would take such a vaccine,” Collins said. “We won’t get past Covid-19 unless we have a substantial majority of our public ultimately rendered immune.”

A vaccine could come on the market as early as next year, and Collins said he hopes “the American public will embrace this as an opportunity to protect themselves, and the rest of their community, in order to get us all back to some sort of normal state.” 

Some people have expressed concern that President Trump’s name for the campaign to develop a coronavirus vaccine — “Operation Warp Speed” — leaves the impression that scientists are rushing through the vaccine testing process.

“I want to assure everybody who’s heard the [words] ‘warp speed’ and worried that that means we’re cutting corners on safety, that we absolutely will not do this. No vaccine is going to be put forward unless it’s been checked out very thoroughly, both in terms of is it safe and does it protect you,” Collins said.

“Maybe we’ve got some work to do to try to explain exactly once we have the data, why these vaccines are in fact proven to be safe and effective,” he added.

Collins said that despite the drive to get the vaccine out in record time, nothing would compromise the science.

“As a scientist, a physician and the director of the National Institutes of Health, we will make these decisions solely on the basis of the evidence for individual vaccines. This will not be influenced by other factors that might put people at risk,” he said.

4:11 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

New federal testing protocol aims to address disparities, CDC director says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing about the COVID-19 response on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies at a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing about the COVID-19 response on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4. Al Drago/Pool/AP

A new federal testing protocol calling for demographic information to be included with coronavirus tests is aimed at addressing racial and social disparities across the US, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Thursday.

Speaking with Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat from Illinois, at the House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response, Redfield said he is concerned about the impact of coronavirus among communities of color. 

Bustos said communities of color often have limited access to certain resources, such as healthy foods, leading to higher risks of contracting Covid-19. 

Redfield agreed. 

“There’s no question that the social determinants of health as pertained to access to quality food have enormous public health, health outcomes,” he said. “Fundamentally the key first step that we need to do to address the health disparities.” 

The Health and Human Services Department released new guidance Thursday asking for testing sites to include demographic data like race, ethnicity, age, and sex. “I have every intent to get that data so we can begin to understand. Clearly, increasing access to knowledge of infection in vulnerable communities is critical to getting testing more available there,” Redfield said. 

Responding to Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, Redfield spoke out about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Native American community and the resources that have been provided to them to try to help. 

As well as financial support, these include a number of rapid response teams “to basically provide technical assistance because they have had some of the more significant outbreaks.” 

4:10 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

5.2% of Spain’s population has coronavirus antibodies, government study suggests

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro and Al Goodman

A fisherman undergoes a rapid test of Covid 19 in Castro Urdiales, Spain, on May 4.
A fisherman undergoes a rapid test of Covid 19 in Castro Urdiales, Spain, on May 4. H. Bilbao/Europa Press/Getty Images)

Only 5.2% of people in Spain have developed coronavirus antibodies so far, according to interim results from an ongoing government study announced on Thursday evening.

These results are consistent with those from the first phase of the study, which showed 5% of people in the country had antibodies – meaning they had been infected at some point. The second phase of the study took place between May 18 and June 1.

While it is still not clear if having antibodies means people are immune to reinfection, doctors believe they provide at least some immunity. Antibody testing also paints a picture of how much of the population has been infected so far.

More on the study: The study indicates a very slightly lower percentage of men (5.01%) have antibodies than women (5.40%).

And although the national average is 5.21%, the study shows geographical differences, also very similar to those observed in the first round, with 10% of the population testing positive for antibodies both in Madrid and surrounding provinces. 

The government researchers also said one third of those infected don't show symptoms.

3:22 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Large study of hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients retracted after publication in The Lancet

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

A pharmacy tech holds pills of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
A pharmacy tech holds pills of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

A large study that said Covid-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous side effects was retracted by three of its authors on Thursday.

The study, published May 22 in the medical journal The Lancet, had provided a counterpoint to President Trump, who has called hydroxychloroquine a “game-changer.”

The study used data from Surgisphere Corporation, which describes itself as a “public service organization dedicated to making the world a better place.” Questions about Surgisphere’s data emerged shortly after the study published on May 22.

In their retraction, three researchers, Dr. Mandeep Mehra, Dr. Frank Ruschitzka and Dr. Amit Patel, wrote that, after concerns were raised about the data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere and its founder, Sapan Desai, a co-author of the study, they launched a third-party peer review, with Desai���s consent. They aimed to confirm “the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper.”

“Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements. As such, our reviewers were not able to conduct an independent and private peer review and therefore notified us of their withdrawal from the peer-review process,” the three researchers wrote.

“Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted,” they wrote. “We all entered this collaboration to contribute in good faith and at a time of great need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We deeply apologise to you, the editors, and the journal readership for any embarrassment or inconvenience that this may have caused.”

In a statement, The Lancet said it “takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously, and there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study,” and said “institutional reviews of Surgisphere’s research collaborations are urgently needed.”

Retractions of studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals are rare. Earlier this week, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine issued expressions of concern about Surgisphere data used in two separate studies.

Other studies have also found Covid-19 patients did not benefit from treatment with hydroxychloroquine, and they may have experienced serious side effects due to the treatment.

3:16 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NBA plans to restart season on July 31

From CNN's David Close

An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12 in New York City.
An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12 in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The NBA's Board of Governors have voted to restart the suspended 2019-2020 season with 22 of the league’s 30 teams taking part. The decision will now be considered by the players union who need to approve the plan.

The new schedule will see training camps open the first half of July with a tentative resumption of the regular season on July 31.

The NBA says the season restart is contingent on a deal made to utilize the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, as an isolated campus to hold all games, practices and residency.

In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”

2:59 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

France's Bastille Day military parade to be replaced by a smaller ceremony due to coronavirus

From CNN's Benjamin Berteau

French soldiers parade in military vehicles during the Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2019.
French soldiers parade in military vehicles during the Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2019. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

France will replace its traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs-Élysées in Paris with a smaller military ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, said Friday.

The July 14 ceremony will be a scaled down celebration and will include a tribute to health care workers.

An Elysée spokesperson told CNN that the gathering in Paris would be about half the size, reduced to 2,000 participants and about 2,500 guests.

"An air parade will honour the participation of our armies in the fight against Covid-19, through Operation Resilience, in which our armed forces have helped for instance in the repatriation and displacement of ill people," the spokesperson said.

Parly tweeted the parade is a “moment of union and pride" and "because the 2020 edition will pay tribute to the caregivers," the celebrations will go ahead on a smaller scale.