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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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patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous side effects was retracted by three of its authors on Thursday.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.

2:20 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Coronavirus vaccine might require two doses, NIH chief says

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN that when the world eventually gets a coronavirus vaccine, it might require two doses to be fully effective.

“Obviously that’s not our favorite. It would be much better if this could all be done with a single injection,” Collins said.

Generally, with any vaccine, one dose is preferred for cost reasons, and also because people are less likely to show up twice to receive an injection.

Collins said the large-scale clinical trials of several experimental vaccines, expected to start next month, will reveal whether one or two doses will be necessary. 

“There is certainly a chance that one or more of these vaccines might turn out to require two shots in order to get full immune response. That’s one of the reasons to do the experiments and the research trials to find that out,” he said. “If what it takes to provide full protection for any of these is two doses, we want to know that.”

The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), 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.

2:15 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Washington, DC, anticipates possible new peak in coronavirus cases due to backlog in lab results

From CNN's Nicky Robertson and Lindy Royce-Bartlett

Medical professionals prepare to administer a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing site run by George Washington University Hospital on May 26 in Washington.
Medical professionals prepare to administer a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing site run by George Washington University Hospital on May 26 in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Washington, DC, has seen an uptick in Covid-19 cases that occurred on May 30 due to a backlog in testing results.

Officials now anticipate a possible new peak in cases.

"Based on new identified cases and their corresponding symptom onset dates, DC Health has determined that a new peak in cases occurred on May 30. Therefore, the district has experienced three days of sustained decrease in community spread of Covid-19 during phase one," a statement on coronavirus.dc.gov said. "Due to a backlog of lab results being reported after Memorial Day, and new cases are identified through contact tracing, the number of cases attributed to a specific symptom onset date will be impacted. This may result in a new peak, and a resetting of day zero in the upcoming days. "

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the numbers "are what they are," and encouraged residents to get tested.

The mayor has previously acknowledged the possibility of an uptick in cases due to protests, but that likely won't be seen for weeks.

2:01 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

CDC director continues to work with WHO, despite Trump's announcement to terminate relationship

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attends a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on "COVID-19 Response" on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attends a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on "COVID-19 Response" on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4. Al Drago/Bloomberg/AFP/Getty Images

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the agency continues “to have a close collaboration” with the World Health Organization (WHO), despite a recent announcement from President Trump that he was terminating the US relationship.

Dr. Robert Redfield said during a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response that the CDC has been working with WHO as recently as the last few days.

“Unfortunately, we have a new Ebola outbreak now in the Western Congo and we've we jumped right in with WHO and the Ministry of Health to begin to confront that Ebola outbreak,” he said.

“I feel confident that the public health partnership that we have — although it may be modified in some way at a political level — I don't think it's going to be modified in terms of our public health efforts,” Redfield added.

1:59 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Sweden will begin easing travel restrictions

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, right, hold a news conference with Social Minister Lena Hallengren, in the Government Offices in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 4.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, right, hold a news conference with Social Minister Lena Hallengren, in the Government Offices in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 4. Soren Andersson/TT News Agency/AP

Sweden will ease its travel restrictions stating June 13 to allow those who do not have any symptoms of coronavirus to move around the country, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday, his spokesperson told CNN.

"This decision does not mean that the danger is over," Lofven said during a news conference. "It doesn't mean that life is back to normal again, and other restrictions remain in place."

"If the curve showing the seriously ill turns up again, there will be new restrictions." 

Starting June 8, seasonal workers in agricultural, forestry and horticulture from the European Union will be allowed in Sweden.

Belgian borders will be open for countries in the EU, UK and for non-EU members countries within the Schengen zone from June 15, a federal government spokesperson told CNN. Belgium will allow almost all businesses to reopen on June 8, including cafes and bars, which will have to comply with social distancing measures. 

Virgin Atlantic has announced its plan to restart passenger flying, with services from London Heathrow to Orlando, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles set to resume starting July 20 and 21, the company said Thursday in a statement.

"As countries around the world start to relax travel restrictions, Virgin Atlantic will resume some routes on 20th July, while steadily increasing passenger flying throughout the second half of 2020, with a further, gradual recovery through 2021 in line with customer demand," the statement said.

 

1:54 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Jordan announces new reopening measures after recording low number of Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh in Hereford

The Jordanian government announced further steps to reopen the country as the kingdom decreased its coronavirus risk level to “moderate,” Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said in a televised briefing on Thursday, adding that less than ten cases a day were recorded over the past week.

These are the new guidelines:

  • Most sectors of the economy will be allowed to open, movement between provinces will be permitted and domestic flights will resume, Media Affairs Minister Amjad Adaileh said in a series of tweets Thursday.
  • Touristic sites, hotels and cafes will also be allowed to operate with strict social distancing measures, he said.
  • Schools, universities, parks, cinemas, wedding halls and mourning halls will remain closed.
  • Public transportation will operate at a 50% capacity and curfew hours have been reduced to go from midnight to 6 a.m., Adaileh added.

Some background: Jordan moved early by implementing one of the strictest lockdown measures in the Middle East after recording its first coronavirus case in March.

The country has since recorded some of the lowest case numbers in the region with 765 cases and nine deaths, according to the country's Health Ministry figures.

The kingdom began easing restrictions in May and last week announced it will allow the opening of mosques and churches for worship, according to Jordanian religious leaders.

Jordan remains under defense Law, an emergency law that gives the government sweeping powers.

1:39 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

CDC director says protesters should be tested for Covid-19

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Protesters gather on June 4 in New York.
Protesters gather on June 4 in New York. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters need to be evaluated and tested for coronavirus, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.

“We really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Redfield said at a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response.

“I do think there is a potential, unfortunately for this to be a seeding event,” he said — especially those in metropolitan areas where there has been significant transmission.

“The way to minimize that is to have each individual to recognize it's to the advantage of them to protect their loved ones to (say) ‘Hey, I was out, I need to, I need to go get tested,’ you know, and in three, five, seven days go get tested, make sure you're not infected,” Redfield said.

During an exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Redfield addressed the use of tear gas on protesters. Redfield said in his experience tear gas can cause people to cough – not a good thing during a pandemic involving a respiratory virus. 

“Definitely coughing can spread respiratory viruses, including Covid-19,” he said.

Pocan asked Redfield if he had advised the President or worked with law enforcement to discontinue to use of tear gas during the pandemic.  

“I think you raised an important point we have advocated strongly — the ability to have face coverings and masks available to protesters, so that they can at least have those coverings,” Redfield said. 

Redfield added he would “pass on this comment to next Task Force meeting.”