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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12:31 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

New York City is still on track to reopen on Monday

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

New York City is still on track to reopen and begin phase one on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

The city will provide 2 million free face covering for employees through Monday, the mayor said. City partners will distribute face coverings directly to businesses or serve as pickup hubs.

The city will also open a dedicated business restart hotline on Friday to help businesses with questions about reopening. 

"Phase one is going to go on, and we will build from there,” de Blasio said.  

Phase two could begin as early as July, De Blasio said. 

Under phase one of New York's reopening plans, retail can reopen for pickup orders and some industries, such as construction and agriculture, can resume operations.

Under phase two, restaurants will open for limited outdoor seating, the mayor said.

11:53 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NYC seeing "lowest number" of Covid-19 infection rates, mayor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is seeing the “lowest number” of people testing positive for Covid-19. The is the lowest infection rate since the start of the crisis, de Blasio said. 

The goal of the infection rate is to stay under 15%, and the city is seeing a Covid-19 infection rate of only 3%, the mayor said.

New hospital admissions for Covid-19 are at 48 and that number is below the 200 goal, a figure the mayor called “great.” 

Of the people being treated for Covid-19 in the city’s public hospital intensive care unit, that number is 354 and is below the goal of 400, de Blasio said.

11:28 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Nearly 43 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than a quarter of the labor force - 42.6 million people - has now claimed benefits since the pandemic began ravaging the US labor market.

Another 1.9 million workers filed for initial unemployment aid last week, according to the US Department of Labor.

Claims again fell from the previous week, a trend that has held for the past ten weeks, ever since first-time claims peaked at 6.9 million in the last week of March.

Continuing claims, which count people who have filed benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 21.5 million. This number unexpectedly increased slightly from the week prior.

Economists began shifting their focus from initial claims to continuing claims in May, as the number of first-time filers continued to drop.

Continuing claims declined in the previous week, suggesting more people are returning to work as the economy is reopening. But, as last week's increase proves, the progress is painfully slow. And moving faster to reopen could increase the threat of spreading Covid-19. 

More on these numbers: For 11 weeks in a row, jobless claims have been in the millions. Before the pandemic, the labor department had never recorded a single week of jobless claims over a million. 

America's unemployment rate is expected to have reached nearly 20% in March, with 28.5 million jobs eliminated over the past two months. That's an unemployment rate not recorded since the Great Depression, and the highest monthly level since the data collection began in 1948.

10:55 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Lebanon extends mobilization coronavirus restrictions through July 5

CNN's Ghazi Balkiz

Lebanon has extended its countrywide coronavirus restrictions – known as “General Mobilization” measures - from June 8 through July 5, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad said during a press briefing after a cabinet meeting Thursday.

On Monday, the Lebanese government further relaxed the lockdown measures by reducing the curfew time to 5 hours (midnight to 5 a.m. local, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET) and by allowing shopping malls, swimming pools and beaches to re-open.

However, large social gatherings such as festivals and conventions will remain prohibited. 

Bars, nightclubs, theaters, movie-theaters, gyms and public parks remain closed until further notice and movement of vehicles will still be regulated according to license plates numbers, where vehicles with odd and even license plate numbers are allowed out on specified days.

 “Commercial activities that were gradually allowed to commence will continue to operate” the minister said. “The military and security forces and services were asked to strictly suppress violations that could lead to the spread of the virus,” she said. 

The Lebanese cabinet asked media outlets to continue their positive campaigns to spread awareness about the virus, Abdel-Samad added.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Minister of Public Health said Thursday that the government “will consider reoopening the airport” when repatriated Lebanese and expatriates adhere to quarantine, said NNA, the Lebanese National News Agency.

This comes after a repatriated woman ended up infecting 42 people with the virus in Barja, a town about 30km south of Beirut this week.

Lebanon has recorded 1,256 positive Covid-19 cases and 27 deaths, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. 


10:04 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

UN head: "Covid-19 is the greatest public health crisis of our generation"

From CNN's Samantha Tapfumaneyi

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking at the Global Vaccine Summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday that the Covid-19 vaccine must be seen as a "people's vaccine."

“Covid-19 is the greatest public health crisis of our generation and right now there is no vaccine. As we work together to develop one, there is an important lesson we need to understand. A vaccine by itself is not enough; we need global solidarity to ensure that every person everywhere has access. A Covid-19 vaccine must be seen as a global public good – a people’s vaccine – which a growing number of world leaders are calling for,” said Guterres.

The Global Vaccine Summit is a virtual gathering hosted by the UK with leaders around the world seeking cooperation on research and funding for a Covid-19 vaccine.

10:03 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Boris Johnson calls vaccine summit "moment when world comes together"

From CNN's James Frater in London

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened a UK-hosted virtual Global Vaccine Summit Thursday, calling it “a real moment when the world comes together, uniting humanity in the fight against disease.”

“To defeat coronavirus, we must focus our collective ingenuity on the search for a vaccine and ensure that countries, pharmaceutical companies and international partners like the World Health Organization cooperate on a scale beyond anything we’ve seen before,” said Johnson.

The Global Vaccine Summit hopes to raise at least $7.4 billion for vaccine research.

Johnson asked the participants to make use of the The Vaccine Alliance purchasing power "to make that future vaccine affordable and available to all who need it.” 

According to Johnson, "the UK is the single biggest donor to the international effort to find a coronavirus vaccine, we will remain the world’s leading donor to Gavi, contributing £1.65bn over the next five years.”

9:15 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Trump: Coronavirus "doesn’t discriminate, it’s mean, it’s nasty"

From CNN's James Frater

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump called the coronavirus “mean” and “nasty” in a pre-recorded statement at the virtual UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit on Thursdsay. 

“As the coronavirus has shown there are no borders, it doesn’t discriminate, it’s mean, it’s nasty but we’re going to all take care of it together,” Trump said. 

“It’s great to be partnering with you, we will work hard, we will work strong. Send my regards to Boris and good luck. Let’s get the answer,” he added.

Referring to summit host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump said he “called he said ‘do you think you could do something maybe around the oval office or right by the oval office?’ I said why not, it happens to be right behind me.” 

9:01 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

European Central Bank unleashes more stimulus to boost Europe’s economy amid the pandemic

From CNN's Chris Liakos

The European Central Bank announced further stimulus measures Thursday to help Europe’s economy and counter the coronavirus impact.

The bank said it will expand its bond buying program by another 600 billion euros ($675 billion). This brings the total pandemic emergency purchase program to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.52 trillion)

ECB said “the expansion will further ease the general monetary policy stance, supporting funding conditions in the real economy, especially for businesses and households.” It says the stimulus will last until at least the end of June 2021 and that it will keep buying bonds “until it judges that the coronavirus crisis phase is over.”

The ECB reiterated that it stands ready to use all tools necessary to help the economy.

The European Union economy will shrink by a record 7.5% this year, and the drop could be even more precipitous across the 19 countries that use the euro, the European Commission warned in mid-May.

It's a much steeper decline than the region suffered following the 2008 global financial crisis, and a more pessimistic outlook than forecast by the International Monetary Fund in late April.

Some Background: Consumer prices are expected to fall significantly, while spending on coronavirus relief measures will push the deficits of European governments from just 0.6% of GDP in 2019 to around 8.5% this year. The Commission predicts that EU unemployment will increase from 6.7% in 2019 to 9% this year.

"Europe is experiencing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression. Both the depth of the recession and the strength of recovery will be uneven, conditioned by the speed at which lockdowns can be lifted, the importance of services like tourism in each economy and by each country's financial resources," EU economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said in a statement in mid-May.
8:50 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Nearly 1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Nearly 1.9 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week, bringing the total claims to 42.6 million since the coronavirus pandemic forced the US economy to shut down in March.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who filed for benefits for at least two weeks a row, unexpectedly rose from the prior week. They stood at 21.5 million, versus 20.1 million expected

For 11 weeks in a row, jobless claims have been in the millions. Before the pandemic, the labor department had never recorded a single week of jobless claims over a million.