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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12:38 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England starting June 15

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

A passenger walks along a platform after arriving at Waterloo Train station in central London on May 18.
A passenger walks along a platform after arriving at Waterloo Train station in central London on May 18. Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport in England starting June 15, as the country continues to ease out of coronavirus lockdown.

Exceptions will be made for children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems and could be enforced by British transport police, Britain’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps said Thursday during a daily government briefing.

Public transport will be “ramped” up with additional trains, buses, and subways added to existing routes to help lessen crowding as more people return to work.

“It’s not always possible to stay two meters apart on public transport,” he acknowledged and reiterated that those who can work from home, continue to do so. 

Volunteers will be present at stations handing out extra masks. Shapps said people who don’t comply “could” be fined.

“You cannot travel if you are not wearing a face covering,” he said. 

In terms of progress against the virus, there have been 176 new deaths in past 24 hours, bringing the total official number of deaths in Britain to 39,728.

12:41 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Coronavirus "highlighted the shortcomings of our public health system," CDC director says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield testifies before the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "COVID-19 Response on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield testifies before the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "COVID-19 Response on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 4. Tasos Katopodis/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has “highlighted the shortcomings of our public health system that has been under-resourced for decades,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Thursday.

That’s especially true for information technology, he said.

“Never has it been more clear that our nation's public health IT infrastructure requires modernization, to support and collect reportable, reliable, comprehensive and timely data,” he told a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response. 

“When we confront any disease threat, CDC and public health departments must make real-time decisions based on real-time data. Data forms the roadmap, and it informs policy. Data is the backbone of any disease threat response," Redfield added.
12:27 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

New York seeing a "continued decline" in Covid-19 numbers, Gov. Cuomo says

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Cuomo said Thursday is day 96 of the Covid-19 crisis and said the state is "seeing a continued decline in numbers."

Cuomo said there were 52 lives lost related to Covid-19 on Wednesday saying, “the overall movement is still in a positive motion.” At least 49 deaths were reported Tuesday, down from 58 deaths on Monday.

In response to the demonstrations that have taken place in the state following George Floyd's death, Cuomo said the protesters could, “actually compound the issue.”

Cuomo said the state is going to open testing to anyone who was at a protest.

Cuomo urged that protesters, “Be responsible, get a test and allow the police to do their job when you are protesting.”

 “If you were at one of those protests, tell people I may have been exposed and act like you may have been exposed,” Cuomo said regarding protesting amidst the Covid-19 crisis. 

“If you had a viral spread through these protests, we are not going to see it for a while… so it is important that people act responsibly for themselves,” Cuomo said Thursday.

On reopening, Cuomo said there are seven regions in “phase 2”, which allows outdoor dining. Outdoor tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and all staff must wear face coverings, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the state will be allowing drive-in and drive-thru graduations.

12:25 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

CDC director is "deeply saddened" by the loss of lives from Covid-19

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he is “deeply saddened personally, by the many thousands of lives that have been lost to Covid-19 in the United States and around the world.”

On Thursday, speaking during a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response, Redfield said the US is getting a wake-up call.

“We're hearing a clamoring for equity and healing for positive permanent change to health and social disparities that exist in our nation,” he said.

“We must resolve — we can and we must — lessen the health disparities in this nation,” he added. 

Some context: Redfield has defended the CDC's surveillance for coronavirus and denied that the agency missed the spread of the virus across the country.

"We were never blind when it came to surveillance for coronavirus 19," Redfield told reporters May 29.

Redfield was discussing a CDC report that shows the virus was already spreading some in January and early February in Washington state and other Pacific Northwest areas, much earlier than when the first case of community spread was confirmed in the United States in late February.

CDC previously has been criticized for its slow response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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.