June 7 coronavirus news

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3:50 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Brazilians protest government for withholding coronavirus data, as deaths soar further

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

People walk through Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, as the region's lockdown is eased.
People walk through Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, as the region's lockdown is eased.

Brazil recorded 904 new coronavirus deaths and 27,075 new virus cases over the past 24 hours, the country’s ministry of health said Saturday, as the virus continued to ravage the South American nation.

The newly reported virus cases bring the total number of deaths Brazil has reported during the pandemic to 35,930 and the total number of reported cases to 672,846.

But Jair Bolsonaro's government has not reported official cumulative nationwide totals since Thursday June 4, the day the South American nation surpassed Italy in its reported Covid-19 fatalities. The ministry of health has instead only reported the number of cases and deaths newly recorded over the preceding 24 hours.

That move has drawn sharp criticism, with a top judge, an association of state health secretaries and the Brazilian media protesting the decision to pare down publicly available Covid-19 statistics.

Supreme Court Minister Gilmar Mendes wrote on Twitter on Saturday: "The manipulation of statistics is a maneuver made by authoritarian regimes. It’s an attempt to hide the Covid-19 numbers to reduce social control of health policies. The trick will not exempt [officials] from responsibility for an eventual genocide. #NoCensorship #DicatorshipNeverAgain"

CNN is reporting nationwide death and case totals by adding each day’s newly reported cases and deaths to the last cumulative death and case toll reported by the government. A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins University told CNN by e-mail on Saturday that its Coronavirus Resource Center map is employing the same methodology.

On Friday, a major Brazilian daily, O Globo, published an interview with the health ministry’s new secretary of science and technology, Carlos Wizard, in which he said Brazil’s health ministry will recount the country’s Covid-19 death toll, alleging that the number was “fanciful or manipulated.”

According to O Globo, Wizard said: “A lot of people died of other causes and the local health officials, solely out of their interest in having a larger budget for their municipalities, their states, were labeling every death as Covid. We are re-evaluating those deaths.”

A national council representing state health secretaries (CONASS) issued a condemnation of Wizard’s comments on Saturday.

“In saying that state health secretaries falsify data about Covid-19 deaths in a bid for a greater ‘budget,’ the secretary, in addition to showing his profound ignorance about the issue, insults the memory of all those helpless victims of this terrible pandemic and their families,” the statement said. 

3:47 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

China says it immediately notified the WHO of the coronavirus outbreak 

From Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong

China says it immediately notified the World Health Organization and other relevant parties of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a report published Sunday outlining China's actions in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic, the country’s State Council Information Office says “China immediately notified the World Health Organization and relevant countries and regional organizations of the outbreak.”

The report adds that China “shared the whole genome sequence and specific primers and probes for detection of COVID-19, and regularly notified the World Health Organization and relevant countries with Epidemic information.” 

China has been criticized by other countries, in particular the United States, for allegedly withholding information about the outbreak in its early days.

The report also outlines that the National Health Commission “preliminarily confirmed that the novel coronavirus was the pathogen of the epidemic” on January 8, and the Chinese government has been updating the WHO daily since January 11, sharing the genome sequence with the WHO on the following day, January 12.

3:24 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

What you need to know about coronavirus

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

A cemetery worker rides a bicycle to put flowers on the graves at El Angel cemetery on June 4, 2020 in Lima, Peru. Peru has the second-highest number of cases of Covid-19 in Latin America, after Brazil.
A cemetery worker rides a bicycle to put flowers on the graves at El Angel cemetery on June 4, 2020 in Lima, Peru. Peru has the second-highest number of cases of Covid-19 in Latin America, after Brazil. Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has reversed course on face masks. It’s now encouraging people to wear them to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The general public should use fabric masks in high-spread areas, the WHO said, or whenever social distancing is impossible. The global health agency also said that all health workers, not just those caring for Covid-19 patients, should wear masks in clinical areas.

In an effort to make more masks available for health workers, the WHO had previously advised the public to avoid wearing them if they were not sick or caring for someone who is ill. The policy shift is another reminder of the constantly evolving challenges faced in the fight against the virus.

Hydroxychloroquine provides another example. Initial studies suggested the malaria drug may help Covid-19 patients recover faster. But subsequent trials have disproved that research, with one study suggesting the drug might be harmful, prompting the WHO to suspend its trials.

While that study has since been retracted, and the WHO is now saying it’s safe to resume trials, the United Kingdom abruptly ended its trial on Friday. Its researchers found the drug doesn’t work against Covid-19.

In the rush to find a vaccine, mishaps are to be expected. But scientists warn there is little room for error if one is to be developed by January. “Everything will have to go incredibly perfectly if that's going to happen,” said Dr. Larry Corey, a virology and vaccine development expert.

Peruvians cry out for oxygen: People collapse on the street. Others drag desperately ill relatives to hospitals that won't admit them. Distraught children ask why their parents were left to die. The coronavirus outbreak in Peru is spiraling out of control and experts fear it will only worsen.

Oxygen tanks, an important weapon against the virus, are in short supply, and they have come to symbolize the chaos in Peru. Desperate citizens have turned to a burgeoning black market, with tanks listed for sale at exorbitant prices on social media and e-commerce sites, as Jack Guy and Claudia Rebaza report.

Cases rise faster than ever: The infection rate has slowed in most countries hit hard early on in the pandemic, including China, the US, UK, Italy, Spain and France. But global numbers show it’s far from over. 

In many countries, particularly in South America, the Middle East and Africa, transmission rates are accelerating, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

Globally, confirmed cases are now rising at a rate of more than 100,000 a day over a seven-day period. In April new cases never topped 100,000 in one day. But confirmed daily cases have topped that number in nine of the past 10 days, reaching 130,400 cases on Wednesday.

Bolsonaro echoes Trump: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to leave the WHO for what he calls “ideological” bias, citing US President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that America will sever its relationship with the health agency. 

“We don't need foreign people having a say in our health here,” Bolsonaro said. 

Brazil has recorded 1,005 new coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the country’s death toll to 35,026. Brazil has recorded more than 600,000 cases, second only to the US.

A version of this story first appeared in CNN's Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here.