June 8 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Emma Reynolds, CNN

Updated 2:51 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020
22 Posts
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9:07 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

US restrictions averted about 60 million coronavirus infections through early April, study says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Coronavirus tests are administered at a drive-thru testing site in Jericho, New York, on April 6.
Coronavirus tests are administered at a drive-thru testing site in Jericho, New York, on April 6. Al Bello/Getty Images

If large-scale shutdown policies — such as ordering people to stay home and closing schools — were not implemented after the coronavirus pandemic made its way to the United States, there would be roughly 60 million more coronavirus infections across the nation, a new modeling study suggests.

The study, published Monday in the scientific journal Nature, involved a modeling technique typically used for estimating economic growth to measure the effect of shutdown policies across six countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States.

Those estimates suggest that, without certain policies in place from the beginning of the pandemic in January through early April, there would be roughly:

  • 285 million more total infections in China
  • 38 million more total infections in South Korea
  • 49 million more total infections in Italy
  • 54 million more total infections in Iran
  • 45 million more total infections in France
  • 60 million more total infections in the United States 

Overall, the study suggests that emergency Covid-19 policies prevented more than 500 million total coronavirus infections across all six countries. 

The study period ended on April 6, but keeping shutdown orders in place after that time has likely led to even more coronavirus infections being avoided — even though maintaining such measures has been difficult, the study's lead author, Solomon Hsiang, a professor and director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a press release on Monday.

"The last several months have been extraordinarily difficult, but through our individual sacrifices, people everywhere have each contributed to one of humanity’s greatest collective achievements," Hsiang said in the press release.

"I don’t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There have been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show that each day made a profound difference," Hsiang added. "By using science and cooperating, we changed the course of history."

The study, conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley, included data across the six countries on daily infection rates, changes in coronavirus case definitions and the timing of 1,717 policy deployments — including travel restrictions, social distancing measures and stay-at-home lockdowns — from the earliest available dates this year through April 6.

The researchers analyzed that data to estimate how the daily growth rate of infections could have changed over time within a specific location if there were different combinations of large-scale policies enacted. The data showed that, excluding Iran, the growth rate of infections was around 38% per day on average before policies slowed the spread. 

The researchers found that, across all six countries total, shutdown interventions prevented or delayed roughly 530 million total infections — which, based on testing procedures and how cases were defined, translates to about 62 million confirmed cases. 

The researchers did not estimate how many deaths might have been prevented.

"Our analysis focuses on confirmed infections, but other outcomes, such as hospitalizations or deaths, are also of policy interest. Future work on these outcomes may require additional modeling approaches because they are relatively more context- and state-dependent," the researchers wrote in the study.

Remember: The study had some limitations, including that available data on infections and measures across the countries were limited and the study can only suggest estimations about what could have happened.

"Our empirical results indicate that large-scale anti-contagion policies are slowing the COVID-19 pandemic," the researchers wrote in the study. "Because infection rates in the countries we study would have initially followed rapid exponential growth had no policies been applied, our results suggest that these policies have provided large health benefits." 

7:44 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

AstraZeneca and Gilead reportedly talked about coronavirus mega merger

From CNN's Charles Riley

AstraZeneca has approached rival drugmaker Gilead about a potential merger, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Neither company responded to requests for comment on Monday, but if the transaction were to take place, it would unite two of the leading players in the fight against coronavirus in the biggest health care deal on record.

AstraZeneca has secured production capacity to make 2 billion doses of a potential vaccine, while the experimental Gilead drug remdesivir has been approved by the US government to treat hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19.

Shares in AstraZeneca dropped by more than 2% in London -- even as the FTSE 100 index rose -- after Bloomberg reported that the UK-based company had made a preliminary approach last month to US firm Gilead. The two companies have a combined stock market value of nearly $140 billion.

What's behind the move? Bloomberg cautioned that AstraZeneca did not specify any financial terms for a deal. Its report also said that Gilead discussed the idea with advisers, but the companies were not in formal discussions. 

Analysts said the rationale for the potential deal was not immediately obvious. According to UBS, AstraZeneca and its smaller rival have little in common when it comes to products and strategy. Still, Gilead does have something AstraZeneca does not — plenty of cash.

Read the full story here:

9:24 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

Coronavirus cases nearing 2 million in US with at least 110,514 deaths

People are tested for coronavirus in Arlington, Virginia, on May 26.
People are tested for coronavirus in Arlington, Virginia, on May 26. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in the US are nearing 2 million, and at least 110,514 people have died of the virus, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 1,942,363 cases of coronavirus across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases -- the highest figure of any country in the world.

New York has the highest number of cases of any state at 378,097 and the most deaths, at 30,374.

There are now more than 7 million cases worldwide and 400,000 deaths globally.

Coronavirus cases are rising faster than ever -- at a rate of more than 100,000 day -- propelled by a steep increase in case numbers in South and Latin America and the Caribbean.

7:20 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

Armenian PM returns to work after coronavirus

Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan is pictured in Berlin, Germany, on February 13.
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan is pictured in Berlin, Germany, on February 13. Omer Messinger/EPA/Shutterstock

Armenia's Prime Minister has returned to work after being diagnosed with coronavirus, his press officer has told CNN.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan started working from home early last week 

"The Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, his spouse, Anna Hakobyan, and three of their children have been tested negative for the coronavirus in a double testing. The PM will be back on his full duties starting from today," Mane Gevorgyan, the Prime Minister's press officer, said in a text message.

Pashinyan is one of several senior politicians to be diagnosed with the virus. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent time in intensive care suffering from Covid-19, while Kentucky senator Rand Paul tested positive for the virus in March.

Iran's Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi both tested positive for the virus, and an adviser to the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died after contracting it.

Justin Trudeau's wife Sophie was also diagnosed with the virus, forcing the Canadian Prime Minister to isolate for two weeks.

Britain's Prince Charles and Monaco's Prince Albert also contracted Covid-19.

6:57 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

Top health officials monitor nationwide protests, fearing coronavirus may spread

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

A crowd of protesters walk from the Capitol building to the White House during a protest against police brutality and racism, on June 6, in Washington, DC.
A crowd of protesters walk from the Capitol building to the White House during a protest against police brutality and racism, on June 6, in Washington, DC. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials have raised concern about the spread of coronavirus, as thousands of people brave the pandemic to participate in national protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Sunday it was closely monitoring demonstrations taking place across the US, and warned that such gatherings could spur coronavirus transmission. Some states are already seeing upward trends of new cases.

For three months, the country passed one grim milestone after the other, hitting 100,000 coronavirus deaths in late May. Public health officials have said that without the lockdowns most states put in place, the death toll could have been significantly higher. 

As those lockdowns were lifted and other measures were loosened, the CDC and other top health officials urged Americans to use face coverings when they go out, and always maintain a distance. 

But large protests make it hard to keep to the recommended social distancing guidelines and "may put others at risk," CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a statement.

"It is too early to know what, if any, effect these events will have on the federal Covid-19 response. Every local situation is different. State and local officials will make decisions to protect public health and safety based on circumstances on the ground," she said.

Earlier this month, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said protesters should be evaluated and tested for the virus.

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

Read the full story here:

9:14 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

Compulsory quarantine on entry relaxed for bosses at 480 listed companies in Hong Kong

From Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong 

A pedestrian walks past a stock ticker at the Exchange Square complex, which houses the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in Hong Kong on May 29.
A pedestrian walks past a stock ticker at the Exchange Square complex, which houses the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in Hong Kong on May 29. Lam Yik/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Directors and executives of around 480 listed companies can apply for exemption from the 14-day compulsory quarantine when arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China, according to a government statement issued on Monday morning. 

Companies can start to apply for the exemption from Monday.

Companies that are listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and included in the Hang Seng Index, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index or Hang Seng Composite LargeCap, MidCap or SmallCap Index, can nominate a maximum of two persons each for the exemption.

But visits must be for performing duties related to the essential operation of the companies, such as board meetings, business review meetings or meetings with clients, or executing legal documents, the statement said. 

Directors and executives will also be subject to 14-day medical surveillance upon arrival, which requires them to wear masks, check their body temperature daily, and report any symptoms or health concerns to the Hong Kong health department.

6:16 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

Delhi's Chief Minister in isolation after showing Covid-19 symptoms

From Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap in New Delhi

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi, India, on March 16.
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi, India, on March 16. Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went into self-isolation on Monday at his official residence in New Delhi after showing coronavirus symptoms.

Spokesman Sanjay Singh said the Chief Minister had been complaining of a fever, cough, cold and sore throat since Sunday evening.

The 51-year-old chief minister is diabetic, so doctors have asked him to self-isolate and take precautions. He will undergo a Covid-19 test on Tuesday, Singh added.

All meetings with the chief minister have been called off till further notice, he added.

Case numbers: Delhi, with an estimated population of 19 million, has reported 27,654 coronavirus cases, including 761 deaths, as of Monday morning local time.

9:14 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

China's economy is still struggling to recover from the pandemic

From CNN's Laura He

China is trying to dig itself out of a steep economic slump. But as the rest of the world still battles with the coronavirus pandemic, the path to recovery is looking slow and painful. 

Exports in the world's second largest economy last month dropped 3.3% in US dollar terms compared to a year ago, customs data released this weekend showed, reversing a 3.5% rise in April.

Analysts attributed the downturn to weak demand abroad: While China began reopening its economy months ago, many other global powers have only begun to lift some lockdown measures in the past few weeks.

The recovery at home hasn't been entirely smooth for China either. Imports last month plunged 16.7% in US dollar terms from a year ago — the deepest contraction since January 2016 — suggesting domestic demand remains sluggish.

Read the full story here:

6:03 a.m. ET, June 8, 2020

China says US senator's accusations of vaccine sabotage are "slandering and smearing" China

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong 

Senator Rick Scott is pictured outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 14.
Senator Rick Scott is pictured outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 14. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry has called on US Senator Rick Scott to "produce the evidence" after he accused China of trying to "sabotage" US vaccine efforts.

"The Senator claims there is evidence showing China is sabotaging and slowing down Western countries' [vaccine] efforts, I hope he will just produce the evidence," said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. 

"The US has been slandering and smearing China for a long time, we have all gotten sick and tired of that," added Hua.

Hua said research and development for a coronavirus vaccine is not "a race between China and the US but between humans and the virus." She added that if China successfully develops a vaccine it will be made a "global public good."

Hua's comments come after Scott told the BBC during an interview: "We have got to get this vaccine done. Unfortunately, we have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down."