June 9 coronavirus news

Helen Regan, Steve George and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 0641 GMT (1441 HKT) June 10, 2020
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11:06 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

WHO says "there's much unknown" about asymptomatic cases after an official suggested they're "rare"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A screengrab taken from a video released by the World Health Organization shows WHO Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove speaking at a virtual news briefing on COVID-19 from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on Monday, April 6.
A screengrab taken from a video released by the World Health Organization shows WHO Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove speaking at a virtual news briefing on COVID-19 from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on Monday, April 6. AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization today addressed confusion surrounding an official's comments on Monday suggesting the spread of Covid-19 by asymptomatic people "appears to be rare."

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said yesterday that "it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual." 

But then today, during the live Q&A, she clarified that "this is a major unknown."

"We do know that some people who are asymptomatic or some people who do not have symptoms can transmit the virus on — so what we need to better understand is how many people in the population don’t have symptoms," Van Kerkhove said. 

She explained further:

"What I was referring to yesterday in the press conference were very few studies who tried to look at asymptomatic cases over time. … And that’s a very small subset of studies, and so I was responding to a question at the press conference. I wasn’t stating a policy," Van Kerkhove said. "Because this is a major unknown, because there are so many unknowns around this, some modeling groups had tried to estimate what is the proportion of asymptomatic people who may transmit."

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, also said during the live Q&A that there is still much to learn about the possible asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.

"Whatever proportion of disease is transmitting from asymptomatic individuals, as Maria said, that is unknown," Ryan said. "There’s much to be answered about this, there’s much unknown."

Ryan added that the virus, a pathogen that is present in the upper respiratory tract, transmits through droplets — such as when someone coughs or sneezes, but some research also suggests it can spread through speaking as well.

Previously, on Monday, Van Kerkhove said that what appear to be asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 often turn out to be cases of mild disease.

"When we actually go back and we say how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we find out that many have really mild disease," Van Kerkhove said on Monday. 

Remember: A truly asymptomatic person does not have symptoms and does not go on to develop symptoms of Covid-19. Whereas, the term paucisymptomatic refers to having atypical or very mild symptoms and pre-symptomatic refers to the early stages of an illness, before symptoms have developed.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in planning scenarios that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick.

10:08 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

UN warns people in North Korea are starving during pandemic

From CNN's Anna Kam in Hong Kong 

UN Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana speaks at a press conference in Geneva in March.
UN Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana speaks at a press conference in Geneva in March. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images/File

A UN human rights expert says that some people in North Korea are "starving," according to a press statement that was acquired by CNN. 

Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur, explains that due to Covid-19 response, North Korea has shut its borders with China and this has "exacerbated the food crisis, devastating cross-border trade and sapping income from merchants."

Quintana encourages the UN Security Council to "reconsider sanctions" on North Korea due to the food crisis occurring in the communist country. 

Quintana urges government and international action to ensure food supplies in North Korea to prevent starvation.

"A UN independent expert is alarmed that widespread food shortages and malnutrition in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been exacerbated by COVID-19 measures and has called for urgent Government and international action to ensure food supplies," the statement said. 
10:12 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

Global airline industry expected to lose $84 billion in 2020

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney

Grounded airplanes are seen in Alice Springs, Australia, on May 15.
Grounded airplanes are seen in Alice Springs, Australia, on May 15. Steve Strike/Getty Images

The global airline industry will lose $84 billion in 2020 and then an additional $15 billion in 2021, according to a new forecast for the International Air Transport Association.

The association said the demand for air cargo and travel will rise sharply in 2021 — but passenger travel will still be nearly 30% lower than in 2019. 

“By comparison, airlines lost $31 billion with the global financial crisis and the oil price spike in 2008-2009. So there's no comparable to the dimension of this crisis," Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in a press conference. 


8:53 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

UK Department of Health will study coronavirus prevalence in schools

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

A student's temperature is taken at a school in London on June 4.
A student's temperature is taken at a school in London on June 4. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a study into the prevalence of Covid-19 in schools.

The study will “assess and monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 among preschool, primary and secondary school pupils and teachers” the DHSC said in a press release.

The voluntary study conducted in conjunction with Public Health England (PHE) will gather data from 100 English schools, including 15 London schools, targeting around 200 staff and students in each school.

At least 40% of schools selected for the study will receive swab tests and antibody tests before the start of the summer holidays. Only a small proportion of the total selected schools will receive antibody tests.

According to the DHSC “generally children have been shown to be asymptomatic” to the virus, saying that this study will help to cement their understanding of the rates of transmission amongst minors.

Purpose of the study: Secretary for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said that the study would help the government to “better understand how common asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19 are so that we can support parents, pupils and teachers”.

Results for this study set be released in the summer will “play an important role in informing wider surveillance planned for educational settings in the autumn term” according to PHE Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr. Shamez Ladhani.

8:32 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

Delhi could have 550,000 cases by July 31, deputy chief minister says

From  Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap in New Delhi

A medical worker handles a sample collected for coronavirus testing inside a mobile clinic in New Delhi, India, on June 8.
A medical worker handles a sample collected for coronavirus testing inside a mobile clinic in New Delhi, India, on June 8. Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Delhi's Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in India forecast on Tuesday that as the number of virus cases in Delhi doubles, the nation's capital should expect the number to grow to almost 550,000 cases by July 31.

"We will need 80,000 additional beds in hospitals," Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said after attending the DDMA meeting.

DDMA met on Tuesday to discuss the Covid-19 situation in India’s national capital.

As of Tuesday morning, Delhi reported a total of 29,943 positive Covid-19 cases including 874 deaths as per India's health ministry.

8:17 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

Tanzania's president claims the country is free from coronavirus 

From CNN's Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi

Tanzanian President John Magufuli is pictured delivering a speech in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in November 2015.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli is pictured delivering a speech in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in November 2015. Daniel Hayduk/AFP/Getty Images

Tanzanian President John Magufuli claims his country has eradicated coronavirus "by the grace of God," but urged people to continue taking precautions, in a speech at a church congregation in the capital city of Dodoma on Sunday.

The president attributed the result to citizens' prayers and the efforts of local health officials and frontline healthcare workers. 

Last week, the president said hospitals in the country's largest city, Dar es Salaam, had only four Covid-19 patients remaining.

Tanzania has not released any data on coronavirus cases since April 29. At the last count, there were 509 reported cases and 21 deaths in Tanzania, according to Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How Tanzania tackled the virus: Regional World Health Organization (WHO) officials have expressed concern over Tanzania's lackluster implementation of social distancing and its decision to keep places of worship open.

In May, the US Embassy in Tanzania issued a health alert warning that the risk of contracting Covid-19 was "extremely high" as hospitals in Dar es Salaam were "overwhelmed."

Early on in the pandemic, Magufuli dismissed the seriousness of coronavirus in Tanzania, urging his citizens to "pray coronavirus away," believing that the "satanic virus can't live in the body of Jesus Christ." He blamed the growing number of positive cases on faulty test kits that he claimed were registering animals and fruit as positive. 

Tanzania has eased coronavirus restrictions as universities, high schools, and international travel have all reopened. Primary and secondary schools remain closed. 

On Sunday, Magufuli celebrated churchgoers for not wearing masks, claiming that was a sign the country had overcome coronavirus and people were no longer afraid. 

7:58 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

New York City begins to reopen -- but global crisis is "far from over"

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh

New York City, once the US epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is beginning to reopen. 

After months battling a devastating Covid-19 outbreak — which killed more than 500 people a day in the city at its peak — the Big Apple is officially back in business.

Monday marked the first phase of New York's four-part reopening plan, when manufacturers and the construction industry returned to work.

This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against the disease," NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "My message is to stick to it."

But that may be easier said than done. Almost half of US states are seeing higher rates of new coronavirus cases since their lockdowns were lifted. 

And there's proof that the global crisis is "far from over." The number of coronavirus cases hit a new daily high on Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, warning that the situation is "worsening" worldwide, and the pandemic has yet to reach its peak in central America

While successes in limiting new infections in Europe and Asia suggest it is possible to keep the virus at bay, disease experts still caution that some degree of social distancing will need to remain in place until a vaccine is available.

Read today's coronavirus newsletter here:

7:52 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

Why a wellness routine is a priority amid protests and the pandemic — and how to start

From CNN's Lisa Drayer

As the world gradually reopens, even as the coronavirus pandemic wears on, many of us are concerned about our health and well-being. Especially now, with some continuing to stay at home and social distance while others join the throngs at nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, it may even be a priority.

Creating a wellness routine allows you to shift from diet culture and adopt healthy habits that easily fit into your daily lifestyle. What's more, having a routine allows you to focus on health goals by creating structure and organization, which can be particularly beneficial when things seem out of your control, like life during an unprecedented pandemic and simultaneous upheaval as people fight against social injustice.

Engaging in a wellness routine with a focus on good nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management can boost our health and well-being and strengthen our immunity during a time when we may need it most. 

Read the full story here:

7:48 a.m. ET, June 9, 2020

More than half of states may be undercounting coronavirus cases by not following CDC guidelines

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

At least 28 states are not following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on reporting new Covid-19 cases -- half of which saw the trend of new cases increasing in the last week.

Those states are not reporting probable cases, according to the daily case count listed on the CDC's website. Probable cases include those that show evidence of an infection without the confirmation of a lab test and cases where coronavirus was listed as a cause or contributing cause of death but has not been confirmed with a lab test.

Some of the states with the largest populations -- like California, Florida, New York and Texas -- are among those listed as not reporting probable cases, despite CDC guidance that they should be included in the case count. 

The numbers: This comes as 26 states see an increased or steady rate of new cases. More than 1.9 million Americans have been infected, and more than 111,000 have died in just over four months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Though coronavirus reporting guidelines are voluntary, states not reporting probable cases likely undercount the number of people infected and make it difficult for officials to get the true picture of where the nation stands as they make decisions about how to reopen.

Read the full story here: