June 11 coronavirus news

By Steve George, Joshua Berlinger, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT) June 12, 2020
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6:47 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Food industry must take responsibility for obesity’s role in Covid-19 pandemic, researchers say 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

The food industry shares the blame for both the obesity pandemic and the severity and consequences of Covid-19, according to an editorial published Thursday in the BMJ. 

The authors, who are from Queen Mary University in London, highlight the link between obesity and serious illness and death from Covid-19. 

Studies show that for people who were overweight, the risk of critical illness increased by 44% and the risk of death increased by 27%. Studies also showed the risk of both critical illness and the risk of death nearly doubled for people who were obese, the authors wrote.

Obesity also affects immune responses and lessens lung function. 

“The Covid-19 outbreak seems to be yet one more health problem exacerbated by the obesity pandemic,” the authors wrote.

Because of this, food industries worldwide must change the way that they are reacting to the pandemic and governments must support healthier food habits, the group argued.

“The food industry has launched campaigns and corporate social responsibility initiatives, often with the thinly veiled tactics using the outbreak as a marketing opportunity,” they wrote. 

During the pandemic, there have also been many issues surrounding food, which include an increase in food poverty and disruptions in the supply chain. This may have limited access to fresh food, forcing people to eat more food that is processed or high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.  

With 65% to 70% of the United States and United Kingdom populations being overweight or obese, the effects of Covid-19 have made it clear that these changes from the food industry and from governments need to be made, the authors say. 

6:20 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

CDC team to visit Arkansas to assist with containment of Covid-19 in Latino community

From CNN’s Janine Mack

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team is scheduled to arrive Friday in Northwest Arkansas, said Dr. Nate Smith during a news conference on Thursday.

“Their goal is to help us to better understand the dynamics of transmission in the northwest part of the state, particularly in Washington and Benton counties, helping to understand this interplay between transmission in the home, in the community and in the workplace. We are hoping that those insights will better enable us to break those cycles of transmission,” Smith said.

Smith said 29% of active cases in the state were in the Latino community and on Tuesday, 24% of our hospitalized patients were in the Latino community.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 10,816 cases of Covid-19 cases and 171 deaths in the state.

Smith said there are 3,294 active cases, with 140 in nursing homes, 199 in correctional facilities and 2,955 in communities.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he believes he made the right decision to lift restrictions and to move the state into phase two on June 15 despite the number of Covid-19 cases rising.

“Even though we are opening up and expanding our economy that does not diminish the seriousness of this virus,” he said.

5:45 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

1,000 coronavirus deaths a day in US is not a "new normal," infectious disease expert says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Health Security, speaks during a briefing Covid-19 developments on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 6.
Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Health Security, speaks during a briefing Covid-19 developments on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 6. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is killing on average 1,000 Americans a day and 4,000 globally, and this should not be the new normal, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Health Security, said at a news briefing Thursday.

“We can do better than this,” Inglesby said.  “I'm worried that people have kind of accepted where we are as a new normal and it is not normal.” 

Some states have hundreds or even thousands of new Covid-19 cases every day and Inglesby pointed out that countries like New Zealand and Thailand have driven their cases down to zero.

“Are we resigned to losing 1,000 Americans a day, until we have a vaccine?” he asked. “I hope we aren’t.”

Around the world: The tactics New Zealand, Thailand, and other countries have used to drive their coronavirus case counts down are the same common practices public health officials in the United States have been advocating for months: border controls, widespread testing, rapid isolation, tracing, quarantines, fastidious hygiene, intensive physical distancing, school and workplace closures and a coordinated public health strategy, Inglesby said.

“We can do these things in the US and should be,” Inglesby added.

He referenced a study this week from the University of California at Berkeley that found that stay-at-home orders alone have prevented more than 62 million coronavirus infections in the US so far and 530 million in the six other countries studied. 

“Social distancing works,” he said, noting that in some places around the country people are letting their guard down, moving “too rapidly to open the economy at the risk of accelerating the spread of the disease.”

He also warned that he considers indoor gatherings one of the continued dangers of catching and spreading the virus.

“I think the things that are going to be higher risk are longer periods of time indoors with others that are not part of your family and you breathing in the air that they’re exhaling. If you’re at close distance, that’s going to pose higher risk,” he said.

Moving forward during the pandemic: Inglesby also expressed concern about reopening schools. There isn’t information about whether children spread the disease at school. They clearly don't have the same level of severe illness as adults, he said.

“The concern is we don't know whether or not kids in schools will accelerate the spread within those institutions and then transmit the disease to both teachers or administrators who are older, or to their family, parents, grandparents at home,” he said.

5:51 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Sao Paulo state authorities announce details of Covid-19 vaccine trial

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and CNN's Tatiana Arias

Sao Paulo state authorities announced an agreement between the Brazilian Butantan Institute and Chinese laboratory Sinovac Biotech to conduct phase three of a clinical coronavirus vaccine trial on approximately 9,000 volunteers in Brazil starting the first week of July.

"The vaccine proved very effective at phase two. It really protected against all infections. Now we are going to do a populational test. It is a promising vaccine, without a doubt,” Butantan Institute President Dimas Covas said while speaking at a news conference Thursday. 

Phase three will involve trying the vaccine on different types of people that represent the diversity of the population such as by age or ethnicity.

According to Sao Paulo´s health officials, the vaccine went through the first two phases of testing in China, where it was tested on 744 volunteers. The Chinese lab started human clinical trials with the experimental vaccine on April 17. 

The agreement establishes that the Butantan Institute will own the vaccine technology to potentially mass-produce it inside Brazil; and if proven effective, it is expected to be available to the population in the first half of 2021, according to Covas.

The Butantan Institute is one of Brazil's top biomedical research centers.

The state of Sao Paulo is the epicenter of the outbreak in Brazil with 162,520 cases of coronavirus and 10,145 deaths as of Thursday afternoon. Brazil has the second highest cases in the world; the US is first, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:32 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Italy eases lockdown measures to allow sports, summer camps and kindergartens to resume

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at a press conference in Rome, on June 3.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at a press conference in Rome, on June 3. Alberto Lingria/Xinhua/Getty Images

Italy is further easing its coronavirus lockdown measures to allow professional sporting events, such as the Coppa Italia football match, to resume behind closed doors starting Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a news conference Thursday night.

Other establishments can also reopen starting June 25, including summer camps, kindergartens, betting rooms, and bingo halls, Conte said, announcing that he had just signed a decree that eases further the lockdown measures. Non-professional sports that involve physical contact may also resume.

Local officials will be able to assess the viability of restarting these activities given the number of coronavirus cases in each region. Fairs, convention centers, and nightclubs with dancing will not be permitted to restart their activities until July 14.

Italy has been on a nationwide lockdown since March 9. 

Conte also announced the expansion of Italy's contact tracing program. Starting Monday, a contact tracing app that has been tested in four regions will be implemented nationwide. 

“Citizens can download the app in great security...it protects privacy," Conte said. “We are proud of this app that grants a further service to citizens and we were the first in Europe to have reached this result that is very sophisticated from a technical point of view."

5:21 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Pentagon increases number of staff allowed while maintaining preventative measures for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

File photo taken shows the Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington, on July 11, 2018.
File photo taken shows the Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington, on July 11, 2018. Liu Jie/Xinhua/Sipa USA

The Defense Department issued new guidance for employees returning to work at the Pentagon, increasing the number of recommended staff allowed to come to the facility while still maintaining other preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The new guidance, which takes effect Monday, says that gatherings of personnel are “limited to a maximum of 10 people” and that “only mission essential personnel should be returning to workspaces,” but increases the cap on the number of recommended staff in the Pentagon and related facilities from 20% to 40%.

“Organizations should manage their workforce to meet the goal of no more than 40% of their workforce in office spaces, with 60% or more teleworking,” the guidance states.

Cloth face coverings continue to be mandatory “when 6-feet social distancing cannot be maintained” and said social distancing “is mandatory wherever possible, including in office workspaces.“

Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao informed State Department staff Monday that they are expected to enter phase one of the “Diplomacy Strong” reopening plan on June 15, according to a source with knowledge. Managers will be able to bring back up to 40% of their teams under this phase.

A senior State Department official also confirmed that phase one was expected to start June 15 after being pushed back from June 8 due to a spike in coronavirus cases around DC.

5:22 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

South Carolina sees highest number of Covid-19 cases reported in one day

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

South Carolina has seen the highest number of Covid-19 cases reported in a single day with 687, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday.

The state has reported 13 additional deaths. 

This brings the state total to 16,441 coronavirus cases and 588 deaths. 


5:23 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Concerns raised about Covid-19 spread following protests during task force meeting, source says 

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Concerns around coronavirus cropping up following nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd were discussed at Thursday's White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting, an administration official familiar with the panel's meetings told CNN. 

But the official said the feeling remains that it’s too early to definitely say that the protests have led to a spike in cases. However, the concern remains which is why they’ll be closely watching infection rates over the next two weeks, the official said.

Watch more:

5:02 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

People are sleeping more during Covid-19 pandemic, researchers find 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

People in the US and Europe are sleeping more because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to two new pieces of research published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. 

One study found students were staying up later and sleeping longer. Another found some Europeans were staying in bed about a quarter of an hour longer, on average, since the pandemic.

Kenneth Wright and colleagues of the department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, compared the sleep schedules of 139 university students before and during the pandemic. 

They found students were spending an average of 30 minutes longer sleeping on weekdays and around 24 minutes on weekends. 

Plus, more students were getting the recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night. For weekdays, this number went from 84% to 92%.

Along with sleeping longer, students were also going to bed late about 50 minutes later on average on weekdays and 24 minutes on weekends.

The second study, carried out by Christine Blume at Switzerland’s University of Basel Center for Chronobiology, also found people were sleeping more. 

In this case, the participants who were based in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, were averaging around 13 more minutes of sleep per night. 

Blume suggests that people were working from home and able to get more work done during the day, leaving them more time to sleep.

But Blume and her coauthors found that their respondents were experiencing a decrease in sleep quality. 

To help combat this, Blume suggested that people exercise more and make the most of natural light.