June 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Helen Regan and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 0322 GMT (1122 HKT) June 13, 2020
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8:01 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has ended for the evening.

8:28 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

"It's exhausting," Fauci says about responding to coronavirus

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Anthony Fauci finally admitted he is tired.

“It’s exhausting,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the chief US scientific spokesperson on the pandemic, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room Friday. 

“It's the adrenaline of what you're trying to do that drives you,” Fauci said.

“I'm chronically fatigued. I don't get a lot of sleep,” added Fauci, who has made nonstop rounds of television appearances and media interviews since the pandemic started.

“As you can hear from my voice, I'm constantly breathing, talking, doing things, hopefully getting the right cause out.”

Fauci, who is 79, said he and his wife lead a simple life in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

“I do my job. I go out in the evening, after all of this and try to get exercise every day,” he said, adding that he always wears a mask outside.

Fauci doesn’t go into restaurants right now, he said, because Washington hasn’t reached that phase yet.

“I like to support the restaurants that I like around my neighborhood. So I do take out. I go there with my mask, I take out, I eat home. And that's it — getting some exercise, trying as best as you can to get as much work done and just moving on,” Fauci said.

“It's the life I've chosen. I have no regrets about it, but it is exhausting.”


7:15 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Fauci has not talked to Trump about the risks of holding a rally amid the coronavirus pandemic

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

President Trump is planning a rally in Oklahoma next week, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned there’s a risk of either “acquiring or spreading” the deadly coronavirus for those who attend.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room on Friday that he has not personally talked to Trump about the planned rally or the risks involved with mass gatherings at this point.

“I have not specifically spoken to him about that, but the principles that I have been espousing hold true,” he said.

“When you are in a large crowd — if you have the congregation of people that are much, much close to each other — you definitely increase the risk that you will either acquire or spread infections.” 

Fauci said people are going to gather, despite the warnings.

“But the issue is, if they do, please wear a mask, all the time, because the mask will give you some protection. The best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas, but if you're not going to do that, please wear a mask,” he said.


7:03 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Experiment suggests coronavirus has evolved to more easily infect human cells

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Researchers in Florida said they believe their experiment has shown that the new coronavirus has mutated in a way that makes it more easily to infect human cells.

They said more research is needed to show whether this changes how the virus infects people, and whether the change has affected the course of the pandemic. But at least one researcher not involved in the study said it likely has done so, and the changes may explain why the virus has caused so many infections in the United States and Latin America. 

The scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida said the mutation affect the spike protein – a structure on the outside of the virus that it uses to get into cells. If the findings are confirmed, it would the first time someone has demonstrated the virus has changed in a significant way.

“Viruses with this mutation were much more infectious than those without the mutation in the cell culture system we used,” Scripps Research virologist Hyeryun Choe, who helped lead the study, said in a statement. 

Just this week, the World Health Organization said the mutations seen so far in the new coronavirus had not made it more easily transmissible, nor had they made the virus more likely to cause serious illness.

Choe and colleagues ran a series of experiments in lab dishes that show a mutation called D614G gives the virus many more spikes, which in turn make it easier for it to get into cells. They’ve published their findings on a preprint server called BioRxiv. That means the work has not been reviewed by other experts in the field.

But Choe and colleagues did send their paper to William Haseltine, a virologist, biotechnology entrepreneur and chairman of Access Health International. Haseltine believes the findings explain the easy spread of coronavirus across the Americas.

“It is significant because it shows the virus can change, does change to its advantage and possibly to our disadvantage,” he told CNN. “It has done a good job so far of adapting to human culture.”

6:57 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

States should not "leapfrog" over reopening guidelines, Fauci says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned states against leapfrogging over the reopening guidelines the federal government has outlined.

“You have to have a situation where you have a gateway into the process, and then gradually go from one phase to the other,” Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday. “If you leapfrog over different phases, you increase the risk that you're going to have the kind of resurgence that we're seeing in certain states.”

There’s been a spike in Covid-19 cases in a number of states over the past week, but Fauci declined to say they should decrease their rate of reopening.

“Everybody understands the need — the important need — to get back to some sort of normalcy, but you don't want to do it at the sacrifice of greatly increasing risk. We've got to be really careful about that,” Fauci said. 

6:51 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Fauci thinks a coronavirus treatment will come before a vaccine

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he thinks we’ll see a treatment for coronavirus before a vaccine.

“There is a better chance, timewise, of having something that can help in regards to treatments, before we actually have the capability of distributing the safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room on Friday.

He mentioned having confidence in the drug remdesivir.

“We are now using that drug in combination with other drugs and are also pursuing things like the passive transfer of convalescent plasma," he said.

Fauci said he is also hopeful treatment with monoclonal antibodies will prove successful.

“We have success with that in diseases like Ebola. Hopefully we can translate that success to coronavirus. These are things that are ongoing now in a very active way as we get into the fall in the winter. After these interventions have been tested, we will have some drugs that we can count on that would benefit people either, who are ill or even to prevent them from getting ill,” he said. 

6:49 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Fauci is still confident on a vaccine, or multiple vaccines, by the end of the year

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s still confident the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

“By the end of the year, we will have a trial that has accrued a large number of people and we hopefully will get an answer, whether it works or not,” Fauci told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday.

There's never a guarantee any vaccine is going to be safe and effective, Fauci said.

“But the preliminary data that we've seen, Wolf, still indicates to me, a degree that I can have a certain amount of cautious optimism – namely, it's inducing a response in individuals to a level that would predict that there's a good chance that it might protect," he said.

Fauci said he’s hopeful there will be one or more vaccines by early next year.


6:32 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

French government to lift travel restrictions on internal European borders on June 15

From CNN's Eva Tapiero

The French government will lift coronavirus travel restrictions on its internal European borders on June 15, said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a joint statement released Friday.

Beginning June 15, people coming from European Union member states, as well as from Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican, will be able to enter French territory without restrictions, according to the statement. 

"People from European area countries are also exempt from quarantine upon their arrival in France," the statement said. "However, reciprocal restriction measures will continue to apply at the borders with Spain and with the United Kingdom."

France will maintain reciprocal restrictions with Spain until June 21, including a 14-day quarantine for all passengers arriving by air. Travelers arriving to France from the UK will no longer be subjected to entry restrictions from June 15 but will be required to observe a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. 

France will also move towards gradually reopening its Schengen zone external borders from July 1, according to the statement. 

"This opening will be carried out in a progressive and differentiated manner depending on the health situation of the different third countries, and in accordance with the procedures that will be adopted at European level by then," the statement said. 

France will also give priority to visa and residence permit requests for international students.

"Given the challenges of university attractiveness, international students will be allowed, whatever their country of origin, to come to France and the conditions of their arrival will be facilitated," the statement added.

6:16 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Fauci says reopening the US must be done in a "careful and prudent" way

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, understands the pressure to reopen the US, but that must happen "in a way that's careful and prudent."

"And there are certain fundamental basic things that we just heard from one of the previous guests that even when you do proceed according to guidelines, you've got to be careful to make sure that to the extent possible, you physically distance yourself and you wear a mask literally at all times that you're on the outside and in a situation where you might be at risk either of acquiring infection or giving infection to someone else if you're one of those asymptomatic carriers," Fauci told CNN Friday afternoon.

What the infection numbers say: The US could suffer 130,000 coronavirus deaths by July 4, according to a projection released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And Covid-19 cases could rise this summer as states reopen, the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases said during a conference call with reporters.

"If anything, we must be overprepared for what we might face later this year," said Dr. Jay Butler. "Getting the flu vaccine will be more important than ever, as flu and Covid-19 could be circulating together as we move into the fall and winter months."

More cities and states have reported increasing rates of new coronavirus cases per day as the nationwide total number of cases passed 2 million this week.

According to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, 19 states have increasing case rates, several of which have seen record or near-record highs. And for the first time, rising caseloads have led some officials to delay phased re-opening plans.