June 15 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0016 GMT (0816 HKT) June 16, 2020
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12:11 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

US reported more than 19,500 new coronavirus cases on Sunday

From CNN's Alta Spells

There are at least 2,094,058 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 115,732 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

 On Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported 19,532 new cases and 296 new deaths in the US.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN’s interactive map is tracking cases in the US:

12:11 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Chinese company says its experimental coronavirus vaccine induces antibodies

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A Chinese company says its experimental coronavirus vaccine caused the body to produce antibodies against the virus.

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is testing the vaccine in more than 700 volunteers in an accelerated trial that combines Phase 1 safety testing and the next step, Phase 2.

“The phase II clinical trial results show that the vaccine induces neutralizing antibodies 14 days after the vaccination,” the company said in a statement.

No one has been able to show if these neutralizing antibodies can protect people against infection with Covid-19, but vaccine makers hope they will. More than 90% of the 600 volunteers in the Phase 2 arm developed these antibodies, the company said in a statement.

“Sinovac is collaborating with Instituto Butantan in Brazil to prepare and conduct a phase III clinical study,” it added. Phase 3 testing is the last step to test whether a vaccine or drug works before seeking approval from regulators.

How it works: Sinovac is using an old-fashioned approach to making a coronavirus vaccine, one that that uses an entire virus to prompt the body to develop immunity. The virus is inactivated so it cannot cause disease. This whole-virus approach is slower because batches of virus must be grown in factories to make large amounts of vaccine, but it is effective. Whole-virus vaccines still in use include polio shots, flu shots and the rabies vaccine.

The US is pushing ahead with newer vaccines made using genetic material from the virus. They are faster to make but scientists have to figure out which part of the virus is the best part to replicate in order to induce an strong immune response.


1:13 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Coronavirus clusters in Japan linked to young people, those without symptoms

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

Visitors wearing protective masks are seen at The Railway Museum on June 10, in Saitama, Japan.
Visitors wearing protective masks are seen at The Railway Museum on June 10, in Saitama, Japan. Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

New research from Japan suggests that many coronavirus clusters outside of hospitals may have been started by people who are younger than 40 or don’t feel sick.

The findings offer insight into who might be driving coronavirus transmission -- and they underscore the importance of certain measures, such as face coverings, to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Researchers behind the study looked at more than 3,000 coronavirus cases in Japan. They identified 61 clusters linked to places such as health care facilities, restaurants, bars, workplaces and music events. A cluster was defined as five or more cases where people were exposed at a common venue – not including transmission within a household.

The researchers identified 22 patients who likely started clusters outside of hospitals; half of them were between 20 and 39 years old. That is “younger than the age distribution of all COVID-19 cases in Japan,” according to the study.

“We do not know whether social, biological, or both factors play a role in the difference in transmission patterns between the younger and older persons,” the researchers wrote.
“We also noted probable primary COVID-19 case-patients appear to transmit the virus and generate clusters even in the absence of apparent respiratory symptoms, such as cough.”

The research was published last week as an “Early Release” in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means it could see changes before being published.

 Overall, the study found 18 clusters linked to health care facilities and ten linked to other care facilities such as nursing homes and day care centers.

Ten additional clusters were from restaurants or bars, eight were from workplaces, and seven were from music-related events such as live concerts, chorus group rehearsals and karaoke parties.

 “The largest non–healthcare-related cluster we observed was among >30 persons who attended a live music concert, including performers, audience members, and event staff,” the researchers wrote. Five other clusters were linked to gyms, two to “ceremonial functions” and one to an airplane.
“We noted many COVID-19 clusters were associated with heavy breathing in close proximity, such as singing at karaoke parties, cheering at clubs, having conversations in bars, and exercising in gymnasiums,” the researchers wrote.


12:09 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Brazil reports more than 17,000 new coronavirus cases

From journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo and CNN’s Taylor Barnes in Atlanta

The Brazilian Health Ministry has reported 17,110 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 867,624. 

Brazil also recorded 612 new Covid-19 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 43,332, according to the Health Ministry.

Brazil is one of the few large countries in the world where coronavirus cases — and death rates — are still rising.

It is Latin America's hardest-hit country, with confirmed cases climbing by the thousands each day. Only the United States has more confirmed cases than Brazil.

See how Brazil's cases are soaring:

12:08 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Fauci tells British newspaper that “real normality” may not return until next year

From CNN Health’s Arman Azad

In a wide-ranging interview published Sunday, America’s top infectious disease expert tempered expectations for a return to normalcy, offered advice to people who are protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and suggested that US travel bans may remain in effect for months.

Coronavirus could “go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told British newspaper The Telegraph.

“I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so,” he said. “But I don't think it's this winter or fall, we'll be seeing it for a bit more."

Amid protests for racial justice, Fauci said the “bottom line is there is a risk (in protesting), and of course it's concerning.” He said that wearing masks helps, but emphasized that crowds are risky.

“I would say in a perfect world people shouldn't congregate in a crowd and demonstrate. But I know, even though you say that, they are going to go do it,” Fauci said.
“So, if you’re going to do it, don’t take the mask off when you're chanting, and screaming, and yelling, and doing whatever at a demonstration."

Fauci also poured cold water on the idea that limits on travel from the UK and other countries would be lifted in time for the summer holidays.

"It's going to be really wait and see. I don't think there's going to be an immediate pull back for those kinds of restrictions,” he said. “My feeling, looking at what's going on with the infection rate, I think it's more likely measured in months rather than weeks."

School openings should be based on local conditions, Fauci said in the interview. He also expressed optimism that a vaccine will ultimately be successful. "We have potential vaccines making significant progress. We have maybe four or five," he said.

"You can never guarantee success with a vaccine, that's foolish to do so, there's so many possibilities of things going wrong. (But) everything we have seen from early results, it's conceivable we get two or three vaccines that are successful."

1:11 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Coronavirus cases surpass 50,000 in Colombia

From journalist Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota and CNN’s Taylor Barnes in Atlanta.

Police officers spray disinfectant on Venezuelans and their baggage as they are being transferred from the Simon Bolivar international crossing point to the Tienditas International Bridge where they will be housed in tents, in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on June 14.
Police officers spray disinfectant on Venezuelans and their baggage as they are being transferred from the Simon Bolivar international crossing point to the Tienditas International Bridge where they will be housed in tents, in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on June 14. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia’s Ministry of Health reported 2,193 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the nationwide total to 50,939.

The Ministry of Health also reported 75 new virus deaths, bringing the country’s Covid-19 death toll to 1,667.

Coronavirus-related cases and deaths across Latin America are among the fastest rising anywhere in the world. And in the worst-hit countries, they show no signs of slowing down. 

The World Health Organzation does not believe either Central or South America have reached peak transmission, meaning the number of people getting sick and dying might continue to rise.

12:05 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Penn State University to resume in-person learning in the fall 

From CNN's Raja Rzek

Penn State University announced in a tweet on Sunday that it would resume in-person learning in the fall semester. 

"Penn State to resume in-person learning in fall semester: ‘Back to State’ plans call for flexible, adaptable schedule with classes, activities converting to remote delivery on November 20," reads the tweet. 

“I am pleased that the hard work of our task groups over the last few months has led us to this plan that will allow us to bring our campus communities back together,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron in a statement.
“The Penn State experience may look somewhat different this fall, but I am very much looking forward to seeing our campuses busy with students, faculty and staff once again. I know I speak for the leadership at each of our campuses when I say we are looking forward to welcoming our students back and greeting, for the first time, our new students.”