June 15 coronavirus news

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6:58 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Beijing officials race to track down 200,000 people after new outbreak hits China's capital

From CNN's Isaac Yee and Shanshan Wang 

People who visited or live near the Xinfadi food market queue for coronavirus swab testing at Guang'an Sport Center in Beijing, on June 14.
People who visited or live near the Xinfadi food market queue for coronavirus swab testing at Guang'an Sport Center in Beijing, on June 14. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials in Beijing are working to trace around 200,000 people who visited a wholesale seafood market which is at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese capital.

The city has reported more than 79 new coronavirus cases since last Thursday, most of which are linked to the Xinfadi food market.

Authorities are trying to trace all those who have visited the site since May 30. The market is a key source of food supplies in the city, and has been shut down in the aftermath of the outbreak.

At least 11 neighborhoods surrounding the area have also been sealed off.

"We have organized door-knocking activities, that means we will visit people [who have visited the market] at their doorstep, call them or contact them on WeChat and other apps," Xu Ying, a Beijing city government official, said on Monday.
"Now ... we are organizing the nucleic acid tests and at-home quarantine for them."

Xinfadi market makes up about 80% of Beijing’s entire farm produce supply. Some 18,000 tons of vegetables and 20,000 tons of fruit are at the market every day, according to Chinese state-run media organization CGTN.

Wang Hongcun, a Beijing city government official, said authorities were working to guarantee food supplies for the city in the wake of the market's closure.

China said on Monday that it was in close communications with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the latest outbreak.

"China and the World Health Organization have been in close communication on the latest development of Covid-19," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

Zhao said he did not have any information on whether Chinese health officials have shared the gene sequencing from the latest cluster of cases in Beijing with the WHO.

6:53 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Former Florida data official creates her own Covid-19 site that shows more cases than state reports

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The data official behind Florida's Covid-19 dashboard says she has launched her own dashboard after being removed from the state's project.

Rebekah Jones was removed from the state's scrutinized dashboard project after she questioned other officials' commitment to accessibility and transparency, according to Florida Today.

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis contested Jones' claims. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) said she had "exhibited a repeated course of insubordination" during her tenure there.

Jones's website floridacovidaction.com "is paid for entirely by donations," the fundraising portion of the site says. "Florida deserves a community based dashboard that doesn't hide or fudge numbers," the page says. 

Jones' dashboard looks very similar to the DOH website

However, Jones parallels her data alongside DOH's coronavirus numbers, which are much lower, according to the website. 

Read more:

6:52 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

BP warns of $17.5 billion hit, as coronavirus pandemic accelerates move away from oil

From CNN's Hanna Ziady

A customer fills up at a BP Plc station in Cambridge, England, on June 8.
A customer fills up at a BP Plc station in Cambridge, England, on June 8. Jason Alden/Bloomberg/Getty Images

BP is writing down the value of its assets by as much as $17.5 billion as a shift away from fossil fuels is accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK oil company said in a statement Monday that the health crisis could have an "enduring impact on the global economy," resulting in less demand for energy over a "sustained period."

It cut its assumed average price for Brent crude from 2021 to 2050 by 27%, to $55 per barrel.

As a result of the changes, BP said it would take a writedown of up to $17.5 billion in the second quarter -- roughly 6% of its total assets. The company may also stop developing some oil and gas fields as it invests in cleaner energy.

BP's management ... has a growing expectation that the aftermath of the pandemic will accelerate the pace of transition to a lower carbon economy and energy system, as countries seek to 'build back better' so that their economies will be more resilient in the future," it said in its statement.

Read more here.

6:16 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Top US expert says normalcy may not return until next year following Covid-19 case spikes

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, looks on as President Donald Trump delivers remarks about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, looks on as President Donald Trump delivers remarks about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A return to normalcy following the Covid-19 pandemic could come within a year, but people need to tamp down their expectations regarding typical summer travel and activities, Dr. Anthony Fauci told British newspaper The Telegraph in a story published Sunday.

Fauci is the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The latest timing estimate came after a week that saw the case count in the US pass 2 million. Cases have increased in 18 states over the past week, with six states reporting more than a 50% jump. This has led some government and health officials to hit pause on reopening efforts.

More than 115,000 people have died in the United States as of early Monday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"It's going to be really wait and see," Fauci 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," he said referring to the timeline for rolling back coronavirus restrictions.

Read more here.

5:54 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

British shoppers line up as stores reopen for the first time since March

Shoppers in England lined up outside stores across the country on Monday, as many non-essential retail outlets opened for the first time since March.

People formed long, socially-distanced queues outside businesses in Oxford Street, one of London's most popular shopping districts.

From Monday, retailers are allowed to open if they comply with the government's coronavirus-secure guidelines, which require customers to shop while keeping 2m apart. Changing rooms in clothes stores remain closed.

This week, as shops start reopening in England, remember to follow social distancing rules to protect yourself and others," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.

CNN's Anna Stewart said many of those she had spoken to outside the Apple Store on London's Regent Street were seeking repairs or returns, rather than shopping for new products.

Businesses are bracing for dramatically lower footfall than before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Bars, restaurants and pubs remain closed across the UK.

The UK has recorded more than 297,000 cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, making it the worst affected country in Europe.

WATCH:

5:41 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Do masks mask our emotions?

From CNN's Katie Hunt

England is the latest in a long list of countries to make mask wearing mandatory to slow down the spread of Covid-19, with face coverings compulsory on public transport starting Monday.

A police officer wears a face mask as he stands on the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on Monday, June 15, after new rules came into effect, making wearing face coverings on public transport compulsory.
A police officer wears a face mask as he stands on the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on Monday, June 15, after new rules came into effect, making wearing face coverings on public transport compulsory. Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images

Many more of us are opting to wear a mask while shopping, when meeting friends and to attend medical appointments — even if it's not required.

But how does wearing a mask shape how we interact or communicate with others?

A smile is an easy way to defuse social tensions, but is this still possible when a mask is covering the bottom half of our face? And will the emotions of the people we encounter be harder to decode?

CNN spoke to communications expert Ursula Hess, a psychologist and professor at Humboldt University of Berlin, who says it's wrong to assume masks will make it harder for us to interact.

Read more here.

5:24 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

With online learning, class bullies fade to the background

From CNN's Lisa Selin Davis

The rapid transition to online school — for those who hadn't made that choice themselves — has come with many downsides, from increasing inequality to the "Covid slide," which has seen children lose some of this year's learning, becoming less prepared to advance.

But after millions of schoolchildren suddenly transferred to cyber school, some are finding a surprising upside: Complicated social dynamics can simplify, sometimes evaporate, as they learn online.

"During this pandemic, I have heard countless examples of good behaviors occurring, children exhibiting increased empathy for others," Stacey Kite, a professor in the College of Arts & Sciences at Johnson & Wales University, and an expert on bullying, said.
"Moreover, children who did not want to go to school because they were bullied are now flourishing with the online learning. They are also finding ways to connect with their peers through this mode, which may transfer into real friendships."

One reason: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. "Kids are craving their peers and they're missing people they weren't even that close with before," Graber said.

Read more here.

5:13 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Global stocks plunge as fears of a coronavirus surge grow in the US and China

From CNN's Clare Duffy, Laura He and Jill Disis

An electronic stock board shows Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, on Monday, June 15.
An electronic stock board shows Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, on Monday, June 15. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Global stocks plunged Monday as the United States and China grappled with new coronavirus outbreaks, signaling that the pandemic isn't done wreaking havoc on the global economy.

  • Dow futures plunged more than 800 points, or 3.2%, extending losses ahead of the opening bell
  • S&P 500 futures dropped 3%
  • Nasdaq futures were down 2.3%

Markets across Asia also recorded steep declines, after Beijing recorded a fresh cluster of cases of the virus, originating in the city's largest wholesale food market.

China reported concerning economic data, suggesting that the recovery in the world's second largest economy is progressing slowly.

  • Japan's Nikkei ended down 3.5%
  • South Korea's Kospi lost 4.8%, closing out its worst day since March.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.1%
  • China's Shanghai Composite declined 1%

And European markets broadly declined at open.

  • The FTSE 100 dropped 2.4% in London
  • Germany's DAX fell 2.5%
  • While France's CAC 40 declined 2.6%

Read more here:

4:46 a.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Why a second shutdown over coronavirus might be worse than the first -- and how to prevent it

From CNN's Holly Yan

It's an outcome no one wants, but could become a "harsh reality": a second wave of shutdowns.

Weeks after lifting stay-at-home orders, some US states are seeing record numbers of hospitalizations from Covid-19 as thousands more Americans get infected every day.

"We're going to have to face the harsh reality in some states that we may need to shut down again," said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine.

And the second wave of state shutdowns could be more damaging than the first.

"Because of quarantine fatigue, because of the economic effects of quarantine, another round of shutdowns might have even larger effects on businesses that may be on the edge of not being able to stay solvent," said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

How Americans can prevent another round of shutdowns:

While states try to revive the economy, the fate of this pandemic is largely up to individuals.

"People must observe the safety guidelines," top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said. 

"Social distancing must be observed. Face coverings in key places must be observed."

Read the full story: