June 15 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0016 GMT (0816 HKT) June 16, 2020
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6:42 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

United Airlines will temporarily ban passengers not wearing masks

From CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace

United Airlines says that starting Thursday, passengers who do not wear a mask in flight will be banned — at least temporarily — from flying with the carrier, pending a “comprehensive incident review” and subject to some exceptions.

Flight attendants will warn passengers who don’t comply and offer them a mask. If further de-escalation is unsuccessful, the flight attendant will file a report after the flight reaches its destination. After a review, the passenger could be placed on an “internal travel restriction list” and unable to fly “for a duration of time to be determined.”

United sent out an internal memo to employees on Monday evening laying out the new guidelines, ratcheted up from an initial pandemic policy of keeping passengers who refuse masks from boarding and flight attendants “strongly encouraging” passengers to wear masks in flight.

The world’s third largest airline says passengers who are eating or drinking do not need to wear a mask as well as those with certain medical conditions or small children.

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

Brazil reports more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Taylor Barnes

A Covid-19 test kit at the Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome on June 15 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A Covid-19 test kit at the Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome on June 15 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bruna Prado/Getty Images

The Brazilian health ministry reported at least 20,647 new cases of novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the country’s total to at least 888,271. 

Brazil also recorded at least 627 new Covid-19 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to at least 43,959, according to the health ministry.

Monday also marks one month that Brazil has been without a health minister. The ministry has been led on an interim basis following the May 15 resignation of Nelson Teich.

Since Teich’s resignation, Brazil's health ministry has been led by Eduardo Pazuello, an army general and the former executive secretary of the ministry. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree making Pazuello’s role as interim minister official on June 2.

Teich’s resignation in May was the second departure of a Brazilian health minister during the Covid-19 outbreak following Bolsonaro’s firing of Teich’s predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, in April.

How Rio de Janeiro's favelas are trying to stop coronavirus spread:

6:15 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Airlines to step up enforcement on passengers not wearing masks

From CNN's Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean

An airline employee walks past empty American Airlines check-in terminals at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on May 12.
An airline employee walks past empty American Airlines check-in terminals at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on May 12. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Major US airlines announced they intend to more strictly enforce mask wearing aboard their planes, including potentially banning passengers who refuse to wear a mask. 

The announcement comes in lieu of a federal regulation requiring all passengers to wear masks – the sort of enforceable measure that governs requirements to wear seatbelts and not smoke. 

Seven major airlines – including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines – pledged to roll out new policies requiring masks, enforced with a penalty as severe as a ban on flying with that particular airline. 

“Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline,” said Airlines for America, the carriers’ industry group. 

The lack of federal action has driven the airlines to act, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The airlines are expected to lay out specific policies as well as enforcement procedures for crewmembers to follow in the coming days, the source said.

6:08 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Austin mayor extends stay-at-home orders to August 15

From CNN's Raja Razek

Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted Monday that he is extending stay home orders to August 15, as the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations increase statewide.

Texas reported on Monday a record high number of Covid-19 hospitalizations. At least 2,326 people have been hospitalized.

There have been at least 89,108 cases of Covid-19, and at least 1,983 deaths in the state. 

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this post.

6:54 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

MLB commissioner changes stance on 2020 season: "I'm not confident"

From CNN's Jill Martin

In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photos, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media in Arlington, Texas.
In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photos, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media in Arlington, Texas. LM Otero/AP

In an interview that aired on ESPN, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred was asked Monday if he was confident that there will be a 2020 MLB season.

“I’m not confident,” Manfred said. “I think there’s real risk. As long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is going to continue.”

During the weekend, both MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) traded statements, with the union saying that further dialogue between the two parties “would be futile,” while MLB said, “We are disappointed that the MLBPA has chosen not to negotiate in good faith over resumption of play...”

“I know the owners are a 100% committed to getting baseball on the field,” Manfred told ESPN on Monday. “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that I’m 100% certain that’s going to happen.”

On Wednesday, Manfred told ESPN that he was “100%” sure that there would be a season saying at that time, “I can tell you, unequivocally, we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.”

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark later issued this statement in response to the MLB:

“Players are disgusted that after Rob Manfred unequivocally told Players and fans that there would ‘100%’ be a 2020 season, he has decided to go back on his word and is now threatening to cancel the entire season. Any implication that the Players Association has somehow delayed progress on health and safety protocols is completely false, as Rob has recently acknowledged the parties are ‘very, very close.’ This latest threat is just one more indication that Major League Baseball has been negotiating in bad faith since the beginning. This has always been about extracting additional pay cuts from Players and this is just another day and another bad faith tactic in their ongoing campaign.”

5:25 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

FDA warns against giving malaria drugs with coronavirus drug

From CNN's Maggie Fox

An ampoule of the drug Remdesivir is on the table during a press conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany on April 8.
An ampoule of the drug Remdesivir is on the table during a press conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany on April 8. Ulrich Perrey/DPA/ZUMA Press

The US Food and Drug Administration warned against giving a controversial drug to patients who are also getting the one drug that has any authorization for use in treating coronavirus.

Mixing remdesivir and either chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine could reduce the effectiveness of remdesivir, the FDA warned. Earlier on Monday, the FDA removed the emergency use authorization it had given the two malaria drugs, leaving remdesivir as the only drug that has the authorization for Covid-19.

“The agency is not aware of instances of this reduced activity occurring in the clinical setting but is continuing to evaluate all data related to remdesivir,” the FDA said.

More on this: Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were touted by President Trump as good drugs to take to treat coronavirus, and he said last month that he himself was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.

Several studies have shown not only that the drugs do not help patients with Covid-19, but they might raise the risk of serious side-effects.

On Monday, the FDA said the drugs do not meet "the statutory criteria" for emergency use authorization as they are unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19 based on the latest scientific evidence.

Remdesivir is an infused antiviral drug made by Gilead Sciences Inc.

5:18 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Imperial College London begins human trials of UK government-funded Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Lauren Kent

Imperial College London on Exhibition Road in central London.
Imperial College London on Exhibition Road in central London. Philip Toscano/PA Images/Getty Images

Researchers at Imperial College London will begin human trials of a UK government-funded Covid-19 vaccine this week, the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement.

Beginning this week, 300 healthy human participants between the ages of 18 and 70 will receive two doses of the vaccine. The vaccine was already shown to be safe and effective in animal trials and "has undergone rigorous pre-clinical safety tests," according to the government statement.

"If the vaccine shows a promising immune response, then larger Phase III trials would be planned to begin later in the year with around 6,000 healthy volunteers to test its effectiveness," the statement said. "Ultimately, the researchers hope that if clinical trials are successful, the vaccine could provide protection against COVID-19 both in the UK and around the world."

The vaccine involves a "new approach" that uses synthetic strands of genetic code, called RNA, which are based on the virus' genetic material. When injected, the vaccine prompts a person's muscle cells to produce virus proteins.

"The trials will be the first test of a new self-amplifying RNA technology, which has the potential to revolutionise vaccine development and enable scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases," the statement said.

The UK government has contributed $51.4 million (41 million pounds) towards the Imperial College London vaccine development, and another $6.3 million (5 million pounds) has been donated by members of the public. 

Oxford University is also working on a vaccine in partnership with UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. In May, Oxford University announced that their vaccine research moved to the second phase of human trials, which involves 10,260 participants, including a small number of older adults and children. 

5:08 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Arkansas governor signs executive orders protecting businesses from liability due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed three executive orders protecting businesses from liability if a customer or employee is exposed to coronavirus. 

A reporter asked Hutchinson if he was concerned that he was sending mixed messages to the public.

“We can't have life on hold for six months to a year until there's a vaccination,” the governor said. “We have to be able to carry on life and business.”

Arkansas reported at least 12,917 cases of Covid-19 and at least 182 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Dr. Jose Romero, Interim Secretary of Health with the state's Department Health.

According to the Department of Health, there were 416 new Covid-19 cases in the state within the last 24 hours. 

On Friday, Arkansas reported 731 new positive cases of coronavirus, the largest spike since the pandemic began. 

“I hope we don’t repeat (that number)," Hutchinson said Monday.

4:59 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

At least 116,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There are at least 2,107,632 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 116,029 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Monday, Johns Hopkins reported 13,574 new cases and 297 deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.