June 15 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0016 GMT (0816 HKT) June 16, 2020
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1:49 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

2020 US Open of Surfing canceled due to Covid-19 concerns

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Sage Erickson of the United States competes during the women's final of Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, California last year, on August 4, 2019.
Sage Erickson of the United States competes during the women's final of Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, California last year, on August 4, 2019. Qian Weizhong/Xinhua/Getty Images

The 2020 US Open of Surfing has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, tournament organizers announced Monday.

The annual event was to have taken place in early August at Huntington Beach, California. Tournament organizers vow the event will return in 2021.

"The decision to cancel was made after careful consideration, with the health and safety of fans, athletes, staff, and the local community remaining the top priority," their statement said.

1:54 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Report: Several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

A Dallas Cowboys helmet is seen during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, on November 17, 2019.
A Dallas Cowboys helmet is seen during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, on November 17, 2019. Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players have tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

According to the report, none of the players were in the teams' facilities and both teams followed proper health protocols.

The Cowboys tell CNN in a statement on Monday, "Due to federal and local privacy laws, we are unable to provide information regarding the personal health of any of our employees."

CNN has reached out to the Texans and the NFL for confirmation.

1:42 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

WHO continues to review its use of hydroxychloroquine in Solidarity Trial

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A bottle of hydroxychloroquine and pills sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
A bottle of hydroxychloroquine and pills sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization is still reviewing the use of hydroxychloroquine in its Solidarity Trial, a multi-country clinical study of Covid-19 treatment options.

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing in Geneva on Monday that the executive group reviewing the Solidarity Trial is meeting this week.

"We’ll come back to you on Wednesday with an update on those deliberations and where we go from here," Ryan said.

During Monday's briefing, WHO officials were asked about their hydroxychloroquine study in wake of the US Food and Drug Administration pulling its emergency use authorization for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19.

In May, WHO temporarily paused the hydroxychloroquine arms of its Solidarity Trial due to concerns surrounding the drug's safety and in order to review its own data. Then earlier this month, after that review, WHO announced that it would resume studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential Covid-19 treatment in the trial.

Yet in the days following, a separate trial in the United Kingdom, called the Recovery Trial, announced plans to stop using hydroxychloroquine in its study due to there being "no evidence of benefit," according to the researchers. That spurred WHO to conduct another review of the hydroxychloroquine arm in its Solidarity Trial, which is still underway.

1:30 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Vermont extends state of emergency to July 15

From CNN’s Pamela Wessmann

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks during a press conference in Montpelier, Vermont, on March 13.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott speaks during a press conference in Montpelier, Vermont, on March 13. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur/The Times Argus/AP

Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott extended the state’s Covid-19 emergency order to July 15.  

Scott explained the order is just a vehicle to manage their response and to help “lift things when the time is right.”

He explained if data continues to show the state is moving in the right direction, the openings will continue.

Vermont’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mark Levine, addressed the recent outbreak in Winooski and Burlington. He said he thinks they are doing a nice job with containment, but, “I want to look at targeted testing this week, in both Burlington and Winooski, before I put closure to the outbreak.” 

Scott noted that campgrounds will be open today at 100% capacity, up from 50% capacity.

1:03 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

At least 28 coronavirus cases linked to West Virginia church

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

Officials in West Virginia are monitoring a Covid-19 cluster tied to a Lewisburg-area church, according to Gov. Jim Justice.

Justice said at least 28 people associated with Graystone Baptist Church have tested positive.

The National Guard arrived to decontaminate the church on Sunday, and additional testing has also been added in the area, according to Justice.

1:01 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

WHO calls coronavirus cluster in Beijing "significant"

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The World Health Organization called a coronavirus cluster of more than 100 cases in Beijing a “significant event.”

Speaking during a briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said, “In China, when you spend over 50 days without having any significant local transmission the cluster like this is a concern, and it needs to be investigated and controlled.”

“In that sense, it is big news. Within the grand scheme of things around the number of cases per day around the world, it's not, but it is significant event,” Ryan said.

“We're always concerned for clusters,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist.

Van Kerkhove said every single case needs to be addressed, “but clusters are a special condition, because in any country we need to understand why is there the clustering?”

Ryan said now is the time to investigate what’s driving the new infections. “It's important for us to hypothesize. It's important for us to make models about what might be happening. But the answer is lay in careful, careful, systematic, exhaustive investigation of disease clusters, to really look at what is happening in these situations," he said.

“If we get that, we will build up a much better picture of the public health advice we need to give our communities — on what behaviors to avoid, and what places to avoid, and what circumstances to avoid,” Ryan added.

12:49 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

WHO confirms the US is still a member state of the organization

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The World Health Organization (WHO) sign outside its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sign outside its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed on Monday that the United States is still among WHO's member states.

"Yes, the United States is still a member of the — a member state — of the World Health Organization," Tedros said when asked about the relationship during a briefing in Geneva on Monday.

Why this matters: President Trump announced plans in May to terminate the United States' relationship with WHO, including pulling funding.

Last week, Tedros said during a media briefing that WHO's relationship with the United States is "not about the money" but rather "working together" on efforts to improve public health.

12:42 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

WHO warns of declining flu surveillance during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus talking during a press briefing on Covid-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus talking during a press briefing on Covid-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization said today that “influenza surveillance has either been suspended or is declining in many countries” during the global coronavirus pandemic – and that could have dangerous repercussions.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that flu season has already begun in the Southern Hemisphere, and “co-circulation of Covid-19 and influenza can worsen the impact on health care systems that are already overwhelmed.”

“We cannot lose sight of other significant public health issues, including influenza. Influenza affects every country every year, and takes its own deadly toll,” Tedros said during a briefing in Geneva. "These decreases are due to a combination of issues, including the repurposing of staff and supplies, overburdened laboratories and transport restrictions.” 

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said there must be a "balance to ensure that we're also able to track influenza property during that same period."

"We're now entering a period in the world, where we have to be able to track both Covid-19 and influenza," he added. 

12:14 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

FDA terminates emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Arman Azad

A pharmacy tech holds a pill of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20.
A pharmacy tech holds a pill of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

The US Food and Drug Administration has revoked its emergency use authorization for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19.

After reviewing the current research available on the drugs, the FDA determined that 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, the agency noted on its website on Monday.

"FDA has concluded that, based on this new information and other information discussed in the attached memorandum, it is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of HCQ and CQ may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks," FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton wrote in a letter to Gary Disbrow of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on Monday. 

"Accordingly, FDA revokes the EUA for emergency use of HCQ and CQ to treat COVID-19," Hinton wrote in the letter. "As of the date of this letter, the oral formulations of HCQ and CQ are no longer authorized by FDA to treat COVID-19."

The FDA's emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine was narrow in scope, applying only to hospitalized Covid-19 patients and only to drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile.

In an open letter published late last month, FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn appeared to defend the agency's decision to issue the authorization.

"This decision was based on evaluation of the EUA criteria and the scientific evidence available at that time. We continue to look at the data on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and we will make future determinations on these products based on available evidence including ongoing clinical studies," Hahn said in the letter last month.

The emergency use authorization, or EUA, made it easier for pills donated to the national stockpile to be distributed to coronavirus patients.

Hahn added in the letter that "we also knew it was important to help ensure a stable supply of the drugs for patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis given the increased demand."

In an interview with CNN last month, Hahn also defended his agency's handling of hydroxychloroquine. He acknowledged the political climate surrounding the drug, but said, "I stand by our decisions because I think they are rooted in science and data, and we'll continue to reevaluate."