June 15 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0016 GMT (0816 HKT) June 16, 2020
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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. 

5:07 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Chicago bars and breweries to reopen for outdoor services this week

From CNN's Raja Razek

Brewing tanks are seen at the Goose Island Brew Pub in Chicago, in May 2011.
Brewing tanks are seen at the Goose Island Brew Pub in Chicago, in May 2011. John Gress/Corbis/Getty Images

Bars and breweries in Chicago will reopen on Wednesday, the city announced Monday.

"Beginning Wednesday, June 17, bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food License will be able to open for outdoor service only," the city said in a statement.

The Lakefront Trail will open daily east of Lake Shore Drive for limited hours; however, beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed, according to the statement.

 

4:14 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

WNBA announces plan to begin 2020 season

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Elena Delle Donne #11 of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball against Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 of the 2019 WNBA Finals at St. Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, on October 10, 2019.
Elena Delle Donne #11 of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball against Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 of the 2019 WNBA Finals at St. Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, on October 10, 2019. G Fiume/Getty Images

The Women's National Basketball Association has announced plans to begin a shortened 2020 season in late July. 

The season will be played entirely at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Instead of the previously scheduled 36 games, each of the league's 12 teams will play 22 regular season games, followed by the traditional postseason format.  

The WNBA announced that players will still receive full salaries and benefits, despite the abbreviated schedule and the fact that the season will be played without fans in attendance. The WNBA also committed to making social justice initiatives a focus during the season.

4:21 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

US stocks finish higher after turbulent day

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

American flags hang on display outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, on June 10.
American flags hang on display outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, on June 10. Sarah Blesener/Bloomberg/Getty Images

US stocks ended in the green on Monday, following a roller coaster of a trading day.

Stocks fell sharply at the opening bell as investors were spooked by a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the US, as well as in China. 

But the market soon recovered. Action from the Federal Reserve helped boost sentiment: The central bank finally launched its Main Street Lending Program to help small and medium-sized businesses, and it also committed to buying corporate bonds.

Here's what happened today:

  • The Dow swung more than 1,000 points between its high and low point of the session. The index closed up 0.6%, or 158 points.
  • The S&P 500 finished 0.8% higher
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.4%.

 

4:06 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Red Cross now testing all blood donations for Covid-19 antibodies

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

A volunteer donates blood during an American Red Cross blood drive in Chicago, on May 11.
A volunteer donates blood during an American Red Cross blood drive in Chicago, on May 11. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Red Cross will now be testing all blood, plasma and platelet donations for Covid-19 antibodies, according to a press release issued Monday.

“The Red Cross hopes that testing for Covid-19 antibodies will provide its valued donors insight into whether they may have been exposed to this coronavirus,” it says.

Regardless of whether a donor experienced symptoms or not, the test will show whether their immune system has produced the antibodies for the coronavirus.

The antibody test, which has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, does not diagnose donors with a current infection.

The Red Cross hopes these tests will increase interest in blood donation.

Donors can expect results within seven to ten days either on the Red Cross Blood Donor App or website. 

“As a humanitarian organization and member of the broader health community, the Red Cross has adapted our services to help meet the needs of this extraordinary time,” said Chris Hrouda, president of The Red Cross Biomedical Services, in the press release. 

Even though many blood drives continue to be canceled for precautionary reasons, blood donations remain vital, as surgeries and treatments that had been temporarily paused start to take place again.

3:17 p.m. ET, June 15, 2020

Rhode Island summer camps can resume this month

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

Gov. Gina Raimondo gives an update on the coronavirus during a news conference in this file photo, in Providence, Rhode Island, on March 22.
Gov. Gina Raimondo gives an update on the coronavirus during a news conference in this file photo, in Providence, Rhode Island, on March 22. Kris Craig/Providence Journal/Pool/AP

Rhode Island's in-person summer camps will be allowed to resume on June 29, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo. That includes some sleep-away options, she said.

The governor also announced today the number of positive Covid-19 cases increased by 32 for a total of at least 16,093. Deaths increased by six for a total of at least 851. The state is currently in phase two of its reopening plan.