June 17 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Luke McGee and Peter Wilkinson, CNN

Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT) June 18, 2020
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12:42 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

New York City expected to allow outdoor dining next week

People walk through a central shopping district as stores prepare for gradual reopenings in the coming weeks on June 16 in New York.
People walk through a central shopping district as stores prepare for gradual reopenings in the coming weeks on June 16 in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City is on tack to begin phase two of reopening on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference.

The city is meeting its thresholds for reopening, and will have been in phase one for 14 days by Monday, Cuomo said at a news conference

"We don't change the rules for New York City," Cuomo said of the metric thresholds.

Here's what phase two means: Phase two allows for a wider range of businesses to continue to reopen under Covid-19 guidelines, including retail businesses and offices, according to the state's reopening website.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that once the city enters phase two, restaurants will be able to open for outdoor seating, and convert parking spaces into seating areas.

Malls, gyms, movie theaters and casinos will remain closed in phase two.

11:44 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

New York reports 17 coronavirus deaths — "lowest number" since pandemic started, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 17 more people died in the state from coronavirus, adding that is the "lowest number since we started.

"The only way I could feel better is if that number ever becomes zero," he said.
11:24 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

At least 5 additional testing sites opening across NYC as mayor eyes next phase of reopening

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York CIty Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 17.
New York CIty Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 17. NYC Media

At least five additional Covid-19 testing sites will open across New York City this week, Mayor de Blasio announced today.

The sites will open across Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx and Queens, the mayor says.

This comes as the Covid-19 indicators continue to be below the city's threshold for reopening.

As of June 15, the city's indicators are as follows:

  • Covid-19 hospital admissions are at 55.
  • Patients in ICU’s at New York City Heath and Hospital are at 333
  • 2% of NYC residents tested positive for Covid-19

The mayor is hoping to make a final decision on the city beginning phase two in the next few days, De Blasio said.

10:58 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Health officials worry Covid-19 pandemic could stall progress against neglected tropical diseases

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Health officials from various nations met in a World Health Organization webinar on Wednesday to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on fights against neglected tropical disease around the world.

Global experts have long warned that the coronavirus pandemic could influence how nations are impacted by and responding to other communicable diseases — including neglected tropical diseases, a diverse group of illnesses that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions across 149 countries. 

Neglected tropical diseases or NTDs, such as dengue and guinea worm disease, affect about 1 in 6 people worldwide. 

"In Rwanda, like many other countries in the world, we are fighting one enemy which is Covid-19 but other health essential programs may be also important to watch and follow so that we don't have double damage in this context," Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said during Wednesday's webinar.

"The evolving situation of Covid-19 has been always managed in the context that we adapt to what we see," Nsanzimana said. For instance, the distribution of essential health services or drug prescriptions to treat or prevent NTDs or other illness could be extended to eliminate the risk of someone breaking Covid-19 social distancing guidelines to access medications.

"I see a lot of things will be turning around — how we strengthen our health systems to deal with different threats," Nsanzimana said. "There’s expectation that we’re probably going to work double or work harder than before to prevent the consequences of infectious and neglected tropical diseases forward. … We don’t know what is going to be the next pandemic."

In January 2012, WHO published a document that provides a "roadmap" for countries to follow in tackling neglected tropical diseases.

The document establishes goals for nations to reach while working to control, prevent, eliminate and even eradicate certain NTDs. That roadmap was revised this year with new guidelines and goals for the year 2030. 

Mwelecele Malecela, director of WHO's Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, said in a written announcement about the webinar, that shifts are needed both during and after Covid-19 to achieve the roadmap targets for 2030.

 "WHO’s upcoming road map for neglected tropical diseases for 2021–2030 proposes a new model of operation," Malecela said in the announcement. "This road map, with its major shifts, is even more relevant in the context of Covid-19 as it promotes resilience, health system strengthening, community participation, equity, country ownership and enhanced partner involvement through integrated, multisectoral collaboration."

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, said during Wednesday's webinar that some of the methods used and steps taken to tackle neglected tropical diseases could be adopted in response to Covid-19 and vice versa.

"Those methods of helping people to understand, to incorporate, to be empowered to take action have been very much part of the NTD community-level interventions and they’re very much needed now so that people understand that I have to keep my distance, I have to wear my mask above my nose all the time," Moeti said. "We’ve seen that many people working in the programs have been repurposed to support the pandemic."

10:30 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

New York City mayor tests negative for coronavirus

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has tested negative for coronavirus, his press secretary Freddi Goldstein said in a tweet this morning.

De Blasio was tested after canceling scheduled public events on Monday because he “woke up feeling under the weather.”


10:30 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Champions League season to be completed in August with "Final Eight" mini-tournament in Lisbon

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

The Luz Stadium stands in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 17.
The Luz Stadium stands in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 17. Carlos Costa/AFP/Getty Images

This season’s UEFA Champions League will be completed with a "Final Eight" mini-tournament that will be held in Lisbon in August, European football’s governing body UEFA announced today.

The competition was suspended in mid-March before the Round of 16 stage had been completed, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be staged over one leg, instead of the usual two, with the final being held at Benfica’s stadium – Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica – on Sunday, August 23.

Four Round of 16 – second leg matches are still to be played, with Juventus still due to host Lyon, Manchester City scheduled to play Real Madrid, Bayern Munich defending a 3-0 lead against Chelsea and Barcelona's tie with Napoli poised at 1-1 from the first leg in Italy.

UEFA stated those games would be played on August 7 and 8, pending a decision on whether they will take place at the home team’s stadiums or in Portugal.

A final decision will be made on July 10 when the draw for the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals will be made at UEFA’s Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and RB Leipzig have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League – quarterfinals.

Istanbul, which was due to host the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final, will now instead be the venue for the 2021 edition, with all other scheduled hosts moving back a year, UEFA added.

UEFA also announced that this season’s UEFA Europa League would follow a similar "Final Eight" format with games to be held in four cities in Germany – Duisburg, Duesseldorf, Gelsenkirchen and Cologne – from August 10 – 21.

The UEFA Europa League Final will be played in Cologne on August 21.

11:09 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Every GOP senator who attended a news conference today wore a mask

A group of GOP senators all wore face masks to a news conference to where they unveiled their police reform plan.

When each senator approached the lectern to speak, he or she removed his or her mask. The senators put their masks back on when they returned to the sides of the podium.

This is in contrast to how the White House how handled events and news conferences in the pandemic: In the Rose Garden on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump announced an executive order on policing without a mask on.

And by the look of a video the White House sent out on Twitter shortly afterward, almost no one in attendance wore a mask either.

9:58 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

16 friends tested positive for Covid-19 after a night out in Florida. Hear their warning to the US public. 

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

A group of 16 friends all tested positive for coronavirus after a night out at a recently reopened Florida bar. They now want to warn and remind the American public that the pandemic is not over yet.

Three members of the group spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night, and said they want others to be more cautious about taking advantage of looser coronavirus restrictions.

"We want to raise awareness and get ahead of it," Kat Layton told Cuomo. "We want to tell people it's really not ready for what we thought it was ready for, it's too soon."

The group had gathered for a friend's birthday, they said. The bar was crowded, and no one was wearing masks.

"Standing there in front of those people, we knew we were pushing it," Layton said.

At the time, the virus was "out of sight, out of mind" since they didn't know anyone who had contracted it and they heard from their mayor and governor that everything was fine, Erika Crisp said. But within days, they started getting sick.

"Receiving the text messages that my friends were just boom, positive, boom, positive, boom, positive, back to back to back, it was overwhelming," Dara Sweat told Cuomo.

Everyone in the group tested positive; and though some had flu like symptoms, none got seriously ill.

The women said they are confident they contracted the virus on that outing. Since then, they said, they have been messaged by strangers who also got sick after visiting the same bar that weekend.

Though Florida is continuing to reopen from coronavirus restrictions, the state recorded a record number of new cases on Monday, according to the Florida Department of Health.


10:01 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

German meat processing plant hit with coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The exterior of the Tönnies meat factory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, is shown on May 11.
The exterior of the Tönnies meat factory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, is shown on May 11. David Inderlied/picture alliance/Getty Images)

A large German meat processing plant has been hit an outbreak of coronavirus.

Sven-Georg Adenauer, the district administrator for Guetersloh in North Rhine Westfalia state says 400 new infections of employees at Toennies meat production in the nearby Rheda-Wiedenbrueck plant have been registered.

“We can only say sorry to those affected,” Andre Vielstaedte, press officer at meat producer Toennies, said at a press conference called after news of the outbreak Wednesday. “We will do everything to get the virus out of the processing plant, and that we are ready to work thereafter.”

Production has been stopped, he said. 

Dr Gereon Schulze Althoff, director of quality management and veterinary services at Toennies said the plant had a lot of foreign workers, many of whom had over the holidays in May and early June gone home and thus travelled and may have had the virus traveling with them.

“Our plants have not been built for a pandemic,” Schulze Althoff said at the press conference, describing how the plant had not been built with social distancing in mind.

Toennies is a well-known family-run business which describes itself as “active at several levels of the food industry. The international company operates in eight divisions, has approximately 16,500 employees, and in 2018 generated annual revenue of EUR 6.65 billion,” per its website.