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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3:23 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

New York City reports more than 22,000 confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Medical workers walk outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, on May 26.
Medical workers walk outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, on May 26. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City has 17,487 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,684 probable coronavirus deaths as of June 17, according to the most recent data on the city's website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 22,171.

There have been 207,821 coronavirus cases in the city and 54,170 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on June 17 at 1:15 p.m., according to the website.

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

North Carolina reports record high for Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

North Carolina health officials reported that 846 patients are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Wednesday, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

This marks the highest number of patients hospitalized since May 16; hospitalizations prior to that were not immediately available, according to the health department's website. The health department collected the hospitalization data from 86% of its hospitals, the website said.

More data: North Carolina averaged about 1,240 new cases per day over the last week, an increase of about 20% from the previous seven-day period, CNN reported.

There are currently 46,855 coronavirus cases in North Carolina, the health department said. 

 

3:32 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus developments from around the US

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask window shops in the Diamond District in New York, on June 10.
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask window shops in the Diamond District in New York, on June 10. Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's almost 3 p.m. ET on the East Coast and noon on the West Coast. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the US:

  • Covid-19 cases increase in Tulsa ahead of rally: The number of coronavirus cases are increasing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ahead of President Trump's campaign rally on Saturday. Ninety-six Tulsa residents tested positive for Covid-19 in the past day, according to Dr. Bruce Dart of the Tulsa Health Department. This is a new daily record for the county, Dart said.
  • Schools allowed to resume in Michigan: Schools across Michigan will be allowed to resume in-person instruction this fall with strict safety measures in place, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced. The governor will release an executive order and the "Michigan Return to School Roadmap" on June 30 to outline details on what will be required and recommended for schools to reopen.
  • New York City to enter phase two of reopening: 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.
  • Nation's top infectious disease expert's advice for the MLB: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said baseball season should not extend past October to avoid the risk of spreading Covid-19. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Fauci said Major League Baseball (MLB) should conclude the postseason in September over concerns of a second coronavirus wave in the fall.
  • WHO ends portion of trial: The hydroxychloroquine arm of the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Trial will end based on a recommendation from the agency’s Data Safety and Monitoring Committee, according to a WHO official. The decision was made based on preliminary information from a separate hydroxychloroquine study in the United Kingdom that showed no benefit of the antimalarial against Covid-19, and early data from the Solidarity Trial itself, WHO said.
2:36 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Arizona reports its second highest day for new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Arizona health officials reported 1,827 new coronavirus cases and 20 new Covid-19-related deaths on Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health Services website.  

Wednesday's case count marks the state's second highest total reported in a single day, behind yesterday's 2,392 cases, according to the health website.  

There has been at least 40,924 cases of coronavirus in the state and at least 1,239 people have died from the virus, the health website said.  

 

2:34 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Texas reports record high Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Texas has reached a somber record — 2,793 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard.  

The current number of patients is a nearly 85% increase since Memorial Day, when 1,511 hospitalizations were reported. 

State health officials report 13,815 available hospital beds in Texas. 

 

2:35 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Parents should know Covid-19 prevalence in their area before expanding social circle, pediatrician says

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

A youngster wearing a mask looks at the camera while sitting on his father's shoulder in Central Park in New York, on May 24.
A youngster wearing a mask looks at the camera while sitting on his father's shoulder in Central Park in New York, on May 24. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

There are a few things parents should consider before expanding a family's social circle during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the prevalence of cases in their community, said a pediatrics professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"A lot of this is coming down to individual people's risk tolerance," Dr. Aaron Milstone said Wednesday during a virtual discussion hosted by JHU.

Milstone said that if a child wants to socialize with other kids in the neighborhood, it's important for their parents to know the prevalence of the virus in their area.

"They have to think of it as cobweb or this network that has lots of tentacles, and if you bring in one new person, you're also bringing in all the people that those people are exposed to," Milstone said.

He encouraged parents to have conversation with other parents about health safety to make sure their priorities align. Families should also continue practicing social distancing even when interacting with others, They should wear masks when gathering indoors, and continue to follow good hygiene practices.

2:27 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Oklahoma governor will visit the White House 2 days before Trump's Tulsa rally

From CNN's Kristen Holmes

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, on May 14.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, on May 14. Sue Ogrocki/AP

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday, two sources familiar with the meeting tell CNN. 

The governor's spokesperson described the meeting as a discussion on “how to continue to partner with the federal government to help Oklahoma’s economy and get small businesses back on their feet.”

Oklahoma small business owners will also be in attendance, according to a White House official. 

Some context: The meeting comes days ahead of President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday — his first large-scale event since the coronavirus pandemic brought American life to a standstill. 

The director of the Tulsa Health Department said he wishes Trump would postpone the rally, citing concerns about a recent increase in local cases of Covid-19.

But a judge on Tuesday denied an emergency motion to stop the rally. That lawsuit was filed on behalf of a series of community groups and two specific individuals, who the attorneys describe as particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. 

2:39 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

McEnany won't answer when asked if Trump will take responsibility if rally attendees get coronavirus

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, on June 17.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, on June 17. Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not directly answer when asked if President Trump or the White House would take responsibility if attendees catch coronavirus during a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma set to be held Saturday.

McEnany got into an extended exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, but never responded directly to the question. 

“The campaign has taken certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally, temperature checks, hand sanitizers, and masks,” McEnany said during a press briefing Wednesday. “We are taking precautions. 

CNN reported that attendees of Trump's upcoming rally must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract coronavirus.

Rallygoers are asked to RSVP to gain admission to the event and by registering, they must agree to a disclaimer that states they acknowledge the "inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present."

Asked by Acosta if attendees would be required to wear masks, McEnany said they will not be required.  

“They will be given a mask, it’s up to them whether to make that decision,” she said, adding that, “CDC guidelines are recommended, but not required,” and that it was a “personal choice of individuals.” 

McEnany then accused the media of a lack of “internal coherence,” for not asking the same questions of the protesters who came out across the country after the death of George Floyd. 

Acosta pointed out that they were marching against injustice, racism, and police brutality, not attending a political rally, and again asked if the President or White House would take responsibility if people get sick. 

McEnany deflected, attacked health experts who came out in support of the protests, and reiterated that the campaign has taken “certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally.” 

Asked later by another reporter if the White House position was that outdoor events and indoor events carry the same risk for coronavirus, McEnany said that it’s the White House position that “the media should not be making decisions about their guidelines to us about social distancing based on political ideology.”

2:02 p.m. ET, June 17, 2020

New Jersey releases guidance for colleges to reopen

A sign warns the public about social distancing in the wake of Covid-19 on the campus of Princeton University, New Jersey, on March 26.
A sign warns the public about social distancing in the wake of Covid-19 on the campus of Princeton University, New Jersey, on March 26. EQRoy/Shutterstock

The Secretary of Higher Education in New Jersey today released guidance for colleges and universities to reopen for in-person instruction for the upcoming summer and fall sessions. 

Here's what's in the guidance:

  • Cleaning and social distancing: The guidance requires institutions to observe social distancing of six feet, hand washing, cleaning and disinfection, and must have procedures in place to accommodate individuals with symptoms or a positive Covid-19 diagnosis.
  • Mask wearing: Institutions must require face masks in all indoor spaces, except when doing so would be bad for an individual's health.  
  • Dorms: A limited number of students will be allowed to return to residential facilities, but institutions need to develop quarantine and isolation protocols for residents and all common areas in buildings must remain closed. Schools are also asked to prioritize on campus housing for the students for whom it’s most necessary. 
  • Dining: Campus dining and campus transportation will be required to abide by the state-issued reopening guidelines.
  • Classes: Institutions can have instruction that occurs completely outdoors as long as they are abiding by state-established restrictions. 
  • Testing: College and universities will be responsible for establishing their own testing protocols, working with local health officials. 

“Colleges this fall and summer will not look the same as they did last year,” New Jersey Higher Education Secretary Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis said Wednesday.   

Schools must submit their restart plans to the office of the Secretary of Higher Education at least 14 days before any staff or students return to campus.