June 18 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Peter Wilkinson, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 1:26 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020
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3:57 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

North Carolina hits all-time high for coronavirus hospitalizations

From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivers a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response on Monday, June 15, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivers a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response on Monday, June 15, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Casey Toth/The News & Observer/AP

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said during a press conference today that 1,333 new positive cases were identified and there are a total of 48,188 lab confirmed cases statewide.

"These numbers continue to concern us," Cooper said.

He said there are 857 people in the hospital and a total of 1,170 people have died.

North Carolina’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said the hospitalization number was an all-time high. 

Cohen said the increase in positive cases is not solely due to increased testing as the percent positive rate for it is around 9%.

Cohen said the increase in cases is primarily among the younger population, between the ages 25 and 49.

3:46 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

New report outlines what's needed to safely return to work

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

People enter an office building in downtown Dallas, Texas, on May 27.
People enter an office building in downtown Dallas, Texas, on May 27. Cooper Neill/Bloomberg/Getty Images

 

A new report published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine outlines what businesses and other institutions can do to safely resume operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees and customers should do all the well-documented things known to help protect against the spread of disease: washing hands frequently, wearing masks, staying apart and making sure people stay home if they don’t feel well. But the report suggests employers may take disciplinary action against employees who don't abide by these guidelines.

The report, written by healthcare lawyer Mark Barnes of Ropes & Gray LLP and Dr. Paul Sax, head of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, also advises employers to offer or extend sick-leave benefits to encourage workers to stay at home when feeling sick.

Businesses can also place partitions or barriers between workers or between employees and customers and improve ventilation and air circulation, Barnes and Sax advised.  

Staggered work schedules can keep employees safer, as can accommodations to workers at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from the virus, including the option to work from home. Learning institutions should offer remote learning opportunities for students with underlying medical conditions.

There should be coordination between businesses and local governments about reopening schools, day care, and day treatment centers.

"Resumption of day care and school operations is a crucial factor, because many employees are simply unable, given family circumstances, to return to work if education and day care for children and elderly or disabled family members remain closed," the report said.

The use of mass transportation, as well as the social, religious and leisure activities of workers outside work hours are other big challenges businesses face when reopening, according to the report, which notes that many businesses have adopted daily temperature checks and health questionnaires to determine if an employee or customer represents a risk. For residential colleges or schools, the report recommends the institution provides a place where students can isolate before traveling home.

As for testing in the workplace, the report notes it "holds promise for controlling workplace transmission but also has serious limitations," adding that when widely available, "antigen tests probably will have greater specificity but may have reduced sensitivity" compared to other tests. Once there's an increase in testing capacity, employers can also deploy contact tracing in the workplace, the report said.

 

3:42 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

13 football players at the University of Texas have tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Jabari Jackson

In this October 12, 2019 file photos, a Texas Longhorns flag waves during the 2019 AT&T Red River Showdown in Dallas, Texas.
In this October 12, 2019 file photos, a Texas Longhorns flag waves during the 2019 AT&T Red River Showdown in Dallas, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The University of Texas confirmed on Thursday that 13 football student-athletes have tested positive or are "presumed positive" for Covid-19.

The statement released by the university added all 13 players are now self-isolating. Ten other football players will self-isolate due to contact tracing, “all of whom are asymptomatic at this time.” 

The 13 confirmed cases also include two positive cases which were reported in initial surveillance testing done by the university last week.

The university also said four other football student-athletes have tested positive for the Covid-19 antibody.

Some context: Big 12 conference football players were able to return to campuses for voluntary workouts on Monday. Kansas State reported eight student-athletes tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

3:27 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

California issues statewide order requiring face coverings

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Women wearing face masks exit a shopping mall where a sign is posted at an entrance reminding people of the mask requirement Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia, California, on June 12.
Women wearing face masks exit a shopping mall where a sign is posted at an entrance reminding people of the mask requirement Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia, California, on June 12. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A new, statewide order is in place requiring face coverings to be worn in most public settings, particularly those indoors, according to a news release from the governor's office.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is implementing the order in an effort to maintain the progress made in reopening the state’s economy, he said in the release.

“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease," Newsom said. "California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.” 

3:12 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

More than 225,000 coronavirus cases and over 3,800 deaths have been reported in Chile

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Cristopher Ulloa

Health personnel transfer a patient with symptoms of the new COVID-19 coronavirus after being admitted at a hospital in Santiago, Chile, on June 18.
Health personnel transfer a patient with symptoms of the new COVID-19 coronavirus after being admitted at a hospital in Santiago, Chile, on June 18. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Chile has recorded 4,475 new coronavirus cases and 226 fatalities, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 225,103 and the total deaths to 3,841, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

Chile is currently the third country in Latin America with the highest number of cases after Brazil and Peru, and ranks ninth globally, according to the latest numbers by Johns Hopkins University. 

"We want to insist that reducing mobility is essential to prevent this disease from advancing," Health Minister Enrique Paris said. "We continue to work on detecting people, isolating them to avoid the spread of the disease." 

Authorities said there are currently 1,845 patients intensive care units, with 399 of them remaining in critical condition. Over the last 24 hours, 16,997 tests have been conducted, bringing the total number to 903,166.

2:52 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

All North Carolina corrections inmates and staff will be tested for coronavirus, governor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Gov. Roy Cooper delivers a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response at the N.C. Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 15.
Gov. Roy Cooper delivers a briefing on North Carolina's coronavirus pandemic response at the N.C. Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 15. Casey Toth/The News & Observer/AP

All North Carolina Department of Corrections staff and inmates will be tested for coronavirus, Gov. Roy Cooper said during a news conference Thursday.

Testing has already begun for all 31,200 inmates and should take around 60 days to complete, Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said during the news conference.

The testing will cost an estimated $3.3 million, Ishee said.

Tests will be analyzed by LabCorp and results will be directly uploaded to the corrections health system, according to Ishee.

So far 717 offenders have tested positive of the 2,809 that were tested, Ishee said.

Almost 10% of the population has already been tested, he said.

1:53 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

New Jersey reports 38 new deaths from coronavirus

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

New Jersey reported 442 new positive cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 268,107 cases, Gov. Phil Murphy said in his daily presser.

Hospitalizations were back down in the state after an increase was reported on Wednesday.

The daily positivity rate and the transmission rate remained steady in the state at 2.94% and 0.75% respectively. 

The state reported 38 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of lives lost to 12,800. Nearly half of those deaths — 6,117 — have been in long term care facilities, the governor noted. 

2:57 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

NFL on 2020 season returning: "We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment"

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente and Jabari Jackson

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The National Football League has issued a statement regarding Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments on Thursday saying, “football may not happen this year.”

Dr. Allen Sills, NFL chief medical officer, said in a statement that the organization will "make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season."

"Dr. Fauci has identified the important health and safety issues we and the NFL Players Association, together with our joint medical advisors, are addressing to mitigate the health risk to players, coaches and other essential personnel," Sills said in the statement. "We are developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program and rigorous protocols that call for a shared responsibility from everyone inside our football ecosystem. This is based on the collective guidance of public health officials, including the White House task force, the CDC, infectious disease experts, and other sports leagues."

Sills continued: "Make no mistake, this is no easy task. We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees. We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed."

Some background: Earlier this week, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year."

In May, the NFL canceled all planned international games due to the pandemic, moving them instead to the US. The league had previously planned to play four games in London and one game in Mexico City.

 

Hear more:

1:23 p.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Retail shopping malls may reopen in New Jersey on June 29

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

A view of the empty parking lot at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, on March 18.
A view of the empty parking lot at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, on March 18. Elsa/Staff/Getty Images

The indoor portions of retail shopping malls in New Jersey may reopen on June 29, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday in his daily news conference.  

All mall customers will be required to wear face coverings at all times while inside, and stores will be limited to 50% capacity.

Theaters and arcades will remain closed, and restaurants may provide take out or outdoor dining.

“Certainly malls are part of New Jersey culture and lure. I think as much here if not more so than any American state,” Murphy said.