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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10:04 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Days before Trump rally in Tulsa, the city and state are seeing record numbers of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Kristen Holmes,Ryan Nobles and Kay Jones

On Wednesday, President Trump supporters are seen camping outside the venue for his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On Wednesday, President Trump supporters are seen camping outside the venue for his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lawrence Bryant/Reuters

Days before President Trump is set to hold a massive campaign rally in Tulsa, the city and Oklahoma are seeing record numbers of new coronavirus cases.

Oklahoma is among nine other states that are seeing record-high seven-day averages of new coronavirus cases per day, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

In Tulsa, ninety-six residents tested positive for Covid-19 in the past day, Dr. Bruce Dart of the Tulsa Health Department said yesterday in a news conference.

That was a new daily record for the county, according to Dart. He said the number of cases reported are continuing to set new records. 

Trump's campaign is moving forward with plans for Saturday night's event in Tulsa despite complaints from local officials and dire warnings from public health experts about the dangers of packing 20,000 people into cramped indoor quarters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dart issued a warning yesterday ahead of the rally saying that "anyone planning to attend a large scale gathering will face an increased risk of becoming infected with Covid-19."

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a news conference yesterday that more than 1 million requests have been made to attend the rally.

Stitt will be at a roundtable today at the White House on reopening, according to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. 

Some background: Rallygoers that RSVP for the event ahead of time must agree to a disclaimer that is designed to absolve the campaign of liability should an attendee contract the virus. 

Campaign officials say they have plans to take the temperature of every person who enters the building as well as offer hand sanitizer and masks. Wearing the masks, however, will not be required and the campaign concedes that there will be no attempt at social distancing.

A judge on Tuesday denied an emergency motion to stop Trump's campaign rally. The decision came after local lawyers asked the court to block the event unless organizers agreed to take steps to adhere to the administration's own social distancing recommendations to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Despite these concerns, the Trump team said it believes now is the time to turn the page on the coronavirus.

"The freedom of speech, the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution and the President and I are very confident that we're going to be able to restart these rallies to tell the story of what the President has done thorough these unprecedented times but also over the last three and a half years," Pence told Fox.

9:58 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Eight Kansas State student-athletes test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/AP/File
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire/AP/File

Kansas State announced on Wednesday that eight of its student-athletes tested positive for Covid-19. The university confirmed the positive cases after testing 130 student-athletes through June 17. 

“Kansas State Athletics has confirmed that a total of eight student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of approximately 130 student-athletes through June 17,” the university said.

The school added: “Each student-athlete that tests positive is medically managed according to current local, state, national, and CDC guidelines, which begins with self-isolation for 10 days and until the patient is without fever for 72 hours without medication, whichever takes longer. These guidelines would also include quarantine for any individuals known to have been in contact with someone who tested positive.”

After Kansas State reported two student-athletes had tested positive for coronavirus one day before on Tuesday, the school's athletic director Gene Taylor said in a statement: "We will always keep our focus on the health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff, a small number of positive tests was something that we were anticipating based on what we are seeing from across college football, and our medical staff and coaching staffs are well-prepared for the next steps. While we know this is a very fluid situation, we have a great plan in place and all of our student-athletes have done their part in following the correct procedures to return to campus."

Football players had returned to the school for voluntary workouts on Monday but after the most recent cases, student-athletes will not be allowed to work out on campus until July 1.

9:46 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Spain unveils plan to boost tourism, worth 4.25 billion euros

From CNN's Ingrid Formanek

People walk past empty chairs at the beach Benidorm, Spain, on June 15.
People walk past empty chairs at the beach Benidorm, Spain, on June 15. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The Spanish government announced a plan to boost its hard-hit tourism sector, worth 4.25 billion euros, nearly $4.8 billion, on Thursday.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced “an essential plan to help tourism," calling tourism “one of our biggest strengths."

Tourism has been among the hardest hit economic sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic, representing about 12% of the country’s GDP, and employing more than 13% of Spain’s workers, according to the government’s statistics.

Some 1.2 million people will benefit from the plan, which is part of Spain’s social and economic Covid-19 reconstruction scheme as it transitions out of the crisis, according to the government’s press release.

Some 200,000 euros will go toward health safety schemes and measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including practical steps such as disinfection and cleaning, to “ensure safe and sustainable tourism," as outlined in the government’s plan.

The provisions in the plan include loan guarantees for businesses in the tourism industry, to benefit both companies and workers, some 25 million euros worth of incentives for airlines, Spain’s airports authority AENA will reduce landing fees, 859 million euros will go to sustainability and renewable energies, as well as modernizing and digitalizing the industry.

The government says the plan announced today will bring the aid committed to the tourism sector since the start of the pandemic to a total of 19.53 billion euros.

Spain will reopen its borders from most European Union countries on June 21, when the country’s state of emergency, in place since mid-March, will be lifted.

9:20 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Fauci: Getting US coronavirus vaccine candidate into Phase I trial the "quickest that has ever been done"

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a White House coronavirus briefing in April.
Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a White House coronavirus briefing in April. Alex Wong/Getty Images/File

The process of getting a United States coronavirus vaccine candidate into a Phase I trial was at record speed, according to the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Here is how the process went, according to Fauci:

"The Chinese put on the open database, the sequence, on the 10th of January. On the 11th of January, we had a meeting with our staff and said, 'We got to jump on this.' On the 15th, we began the development of a vaccine of January. Sixty-two days later, we had a product that we put into clinical trial, in a Phase I to see if it's safe and does it induce an immune response. That is overwhelmingly the quickest that has ever been done," Fauci said in an episode of the US Department of Health and Human Services' podcast "Learning Curve" on Wednesday.

Fauci explained that there are "a number of steps to develop a vaccine" and the reason the US was able to do the process so quickly was because they proceeded at "what's called at-risk. Not at-risk for safety, not at-risk for scientific integrity, but at-risk for finances."

Fauci continued: "What happens is that in the standard way of developing a vaccine, you don't jump to invest in the next step until you're pretty sure that the step you're in is working," Fauci said. "Given the fact that we needed to do this as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety or scientific integrity, the federal government partnered with multiple of these companies and said, 'Guess what, we're going to move fast and we're going to assume we're going to be successful. And if we are, we've saved several months. And if we're not, the only thing we've lost is money. But better lose money than lose lives by delaying the vaccine.' So, right now, the initial data from the study showed that — it makes me cautiously optimistic that we can induce a response that would be protective."

9:24 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Coronavirus in Africa could set back some HIV preventions by a decade, health official says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Winnie Byanyima is the executive director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Winnie Byanyima is the executive director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images/File

The coronavirus pandemic could set back some HIV preventions 10 years, Winnie Byanyima, executive director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said during a Thursday briefing.

Byanyima said if countries continue to face financial pressure and drop important HIV health services in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it could be catastrophic.

“There will be a reverse of gains we have made in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, that set us back to 10 years ago,” she said. 

“We've estimated that within six months, we could have additional deaths, AIDS related deaths, of up to half a million — on top of what we have already," she continued.

 “So there is a need to keep both to get the fight against both epidemics, going at the same time,” Byanyima added.

“Coronavirus has found Africa weak health-wise and weak economically,” she said. “We have the highest burden of HIV in the whole world. And also, highest burden or other diseases as well.”

 “Africa has a difficult situation. And this is not to mention locusts, floods, landslides, droughts — that have also been hitting us as we fight the coronavirus,” she said.

9:38 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Former FDA head says "uniform masking would go a long way" in curbing Covid-19 spread in US

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

If more people wore masks in the United States, that could be key in slowing the spread of Covid-19, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said during an appearance on "Morning Joe" Thursday.

"Uniform masking would go a long way. So there’s one study that showed that if 60% of people wore masks that were 60% effective, you would get the reproduction number under one, which means you’d have a declining epidemic rather than an expanding epidemic, which is what we still have in this country," Gottlieb told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.

"Another study that came out recently, a mathematical modeling study, looked at the same question and found if you can get 50% of people to wear effective masks, you would get the reproduction number under one," Gottlieb continued. "Any mask is helpful, but the more protective the mask, the better."

Some background: Earlier this month, the World Health Organization recommended nations encourage the general public to wear masks in areas where there continues to be intense spread of the novel coronavirus — and for all health workers and caregivers to wear masks during their shifts.

The new guidance recommends for a healthy person to wear fabric masks — which can be homemade — that are at least three layers: an inner layer of an absorbent material such as cotton; a middle layer that acts like a filter or barrier, such as non-woven material polypropylene; and an outer layer of a non-absorbent material, such as polyester or polyester blend.

WHO currently recommends medical masks for health workers, anyone with symptoms, someone caring for someone who is sick, and people who are considered "at-risk," which includes adults 60 and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions.

8:59 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Bank of England announces more stimulus to boost the economy

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Mounted police officers sit in outside the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England in London on June 17, 2020.
Mounted police officers sit in outside the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England in London on June 17, 2020. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

The British central bank said Thursday it is expanding its bond buying program by an additional £100 billion pounds — about $125 billion — to boost the country’s economy during the pandemic and try to meet its inflation target.

Thursday’s expansion brings the BOE’s bond buying program to a total of £745 billion pounds, or $928 billion.

The announcement comes days after the UK reported grim GDP numbers with the UK economy contracting 20.4% in April.

The Bank of England said it expects that GDP will start to recover after April as consumer spending picks up but warned that the employment outlook for the coming quarters remains weak, adding that a greater number of workers are likely to be furloughed in the second quarter.

The BOE said that the lifting of restrictions, along with recent additional announcements of monetary easing and fiscal policy, will help support the global economy but that risks remain “from the spread of Covid-19 within emerging market economies and from a return to a higher rate of infection in advanced economies.”

The bank kept interest rates unchanged at the record low of 0.1%

8:53 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

Former FDA commissioner warns of "rolling outbreaks" — especially in the South of US

(From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Covid-19 hot spots are growing in the south and southwest regions of the United States, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said during an appearance on "Morning Joe" Thursday.

"What we’re looking at is the reality that we’re going to have rolling outbreaks. There’s going to be parts of the country that get hot where there’s a lot of infection," Gottlieb told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.

"Certainly in the states where you haven’t seen as much infection to date, that weren’t as hard hit, I think there’s more complacency and there’s higher risk of spread. I think that’s what’s happening in the south and the southwest," Gottlieb continued. "There are parts of the country right now that have full-blown outbreaks underway. When you look at what’s happening in parts of Florida; parts of Texas, Houston and the Austin area; when you look at what’s happening in Arizona as well, Alabama, South Carolina — those are outbreaks"

Gottlieb added that "we have a lot of persistent infection in this country; we’re diagnosing 20,000 cases a day," and he said that targeted measures, such as limiting the capacity of bars to 50% or less, would be needed to help curb outbreaks.

"We’re not really implementing the kind of tough measures, targeted measures, that can get those outbreaks under control yet,” Gottlieb said.

9:04 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020

8 countries across Africa account for 84% of cases in the region

From CNN's Amanda Watts

A City of Tshwane Health official stands at the mobile testing unit while waiting to conduct tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Bloed Street Mall in Pretoria Central Business District, on June 11, 2020.
A City of Tshwane Health official stands at the mobile testing unit while waiting to conduct tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Bloed Street Mall in Pretoria Central Business District, on June 11, 2020. Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

Eight countries account for 84% of the coronavirus cases across the African region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa said during a Thursday briefing.

Across the 47 countries in the Africa region, there are more than 265,000 cases and 7,000 people have died, Moeti said.

“The majority of new cases are being reported in specific hotspot, provinces and districts in the countries concerned,” she said. Those countries include South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon.

But other countries in the region are seeing little to no cases, Moeti said. “There is great disparity in the way that countries are affected by the pandemic.”

“Seychelles, for example, has not reported a new case for more than 70 days — that’s over a couple of months. Mauritius has not reported a new case in 10 days. And countries like Namibia and the Gambia are reporting very few new cases.”

Moeti said a cluster of cases in refugee camps in South Sudan is “a matter of great concern.”

“The situation in which people are living in refugee camps, the type of housing that they have, and the challenges that could arise then with interventions like social distancing” make refugee camps a top priority, she said.

Moeti said WHO is “working on a global humanitarian response plan that was launched by the Secretary General, to mobilize the resources that are needed to make sure that the interventions that need to be put in place, are put in place in refugee camps first.”