June 19 coronavirus news

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0644 GMT (1444 HKT) June 20, 2020
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2:23 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Rhode Island governor announces plans for reopening schools

From CNN's Melissa Alonso


Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that phase three of reopening will begin around July 1 and said she hopes phase four can begin in August.

The state's phase three plan raises the limits for indoor social gatherings from 50 to 75 people and outdoor social gatherings from 75 to 150 people, Raimondo said at a news briefing Friday.

Movie theaters, arcades and bowling alleys can reopen at 66% capacity or 100 square feet per person, the governor said.

Phase four would allow indoor gatherings like weddings up to 100 people and 250 for outdoor gatherings, she said.

Raimondo said the goal to open schools is for August 31. The plan for elementary and middle schools includes keeping students in stable groups of up to 30.

Children should remain in their respective groups at all times and should stay 14 feet apart from other groups. High school students and teachers would have to wear masks if they can't keep six feet apart, Raimondo said. 

"Transportation will be hard to figure out," Raimondo said.

Innovative solutions are being explored for how to transport children safely, the governor added.

More context: There were 68 Covid-19 cases reported Friday, numbers and hospitalizations remain steady in the state, Rhode Island health officials said.  

2:09 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Massachusetts will let indoor dining and nail salons reopen next week

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

Massachusetts will allow indoor dining and close-contact services, such as nail salon, to reopen on Monday, as it enters the second half of its phase two reopening, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday.

Offices may also increase office capacity from 25% to 50% capacity, the governor said.

The announcement comes after Covid-19 hospitalizations dropped below 1,000, the lowest since at least mid-April, according to the governor.

The state will wait for at least two weeks of data from indoor dining before considering moving into phase three of its four-stage reopening plan, pinning that start date to the beginning of July at the earliest, the governor indicated.

In phase three, fitness centers, museums, theaters overnight camps and other businesses would be allowed to reopen, according to the state's website. Large out door gathering would also be allowed to convene.

2:48 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

White House press secretary says she won't wear a mask at Tulsa rally

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she would not wear a mask to President Trump’s campaign rally tomorrow in Tulsa.

She said the decision by aides to wear masks or not is “personal.”

“It’s a personal choice. I won’t be wearing a mask. I can’t speak for my colleagues,” McEnany said. 

“It’s a personal decision,” she said. “I’m tested regularly. I feel that it’s safe for me not to be wearing a mask.”

Asked earlier in the briefing whether anyone in the White House had any reservations about proceeding with the rally despite a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Oklahoma, McEnany said no one was concerned.

“We are all on board for going to Oklahoma,” she said.

Masks will be provided for attendees at the rally, but people will not be required to wear them.

Oklahoma is seeing a steady increase in its average of new confirmed cases per day.

According to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, Oklahoma averaged about 247 new cases per day over the week ending June 18, which is approximately 140% higher than the previous seven-day period.

Watch here: 

2:51 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

White House explains why the coronavirus task force briefings ended

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The White House said the demise of public coronavirus task force briefings is due to establishing a "regular routine" after the height of the pandemic.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday the task force still "meets regularly" and is "constantly reviewing data."

She said the public briefings only came during the "very early days of Covid and the pandemic," though those briefings transpired daily for more than a month.

She said that "now we're in a more regular routine," the briefings are no longer necessary.

“We don’t have regular updates for you other than for the updates I give you as news merits and I’m regularly in consultation with Dr. (Deborah) Birx and the others," McEnany said.

Watch here: 

1:53 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Texas public schools will return this fall, and mask use will be up to districts

From CNN's Ashley Killough

Texas public schools can return this fall, according to the Texas Education Commissioner, but families with health concerns will have some flexibility for remote education. 

The state will not impose a statewide mask requirement and will allow districts to create their own rules on facial coverings.

“It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall. But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses,"  Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement. 

Frank Ward, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency, said districts will have latitude on mask requirements. "We want to emphasize local control."

The agency will issue more specific guidance for reopening schools on Tuesday. 

1:54 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

The difference between a second wave and a second peak of coronavirus, according to WHO

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

World Health Organization
World Health Organization

There are no specific definitions for classifying a second wave or a second peak of coronavirus, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing on Friday.

Ryan did explain some differences between both:

A second wave, Ryan said, is when “a number of cases rises and it falls down to a very low or detectable level.”

“There’s a period of time in which there's very low or no activity, and then the disease returns in a large way. That's what we see with seasonal influenza,” Ryan said.

A second peak is a different concept — one that “many countries are facing now,” Ryan said.

“When they've come off the peak of the first wave, but they haven't reduced the disease down and they're in a steady state where they're struggling to reduce the incidence of the disease, and then they get a second peak,” Ryan said. During a second peak, community transmission is still occurring, he added.

“You may have a second peak within your first wave. And then you may have a second wave. It's not either or,” Ryan warned.

“The second peak depends on how good, how strong and how effective the control you have over the disease at this present moment. If you start to experience a second peak, then the chances are that the disease is spreading in a way that you have not got full control over that,” Ryan said.

The impact of testing: Ryan added that sometimes when countries get better at testing, their number of cases often goes up.

To gauge if this is part of a second wave or peak, Ryan said look for these markers: “It's very important at that time to look at things like hospitalizations and deaths. If you start to see hospitalizations going up, that's not because of testing.”

Equally important, Ryan said countries should be watching for clusters in places where transmission is very low.

“When you're down to a very low level of disease, and you see a cluster, you have to jump on the cluster. You have to take the cluster seriously, because you want to avoid that second peak, you want to avoid going back into community transmission.”

1:31 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Apple to temporarily close some stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona

From CNN's Richard Davis and Rishi Iyengar

James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE
James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE

Apple announced on Friday that it will temporarily close some stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona due to current Covid-19 conditions.

“We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement.

The announcement comes as all four of those states are seeing record-high seven-day averages of new coronavirus cases per day, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

3:35 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Florida governor: "We are starting to see an erosion of social distancing"

From CNN’s Tina Burnside

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference that the state is starting to see an increase in Covid-19 cases in asymptomatic and younger cohort across the state. 

DeSantis blames the uptick in part to "an erosion in social distancing from some of the younger people." 

DeSantis also said the seniors in Florida have done a really good job with social distancing and looking out for themselves. 

DeSantis also said 80% of the states 4,000 long term care facilities have never had a single Covid-19 positive case. 

"We are seeing a decline in these facilities which is a good thing" DeSantis said. 


Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why Florida's numbers are concerning 

1:15 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Oklahoma seeing steady upwards trend in average of new daily cases ahead of Trump rally

From CNN’s Liz Stark

Ahead of President Trump’s rally in Tulsa tomorrow, here is a look at Oklahoma’s coronavirus trends:

  • Oklahoma continues to see a steady upwards trend in its average of new confirmed cases per day.
  • According to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, Oklahoma averaged about 247 new cases per day over the week ending June 18, which is approximately 140% higher than the previous seven-day period.
  • Hospitalizations in the state have remained relatively stable throughout much of June, although they have ticked up slightly in the past three days, according to Covid Tracking Project data.
  • As of noon Friday, the latest data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows Tulsa County has the most cases of any county in the state – 2,070 cases total.
  • New cases in Tulsa County have also been climbing, and the county is now seeing its highest seven-day average for new cases at 89.6, according to the latest data from the Tulsa Health Department.