India records its highest number of new cases for third consecutive day
From CNN's Swati Gupta
India has recorded its highest daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases for a third consecutive day.
In the 24 hours up to 8 a.m. local time on Saturday (10.30 p.m. ET Friday), 14,516 new infections and 375 deaths were reported across the country.
In total India has reported 395,048 coronavirus cases and 12,948 deaths, its Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Saturday.
More than 86,000 cases have been added to India’s total in the past week.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 6,616,496 tests have been conducted in the country, with 189,869 tests conducted on June 19.
3:38 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020
NASA's Perseverance rover will launch to Mars with a global tribute to health care workers
From CNN's Ashley Strickland
A mission 10 years in the making, NASA is one month out from launching the Perseverance rover to Mars. The rover, launching during a pandemic, will carry a tribute to healthcare workers around the world.
The 3-by-5-inch aluminum plate, installed on the left side of the rover chassis, shows Earth supported by the ancient symbol of the serpent entwined around a rod to represent the global medical community. A line represents the rover's trajectory from Central Florida to Mars, according to NASA.
"We wanted to demonstrate our appreciation for those who have put their personal well-being on the line for the good of others," said Matt Wallace, Perseverance deputy project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement. "It is our hope that when future generations travel to Mars and happen upon our rover, they will be reminded that back on Earth in the year 2020 there were such people."
When Alexander Mather, a seventh-grade student in Virginia, entered his submission in a nationwide contest last yearto name the rover, a pandemic wasn't on the horizon. But his winning entry for Perseverance has proven to be the perfect name for a rover launching during unprecedented times.
These last few months of preparing the rover for launch have happened during the constraints of safe operation during a pandemic. But the teams rose to the challenge, and the launch remains on schedule.
"The team never wavered in its pursuit of the launch pad," said Michael Watkins, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. "It was through their dedication and the help of other NASA facilities that we have made it this far."
Australia's Victoria state reimposes Covid-19 restrictions after worst daily spike in months
From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Saturday that the state was at a "critical crossroads" after 25 positive Covid-19 cases were detected on Friday.
The figure was up on the 13 new cases announced Friday and the 18 announced Thursday, as authorities try to suppress an outbreak linked to a family gathering.
“Today, our case numbers have hit the highest they’ve been in more than two months. I know that’s not what people want to hear — but sadly that’s our reality,” Andrews said in a statement. “The numbers are being driven by families having big get-togethers."
He said homes would be limited to a maximum of five visitors from June 21, with outdoor gatherings reduced from a 20-person cap to 10.
A plan to increase the maximum number of people allowed in restaurants, bars, museums, libraries and places of worship from 20 to 50 on Monday has been pushed back to July 12.
2:32 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020
Almost 120,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the US
There are now at least 2,220,961 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, including 119,112 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.
On Friday, Johns Hopkins reported 31,905 new US cases and 691 additional deaths.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
Expert says Trump’s rally is an "absolutely horrible idea"
From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen
Dr. Craig Spencer told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that, from a public health standpoint, President Donald Trump’s planned political rally for Saturday is an “absolutely horrible idea.”
“This is not a necessary gathering. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, at a time at which we have an increasing number of cases on a daily basis,” said Spencer, the Director of Global Health at the Columbia University Medical Center.
The US has 4% of the global population and 25% of the world's Covid-19 deaths, he said. Spencer characterized the way the country has responded to the pandemic as “an abject failure.”
“What we’re seeing is just another attempt to lull us into complacency. To make us think that a baseline of 20 or 25,000 cases per day is OK, and we can get back to some type of normal life, attending rallies, doing things we are doing before,” Spencer said.
People can stop the spread of the coronavirus, he said. Avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, good hand hygiene and testing all help. But a rally like this will likely fuel the pandemic.
“The fact is you are going to have people from all over the country attending this rally,” Spencer said. “This virus cannot infect you if it cannot find you, it will find people in Tulsa tomorrow, it will follow them home.”
2:14 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020
1,200 inmates at a California jail are in quarantine
About 1,200 inmates inside Fresno County North Annex Jail in California have been placed into "precautionary quarantine" due to Covid-19, Fresno County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Friday.
On Wednesday, 25 inmates who had previously tested negative for Covid were transferred from Fresno County North Annex Jail to Wasco State Prison.
Those inmates were tested again -- and 13 tested positive for the coronavirus.
"In response to this news, the North Jail Annex was placed into precautionary quarantine and all inmates are now being closely monitored for symptoms of COVID-19," read the release. "There will be no inmate movement within the North Jail until further notice."
Authorities are still working to identify possible causes for the spike and to see if other areas of the jail may be impacted.
1:58 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020
Brazil blames part of record spike in new cases on "instability" in data reporting
From CNN’s Taylor Barnes and Keith Allen in Atlanta and journalist Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo.
The Brazilian health ministry said the country’s record spike in newly reported coronavirus cases was due in part to "instability" in how a few populous states reported their data.
On Friday, Brazil reported 54,711 fresh cases -- higher than the largest single-day increase in the United States, which reported 48,529 new cases on April 25, according to a CNN tally based on Johns Hopkins University data.
The ministry said the large number of cases reported Friday was partly due to “instability in the routine of exporting data related, principally, to the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo on Thursday June 18.”
The state of São Paulo -- Brazil’s most populous state and the epicenter of the country's Covid-19 outbreak -- reported 1,111 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and 19,030 on Friday.
The health ministry note on Friday said “it is worth noting that the conclusion of the epidemiological week on Saturday 6/20 will allow for a more precise evaluation of the variation in new cases this week in relation to last week.”
The spike came as Brazil became only the second country worldwide to surpass 1 million reported cases, after the US.
1:56 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020
Mexico now has more than 20,000 coronavirus deaths
From CNN’s Matt Rivers in Mexico City
Mexico’s Health Ministry reported 647 new coronavirus deaths on Friday evening, bringing the country’s total toll to 20,394 since the pandemic began.
Officials also reported 5,030 new cases of the virus, for a total of 170,485.
Friday marked just the third time Mexico has reported more than 5,000 cases in a single day.
Navy upholds firing of aircraft carrier captain who warned about coronavirus outbreak
From CNN's Zachary Cohen, Ryan Browne and Barbara Starr
In a major reversal, the US Navy has decided to fire the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who warned about the spread of the coronavirus aboard his ship, a decision that comes after the findings of a preliminary investigation recommended he be reinstated, the service's two most senior officials announced Friday.
"I will not reassign Captain Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, nor will he be eligible for future command. Captain Crozier will be reassigned," Adm. Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, told reporters during a Pentagon briefing, which took place shortly after news of the decision broke.
"While I previously believed Captain Crozier should be reinstated, following his relief in April, after conducting an initial investigation, the much broader, deeper investigation that we conducted in the weeks following that had a much deeper scope."
The investigation concluded that Crozier and the Strike Group Commander, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, "did not do enough, soon enough to fulfill their primary obligation ... and they did not effectively carry out our guidelines for events spread of the virus," according to Gilday.