June 22 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Nectar Gan, Steve George, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:07 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020
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4:20 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Louisiana will not move to phase 3 at the end of the week as planned, governor says

Louisiana will not be moving to phase three at the end of the week like expected, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced in a press conference.

The state will remain in phase two under a new order that will be signed later this week and extended for 28 days, he said. 

Louisiana has seen a rise in cases and hospitalizations. Edwards said that due to this and the community spread that is happening, it is not safe for the state to move out of phase two at this time.

Phase two allowed restaurants, malls, gyms and other businesses to open with reduced capacity, according to the state's website.

Edwards said the number of community spread cases is increasing among younger people and they have seen clusters around bars and graduation parties that happened in the past few weeks.

“Some had hoped, thought, believed that this virus would go away once we got to the summer. It is very clear that is not happening, and not going to happen. A lot of people are saying ‘They are done with virus’ – well the virus isn’t done with us,” Edwards said.


4:14 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

2 Trump staffers who attended Tulsa rally test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Two members of the advance team for President Trump’s rally who attended the event on Saturday have tested positive for coronavirus, Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh tells CNN.

The staffers were wearing masks, according to Murtaugh, and the campaign activated quarantine procedures and contact tracing. 

These two staffers who attended the rally are in addition to the previously reported six staffers who had tested positive before the rally and did not attend.

NBC was first to report the news.


3:41 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Saudi Arabia says annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca will have limited participants

From CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali and Larry Register

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Hajj pilgrimage will have a very limited numbers of pilgrims, according to state run Saudi Press Agency.

The Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Islam requires every Muslim who is physically and financially able to make the journey to the holy city of Mecca at least once in his or her life.

A statement from the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that as Covid-19 cases continue to grow globally, it was decided the Hajj will “take place this year with a limited number of pilgrims from all nationalities residing in Saudi Arabia only who are willing to perform Hajj.”

“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is safely performed while committing to all preventive measures to protect Muslims and adhere strictly to the teachings of Islam in preserving our health and safety,” according to the statement.

The ministry's statement cited the Saudi Ministry of Health saying, “the risks from Coronavirus are expected to grow further, but there is no vaccine available yet for those infected by the disease." The statement noted that it is challenging to maintain a proper distance in crowded areas.

More than 2 million Muslims performed Hajj last year, with more than 1.8 million pilgrims traveled to Saudi Arabia from abroad to take part.

Performing the Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world. 

The Hajj is scheduled to start at the end of July this year.


3:08 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

New York City's transit authority expects to run out of stimulus money next month

From CNN's Rob Frehse

A New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA) transit worker looks down the platform from a subway car after arriving at the Coney Island station in Brooklyn, New York on May 6.
A New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA) transit worker looks down the platform from a subway car after arriving at the Coney Island station in Brooklyn, New York on May 6. Corey Sipkin/AFP/Getty Images

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which runs the New York City subway system, has used $2.9 billion of the March funding from the Federal CARES Act which represents about 73% of the money, but expects to exhaust the remaining funding in early July.

“The MTA is facing the most acute financial crisis in its history,” MTA Chief Financial Officer Bob Foran said in a press release.

He continued: “With more than 70% of the CARES funding provided in the first relief package drawn down, and all CARES funding expected to be exhausted early next month, our finances are on life support."

He called on Congress to act to protect the MTA

"We need the Senate to take action now and follow the House of Representatives’ leadership on continued pandemic funding. As the MTA is the lifeblood of New York and the nation’s economy – our financial health will be critical to the country’s economic recovery," he said.

Foran added, "New York is also the top donor state in the nation providing $29 billion more in funding than we get back from the federal government."

"We urge the Senate to come back to Washington, do its job and provide another $3.9 billion in funding to the MTA now to cover the rest of 2020.”

The latest ridership numbers: The MTA says more than 2 million people rode New York City subways and buses on Friday, the first time ridership has reached that level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March.

While it’s a significant increase in ridership, it’s a decline of 74% from normal weekday ridership levels of 7.6 million, the MTA added.

2:53 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Los Angeles Health director says she is receiving death threats

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Death threats have been directed at Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Public Health director, over COVID-19 orders.

“The death threats started last month during a COVID-19 Facebook Live public briefing when someone very casually suggested I should be shot,” Ferrer said in a statement. “I didn’t immediately see the message, but my husband did, my children did, and so did my colleagues.”

Ferrer said that health officers across the country "are being threatened with violence on a regular basis." Since March, the team at L.A. County Health has been attacked via email, public postings, and letters, she said.

Orange County’s Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned earlier this month after she received threats to her personal safety.

Ferrer acknowledged the frustration and anger over the virus and urges the public to “follow the science in order to save lives.”

2:54 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Miami mandates wearing masks in public

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

An employee wearing a protective face covering, right, monitors the flow of customers at an Apple retail store along Lincoln Road Mall during the new coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, June 17, in Miami Beach.
An employee wearing a protective face covering, right, monitors the flow of customers at an Apple retail store along Lincoln Road Mall during the new coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, June 17, in Miami Beach. Lynne Sladky/AP

Masks or face coverings will be required in public in Miami due to the increase in Covid-19 cases, Mayor Francis Suarez announced during a news conference Monday. The order will go into effect immediately. 

Until now, masks were only required indoors. Masks will now be required at all times.

There are various zip codes of most concern, including Little Havana, Suarez said. In these zip codes, Miami will be handing out masks to the public.

Suarez said the number of hospitalizations, the number of people on ventilators and the number of people in intensive care are up.

2:48 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

University of Iowa athletics reports 9 positive Covid-19 tests last week

A statue of Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr., former student and a college football player at the University of Iowa, is seen on campus on July 21, 2019.
A statue of Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr., former student and a college football player at the University of Iowa, is seen on campus on July 21, 2019. Shutterstock

The University of Iowa Athletics Department has reported nine positive Covid-19 tests within the department between last Monday and Sunday, bringing their total tally to 12 positive tests, the department announced.

No information was provided about whether the positive tests came from students or other athletics staff members or from which sports programs.

Those who tested positive have been isolated, and others who may have been exposed have been quarantined, according to the university's statement.  

“While we have experienced an increase in positive tests, almost all are related to individuals who had been in quarantine due to our contact tracing and developed symptoms,” stated Dr. Andrew Peterson, UI associate professor and head team physician. “Our overall process, including testing and daily health screening, is working as expected.”
2:17 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

More than 120,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

There are at least 2,291,353 cases of coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally. 

At least 120,106 people have died in the US from the virus.

So far on Monday, Johns Hopkins reported 11,478 new cases and 137 deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

2:05 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

White House says Trump has not directed a slow down in testing, claims he was speaking "in jest" 

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Source: Pool

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump was speaking “in jest” when he said during his rally Saturday that he asked administration officials to slow down testing for Covid-19 in the US.

McEnany was asked if the President actually made that request during a press briefing on Monday.

“He has not directed that, and in fact I would note that first we continue to test about 500,000 per day, about half a million people per day,” McEnany answered. “$1.8 billion dollars is invested in NIH to find new testing capabilities, any suggestion that testing has been curtailed is not rooted in fact.”

“It was a comment that he made in jest,” McEnany added. “It’s a comment that he made in passing, specifically with regard to the media coverage and pointing out the fact that the media never acknowledges that we have more cases because when you test more people you find more cases.”

Asked if it was appropriate for Trump to joke about coronavirus when more than 100,000 Americans have died of the virus, McEnany denied it he was joking about the virus.

“He was not joking about coronavirus. I just said he was joking about the media and their failure to understand the fact that when you test more, you also find more cases,” she said.

Earlier Monday, Trump did not directly answer when asked by a Scripps reporter if he had requested to pare back testing.

“If it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “We’ve done too good a job.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins later asked McEnany about Trump’s comments. McEnany responded that “the President instead used that opportunity to extoll the fact that we’ve done 25 million tests.”