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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4:33 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

More than 35% of Covid-19 cases in California have been recorded in past two weeks

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A worker wearing personal protective equipment performs drive-up Covid-19 testing administered from a car at Mend Urgent Care testing site for the novel coronavirus at the Westfield Fashion Square on May 13, in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
A worker wearing personal protective equipment performs drive-up Covid-19 testing administered from a car at Mend Urgent Care testing site for the novel coronavirus at the Westfield Fashion Square on May 13, in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

More than 35% of the confirmed coronavirus cases in California have been recorded in just the past two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a news conference Monday.

There have been three single-day highs recorded in the past week, and on Sunday, the highest rate of hospitalizations to date. Hospitalizations have climbed about 16% over the last 14 days.

Testing is increasing throughout the state with about 85,000 tests conducted each day, Newsom said. While that may be factor in the uptick in confirmed cases, the positivity rate is also climbing slightly and currently stands at about 4.8%.

"Stay at home more often, wear your mask more often," California Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said.
4:18 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

West Virginia reports its first coronavirus-related death since June 12

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said the state had its first coronavirus-related death since June 12 over this past weekend.

The 74-year-old woman's death brings the cumulative total in the state to 89.

Justice said during his news conference Monday that 100 new positive cases appeared over the weekend as well, adding he thought it was possibly due to traveling out of state, especially from Myrtle Beach, which is seeing a rise in cases.

Currently, there are 782 active cases in West Virginia, he said.

Justice said he disagreed with President Trump’s assessment — which said he believed Trump said “in jest” — that testing needs to slow down. He said he believes testing needs to increase and he said he thinks the President believes that as well.

4:16 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Members of Congress vow to keep Covid vaccines from being a "for-profit bonanza" for drug companies

From CNN's Dana Vigue, Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

Democrats unveiled two pieces of legislation Monday they say will keep prices down for any taxpayer-funded treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. 

The federal government has granted billions to pharmaceutical companies for Covid-related research without assurances that the drugs and vaccines that result from that research will be affordable and accessible to the American public, according to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). 

 "Today we are saying that a public health crisis should not be allowed to become a for-profit bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. “Because taxpayers have contributed to this research and development, they should receive, in return, full transparency.” 

The bills have bipartisan support from co-sponsors Schakowsky and DeLauro as well as Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR). 

The bills intend to establish protections against drug price gouging for Covid-19 treatments and vaccines and excessive pricing of drugs for any disease that causes a public health emergency.  

The bills would also initiate major steps toward transparency, including a database of the funding and tax benefits that pharmaceutical companies have received.  

“Every other major country in the world negotiates lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry for all its residents,” DeFazio said.  

“Today’s legislation provides what the Trump administration has been unwilling to do by executive order, and that is meaningful protection for taxpayer dollars and insurance of patient access,” Doggett said.

4:15 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

US stocks finish higher, suggesting market focused on reopening

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks turned things around and closed higher after starting the day in the red.

Shares of tech and consumer companies propelled the major indexes higher, with Nike, Apple and Microsoft ending as the day’s best performing Dow stocks.

While investors have been worried about the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections in parts of the country, Monday’s modest upswing suggests that the market is focused once again on the reopening of the economy — and clinging to hopes that it won’t shut down a second time.

Here's how the market closed today: 

  • The Dow ended 0.6%, or 154 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 closed up 0.6%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed 1.1% higher.
8:26 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Blood-thinner pill could reduce Covid-19 complications, study shows

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

A pill people usually taken to prevent blood clots helped reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other problems caused by blood clots in hospital patients, researchers reported Monday.

They gave the drug, sold under the brand name Xarelto, to 4,900 patients who had been treated and then sent home from the Feinstein Institutes at New York’s large Northwell Health hospital system. 

They gave placebos to 4,900 other discharged coronavirus patients. Each group was followed for about six weeks.

Patients given Xarelto, known generically as rivaroxaban, had a 28% reduced risk of a blood clot in the leg, known as a deep vein thrombosis, Northwell’s Alex Spyropoulos and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. And their risk of other blood clots known as venous thromboembolisms, heart attacks, strokes or other types of heart death were 28% lower than patients who went home with dummy pills. 

The patients were on average about 68 years old, and there didn’t seem to be an increase in bleeding problems – a known side effect of the drug.

“We are encouraged by the study’s results to potentially reduce these life-threatening thromboembolic episodes by expanding the use of rivaroxaban for patients post-hospitalization,” Spyropolous said in a statement. “Through this research, Northwell Health has adapted its treatment policy for discharged COVID-19 patients, and others at risk, across the health system.” 

Increased blood clotting throughout the body is a known symptom of coronavirus infection, and doctors have been trying out various blood thinners in patients to see if they can help safely.

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.