June 23 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020
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3:49 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Arizona reports a record high number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

People get tested for COVID-19 at a drive through testing site hosted by the Puente Movement migrant justice organization on June 20 in Phoenix.
People get tested for COVID-19 at a drive through testing site hosted by the Puente Movement migrant justice organization on June 20 in Phoenix. Matt York/AP

Arizona reported 3,591 new cases of Covid-19 and 42 deaths from the disease over the last 24 hours, a new record high for both new daily cases and deaths since the state started posting data publicly in mid-March.

The state has been battling a surge in Covid-19 cases and had nine days in the last two weeks where there were more than 1,500 new cases being reported by Arizona’s Department of Health Services.

The state has also been reporting that more than 80% of its available intensive care hospital beds have been in use since last week.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the state would allow local communities to require masks in public if they choose, but would not issue a statewide order.

“We knew that when we lifted the stay-at-home order, we would have an increase in cases,” Ducey said yesterday afternoon.

“The objective has always been that we could slow the virus.”

President Trump is scheduled to speak at a public event at a Phoenix church today. 

3:48 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

White House adviser says tax rebates and direct mail checks are on the table as part of additional stimulus

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters outside the White House on May 15 in Washington, DC. 
Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters outside the White House on May 15 in Washington, DC.  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that he believes another tax rebate or direct mail checks to Americans “are on the table” as part of an additional stimulus package, but he hopes they would be targeted to those who lost their jobs or are most in need. He stressed that no decisions have been made yet.

Kudlow again said he thinks the discussion on a new stimulus package will begin after the July 4 congressional recess. 

He said “absolutely, definitely” there will not be a second lockdown. He said that while there are some hotspots across the country, case rates are also dropping in many places.

As of this morning, 25 states were seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases over the past week. 

12:06 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

The Polish president will be tested for Covid-19 before meeting Trump on Wednesday

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Polish President Andrzej Duda delivers a speech for locals and supporters during a presidential campaign ahead of the rescheduled Presidential Elections on June 17 in Serock, Poland.
Polish President Andrzej Duda delivers a speech for locals and supporters during a presidential campaign ahead of the rescheduled Presidential Elections on June 17 in Serock, Poland. Omar Marques/Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda and his delegation will all be tested for coronavirus before their visit to Washington on Wednesday. US officials joining meetings between Duda and President Trump at the White House will also be tested.

Duda is the first head-of-state to visit the White House since the coronavirus pandemic shut down international travel. Senior administration officials previewed the visit on Tuesday.

Duda is expected to raise the issue of relocating some US troops from Germany -- where Trump is planning to cut troops numbers by 9,500 — to Poland.

Also on the agenda for the visit are energy and trade issues, regional security and reopening plans following the pandemic.

 

12:02 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

2.5% of over 17,000 people in Massachusetts who participated in protests tested positive for Covid-19

Medical workers take down personal information from those driving in at a Coronavirus testing location in the Cambridge Health Alliance Testing Tent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 18.
Medical workers take down personal information from those driving in at a Coronavirus testing location in the Cambridge Health Alliance Testing Tent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 18. Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Last week, Massachusetts offered Covid-19 testing for people who recently attended large gatherings like the demonstrations and protests to honor George Floyd, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Out of 17,617 Covid-19 tests that were conducted statewide, 2.5% came back positive for Covid-19, Baker said.

Baker said that this percentage was reasonably consistent with the statewide numbers seen in daily testing for coronavirus.

Baker pointed to several factors that likely contributed to the relatively low number of positives Covid-19 cases. 

“A vast majority of the folks who participated in those demonstrations were wearing masks or face coverings of one kind or another--in many cases people were moving which I think made a big difference and of course those demonstrations took place outside, which we all agree is far safer environment than indoors,” Baker said. 
11:44 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposes raising taxes to cover coronavirus costs

From CNN’s Nathan Hodge 

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a televised address to the nation in Moscow on June 23.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a televised address to the nation in Moscow on June 23. Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed raising taxes for the country's upper-middle class earners to help cover added budgetary costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, eliminating the flat personal income tax rate for upper-middle class.

In a televised address Tuesday, Putin said the proposed tax increase from 13% to 15% would apply those who earn more than 5 million rubles ($72,900) a year. The additional budgetary funds would be used for medical treatment of children, he said.

Russia has the third highest confirmed cases of the virus in the world, right after the United States and Brazil, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Putin said the economic fallout was a “serious challenge” for Russia.

The country has come under criticism at home and abroad for its response, but Putin claimed early measures by the government helped save “tens of thousands of lives” of Russian citizens.

11:23 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Trump administration races to restock supplies before possible second wave of Covid-19

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Leyla Santiago

Workers carry boxes at Oklahoma's Strategic National Stockpile warehouse in Oklahoma City on April 7.
Workers carry boxes at Oklahoma's Strategic National Stockpile warehouse in Oklahoma City on April 7. Sue Ogrocki/AP

The Trump administration is racing to replenish the country's national supply stockpile, despite conflicting messaging from officials about the potential severity of a second wave of the virus.

Nearly half of states are reporting a rise in new cases and some continue to break records in their daily reported cases. Behind the scenes, officials are trying to execute on a newly envisioned Strategic National Stockpile, informally called "SNS 2.0," and restock the country's supply before a possible fall resurgence.  

State officials are taking matters into their own hands and working on bolstering their own stockpiles, following the supply scramble that unfolded earlier this year. 

"We know every day how many people are being admitted to the hospital, how many are in the ICU, how many are on vents. We can calculate what they might need from that and we send the appropriate amount," a senior official from the Department Health and Human Services told CNN. "I know we're in better shape than when we started in January. We're getting shipments of stuff everyday."

The Health and Human Services Department, which maintains the stockpile, has outlined efforts to replenish its coffers, but hasn't disclosed exactly much supply it currently has. The preparations underway acknowledge the looming possibility of another surge in coronavirus cases. 

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN Sunday that the administration is "filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall," but on Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC there won't be a second wave, saying, "there is no second wave coming. It's just, you know, hot spots."

The administration and state leaders say the rise in cases is due to more testing availability. But epidemiologists argue case numbers should go down with greater testing, because theoretically health officials should be able to trace the cases and slow the spread of the virus.

Read more here.

11:13 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Federal judge in Brazil orders president to wear face mask in public 

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Larry Register

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rides a horse during a demonstration in favor of his government in front of Planalto Palace on May 31 in Brasilia, Brazil.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rides a horse during a demonstration in favor of his government in front of Planalto Palace on May 31 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has been ordered by a federal judge in Brasilia — the country's capital — to wear a face mask in public or face a fine.

Federal Judge Renato Borelli issued a decision Monday, ordering Bolsonaro to wear mask when in public in Brasilia. The judge’s order said failure to do so could potentially lead to a fine of up to R$2000 a day, about $386 USD.

The decision extends to all government employees in the Federal District, where the capital Brasilia is located. 

Some background: The Federal District government had issued a decree on April 30 making the use of face masks in public spaces mandatory, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. President Bolsonaro has since appeared in public at several events without wearing the mask, including rallies with supporters. 

Brazil is the country with the world’s second highest coronavirus rate. More than 1.1 million cases and more than 51,000 deaths have been confirmed by Brazilian health authorities.

11:11 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Syracuse University cancels study abroad for fall semester

From CNN's Meridith Edwards

Syracuse University has suspended all study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester due to travel concerns during the pandemic. 

The university said it remains concerned about the likelihood of travel restrictions for US travelers, as well as the diminished experience students would likely have abroad, since many countries are still in their own phased reopening, according to a letter sent Monday to study abroad students from Syracuse Assistant Provost Erika Wilkens.

"We anticipate that the experiential components central to a meaningful study abroad experience are likely to be significantly diminished, due to the uncertainties of phased re-openings of public spaces (including museums and other important cultural sites), limited internship and travel opportunities, and other Covid-19 related restrictions," Wilkens said.

Students who planned to study abroad this fall will be given priority placement for the spring 2021 semester.

Syracuse joins Georgetown, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Butler, Penn State and other universities that have previously announced canceling study abroad programs for the fall.

11:08 a.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Here's how New York state plans to reopen higher education institutions

From CNN's Annie Grayer

A view of the campus at Columbia University is seen on May 21 in New York.
A view of the campus at Columbia University is seen on May 21 in New York. Rob Kim/Getty Images

Mandatory face coverings, hygiene stations and health screenings are all included in newly-released guidelines for New York state's higher education institutions to reopen when the state reaches Phase Four.

The five-page plan released Monday included recommended best practices and mandatory steps. The mandatory requirements are broken up into five categories:

  • Physical distancing
  • Protective equipment
  • Hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Communication and screening

Institutions must require all students, employees and visitors to wear face coverings in common areas or situations where social distancing may be difficult. This does not apply to roommates, who are allowed to be within six feet of each other without a face covering.

All higher education institutions must also plan with their local health department where exposed or infected students can go to quarantine or be in isolation.

Institutions also have to provide face coverings for free to employees who interact directly with students and there have to be hygiene stations for hand washing with soap, running warm water, disposable paper towels, and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, throughout the institution. Cleaning and disinfection requirements from the CDC and Department of Health to clean public spaces and restrooms also need to be followed.

Employees, students and scheduled visitors need to go through health screenings and schools are responsible for notifying state and local health departments of their number of confirmed positive cases. They also need to have plans in place to contact trace. 

The plan also lists a wide variety of recommended practices such as considering a mix of in-person and remote learning and reconfiguring social spaces and classrooms to help maintain social distancing.

Read more about the plan here.