June 24 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Zamira Rahim and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020
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7:32 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Louisiana governor: "We're going in the wrong direction" in the fight against Covid-19

From CNN’s Janine Mack

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last month.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last month. Gerald Herbert/AP

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he plans to issue a new proclamation on Thursday extending the phase two restrictions under the current order another 28 days.

“Simply put, we're heading in the wrong direction. We have more cases than we can justify just by the fact that they're doing more testing,” he said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Edwards said Louisiana may not remain under the extended order for 28 days, depending on the data after 14 days and 21 days.

He also said the biggest increase in cases in Louisiana is in 18 to 29 year-olds.

“We've seen up ticks in young people, younger than 18, and people aged 30 to 39. But in that 18 to 29 years where we're seeing the largest increase," Edwards said.

He added: “Nobody is immune from this virus … the damage that this disease can do to your body is something that may last for a very long time. May last forever. So I do want to make sure that young people are listening."

The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 52,477 cases of coronavirus and 3,039 deaths.

7:05 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Senior staffer for Utah governor tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

A senior gubernatorial staff member tested positive for Covid-19, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced in a news conference on Wednesday. 

The staff member has self-isolated and other staff members who were exposed to him are being tracked. Neither the governor or Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox were directly exposed to the staffer, Herbert said.

All staff are being monitored for symptoms, tested before coming into the office, and are required to wear masks at work, Herbert said. 

Herbert said he will sign an executive order requiring mask wearing in all state facilities under the purview of the governor’s office, including state higher education facilities. 

6:55 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Here's how to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus over the July 4 holiday, CDC says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

As Americans gear up for July 4 celebrations next week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recognizing that people will gather in groups and is offering tips to help people protect themselves and others from catching coronavirus.

Wearing a face mask is important when physical distancing is hard to achieve, CDC health scientist Sarah Lee said during a briefing Wednesday, but it’s not a sure bet for protection.

“I want to stress this point. The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering, and the longer you have that interaction, the higher potential risk for spread and becoming infected with Covid-19,” Lee said.

Outdoor gatherings are better than indoor gatherings in reducing the risks for transmitting or contracting the virus at a holiday event because people tend to be in closer contact with each other indoors, she said.

“Trying to keep the gathering outside is really important,” she said. It’s also important to help keep people apart, and take special measures to ensure people at high risk or who have underlying medical conditions are protected, she said.

She said the safest gathering with the lowest amount of risk is an online party.

“Where we get more risk, this includes smaller outdoor and in person gatherings where individuals from different households and maybe our neighbors come over and hang out in your back yard,” Lee said. “They stay six feet apart. You're all wearing cloth face coverings and you're not sharing objects, such as food utensils or other items, and you're all from the same local area.”

Mitigating risk: Lee said the highest risk for spreading coronavirus is in large gatherings where it’s difficult for people to remain spaced apart and that include people who have traveled from outside the local area.

“We're used to giving handshakes and high fives and fist bumps. So, trying to avoid those actions will help as well,” she said.

Wearing masks and washing hand frequently are also important.

“We know that the virus that causes Covid-19 can spread when respiratory droplets are produced through coughing or sneezing. So, if you have the cloth face covering on, that really helps prevent those droplets from moving and affecting someone else. And social distancing is another action that's really important. It helps reduce your chance of coming into contact with respiratory droplets that might not be captured by the face covering,” she said.

6:53 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Brazil continues to report consistent increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso

A Brazilian Armed Forces medical team member administers a coronavirus test on June 20 at a health post in Atalaia do Norte, Brazil.
A Brazilian Armed Forces medical team member administers a coronavirus test on June 20 at a health post in Atalaia do Norte, Brazil. Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's health ministry recorded 42,725 new coronavirus cases Wednesday as the country continues to record sharp daily increases in new cases. 

The highest one-day rise in cases in the country, 54,771, was reported on June 19. 

In the past three days alone, the country reported 103,593 new cases. Brazil's total confirmed cases stand at 1,188,631, according to the health ministry.

The ministry also reported 1,185 new fatalities Wednesday, bringing the country's death toll to 53,830.

6:31 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

The US records more than 121,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Men transport a hearse at a funeral home in the Brooklyn borough of New York in April.
Men transport a hearse at a funeral home in the Brooklyn borough of New York in April. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

There are at least 2,371,422 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 121,870 people have died in the country from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

So far on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins reported 24,485 new cases and 646 deaths. 

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

6:27 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

John Bolton: "I do not" have confidence in Trump's handling of coronavirus

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on June 24.
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on June 24. CNN

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he does not have confidence in President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I do not,” Bolton said when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer if he has confidence in Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is not a comprehensive strategy,” he said, noting that the federal response has “not been consistent.”

The Trump administration is trying to stop the release of Bolton's book, which alleges that Trump asked China's leader to help him win the 2020 election and expressed support for concentration camps for Muslims in China.

Bolton argued in a court filing last week it's too late to stop the release of his book, and says that the government can't do so because it would violate his First Amendment rights.

Watch:

5:43 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

CDC urges keeping a Covid-19 "emergency kit" on hand

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

People should keep a coronavirus emergency kit on hand with a mask, tissues and hand sanitizer whether they are going to the grocery store or attending a gathering over the Fourth of July holiday, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert urged Wednesday

“Continuing to wash your hands regularly, covering your coughs and sneeze, wearing a cloth face covering are all very important as we go about daily living outside of our household,” health scientist Sarah Lee said during a briefing on how to safely engage in activities outside the home.

Both Covid-19 cases and deaths are continuing to increase across the country and half of all states have seen a rise in cases since June 1, Lee said.

Lee urged extra vigilance as people congregate in different places for various events, such as July 4 celebrations.

“It’s important as you do plan to go out and do these types of activities, you keep your stash of items with you that will help you practice those everyday activities,” she said.

“A cloth face covering, having tissue and hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if possible,” she added.

 “Like we talk about emergency kits, this is a kit for those everyday preventive actions that you can have on hand. You find yourself in a grocery store and you want the hand sanitizer, you’ve got it accessible.”

5:41 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Arizona seeing highest number of new coronavirus cases per capita

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen

Ambulances are parked outside the emergency room entrance at Banner Desert Medical Center, on June 16 in Mesa, Arizona.
Ambulances are parked outside the emergency room entrance at Banner Desert Medical Center, on June 16 in Mesa, Arizona. Ross D. Franklin/AP

Arizona is currently seeing the highest number of new coronavirus cases per capita of any state in the country, and more new cases per capita than any other state besides New York or New Jersey has seen, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Arizona added about 2,742 new cases per day over the seven days that ended on June 23. Adjusted for population, that’s about 38 new cases per 100,000 people per day.

New York and New Jersey are the only states that have seen higher per-capita rates of new cases.

New York saw its highest number of new cases during the week that ended April 10, when the state added about 9,909 new cases per day, or about 51 new cases per 100,000 people per day. New Jersey’s seven-day peak was April 7, when the state averaged about 3,674 new cases per day or about 41 new cases per 100,000 people per day.

5:09 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Republican senators met Wednesday to chart course on stimulus 

From CNN's Lauren Fox 

A small group of Republican senators met Wednesday afternoon in the Capitol in the Strom Thurmond room near Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to discuss the next stimulus proposal. 

The meeting was just the beginning of discussions for the party as they begin charting their course over the weeks ahead. Republican senators have repeatedly said they don’t plan to tackle the issue until the end of July on the floor of the Senate, but the meeting is an indication that the party is beginning to get organized about how to approach boosting the economy. 

The senators spotted attending the meeting include Sen. Mike Crapo, the Banking Chairman, Rob Portman of Ohio, David Perdue of Georgia, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. 

“We’ve been trying to figure out what is working and what isn’t working,” Cornyn said. 

Asked why this group was selected, Cornyn joked it was just “all the smartest people.”