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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1:25 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Health expert says it's worse to keep schools closed than to open them safely

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

An empty hallway at Yung Wing Elementary School in Manhattan on March 17.
An empty hallway at Yung Wing Elementary School in Manhattan on March 17. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The only way to ensure zero cases of Covid-19 in schools is to keep them closed for the next year, but this is not acceptable when looking at the other risks faced by children kept at home, an environmental health expert said Wednesday. 

It’s better to take steps to make school safer and keep children and teens safe and engaged, said Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science and the director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health. 

“I make the argument that the cost of keeping kids at home is devastating, and there are proven exposure and risk reduction strategies that can minimize risk for both children and adults,” Allen told a conference call.

“So when we have this discussion about kids going back to school, we’d have to put it in the contexts of the massive individual and societal costs to keeping kids at home.”

Children at home can face physical health problems, such as being more sedentary. Plus, kids often rely on school meals. Mental health problems, often worsened by a lack of social interaction and connection, are also a problem.

And many students are not getting much out of online classes, Allen said. “We now have virtual dropout, take Boston for example, where 20% of the kids in May didn’t log into class,” he said. “Philadelphia has a similar issue where only 50% of the elementary school kids were making daily contact.”

He also highlighted concerns from UNICEF that children at home during a lockdown are at greater risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.

Allen and colleagues published a report Wednesday that outlined risk reduction strategies for schools to reopen.


12:56 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

There are "no magic answers" to get rid of coronavirus, WHO says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said nobody can wave a magic wand to get rid of coronavirus.

“The numbers respond to response,” Ryan said. 

“There are no magic answers. There are no spells here,” Ryan said. “You can't divine this away.”

Ryan said using every resource available at all levels is the only way to combat this pandemic.

“We know from many, many country examples — not from WHO — just look around the world. Look at the countries that have taken action, look at the countries that have contained and controlled this disease, and you'll find your answers,” Ryan said. 

Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “transmission is completely in our hands."

“We have tools right now in our toolbox — right now — to be able to suppress transmission,” she added.

1:05 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Chile reports more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases 

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza in London

A person said to have died from Covid-19 is brought for burial to the General Cemetery in Santiago, Chile, on June 23.
A person said to have died from Covid-19 is brought for burial to the General Cemetery in Santiago, Chile, on June 23. Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Chile reported 3,649 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 254,416.

The death toll due to the virus is at 4,731, according to data released by Chile’s Health authorities on Wednesday. 

Chile’s Health Minister, Enrique Paris, said Wednesday’s data showed some improvement but “we can’t say we are winning the battle. This shows small progress but we are still having serious problems”

12:40 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Florida county issues order outlining penalties for businesses not complying with reopening guidelines

From CNN's Tina Burnside

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continue to spike, Broward County is taking stricter measures against businesses not complying with reopening guidelines and restrictions, according to a news release from the county. 

On Wednesday, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-18 which outlines penalties for establishments that fail to comply with emergency orders mandating sanitization, social distancing, facial coverings and other requirements intended to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. 

Under the order, any establishment cited for operating in violation of any county emergency order shall immediately close for a minimum 24-hour period.

In addition, repeat violations will be presumed to be knowing violations and will be subject to stricter penalties, including a fine of up to $15,000.   

Citing the latest statistics in Covid-19 cases, the county says the success at controlling the spread of the virus is dependent upon businesses and resident compliance. 

12:40 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

WHO: "Pandemic for many countries in the Americas has not peaked"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Mike Ryan, World Health Organization executive director of the health emergencies program, said Wednesday that the Americas have not reached their coronavirus peak.

Particularly across Central and South America, Ryan said, “We've seen a steady and worrying continuation of trend — with many countries experiencing between 25% and 50% rise in cases over the last week.”

Ryan added many countries are still “suffering sustained community transmission.”

“Unfortunately, the pandemic for many countries in the Americas has not peaked. They are not reaching a low level of transmission within which we can achieve a sustainable exit from public health and social measures,” Ryan said at Wednesday's briefing.

Across the region, we will likely see a “sustained number of cases and continued deaths in the coming weeks,” he said.

Though Ryan said there is no way to predict the numbers, at this point the epidemic is “still intense” across a range of countries.

“I don't think anybody wants to go back to population-wide, society-wide lockdowns. But the only way, in some circumstances, to avoid that now is a very, very, very aggressive investment in our capacity to detect cases, confirm cases, quarantine contacts, and keep our communities onboard and willing — able without coercion — to support clear messaging and clear instructions and requests from government in a trusting environment,” Ryan said. 

12:24 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Yesterday marked the 3rd highest day for new coronavirus cases in the US

Yesterday marked the third highest number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day in the US since the beginning of the pandemic 

This is based on the archive of numbers kept by Johns Hopkins University.

At least 34,720 cases were reported yesterday. The second highest number — 34,756 cases — was reported on April 9.

The highest number of new cases was reported on April 24, when at least 36,291 were recorded.

12:18 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

WHO expects the world will reach 10 million coronavirus cases within the next week

From CNN's Amanda Watts

The World Health Organization expects the world will reach 10 million coronavirus cases within the next week.

“More than 9.1 million cases of Covid-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 470,000 deaths. In the first month of this outbreak, less than 10,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month, almost 4 million cases have been reported," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing Wednesday.

He continued: “We expect to reach a total of 10 million cases within the next week. This is a sober reminder that even as we continue research into vaccines and therapeutics, we have an urgent responsibility to do everything we can with the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives.”

12:14 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

New York currently has a 1.1% positivity rate, governor says

From CNN's Melanie Schuman

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a non-political, statistic-based, phased reopening is the smart way to move forward.

“Now the proof is in the pudding because we’re seeing it all across the board. What New York is doing is counter to what you see across the nation. They are going up and we are going down,” Cuomo said, citing state statistics including a 1.1% positive rate.

There were 17 deaths Tuesday – 12 in hospitals and five in nursing homes in New York. That’s down from 27 the day before. There are 1,071 patients hospitalized, the lowest level New York has had since March 19, according to Cuomo.

More on the positivity rate: The state tested 51,444 people Tuesday, and had 581 positive cases, which is roughly 1.1%.

New York City is at 1.2%. Within the city itself, the Bronx is at 2.1 percent, the highest of all five boroughs. That’s an increase from 1.3 percent on Friday.

The Central New York region and Mohawk Valley Region at 2.3 percent.

Five regions across the state are expected to enter phase four by Friday. Indoor religious gatherings will be permitted in those regions with a capacity of 33% occupancy, a slight uptick from 25% currently.

Museums, higher education, professional sports can resume — all with limitations.

New York City, which began phase two earlier this week, is not among these regions nor is Long Island.

12:15 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

More than 2,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in Iraq, health ministry says

From CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali

A person sits by a tombstone at a cemetery for Covid-19 victims near the city of Najaf in Iraq on June 10.
A person sits by a tombstone at a cemetery for Covid-19 victims near the city of Najaf in Iraq on June 10. Ali Najafi/AFP/Getty Images

Iraq on Wednesday registered 2,200 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily tally recorded in the country since the pandemic began, according to the country's health ministry. Iraq now has a total of 36,702 cases of coronavirus.

The health ministry also reported 79 new Covid-19-related fatalities, bringing the total to 1,330 deaths across the country.