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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4:03 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

China says it has conducted more than 90 million tests for coronavirus

From CNN's Steven Jiang, Shawn Deng in Beijing and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong 

A Chinese epidemic control worker performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a woman at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing.
A Chinese epidemic control worker performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a woman at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Chinese government on Wednesday announced that more than 90 million coronavirus tests have been conducted across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

“As of June 22, the accumulative number of nucleic acid tests conducted by medical and health institutions nationwide reached 90.41 million,” said Guo Yanhong, an official with the National Health Commission.

People are often required to be tested multiple times if they are suspected cases, recovered patients, or overseas returnees -- along with their close contacts.

Guo said China had increased its testing capacity by expanding the number of testing institutions from 2,081 in early March to 4,804 now. He added that the number of nucleic acid testing technicians also increased from 13,900 to 28,500.

“National health and medical institutions have increased their testing capability, from 1.26 million a day in early March, to the current level of processing 3.78 million tests per day,” said Guo.

China has launched several aggressive testing campaigns in cities across the country in a bid to combat the spread of the virus. In Wuhan, the original epicenter, more than 9.8 million people were tested for the virus in a 20-day period in May as the city worked to contain a fresh outbreak.

China has reported 84,653 confirmed coronavirus cases, including at least 4,640 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

3:33 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

It's just past 8:30 a.m. in London and 12:30 p.m. in Islamabad. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Medics prepare for their shift at the Jinrong Street testing site, in Beijing on June 24.
Medics prepare for their shift at the Jinrong Street testing site, in Beijing on June 24. Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has swept across the world, infecting more than 9.2 million people and killing at least 477,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the pandemic.

  • Death toll mounts: Latin America and the Caribbean have surpassed 100,000 deaths from coronavirus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally and government figures. Brazil accounts for more than half of those deaths.
  • Pakistan's cricket team: Ten players on Pakistan’s national men's cricket team have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board. More than one-third of a 29-man squad announced for upcoming matches are infected.
  • Mexican triplets: A set of premature triplets born in Mexico on Monday tested positive for Covid-19 -- even though both parents do not have the disease, the health secretary of the state of Potosí said in a Facebook post. Health authorities say the case is "unheard of" and "a very relevant scientific feat."
  • Bat research: The National Institutes of Health canceled a grant earlier this year to a US nonprofit that was studying viruses in bats because it was told to, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday. He added that he did not know the reason for the cancellation, and did not say who gave the order.
  • Breastfeeding with Covid-19: The WHO is urging women who have contracted -- or are suspected of contracting -- coronavirus to continue breastfeeding their babies or young children, saying that the benefits of breastfeeding “substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission” of the virus.
  • Beijing outbreak: China recorded seven new cases of Covid-19 in Beijing on Tuesday -- the lowest number of daily new cases since a wholesale food market in the capital was shut down on June 13 after becoming the center of a new outbreak.
  • Bolsonaro and face masks: Brazil's attorney general's office said Tuesday it was looking to "reverse" a federal judge's decision ordering President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask.
2:54 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Pandemic is "spiraling out of control," and US doesn’t have political will to shut down properly, doctor says

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Dr. Leana Wen taks to CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Dr. Leana Wen taks to CNN's Anderson Cooper. CNN

Dr. Leana Wen says the United States moved too fast to open up, as evidenced by the number of Covid-19 cases “spiraling out of control” in many parts of the country. 

In May, the US was able to contain the virus much better because of stay-at-home orders, the emergency room doctor told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday. 

“Americans sacrificed so much for that to happen -- people lost their jobs, kids went out of school and that was to buy us time,” said Wen, who previously served as Baltimore City Health Commissioner. 
“It was to buy us time to increase our testing, contact tracing and isolation capabilities, so that when we reopened we would be able to contain the virus as much as we can, but unfortunately, we opened too soon and reopened in not the safest way possible and now we are seeing these surges all across the country.”

Wen said she doesn’t think there is the political will or the support to shut down again, or reopen the right way to control the virus from really surging even further out of control.

2:30 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

10 Pakistan national cricket team players test positive for coronavirus 

From CNN's Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Ten players on Pakistan’s national men's cricket team have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

A member of the team’s support staff has also been infected with the virus. 

The PCB announced a 29-man squad for three upcoming test matches and three Twenty20 games against England starting in August. But more than one third of the squad are currently positive for Covid-19 and will have to self-isolate for 14 days, the statement said. 

On Tuesday, the head of the PCB, Wasim Khan, said plans for the team to travel to England on June 28 "are very much on track," adding that only the players who tested negative for the virus will travel.

Pakistan has registered at least 188,926 coronavirus cases with 3,755 deaths, according to the country's health ministry. 

2:04 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Mexican doctors baffled as triplets are born with Covid-19, but parents test negative

From CNN's Mia Alberti

A set of premature triplets born in Mexico on Monday tested positive for Covid-19, although both parents do not have the disease, the health secretary of the Mexican state of Potosí said in a Facebook post.

Health authorities say the case is "unheard of" and "a very relevant scientific feat." They are investigating several potential sources of contagion such as the mother's breast milk.

"Now that we have the negative result of the PCR tests done on both parents, the case it's even more relevant, not only for the investigation our doctors in the state are doing but for the worldwide research on the behavior of the virus itself," said Potosí's Health Secretary Monica Liliana Rangel Martinez. 

The premature triplets were born in the Ignacio Morones Prieto Central Hospital and are in a stable condition. Authorities say one of the babies has developed a respiratory infection but "is responding well to antibiotics." The mother is also recovering in hospital. 

1:39 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

US National Institutes of Health was "told to cancel" grant to group studying bats, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts, Zachary Cohen, and Maggie Fox

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Trump administration's Response to the pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Trump administration's Response to the pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 23. Kevin Dietsch/AFP/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health canceled a grant to a US nonprofit that was studying viruses in bats because it was told to, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

Speaking at a hearing Tuesday of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Texas Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey asked Fauci about the cancellation earlier this year of NIH funding for the EcoHealth Alliance to study bats in China and elsewhere.

For years, the group has studied viruses in bats because of the known risk that bats can transmit viruses -- such as the novel coronavirus -- to people. 

Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, has been funding the EcoHealth Alliance for five years.

“It was cancelled because the NIH was told to cancel it,” Fauci said, adding that he did not know the reason for the cancellation, and without saying who gave the order.

A spokesperson for Veasey told CNN the Texas congressman and other members of the Energy and Commerce Committee were planning to look further into the matter.

“The (scientific) community continues to demand answers from the NIH's leadership over this decision,” Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, said in an email to CNN.
“Why did Dr. (Francis) Collins put politics ahead of his job as the director of the NIH -- essentially the caretaker of the nation's biomedical research enterprise? The politicization of science endangers America's position as a global leader of science and innovation, and during a pandemic the politicization of science endangers the lives of Americans. “
1:13 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Coronavirus is not tired of making us sick, former US CDC director says

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

Dr. Tom Frieden talks to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Dr. Tom Frieden talks to CNN's Chris Cuomo. CNN

Former United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden says the country is not doing enough to keep the Covid-19 pandemic at bay.

“We may be sick and tired of staying home, but the virus is not tired of making us sick,” Frieden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday. 

Frieden is currently the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of global public health organization Vital Strategies. 

The uptick in the number of cases in parts of the US are not the result of the country doing more testing, as some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued. Instead, the numbers are going up because there is more disease and it is spreading, Frieden said.

“The US response is just lagging,” Frieden said. “We’re not doing what we need to do to keep physically distant. We are not across the country scaling up contact tracing as effectively as needed so we can prevent cases into exploding into clusters and outbreaks.”  

Frieden compared the US' response to South Korea’s.

“Facts don’t lie,” Frieden said. “There are 120,000 dead Americans from this virus. There are, at last count, 270 who died from it in South Korea.”

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, South Korea has reported 281 coronavirus deaths while the US has seen more than 121,000.

Countries around the world have lower rates of infection because they are better at testing, tracing and isolating people who are sick, Frieden said. He believes there needs to be a better national response in the US.

In the absence of an adequate national response, there is something individuals can do to keep case numbers down, he said.  

“Remember the three W’s. Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance,” Frieden said. “You do these three things, we can keep the virus at bay.” 

12:48 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Mothers with Covid-19 should continue breastfeeding, WHO says after inconclusive study

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The World Health Organization is urging women who have contracted -- or are suspected of contracting -- coronavirus to continue breastfeeding their babies or young children.

In a scientific brief released Tuesday, the WHO said the benefits of breastfeeding “substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission” of the coronavirus.

“Recommendations on mother-infant contact and breastfeeding must be based on a full consideration of not only of the potential risks of Covid-19 infection of the infant, but also the risks of morbidity and mortality associated with not breastfeeding, the inappropriate use of infant formula milks, as well as the protective effects of skin-to-skin contact,” the agency said in a news release.

How WHO came to its conclusion: The WHO said researchers reviewed studies that included mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 and their babies or young children. 

A total of 153 cases of mothers with the virus were included in the review. The breast milk of 46 mothers was tested. All had Covid-19 and while 13 infants tested positive for the virus, the researchers were unable to determine conclusively how the babies contracted the virus. It wasn’t clear if the breast milk was the source of the infection, or simply close contact with the infected mothers.

“In infants, the risk of Covid-19 infection is low, the infection is typically mild or asymptomatic, while the consequences of not breastfeeding and separation between mother and child can be significant,” the review concluded. 

Researchers said other infections that breastfeeding protects against pose a much bigger risk to babies and children than the coronavirus. 

“Based on available evidence, WHO recommendations on the initiation and continued breastfeeding of infants and young children also apply to mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19,” the WHO said.
12:12 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Beijing reports lowest new coronavirus cases since shutting down wholesale food market 

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

An epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a man at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing, China.
An epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for Covid-19 on a man at a government testing site on June 22, in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China’s National Health Commission reported seven new cases of Covid-19 in Beijing on Tuesday.

It's the lowest number of daily new cases reported in the Chinese capital since a wholesale food market was shut down on June 13 after becoming the center of a new outbreak.

Across mainland China, the NHC reported 12 new coronavirus cases, including three imported infections and nine locally transmitted cases.

The local cases include the seven from Beijing along with two from Hebei province. No new deaths were reported.

In addition, three new asymptomatic cases were reported by the NHC. Currently 100 asymptomatic infections are under medical observation. 

Mainland China has reported more than 84,000 coronavirus cases, including at least 4,640 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.