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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2:40 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

California coronavirus positivity rate climbs past 5%

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 19.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 19. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The positivity rate for coronavirus in California has climbed to 5.1%, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference. The rate was 4.8% on Monday and 4.6% last week. 

This rate hike comes despite increased testing. Yesterday alone, about 94,000 people were tested in California, Newsom said.

Noting that about 8% of all hospital beds and 30% of ICU beds statewide are being used for Covid-19 patients, Newsom said he is confident that the state remains able to meet the needs of patients.

In total, California has recorded at least 183,073 cases and at least 5580 deaths as a result of the virus, according to California Department of Public Health data.

3:05 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Despite uptick in cases, Florida county is not revisiting reopening plans for Disney World

From CNN's Cristina Alesci and Frank Palotta

The entrance to Walt Disney World in Orlando is seen empty on May 15.
The entrance to Walt Disney World in Orlando is seen empty on May 15. Charlotte Kesl/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Florida county where Disney World is located says it doesn't plan to revisit the park's reopening plan, despite pushback from some Disney employees.

"Orange County continues to monitor the health data for the county with the rise in cases," Kelly Finkelstein, senior public information officer for Orange County government, told CNN. "At this time there are no plans to revisit the reopening plans. That decision rests with Disney officials and the governor."

More than 7,000 people are petitioning both Disney and government officials to delay reopening Disney World next month as coronavirus cases surge in Florida.

The Disney theme park plans to begin a phased reopening on July 11 for its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks and July 15 for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Florida reported an additional 3,286 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 103,503.

Hear more:

2:20 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

California coronavirus cases soar with more than 7,000 reported in one day

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A woman walks out of a store in Santa Monica, California, on June 23.
A woman walks out of a store in Santa Monica, California, on June 23. Jae C. Hong/AP

More than 7,000 people were confirmed to have coronavirus in California on Wednesday, according to data from California Department of Public Health.

These 7,149 new cases obliterate the previous single day high of just over 5,000, a record set only the day before.

Hospitalization and ICU rates due to the virus are also at an all-time high in the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to address the spike in a news conference starting shortly.

California is among at least 26 US states that have recorded higher rates of new cases compared to last week.

7:25 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Spring break trip leads to 64 coronavirus cases, University of Texas team reports

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Tourist service posts remain closed in the Marina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on June 2.
Tourist service posts remain closed in the Marina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on June 2. Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images

 A spring break trip to a Mexican beach resort last March led to 64 cases of coronavirus, but proper contact tracing, quarantine and isolation got the outbreak under control, a team at The University of Texas at Austin reported Wednesday. 

No one got seriously ill and no one died, but the incident illustrates how young people – especially college students – can quickly spread the virus among themselves and carry it into the community, the research team said.

Sixty vacationers caught the virus. They in turn infected one household contacts and three people in the community, the UT team reported in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly bulletin.

The students traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico from March 14-19. A week later, back in Austin, three showed up at the health center with coronavirus symptoms and tested positive. “Contact tracing interviews revealed that Cabo San Lucas travelers used a variety of commercial, charter, and private flights to return to the United States,” wrote the researchers, part of a joint effort between the university and Austin Public Health.

“Additional travelers were identified through contact tracing interviews and review of flight manifests gathered with assistance from Austin Public Health,” they added.

Then the contact tracing team swung into action. “UTHA trained medical students, public health students, and clinical and research staff members to trace contacts. UTHA contact tracers communicated with travelers and contacts by telephone, first texting an initial message about the potential exposure and then attempting to call each traveler and contact up to three times,” they wrote.

“During the telephone call, contact tracers advised asymptomatic travelers and contacts to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the last potential exposure date. Symptomatic travelers and contacts were offered a SARS-CoV-2 test and asked to self-isolate until either a negative test result was obtained or, following CDC recommendations at the time, until 7 days after symptom onset, including 3 days with no fever and no worsening of symptoms.”

It was complicated, because many of the people involved had shared rooms, traveled together, and then returned home to shared apartments. And about a fifth of those who ended up testing positive had no symptoms.

“Asymptomatic persons or those with mild symptoms likely play an important role in sustaining SARS-CoV-2 transmission during outbreaks, especially in younger populations, such as the one described here,” the research team wrote.

The symptoms people did have were various. “Similar proportions of fever, cough, sore throat, and headache occurred among persons with positive test results and those with negative results,” the team wrote. It’s possible some of the students had other respiratory infections, including flu. The researchers also suspect some claimed they had symptoms when they did not, so they could get tested. 

Universities, colleges and other schools need to take into account this pattern of shared living and rapid virus spread as they consider reopening, the researchers said.

1:47 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

New Jersey still continuing with restart despite uptick in Covid-19 hospitalizations, governor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A customer gets her hair cut in East Windsor, New Jersey, on June 22.
A customer gets her hair cut in East Windsor, New Jersey, on June 22. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that while there is an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations the state feels comfortable continuing with its restart. 

“Tracking our overall trends for the past two weeks, even with the overall increase in new hospitalizations, the overall numbers remain in a place where we feel comfortable continuing with stage 2 of our restart," he said.

The governor added “we have to continue with our social distancing folks. We have to wear the face coverings. There are no excuses to let up even one bit.”

“It is not yet defeated” he said of the virus.

Earlier today, Murphy announced a travel advisory alongside the governors of New York and Connecticut. It will require people traveling from states that have a high infection rate to quarantine for 14 days.

Here is the state's latest data from the governor:

  • Patients in hospitals increased to 1,196 – the highest total since last Thursday. 
  • But the number of patients requiring ICU treatment did decrease to 275. 
  • The daily positivity rate is “up a bit” to 2.83% percent. 
  • Rate of transmission was 0.86% still under 1, but “ticking up a little bit.”
  • Eight counties, currently have a transmission rate greater than 1.
  • Ten counties have seen their reproduction rate at this point in time increase 50% over the past week.
  • The state recorded 317 positive cases bringing the total 169,892.
  • The state recorded an additional 48 deaths bringing the total to 12,995.

Note: These numbers were released by the State of New Jersey’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project

1:43 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Tulsa County reports more than 250 new coronavirus cases today

From CNN's Kay Jones 

The Tulsa Department of Health reported 259 new cases of coronavirus today.

"As numbers are growing in the month of June across the state, we are seeing the same steep upward trends here in Tulsa County," Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Dart also said that 92% of the new cases were from June 14-20 and that 40% of all of the new cases came from the 18 to 35 age group.

"We knew we'd see an increase in cases as our local economy reopened, but this has been higher than projected," Dart said. 

He went on to say that more than half of the hospitalizations are of people under the age of 50.

There are a total of 2,742 total cases and 66 deaths in Tulsa County.

1:30 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

New Jersey governor announces more businesses will be allowed to open next month

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

An employee cleans the windows at the Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 22.
An employee cleans the windows at the Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 22. Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced another slate of business will be allowed to reopen on July 2.

Museums, aquariums and indoor recreation facilities will be able to reopen at 25% capacity, along with casinos. Indoor bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges, and boardwalk arcades will also be allowed to reopen.

It does not include indoor entertainment venues including movie theaters, indoor venues, and night clubs. Gyms and fitness centers will remain closed but individualized fitness appointments are available. 

Libraries will also be able to reopen at 25% of capacity.

Businesses will be required to implement heightened sanitary procedures and measures. Face coverings and masks will also be required.

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.