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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5:00 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 is as hard to fight as a leaky bucket is to fix, expert says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Fighting coronavirus is like trying to fix a leaky bucket, a pandemic expert said Wednesday; something is going to get out.

“This virus is what I call a leaky bucket virus. If there’s one small micro leak in it, it will get out and it’s going to keep transmitting,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, said at a JAMA live event on Wednesday.

There are not many weapons against it, Osterholm said. 

“I think distancing, distancing and distancing, really, the only focus we have, and it has proven to be successful,” he said.

Mitigating the spread of infection: Wearing masks can also work, but a lot depends on what people use. N95 respirators, used to protect health care workers, are far more effective than surgical masks or cloth face coverings, for instance, Osterholm said.

“It’s kind of like saying I have a semi-truck, a VW beetle and a trike and they’re all the same because they have tires,” he said.

More work is needed to understand how different types of masks work in the environments they are used in.

Osterholm also pointed out that masks need to be worn correctly to be effective.

CIDRAP has found that 25% of people who use masks are wearing them with their noses uncovered. 

“It’s like fixing three of the five screen doors in your submarine. If we’re going to use them we have to use them correctly,” Osterholm said.


4:58 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Peru's president admits Covid-19 challenges and asks residents "not let our guard down"

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

A municipal worker sprays disinfectant at a market on June 10 in Puno, Peru.
A municipal worker sprays disinfectant at a market on June 10 in Puno, Peru. Carlos Mamani/AFP/Getty Images

During a news conference to mark 101 days since the state of emergency was imposed due to Covid-19, Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra recounted his administration’s accomplishments against the pandemic but also acknowledged the current challenges.

Vizcarra told the nation his government has managed to do 1,560,653 tests until Wednesday while it started with a capacity of 500 tests per day. The country’s capacity is now from 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day, according to Vizcarra.

He also acknowledged his government faces what he called "structural problems" to fight the pandemic but responded to his critics saying “they demand us to fix the country’s problems in one hundred days while these problems have not been solved in one hundred years." 

Vizcarra also recognized current problems in the fight against coronavirus in his country such as the lack of oxygen for patients and the need to improve rules for local markets, which have become hubs of infection across the country for example.

His government allowed shopping centers to reopen starting last Monday in order to relieve the economy but the president implored the population not to relax the current social distancing and hygiene rules when going shopping.

“We can’t relax and trust yet, we will only be relaxed when science finds a vaccine or a treatment to neutralize the virus ... Please do not let our guard down,” Vizcarra added. 

The numbers: Peru has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America, following Brazil. Peru reported 260,810 Covid-19 cases and 8,404 deaths on Tuesday. Peru was one of the first countries in the region to impose a state of emergency and lockdown in order to fight the pandemic. 

5:02 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 cases have tripled in Latin America since last month, PAHO says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

A member of the medical team treats a patient in the ICU of Mater Dei hospital on June 23 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
A member of the medical team treats a patient in the ICU of Mater Dei hospital on June 23 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Covid-19 cases in Latin America have now tripled since the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced the region had become the new epicenter of the pandemic, the organization's director said Wednesday.

"Last month I announced here that our region had become the new epicenter of the pandemic," Dr. Carissa Etienne said during a news briefing. "Since then, cases of Covid-19 in Latin America have now tripled from almost 690,000 [on] May 23 to more than 2 million today."

There is now widespread transmission in most of Central America, while the Caribbean has hotspots on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as in northern South America, Etienne said. 

"Brazil surpassed 1 million Covid-19 cases, joining the United States as the only other country in the world with cases in the six digits," Etienne said of the South American country. 

"While the recent increase in cases is extremely concerning, we have averted an even greater tragedy, thanks to the early adoption of public health measures, which have helped protect health systems and saved lives in many countries," Etienne added. 

However, the PAHO director warned that governments are now facing pressure to ease these public health measures due to economic and political reasons, even though transmission is increasing.

"In the absence of effective treatments, or of widely available vaccines, we expect that over the next two years in the region of the Americas we will experience recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, which may be interspersed with periods of limited transmission," Etienne said. "We must be realistic about the future. All of us must adjust to a new way of life, and redefine our sense of normal,” she added.

“The question is no longer how do we go back to the way things were before, but rather, how do we move forward and build a sustainable outbreak response."

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

Trump predicts a "beautiful surprise" for coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Allie Malloy

US President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on, June 24 in Washington.
US President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on, June 24 in Washington. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said he would welcome getting Poland involved in a potential vaccine for Covid-19 and predicted there will be a “beautiful surprise, sooner than anybody would think.”

He made the remarks during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“The answer is yes we will be getting Poland involved in terms of helping and taking care of the polish people,” Trump said.

On the progress of vaccines and therapeutics, Trump said: “I think you’re gong to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise, sooner than anybody would think.”

He offered no specific details.

Trump also told reporters in the Rose Garden that he plans to visit Poland after the 2020 election. Trump canceled a trip to Poland due to hurricanes last year.

4:36 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Fauci urges build-up of national and state stockpiles

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

It’s important to build up stockpiles, both nationally and at the state level, as more than 10 states begin to see a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a virtual appearance Wednesday at the Sacramento Press Club.

“Even in areas where there is a diminution of infection and diminution of hospitalization, we still need to build up a stockpile,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

When the pandemic first started spreading in the United States, the country was not prepared, Fauci said.

“You know, the stockpile in the beginning was not adequate to really address the major surges received — particularly in the northeast part of the country, in the New York metropolitan area,” he said. 

“But right now we have some time. I mean, we're not where we want to be, because we want to see that curve go way down. It hasn't come down,” he said.

“Yesterday we had something like 35 or 37,000 new cases of coronavirus disease — new cases.” 

Fauci said at one point the number of new cases was heading in the right direction: down.

“Now, it’s not. It’s going back up.” 

Fauci urged states and cities to address the issues of equipment and drug stockpiles, as well as hospital capacity.

“I think it's time to start preparing each state. I mean the one thing I've learned not to do, is that you don't go in and tell people what they should do,” he said.

“We have the possibility of a surge of cases. Do we have enough backup to handle them? If we don't, let's start building it up.” 

4:32 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Florida lawmakers urge governor to require face masks

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt 

People wear face masks while riding bicycles on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, on June 16.
People wear face masks while riding bicycles on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, on June 16. Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images

A group of Florida lawmakers wrote a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis urging him to require masks statewide. 

“The recommendation by Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, that all individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible” is evidence that wearing a mask in public is sound and necessary practice from a scientific perspective. You must take the next step and make it a requirement,” the letter read.

The lawmakers who signed the letter include: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, Alcee L. Hastings, Ted Deutch, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Lois Frankel, Stephanie Murphy, Kathy Castor, Frederica Wilson, Darren Soto, Al Lawson and Debbie Murcarsel-Powell. 

DeSantis addressed the lack of a statewide mask mandate saying he feels masks orders can be problematic.

“We have a lot of places in Florida where that would not be a good use of resources," he said. "The transmission is being driven in metro areas. And you see that very clearly ... So they are doing that and they are going to have worry about how you enforce that.”

He added: “Ultimately we have to trust people to make good decisions.”

As Florida emerges from its coronavirus shutdown, the state is experiencing a surge of Covid-19 cases, with younger Floridians accounting for a significant number of positive tests.

The Florida Department of Health reported an additional 3,286 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 103,503.

8:28 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Model projects 179,106 coronavirus deaths in US by October 1

From CNN’s Maggie Fox and Arman Azad

Nearly 180,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October 1 unless just about everyone starts wearing masks, new projections show.

The latest coronavirus projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows 179,106 deaths by October 1 if nothing changes.

But that number would drop to 146,000 if 95% of Americans started wearing masks in public, the model forecasts.

The previous IHME forecast, published June 15, projected 201,129 deaths by October 1. “California and other states have seen over the past several weeks increasing case numbers, but deaths are not yet rising at the same rate, a trend which could change in the coming weeks,” IHME Director Christopher Murray said in a statement Wednesday.

“There is no doubt that even as states open up, the United States is still grappling with a large epidemic on a course to increase beginning in late August and intensifying in September,” Murray said. “People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50 percent, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.”

According to a June 12 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 74% of Americans nationwide said they wore masks often or always. That number approached 90% in New York and Los Angeles.

“States reporting the ages of confirmed cases suggest there are more cases being detected in younger people who are at substantially lower risk of death than older people,” Murray said. “It remains to be seen how this will unfold over the next few weeks, and if transmission continues to go up, we may see increasing infections in at-risk populations.” 

4:00 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

FDA and USDA say there is no evidence that people "can contract Covid-19 from food"

From CNN's Ben Tinker

The United States Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued a joint statement on “food export restrictions pertaining to Covid-19.”

“The United States understands the concerns of consumers here domestically and around the world who want to know that producers, processors and regulators are taking every necessary precaution to prioritize food safety especially during these challenging times. However, efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to Covid-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

“There is no evidence that people can contract Covid-19 from food or from food packaging. The U.S. food safety system, overseen by our agencies, is the global leader in ensuring the safety of our food products, including product for export,” they added.

4:21 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Colombia extends coronavirus lockdown to July 15

From CNN's Florencia Trucco

A worker sprays disinfectant on June 23 in Bogota, Colombia.
A worker sprays disinfectant on June 23 in Bogota, Colombia. Fernando Vergara/AP

Colombia’s President Ivan Duque extended the country’s lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus until July 15. 

Speaking from the presidential palace on Tuesday, Duque said that regions in Colombia where no cases are being reported are reopening gradually. 

About the numbers: Colombia has reported 73,760 coronavirus cases, including 2,524 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.