June 24 coronavirus news

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9:17 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Cases are rising vertically in some US states. Here's a look at where numbers are going up.

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

At least 26 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. Remember, the number of states where cases are increasing is also on the rise.

California, Florida and Arizona are reporting thousands of new cases each day. And in Texas, health authorities have said new cases and hospitalizations are rising at their fastest rate yet.

  • California recorded a striking 5,019 new cases on Monday — topping the state's daily case record for the fourth time over the past week.
  • In Florida, officials announced 3,289 confirmations in a day. Jackson Health System, a nonprofit academic medical system in Miami, has seen an 101% increase in Covid-19 patients in the past 15 days,
  • In Texas, health authorities have said new cases and hospitalizations are rising at their fastest rate yet —a rate that Gov. Greg Abbott called "unacceptable." The state reported more than 5,000 cases in a single day, breaking their previous record.

Here's a map showing where cases are going up:

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before Congress yesterday and gave a broad assessment of where the country stands in the pandemic, warning that in some areas of the United States, "we're now seeing a disturbing surge of infections."

Watch the latest on the Covid-19 figures:

9:04 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Arizona hospitals need to get emergency plans ready due to rising Covid-19 cases, expert says

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

Hospital systems in Arizona need to put emergency plans in place due to the increase in new Covid-19 cases, according to a health expert. 

Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, predicted the state's hospitals will go into surge capacity mode by the 4th of July. 

"What I'd be focusing right now on is sounding the alarm to our hospital systems to get ready," Humble said while speaking Wednesday on CNN's New Day. "Because no matter what you do at this point, given where we are at the increase in cases, the exponential growth, taking into consideration the incubation period for this virus, we're going to go into surge capacity mode by the 4th of July."

Humble said health officials in the state need to "get those emergency plans in place because, at this point, I don't see an alternative but to go to crisis standard prepare in Arizona probably, probably in 10 days, maybe less."

Arizona is one of five states with the most new cases, reporting 3,779 cases on Tuesday, according to John Hopkins University.

8:47 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Medical system in Miami reports 101% increase in Covid-19 patients

From CNN’s Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt and Douglas S. Wood

Jackson Health System, a nonprofit academic medical system in Miami, has seen an 101% increase in Covid-19 patients in the past 15 days, according to data posted by the hospital system on Twitter.

On June 8, the system reported 104 Covid-19 patients. On Monday, they reported 210.  

The state of Florida does not release the total number of daily Covid-19 cases in the state.

An alarming trend: Miami-Dade County, the state's most populous with 2.71 million people, shows that the number of positive Covid-19 tests has increased by an average of 35 every day during the past two weeks, according to data compiled by researchers at Florida International University 

Researchers also found that hospitalizations, intensive care visits and ventilation use have all begun to increase over the past two weeks. Combined with a rise in cases, researchers say, this evidence points to increased community spread.

"Municipalities received guidelines on reopening but they do not have guidelines on when to pull back, which is why it is so critical to monitor the cases closely before the hospitals and ICUs start to have capacity issues — which is something we have avoided so far in Miami-Dade County," said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, the head of the epidemiology department at FIU. 

8:53 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

EU published guidelines on what to consider when allowing travelers in earlier this month

From CNN’s James Frater in London

The criteria European Union nations could use to block visitors from countries with severe coronavirus outbreaks – including the United States – visiting Europe has been “hiding in plain sight” since the middle of June when the guidelines were published, says an EU official.

European countries are currently working through a checklist of criteria based on the health situation and reciprocal travel arrangements in an external country that would create a list of countries whose visitors might be considered safe to visit from July 1.

 The guidelines have, “absolutely nothing to do with political decisions, this is based on the current health situation in a third country,” said the official.

When asked whether the executive order signed by President Trump this week that freezes visas for foreign workers was a factor, the official added, “I know some media have said for instance the executive order the United States President signed is part of this decision; it could not be further from the situation."

The June guidelines: When asked if the US was on a list of origin countries that might be barred from travel to Europe, one EU diplomat directed CNN to the first point of a June 11 checklist published by the European Commission on what to consider when allowing travelers into the EU.

The first point on the checklist asks whether the country can "be considered as being in a comparable or better epidemiological situation as the average in the EU+ area" with regard to number of new infections, trend of new infections and response in areas such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.

The latest US numbers: The US has the highest number of coronavirus deaths and infections in the world.

As of late Tuesday in the US, at least 2,346,937 had been infected in the country and 121,224 had died, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Tourism accounts for 10% of Europe’s GDP. "We are keen, and member states are keen for Europe to be open for tourism for jobs," said the official.

Ambassadors are set to meet again today and Friday to discuss the next steps in the process.

Recommendations made by the European Commission are not mandatory — decisions on whether and how to open up borders are matters for individual states.

8:53 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

UK "air bridge" travel agreements to be announced in next five days

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy 

Details regarding the UK’s international travel agreements -- or so-called "air bridges" -- will be announced by next Monday, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Speaking to the UK Parliament Transport Committee Wednesday, Shapps confirmed that “discussions were ongoing” and details on the measures would be announced to Parliament by June 29.

Air bridge agreements would allow UK travelers to visit certain European countries without having to quarantine on return.

Shapps said Britain wanted to put in place a system where the country avoided reinfection due to citizens going abroad or visitors from other countries entering the UK.

He added that the current quarantine measures were helping in “serving that purpose." Those measures require all international arrivals not covered by a shortlist of exemptions to self-isolate for two weeks.

When deciding which nations to form agreements with Shapps said he would consider “not only what the level of disease is" but also the trajectory of the virus in a country.

Shapps said he would also consider whether a country has the same testing capability as the UK, saying that the NHS Test and Trace system had “the capacity to test actually far more than is immediately required”. 

He added that he would take into account the social distancing measures in place in other countries, noting that there were “evidently a lot of complexities” to consider.

Shapps refused to give any further detail on air bridges until the official announcement saying he didn’t want to give people “false hope."

8:01 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 9.2 million people worldwide and caused more than 477,000 deaths. Here's what you need to know about the outbreak today:

  • England braces for reopening: A large swathe of the country's economy will open July 4, though gyms and pools will remain closed. The UK Business Secretary said he hoped leisure facilities would open later in July.
  • Germany races to contain new outbreak: All citizens in the German district of Guetersloh can be tested for the virus by their doctors, as officials scramble to contain a local cluster linked to a meat processing plant. Austria has warned its citizens against traveling to the region.
  • China says it has tested 90 million people: Beijing announced Wednesday that more than 90 million coronavirus tests have been conducted across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Cases surge in several US states: US officials are making desperate calls on residents to stay home, wear a mask and keep their distance after alarming trends emerged in several states including California, Florida and Arizona.
  • Jim Mattis appears in hometown PSA: The former Secretary of Defense urged people in Richland, Washington to wear masks, in a video clip released by the city.
7:52 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Fauci warns of disturbing trend as Trump ignores viral surge

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, testifies at a hearing in Washington, DC, on June 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, testifies at a hearing in Washington, DC, on June 23. Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's top health advisers say that the coronavirus pandemic has driven America to its knees amid a disturbing surge in cases. But Trump is ignoring the new danger, instead using the worst domestic crisis in decades as a racist punchline.

Political mismanagement of the situation, the glaring lack of a national strategy and the nation's exhausting, inconclusive struggle with the coronavirus was reflected Tuesday in three key developments.

Fully half of US states are now seeing rising cases of the disease with the situation especially acute in Texas, Florida and Arizona, which embraced aggressive reopening programs.

The European Union, which has been more successful than the US in suppressing Covid-19, warned it might bar visitors from America in what would be a major embarrassment for Trump. And the President persisted with his counter-logical argument that the US is only seeing more cases of the virus because it is doing more testing, leaving the implication that it would be better if rising cases, infections and ultimately deaths were simply ignored.

Trump spent the day in Arizona and held a rally in Phoenix, a city where mask wearing is mandatory in public. But he refused to don a face covering, along with many supporters who attended his indoor event. And he delighted his fans by reciting a racist name for the virus referencing its origin in China.

"Kung flu?" Trump said, prompting roars from his crowd.

Read the full analysis here.

7:45 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Indian army to run makeshift railway carriage medical facilities

From CNN's Vedika Sud, Swati Gupta and Sugam Pokharel 

Authorities in Delhi have drafted the Indian Armed Forces to support the treatment of coronavirus patients at makeshift railway carriage treatment centers.

Around 8,000 new hospital beds have been installed inside railway coaches in makeshift "Covid care centers" in the city, set up to deal with the deluge of infections hitting India's capital.

Armed Forces personnel have been detailed for providing medical care and attention to Covid patients housed in the railway coaches in Delhi," Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, said in a statement. 

Military personnel will operate the facilities -- Delhi's Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, had called for the deployment of doctors and nurses from the Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to work at the centers.

Shah said in a press release on Tuesday that another facility, with 1,000 beds and an area with intensive care facilities, would be up and running in the next 10 days. Armed forces personnel will also run that facility. 

India reported 15,968 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday -- the highest single-day jump so far, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 456,183, according to its health ministry. 

As of Wednesday morning, there are 66,602 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,301 deaths in the capital.

On Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research said that over 7.1 million coronavirus tests had been conducted across the country since the pandemic began.

7:33 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Welcome to the whack-a-mole stage of coronavirus

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Germany is back in crisis mode.

The country is trying to stop a new coronavirus outbreak from turning into a full-blown second wave of infections, after hundreds of people working at a meat processing plant in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia became ill. It's a serious situation, but the German government isn't rushing to reintroduce the kind of strict nationwide lockdown measures it used to fight the virus earlier this year.

Instead, public health officials are hoping they will be able to contain the outbreak by introducing more nuanced local measures and going all in on testing and contact tracing. Their approach echoes similar tales from elsewhere.

Beijing introduced a partial lockdown last week when the first new outbreak emerged in the Chinese capital after 55 days free of new locally transmitted cases. In South Korea, local restrictions were reintroduced after a cluster of coronavirus cases emerged in Seoul's nightlife district last month.

It's a glimpse at what the new normal might look like -- a perpetual game of whack-a-mole in which authorities race to contain the virus as it pops up in new places.

Read the full article here.