June 25 coronavirus news

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12:16 p.m. ET, June 25, 2020

DC mayor urges residents to celebrate July 4th at home

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 16.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 16. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging residents to celebrate Fourth of July at home this year.

In a news conference Thursday morning, Bowser said that DC will still be in a public health crisis during the holiday, and that “our strong recommendation is that DC residents celebrate the Fourth of July at home or near their home in small gatherings.”

 “We have not eradicated the virus, we are still reporting new cases each day,” Bowser warned.

Although there has been a plateau in coronavirus cases, the government is “still not satisfied” with the number of cases, the mayor said. 

Bowser noted that the National Park service will still conduct the fireworks display at the National Mall, and that the District will continue to support the Park Service as they do yearly, but she added, “We hope that the crowds that come in non-pandemic years won’t materialize this year.” 

More measures — including road closures — for the firework display on the Mall will be announced next week.

11:56 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Texas governor pauses additional reopening phases as cases increase

From CNN's Kay Jones and Konstantin Toropin

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced today that he will pause any further phases to reopen the state as Texas responds to the increase in Covid-19 cases. 

All businesses that were permitted to reopen under the previous phases can continue to operate at the level designated by the phase while still adhering to the minimum standard health protocols as stated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, according to a press release issued by the governor's office.

Here's what the governor said about the decision:

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business," Abbott said in the release. "I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”

Where the state stands on reopening: Earlier this month, Abbott announced that the state was moving into its Phase III — meaning that "all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions."

11:30 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Covid-19 is surging across much of the US. This is what the data shows.

At least 29 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. The nation's three most populous states — Texas, Florida and California —have set records for new Covid-19 cases.

CNN's John King reports that when it comes to the trajectory of the virus, other countries, including European Union nations, have had more success than the US in bringing the case numbers down. Meanwhile, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan, have flattened the curve.

Watch a break down of the latest US Covid-19 figures:

11:55 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Florida reports more than 5,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Tina Burnside

A University of South Florida (USF) Health administrator talks to a driver before they receive a coronavirus test in Tampa, Florida, on June 25.
A University of South Florida (USF) Health administrator talks to a driver before they receive a coronavirus test in Tampa, Florida, on June 25. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Florida Department of Health is reporting at least 5,004 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 114,018, according to data released on Thursday. 

Medical experts and elected officials have attributed Florida's rising numbers to a combination of more testing and more social contact as businesses reopen and, in recent weeks, to people's participation in large protests, although that has not been clearly established.

Watch CNN's Rosa Flores report on the ground from Florida:

11:07 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Coronavirus antibody tests work best 2 to 5 weeks after symptoms, study suggests

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Timing is key when it comes to getting accurate results from Covid-19 antibody tests that are used to determine if someone has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a new Cochrane Review paper.

Antibody tests are better at detecting Covid-19 in people two or more weeks after their symptoms started, but there is not yet enough evidence to determine how well they work more than five weeks after, or among people who had milder disease or no symptoms at all, suggests the review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on Thursday.

"Time is critical. Use the test at the wrong time – it won’t work," Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics and head of the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation Research Group at the University of Birmingham in England, who was involved in the review, said during a virtual press conference with reporters on Thursday.

"This is largely driven by when the samples are taken from the patients," Deeks said. "This isn’t a new science, but it’s something which has not been well thought through in a lot of the studies we were reviewing."

A Cochrane Review is a systemic analysis of published studies on a given topic, and often physicians, nurses, patients, researchers or funders turn to Cochrane evidence to help with decision-making or better understanding a medical issue.

The new review on the accuracy of antibody tests, spanning more than 300 pages, was authored by Cochrane researchers from institutions across Europe and led by experts from the University of Birmingham.

11:01 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Kentucky Derby will be held in September with spectators, racetrack announces 

From CNN's Jabari Jackson, Jabari

A view of the twin spires and empty grandstand at Churchill Downs  is seen on May 2, in Louisville, Kentucky.
A view of the twin spires and empty grandstand at Churchill Downs is seen on May 2, in Louisville, Kentucky. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Churchill Downs Racetrack announced in a statement on Thursday that spectators will be allowed at the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville on September 5 amid Covid-19 concerns.

The statement said:

“Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery in the statement. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility. We are determined to keep our customers, employees and communities as safe as we responsibly can.” 

Thursday's release did not indicate how many fans will be allowed at the track. Churchill Downs says they will disclose more details in the coming days.

The statement noted that the venue revised the “Fan Code of Conduct” to help address Covid-19 health concerns.

Churchill Downs will “consistently and frequently” encourage guests to wear a mask at all times “unless seated in their reserved seat.” Other guidelines for guest include washing their hands and social distancing when possible. 

Other changes revealed in the statement include: General admission tickets will be limited and only allow access to the infield area. The barn area will be “restricted to essential personnel” during morning workouts and on race days.

The 146th Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled for May 2  but was postponed until September 5 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

10:44 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers in New York City

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The number of people admitted to the hospitals in New York City in the past 24 hours was 60, remaining below the 200-person threshold, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

There were 329 people receiving care in the ICU below the 375 person threshold. 

The positivity rate of those testing positive for Covid-19 in New York city remained at 2% below the 15% threshold, the Mayor announced. 

10:34 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Texas governor issues order suspending elective surgeries in 4 counties to expand hospital capacity

From CNN's Ashley Killough & Brad Parks

An executive order was issued today by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott meant to ensure hospital bed availability for Covid-19 patients in parts of Texas.

The order suspends all elective surgeries in hospitals in 4 counties that are home to the cities of San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin. 

Under the order, any procedure that is not immediately and medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient will be postponed. 

Additionally, the Governor can add or subtract more counties from the list to address surges in hospitalizations.  

“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients," Gov. Abbott said in a statement. "As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.”

Texas is among at least 13 states that are reporting a 50% increase or higher increase in cases. There are fears of "apocalyptic" surges in major Texas cities if spikes in cases continue.

10:37 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Here's how the US's coronavirus response fell short, according to congressional watchdog report

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Gregory Wallace

A new Government Accountability Office report out Thursday highlights how unprepared the US government was to tackle coronavirus and deal with the corresponding economic crisis that required Congress to get trillions in federal stimulus dollars out the door. 

The report — which is just the latest look at the US government's response to the coronavirus — lays out how the US fell short on everything from testing to ensuring hospitals and states had adequate supplies.

It also looks closely at how agencies struggled to ensure billions in stimulus dollars got to American struggling with an economic crisis.

"Both the Congress and the administration have acted to mobilize resources quickly to help the nation respond to and recover from the pandemic. However, the negative effects of the pandemic on families, communities, and health care systems and on the long-term economic condition of millions of Americans and U.S. businesses are likely to persist into the future," the report states.

Here are some key findings of the report:

On the nation's stockpile: The report laid out that the Strategic National Stockpile was not equipped to handle the demand generated by states and localities in need of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other critical medical supplies.

According to officials from the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response who were interviewed by GAO "the Strategic National Stockpile did not have the capacity to provide states with supplies at the scale necessary to respond to a nationwide event such as the Covid-19 pandemic."

On testing: The report also criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on testing for compiling "incomplete and inconsistent" testing data that has hurt the government's response — specifically, the report said, poor data "has made it more difficult to track and know the infection rate, mitigate the effect of infections, and inform decisions on reopening communities." It said Department of Health and Human Services has directed improvements to reporting of tests to make the data more reliable, but notes those requirements do not take effect until August 1.   

On the disbursement of stimulus payments: The report also laid out that an influx of trillions in stimulus spending strained agencies like state unemployment offices and the Small Business Administration, which had never doled out the volume of funding they were required to under the pandemic.

The report said that when it came to handling an influx of unemployment claims and ensuring that an additional $600 payment was paid out, many states lacked the adequate infrastructure or staff to respond to the escalating number of claims. 

On the handling of small business loans: GAO also blasted the Small Business Administration for not providing them with detailed data on who received the loans, information GAO argued was essential to providing oversight.

"Congress has charged SBA with implementing the PPP and other provisions crucial to the nation's economic recovery. However, SBA to date has failed to provide information critical to our review, including a detailed description of data on loans made," GAO wrote.

On the preparedness of transportation agencies: of It also calls for Congress to require federal officials develop a preparedness plan for the aviation system. GAO has previously recommended the Transportation Department and other agencies do so, but it reports the agencies are at loggerheads over who is responsible. 

GAO said the plan should "ensure safeguards are in place to limit the spread of communicable disease threats from abroad while at the same time minimizing any unnecessary interference with travel and trade." 

Read more about the report here.