June 25 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:35 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
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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.

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

New York City is on track to enter phase 3 of reopening on July 6, mayor says

From CNN's Julian Cummings

People dine at tables placed outside of a Manhattan restaurant in New York, on June 24.
People dine at tables placed outside of a Manhattan restaurant in New York, on June 24. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City is on track to enter into phase 3 of reopening on July 6, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We will work closely with state of New York to make final decision,” de Blasio said

Phase 3 of reopening will allow sports and recreation to resume, including NYC basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball, dog runs, handball, and bocce, de Blasio said.

The city will have more guidance tomorrow on what businesses can reopen during phase 3, the mayor said. 

10:24 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Coronavirus cases are increasing in 29 states

At least 29 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared with the prior week. That includes the nation's three most populous states: California, Texas and Florida.

Among those states, at least 13 are reporting a 50% increase or higher. Another 16 are reporting an increase of between 10% and 50% compared to the previous week.

There is only one state in the US right now that is reporting at least 50% decrease in new coronavirus cases: Connecticut.

Here's the full breakdown of where cases are trending across US states:

10:16 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

We must normalize masks and social distancing before a possible second wave, expert says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Pedestrians wearing face masks carry shopping bags in New York City on June 24.
Pedestrians wearing face masks carry shopping bags in New York City on June 24. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Now is the time to normalize the use of masks and practice social distancing to get us prepared for a possible second wave of Covid-19, said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University and a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The time to normalize wearing masks and social distancing behavior is now, so that we get used to it by the time the fall arrives. And I'm very concerned that the second wave this fall will be substantially greater than what we have experienced so far," Schaffner said Thursday during an appearance on "CNN Newsroom."

Schaffner added that all sectors of society should model this behavior: politicians, religious leaders and businesses.

"You have to make wearing masks a social norm. Every business has to have a sign outside their door that says, 'If you wish to patronize us, please come in with a mask. If you haven't got one, we'll give you one.' And then everybody who works in the business has to wear it. Religious leaders have to preach that to all faiths, all the time. We need chambers of commerce coming out; local political leaders; all harmonizing with that message to normalize that behavior in our society. And on occasion, you may indeed have to mandate it," Schaffner said.


9:51 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Pandemic is causing "unprecedented decline in global activity," according to the IMF

From CNN's Julia Horowitz

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its global economic forecasts for 2020, saying the coronavirus pandemic is causing a much steeper recession and a slower recovery than initially expected.

The organization said Wednesday that it thinks global GDP will contract by 4.9% this year, downgrading its estimate from April, when output was forecast to shrink by 3%.

That was already due to be the deepest slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The pandemic is causing an "unprecedented decline in global activity," according to the IMF. It said the global labor market has taken a "catastrophic" hit, movement outside the home remains depressed, companies have cut back on investment and consumer spending has dropped significantly.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast," the IMF said in its report.

Here is the IMF's world economic forecast by country for June:

Some key forecasts:

  • China, which got a head start on the recovery, is expected to log growth of 1%, in part due to policy support from the government. India's economy, meanwhile, is forecast to shrink 4.5% following a longer lockdown and slower-than-expected recovery.
  • The US economy is expected to shrink by 8%, while output across the 19 countries that use the euro could decline by 10.2%.
  • Countries in Latin America that are still struggling to contain the virus will also be hard hit. Brazil's economy is expected to contract by 9.1%, while output in Mexico could decline by 10.5%.

The outlook is slightly rosier than those provided by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which have recently forecast that global GDP would shrink by 5.2% and 6%, respectively, before rebounding in 2021.

But the IMF warned of a "higher-than-usual degree of uncertainty" around its forecast, which it said was based on a number of assumptions, including stable financial conditions.

9:45 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

"There will be some shutdowns in individual places," but not nationwide, White House adviser says

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House Economic adviser Larry Kudlow, when asked about the increase in coronavirus cases across the country and its economic impact, said Thursday that “there will be some shutdowns in individual places or certain stores,” but that he believes the country as a whole will not shutdown again.

He said that while the US has seen an increase in cases nationally of “just a little bit,” multiple states have seen a decrease in cases. 

However, data shows, coronavirus cases continue to surge in the U.S. as some states are reporting record numbers, including the country's three most populous states.

Kudlow was also pleased the new jobless claims were down for the 12th straight week, and said he still believes the economy will have a strong V shaped recovery. 

Conditions in the US labor market are undoubtedly improving, but as CNN's business team noted this morning the road to recovery is long and littered with obstacles. 

Last week's new jobless claims brought the total claims filed since the mid-March to 47.3 million.

Kudlow said he believes the unemployment rate could fall below 10% by year end.

9:38 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Stocks open lower

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks kicked off in the red on Thursday, adding onto losses from the prior session.

Wednesday had been the worst day for stocks in nearly two weeks following worries of rising Covid-19 infections, quarantine requirements for intra-US travel and proposed tariffs on European imports. 

Data from the Labor Department showed Friday that more people than expected – 1.5 million – filed for first-time jobless benefits last week. The weekly claims have declined for three months now but are still higher than they have ever been before the pandemic.

Here's how the markets opened today:

  • The Dow opened 0.5%, or 121 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 fell 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened flat.

9:35 a.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Macy’s eliminates nearly 4,000 corporate positions

From CNN's Alison Kosik

People walk by Macy's Herald Square in New York on June 23.
People walk by Macy's Herald Square in New York on June 23. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Macy’s announced a restructuring plan Thursday that will eliminate 3,900 corporate and management jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt sales. 

The department store chain says it expects the layoffs will save the company about $630 million per year. The company is trying to cut costs as “the business recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Covid-19 has significantly impacted our business," said Macy's CEO said Jeff Gennette. "While the reopening of our stores is going well, we do anticipate a gradual recovery of business, and we are taking action to align our cost base with our anticipated lower sale.” 

Macy's will also reduce staffing across its stores, supply chain and customer support network. In February, Macy’s said it was cutting 2,000 jobs and planned to close 125 underperforming stores over the next 3 years.

Macy’s reports its first quarter earnings on July 1.