June 26 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Lindsay Isaac CNN

Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT) June 27, 2020
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5:22 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Masks are not mandated statewide, Florida governor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

A sign asks people to wear a face mask in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday.
A sign asks people to wear a face mask in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday. mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX/AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he isn't mandating masks statewide but will continue to provide guidance that people should social distance and use masks when that's not possible.

"We're going to continue to put out the messaging, we're going to continue to put out the guidance and we're going to trust people to make good decisions," DeSantis said. "I think that's the better approach than to try to prosecute someone criminally for it."

The governor said to make masks a mandate punishable by law could backfire.

DeSantis said that if local governments want to create an ordinance, it's up to them. Businesses also have the right to ask customers to wear masks

The governor said that some local sheriffs have said they won't enforce it and there are parts of the state where a mandate wouldn't make sense.

3:02 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Florida governor claims expanded testing created large new case counts


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in Miami on June 8.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in Miami on June 8. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said an increased positivity rate and expanded testing is creating the large new case counts that have been announced this week.

DeSantis said during a news conference Friday that the state is now seeing 45,000 new test results reported daily, up from 24,000 test results that were reported daily the last week of May. 

He attributed the high case count of nearly 9,000 reported Friday to a "test dump."

"Really nothing has changed in the last week," the governor said.

The majority of new cases are now people who are younger, with the median age ranging from 33 to 35 years old, DeSantis said.

He said the new cases are typically asymptomatic and primarily due to community transmission. 

DeSantis told vulnerable populations to be vigilant and continue to avoid large crowds and other situations where transmission could be possible.


2:56 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

New York City reports more than 22,400 confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City has 17,753 confirmed coronavirus fatalities and 4,668 probable coronavirus deaths as of June 26, according to the most recent data on the city website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “Covid-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 22,421.

There have been 210,908 coronavirus cases in the city and 54,578 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

The data is from the New York City Health Department and was updated on June 26 at 1 p.m., according to the website.

The numbers may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

2:50 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Texas governor announces extension of federally-supported Covid-19 testing sites

From CNN's Brad Parks 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on May 18.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on May 18. Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool/Getty Images

The federal government has granted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's request to extend operations of community-based Covid-19 testing sites across the state today. 

According to a statement, the federal government will maintain the program's support while surging resources to Dallas and Houston.

"These federally-supported testing sites are a vital component of this commitment," Abbott said in the statement. "I thank our federal partners for extending these operations in Texas, and for their flexibility in allocating their resources to the communities of Dallas and Houston that are experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases right now."

Cases surge: Abbott ordered further restrictions on businesses today, a day after he "paused" a phased economic reopening following a surge in coronavirus cases.

The state reported a record of almost 6,000 new cases on Thursday.

2:42 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

The US needs to consider "flooding the system with testing," Fauci says

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at the White House coronavirus task force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC on June 26.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at the White House coronavirus task force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC on June 26. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The US needs to start considering "flooding the system with testing" in light of new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that for every person infected with Covid-19, 10 more people in the country go undiagnosed, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday.

Speaking during a pre-recorded interview with CNBC, Fauci called the CDC's findings "sobering news."

"No way is it good news when you think there are 10 times more people infected than you thought there were," Fauci said. "So I think that's something that we need to address … to consider start literally flooding the system with testing, to really get a good handle about what is going on in the community."

Fauci said contact tracing was not going well ⁠— with some exceptions ⁠— and argued for pool testing over individual identification, particularly in areas where people don't want to cooperate with contact tracing efforts.

"Instead of I test me, and I test you... you could take 20, 30, 40 pool them, do one test. If they're all negative, then you know that that's negative. You now have 40 people who are negative. If you get a positive, then you backtrack and try and figure out who that positive is," Fauci said.

2:41 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

At least 11 states have currently paused or rolled back their reopening plans

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

The governors of Florida and Texas pulled back some of the measures put in place to reopen those states as coronavirus infections rise.

Additionally, governors of Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina have announced they will not move ahead to the next phase of reopening.

2:20 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Florida

Florida has erupted as a hotspot in the US's coronavirus pandemic.

  • New case record shattered: Florida reporting nearly 9,000 new cases of Covid-19, today, bringing the state total to nearly 123,900. The previous highest single-day increase had been about 5,000.
  • On-site drinking banned at Florida bars: The state on Friday also banned on-premises alcohol consumption at bars, according to a tweet from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Pence visiting next week: Vice President Mike Pence announced today he would travel Florida next Thursday to "get a ground report" on the situation in the state. He'll also travel to Arizona and Texas.
  • In Miami: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said “all options have to be on the table” when asked if he would consider implementing another stay-at-home order for the Florida city as Covid-19 cases rise. 

Here's a look at the rise of coronavirus cases in Florida:

4:32 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Fauci: Some states may have opened "a bit too early"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Contrasting some of the optimistic messaging coming out of the Trump administration in recent days, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said it may be time to “drop back a few yards” to think about the original reopening guidelines.

He had a stark message for anyone comfortable with the risks of Covid-19: “A risk for you is not just isolated to you because if you get infected, you are part, innocently or inadvertently, of propagating the dynamic process of a pandemic.”

Fauci began his comments at the White House coronavirus task force briefing by admitting that some states may have opened too soon.

“I don't think there's time enough now all day to try and analyze and figure out the multifaceted elements that went into that,” Fauci said. “Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some to opening at the right time, but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion, but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that for a number of reasons. Likely, because everyone feels the common feeling of being picked up for such a long period of time.” 

“So, we're not going to say blame we're not going to try and analyze it,” he continued, “but there is something that's very important about it, that I'd like to get a message to the country in general.”

Fauci said it may be necessary to think about the original guidelines from the task force about reopening the country, some of which were ignored by the states.

“When the vice president went back, pulling back a couple of months ago, when we showed about the guidelines to safely reopen the country, we've got to make sure we drop back a few yards and think about that, that this is part of a process that we can be either part of the solution or part of the problem.” 

“We need to take that into account because we are all in it together,” he said. “And the only way we're going to end it is by ending it together.”


4:38 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Despite case spikes, Pence says Americans have freedoms of speech and assembly

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the Constitutional rights to speech and free assembly explained the push to hold campaign rallies even as coronavirus cases surge.

"The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States," Pence said when asked why he and President Trump moved forward with campaign events even as public health experts advise against large gatherings.

"We have an election coming up this fall. And President Trump and I believe that taking proper steps ... and giving people the very best counsel that we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process. And we respect that," he added.

Trump held a campaign rally last weekend in Tulsa. Afterward multiple campaign staffers tested positive for coronavirus.

He later spoke to a large crowd in Arizona, one of the states where cases are rising.

Watch the moment: