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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2:04 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

The pandemic is "roaring" and states like Texas will have to partially shut down, expert warns

From CNN's Jen Christensen

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters at the White House, on Thursday, June 25, in Washington, DC.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters at the White House, on Thursday, June 25, in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

On Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that the country would have to learn to live with "hotspots" popping up around the country in places like Texas, which saw a record number of cases today.

But Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, argued the idea didn't portray just how widespread the virus' spikes are.

“Calling Texas, for instance, a ‘hotspot’ is like calling the sun a ‘hotspot,’” Reiner told CNN today. “The pandemic is roaring in Texas and Arizona and Florida ... It's a giant problem."

He added that parts of states like Texas will have to shut down, since there is a risk that hospitals will be overrun.

“That would be the responsible thing to do and I’m hoping the leadership in those states has the political courage to do that," he said. "It has to come from the statehouses and we have to have the courage to shut down places where the virus is out of control. There’s no other way to do it.”  

1:45 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Nevada reports highest daily jump in cases since pandemic began

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Gov. Steve Sisolak exits a news conference at the Nevada State Legislature in Carson City, Nevada on Wednesday, June 24.
Gov. Steve Sisolak exits a news conference at the Nevada State Legislature in Carson City, Nevada on Wednesday, June 24. Samuel Metz/AP

Nevada reported 507 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest one-day increase since the pandemic began.

The figure marks a 9% jump from the previous highest jump, recorded on Tuesday.

This brings the state's total to 14,859 infections, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yesterday, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a mandatory order for people to wear face masks in public, starting Friday, and cited the spike in positive cases signaling a need for greater caution.

The state is now indefinitely postponing plans to enter the next stage in its reopening plan.

2:07 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Experts were "screaming as loud as we could" weeks ago to warn the country, epidemiologist say

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Dr. Larry Brilliant.
Dr. Larry Brilliant. CNN

The United States is facing some "rough sledding" as Covid-19 cases continue to spike around the country, warned epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant.

“Every epidemiologist was screaming as loud as we could that three weeks after Memorial Day we’d have a peak in the cases and five weeks after Memorial Day we’d begin to see a peak in hospitalizations and deaths,” Brilliant told CNN earlier today.

“If you let everybody out without face masks and without social distancing in the middle of a pandemic, this is what was predicted.” he said. “This is a consequence of our actions and a consequence of not having guidance from the federal government and states that follow and counties that follow."

The US saw its highest daily jump in new cases on Thursday, with more than 37,000 cases reported.

Brilliant added the country needed to take “urgent” action and increase testing, contact tracing, and quarantine and treat people who are sick.

Reopening plans also need to be reevaluated, since indoor spaces like restaurants and beauty salons place people at higher risk.

“It’s not enough to just say, 'I won’t open up anything else,'” Brilliant said. “You have to peel back some of the things that you’ve done, because you can’t fight against a pandemic this way.”

8:35 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Trump's post-Covid bubble is evaporating

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

US President Donald Trump walks to the White House residence after exiting Marine One on the South Lawn on June 25, in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump walks to the White House residence after exiting Marine One on the South Lawn on June 25, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

America's single worst day of new coronavirus cases obliterated US President Donald Trump's fantasyland vision of a post-Covid America -- even as he sowed new diversions in an effort to hide the reality of his leadership void in a deepening national crisis.

More than 40,500 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The numbers superseded the previous darkest day of the pandemic, on April 24.

The new data suggests that the aggressive state reopenings championed by Trump, who wants a quick economic reboot to boost his reelection hopes, exacerbated a situation that now seems close to tipping out of control across a swathe of southern states.

And while the President lives in a bubble of his own obsessive political feuds and the embrace of conservative media that rarely dwells on the virus, the reality of a pandemic that may still be in its early changes is beginning to squeeze in on his world.

Task force briefing returns: In a sign that the White House needs to get control of the worsening situation, Vice President Mike Pence will chair the first public briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on Friday in two months.

Senior government public health officials have faded from the scene in recent weeks as Trump has tried to send a message that the US has "prevailed" over the virus and is reopening.

States in crisis: On Thursday alone, Texas -- the poster child for Trump's reopening strategy -- paused its transition to restoring normal life, alarmed by rising hospital admissions and a surge in new infections. Apple closed stores across Texas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina to protect customers and workers from virus spikes.

Dozens of Secret Service agents are now self-isolating after several of their colleagues were found to have the virus after traveling to the President's rally in Oklahoma over the weekend.

Multiple Trump campaign staffers have taken the same step, after eight of their co-workers tested positive in the latest sign that Trump's plans for a full resumption of campaign rallies are not only reckless but may prove logistically impossible.

Read the full analysis:

8:35 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Brazil president pays tribute to Covid-19 victims on Facebook Live, in rare recognition of the virus

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Marcia Reverdosa in São Paulo and Taylor Barnes in Atlanta

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Comando de Operações Aeroespaciais on June 23 in Brasilia, Brazil.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Comando de Operações Aeroespaciais on June 23 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called Covid-19 a “little flu” and resisted economic shutdowns to combat the virus, paid a rare tribute to the victims of the novel coronavirus in a Facebook Live on Thursday.

Sitting near the head of the Brazilian tourism agency, Gilson Machado Neto, Bolsonaro mentions that a popular Catholic festival will not be held in Brazil’s northeast this year due to “health issues” and referred to the custom of Brazilian radio stations, particularly in the countryside, playing “Hail Mary” on their evening broadcasts.

“I know that many radio programs in Brazil, at 6 p.m., play 'Ave Maria.' So I would like to pay tribute to those who have passed away, victims of the coronavirus, and ask Gilson to play 'Ave Maria,'" Bolsonaro said, prompting Neto to play the mournful tune on his accordion.

After Neto concluded singing, Bolsonaro then turned his attention to a few sheets of paper on the desk in front of him and said: “Let’s talk about the economy here.”

1:51 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

New daily high in Texas coronavirus cases is a "warning shot," health expert says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

CNN's Erin Burnett and Dr. Richard Besser.
CNN's Erin Burnett and Dr. Richard Besser. CNN

Texas reported its highest daily jump in coronavirus cases on Thursday, with just under 6,000 new infections.

The spike could be a precursor of things to come, warned Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

“The situation in Texas is a warning shot for the situation that could occur in any state where this isn’t being taken seriously enough,” Besser told CNN.

“Part of this comes down to this clash of messages where you hear some political leaders downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic telling people to get back to work, get back to their social lives, while every public health leader in the country is saying this is really serious, this is early days in the pandemic.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is pausing the state’s reopening plans, and asked people to stay at home.

“What we're seeing in Texas is a healthcare system that is in many places on the verge of getting overwhelmed, and we know what that looks like from what happened in New York City. Hopefully the actions that are being taken now, aren't too little too late,” Besser said.

A "super spreader event": A surprise birthday party in northern Texas late last month is now being linked to at least 18 cases of coronavirus.

Besser said it’s another warning that people need to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public.

“These kind of events are what are called super spreader events where, for some reasons that are unknown, a lot of cases occur from the exposure to one or two people. But it's a sign that we have to take this seriously," he said.

8:35 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to invalidate Obamacare

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue, Tami Luhby and Sarah Mucha

Solicitor General Noel Francisco.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

In the midst of a global pandemic with the presidential election just months away, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law that enabled millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge.

In a late-night filing, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said that once the law's individual coverage mandate and two key provisions are invalidated, "the remainder of the ACA should not be allowed to remain in effect."

The justices will hear arguments in the case sometime next term, although it is unclear if they will occur before the November election.

A partisan conflict: The dispute ensures another major shift in the political landscape during the election season on an issue that has dominated American politics for the last decade. It will be the third time the court has heard a significant challenge to the law. The case pits a coalition of Democratic attorneys general led by California and the House of Representatives, which are defending the law, against the Trump administration and a group of red state attorneys general led by Texas.

What it's all about: At issue is whether the law's individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional because Congress reduced the penalty for remaining uninsured to zero and, if so, whether that would bring down the entire law.

A federal appeals court in December ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional but punted the decision on which, if any, of the law's provisions could be retained back to the district court -- which had previously found the entire law to be invalidated.

Read the full story:

8:36 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

White House coronavirus task force to hold first public meeting in close to two months

From CNN's Matt Hoye

US Vice President Mike Pence arrives for the Senate Republicans' lunch in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, on Wednesday, June 24.
US Vice President Mike Pence arrives for the Senate Republicans' lunch in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC, on Wednesday, June 24. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP Images

The White House announced Thursday that US Vice President Mike Pence would lead a public coronavirus task force briefing Friday morning, the first public meeting in almost two months.

The announcement comes as many states are seeing a resurgence in cases of Covid 19, as others like Oklahoma and Texas are seeing fresh spikes. 

The briefing will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the schedule released by the White House.

US President Donald Trump has tried to declare that the pandemic is "over," despite the rising numbers and has instead focused his administration's energy on reopening the economy. 

He has also resumed campaign rallies, despite warnings by health experts on his own task force that the events could be super spreaders of the virus. 

At his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally Saturday, eight members of Trump's advance staff tested positive for the virus, and since then the Secret Service has announced that agents who attended the rally will be quarantining for the next two weeks. Campaign staffers who attended the rally are also quarantining. 

12:00 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

US records biggest single-day high in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Keith Allen

The United States saw its biggest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases on Thursday, with 37,077 new infections reported, according to Johns Hopkins University.

According to JHU’s tally, at least 2,421,134 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US, including 124,410 fatalities.

Thursday's total eclipses the previous high of new US cases reached on April 24, when 36,291 new coronavirus cases were reported across the country, according to Johns Hopkins data.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here: