June 26 coronavirus news

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2:59 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Coronavirus patients who took statins fared better in hospital, Chinese study shows

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Coronavirus patients in Chinese hospitals who were taking statin drugs fared better than patients who were not taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs, researchers reported Thursday.

Patients taking statins were less likely to die and less likely to need ventilators to help them breathe, the researchers reported in the journal Cell Metabolism. Hospitalized patients taking statins had a 5.5% mortality rate, compared to 6.8% mortality in patients not taking statins.

It’s a reassuring report for some people who are worried that use of the drugs might worsen outcomes.

The large study looking back at the records of nearly 14,000 patients in China’s Hubei province also showed people didn’t have any higher risk of dying or having severe illness if they were taking blood pressure-lowering drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) along with statins.

There had been some concerns about patients taking the drugs because the virus acts on a receptor -- a kind of molecular doorway into cells -- called ACE2, and these drugs indirectly affect ACE2.

What the study doesn’t show is that taking statins protected the patients. It also couldn’t show if patients with milder cases of coronavirus infection do better or worse if they take statins.

"These results support the safety and potential benefits of statin therapy in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and provide a rationale for prospective studies to determine whether statins confer protection against COVID-19-associated mortality," Hongliang Li of Wuhan University, who led the study team, said in a statement. 
2:55 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

US reports nearly 40,000 new Covid-19 cases in highest single-day spike

From CNN’s Joe Sutton and Ethan Cohen 

The United States reported 39,972 new coronavirus cases and 2,425 deaths on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University -- the largest one-day jump in cases during the pandemic.

The country's totals now stand at 2,422,299 cases and 124,410 deaths, according to data from JHU.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

New Jersey added a large number of probable coronavirus-related deaths to its tally on Thursday, making it one of the hardest-hit states, after New York and California.

Update: Johns Hopkins has published updated numbers for Thursday; some of the earlier cases and deaths were assigned to previous days, which contributed to the fluctuation.

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

2:38 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Bill Gates: The US is "not even close" to doing enough to fight pandemic

From CNN's Melissa Mahtani

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said on Thursday that the current coronavirus picture, both globally and in the US, is "more bleak" than he would have expected.

During CNN's town hall on the coronavirus, Gates said the fact that people are still dying in the US today shows that the country is "not even close" to doing enough to fight the pandemic.

"It's possible to ramp up testing for a new pathogen very, very fast," he said.

"In fact a number of countries did that extremely well in this case and the technology keeps getting better there. The US in particular hasn't had the leadership messages or coordination that you would have expected."

"Some people almost feel like it's a political thing which is unfortunate," he added, something he says he didn't expect in America.

Eight weeks ago, when Gates was last a guest on CNN's Town Hall, the death toll in America stood at 63,000 with more than one million cases recorded.

Today, those figures have doubled: At least 2.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the US, and more than 124,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Read the full story:

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

Watch the entire CNN coronavirus town hall

From CNN's Brett Harman

Earlier tonight, CNN hosted a town hall on the facts and fears surrounding coronavirus.

Guests and speakers included Microsoft founder Bill Gates and emergency room physician Leana Wen. They addressed the need for urgent action in the United States, answered questions from viewers, and weighed in on the situation globally.

Watch the highlights here:

2:55 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Singapore revokes work passes for foreigners convicted of breaking social distancing rules

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

People wearing protective masks prepare their mobile phone for Safe Entry check-in as they queue to enter a shopping mall in Singapore, on Saturday, June 20
People wearing protective masks prepare their mobile phone for Safe Entry check-in as they queue to enter a shopping mall in Singapore, on Saturday, June 20 Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Seven foreign nationals in Singapore were fined, six of whom had their work passes revoked, after being found guilty of breaking the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

In court documents provided to CNN, public prosecutors accused four of the seven offenders of “engaging in a pub crawl amidst the pandemic.” The prosecutors added that all seven had “given the impression that our laws can be disregarded with impunity.”

All seven were convicted on Thursday for gathering when social gatherings were banned. Of the seven, four are British citizens, two American, and one Australian.

The six who had their work passes revoked by the Ministry of Manpower are also permanently banned from working in Singapore. The Ministry said they were among 140 work pass holders who faced similar consequences between May 1 and June 25 for breaching coronavirus restrictions, stay-at-home notices and quarantine orders.

“MOM will continue to take enforcement actions against work pass holders who do not comply with the requirements, including the revocation of work passes," warned the ministry in a statement on Thursday.

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: