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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5:23 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence will travel to states hard-hit by coronavirus next week

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

Vice President Mike Pence will travel in the coming days to three states hit hardest by a recent surge in coronavirus cases, he announced on Friday.

Pence said he would visit Texas on Sunday alongside Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. He said he would travel to Arizona on Tuesday and Florida next Thursday to "get a ground report" in places where coronavirus is rising dramatically.

Pence said he'd spoken to the governors of those three states in the last 12 hours, and announced he would also convene a call with the nation's governors and the White House task force on Monday.


5:09 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence says "we want to open our economy up" as cases spike

Vice President Mike Pence said the US's mission right now is to "partner with states to save lives and safely reopen."

The comment comes as more that half of US are reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week compared to the week before. Today, Florida reported its highest single day of cases since the pandemic began — nearly 9,000, up from about 5,000 the day before.

"We want to open our economy up. We want to move America forward," Pence said at an ongoing briefing.

He added that while the US reopens, officials must take steps to protect Americans.


5:13 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Pence says "no outstanding requests" of PPE, medical supplies in any US state

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, DC, on June 26. Pool

In the first public coronavirus task force briefing in nearly two months, Vice President Mike Pence said there are currently "no outstanding requests" from any state at this moment for personal protective equipment, including the hard-hit states in the South.

Pence said the administration is ready "at a moment's notice" to provide supplies as needed.

"Let me say that again, in the affected areas, particularly the states down South that are seeing rising cases, we have no outstanding requests. But as I told the governors, we're ready at a moment's notice to surge personnel, to surge supplies, to expand capacity and to support their health care response," Pence said.


12:46 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Fauci is at today's coronavirus task force briefing

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, is attending today's White House coronavirus task force briefing.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar are also on stage at the briefing.

Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the task force, kicked off the briefing by announcing he will travel to Texas, Arizona and Florida next week.

Everyone is wearing masks including Secret Service, except for Pence and his staff. The vice president did have a mask on when he first took the stage, but removed it to speak.

12:49 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Oklahoma records 395 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Oklahoma has recorded 395 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the state’s Department of Health said Friday.

There is now a total of at least 12,343 cases, including 377 deaths, in the state, according to the agency.

12:34 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Soon: White House coronavirus task force holds first public briefing in nearly two months

Vice President Mike Pence is holding a public coronavirus task force briefing soon, the first formal public meeting since April 27.

The briefing comes a day after the US saw a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day with 37,077 reported Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Thursday's total eclipsed the previous high on April 24, when 36,291 new coronavirus cases were reported across the country.

At least 32 states are seeing an increase in cases of Covid-19, and California, Oklahoma and Texas are seeing fresh high peaks.

The briefing will not take place at the White House, but at the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a schedule released by the White House.

Since Pence was tapped to lead the coronavirus task force on February 27, there have been a total of 47 briefings at the White House, most led by President Trump, and a few led by the vice president.

In recent days, Trump has tried to declare the pandemic "over" despite the rising numbers, and has instead focused his administration's energy on reopening the economy.

According to White House schedule update, Trump is no longer traveling to Bedminster, New Jersey this weekend.

CNN's John King explains where US Covid-19 figures stand now in comparison to the last public task force briefing on April 27:

12:25 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Tucson only has 10 ICU beds available as Arizona struggles with a surge in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a news conference in Phoenix on June 25.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a news conference in Phoenix on June 25. Ross D. Franklin/Pool/AP

As Arizona deals with a surge in Covid-19 cases, Tucson has only 10 beds in intensive care units available with a population of about 560,000 people, Mayor Regina Romero said.

“Arizona is in a state of crisis right now. One in five tests come back positive. It's 20% positivity in tests taken in Arizona,” she said. “It's very scary.”

Gov. Doug Ducey has put a pause on further reopening the state as the cases spike but Romero criticized his decision through this pandemic, starting with lifting the stay-at-home orders “way too early.”

“I don't know what he wants to pause on. He really went from lifting the stay-at-home [order,] and it went from zero to 60 in no time. So unless he wants to start pushing back the restrictions that he lifted, I don't see what else he needs to pause,” she said. "Thank God that Gov. Ducey untied the hands of mayors throughout Arizona so that we can do our own mandatory mask ordinances. I did that last Thursday.”

Romero added that experts say people from the ages of 20 to 44 are most being affected by Covid-19 in Arizona and Pima county, where Tucson is located.

“Those are the people that are actually out, working. Opening back up the state has really affected those workers that have a need to go back to work. And those are, you know, bartenders, waitresses, the people that have to work at their places of business,” she said.

Romero added that the longer it takes to flatten the curve, the lesser consumer confidence they have.

“It was a big mistake by Gov. Ducey to open up the state too soon, because it's still affecting our economy and consumer confidence is down and it's very unfortunate for our economy. It's very unfortunate for the lives of Arizonans," she said.

12:16 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Louisiana governor: "We've got some work to do" as coronavirus cases rise

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a news conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on June 8.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a news conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on June 8. Travis Spradling/Pool/The Advocate/AP

As the state of Louisiana continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. John Bel Edwards said, "We've got some work to do".  

During a Resilient Louisiana Commission meeting on Friday, Edwards said people became complacent because the state was reporting better numbers. The fact is the number of coronavirus cases "aren't getting better, they are getting worse," he said.

The Resilient Louisiana Commission is the group leading coronavirus pandemic strategy.

Edwards said the number of hospitalizations are also rising due to more Covid-19 infections. He said the state isn't anywhere close to not being able to deliver health care, but as cases climb they are heading in that direction.

"What we can not have happen in Louisiana is we threaten our ability to deliver health care," Edwards said. 

Edwards announced this week that the state of Louisiana would remain in phase two of the reopening guidelines due to the spike in cases across the state.

Edwards said there are businesses who he refers to as "bad actors" that are not in compliance with mitigation efforts.

Edwards added that well over 90% of positive cases in the state are coming from community spread especially among people between the age of 18 and 29. Edwards said within this group, those between the age of 18 and 21 are the largest concern because they don't appear to be following any social distancing guidelines. 

12:07 p.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Florida suspends alcohol consumption in bars statewide

From CNN's Rosa Flores 

Bartenders prepare a drink for a customer at Juana's Latin Sports Bar & Grill in Miramar, Florida, on May 18.
Bartenders prepare a drink for a customer at Juana's Latin Sports Bar & Grill in Miramar, Florida, on May 18. JLN Photography/Shutterstock

On-premise alcohol consumption has been suspended in bars in Florida, according to a tweet from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

The announcement came the same day the state announced the highest single-day coronavirus case increase of nearly 9,000. 

At least 64 counties in Florida were in phase two of reopening, which allowed restaurants, bars, and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, with the exception of nightclubs, to operated bars.

Read the tweet: