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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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:

11:16 p.m. ET, June 25, 2020

China records 13 new coronavirus cases

From Shawn Deng in Beijing and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

China recorded 13 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, including 11 in Beijing and two in Shanghai.

The eleven new cases reported Friday morning in Beijing brings the city’s tally to 280 since the onset of a cluster at the Xinfadi wholesale food market.

The Beijing Health Commission has said it will continue to carry out coronavirus tests on its residents, with one official on Monday saying the city can test nearly 1 million people a day using a pool testing method.

A Beijing official on Wednesday said the outbreak at the wholesale food market has “basically been contained."

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

Harvard expert: US states must act aggressively and quickly to stem rising infection rates

From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane

A medical worker administers a nasopharyngeal swab to a woman at the CORE Covid-19 testing site in Queens, New York, on Thursday, June 25.
A medical worker administers a nasopharyngeal swab to a woman at the CORE Covid-19 testing site in Queens, New York, on Thursday, June 25. Anthony Behar/Sipa/AP

US states need to do more to drive coronavirus infection rates back down, but they’ve got fewer tools to work with now, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday on The Situation Room.

“They've got to get aggressive if they're going to bring these virus outbreaks under control or they're going to be forced to shut down, and I think no one wants that at this point,” Jha said.

Unfortunately, aggressive action has become politicized, said Jha. “Here we are in the greatest pandemic in a century -- 120,000 Americans dead -- and what we need to do to prevent this from really getting out of control is wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands,” he said. “Instead of politicizing them, I'd like to see our leaders, really double down on those scientific areas of advice, so that we can keep Americans safe.”

There is some good news, Jha said. “We're not seeing the level of death that we saw a couple of months ago, and that's a relief. We've gotten better at treating this disease, and that's a relief. And we have better at testing so we can see these cases,” he said.
“But the downside is, we don't have the ability to shut down -- or not really. We've used that already. And the political space needed to shut the whole country down again, I think, is really limited,” he added.
“If we don't act aggressively now, and just let this go for a little longer, then we can get into that ‘apocalyptic situation.’ I think we all want to avoid it -- and we can, but we’ve got to move fast and we’ve got to move aggressively.”

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, has characterized the models for certain metro areas, such as Houston, as “on the verge of being apocalyptic.”

1:48 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Second wave of Covid-19 in the fall could be much worse than the current wave, infectious disease expert says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Dr. William Schaffner.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Dr. William Schaffner. CNN

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University, is concerned that Covid-19 could be much worse in the fall.

“What I’m concerned about since the virus is now seeded throughout the United States, come the fall, when it kicks up again, it is going to kick up everywhere, and small rural hospitals will find themselves taking care of Covid patients they can’t transfer to the major medical centers because the intensive care units there are already full,” Schaffner told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“I hate to be grim, but I’m afraid the second wave this fall could be worse than the first wave we are still experiencing.”

Schaffner said testing has to expand even further, with particular focus on nursing homes, prisons, businesses where there are outbreaks, agricultural workers, and high-risk populations to find out the true extent of the infection in the US.

“It’s spreading much more widely than even the statistics show,” Schaffner said.

12:43 a.m. ET, June 26, 2020

Disneyland employee unions to protest against reopening park

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Friday, March 13.
Visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Friday, March 13. Amy Taxin/AP

Disneyland employee unions are planning a protest on Saturday against the reopening of the Southern California theme park, which announced its decision to postpone the July 17 reopening date.

The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions (CRLU), which represents approximately 17,000 service workers from dozens of unions of the Disneyland resort, is hosting an event called “Disney Caravan For Safety!” on Saturday in front of the park in Anaheim, California.

Last week, CRLU sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom asking to delay the reopening of the park due to safety concerns.

On Wednesday, Disney said they are delaying the phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure but did not announce a new reopening date.

“Although negotiations between the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions and the company are ongoing, Disney has not yet agreed to conditions the CRLU is proposing such as testing,” CRLU said in a news release.

In addition to routine testing, CRLU is also demanding higher staffing levels to accommodate deep cleaning requirements. 

11:14 p.m. ET, June 25, 2020

Mexico passes 200,000 coronavirus cases and 25,000 deaths

From CNN’s Matt Rivers in Mexico City

Mexico’s health ministry reported 6,104 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, the second-highest daily case rise reported in the country, bringing the nationwide case total to 202,951.

The health ministry also reported 736 new Covid-19 deaths, taking the country’s death toll to 25,060.

CNN is tracking worldwide coronavirus cases here: