June 27 coronavirus news

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11:49 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Less than 1% of Covid-19 tests conducted in New York state on Friday were positive

Customers sit at tables separated by dividers outside the restaurant Boucherie in the West Village of New York on June 26.
Customers sit at tables separated by dividers outside the restaurant Boucherie in the West Village of New York on June 26. Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York state has reported that less than 1% of the people tested for Covid-19 were positive, according to data released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Of the roughly 73,000 tests conducted Friday, .96% were positive, the governor’s office said in a release.

New York City’s positivity rate is at 1% for Friday – down from 1.4% reported the day prior.

The state added 703 Covid-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 391,923.

“Today's numbers show a continued, steady decline in our hospitalization and death rates, and proves that a response based on science, not politics, is only way to defeat this virus,” Cuomo said. “While this is good news, New Yorkers cannot become complacent — we must continue to remain vigilant and smart in the fight against Covid-19. Wear a mask, socially distance — be New York tough"
5:51 p.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Patrons are asked to self-quarantine after about 85 people who visited a Michigan bar get Covid-19

From CNN's Sheena Jones

WILX
WILX

People who visited a bar in East Lansing, Michigan, are being asked to self-quarantine because roughly 85 people contracted Covid-19 after visiting the establishment this month, a health official says.

That number is up from the 34 previously reported on June 24 and Ingham County Health officer Linda S. Vail is expecting that number to rise, she said.

The Health Department made the decision after residents visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub between June 12 and June 20 and reported cases of Covid-19, the statement said.

“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” Vail said. “There are likely more people infected with Covid-19 not yet identified."

The bar followed all Covid-19 safety guidelines for employees, including the restaurant’s capacity guidelines and table spacing, according to the statement. 

The restaurant opted to close down temporarily to install air purifying technology in the HVAC system and to create a strategy to eliminate lines at the establishment, according to a post on their Facebook page.

10:11 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Pennsylvania announces step-by-step plan to reopen long-term care facilities

Paramedix full personal protective equipment (PPE) during a call at a nursing home in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The company responds to 911 calls across five towns that straddle Montgomery and Delaware Counties: Lower Merion, Narberth, Haverford, Conshohocken, and West Conshohocken. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Paramedix full personal protective equipment (PPE) during a call at a nursing home in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The company responds to 911 calls across five towns that straddle Montgomery and Delaware Counties: Lower Merion, Narberth, Haverford, Conshohocken, and West Conshohocken. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

Pennsylvania announced a procedure to ease restrictions in long-term care facilities.

These facilities, which include nursing and personal care homes, will have to meet several prerequisites before proceeding into the official three-step process of reopening, according to a statement from the state.

Here are some of the prerequisites, according to the guidance:

  • Facilities will have to develop an "implementation plan" and make that available on their website. This specifies how reopening and visitation requirements will be met.
  • Any resident showing Covid-19 symptoms must be tested within 24 hours.
  • Develop a plan to isolate residents who test positive for Covid-19
  • Establish screening protocols for staff during each shift, residents each day and all other people entering the building.
  • Facilities must have "adequate staffing and supply of personal protective equipment for all staff."

But even after a facility checks all of these boxes, the county it is in must be in the "yellow" or "green" phase of the governor's reopening plan in order to move forward with actually allowing visitors, the statement said.

Once a facility meets the prerequisites, it then enters a three-step process of reopening:

  • Step one: From the date the facility enters step one, it cannot have any new Covid-19 cases among staff or residents and "have no spread in the facility for 14 consecutive days in order to enter step two," the guidance said.
  • Step two: While in step two, facilities have to maintain no new cases for another 14 consecutive days. Visitors can now be allowed in this phase.
  • Step three: Facilities can continue to operate with their safety procedures and plans they put into place as long as there are no new cases.

According to the statement, each step of the plan includes "specific criteria for conducting dining, activities, non-essential personnel, volunteers, visitors and outings."

9:49 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

What it's like to become a US citizen during a pandemic

courtesy Maria Méndez
courtesy Maria Méndez

The coronavirus pandemic is causing uncertainty for those working to become American citizens, including Maria Méndez who was fortunate enough to take the oath recently.

When coronavirus hit, Méndez didn't think she would be able to finish the naturalization process until next year.

"I've been waiting for this moment what feels like pretty much my whole life," she told CNN on Saturday.

During the ceremony, she said everyone stood 6 feet apart. The whole process, which usually takes more than an hour, took less than five minutes.

"It was really surreal and a strange experience, but I'm very grateful that, you know, like I said, I was one of the lucky ones that got to still partake, despite, you know, the extreme circumstances that we're living right now," Méndez said.

Living in fear: Méndez has lived in the US most of her life. She came here when she was young as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

She said she considers Austin, Texas, her home – which is where she grew up and currently lives.

"There was always a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Because before a very young age, my mom told me ... made me aware of our legal status," she said. "There's always still fear that comes from just growing up with that uncertainty," she added.

Méndez said the fear that something would happen to her and her family was one thing that motivated her to become a citizen.

"That was part of why I really wanted to be a US citizen so, one, I could vote in a country that, you know, I lived my whole life basically. And, two, to feel that weight kind of be lifted off," she said.

9:12 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

It's 2 p.m in London and 9 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic.

More than 9.8 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide and at least 494,841 people have died due to the virus.

Here are the latest developments with the pandemic:

  • Latin America: Colombia reported 3,843 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday – the country's biggest single-day jump in cases so far. It also reported 157 new deaths.
  • Cases in the US: The United States also reported its highest single-day jump in coronavirus cases yesterday with 40,173 new cases reported nationwide. Infection rates are also going up in more than 30 states.
  • President Trump: The White House is taking several measures to protect the President from contracting the virus. This includes things like disinfecting places he goes, regular testing of those around him and frequent health checks.
  • Los Angeles County: Public health officials are warning the health care system could be overwhelmed “without immediate actions to slow the spread" of Covid-19.
  • Travel ban: Several diplomats told CNN on Friday that the European Union will likely ban American travelers as international travel starts to reopen. The EU is concerned about the spiking infections in the US.
  • Travel agreements: The British government says it will announce travel agreements with countries such as France, Greece and Spain next week as it reviews its policy of imposing a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in Britain. In early June, the UK closed its borders and imposed a mandatory quarantine for anyone entering the country.
  • Education: Schools in Italy will reopen on September 14 with social distancing measures in place. Schools will also be required to stagger morning arrivals and seat students one meter apart from each other. Meals must also be eaten in classrooms, rather than in school cafeterias. 
7:54 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Italian students will return to school in September

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo in Rome 

Schools were shut in March in an effort to prevent a further spread of the virus
Schools were shut in March in an effort to prevent a further spread of the virus

Schools in Italy will reopen on September 14 with social distancing measures in place, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Education Minister Lucia Azzolina announced Friday.

According to the government’s announcement, schools will be required to stagger morning arrivals and seat students one meter apart from each other. Meals must also be eaten in classrooms, rather than in school cafeterias. 

"These guidelines will allow us to send back to school our daughters and sons in maximum safety,” Conte said during a press conference.  

Italy’s Education Minister conceded that there are "some issues" regarding the lack of space within school buildings to accommodate all students under socially distanced conditions, cautioning that some 15% of students would be affected by the lack of space. 

While home-schooling will only be permissible for older students, the government says it will make use of decommissioned schools and encourage more outdoor activities, including field trips, to tackle the lack of available space for other grades. 

"Let the students breathe culture…why not? Take the smaller children to parks when the weather allows it and let them be close to nature,” Azzolina said.

In order to prepare for the safe resumption of classes in September, Prime Minister Conte said the government would invest an extra 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) to renovate schools, procure protective sanitation products and provide training to educators. 

"This money is not aimed only to face the coronavirus. We dream of a different school, a school where finally money is invested to improve it,” Italy’s Education Minister said. 

"Kindergarten and primary school children have suffered the most during the lockdown…and also the disabled. They are the ones who have suffered most, and they are the ones to whom schools will need to give a stronger answer in September,” she added. 

8:50 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

UNICEF says millions of children in Yemen could face starvation during Covid-19

From CNN’s Hande Atay Alam

A health worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at a market in the old city of Sanaa in April.
A health worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at a market in the old city of Sanaa in April.

Shortfalls in humanitarian aid funding due to the pandemic may push "millions of children in Yemen" to "the brink of starvation," according to a new report by UNICEF, the United Nations' (UN) children's agency, on Friday.

The report said an additional 30,000 children could develop life-threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next six months and the overall number of malnourished children under the age of 5 could increase to total of 2.4 million. 

An additional 6,600 children under the age of 5 could die from preventable causes by the end of the year, the report warned.

The “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and Covid-19” report indicated that the health system is closer to collapse and after years of conflict; only half of health facilities are operational, with huge shortages in medicine, equipment and staff.

“Poor access to water and sanitation is stoking the spread of Covid-19. Around 9.58 million children do not have sufficient access to safe water, sanitation, or hygiene,” the report added.

The report also highlights that crucial water and sanitation services for 3 million children and their communities will begin to shut down from the end of July unless $45 million is secured.

In total, UNICEF is calling for $461 million for its humanitarian response in Yemen, with an additional $53 million for its Covid-19 response alone. So far, the Covid-19 appeal is only 10% funded and the humanitarian appeal is only 39% funded.

7:51 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Honduran President takes part in Covid-19 response call after catching the virus

From CNN's Deb Bloom, Daniel Silva Fernandez and Mia Alberti

Juan Orlando Hernández is the first president in Latin America to have tested positive for the virus
Juan Orlando Hernández is the first president in Latin America to have tested positive for the virus Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Ten days after announcing he had coronavirus, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández participated in a Zoom conference call with health officials on Friday to discuss the country's Covid-19 response. 

Although other people on the conference call were streaming video, Hernández could not be seen in person; instead his official portrait was shown on the screen. It was not immediately clear where he was calling from and whether he was still in the hospital where he has been receiving treatment. 

“This is a war between life and death,” which can be won with extreme care measures, he was heard saying, adding: “I only ask all Hondurans as citizens, as a President, I could say a lot of things but look at me as a simple citizen.”

"I started having symptoms and thought it was something else and lost three to four important days of treatment. I thought it was something similar. But, I am the proof that it is necessary to be precise in going to the doctor, tell him the symptoms and make the doctor attend us. That's clear. It's urgent to be attended to as faster as possible."

Hernández is the first president in Latin America to have tested positive for the virus. According to the President's verified Twitter page, the leader had been on the mend since Wednesday. 

7:10 a.m. ET, June 27, 2020

Restrictions leave US travelers high and dry

From CNN's Stacey Lastoe

France is moving through stages of reopening, but US citizens are not yet on the list of countries who can visit.
France is moving through stages of reopening, but US citizens are not yet on the list of countries who can visit.

In downtown Buffalo, New York, crossing the border into Ontario, Canada, used to be as easy as driving one mile across the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River. But that's now a forbidden route.

In the coronavirus era, New York residents and out-of-state road trippers aren't allowed to cross the border for leisure travel.

US citizens have been shut out of their neighboring country to the north and a slew of nations around the world. The latest travel news affecting Americans: The European Union is considering blocking travelers from areas with severe Covid-19 outbreaks after it opens it borders on July 1.

Since the United States has more confirmed coronavirus cases than anywhere else in the world, with numbers increasing in some states each day, US travelers are unlikely to be allowed in any time soon.

"The US's chances are close to zero," an EU diplomat told CNN. "With their infection rates ... not even they can believe in that possibility."

Read the rest of the piece here: