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Coronavirus live US: latest Covid-19 news - Wednesday 17 June

This US live feed is now closed. For all the latest developments and breaking news relating to the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, please follow the 17/18 June coverage here. 

MLB and players agree framework for 2020 season

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Wednesday he met with the head of the MLB Players Association this week and they put together the framework of a deal to salvage a 2020 season amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Manfred, who had previously said he was "not confident" a 2020 season would happen, requested a one-on-one meeting with MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark and the two spent several hours together in Phoenix.

"We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents," Manfred said in a statement.

"I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same."

MLB and the players' union have been trying to find common ground on a return-to-play plan for the 2020 season but have been unable to reach agreement in areas like player compensation and the number of games played.

Last week Manfred pegged the likelihood of a 2020 season as "100%" but dramatically shifted his tone this week after the union on Saturday rejected MLB's latest offer of a reduced 72-game schedule with 80% prorated salaries and called off talks.

According to reports, owners have since offered to pay players their full pro-rated salaries in exchange for a 60-game season that would begin on July 19.

 

Black patients with COVID-19 in Atlanta more likely to be hospitalized (CDC)

A study of coronovirus patients in Atlanta has found that black patients are more likely to be hospitalized than white patients, highlighting racial disparities in the U.S. healthcare system, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on  Wednesday.

About 79% of black patients were hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, against 13% of white patients, according to the study across six metropolitan hospitals and outpatient clinics in Atlanta, Georgia, between March and April 2020.

The researchers found there was an association between being black and the rate of hospitalization in Atlanta, even when they controlled for underlying conditions such as diabetes.

This suggested that other factors like healthcare access or the possibility of bias might explain higher rates of hospitalization for black Americans.

Hospitalized patients tended to be older, male, black, and have underlying conditions, said the researchers. They added that black Americans were more likely to be frontline industry or essential workers, raising their risks for coronavirus infection.

New York has lowest U.S. coronavirus infection rate, Cuomo says

New York, once the U.S. epicenter of coronavirus infections, now has the country's lowest rate of virus spread as the state's death toll and number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continue to decline, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

"We once again have demonstrated that we’ve gone from the worst infection rate in the country to the best infection rate in the county," Cuomo said at his daily briefing.

Fewer than 1% of some 60,000 New York residents tested on Tuesday were positive for the virus, he said. The number of people entering hospitals in the state with COVID-19 dropped to 1,479 on Tuesday, the lowest level since March 20, while the number of deaths fell to 17, the lowest number since the outbreak began, he said.

Trump

In Tulsa, fears that Trump rally may worsen racial unrest, spread of coronavirus

When President Donald Trump takes the stage at his first rally in three months on Saturday night, the scene in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be familiar: A large venue filled with ardent supporters wearing "Keep America Great” hats and T-shirts.

Trump’s campaign advisers believe the rally is a way to rejuvenate his base and display the enthusiasm behind his re-election bid, at a time when a string of national and state opinion polls have shown Trump falling behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

In Tulsa, officials said they were worried the rally would set the stage for potential clashes between Trump supporters and protesters who may try to crash the event to argue the Republican president has failed to address racial injustice or police brutality against African Americans.

Trump has positioned himself as a "law-and-order" president and advocated a militarized response to the protests,  alling on states to crack down on the unrest.

Residents have also been rattled by the prospect of a large,indoor gathering - the biggest-such event in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, at a time when Oklahoma, along with other states, has reported a new spike in COVID-19 cases.

Rich not spending, potentially scotching economic recovery

According to this report by NPR, while low earners in the US are spending more or less the same as before the coronavirus pandemic, higher-income people are not - leading to potentially disastrous consequences for the country's attempts to get its economy back on track:

"Pre-existing racial disparities factor into what we're seeing with the pandemic"

Speaking to the Big Picture Science podcast, Yale medicine professor Dr Marcella Nunez Smith has discussed the impact of racial inequality on the coronavirus pandemic, with greater proportions of minority-ethnic groups contracting Covid-19 than white Americans.

“It is a key message for everyone to understand that pre-existing racial disparities, things such as basic access to food and access to stable and safe housing, access to healthcare - that these are the same determinants that then factor into what we’re seeing with the pandemic and the stark disparities and outcomes there," Nunez Smith said.

You can listen to the full podcast here:

JFK

An examiner surveys the Baccalaureat (esame di maturita) examination on 17 June 2020 under a tent set up in the yard at the J. F. Kennedy High School in Rome.

Some 500,000 Italian high school students were taking on the 'maturita' exam, equivalent to the French baccalaureate, which takes place in unprecedented conditions, only orally and in compliance with strict health rules due to the pandemic.

A mural of J. F. Kennedy is seen behind. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

US death toll to pass all of Western Europe

Serious questions continue to be asked of Donald Trump's administration, managing the crisis with the foresight of others.

China's perceived exploitation

Defense officials are increasingly concerned China is using the coronavirus crisis to gain stakes in strategically important businesses as the pandemic leaves struggling companies urgently in need of capital.

Mask demand from Pelosi

Masks have become the norm inside the House of Representatives, where some politicians now embrace the novel coronavirus precaution with colorful odes to their home districts.

But there are holdouts: A small group of Republican representatives who have consistently declined to wear face coverings in Congress.

Dexamethasone early positives

Britain has increased the amount of dexamethasone it has in stock and on order to 240,000 doses, health minister Matt Hancock said on Wednesday, after a preliminary trial result showed it reduced mortality in the most severe Covid-19 cases.

Britain swiftly backed the steroid drug after University of Oxford researchers announced preliminary results of their trial on Tuesday, saying it had amassed a stockpile of 200,000 courses of the drug.

"It's the first time that anyone in the world has clinically proven that a drug can improve the survival chances of the most seriously ill coronavirus patients," Hancock told parliament, as the UK attempts to find positives in a crisis that many believe has been handled poorly.

Americans want to know what relief is coming

As part of the next Covid-19 relief bill in the United States, Americans could get up to $4,000 under a vacation tax-credit scheme supported by President Trump.

NFL infections

Moere vaccine progress

Regulators gave the company the green light to test the shot in first-phase trials on 168 healthy people, according to a statement on Wednesday. It’s the second such treatment to go into clinical testing in Germany

WSJ front page

There is a real mix of headlines on today's front page.

New spikes across America

Trump rally guidance

Tulsa all set for Trump

The suit had been filed earlier in the day against the rally venue's management company, ASM Global, by Tulsa attorneys representing local groups The Greenwood Cultural Centre and the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, along with two immunocompromised individuals.

Dr Fauci's MLB suggestion

With Major League Baseball and its players association arguing over when the season should start, one of the nation's leading coronavirus experts weighed in about when play should end. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doesn't want to see baseball played beyond September this year.

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Fauci said Tuesday, 'If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it's cold. I would avoid that.'

Beijing on heightened alert as cases mount

Beijing officials reported several new Covid-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday, extending an outbreak that has forced the Chinese capital's authorities to reinstate strict defences against the coronavirus.

Health officials recorded 31 new confirmed infections for 16 June, bringing the cumulative infections since Thursday to 137 cases, the worst resurgence of the disease in the city since early February. Authorities on Tuesday raised Beijing to a level two alert, the second-highest level in a four-tier Covid-19 emergency response level system.

Canada-US border agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday’s agreement extends the closure by another 30 days.

US

US coronavirus latest: 00:00 PT / 03:00 ET (09:00 CEST) on Wednesday 17 June

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 8,174,009 cases have been detected worldwide, with 443,685 deaths and 3,955,179 people have recovered.

In the USA, there have been 2,136,208 confirmed cases and 116,905 deaths with 583,503 people recovering from the virus.

U.S. doctors skeptical of reported COVID breakthrough

The report on Tuesday of a powerful treatment for the new coronavirus brought scepticism along with optimism among U.S. doctors, who said the recent withdrawal of an influential COVID-19 study left them wanting to see more data.

Global pressure to find a cure or vaccine has accelerated the process of reporting coronavirus study results, feeding confusion over whether therapies have been proven effective. One influential COVID study was withdrawn this month by respected British medical journal The Lancet over data concerns.

Trial results announced on Tuesday showed dexamethasone, used to fight inflammation in other diseases, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. British scientists announced the results and said they would work to publish full details as soon as possible.

"We have been burned before, not just during the coronavirus pandemic but even pre-COVID, with exciting results that when we have access to the data are not as convincing," said Dr. Kathryn Hibbert, director of the medical intensive care unit at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital.

Fauci explained the early advice against masks by saying: "The public-health community — and many people were saying this — were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply."

US Coronavirus news: 16 and 17 June

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic as it affects the United States.

The number of cases and deaths continues to rise across the US. On 15 June, they experienced over 750 deaths due to coronavirus. They also registered over 21,685 new cases of the virus.

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