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Nationwide protests raise infection fears

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Protesters rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in San Francisco
A child wearing a face mask watches a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in San Francisco, May 31, 2020. Picture taken May 31, 2020.Stephen Lam / Reuters

Health experts and political leaders have warned that the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S., as cities and states continue efforts to reopen.

So far, more than 1.7 million Americans have been sickened by the disease and more than 105,000 have died.

"If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week," said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at a news briefing Sunday.

Elsewhere, lockdown restrictions continue to be eased across Europe and east Asia, where the virus originated, but cases continue to grow in Latin America, with Brazil passing 500,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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WHO chief wants collaboration with U.S. to continue despite Trump terminating relationship

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an event in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, May 27. Christopher Black / orld Health Organization via AFP - Getty Images

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday the U.S. role in the health agency's work has been "immense," and he wants that collaboration to continue despite President Donald Trump announcing last week that the U.S. would be “terminating” its relationship with the WHO over the organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

“The world has long benefited from the strong collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online briefing with reporters from Geneva. “The U.S. government’s and its people's contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world.”

“It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue,” Tedros added. 

He deflected further questions on whether there is a formal process for a country to withdraw from the WHO. Tedros also indicated that the WHO first heard that the U.S. was ending its relationship through news media reports on Friday.  

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo floats possibility of NYC curfew

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he will speak with Mayor Bill de Blasio about putting the country's biggest city under a curfew after some weekend protests over George Floyd's death turned violent.

"Legally, I can impose a curfew," Cuomo said. "I'm not at that point, but I know something has to happen because last night was not acceptable and the night before was not acceptable."

At his coronavirus briefing Monday, de Blasio said that he does not believe a curfew is needed but it is being considered as an option.

De Blasio said he will consult with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and the governor.

Earlier Monday, Shea said he did not think a curfew would work.

"The problem is: People need to listen to a curfew, and that’s not going to happen," he said on the “TODAY” show. "If people think it will, they don't understand what's going on."

Gov. Cuomo says Western New York to move to Phase 2 reopening Tuesday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the Western New York region will move to Phase 2 of reopening Tuesday.

As part of Phase 2, offices, stores and personal-service businesses such as barber shops can reopen, with restrictions.

The governor said that 50,000 people in the state were tested for the coronavirus Sunday and fewer than 1,000 tested positive. 

"That is the lowest number we have had since this began, and when we began, we were doing 3 or 4,000 tests," Cuomo said.

Still, 54 people died Sunday from COVID-19-related illnesses.

Spain records no deaths for first time in 3 months

MADRID — Spain said Monday it's reporting no deaths in a 24-hour period from the new coronavirus for the first time since March.

Emergency health response chief Fernando Simón said the development is “very, very encouraging.”

He told a news conference there were only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours.

Spain reported its first two deaths on March 3. Another was reported two days later. Spain’s number of infections and death jumped exponentially. On April 2, it recorded 950 deaths in 24 hours — the peak death toll. The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases.

Eli Lilly starts first antibody treatment trial in humans

Eli Lilly has started the first COVID-19 antibody treatment trials in humans, the company said in a statement Monday. 

The treatment uses what are known as monoclonal antibodies made from people who were sick with the coronavirus. They are meant to work as natural antibodies do in the body by blocking the virus.

The first trial will look at the drug's safety, Lilly said. Later trials will test whether the drug works in hospitalized patients. The company will also study whether the antibody has protective properties, meaning it could be given to healthy people so they don't get sick.  

Fauci: 'My meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says he is no longer meeting with President Donald Trump nearly as frequently he was before, even as the pandemic drags on.

"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting, we’d meet with the president," Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told STAT News in a wide-ranging interview.

"But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased," Fauci said.

Fauci's comments come nearly a month after the White House indicated it was winding down Trump's coronavirus task force, prompting backlash. A day later, Trump reversed course and announced the task force would continue "indefinitely."

But the group has not held press briefings for several weeks. The task force had been holding press briefings almost every day until late April, when Trump made a widely condemned suggestion that injecting disinfectants into people could help them recover from the coronavirus. 

Gilead says remdesivir helped moderate COVID-19 patients improve

Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Monday its antiviral drug remdesivir showed improvement in patients with moderate COVID-19 in a late-stage study.

Remdesivir is being closely watched after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization last month, citing results from another study run by the National Institutes of Health that showed the drug reduced hospitalization stays by 31 percent, or about four days, compared to a placebo.

Read more. 

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules

ROME — The first day of June saw coronavirus restrictions ease from Asia to Europe on Monday, even as U.S. protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks. The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh, golfers played in Greece, students returned in Britain and Dutch bars and restaurants were free to welcome hungry, thirsty patrons.

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea tentatively kicked off a summer season where tourists could bask in their famously sunny beaches while still being protected by social distancing measures from a virus that is marching relentlessly around the world.

India's coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown

NEW DELHI — India's cases of coronavirus crossed 190,000, the health ministry said on Monday, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world, as the government eases back on most curbs after a two-month-long lockdown that left millions without work.

With a record 8,392 new cases over the previous day, India is now behind the United States, Brazil, Russia, Britain, Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages.