As states have reopened businesses and life in the U.S. is starting to regain a sense of normalcy, a leading health expert is warning "we are still in a pandemic" and confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. topped 2 million on Wednesday.
Many people remain vulnerable to the disease, and the pandemic will continue as long as there's a readily transmissible virus and a population with little or no immunity to it, said Dr. Jay Butler, head of the COVID-19 response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The news comes as the U.S. is now officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 11 coronavirus news here.
Disney Resort Hotels updates cleaning efforts as theme parks begin reopening
Disney Resort Hotels announced Wednesday that it will enhance cleaning efforts across its locations to follow public health guidelines, said Katie Kelly, Vice President of Worldwide Safety Services.
Guest will have access to online check-in services at select locations, luggage pickup at redesigned bell services, and hand sanitizer stations, Kelly said in a news release. There will also be adjustments to restaurants, pools, and other public areas to enable physical distancing and reduce capacity at high-traffic areas.
"We are asking our guests to help, by washing your hands frequently with soap and water; following physical distancing and other guidelines when you visit; and rescheduling your visit if you or a member of your party feel ill or are subject to quarantine or other travel restrictions," Kelly said.
United Airlines travelers will now have to fill out health assessment form before boarding
United Airlines is set to deny boarding to customers who don’t fill out new health assessment forms at check-in, the company said on Wednesday.
The self-check forms are aimed at keeping flyers safe from sick passengers but likely don’t do much to protect against asymptomatic carriers. According to the airline, passengers must agree that they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 21 days and have not had symptoms including a temperature higher than 100.4 F, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and recent loss of taste or smell, within the past 14 days.
"United's 'Ready-to-Fly' wellness checklist sets clear guidelines on health requirements for our customers and helps minimize the risk of exposure during the travel experience."said Pat Baylis, United's Corporate Medical Director.
The checklist was created in concert with the Cleveland Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
Passengers will be asked to verbally confirm that they have submitted the health information when checking in with an agent. United also wants passengers to attest that they haven’t been denied boarding by another airline for a communicable disease either, and that they have not come into close contact with someone who tested positive in the prior 14 days.
The company added that masks will be compulsory for customers, and that anyone who could not comply with the checklist would be able to reschedule their flight.
SeaWorld San Antonio plans to reopen on June 19
SeaWorld San Antonio will reopen its doors to the public on June 19, the park announced in a news release Wednesday.
The park's reopening will include enhanced health and safety protocols, physical distancing, face covering requirements, and temperature screening.
"We are committed to the health and safety of our guests, employees, and animals in our care, and will continue to follow the guidance of health officials as conditions evolve," said Marc Swanson, interim CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
Outcry as some nursing homes try to grab stimulus checks
Compounding the hardships of the coronavirus, some nursing homes have demanded that low-income residents turn over their $1,200 economic stimulus checks, a cash grab lawmakers want to halt.
On Tuesday, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office to issue a warning to nursing homes and assisted living facilities that such practices are “improper and unlawful.”
In the House, Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to spell out to nursing homes that the relief money from Congress is not considered income that facilities can legally claim to defray the cost of care. Low-income Medicaid recipients must not be “coerced into wrongly handing over their checks for fear of being kicked out of their homes,” wrote Neal and Pallone. Any funds taken must be returned.
Nationally, over 35,500 people have died from coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about a third of the national toll, according to a running tally by The Associated Press.
Trump blames testing for spike in COVID-19 cases. Experts fault reopening.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed testing as the reason for documented spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. — but data and public health experts attribute the surge to the easing of lockdown restrictions just weeks ago. "The surge numbers are real," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage
How the coronavirus compares with 100 years of deadly events [The New York Times]
Opinion: The pandemic and the protests are mirror images [Wired]
Bye bye, buffets; hello, plexiglas: How coronavirus is changing hotels [The Los Angeles Times]
Starbucks has lost $3B in revenue so far in coronavirus pandemic
Starbucks lost as much as $3.2 billion in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, the coffee giant said Wednesday.
The company forecast that same-store sales could fall by as much as 20 percent in the U.S. and China, its two biggest markets. It will also halve the number of new store openings set for this year, with only 300, down from its prior estimate of 600.
“With each passing week, we are seeing clear evidence of business recovery, with sequential improvements in comparable store sales performance,” CEO Kevin Johnson and CFO Pat Grismer wrote in a letter to stakeholders. “The Starbucks brand is resilient, customer affinity is strong and we believe the most difficult period is now behind us.”
U.S. same-store sales fell 43 percent in May as the company reopened locations with modified hours and operations. About 95 percent of U.S. locations are now open, with the majority of closed locations centered in the New York City area.
The company also plans to shutter up to 400 company-owned cafes over the next 18 months as part of its plan to accelerate changes to U.S. stores. As more customers order through Starbucks’ app, the Seattle-based company had planned to modify its cafes over the next three to five years, but the pandemic moved up that timeline.
Miami Beach set to reopen beaches after 12-week closure
Public beaches will reopen in Miami Beach, Florida, on Wednesday after a 12-week closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, beachgoers will have to get used to new COVID-19 safety measures while sunbathing or playing in the waves.
The city said facial coverings are required to use bathrooms, purchase concessions or when social distancing cannot be ensured, except for members of the same household.
It said social distancing will be enforced and groups of 10 or more are still prohibited. No organized activities, sports or group picnics are allowed either.
The city said more than a hundred "social distancing ambassadors" will be deployed on the beaches every day for the next few weeks to ensure everyone is sticking to the rules.
COVID-19 crisis triggered most severe recession in nearly a century, report says
The virus crisis has triggered the most severe recession in nearly a century, and is causing enormous damage to people’s health, jobs and well-being, an international economic report warned Wednesday.
The latest analysis of global economic data by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals two equally probable scenarios – one in which a second wave of infections, with renewed lockdowns, hits before the end of 2020, and one in which another major outbreak is avoided.
In the best-case scenario, if there is no second wave of infections, the agency forecast a global drop in economic output of 6 percent this year.
If the coronavirus re-emerges later in the year, however, the global economy could shrink 7.6 percent, before climbing back 2.8 percent in 2021, the OECD said.
Germany extends corona travel warning for non-European states
Germany will extend its travel warning for non-European countries until the end of August but lift border controls to all its neighbours by mid-June, ministers said on Wednesday.
As the coronavirus crisis in many European countries eases somewhat, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany does not yet have systems with the rest of the world to assess and coordinate travel without entailing potentially incalculable risks.
“We cannot and will not risk Germans being stranded all over the world again this summer or holidaymakers returning to Germany with the virus undetected,” said Maas in a statement.
Aware that many holidaymakers want to travel to destinations including Turkey, the United States, northern African and south-eastern Asia, Maas said the government would keep looking at the travel warning before September. Germany had already announced it would lift a blanket travel ban for EU members, Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from June 15.