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Dow plunges nearly 7 percent on concerns of COVID-19 resurgence

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Beaches reopen with restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease in MIami Beach
A worker sanitizes loungers as beaches are reopened with restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Miami Beach, Florida on June 10, 2020.Marco Bello / Reuters

U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Thursday as investors weighed sobering economic forecasts and new data, along with indications that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from subsiding.

Several sectors including hospitality and leisure suffered steep declines. As more than 20 states report a climb in coronavirus cases, there are new worries that consumers will be reluctant to return to restaurants and take trips. Those worries were fueled in part by data showing an additional 1.5 million people filing for unemployment for the first time last week hursday by the Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told TODAY that he expects the country to cross 200,000 deaths in September. "This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded," he said.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 12 coronavirus news here.

Georgia to remove most restrictions on restaurants and movie theaters

Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed an executive order that will remove many restrictions in Georgia next week on June 16, including allowing restaurants and movie theaters to no longer enforce maximums on the number of people who can sit together.

Also beginning on June 16:

  • Bars can allow up to 50 people
  • Residents 65 and older no longer have to shelter in place
  • Gatherings may now include up to 50 people
  • Professional, amateur, collegiate and high school sports can resume, but must follow health rules set by their respective leagues and organizations
  • Walk-ins for barber shops, salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlor and tanning salons may resume

The order comes on the same day Georgia reported 993 new cases of coronavirus and 46 deaths.

Dow plunges nearly 7 percent on concerns of coronavirus resurgence

U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Thursday as investors weighed sobering economic forecasts and new data, along with indications that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from subsiding.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 1,861 points, or 6.9 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 5.9 percent, the biggest fall since March 16. Just a day before, the Nasdaq Composite hit an intraday high.

On Thursday, several sectors including hospitality and leisure suffered steep declines. As more than 20 states report a climb in coronavirus cases, there are new worries that consumers will be reluctant to return to restaurants and take trips.

Read the full story here.

Washington requires students and staff to wear masks when schools return in the fall

Washington's state superintendent released guidance Thursday requiring students, staff and vendors to wear masks when schools reopen in the fall. 

K-12 schools were advised not to allow students and school personnel on-site who showed coronavirus symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Students and staff were also asked to maintain six feet of separation within large groups as much as possible, and should be checked at entry every day, the guidance said. 

"This guidance is grounded in my belief that the most equitable opportunity for educational success relies upon the comprehensive supports for students provided in our schools with our professionals and the systems of supports we have built," superintendent Chris Reykdal wrote to school leaders across the state. "It is my expectation that schools will open this fall for in-person instruction."

Polio vaccine could give temporary protection against COVID-19, scientists hope

As the world waits for a coronavirus vaccine, some scientists are proposing that existing vaccines could give the body’s immune system a much-needed temporary boost to stave off infection.

It’s still unclear whether such an approach would work, and some experts are skeptical. Others — including researchers in Israelthe Netherlands and Australia — are already investigating whether a tuberculosis vaccine could help jump-start the immune system and make COVID-19 less deadly, though the World Health Organization strongly advises against using that vaccine until it’s proven effective against the coronavirus.

Read more. 

Coronavirus closed restaurants. Their workers need a 'Right to Return' when they reopen.

I am one of the few surviving workers of Windows on the World, the famous restaurant that sat atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I worked there as a cook for three years until Sept. 11, 2001 — the fateful day that forever changed my life and the nation. Every single day since then, I think of my 76 brothers and sisters who perished. I am fortunate to be alive, but I am forever scarred by the horrors of losing friends and co-workers and the devastation of abruptly being robbed of the job that fed my family.

That’s why I understand how difficult it is for millions of restaurant workers who have lost their livelihood because of the coronavirus. For me, hope began to grow from the despair of 9/11 when I got a new job, and with it the assurance that my family and I would be all right, thanks to the connections of my fellow workers in the restaurant industry. Yet the same could not be said for many of my Windows on the World colleagues who struggled to find work in the restaurant industry for months, often with little help from our old employer.

Restaurant workers across the country who lost their jobs through no fault of their own are now struggling to make ends meet and have no assurance that they will be able to find work as states ease social distancing restrictions. These workers deserve to get their jobs back if and when their restaurants reopen. That is why I call on restaurant owners and operators to adopt a “Right to Return” policy: Restaurants should guarantee their former employees will be the first to be rehired if their jobs once again become available.

Read the full story here.

Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back lockdowns

States are rolling back lockdowns, but the coronavirus isn't done with the U.S.

Cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis, a worrying trend that could intensify as people return to work and venture out during the summer.

Read more. 

Nashville delays next reopening phase, citing uptick in new coronavirus cases

Nashville is delaying its next reopening phase as the city saw a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, Mayor John Cooper said during a media briefing Thursday.

“As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory. But our 14-day new case average remains slightly elevated, prompting us to stay in Phase Two of our Roadmap for Reopening Nashville," Cooper said.

Tennessee's capital city will focus on offering more testing, contact tracing and education efforts, specifically in southeast Nashville, where "nearly 50 percent" of all new cases were detected in the past month, said Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force.

More than 6,600 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nashville and Davidson County, including 56 new cases in the past 24 hours.

More than 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas, but a decrease from record total

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas decreased Thursday after setting a record on three consecutive days.

On Thursday morning, 2,008 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the state, down from 2,153 on Wednesday.

Even with the decline, Thursday’s hospitalizations represents a 32 percent increase from May 25, when 1,511 were hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Texas is one of at least nine states facing a recent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations.