More than 6.5 million people worldwide – including more than 1.8 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.
Live updates for Thursday, June 4, continue below:
MLB players reaffirm pay stance, no deal with teams in sight
Update 11:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.
More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.
“Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.”
“Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added.
Players originally were set to earn about $4 billion in 2020 salaries, exclusive of guaranteed money such as signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts. The union’s plan would cut that to around $2.8 billion and management to approximately $1.2 billion plus a $200 million bonus pool if the postseason is completed.
MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.
Seattle to offer free citywide coronavirus testing
Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that the city will offer free citywide coronavirus testing in partnership with the University of Washington Medicine.
Testing will be performed at two locations. Drive-up sites will be located in north and south Seattle. Those sites are former emissions testing sites, which will allow for up to 1,600 tests per day, officials said.
However, the testing will only be for those who drive through and book ahead.
Outbreak reported at Tyson food plant in North Carolina
Update 8:30 p.m. EDT June 4: A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the Tyson Food plant in Claremont, where town leaders said more than 700 people work.
Tyson sent WSOC-TV an email saying it doesn’t plan on doing widespread testing there because the number of COVID-19 cases is less than 2%.
Family members of the plant workers said that 10 workers have been infected with the virus.
The company makes frozen prepacked sandwiches and biscuits.
The news comes after 570 people tested positive at the Tyson chicken plants in Wilkesboro, NC.
California Gov. says protests may lead to spike in virus cases
Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 4: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he’s concerned about the spread of coronavirus as thousands of people gather for protests across the state, and he said the state should prepare for higher rates of positive tests because of both the protests and the reopening of businesses that’s underway.
“If you’re not (concerned), you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” he said during a visit to Stockton, California, where he met with Mayor Michael Tubbs and business owners to discuss systemic racism and injustices. Newsom added he’s particularly concerned about the disproportionate deaths from the virus among black Californians.
Still, California has no plans to halt its reopening efforts, though Newsom hasn’t announced any new guidance for businesses this week.
Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the state is in a “range of stability” on cases and hospitalizations and is “working hard” on more guidance.
California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, nail salons, churches and other businesses with restrictions. But highly anticipated guidance on schools has not been released, nor have details on the resumption of professional sports, possibly without fans.
Ghaly acknowledged it will be weeks before the effects of the protest on public health are fully known. He highlighted the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest” but added, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.”
Telehealth expansion could become permanent after pandemic
Update 6:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The temporary expansion of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic would become permanent under a bill endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee.
As passed by the House in March, the bill would allow reimbursement for medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders conducted via telehealth. But an amendment recommended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would also make permanent the provisions of Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order on telehealth, which allowed all health care providers to offer services remotely and required insurers to cover them.
Officials representing hospitals, community health centers, dentists and mental health providers all told the committee that telehealth has been a valuable tool during the pandemic and should continue.
“As many experts have predicted, telehealth is here to stay, which is why this legislation is so important to ensure patients are able to get the right care at the right time in the right setting, which ultimately may be in the safety of their own homes,” said Paula Minnehan of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.
Ken Norton, director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said telehealth has greatly expanded access to mental health treatment.
“We can’t go back,” he said.
Study on safety of malaria drugs for coronavirus retracted
Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 4: Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists.
Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown.
The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached.
Even though the Lancet report was not a rigorous test, the observational study had huge impact because of its size, reportedly involving more than 96,000 patients and 671 hospitals on six continents.
Its conclusion that the drugs were tied to a higher risk of death and heart problems in people hospitalized with COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to temporarily stop use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and for French officials to stop allowing its use in hospitals there.
“Not only is there no benefit, but we saw a very consistent signal of harm,” study leader Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told The Associated Press when the work was published.
The drugs have been controversial because President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted their use and took hydroxychloroquine himself to try to prevent infection after some White House staffers tested positive for the virus. The drugs are known to have potential side effects, especially heart rhythm problems.
The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors.
Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements.
Cases, testing hit single-day highs in NC
Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of new coronavirus infections and daily testing figures on Thursday, WSOC-TV reported.
Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,189 new COVID-19 cases have been reported statewide. WSOC-TV reported that the previous highest one-day increase in cases was 1,185.
State officials also reported having conducted 19,039 tests, the highest number reported in a single day so far and well over the state’s goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day.
Officials have reported 31,966 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. At least 960 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections.
1,805 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,805 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the country’s total number of infections to 281,661.
Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 39,904 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.
NBA season to resume from Orlando in late July, reports say
Update 2:35 p.m. EDT June 4: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the season after it was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported.
The 2019-2020 season will be played in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting in late July, the AP reported.
603 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey
Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 603 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 162,530.
“We still have work to do,” Murphy said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Let’s keep pushing these numbers down. When we do, (we’ll) get through Stage 2 that much sooner.”
Officials also reported 92 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,970 people have died statewide of COVID-19.
CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on coronavirus
Update 1:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress on Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus.
“We’re very concerned that our public health message is not resonating,” Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee.
104 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC
Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in Washington D.C. said Thursday that 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 9,120.
Officials also announced that two more people, aged 76 and 89, had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 475.
52 new fatal COVID-19 cases reported in New York
Update 11:55 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 52 more people have died of COVID-19 in the state.
The number is slightly higher than the 49 new fatal coronavirus infections reported one day before and lower than the 58 deaths reported Tuesday and the 54 deaths reported on Monday.
Ohio State University to resume in-person classes in fall
Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Ohio State University announced plans Wednesday to reopen its campus in Columbus, Ohio come the fall, WHIO-TV reported.
University President Michael V. Drake announced the decision at a board of trustees meeting and in a message to the university community, according to WHIO-TV. Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force.
Stocks open slightly lower after 4 straight days of gains
Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 4: Stocks eased back in early trading Thursday on Wall Street as a four-day market rally cooled off.
The stretch of gains had brought the S&P 500 back to where it was just one week after reaching an all-time high in February. The index fell 0.4%.
In more grim news on the economy, nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but that marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. European markets were mostly lower after the European Central Bank said it now expects the region’s economy to shrink by 8.7% this year and increased its stimulus program.
RNC to meet Thursday with officials in NC to discuss future of convention
Update 10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, plan to meet Thursday with members of the Republican National Committee to discuss plans for the Republican National Convention, WSOC-TV reported.
The meeting comes after President Donald Trump said he was looking into moving the convention, which is scheduled for August, from Charlotte due to the safety precautions put in place statewide to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs
Update 8:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the loss of jobs.
The diminishing pace suggests that the job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work.
The total number of people who are now receiving jobless aid rose only slightly to 21.5 million, suggesting that rehiring is offsetting some of the ongoing layoffs.
Though applications for benefits are slowing, the latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak. It shows that there are limits to how much a partial reopening of the economy can restore a depressed job market mired in a recession.
Prince Charles says he was ‘lucky’ symptoms were mild
Update 7:45 a.m. EDT June 4: Britain’s Prince Charles said he considered himself “lucky” after he contracted mild symptoms of the coronavirus, and had “got away with it quite lightly.”
The prince told UK broadcaster Sky News that his brush with COVID-19 increased his commitment to advocating environmental causes.
“It makes me even more determined to push and shove and shout and prod, if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes ... I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News in a video call from Scotland. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through. And I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That to me is the most ghastly thing.”
Civil unrest forces at least 70 testing sites to close
Update 5:33 a.m. EDT June 4: Looting and civil unrest nationwide have forced at least 70 coronavirus testing sites to close, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post. Agency officials said most of the sites were located in private pharmacies in “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods, the newspaper reported.
“We shouldn’t feel comforted if we don’t see an uptick,” Leana S. Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told the Post. “There may be a reason why the numbers aren’t being captured.”
South Korea confirms 39 new cases
Update 4:56 a.m. EDT June 4: South Korea health officials confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19onn Thursday -- 33 of which are locally transmitted.
According to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news cases are related to several clusters in Seoul and surrounding areas.
Yoon Tae-ho, an official with the South Korean Health Ministry, warned that locally transmitted cases may become tougher to trace, CNN reported.
Confirmed cases top 6.5 million worldwide
Update 4:10 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases worldwide topped 6.5 million early Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
According to the tally kept by the university, there are at least 6,514,639 confirmed cases of the virus, and there are at least 386,111 deaths.
The United States remains the leader in confirmed cases with 1,851,520 and 107,175 deaths.
Pakistan has more confirmed cases than China
Update 2:50 a.m. EDT June 4: Pakistan has passed China in confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
As of Thursday, Pakistan had 85,264 confirmed cases and 1,770 virus-related deaths. China has reported 84,160 coronavirus cases and 4,638 deaths.
US coronavirus cases climb past 1.85M, deaths top 107K
Update 12:40 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.85 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,851,520 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 107,175 deaths.
The hardest-hit states remain New York with 374,085 cases and 30,019 deaths and New Jersey with 162,068 cases and 11,880 deaths. Massachusetts, with 101,592 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,152, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 123,830.
Six other states have now confirmed at least 54,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:
• California: 119,348 cases, resulting in 4,374 deaths
• Pennsylvania: 77,780 cases, resulting in 5,742 deaths
• Texas: 68,877 cases, resulting in 1,744 deaths
• Florida: 58,764 cases, resulting in 2,566 deaths
• Michigan: 58,035 cases, resulting in 5,570 deaths
• Maryland: 54,982 cases, resulting in 2,641 deaths
Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Alabama and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,322 and Rhode Island with 15,219; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 12,415; Utah, Kentucky and Kansas each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Delaware and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Nevada, New Mexico and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Oklahoma and South Dakota each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group