Search here...
TOP
Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates
Travel

Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates

Advertisements
728*90

Coronavirus:

People who recover from the virus have a three-month window of safety, C.D.C. guidance shows. The U.S. Postal Service warned several states that it may not be able to meet deadlines for delivering last-minute mail-in ballots.

Image

Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times

The private health care technology vendor that is helping to manage the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database has refused to answer questions from top Senate Democrats about its $10.2 million contract, saying it signed a nondisclosure agreement with the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

In a letter obtained by The New York Times, dated Aug. 3, a lawyer for the Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies cited the nondisclosure agreement in refusing to provide information about its process for collecting and sharing data; its proposal to the government; communications with White House staff or other officials; and any other information related to the award.

A spokeswoman for Department of Health and Human Services said members of Congress should direct their inquiries to the government, not the company. But Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, sent a letter to the agency in June seeking similar information and has not received a reply, her office said.

The arrangement was unusual, Jessica Tillipman, an assistant dean at George Washington University Law School who teaches about government contracts and anti-corruption, said in an interview.

“One of the cornerstones of the federal procurement system is transparency, so it strikes me as odd,” she said.

TeleTracking was responding to a July 22 letter from two top Democrats: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Ms. Murray. The two recently introduced legislation aimed at protecting data transparency — an issue Mr. Schumer addressed during recent talks with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to a person familiar with their discussion.

“The Trump administration’s decision to hire a private vendor and then cloak that vendor in a nondisclosure agreement raises numerous questions about their motivations and risks the ability of our public health experts to understand and effectively fight this virus,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement Friday.

The controversy over the contract stems from the administration’s abrupt order in July for hospitals to stop reporting coronavirus information to the C.D.C.’s National Healthcare Safety Network — a longstanding government data system — and instead send it to TeleTracking for inclusion in a coronavirus database overseen by H.H.S. officials in Washington. H.H.S. has said the switch was necessary because the C.D.C.’s system was slow and incomplete; the government uses the hospital data to make critical decisions about how to allocate scarce supplies, like ventilators and the drug Remdesivir.

The contract — and in particular the sudden switch in reporting from C.D.C. to TeleTracking — generated objections from public health experts and outside advisers to the health agency, who say that the new system is burdening hospitals and endangering scientific integrity by sidelining government experts.

TeleTracking is majority owned by its chairman and chief executive, Michael Zamagias, a Pittsburgh real estate developer.

The manner in which the contract was awarded has also generated confusion. A government website initially listed it as a “sole source” contract, but H.H.S. officials later said there were six bidders, though they refused to name the others, saying they were “prohibited from sharing that information by federal regulations and statutes.”

Ms. Tillipman said it is also unusual for the government to keep the names of bidders a secret.

Image

Credit…Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times

The United States Postal Service on Friday warned several states that it may not be able to meet deadlines for delivering last-minute mail-in ballots.

It’s only the latest sign of upheaval at the Post Service prompted by the pandemic and the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who is a Republican megadonor, an ally of President Trump and now under investigation by the Post Service’s inspector general.

As many states turn to vote-by-mail operations to carry out elections safely amid the coronavirus pandemic, Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel for the Postal Service, warned that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.”

Mr. Marshall urged the states — including electoral battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan — to require residents request ballots at least 15 days before an election rather than just the four days allowed under some state laws.

President Trump, who has sought to deny the option to millions of Americans through litigation while attempting to block additional funding for the Postal Service, has requested his vote-by-mail ballot.

The Palm Beach County elections department in Florida has prepared mail ballots for this Tuesday’s primary election for the president and the first lady, according to local registration records.

How and where a president votes is typically a footnoted formality. But Mr. Trump has broadly questioned the legitimacy of voting by mail, without evidence of significant voter fraud, and made statements suggesting that he views expansion of mail voting as a threat to the Republican Party.

Image

Credit…Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidance recently to suggest that people who have recovered from the virus can safely mingle with others for three months.

It was a remarkable addition to the body of guidance from the agency, and its first indication that immunity to the virus may persist for at least three months. Scientists have said that it could last even longer but no definitive evidence exists yet. Even so, the C.D.C. still recommends physical distancing, mask-wearing and other precautions.

“People who have tested positive for Covid-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again,” the guidance, which was tucked into public recommendations about who needs to quarantine, said. “People who develop symptoms again within three months of their first bout of Covid-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.”

Doctors have reported some cases of people who seemed to be infected a second time after recovery, but experts have said those are more likely to represent a re-emergence of symptoms from the initial bout.

“There is no evidence to date of any reinfection within 90 days of the initial diagnosis,” said a C.D.C. spokesman.

Coronavirus: Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States › On Sept. 5 14-day

change
Trend
New cases 42,080 -7%
New deaths 711 -15%

Where cases are
highest
per capita

Image

Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Clinical trials for some of the most promising experimental drugs are taking longer than expected, even as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the United States and treatments are needed more than ever.

Researchers at a dozen clinical trial sites said that testing delays, staffing shortages, space constraints and reluctant patients were complicating their efforts to test monoclonal antibodies — man-made drugs that mimic the molecular soldiers made by the immune system.

As a result, once-ambitious deadlines are slipping. The drug maker Regeneron, which previously said it could have emergency doses of its antibody cocktail ready by the end of summer, has shifted to talking about how “initial data” could be available by the end of September.

And Eli Lilly’s chief scientific officer, who had said in June that its antibody treatment might be ready in September, said this week that he now hopes for something before the end of the year.

“Of course, I wish we could go faster — there’s no question about that,” said the executive, Dr. Daniel Skovronsky. “I guess in my hopes and dreams, we enroll the patients in a week or two, but it’s taking longer than that.”

One major hurdle has been testing. According to the rules of the Regeneron trial, a patient must be treated with the antibodies within seven days of the onset of symptoms. Both the Regeneron and Eli Lilly trials require giving the drug within three days of taking a test that comes back positive, but with turnaround times in some areas lagging for five days or more, keeping within those time frames has proved difficult.

Image

Credit…Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

South Korea reported 166 new coronavirus cases on Saturday as health officials struggled to contain local transmissions, which have mainly centered around two church congregations. The daily caseload was the highest since March 11, indicating that the country’s outbreak was gaining momentum once again.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that all but 11 of the 166 new patients reported on Saturday were infected through local transmissions.

Health officials this week shut down two churches in the Seoul metropolitan area where a total of 91 worshipers had tested positive for the virus as of midnight Friday, contributing to a sharp increase in the national tally.

South Korea reported 103 new cases on Friday, the first three-digit daily rise in three weeks. Officials were testing thousands of worshipers from the two churches, as well as their contacts, in an effort to isolate the infected and cut transmission chains.

Additionally, Seoul, the capital, which is home to 10 million people, and the equally populous Gyeonggi Province surrounding it have ordered all churches to refrain from large gatherings and to require masks and other disease-prevention measures during prayer services.

South Korea was among the countries hit early by the epidemic. But it has relaxed its social-distancing rules in recent months as the country managed to sharply reduce the number of new daily cases. The government has urged people to adopt a “new daily life with Covid-19,” a term for reclaiming old daily routines but with preventive measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing in schools and sports stadiums.

Later on Saturday, Prime Minister Chyung Sye-kyun ordered social-distancing rules to be tightened to Level 2 in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. Under the new rules, sports events must be held without spectators, and large indoor and outdoor gatherings are banned. District authorities are also empowered to shut down public facilities deemed vulnerable to spreading the disease.

Image

Credit…Lee Jin-Wook/Yonhap, via Associated Press

A study by researchers in South Korea last month suggested that children ages 10 to 19 spread the coronavirus more frequently than adults — a widely reported finding that influenced the debate about reopening schools.

But additional data from the research team now calls that conclusion into question; it’s not clear who was infecting whom. Some of the household members who appeared in the initial report to have been infected by older children in fact were exposed to the virus at the same time as the children.

The incident — just the latest example of science about the virus unfolding in front of our eyes — underscores the need to consider the preponderance of evidence, rather than any single study, when making decisions about children’s health or education, scientists said.

The disclosure does not negate the overall message of that study: Children under 10 do not spread the virus as much as adults do, and the ability to transmit seems to increase with age.

“It’s indisputable that the highest risk of becoming infected and being detected as being infected is in older age groups,” said Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “I think you have to be really careful before you decide to open high schools.”

The earlier study was not intended to demonstrate transmission from children to adults, only to describe contact-tracing efforts in South Korea, said Dr. Young June Choe, assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at Hallym University College of Medicine and an author of both studies.

The first study from South Korea grouped children in 10-year ranges. Tracing the contacts of 29 children ages 9 or younger, it found that the children were about half as likely as adults to spread the virus to others, consistent with other research.

But Dr. Choe and his colleagues reported an odd finding in the group of 124 children aged 10 to 19: They appeared significantly more likely than adults to spread the coronavirus. Experts told The Times at the time that the finding was likely to be a fluke.

In the latest study, the researchers found only one undebatable case of transmission among older children, from a 16-year-old girl, who had returned from Britain, to her 14-year-old sister. The remaining infected contacts of the older children could all be explained by a shared exposure.

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

Image

Credit…Associated Press

France on Friday declared Paris and the Marseille region in its southeast to be high-risk zones, granting the local authorities powers to restrict the movements of people and vehicles, limit access to public transportation and public buildings and close restaurants and bars.

France’s seven-day average is now above 2,000 cases, according to a Times database, a level the country reached in late March during a sharp rise in its outbreak.

Britain added France to its list of countries that visitors arriving from must quarantine for two weeks. Britain also added the Netherlands, where cases have doubled every two weeks since early July, along with Aruba, Malta, Monaco and Turks and Caicos.

Authorities in Britain unveiled the expanded list with little more than a day’s notice, prompting an instant scramble from vacationers to return there before the quarantine is imposed at 4 a.m. on Saturday.

France’s rising caseload reflected not only an increase in the number of tests, which stand at more than 600,000 per week, but also a higher infection rate, especially among young people, the health authorities said. The country’s total caseload has risen to 209,365, with 30,388 deaths, according to the Times database.

In other news from around the world:

  • North Korea lifted a lockdown it had imposed last month on the city of Kaesong, near its border with South Korea, on government suspicions that a runaway from South Korea had brought the virus with him. The North said the reversal was “based on the scientific verification and guarantee by a professional anti-epidemic organization” but without saying whether the nation has a coronavirus outbreak. Its leader, Kim Jong-un, has said it is facing “twin perils” — the virus and flooding from an unusually long monsoon season.

  • Spain ordered bars and clubs to close by 1 a.m. and banned drinking on the street on Friday, according to Reuters. Virus cases have risen steadily since July when the country emerged from a strict lockdown that only allowed residents to leave their home to walk their dog or grocery shop. Spain reported more than 5,400 new cases on Friday, according to a New York Times database.

  • President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has delayed opening schools until Oct. 5, his chief aide said. The Philippines has the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, with 153,660 confirmed cases and 2,442 deaths, according to the Times database.

  • Health officials in Toronto said that about 550 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus at a strip club bar after an employee tested positive for the virus. The occupation of the infected employee was not disclosed.

  • Vietnam’s health ministry announced that it had registered to buy Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, despite experts’ concerns that the Kremlin is distributing it before the last phase of human trials have even begun. The ministry said it had also registered to buy a vaccine from the United Kingdom. It cautioned that using the vaccines would depend on the progress of clinical trials and compliance with Vietnam’s “strict regulations.

U.S. Roundup

Various factors are known to increase the risk of severe Covid-19, including older age and chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also lists extreme obesity as a high risk.

But is the excess weight to blame? Or is it the health problems that accompany obesity, like metabolic disorders and breathing problems?

A new study points to obesity itself as a culprit. An analysis of thousands of patients treated in Southern California identified extreme obesity as an independent risk factor for dying among Covid-19 patients — most strikingly among adults 60 and younger, and particularly among men.

Among female Covid-19 patients, body mass index — a measure of body fat based on height and weight — does not appear to be independently associated with an increased risk of dying at any age, the authors said, possibly because women carry weight differently than do men, who tend to have more visceral and abdominal fat. The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Body mass index is a really important, strong independent risk factor for death among those who are diagnosed with Covid-19,” said Sara Tartof, the study’s first author, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California.

In other news from around the United States:

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign an executive order on Saturday allowing local governments to issue mask ordinances, according to The Associated Press, which cited the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The governor has staunchly opposed issuing a statewide mask ordinance — even suing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for signing a mask order in Atlanta. Mr. Kemp’s executive order is expected to give businesses the option of enforcing local mandates and comes after a “strong recommendation” from the White House coronavirus task force. Officials announced 3,319 new cases in Georgia today, according to a New York Times database.

  • An Arizona school district that had planned to restart in-person classes next week in defiance of the state’s health benchmarks abruptly reversed course on Friday after staff members staged a “sick out” in protest. The state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, has recommended that in-person classes not resume until counties have met a number of targets, including going two weeks with Covid-19 positivity tests below 7 percent. The J.O. Combs Unified School District in greater Phoenix had planned to ignore the advice, but said on Friday evening that all instruction on Monday would be canceled because of “insufficient staffing.”

  • The five metropolitan areas that have the highest rate of new coronavirus cases relative to their population are all in South Texas, according to data compiled by The Times.

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of the U.S. agreement with Canada and Mexico to limit nonessential travel through Sept. 21. It was the fifth extension since the measure was put in place in March.

  • A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by an Arizona woman who claimed New York’s 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers from hot spot coronavirus states infringed on her “fundamental right to travel.” This was the second challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s quarantine order to be thrown out by a federal judge, The Associated Press reported.

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said that the state would give four million free face masks to homeless shelters, tribal organizations, community health centers, schools and grocery stores. The effort, which targets people particularly vulnerable to the virus, includes one million masks provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 1.5 million masks donated by Ford Motor.

  • At least 22 workers at a remote mining camp in Alaska have been infected with the virus, forcing a temporary stoppage to underground work. The Kensington Mine, about 45 miles north of Juneau, has about 200 to 250 workers on site at a time, said a spokeswoman for its owner, Coeur Alaska. The state has embraced a broad reopening but implemented protocols to keep infections in check, and though Alaska has had a spike in reported infections this summer, its numbers remain low compared with other states’.

Image

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

A group of Democratic senators said Friday that they were worried about the military’s ability to handle a coronavirus outbreak at the wartime prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after the Pentagon told Congress that it could maintain just four of the 40 detainees on ventilators and offered no details of how it might care for the 1,500 troops there.

“The Pentagon’s response leaves doubts about the Guantánamo prison’s capacity to protect military personnel and detainees from Covid-19,” the 11 senators, led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

One key concern is that, by law, prisoners at Guantánamo must receive all their medical care there, while any of the other 6,000 residents could be medically evacuated to mainland hospitals if needed.

In detailing the base’s health capabilities, Matthew P. Donovan, an under secretary of defense, said the detention operation had acquired the ability do rapid on-site testing in addition to airlifting samples to U.S. military labs.

The military acknowledged two cases of the virus on the base, in March and April, before the Pentagon ordered installations to stop disclosing any new cases for “operational security” reasons.

The prison has the capacity to isolate each of the 40 prisoners, including with space for four in regular inpatient rooms, two in intensive care and two more in rooms that have negative pressure and can control the flow of infectious particles.

Doctors who looked at the capabilities noted that the prison’s Covid-19 Care Team lists only four I.C.U. nurses, far below a standard of care that requires one such nurse per ventilated patient around the clock.

This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Culture RoundUp

Image

Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More than 8,500 people have signed a petition asking the health plan of SAG-AFTRA, the American union for professional film and television actors, to reverse changes that will result in at least several hundred members no longer qualifying for health insurance.

The health plan said in an email sent to members on Wednesday that it would raise the floor for eligibility from those earning $18,040 a year to $25,950, effective Jan. 1. Premiums will also increase.

“The Trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan have taken a difficult but necessary action to address financial deficits facing the plan,” the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Health Plan said in a statement.

At a time when film jobs are scarce and live theater is almost completely shut down because of the pandemic, many actors have seen their income slow to a trickle or disappear entirely.

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, singers, journalists and other media professionals in film and television. Membership is considered a rite of passage that can lead to more prestigious work.

According to the email, the changes are in response to projected deficits of $141 million this year and $83 million in 2021. The health plan estimated that, without the changes, it would run out of reserves by 2024.

In other U.S. cultural news:

  • As New York maintains its hard-won progress against the coronavirus, New York City’s museums and other cultural institutions will be allowed to open their doors again on Aug. 24, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

  • The National September 11 Memorial & Museum canceled its annual light display on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks because of the coronavirus. The decision was made “after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew,” a spokesman said.

Image

Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

A growing number of people, stuck at home and tired of staring at their own haggard faces on Zoom, are finding a fix: face and eye lifts, chin and tummy tucks and more.

At a time when many medical fields are reeling from lockdowns because lucrative elective work was postponed, cosmetic surgery procedures are surging, practitioners say, driven by unexpected demand from patients who have found the coronavirus pandemic a perfect moment for corporeal upgrades.

“I have never done so many face-lifts in a summer as I’ve done this year,” said Dr. Diane Alexander, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta. She said she had performed 251 procedures through the end of July from May 18, when her clinic reopened for elective surgery. “Pretty much every face-lift patient that comes in says, ‘I’ve been doing these Zoom calls and I don’t know what happened but I look terrible.’”

“This is the weirdest world I live in,” Dr. Alexander added. “The world is shut down, we’re all worried about global crisis, the economy is completely crashing, and people come in and still want to feel good about themselves.”

One of her patients, a 55-year-old woman named Joanne who asked that her last name not be used because she feared seeming vain, said she considered getting work done on her face for years. But the pandemic finally made it possible because she could conceal the bruising and swelling during her recovery period.

“Not one friend knows I’ve done it,” she said. “Family members don’t know, and my sister and mom don’t even know.”

Education Roundup

Image

Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Whatever one calls them — learning pods, pandemic pods or microschools — small groups that hire teachers to supplement or even replace the virtual instruction offered by public schools have become an obsession among many parents of means.

A virtual cottage industry of companies and consultants has emerged to help families organize these small-group, in-home instruction pods and pair them with instructors, many of whom are marketing themselves on Facebook pages and neighborhood email lists.

But the cost — often from $30 an hour per child to $100 or more — has put them out of reach for most families, generating concerns that the trend could make public education even more segregated and unequal.

In Washington, D.C., one parent started a GoFundMe page to raise money to subsidize learning pods for low-income students in the district.

Education experts say fund-raising efforts and “pod scholarships,” however well meaning, are no solution for millions of low-income parents juggling the educational, child care and economic challenges of the pandemic.

More useful, they say, would be if school districts or city governments created their own version of learning pods, especially for at-risk students or children of essential workers.

In other education news:

  • Barnard College and Columbia University said that all undergraduate classes would be held remotely for the fall semester and that student housing would be mostly closed. The announcement came days before students were to move into dormitories.

  • The president of Villanova University in Pennsylvania has warned students that they will be sent home if they are caught disregarding the school’s coronavirus protocols, which include wearing a mask “at all times” and social distancing. Videos that appear to show a gathering of dozens of new Villanova students recently drew backlash on social media.

Image

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Even as coronavirus infections spread, school reopenings were scrapped and near-historic unemployment levels persisted Americans kept shopping in July, reflecting a rare bright spot in the battered economy.

Retail sales rose 1.2 percent from June, the Commerce Department reported. Though smaller than increases in the previous two months, the jump in sales showed that the bounceback in spending to pre-pandemic levels was not a fluke. Sales have returned to their February level, a sign that consumerism, buoyed by government support, remains resilient even as many other facets of American life are increasingly bleak.

“It shows there is a willingness and a desire to spend,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America. “There is no doubt the recovery in consumer spending has been robust.”

Retail sales in June rose 8.4 percent. That followed a May jump, 18.2 percent, which was the largest monthly surge on record. But that had followed two months of record declines.

But some of the recovery was helped by the $600 a week in unemployment assistance that expired at the end of July, and Congress’ failure so far to extend the emergency benefit could derail the retail rebound in coming months. And certain sectors of the industry may not truly bounce back until a vaccine is approved and widely distributed, allowing people to shop and dine indoors again without fear.

If you feel as if you can barely cope, while others are doing just fine, remember that the very earliest days of our lives, and our closest relationships, can offer clues about how we deal with adversity.

Image

Credit…Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The border, the border, the border: That’s been the mantra for Australia and New Zealand since the coronavirus emerged. But both countries are now learning that their definition of the border, and border security, needs to expand to control the pandemic.

In New Zealand, where a cluster that emerged on Tuesday had grown to 30 cases by Friday, officials struggled to explain a lack of regular testing for border officials and workers who manage hotel quarantine for the roughly 400 residents returning every day from overseas.

One respected epidemiologist, Sir David Skegg, a professor at Otago University, called the lack of testing an “extraordinary” breach of known best practices.

Investigators still haven’t determined how the virus re-entered the isolated Pacific country after 102 days without a case of community transmission. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who on Friday extended a lockdown in Auckland for another 12 days, told reporters that officials had not yet linked the first identified case to either the border or quarantine facilities.

But New Zealand’s process for handling returning citizens and residents has become a focal point, in part because new details have emerged about what caused the outbreak that is still raging in Australia.

Leaked emails from government officials, published Friday by The Age, a newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, identified a hotel night manager as patient zero. He tested positive for the virus on May 26, and worked at one of the largest quarantine hotels in the city. Five security guards at the hotel later tested positive, after spreading the virus to relatives and their communities.

A public inquiry into how passengers infected with the coronavirus were allowed to disembark from a cruise ship in Sydney in March, setting off a major outbreak, also handed down its findings on Friday.

The detailed report from a panel of experts found a litany of “serious mistakes” and failures (a word the authors used 34 times) that ultimately led to 20 deaths in Australia and eight more in the United States. Chief among the errors was a lack of testing and the assumption that the ship’s 2,700 passengers were low-risk because they had come from New Zealand even though it was known that many of the arriving tourists had flown to their departure point from the United States and other high-risk locations.

Image

Credit…Korean Central News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

North Korea on Friday lifted a lockdown that it had imposed on a border city last month, but without providing any details or saying whether the nation has a coronavirus outbreak.

North Korea imposed the lockdown in Kaesong, near the border with South Korea, based on the government’s suspicion that a runaway from South Korea had brought the virus with him. On Friday, it said only that the reversal had been “based on the scientific verification and guarantee by a professional anti-epidemic organization.”

North Korea sealed its borders in late January and has insisted for months that it had no coronavirus cases, although outside experts questioned the claim. It has not revealed whether the defector who crossed back from South Korea tested positive.

This summer, an unusually long monsoon season, as well as torrential rains, have set off floods and landslides in parts of North Korea that suffer chronic food shortages even during normal years.

The twin calamities of the pandemic and the floods have battered an economy that was already hamstrung by the sanctions imposed by the United Nations for North Korea’s nuclear weapons development — and which went into a tailspin this year as the border restrictions cut deeply into exports and imports with China, the North’s primary trading partner.

North Korea’s leader, Kim-Jong-un, has said the nation faces “two crises at the same time.” But on Friday, the North’s state-run media reported that he had ordered his country not to accept any international aid for fear that outside help might bring in the coronavirus.

By precluding outside aid, he appeared to be denying Seoul and Washington a chance to thaw relations with the North through humanitarian shipments.

“North Korea’s rejection of flood relief is ostensibly to prevent transmission of Covid-19 into the country,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. “But humanitarian assistance is heavily politicized by the Kim regime, as it does not want to show weakness to the domestic population or international rivals.”

Image

Credit…Julien De Rosa/EPA, via Shutterstock

France on Friday declared Paris and the Marseille region in the southeastern part of the country to be high-risk zones, granting local authorities powers to impose new restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The declaration allows the authorities to restrict the movements of people and vehicles, limit access to public transportation and public buildings and to close down restaurants, bars and similar establishments.

The move come as France faces a resurgence of the virus. The country’s seven-day average is now above 2,000 cases, a level the country reached in late March during a sharp rise in its outbreak that peaked in early April with a seven-day average of over 4,400 cases.

The increase prompted Britain on Thursday to add France to its list of countries from which visitors have to quarantine.

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care, which had been steadily falling since early April, has also risen slightly in recent days.

The increase in cases reflects not only an increase in the number of tests, which now stand at more than 600,000 per week, but also a higher contamination rate, especially among young people, the health authorities said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said that he wanted “to extend as far as possible the obligation to wear masks in public spaces” to prevent “a high risk of epidemic resumption.”

Many French cities, including Paris and Marseille, have already imposed mandatory mask-wearing in busy outdoor spaces like open-air markets or crowded streets, in addition to the national requirement to wear masks in indoor spaces.

Image

Credit…Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Britain followed through on its promise that it would “not hesitate” to add more countries to its quarantine list by imposing new restrictions on travelers coming into the U.K.

The government announced on Thursday that anyone coming into Britain from France and five other countries must isolate for 14 days, pointing to a “significant change” in the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The two-week quarantine will also to travelers from Aruba, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands and Turks and Caicos. Britain has already imposed restrictions on Spain and Belgium, among other countries.

The new measures were unveiled with little more than a day’s notice, prompting an instant scramble from vacationers to get back to Britain before the quarantine is imposed at 4 a.m. on Saturday.

But as Britain ramps up its measures on other countries, it is steaming ahead with its efforts to revive its own economy, which has spiraled into the deepest recession of its modern history.

Bowling alleys, theaters, and casinos will be allowed to reopen in England starting Saturday with social distancing in place, and beauty salons will be allowed to provide “close contact” services such as facials and eyebrow threading for the first time since lockdown began.

Wedding receptions will be also allowed for up to 30 guests, providing they are socially distanced.

Penalties for refusing to wear a face covering, as is required in enclosed public spaces and public transport, will also increase. And organizers of illegal gatherings could be fined up to 10,000 pounds ($13,000).

Official statistics released on Friday showed the number of infections in England were leveling off after a small increase in July. But for residents in parts of northwest England, stricter lockdown measures implemented by the government two weeks ago over fears of local outbreaks will remain in place. The health department said there was no evidence that there had been a fall in the infection rate or number of cases.

Image

Credit…Remko De Waal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has doubled every two weeks since early July, causing experts to warn that the country could experience a full-blown second wave by mid-September.

The surge in cases has prompted Finland and the three Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — to tell their citizens not to travel to the Netherlands because of the increasing rate of infections. Britain is now requiring those coming from the Netherlands to quarantine for 14 days.

The country currently has 62,406 confirmed cases and 6,187 deaths, according to a New York Times database. But, a leading Dutch expert has said the rise continues at the rate its going, by the fall the Netherlands could have 250,000 infections and about 4,000 hospitalized patients. That would be roughly similar to the first virus peak in April.

“We are seeing the number of infected persons first rising gradually, but picking up speed as time passes,” Ernst Kuipers, who leads the Dutch National Network for Intensive Care, told the current affairs show “Nieuwsuur” on Thursday. “Numbers are now doubling every two weeks from July 10th,” he said. In the seven days from Aug. 5-11, 4,036 new case were counted, a 56 percent increase compared to the week before, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment announced.

The Netherlands has no countrywide mask mandate, though some places in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have recently implemented rules for specific locations, and masks are required on public transportation. There is no requirement for quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands, but those traveling from places with higher virus numbers are “urged” to quarantine.

A walk-through testing center has been set up at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for passengers from high-risk countries, but many are not taking the optional tests, according to the newspaper De Volkskrant.

Over 60 percent of all new infections are in people under 40. While they usually aren’t hospitalized, Mr. Kuipers warned that the young often flaunt the Dutch rules on social distancing and are potentially infecting older people.

Schools in the northern part of the Netherlands are getting ready to open on Monday. Students in elementary and high schools will not have to socially distance from each other, even if they’re 18 or older, according to the government. Where possible, teachers are required to socially distance from students.

Image

Credit…Nataliia Rumiantseva/Alamy

Amid a flurry of concern over reports that frozen chicken wings imported to China from Brazil had tested positive for the coronavirus, experts said on Thursday that the likelihood of catching the virus from food — especially frozen, packaged food — is exceedingly low.

“This means somebody probably handled those chicken wings who might have had the virus,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University. “But it doesn’t mean, ‘Oh my god, nobody buy any chicken wings because they’re contaminated.’”

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that “there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with Covid-19.” The main route the virus is known to take from person to person is through spray from sneezing, coughing, speaking or even breathing.

“I make no connection between this and any fear that this is the cause of any long-distance transmission events,” said C. Brandon Ogbunu, a disease ecologist at Yale University. When the virus crosses international boundaries, it’s almost certainly chauffeured by people, rather than the commercial products they ship.

The chicken wings were screened on Wednesday in Shenzhen’s Longgang district, where officials have been testing imports for the presence of coronavirus genetic material, or RNA. Several samples taken from the outer packaging of frozen seafood, some of which had been shipped in from Ecuador, recently tested positive for virus RNA in China’s Anhui, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well.

Both Dr. Ogbunu and Dr. Rasmussen said that an extraordinarily unusual series of events would need to occur for the virus to be transmitted via a frozen meat product. Depending on where the virus originated, it would need to endure a potentially cross-continental journey in a frozen state — likely melting and refreezing at least once along the way — then find its way onto someone’s bare hands, en route to the nose or mouth.

Reporting was contributed by Sarah Bahr, Mike Baker, Luke Broadwater, Damien Cave, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Michael Corkery, James Dobbins, Thomas Erdbrink, Manny Fernandez, Hailey Fuchs, Abby Goodnough, Jason Gutierrez, Rebecca Halleck, Sapna Maheshwari, Apoorva Mandavilli, Constant Méheut, Claire Moses, Colin Moynihan, Richard C. Paddock, Alan Rappeport, Matt Richtel, Rick Rojas, Carol Rosenberg, Anna Schaverien, Jeanna Smialek, Mitch Smith, Paula Span, Eileen Sullivan, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Katie Thomas, Glenn Thrush, Billy Witz and Katherine J. Wu.

Share My Post:

«

»

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates
Travel

Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates

Advertisements
728*90

Coronavirus:

The Trump administration is ordering schools on Native American reservations to reopen. California’s chief health officer has resigned. The pandemic has now sickened more than 20 million people, according to a Times database.

Image

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Governors across the United States struggled on Monday with how to make good on President Trump’s order that their economically battered states deliver billions more in unemployment benefits to jobless residents.

Democrats were harshly critical of Mr. Trump’s order, which he signed on Saturday night after talks with Congress on a broad new pandemic aid package collapsed. But even Republican governors said the order could strain their budgets and worried it would take weeks for tens of millions of unemployed Americans to begin seeing the benefit.

Congress initially provided a $600-a-week supplement to unemployment benefits when the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the United States in March. But that benefit lapsed on July 31, after talks between the White House and Congress broke down. Republicans had pushed for a $400 supplemental benefit, Democrats said it was not enough, and so on Saturday Mr. Trump ordered the $400 benefit — but said it was contingent on states to come up with $100 of that on their own.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York told reporters on Monday that Mr. Trump’s order would cost his state about $4 billion by the end of the year, making it little more than a fantasy. He said that no New Yorker would see enhanced unemployment benefits because of the president.

“This only makes a bad situation worse,” Mr. Cuomo said. “When you are in a hole, stop digging. This executive order only digs the hole deeper.”

His comments were echoed by Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat like Mr. Cuomo, who said Mr. Trump’s order would cost his state $1.5 billion through the end of the year.

“It’s not workable in its current form,” Mr. Beshear said. “It’s something virtually no state can afford.”

Coronavirus: Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States › On Sept. 1 14-day

change
Trend
New cases 44,027 -13%
New deaths 1,091 -16%

Where cases are
highest
per capita

Image

Credit…Gregory Bull/Associated Press

President Trump is considering new immigration regulations that would allow border officials to temporarily block American citizens and legal permanent residents from returning to the United States from abroad if authorities believe they may be infected with the coronavirus.

In recent months, Mr. Trump has imposed sweeping rules that ban entry by foreigners into the United States, citing the risk of allowing the virus to spread from hot spots abroad. But those rules have exempted two categories of people attempting to return: American citizens and noncitizens who have already established legal residence.

Now, a draft regulation would expand the government’s power to prevent entry by citizens and legal residents in individual, limited circumstances. Federal agencies have been asked to submit feedback on the proposal to the White House by Tuesday, though it is unclear when it might be approved or announced.

Under the proposal, which relies on existing legal authorities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government could block a citizen or legal resident from crossing the border into the United States if an official “reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease.”

The draft, parts of which were obtained by The Times, explicitly says that any order blocking citizens and legal permanent residents must “include appropriate protections to ensure that no Constitutional rights are infringed.” And it says that citizens and legal residents cannot be blocked as an entire class of people.

The documents appear not to detail how long a citizen or legal resident would be required to remain outside of the United States.

The draft memo says the prohibition on the introduction of U.S. citizens or legal residents from abroad would apply “only in the rarest of circumstances,” and “when required in the interest of public health, and be limited in duration.”

Still, if Mr. Trump approves the change, it would be an escalation of his government’s longstanding attempts to seal the border against what he considers to be threats, using the existence of the coronavirus pandemic as a justification for taking actions that would have been seen as draconian in other contexts.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. A spokesman for the C.D.C. said late Monday afternoon that he would seek to gather more information about the proposal.

It is unclear whether there are any existing rules that would allow American citizens and legal residents to be prohibited from returning to the United States for a period of time because of concerns about a communicable disease. Immigration officials have broad authority to deny entry to people based on national security issues.

The rule appears to apply to all points of entry into the United States, including at airports and along both the northern and southern borders. In particular, the draft could impact the border with Mexico, where many American citizens and legal residents cross back and forth frequently.

The rule notes the prevalence of the coronavirus in Mexico as evidence of the need for the modified rule, citing the death on Aug. 2 of the health minister in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua, who the order says died of Covid-19 after a two-week hospitalization.

Image

Credit…Lucy Young, Press Pool

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that opening Britain’s schools next month is a “moral duty,” and that in the event of a resurgence of the virus, “the last thing we want to do is to close schools.”

To avoid the scenario that Mr. Johnson described Monday, medical experts said, the government will have to be ready to sacrifice a hallowed British institution — pubs, as well as restaurants, which reopened a few weeks ago but are increasingly viewed as among the greatest risks for spreading the virus.

Mr. Johnson’s drive to reopen schools has put him at odds with teachers’ unions and local governments, which generally accept that schools should reopen but argue that Britain’s system for testing and contact tracing is not robust enough to cope with the outbreaks that may follow.

The government, they said, has not developed plans for how teachers should handle sick students or communicate with parents if there is an outbreak. Mr. Johnson’s back-to-school campaign, some said, appeared to be rushed after the government had emphasized other priorities, like eating out in restaurants.

“The big question is, if you open schools, how long can you keep them open?” said Devi Sridhar, the director of the global health governance program at Edinburgh University. “If there’s spreading, do you shut down the whole school? Do you shut down a single class?”

Professor Sridhar said the safest way to open schools was to drive down the transmission rate — and the way to do that, she said, was to close “the nighttime economy.” In the Scottish city of Aberdeen, she noted, nearly 800 people were forced into quarantine because of an outbreak that the authorities traced to a handful of pubs.

“My message is, you have to choose,” she said. “Which part of the economy do you have to sacrifice? Something’s got to give.”

Mr. Johnson cannot order schools to open or close; those decisions are made by the local health authorities. But some teachers say they are eager to return to the classroom, viewing the health risks as manageable. Schools in Scotland plan to reopen this week, with England’s opening on Sept. 1.

The Trump administration is ordering schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education to reopen for in-person instruction “to the maximum extent possible” on Sept. 16, according to an internal memo obtained by The New York Times.

The memo says that while families may choose to keep their students home and rely on virtual instruction, teachers are expected to teach in person unless they are at high risk for health complications should they contract the coronavirus.

The bureau operates 53 schools serving Native Americans living on tribal lands. A number of reservations have been hard-hit by the coronavirus, especially the Navajo Nation in the Southwest.

The bureau’s schools are among the few under direct federal control, rather than state or local control. The bureau is part of the Department of the Interior.

Sue Parton, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the president of the union that represents the bureau’s employees, said the plan to reopen the schools so soon was “foolish.”

Educators are afraid to return to classrooms, she said, because of high rates of infection in Native communities. But unlike teachers in local school districts, she said, the bureau’s teachers felt they had little say in what the schools should do.

“I think a big difference, of course, is us being federal employees,” Ms. Parton said. “We have our chain of command, and unfortunately it goes all the way to the top in D.C.”

President Trump has been urging all schools to reopen and did so again at a news conference on Monday, claiming children do not catch the virus easily or get very sick. But studies show that children carry high amounts of the virus once infected, and experts have repeatedly expressed concern that they could be a significant source of transmission in close-knit environments like schools.

On Monday in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he recommended that schools delay the start of in-person classes until Sept. 28.

“It’s six weeks from what I hope is the peak of this virus,” he said. “In my very core, I want us to get back to in-person instruction. But to ask our kids to go in, and all of our teachers and faculty, at a time when it’s not safe, is something that we can’t ask of them, and I’m not willing to.”

Schools have already reopened in other states, only to quickly order quarantines or close their doors. North Paulding High School in Georgia, for example — which drew attention after images of its crowded hallways circulated on social media — said that it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after reporting at least nine cases.

Image

Credit…Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader, via Associated Press

As schools debate how to safely reopen while the virus continues to spread, Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, on Monday said he recommended schools delay the start of in-person classes until Sept. 28.

“It’s six weeks from what I hope is the peak of this virus,” he said. “In my very core, I want us to get back to in-person instruction. But to ask our kids to go in, and all of our teachers and faculty, at a time when it’s not safe, is something that we can’t ask of them, and I’m not willing to.”

His comments comes as some schools have reopened, only to quickly order quarantines or close their doors. North Paulding High School in Georgia, which drew attention after images of its crowded hallways, with few wearing masks, circulated on social media, said that it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after reporting at least nine cases.

When asked if all students should wear masks during an interview ABC News, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said: “I feel that universal wearing of masks is one of five or six things that are very important in preventing the upsurge of infection and in turning around the infections that we are seeing surging.”

President Trump has been urging all schools to reopen and did so again at a news conference on Monday, claiming children do not catch the virus easily or get very sick.

“According to the people that I’ve spoken to, they don’t transport or transfer it to other people, or certainly not very easily, so, yeah, I think schools have to open,” he said. “We want to get our economy going.”

Video

transcript

transcript

Coronavirus: Newsom Announces Resignation of Top Public Health Official

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said on Monday that he had accepted the resignation of the director of the state’s Department of Public Health.

She resigned, she wrote a resignation letter, and I accepted her resignation. We’re all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us. I don’t want to air any more than that. But if it’s not obvious, then I, well, encourage you to consider the fact that we accept the resignation. We appreciated her work. We all have a role and responsibility as relates to what happens within our respective departments. None of this is easy. Technology is always stubborn and challenging, and all of these things being assessed, all of these things being considered in relationship to what we’re doing going forward with our acting interim D.P.H. director and as it relates to our long-term strategies. And so that’s what I can say on this. That’s what I think is appropriate to say. And I think that’s very clear. And to the extent that someone does resign, we accept that resignation if we feel it appropriate. I accepted that resignation.

Coronavirus: Video player loading

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said on Monday that he had accepted the resignation of the director of the state’s Department of Public Health.CreditCredit…Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Monday that the head of the state’s Department of Public Health had resigned amid “personnel judgment questions” that contributed to the breakdown of the state’s disease reporting system.

Nearly 300,000 records, most of them from virus tests, disappeared from the system over the past two weeks, a problem that the state is currently rectifying.

“She wrote a resignation letter and I accepted her resignation,” Mr. Newsom said of the public heath director, Dr. Sonia Angell. “We are all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us.”

In a letter to her colleagues at the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Angell on Sunday had cited “my own plans to depart from my position,” but did not give a specific reason for leaving.

The breakdown of the antiquated data system, which the governor on Monday vowed to replace, had clouded the overall picture of the virus’s progression in California, which as of Monday has had 10,378 deaths related to the virus, third in the nation after New York and New Jersey, and 567,908 confirmed cases, according to a database maintained by The New York Times.

On Monday Mr. Newsom said that despite testing delays and the problems with the disease reporting system, there were encouraging signs in the state’s fight against the virus. He cited a 19 percent decline in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Last week the state had reported a 10 percent decline. Hospitalizations are counted using a separate system unaffected by the data problems.

Dr. Angell, who had been in her role for less than a year, was replaced by two people: Sandra Shewry, a veteran public health official, is now the acting director of the Department of Public Health, and Dr. Erica Pan, the former chief health officer of Alameda County, is now the acting state public health officer. In her role in Alameda County, Dr. Pan had clashed with Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and head of Tesla, over plans to reopen the company’s car factory in Fremont, Calif.

In other U.S. news:

  • More than 47,000 cases and more than 530 deaths were announced across the United States on Monday, according to the Times database. The global caseload also surpassed 20 million, 43 days after it hit 10 million.

  • Many medical experts — including members of his own staff — worry about whether Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and one of the nation’s most powerful health officials, has the fortitude and political savvy to protect the scientific integrity of the F.D.A. from the president. Critics point to a series of worrisome responses to the epidemic under Dr. Hahn’s leadership, most notably the emergency authorization the agency gave to hydroxychloroquine, the drug promoted by Mr. Trump. The F.D.A. reversed its decision three months later because the treatment did not work and harmed some people.

  • At least seven courtrooms in San Antonio had to go offline for several minutes last week in what the authorities called a “Zoom bomb” attack. On Wednesday, virtual court hearings were interrupted with profanities, sexual images, graphic photos of courthouse shootings and a photograph from the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, court officials said. The same day, in Tampa, Fla., another virtual hearing went offline after pranksters posing as reporters interrupted a Zoom bond hearing for Graham Ivan Clark. Mr. Clark, 17, who pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, is accused of hijacking the Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Elon Musk, among others.

  • Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero of Guam said on Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive. Ms. Guerrero said in a statement that she discovered on Wednesday that she had come into close contact with a relative who had tested positive for the virus.

Image

Credit…Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, via Associated Press

As schools face the daunting challenge of reopening while the virus continues to spread, at least 97,000 children around the United States tested positive in the last two weeks of July, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. It says that at least 338,000 children had tested positive through July 30, meaning more than a quarter tested positive in just those two weeks.

The report comes as some schools have tried to reopen, only to quickly order quarantines or close their doors. North Paulding High School in Georgia, which drew attention after images of its crowded hallways circulated on social media, announced on Sunday that it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after reporting at least nine cases.

States in the South and West accounted for more than seven out of 10 infections in the new report, which relied on data from 49 states along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. The count could be higher because the report did not include complete data from Texas and parts of New York State outside of New York City.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho and Montana were among the states with the highest percentage increase of child infections during that period, according to the report.

The report comes as a study in Chicago found that infected children carry at least as much virus in their nose and throat as adults do. Several studies from other countries have also suggested that children under 10, in particular, are much less likely to spread the virus to others.

In the latest such report, from South Korea, researchers tracked the household members of 107 infected children between ages 10 and 17 from Jan. 20 and April 6, when schools were closed. They confirmed 41 cases of infection among the children’s 238 household contacts. But 40 of those 41 people were exposed to the same source of infection as the child was, suggesting that shared exposure may have been the source of their virus.

The researchers were only able to identify one 16-year-old who had returned from the United Kingdom and transmitted the virus to her younger sister.

Image

Credit…Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

India’s health ministry said the country had recorded more than 1,000 virus deaths on Sunday, the first time the daily death toll had been that high.

Some health experts said the high number is likely to be seen again, as state-run hospitals are still overflowing with sick patients, and private hospitals are mostly out of reach for many Indians.

The high count has some Indians questioning the government’s seeming failure to capitalize on the gains made during its initial moves to contain the virus.

In late March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi implemented one of the most severe lockdowns anywhere, ordering all Indians to stay inside, halting transportation and closing most businesses.

But as the ailing economy started contracting, officials lifted some of the restrictions, hoping to ease the economic suffering. People soon thronged markets, maintaining little social distance.

In some of the congested localities, there was an explosion of new infections.

“We were cramped inside for months,” said Saurab Sharma, a schoolteacher, in Delhi, India’s capital. “But it seems the government did not know how to make the most out of the lockdown gains.”

As of Sunday, India had more than 2.2 million infections and 44,386 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The country’s caseload is the world’s third-largest, after those in the United States and Brazil, and India has recorded at least 800 deaths a day in the past week.

The country is recording more new cases than the United States and Brazil, although India carries out more tests than Brazil, at 700,000 a day. (An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the number of tests conducted by India. It conducts a similar number of tests as the United States, not more.)

Indian officials said on Monday that more than 80 percent of the new cases were being reported in 10 of India’s 29 states, and that the number of recoveries exceeded 1.5 million.

Some public health experts have linked the country’s rising infection toll to its spread in densely populated areas of major cities, which have crowded marketplaces and almost no social distancing.

Image

Credit…Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

England will overhaul its faltering coronavirus contact-tracing system, the government said on Monday, shifting some control from private contractors to local public health teams and cutting the jobs of thousands of call center workers who had complained of having no one to call.

The changes were the clearest acknowledgment yet by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that its centralized, privatized system for tracking down the patients’ contacts has come up short.

Instead, the government has heeded some of the pleas of underfunded local public health directors, who have been warning for months that a London-run contact tracing system would not deliver the local intelligence needed to squelch flare-ups of the virus.

Under the reorganization announced on Monday, 6,000 contact tracing jobs will be cut by late August, one-third of the total employed by two outsourcing companies. Some of the remaining 12,000 privately employed tracers will be redeployed to regional public health teams.

In some areas, “the national Test and Trace system wasn’t picking up enough of the cases and contacts on the ground to make a difference,” Dr. Lincoln Sargeant, the director of public health in North Yorkshire, said in an interview on Monday. “The knowledge and relationships we have in local government are certainly what you need to bridge that gap.”

England’s centralized program has repeatedly stumbled since its rushed launch in late May — one of many missteps that have contributed to Britain having the worst outbreak in Europe.

Only 51,500 of the 92,000 people identified as close contacts of positive cases were ever reached by call center contact tracers as of late July, according to government statistics. Many contact tracers had reached no more than a couple of people in two months of work.

Image

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

As coronavirus infections surged in Texas this summer, Houston Methodist Hospital opened one intensive care unit after another for the most critically ill.

In one of the hospital’s I.C.U.s, many patients or their families gave Times reporters permission to follow their care. The 24-bed unit, where more than 60 percent of the patients who were there in mid-July identified as Hispanic, is a microcosm for a country where the pandemic has disproportionately affected Latinos.

Inside, machines beep to indicate danger, doctors rush in to perform procedures, and patients experience alternating waves of improvement and decline. Veteran staff members cry in their cars, never having seen so much severe illness and death all at once.

“It’s hurt me to see so many of my people,” said Lluvialy Faz, a critical care nurse on the unit who is Hispanic. “I feel like it’s really hit our community, and my community, more.”

Many of these patients endure cascading tragedies, with multiple relatives struck by the virus. A man recovers and goes home from the hospital, but leaves his critically ill wife behind. A patriarch with two dozen ailing family members fights for his life after attending his son’s funeral. And a grandmother may die because she celebrated a grandchild’s birthday.

global roundup

Image

Credit…Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A private Chinese company began a late-stage human trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate on Tuesday in Indonesia, where the number of cases continues to grow.

The trial by the company, Sinovac Biotech, will enlist as many as 1,620 Indonesian volunteers to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine candidate, CoronaVac. It is one of several trials by private and state-owned Chinese companies that are underway around the world in the race to develop the first vaccine.

Human trials of CoronaVac have already begun in Brazil and may soon start in Bangladesh. It was not practical for Sinovac to conduct them in China, where the virus first emerged, because the country now has too few cases.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most-populous country, has reported more than 127,000 cases, including nearly 14,000 in the past week, and nearly 6,000 deaths. Mainland China has had nearly 92,000 cases confirmed cases, but fewer than 400 were reported over the past week.

The Chinese company’s efforts may be complicated by the problems and scandals that have long plagued the country’s vaccine industry, including the revelation two years ago that ineffective vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and other conditions had been given to babies.

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, who attended a ceremony on Tuesday in the city of Bandung to mark the start of the human trials, has been frustrated by the damage the pandemic has caused to the economy and is eager for the development of a vaccine.

On Tuesday, Mr. Joko said he hoped that the Sinovac trials would be successfully completed in six months and that production could begin in Indonesia in January. “The threat is not over until the vaccine can be given to everyone in the country,” he said.

In other news from around the world:

  • Vietnam, which did not record its first Covid-19 death until July 31, reported four on Tuesday, its highest daily number since the start of the pandemic. All 15 of the country’s fatalities so far have been linked to an outbreak that began last month in the central city of Danang and infected nearly 400 people. The country now has 847 confirmed cases.

  • England will overhaul its faltering coronavirus contact-tracing system, officials said on Monday, shifting some control from private contractors to local public health teams and cutting the jobs of thousands of call center workers who had complained of having no one to call. The changes were the clearest acknowledgment yet by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that its centralized, privatized system for tracking the patients’ contacts had come up short.

  • Mexico is battling one of the worst outbreaks in the world, with at least 53,000 confirmed deaths, the third-highest toll of the pandemic. And its struggle has been made even harder by a pervasive phenomenon: a deeply rooted fear of hospitals.

  • Clashes between protesters and the police erupted across Belarus on Monday, a day after President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, who has denied that the coronavirus poses a health risk, declared victory in an election his critics dismissed as rigged.

  • People in France must wear face masks outdoors in crowded areas of Paris and other major cities beginning Monday as the number of virus infections rises at the fastest rate since a national quarantine ended in mid-May.

  • Antonio Banderas has tested positive for the virus, the actor announced on Twitter on Monday, his 60th birthday. In a message that originally appeared in Spanish, he reassured his followers that while his celebrations would be tempered by an isolation at home, he still felt relatively well and was “confident” that he would recover soon.

  • The United States’ top health official lauded Taiwan’s democracy on Monday as he met with the island’s leader for a visit laden with symbols of stronger ties between Washington and the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

  • The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced on Monday that she would self-quarantine after coming into contact with the city’s interior secretary, José Alfonso Suárez del Real y Aguilera, who announced on Twitter on Monday that he had tested positive for the virus.

  • India’s health ministry said the country had recorded more than 1,000 virus deaths on Sunday, the first time the daily death toll had been that high. Some health experts said the high number is likely to be seen again, as state-run hospitals are still overflowing with sick patients, and private hospitals are mostly out of reach for many Indians.

NEW YORK ROUNDUP

Image

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

When New York went into lockdown five months ago to contain the virus, traffic virtually disappeared, and the mostly deserted streets suddenly became a vast trove of open space in one of the world’s most crowded cities.

But now as New York slowly recovers and cars are returning, a battle for the 6,000 miles of city streets is just beginning.

Desperate restaurant owners have put out tables and chairs and want to keep them there. Anxious parents see the streets as a solution to crowded indoor classrooms. Cyclists and pedestrians are demanding more safe corridors as their numbers soar. And some virus-wary commuters are avoiding public transit and climbing into cars to protect their health.

Competition for New York’s streets is nothing new — there have been growing calls in recent years to push cars aside — but the pandemic has emboldened more people than ever to stake their claim to a piece of asphalt and force a sweeping reimagining of the urban grid.

Under pressure from advocates for open spaces and the restaurant industry, the city has temporarily excluded cars from more than 70 miles of open streets for social distancing, biking and outdoor dining.

City officials have not presented any overall vision or comprehensive plan for redesigning the streets to accommodate more uses and have said they are waiting to see emerging traffic patterns as more people return to work and schools open for some in-person learning.

For now, they have taken a more piecemeal approach, including adding batches of open streets every few weeks and announcing five new busways to speed up service by taking cars off busy arteries. They have also expanded temporary outdoor dining to help restaurants, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said the dining setups would return after the winter.

But critics — many of whom have viewed Mr. de Blasio as a pro-driver mayor — have faulted what some describe as the city’s reactionary approach and contend that the moment is ripe for an ambitious blueprint, much like other cities are adopting to permanently redraw the streetscape.

In other New York news:

  • Wedding receptions at restaurants in New York State where indoor dining is allowed are not subject to the 50-person cap on gatherings that the governor imposed as part of the state’s coronavirus shutdown, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling, issued Friday by Judge Glenn Suddaby of Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York, would allow wedding venues to host parties of more than 50 people under the same rules that apply to restaurants. The rules now limit indoor service to half a restaurant’s typical capacity. Because indoor dining has not yet been allowed in New York City, the ruling would not appear to apply to wedding venues there.

Image

Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

About a quarter of New York City families in public schools have said they want to opt out of in-school learning and start the school year remote-only, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday, while most families are still tentatively planning to send their children to classrooms part-time starting in September. Those numbers could change over the next month, because families could choose later to switch to remote-only.

Mr. de Blasio seized upon the numbers as evidence that the city should forge ahead with its plan to reopen schools on a hybrid model, with children attending school in-person one to three days a week. Monday’s announcement seemed partly intended to rebuff the leader of the city’s powerful teachers’ union, who has spent the last few weeks saying that teachers and parents were unwilling to send their children back to school.

The mayor also said that about 15 percent of the city’s public school teachers have applied for medical exemptions that would allow them to work remotely, but that not all requests would be granted. The city had originally anticipated that about 20 percent of teachers would apply to work remotely. Teachers over 65 and those with pre-existing medical conditions will likely be granted accommodations to work at home.

Asked about concerns that many of the city’s aging school buildings would not have proper ventilation to combat an airborne virus, Mr. de Blasio said the city was upgrading ventilation systems but would not reopen any classrooms that did not have proper ventilation.

Though indoor dining, gyms and museums remain closed in New York City, the governor said Monday that city schools can reopen because students won’t be “in the immediate company of hundreds of people.” When schools reopen, students will be split into smaller cohorts, which the governor said limits their potential to spread the virus to a large population. “It’s fundamentally different than a museum because it’s a much more controlled circumstance,” he said.

Sports roundup

Image

Credit…Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Many top college football players have mounted a public campaign to salvage the fall season amid the pandemic, and to assert power in a multibillion-dollar industry that has always relied on their talents and often sought to silence their voices.

In messages on Twitter, the players, including the quarterbacks Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, and the running back Najee Harris of Alabama, all posted the same image that led with: “We all want to play football this season.” They urged conferences to adopt universal health guidelines; said that players should be allowed to opt out, as some already have; and declared that they wanted to use their “voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials.”

Later Monday, Mr. Trump joined the debate when he retweeted Mr. Lawrence and said, “The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be canceled. #WeWantToPlay.”

No Power 5 conference has abandoned plans for a football season, though all have cautioned for months that games were no sure bet. On Monday afternoon, a Big Ten official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks, said that the presidents and chancellors of the conference’s member schools had not taken a vote over whether to proceed with a season during recent meetings. (The conference is scheduled to open on Sept. 3.)

In other U.S. sports news:

  • On Monday, the Mountain West Conference announced “the indefinite postponement” of fall sports, making it the second top tier Division I football conference to do so after the Mid-American Conference and joining others, including the Ivy League, to dash hopes of having a fall season. Last week, Connecticut, an independent in football, canceled its season, and on Monday Old Dominion announced its season was canceled.

  • On Monday, for the 15th day in a row, the M.L.B. schedule included at least one postponement because of the coronavirus. The Miami Marlins are back from their outbreak, but now the St. Louis Cardinals are shut down through Thursday, at least, and haven’t played since late July. The Marlins had 20 positive tests, including 18 players. The Cardinals have had 17 positives, including 10 players. The infections have limited St. Louis to just five games this season; other teams will have played as many as 18 through Monday. If the Cardinals cannot slow their outbreak, which first emerged July 30, how can they play enough games to have a legitimate season? Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, spoke to Tyler Kepner, The Times’ national baseball writer.

Image

Credit…Mario Tama/Getty Images

The human health care system has struggled financially through the pandemic, losing billions from the cancellations of lucrative elective operations as patients were first told to stay away from hospitals and then were leery of setting foot in one.

The canine and feline health system, though, is booming.

“It’s crazy, in a good way,” said Dr. Margot Vahrenwald, a veterinarian in Denver. “We’re probably seeing 25 percent more new pets than what we would normally. It feels busier, and we’re seeing increased revenue.”

While hospitals were furloughing workers, Dr. Vahrenwald, an owner of Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center, added five employees, and still has job listings for more. Her clinic has had to buy two phone lines to handle a deluge of calls from pet owners.

Animal hospitals appear to have pulled off something human hospitals have struggled to do: make patients feel comfortable seeking routine care.

Most veterinarians are now requiring curbside service — owners drop their pet at the door, and wait outside during the appointment — lessening the risk of being infected.

Their animal patients tend to be less susceptible to the coronavirus, although not completely immune. Some pets have become infected, and last month the first dog in the United States to test positive for the virus died.

Pet owners have, collectively, decided there is enough value in maintaining the health of their cats and dogs to brave the outside world at least a little more. Much of the increase in veterinary care seems to be for wellness visits and vaccinations. By contrast, primary care spending for humans is estimated to have dropped by $15 billion over the course of the pandemic.

The veterinary industry provides something else important that the human health system doesn’t: transparent prices. Veterinarians can typically provide reliable price estimates, in part because they have standard charges that don’t vary by type of insurance.

Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Emily Bobrow, Luke Broadwater, Troy Closson, Emily Cochrane, Stacy Cowley, James Dobbins, Sheri Fink, Thomas Fuller, Christina Goldbaum, Kevin Granville, Jenny Gross, Mika Gröndhal, Andrew Higgins, Winnie Hu, Sheila Kaplan, Natalie Kitroeff, Sarah Kliff, Hari Kumar, Mark Landler, Ron Lieber, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sarah Mervosh, Benjamin Mueller, Ivan Nechepurenko, Richard C. Paddock, Azi Paybarah, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Rhyne, Erin Schaff, Nate Schweber, Ed Shanahan, Eliza Shapiro, Michael D. Shear, Jeanna Smialek, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Muktita Suhartono, Eileen Sullivan, Lucy Tompkins, Paulina Villegas, Mark Walker, Jeremy White, Jin Wu, Katherine J. Wu, Sameer Yasir and Karen Zraick.

Share My Post:

«

»

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates
Travel

Coronavirus: Coronavirus Live Updates

Advertisements
728*90

Coronavirus:

With the exception of three anomalous days this summer, Wednesday’s U.S. total of more than 1,470 deaths was the highest since late May. Experts say the nation’s new coronavirus database creates problems for hospitals.

Image

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Officials across the United States reported more than 1,470 deaths on Wednesday, the highest single-day total yet in August, according to a New York Times database, and a reflection of the continued toll of the early-summer case surge in Sun Belt states.

With the exception of three days this summer, Wednesday’s death total was the country’s highest since late May. The figure was higher on each of those three days because a single state — New Jersey on the first day, followed by New York and Texas — reported large numbers of backlogged deaths from unspecified days.

For the last two weeks, the country has averaged more than 1,000 deaths per day, more than twice as many as in early July. Tuesday’s death toll of 1,450 was also the highest since late May, excluding the three anomalous summer days.

The deaths reported on Wednesday were concentrated largely in Sun Belt states that saw the most dramatic case spikes in June and July. Even as case numbers have started to drop in some of those places, deaths have remained persistently high. More than 300 deaths were announced Wednesday in Texas, and more than 200 in Florida. Arizona, California and Georgia all reported more than 100 each.

Still, Wednesday’s death total remained far below the peak in April, when more than 2,000 people died from the virus on many days.

The rebound in deaths had been feared since early this summer: Because some people do not die until weeks after contracting the virus, reports of additional deaths can remain high even after new case reports start falling.

Coronavirus: Tracking the Coronavirus ›

United States › On Aug. 26 14-day

change
Trend
New cases 44,934 -21%
New deaths 1,193 -12%

Where cases are
highest
per capita

Image

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

As U.S. school districts struggled with the complications of reopening during the pandemic, New York City’s bid to become the only major district to bring students back into physical classrooms hit a snag on Wednesday. The city’s influential principals’ and teachers’ unions called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay the start of in-person instruction by several weeks before phasing students back into buildings throughout the fall. Students are scheduled to return to classrooms one to three days a week starting Sept. 10.

“The city has failed to address many of our crucial concerns and ignored repeated appeals from school leaders to allow enough time to implement highly complicated protocols,” said Mark Cannizzaro, president of the principals’ union.

The united front presented by the city’s educators — just weeks before the New York district, the nation’s largest, is scheduled to reopen for in-person classes — will make it much more difficult for Mr. de Blasio’s administration to pull off a high-stakes plan that officials in other districts are closely watching.

Across the country, tension among unions, school officials, local authorities and governors over who should call the shots has led to mixed messages about whether students will be attending in-person classes, with many districts only weeks, or even days, away from scheduled reopenings.

In Tampa, Fla., for example, school officials are bracing for a showdown this week with the governor and the state’s education commissioner after defying executive orders by voting to hold classes exclusively online for the first four weeks of school. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, and Richard Corcoran, the education commissioner, have demanded that the school district reverse its plans and offer in-person classes.

At a an appearance with Mr. DeSantis on Monday, Mr. Corcoran said that any district that failed to provide the option of in-person classroom instruction could suffer consequences. “If you go to a strictly virtual model, under the existing law, without the emergency order, then the funding is less.

The district risks losing $23 million a month if it does not follow the state mandate, a number of Hillsborough District board members told The Tampa Bay Times.

In New York, Michael Mulgrew, president of the union representing teachers, has been raising alarms about reopening for weeks as his members have grown increasingly skittish.

“Will any parents be willing to put their children in a school whose principal believes the building is not ready to open because it is not safe?” he said Wednesday.

Mr. de Blasio pushed back in a hastily arranged news conference Wednesday afternoon, insisting that the city would be ready to reopen as scheduled.

“We owe it to our kids to get this right,” he said. “We are moving forward with that spirit, of devotion to our children.”

And he said the city’s unions “will sometimes say something in a very dramatic fashion — this is nothing new in New York City.”

In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, is giving districts the option to offer all-virtual classes when school resumes next month, relaxing his original requirement that teachers provide some form of in-person classroom instruction.

The Cherokee County School District in Georgia, where classes started last week, has demonstrated the hazards of returning to campus: Nearly 1,200 students and staff members there have been quarantined, and as of Wednesday, two high schools in the district had abandoned in-person instruction until at least the end of the month. (An earlier version of this item mistakenly said that the nearly 1,200 people had tested positive.)

Image

Credit…Pei Chen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Nearly three dozen current and former members of a federal health advisory committee — including some appointed or reappointed by Health Secretary Alex M. Azar — are warning that the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database is placing an undue burden on hospitals and will have “serious consequences on data integrity.”

The advisers, all current or former members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, issued their warning in a previously unpublished letter obtained by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

The administration last month ordered hospitals to send daily reports about virus cases to a central database in Washington — controlled by Mr. Azar’s department — instead of to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such reports include information about current patients, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic. The order raised alarm that the data could be politicized or withheld from the public.

The transition left hospitals “scrambling to determine how to meet daily reporting requirements,” the authors of the letter wrote. They urged that the C.D.C.’s data experts “be allowed to continue their important and trusted work” of gathering, analyzing and disseminating the daily reports, which help the government track the pandemic and guide crucial health care decisions, including how to allocate scarce supplies and medication like remdesivir, the only drug that has federal approval to treat Covid-19.

“The U.S. cannot lose their decades of expertise in interpreting and analyzing crucial data,” wrote the authors, who include the current co-chairs of the panel reappointed by Mr. Azar — Dr. Lisa Maragakis of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Dr. Hilary Babcock, a professor in the Infectious Disease Division at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The 34 signatories are “the elite of the infection control personnel from hospitals all over the country,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University (not Emory University, as an earlier version of this item said) who is not affiliated with the group.

The letter amounts to a sharp rebuke to Mr. Azar. It should be taken “very seriously,” said another expert, Michael T. Osterholm of the University of Minnesota.

Hospital officials around the country questioned the wisdom of switching systems in the middle of a pandemic, and said that the shift in reporting requirements has been time-consuming and difficult. And because the metrics are different, it is hard to compare current data with information collected earlier in the pandemic.

The C.D.C. referred questions to its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, run by Mr. Azar.

A spokesman for Mr. Azar, Michael Caputo, said the C.D.C.’s health care network “was unable to keep up with the fast-paced data collection demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.” And while the C.D.C. no longer collects the data, Mr. Caputo said, the agency has “access to all the data it once had and more.”

Image

Credit…Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Pennsylvania State University is requiring its students to sign a waiver that absolves the university of liability for exposure to the coronavirus on campus. If they do not accept the terms in the document, which the school calls a compact, the students are denied access to the university’s portal where they sign up for classes.

“I assume any and all risk of exposure to Covid-19 that may result from attending Penn State, or participating in Penn State activities, and I acknowledge that exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, or death,” the waiver says.

Students are protesting the requirement, which appeared on the student portal about a week ago, said Maggie Hernandez, an anthropology graduate student at the university.

“This compact is basically placing all of the blame on students returning here for contracting Covid-19,” Ms. Hernandez said. “That is completely unacceptable.”

Wyatt DuBois, a spokesman for Penn State, told local media outlets in a statement that “Penn State has committed to meeting and exceeding the guidance of health experts,” but that “it is important that students and families understand there is Covid-19 risk everywhere in our daily lives.”

In the waiver, students are required to acknowledge that the university’s safety measures “may, or may not, be effective in mitigating the spread” of the virus. Ms. Hernandez said that seemed to her to be a tacit admission that the school should be taking more precautions before welcoming students back to campus.

Other schools, like Bates College in Maine and the University of New Hampshire, are also requiring students to sign documents accepting the risk of infection on campus and agreeing to follow pandemic safety rules, and are getting some pushback from students.

But Heidi Li Feldman, a law professor at Georgetown University, said the wording of Penn State’s document was especially sweeping. “That language functions to very much minimize the university’s self-assigned responsibility,” she said. “It’s a very extreme version of saying, ‘We can’t make you any promises.’”

Ms. Feldman said she thought students should not sign it. “You’re agreeing to release someone from responsibility from taking care with your life,” she said.

U.S. ROUNDUP

In a panel discussion, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infections disease expert, criticized Russia’s rushed clearance of a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine, called Sputnik V, was approved without evidence that Phase 3 clinical trials had been completed, an essential part of the development pipeline to prove a product is safe and effective in people.

“Having a vaccine, Deborah, and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things,” Dr. Fauci said to Deborah Roberts, an ABC News journalist who moderated the panel on Tuesday that is set to air in full on Thursday.

Dr. Fauci called attention to the many other coronavirus vaccines vying for eventual clearance, including several that are in Phase 3 trials in the United States. The process for testing vaccines can last months and usually involves thousands of people.

“So if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn’t work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to,” Dr. Fauci said. “But that’s not the way this works.”

The timing of Russia’s announcement makes it “very unlikely that they have sufficient data about the efficacy of the product,” said Natalie Dean, an infectious disease expert at the University of Florida who has warned against rushing the vaccine-approval process. Dr. Dean noted that even vaccines that have produced promising data from early trials in humans have flopped at later stages.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir V. Putin had announced that the vaccine “works effectively enough.”

Experts — including Dr. Fauci — were quick to temper the excitement with criticism and warnings about taking Mr. Putin at his word.

“I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Dr. Fauci said. “I seriously doubt they’ve done that.”

In other U.S. news:

  • Kentucky reported more than 1,000 new cases on Wednesday, a single-day record for the state, and Illinois became the sixth state to reach 200,000 cases.

  • The U.S. budget deficit grew to a record $2.8 trillion for the fiscal year to date as the federal government continued to pump money into the economy, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday. The monthly shortfall of $63 billion for July was an improvement from the prior month, however, as tax payments that were delayed from April came in and as government loans that were being supported through the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program slowed.

  • Tribune Publishing said on Wednesday that The Daily News, once the largest-circulation newspaper in the country, was permanently closing its Manhattan newsroom. The company said it made the decision “in light of the health and economic conditions brought about by the pandemic.” While the paper will still be published, the company made no promises about a future physical location.

  • Data from states and cities show that many community outbreaks this summer have centered on restaurants and bars, often the largest settings to infect Americans. Since late June, scores of popular restaurants nationwide, including in Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Milwaukee, had to close temporarily because of cases among employees. Texas and Florida also had to close bars this summer after a surge of new cases hobbled those states. In a recent week in San Diego, 15 of the 39 new cases in community settings stemmed from restaurants

  • New Jersey’s governor, who was asked on Wednesday about why concerns about the spread of the virus at indoor restaurants didn’t seem apply to schools, said there’s a large difference between the two spaces. Indoor dining remains closed in the state. “Putting aside that going to a restaurant is a volitional step, getting our kids educated is our responsibility,” he said. “You do not have your mask on by definition if you’re eating or drinking.”

  • In California, the governor said that while the state had recorded an unusually high number of cases over the past day, more than half were from a backlog stemming from a data reporting problem that has clouded California’s ability to gauge its progress in controlling the spread of Covid-19 over the past couple of weeks. He said the two-week average of hospitalizations in the state was down around 19 percent, “yet another indication that we are turning the corner on this pandemic.”

Image

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, spoke on Wednesday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California to discuss a coronavirus relief package, though the conversation appeared to do little to resolve the standoff between the White House and top congressional Democrats over another economic stimulus measure.

It was the first contact between the two sides since talks collapsed late last week, but there was little sign of progress. Democrats said Mr. Mnuchin would not agree to a package larger than $1 trillion and Mr. Mnuchin accused Democrats of insisting on a $2 trillion threshold for any agreement, according to statements released by both sides.

Ms. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, who initially pushed for the $3.4 trillion measure House Democrats approved in May, have repeatedly said they would be willing to lower their overall price tag by $1 trillion, provided that the White House double the initial Republican offer of $1 trillion. Mr. Mnuchin, according to the two Democrats, was still “refusing to budge” from that level.

“It is clear that the administration still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing,” Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer said in a joint statement. “We have again made clear to the administration that we are willing to resume negotiations once they start to take this process seriously.”

Mr. Mnuchin, in his own statement, said the account provided by the Democrats was “not an accurate reflection of our conversation.” Ms. Pelosi, he said, “made clear that she was unwilling to meet to continue negotiations unless we agreed in advance to her proposal, costing at least $2 trillion.”

“The Democrats have no interest in negotiating,” he added.

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

Image

Credit…Dean Purcel/The New Zealand Herald, via Associated Press

New Zealand reported 13 more locally transmitted cases on Thursday, a day after reimposing a lockdown on Auckland, its largest city.

The new cases, plus one from an overseas arrival, brought the country’s active caseload to 36. The authorities have asked Auckland residents to stay home other than for essential personal movements until at last Friday, and have set up checkpoints on the main highway out of the city to prevent people from leaving.

The rest of the country has been asked to follow social-distancing measures, and no visitors are being permitted at the country’s nursing homes.

The first four cases in the new cluster were within the same family, and the source of infection could not immediately be traced, officials said this week. The first case was a person living in South Auckland who had no history of traveling abroad.

On Wednesday, officials were looking into the possibility that the virus had been imported by freight. Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s top health official, told reporters that surfaces were being testing at a storage facility in Auckland where a man from the infected family worked.

“We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time,” Dr. Bloomfield said.

The nation of five million declared itself free from the coronavirus in June after strict lockdown measures, and had been hailed as a model of successfully fighting the virus. But imported cases were later confirmed.

In other news from around the world:

  • The confirmed caseload in Mexico, where more than 53,000 people with the virus have died, was fewer than 2,000 cases shy of half a million as of Wednesday night. In May, the Times found that the Mexican government was not reporting hundreds, possibly thousands, of deaths from the coronavirus in Mexico City.

  • The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, told the U.N. Security Council by videoconference on Wednesday that the pandemic “risks exacerbating conflicts or fomenting new ones.” He also expressed concern about the “narrowing of civic space” around the world, saying that at least 23 countries had postponed national elections or referendums since the pandemic began.

  • A 68-year-old woman in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the pandemic began, tested positive this month after recovering from a coronavirus infection in February, officials said on Wednesday. A man in Shanghai who had been diagnosed in April was also found to be infected again. The cases raise further concern about how and why coronavirus patients relapse.

Image

Credit…Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

It took a while, but public health officials now agree that wearing a face covering in public is crucial to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. In the United States, many localities that initially resisted imposing mask mandates changed course after virus cases started to soar over the summer, and now require them.

Even so, there remain deep divisions over mask-wearing, often rooted in partisan politics. Some people resent being told to wear them, and others resent their refusal; the arguments at times have turned violent.

So officials in some parts of the country are putting their foot down.

In Miami Beach, Fla., officials have issued more than $14,000 in fines to people who refuse to wear masks, though most of that has not been collected, The Miami Herald reported on Tuesday. Fines under the mask rule, which took effect last month, start at $50 per infraction but can reach $500 if left unpaid. (An earlier version of this item mistakenly said those figures were for the city of Miami.)

And the state of Illinois, where coronavirus cases have been rising, enacted a measure on Friday making it a felony to assault a retail worker who is enforcing a mask-wearing policy.

But the sheriff of Marion County, Fla., which includes Ocala, has come down hard on the opposite side. Sheriff Billy Woods has ordered his deputies not to wear masks on duty, except in limited situations, and has forbidden visitors to sheriff’s offices to wear them.

Sheriff Woods said the purpose of his order, which was first reported by The Ocala Star-Banner, was to improve communication, because officers’ voices can be muffled behind a mask. He made exceptions for officers at the county courthouse, in jails and in public schools — but he made clear that he wasn’t convinced they were necessary.

“We can debate and argue all day of why and why not,” the sheriff said about mask-wearing in an email announcing the policy. “The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t.”

The sight of thousands of unmasked faces at a motorcycle rally last week in Sturgis, S.D., prompted Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire to change his mind, and issue an order requiring masks at gatherings of more than 100 people in his state. The order would apply to the Laconia Motorcycle Rally in Laconia, N.H., now scheduled for Aug. 22 after being postponed by the pandemic.

Governor Sununu, a Republican, had resisted issuing a statewide order. But “Sturgis was a clear warning sign to us,” he said at a news conference Tuesday. “I don’t think anyone saw the photos out of Sturgis and thought, ‘That looks safe.’”

Image

Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

Citing severe shortages of protective equipment for staff members and inadequate testing, officials for U.S. nursing homes and assisted-living facilities called on federal government officials this week to provide tens of billions of dollars in more funding.

Industry officials are seeking $100 billion in additional congressional aid for the Provider Relief Fund, which is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, with a significant portion dedicated to nursing and assisted-living homes.

“Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will end up repeating the same mistakes from several months ago,” said Mark Parkinson, chief executive of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

The organization noted that in several states, the rise in cases at nursing home in recent weeks was occurring in places with Covid-19 outbreaks in the general community.

By the end of July, about 41 percent of the nation’s deaths from the pandemic had been linked to nursing homes, according to an independent analysis by The New York Times.

Three weeks ago, the trade groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association, noting that 20 percent of nursing homes had inadequate protective equipment or had less than a week’s supply. Also, nearly a quarter of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities reported in surveys that tests were taking five days or longer to be processed.

From the third week in June to the third week in July, confirmed cases in nursing homes rose 57 percent, from 5,468 to 8,628, the industry said, citing data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

SPORTS ROUNDUP

Image

Credit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Big 12 on Wednesday may have salvaged the remnants of the college football season. It also may have simply delayed its collapse.

One day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences postponed football until at least the spring semester, the Big 12, which includes titans like Oklahoma and Texas, said it intended to hold league games beginning Sept. 26. Each team is expected to also play one additional game before that date.

The decision left three of the sport’s most influential leagues planning to pursue a football season, shriveled as it might be, and offered a measure of cover for two of them, the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences, which have said previously that they were moving ahead with plans to start the season.

Before the Big 12’s announcement, some college sports executives said they believed any ambitions for a season would erode if the Big 12 declined to play.

The Big Ten and the Pac-12 cited the virus’s risks and uncertainties when they separately announced on Tuesday that they would not play sports this fall. Those decisions placed new pressure on the A.C.C., the Big 12 and the SEC, whose teams play in some of the nation’s most virus-ridden states but are also cultural touchstones and economic juggernauts for their universities and surrounding communities.

In other sports news:

  • The N.F.L. Players Association said that it had reached an agreement with the league to continue daily coronavirus testing through Sept. 5 — five days before the season is scheduled to begin.

  • The Augusta National Golf Club announced Wednesday that the 2020 Masters Tournament, postponed from its traditional April date to Nov. 12-15, will be held without patrons or guests in attendance. The decision came after many other fixtures of the men’s professional golf schedule, including last week’s P.G.A. Championship, the first major championship of the year, previously were conducted without spectators. The Masters decision could signal that the remaining tournaments left this season will follow suit.

  • The Paris marathon has been canceled, its organizers said on Wednesday, as France faces an uptick in virus cases and the authorities have announced that restrictions on public gatherings would be maintained through most of the fall.

Reporting was contributed by Sarah Almukhtar, Alan Blinder, Damien Cave, Emily Cochrane, Jill Cowan, Troy Closson, Thomas Fuller, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Mike Ives, Isabella Kwai, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Eshe Nelson, Elian Peltier, Bryan Pietsch, Brendan Porath, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Matt Richtel, Eliza Shapiro, Karan Deep Singh, Jennifer Steinhauer, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Tracey Tully, Elaine Yu and Carl Zimmer.

Share My Post:

«

»

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *