Coronavirus Live Updates: Cases Are Rising in 21 States as the U.S. Reopens

Coronavirus Live Updates: Cases Are Rising in 21 States as the U.S. Reopens


The virus is increasing in 21 states amid efforts to reopen.

The number of cases is increasing in 21 states, as Americans try to return to their normal routines. And at least 15 cases nationally have been linked to protests, including five National Guard members and one police officer in Nebraska. Health officials on Tuesday in Parsons, Kan., and Stevens Point, Wis., also announced new cases involving people who attended protests.

Total case numbers in Yakima County, Wash., surpassed 5,000 on Tuesday, with 1,100 since the beginning of June. And new cases continue to be identified by the hundreds each day in the Phoenix area. More than 4,000 of Maricopa County’s 14,374 total cases are from June alone. Across the state in the past week, there have been more than 7,000 new cases with upticks in Yuma and Santa Cruz Counties.

In Alaska, where new case reports had slowed to a trickle in May, the number of new cases is among the state’s worst since the start of the pandemic. There have been more than 100 new cases in the past week alone, bringing the state’s total since the beginning of March to 620. Recent outbreaks have been reported among seafood workers and ferry crew members. The state reported its first coronavirus death in more than a month on Tuesday.

Some parts of the South are finally showing signs of progress. New case reports have started trending downward in Alabama and have leveled off in Mississippi. But persistent growth continues in Arkansas, North Carolina and Florida. And in South Carolina, there have been nearly 1,000 new cases in the past two days.

Researchers around the world are developing more than 125 vaccines against the coronavirus. Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but scientists are hoping to produce a safe and effective vaccine by next year.

The New York Times is following the status of those that have reached trials in humans.

There are three phases before a vaccine is approved for use, but some projects have combined early phase trials to speed up the process. Some coronavirus vaccines are now in Phase I/II trials, for example, in which they are tested for the first time on hundreds of people.

Additionally, the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program has selected five vaccine projects to receive billions of dollars in federal funding and support before there’s proof that the vaccines work.

Work began in January with the deciphering of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. The first vaccine safety trials in humans started in March, but the road ahead remains uncertain. Some trials will fail, and others may end without a clear result. But a few may succeed in stimulating the immune system to produce effective antibodies against the virus.

The world economy is facing the most severe recession in a century and could experience a halting recovery with a potential second wave of the virus and as countries embrace protectionist policies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in a new report.

A grim economic outlook released by the O.E.C.D. on Wednesday depicted a world economy that is walking on a “tightrope” as countries began to reopen after three months of lockdowns. Considerable uncertainty remains, however, as the prospects and timing of a vaccine remain unknown. Health experts fear that the spread of the virus could accelerate again later this year.

“Extraordinary policies will be needed to walk the tightrope towards recovery,” said Laurence Boone, the O.E.C.D.’s chief economist.

The O.E.C.D., which comprises 37 of the world’s leading economies, predicts that the global economy will contract by 6 percent this year if a second wave of the virus is avoided. If a second wave does occur, world economic output will fall 7.6 percent, before rebounding by 2.8 percent in 2021. The two scenarios are viewed as equally plausible.

The report is slightly more ominous than other recent forecasts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Mnuchin says more financial help for the economy will be needed.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Wednesday that the next round of economic stimulus legislation must be targeted to help industries that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and that the focus must be on creating incentives to get jobless workers rehired.

Testifying before the Senate’s small business committee, Mr. Mnuchin said that he was pleasantly surprised that the economy added 2.5 million jobs last month and that he believed the economy would improve dramatically in the second half of the year.

But the Treasury secretary also said that there is still “significant damage” to parts of the economy that need to be addressed.

The White House has held off on negotiating with Congress over another economic relief package, saying that they want to more thoroughly assess how the existing measures are working. However, Mr. Mnuchin made clear that the work of stabilizing the economy is not done.

“There’s no question that small businesses in many industries are going to need more help,” he said.

Mr. Mnuchin said that the administration will be looking at measures that will encourage businesses to rehire. It is also considering the need for more direct payments to Americans and adjustments to unemployment insurance benefits to ensure that people don’t have incentives to remain jobless. The Treasury secretary sounded cool to the idea of a capital-gains-tax holiday.

The Treasury secretary appeared with Jovita Carranza, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, to update lawmakers on the status of the Paycheck Protection Program, a lending initiative that was created in March as a lifeline for small businesses but that was initially plagued by glitches, delays and changing rules.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned on Wednesday that the protests sweeping the nation could lead to a spike in infections — and said that it is not enough that many people marching against police violence are wearing masks.

“Masks can help, but it’s masks plus physical separation and when you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, like we have said — myself and other health officials — that’s taking a risk,” Dr. Fauci said on the ABC program “Good Morning America.” He added, “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing now is just an example of the kinds of things we were concerned about.”

Dr. Fauci said a report that members of the D.C. National Guard had become infected after the protests “is certainly disturbing but is not surprising.”

The host, Robin Roberts, later said, “People are very passionate about what they’re fighting for and it’s very evident that they feel it’s worth the possible risk.” Dr. Fauci nodded his head.

A group of more than 1,000 people working in health and medicine have argued recently that the protests are “vital” to public health as the longtime discrimination of black Americans is itself a public health crisis. Some protesters have said they weighed the health risks against the need to protest and decided the movement against police brutality and racism was worth the risk.

In California, Jarrion Harris, 32, wore a cloth mask for a march in Hollywood on Sunday.

“I’m definitely not out here because I think Covid-19 has gone into the shadows,” Mr. Harris said. “It’s worth the risk.”

Typically, symptoms of the virus can take up to two weeks to appear after a person is exposed, and it is too soon to see any real change in the number of cases in areas where there have been large gatherings.

Court administrators across the country have turned to measuring tapes, diagrams and various other calculators to determine how many people a jury box can safely hold or how long it will take to transport a socially distanced jury pool by elevator. They have installed plexiglass barriers for witness stands and pondered texting as a means of client-lawyer communication.

Masks pose a number of conundrums. How would a lawyer help choose a jury without being able to see the fleeting smirks or scowls that are normally tipoffs about bias?

Other questions involve more fundamental principles of jurisprudence. Would the jury pool reflect the community if people in groups hit harder by Covid-19, like older residents, African-Americans and Latinos, were more reluctant to show up? Can a trial truly be considered public if the public has been told to stay at home?

“There’s an inherent conflict between the rights of someone on trial and our social-distancing policies,” Dylan Potter said after one of his clients became the first defendant to be tried by jury in Multnomah County, Ore., since the pandemic began. “As smooth as this went, at no point would I ever advise a client to go through with it in these times.”

Republicans expect to move their national convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., a shift planned after Mr. Trump told officials in North Carolina that he did not want to use social distancing measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus, according to three senior Republicans.

The decision could change, the Republicans cautioned, but as of now, officials are on track to announce the new location as early as Thursday.

Jacksonville has been Republicans’ top choice for days, after Mr. Trump told the governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, a Democrat, that he needed an answer about whether Charlotte could accommodate the convention in August with a promise that there would not be social distancing.

Once they decided to uproot the convention, Mr. Trump’s aides and Republican officials had wanted to relocate to a state and city controlled by Republicans. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, where Ron DeSantis, a Republican and an ally of Mr. Trump, is the governor. Jacksonville’s mayor, Lenny Curry, is a longtime Republican official.

New reported cases of the coronavirus are on the rise in both North Carolina and Florida.

What exactly the event will look like remains unclear. Conventions normally last for four days, with thousands of party officials, delegates, donors, members of the news media and others coming together for speeches and votes.

Mr. Cooper had repeatedly told Mr. Trump that it was too early to make any promises about social distancing, and state health officials said the Republican National Committee and the host committee in Charlotte provided a requested plan for safely holding the event.

In April, when the federal government offered $349 billion in loans to small businesses reeling from government shutdown orders to combat the pandemic, the funding ran out in just 13 days, prompting Congress to swiftly approve a second round of $310 billion.

Small businesses have since grown more wary of taking the money.

As of Monday, more than $130 billion was left in the fund, known as the Paycheck Protection Program. Even more striking was the fact that on many days last month, more money was being returned than borrowed, according to data from the Small Business Administration, which is overseeing the program.

For some owners, the program’s terms were too restrictive; for others, the criteria for loan forgiveness was too murky. Some public companies that received these loans returned them after a public outcry, and in the initial rush, some borrowers accidentally got duplicate loans that they, too, returned.

The turn of events is notable for a signature program of Congress’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. After all, small businesses are still in distress, and millions of storefronts around the country remain shuttered.

On Wednesday last week, Congress moved to loosen the program’s rules and give businesses more flexibility in spending their aid, and President Trump signed the bill on Friday.

The amended rules could help the remaining $130 billion move faster. However, having the terms of their loans revised on the fly again is a nightmare for borrowers, and for many small businesses that depend on foot traffic, like restaurants and nail salons, even the more relaxed relief terms might not be enough.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave interest rates near zero on Wednesday while pledging to continue buying bonds, but economists are watching for any hint about how the central bank might adjust policy in the longer run.

Officials are set to release their first set of economic projections of 2020, having skipped the quarterly summary in March as the pandemic gripped the United States, sowing uncertainty. The forecasts will show how they expect unemployment, inflation and growth to shape up in the years ahead.

Many Fed watchers expect officials to use the interest rate projections and their post-meeting statement, released at 2 p.m. Eastern time, to clearly signal that borrowing costs will remain at rock-bottom for some time. Policymakers could also use the statement to make clear they will try to goose the economy through their bond-buying program. The Fed has been snapping up government-backed bonds to keep markets functioning normally, but conditions have calmed, so they could make that program explicitly focused on stimulating the economy.

But the more significant moment may come when Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, holds an online news conference at 2:30 p.m. While he has sounded wary about the path ahead, analysts are curious to hear his take on the economy as states gradually open and the job market stages an early rebound.

A Syrian pharmacist shares his story fighting the virus.

Hosam al-Ali is an activist who has supported the democracy protests against Syria’s authoritarian president since they began nine years ago, and he knows a thing or two about battling adversity. But Mr. al-Ali, 35, is more than a little worried about his new adversary: the coronavirus.

A pharmacist in Idlib, the last province still in the hands of Syrian opposition groups, Mr. al-Ali volunteered to be the main virus-response coordinator in his region.

As he set to work, Mr. al-Ali began keeping an audio diary, which he shared day by day with Carlotta Gall, the Istanbul bureau chief for The New York Times.

A study indicates Britain, where more than 40,000 have died from the virus, may have missed a chance to slow its assault.

Only “a tiny fraction” of the first virus cases in Britain came directly from China while a vast majority came via Europe, a study of the genetic lineages of virus samples has found.

The results suggest that Britain could have slowed the arrival of the virus by moving faster to advise against all nonessential overseas travel instead of only counseling against travel to mainland China, where the virus originated.

The study, which was posted on a virology website on Tuesday and has not been peer reviewed, is the latest indication that travel bans on China appear to have had little effect on mitigating the spread of the virus.

The authors of the study drew on research by Covid-19 Genomics U.K., a consortium of public and academic laboratories that is funded in part by the British government. The consortium has so far generated more than 20,000 genome sequences and identified 1,356 genetic lineages of the virus — that is, chains of infection stretching from patient to patient.

The study concluded that about 34 percent of the lineages detected had arrived from Spain, 29 percent from France, 14 percent from Italy and 23 percent from other countries.

The authors also estimate that 80 percent of “importation events” — new arrivals of the virus — took place during the one-month period between Feb. 28 and March 29.

Britain advised against nonessential travel to China on Jan. 28. But the government did not advise until March 17 against nonessential travel overseas

The authors note that as a result the volume of incoming arrivals remained high as the global rate of infection was soaring during the first half of that month.

“Notably there was a period in mid-March when inbound travel to the U.K. was still substantial and coincided with high numbers of active cases elsewhere,” the authors of the study wrote. Here are other developments from around the world.

  • Greece, a country that largely managed to contain the virus, is seeing a spike in cases, just days before it opens its borders to tourists. On Monday, the government announced that in the past four days 97 people had tested positive for the coronavirus since Thursday; 30 of them had traveled from abroad. The government said on Tuesday that it would increase testing and localized restrictions, according to local reports.

  • Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, resigned Wednesday from the committee to respond to the pandemic in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a position he was appointed to two months ago. Dr. Mukwege said he was resigning because of difficulties in testing procedures and disorganization in efforts to fight the virus. Congo has reported 4,259 cases and 90 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, said Wednesday that most travel restrictions on incoming European Union and Swiss citizens would be lifted as of June 16. Controls at German land borders would also be eased. E.U. or Swiss citizens arriving from European coronavirus hot spots — regions where at least 50 coronavirus infections per 100,000 people were registered in the previous seven days — would still have to quarantine when traveling to most German states. Controls on flights coming from Spain will be lifted on June 21.

  • Brazil on Tuesday reinstated the reporting of coronavirus death numbers after a Supreme Court ruling. President Jair Bolsonaro had faced scorching criticism for his administration’s decision to stop reporting comprehensive data about the Covid-19 outbreak. On Wednesday, as he approached a group of supporters, one woman who said she worked on his campaign reminded the president of the current death toll. “I feel you betrayed our people, sir,” she said. “The people are dying, Mr. President.” Mr. Bolsonaro walked away silently.

At a Brooklyn hospital, there was one last, loud cheer.

Early this spring at Brooklyn Hospital Center, when the I.C.U. was overflowing, Covid-19 patients were dying left and right and a third of the doctors and nurses were out sick, a cheering section would materialize outside every evening as 7 p.m. approached, like fans at the stage door hoping to glimpse their idols.

And every evening, as the people on the sidewalk hooted, blasted songs and held up signs that said things like “Boundless Gratitude,” exhausted hospital workers would come out at the end of their shifts, soak up the love, sway to the music and wave like beauty queens.

Now, with the outbreak in New York City vastly diminished and attendance at the nightly cheer dropping, the organizers threw a farewell party.

On Monday evening, as the nurses and doctors and orderlies filed out, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.” A medic gave a bouquet and a hug to one of the regular cheerleaders. The D.J. played “Last Dance,” and everyone did.

“It’s been so uplifting to have people give their time to come here and support us,” said Alyeshan Quinones, an E.R. nurse.

Only the worst disasters completely upend normal patterns of death, overshadowing, if only briefly, everyday causes like cancer, heart disease and car accidents.

The Times reviewed the numbers of deaths in 25 cities and regions around the world during their most devastating months of the outbreak, setting those figures against their normal mortality levels, and then compared the increases to other disasters in history.

Demographers who study patterns of death call these deviations “mortality shocks,” sudden spikes in the number of fatalities not seen in the weeks before and not likely to be seen after the event is over. They’re often attributed to natural disasters, a severe flu season, famines or wars.

Among the findings: Denver had a monthly mortality increase that exceeded New York City’s in the period around Sept. 11, 2001. The rise in deaths in Paris was greater than the increase related to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. In Madrid, where more than 14,000 people died from mid-March to mid-April (compared with the typical 3,000 at that time of year), the increase was greater than the one in New York City during the flu pandemic in 1918.

These figures reflect only deaths through May. In many cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the outbreak is still getting worse.

“Oh my goodness,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, said Tuesday. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”

No more communal snack jars. No more hugging. Probably no more giant open spaces.

Tech giants helped reshape the American office from packed rows of partitioned cubicles into airy shared spaces. The homey, amenity-filled new settings encouraged collaboration and community — while reducing employees’ eagerness to leave for home.

But the pandemic has made unbounded offices a liability.

Now some of the tech companies responsible for popularizing the open office believe they have an obligation — and a big business opportunity — to pioneer a new normal.

Facebook, for one, is betting heavily on remote work. Last month, on the same day employees were told that working from home could become permanent for many of them, the company introduced new remote-working tools for its enterprise clients. They included Workplace Rooms, a videoconferencing service for team meetings.

Salesforce, whose cloud software for businesses already enables remote work, is staking out different territory as it tries to figure out how to reopen its more than 160 offices worldwide.

“It’s going to be different,” Salesforce’s chief executive, Marc Benioff, said. “It’ll be more sterile. It’ll be more hospital-like.”

Reporting was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Mitch Smith, Eileen Sullivan, Jonathan Corum, Abdi Latif Dahir, Shaila Dewan, Sheri Fink, Manuela Andreoni, Josh Katz, David D. Kirkpatrick, Iliana Magra, Allison McCann, Andy Newman, Richard C. Paddock, Alan Rappeport, Christopher F. Schuetze, Dera Menra Sijibat, Natasha Singer, Jenna Smialek, Kaly Soto, Jin Wu, Carl Zimmer, Maggie Haberman and Stacy Cowley.





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