Live Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Daily Cases Surpass 59,000 – The New York Times

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ImageA drive-through test site in Dallas on Wednesday. Texas was one of at least five states to set a new single-day record for new cases.
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As President Trump continued to press for a broader reopening, the United States set another record for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with more than 59,400 infections announced, according to a New York Times database. It was the fifth national record in nine days.

The previous record, 56,567, was reported on Friday.

On Thursday, cases were decreasing in only two states — Vermont and New Hampshire. In 14 states and territories, the number of cases was mostly the same. And in the rest of the country new cases were on the rise.

The country reached a total of three million cases on Tuesday as the virus continued its resurgence in the South and West. At least five states — Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia — set single-day records for new infections on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the country’s daily number of new cases had increased by 72 percent over the past two weeks. And by Wednesday, 24 states had reported more cases over the past week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic.

Texas reported more than 9,900 cases on Wednesday, the state’s third consecutive day with a record total of new infections. According to Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, the state’s rate of positive tests was hovering around 20 percent at the beginning of July, double what it was a month before.

In Arizona, a fast-spreading outbreak is putting pressure on hospital capacity, with the state having reported more deaths in recent days. New cases in Arizona have been trending upward since the beginning of June, and this week the state has been averaging more than 3,600 new cases a day, a record.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on Wednesday with The Wall Street Journal: “Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It’s not for me to say, because each state is different.”

Dr. Fauci spoke as medical facilities across the nation, under pressure from the surge in cases, continued to face a dire shortage of respirator masks, isolation gowns and disposable gloves that protect front-line medical workers from infection.

Schools, too, are at the center of conflicting messaging about how they can safely welcome back students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said that it would issue new guidelines, after Mr. Trump criticized its previous ones.

The same week the United States began the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization, the group’s leader made an emotional appeal on Thursday for international solidarity to fight the raging pandemic.

“The greatest threat we face is not the virus itself,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s general secretary, his voice cracking, during a briefing at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. “Rather, it is the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.”

While not mentioning the United States directly, Dr. Tedros noted some countries have struggled to contain the virus as infections have soared over the last several weeks. Others have been able to suppress the number of infections and deaths with a diligent and united effort.

Dr. Tedros, who has often lamented the lack of international cohesion, said the virus “thrives on division.” “How is it difficult for humans to unite to fight a common enemy that’s killing people indiscriminately?” he said, and appeared to wipe a tear from his cheek.

The United States is the W.H.O.’s largest donor. According to the organization’s bylaws, the withdrawal cannot take place for one year. Mr. Trump has been critical of the W.H.O.’s handling of the pandemic and accused it of favoring China in its response. Mr. Trump said in May he planned to withdraw, raising alarm around the world. Dr. Tedros announced on Thursday the appointment of a blue-ribbon panel, led by former president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand to evaluate the response to the pandemic.

He said the world required an honest reflection to learn the big lessons, but asked, “Can we honestly do it?”

Credit…Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Federal health officials in the United States are trying to decide who will get the first doses of any effective coronavirus vaccines, which could be on the market this winter but may require many additional months to become widely available to Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an advisory committee of outside health experts have been working on a ranking system for what may be an extended rollout. According to a preliminary plan, any approved vaccines would be offered to vital medical and national security officials first, then to other essential workers and those considered at high risk — the elderly instead of children, people with underlying conditions instead of the relatively healthy.

Agency officials and the advisers are also considering what has become a contentious option: putting Black and Latino people, part of the population that has disproportionately fallen victim to Covid-19, ahead of others in the population.

Some medical experts are not convinced there is a scientific basis for such an option. They foresee court challenges or worry that prioritizing minority groups would erode public trust in vaccines at a time when immunization is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic.

“Giving it to one race initially and not another race, I’m not sure how that would be perceived by the public, how that would affect how vaccines are viewed as a trusted public health measure,” said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, a group represented on the committee.

Credit…Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Just over 1.3 million laid-off workers in the United States filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, the government reported on Thursday.

New claims in the Labor Department’s weekly tally have not dropped below a million since the coronavirus pandemic started — levels that are far above previous records.

Another one million new claims were filed last week under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is designed to funnel jobless benefits to freelancers, self-employed and other workers normally ineligible for state unemployment insurance.

Hiring nationwide has picked up in recent weeks, and the overall jobless rate dipped in June to 11.1 percent from a peak of 14.7 percent in April.

But most of the payroll gains were because temporarily laid-off workers were rehired. The number of people whose jobs have disappeared and who must search for new ones has increased.

On Wednesday, United Airlines warned that it might furlough as many as 36,000 workers this fall, nearly 40 percent of its global work force. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said this week that high unemployment in the United States and other developed countries would probably persist at least until 2022.

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

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India recorded nearly 25,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its highest single-day total, as new research showed that a key metric of virus transmission rate had increased for the first time in months.

India’s virus reproduction rate has increased for the first time since March, to 1.19 in early July from 1.1 in late June, according to research by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai that was reported by the India’s news media. The rate — the number of new infections estimated to stem from a single case, commonly referred to as R0 — had been steadily falling from a peak of 1.83 in March.

The Indian government began easing a nationwide lockdown in late May. Dr. Sitabhra Sinha, a scientist at the Chennai institute, told The Indian Express that the increase “probably has its origin in events that happened around mid-June or slightly later.”

“The bottom line is that right now we are in the situation we were in in May and early June, and the further decrease we saw in late June was not sustained or improved upon,” Dr. Sinha told the newspaper.

As of Thursday, India had more than 767,000 confirmed infections and 21,129 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The country’s caseload is the world’s third-largest after the United States and Brazil, and it is averaging about 450 Covid-19 deaths per day.

As health officials across India struggle to cope with a surge of new cases, state-run hospitals are overflowing with sick patients. Some public health experts have linked the rising infection toll to its spread in major cities, which have crowded marketplaces and very little social distancing.

At least two Indian states, Bihar and West Bengal, are now reintroducing social distancing measures that they had lifted in June.

In other news from around the world:

  • The authorities in the northeastern Catalonia region of Spain on Thursday reintroduced the mandatory use of face masks outdoors, along with a fine of 100 euros ($113) for anyone not wearing one.

  • In Serbia, thousands of demonstrators protested for a second consecutive night on Wednesday in response to President Aleksandar Vucic’s management of the coronavirus crisis and wider concerns over the state of democracy in the country.

  • Australia stepped up its efforts to isolate the outbreak spreading through Melbourne on Thursday, as the state of Queensland shut its doors to people trying to flee the city’s six-week lockdown. Most of Australia is now off limits to people from the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is the capital, as the state authorities reported 165 new cases on Thursday, including six infections tied to a school where a cluster has now spread to 113 people.

  • Tokyo recorded 224 new infections on Thursday, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK said, surpassing a record set in April. The city has more than 7,000 cases.

  • A man in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan was executed on Thursday, after he killed two village officials tasked with combating the virus, a local court and the state-run news media said. The killing was in February, and the man was sentenced to death in March.

  • The Indonesian island of Bali, a popular tourist destination, began reopening beaches and businesses on Thursday, despite a steady increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

  • Hong Kong announced new social-distancing measures on Thursday, as it recorded 42 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, another daily high this week. Starting on Friday for two weeks, restaurants and nightclubs may not be more than 60 percent full, while the number of people permitted at each table has been restricted to eight at eateries and four at bars, Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Health, said Thursday.

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As the top health official in Tulsa, Okla., suggested that a surge in virus cases could be tied to the contentious indoor campaign rally held there last month, the top Republican in New Hampshire — where Mr. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally on Saturday — has already said he would skip the large gathering as a health precaution.

“I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, said recently on CNN. Mr. Sununu is up for re-election in November.

New Hampshire, a state narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, is one of just two states seeing declines in virus cases, and officials there want it to stay that way.

Mr. Trump’s campaign said it does not have a sense of the expected turnout for the event, which will be mostly outside at a Portsmouth airport hangar. Campaign officials are “strongly” encouraging attendees to wear face masks, with the hope that the health precaution will ease concerns about catching the virus at the event, but are bracing themselves for a smaller turnout.

“It’s not what we need right now in terms of Covid,” said Tom Rath, a Republican former New Hampshire attorney general.

Last month, health officials in Tulsa raised concerns about an indoor Trump campaign rally becoming a “super spreader” event and advised people over 60 years old — who are at more risk of virus-related complications — not to attend.

Tulsa is currently seeing record high numbers of new cases.

“The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,” Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, said at a news conference. “So I guess we just connect the dots.” Recent protests in the city were among the events.

In other news from around the United States:

  • Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court, seeking to block a directive that would strip foreign college students of their visas if their coursework was entirely online.

Credit…Guillermo Arias/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed barring migrants from obtaining asylum in the United States if they traveled through or came from a country struggling with the coronavirus or other disease outbreaks.

If enacted, the proposed rule would lay a framework for the administration to continue to use a public health crisis to justify the sealing of the United States to nearly every person seeking protection at the southwestern border. Asylum officers would be able to cite any disease that the United States designates as having created a public health emergency.

The rule would allow an asylum officer to classify migrants coming from a country with an outbreak as a “danger to the security of the United States,” denying them protections and putting them on a fast track to deportation. It would also allow the homeland security secretary and the attorney general to classify outbreaks as threats to the United States, which would then be used as factors in denying protections to migrants seeking asylum.

The Trump administration has already effectively brought asylum to a halt by using health authorities granted to the surgeon general to immediately turn away most asylum seekers at the border, including children traveling alone. The administration also created a fallback in the event that such emergency restrictions were lifted or blocked by a potential lawsuit. It proposed regulations that would raise the standard of proof for migrants hoping to obtain asylum, and would allow immigration judges to deny applications for protection without giving migrants an opportunity to testify in court.

The proposal on Wednesday would add to the web of border restrictions that have closed the United States to families fleeing persecution and poverty. President Trump has signed accords with Guatemala and Honduras, for example, that allow the United States to divert migrants to the Central American countries to seek protections there.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The testing results from the urgent-care company CityMD were shared with The New York Times.

At a clinic in Corona, a working-class neighborhood in Queens, more than 68 percent of people have tested positive for antibodies to the virus, suggesting that their immune systems had encountered an infection and responded to it. At a clinic in Jackson Heights, also in Queens, that number was 56 percent. But at a clinic in Cobble Hill, an affluent Brooklyn neighborhood, only 13 percent of people tested positive for antibodies.

While stopping short of predicting that hard-hit neighborhoods like Corona and Jackson Heights would be relatively protected in any major new outbreak — a phenomenon known as herd immunity — several epidemiologists said that the different levels of antibody prevalence were likely to play a role in what happens next, assuming that antibodies do, in fact, offer significant protection against future infections.

“Some communities might have herd immunity,” said Dr. Daniel Frogel, a senior vice president for operations at CityMD, which runs urgent-care centers throughout the metropolitan area and plays a vital role in the city’s testing program.

As the virus has swept through New York, it has exposed stark inequalities in nearly every aspect of city life, from who has been most affected to how the health care system tended to those patients. Many lower-income neighborhoods, where Black and Latino residents make up a large part of the population, were hard-hit, while many wealthy neighborhoods had far fewer cases.

But if there is a second wave of the virus, some of those vulnerabilities may flip, with the affluent neighborhoods becoming most at risk for a surge of infections.

The CityMD statistics reflect tests done from late April to late June. As of June 26, CityMD had administered about 314,000 antibody tests in the city; citywide, 26 percent of the tests came back positive.

The testing results in Jackson Heights and Corona seemed to “jump off the map,” Dr. Frogel said.

Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Catherine Muringo’s wardrobe consists of secondhand outfits shipped from all over the world. For years, Ms. Muringo bought the used clothes and accessories at cheap prices in open-air markets in Nairobi and used them to fashion her own idiosyncratic style.

Seven years ago, she also started a business buying and selling such items, distributing castoff fur coats, hoodies and shoes to customers in Kenya and in foreign markets like Botswana, Tanzania and Uganda.

But in late March, the Kenyan government banned the importation of used garments in what it said was a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Even though used clothes are fumigated before being shipped, Kenyan authorities said they were taking precautions because of the spike in infections in countries like the United States.

Now, businesses like Ms. Muringo’s are threatened, as well as the sartorial choices of millions of Kenyans who depend on low-cost imports to stay stylish.

“Kenyans love to go to the secondhand markets and spend hours looking and searching,” Ms. Muringo said. “Kenyans love the diversity of secondhand.”

Officials also said the banning of imported clothing — known as mitumba, the Swahili word for “bundles” — could have an unexpected benefit. It could help Kenya revive its own textile industry, which was wiped out in the late 1980s as the country started opening its markets to foreign competition.

“I think corona has shown not just for Kenya but for many countries to look inward a lot and try and fill some of the market gaps,” said Phyllis Wakiaga, the chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. “The reality is that there’s a big opportunity for us to produce local clothes for the citizens.”

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Every morning, Marisa Lobato wakes up and checks the news to see if the travel restrictions have changed.

She lives in São Paulo, Brazil, and her fiancé, Horst Schlereth, is in Germany. Before the coronavirus put everything on hold, Ms. Lobato had planned to go to Germany this spring to prepare for their wedding. Now their daily calls are filled with fretting over when they will reunite.

“We feel completely stuck in this situation,” she said. “I normally don’t cry in front of him, but I cry alone. It’s really a horrible feeling.”

The pair are among a number of separated, unmarried couples who have rallied on social media for changes to the European Union’s travel restrictions, using the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential. Unlike most married people, they do not have a right to enter the European Union to be reunited with their partners.

Now, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, is throwing its weight behind the cause, urging member states to exempt unmarried people with partners in Europe from the travel ban. But only Denmark and Sweden have adopted any of the recommendations and couples say even border guards in member states are confused about the regulations.

The European Union reopened travel last week to visitors from 15 countries, in an attempt to salvage the bloc’s peak tourism season. The United States, Brazil and Russia, among other countries, were notably excluded.

Some of the countries that are still banned aren’t close to meeting the E.U. requirements for controlling the coronavirus before they can resume travel, and could need weeks, months or more to reach those standards.

Without face-to-face contact and the ability to get acquainted with your colleagues in person, how can you settle into your new, remote workplace? Here are some tips to help.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Peter Baker, Damien Cave, Patricia Cohen, Abdi Latif Dahir, Joseph Goldstein, Erica L. Green, Maggie Haberman, Anemona Hartocollis, Mike Ives, Andrew Jacobs, Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Patrick Kingsley, Raphael Minder, Richard C. Paddock, Mitch Smith, Megan Specia, Eileen Sullivan, Megan Twohey, Kim Velsey, David Waldstein, Noah Weiland, Billy Witz, Sameer Yasir and Elaine Yu.

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