Live Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Daily Cases Surpass 59,000
Live Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Daily Cases Surpass 59,000
In addition to a national record, at least five states set single-day records for infections.
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.
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.
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.
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. There have been a series of outbreaks in the region, the most serious of which has led to the lockdown of about 200,000 people living around the city of Lleida. In the Balearic archipelago, off Spain’s east coast, the authorities are also preparing to make masks compulsory again starting this weekend.
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. Bali was never locked down, but residents were encouraged to stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks. Over the past three weeks, the number of reported infections has more than doubled, to 1,971, and the number of deaths has more than quadrupled, to 25.
The top health official in Tulsa, Okla., suggested on Wednesday that a surge in cases in and around the city was probably connected to the contentious indoor campaign rally that President Trump held there last month.
Tulsa County reported 206 new confirmed cases on Tuesday and 261 — a record high — on Monday.
“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.
Asked whether contact tracing had confirmed a link between the Trump rally and the increase in cases, Leanne Stephens, a spokeswoman for the health department, said the department “will not publicly identify any individual or facility at risk of exposure, or where transmission occurred.”
But Dr. Dart said the large gatherings of people in the city had “more than likely contributed to that.”
Dr. Dart was among those urging the Trump to cancel the rally at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center arena, citing the risk of infection. The rally did not come close to filling the arena to capacity; most in attendance did not wear masks.
As of Tuesday, Oklahoma’s seven-day average had risen to 495 new cases; a month before the average was 92. The state’s spike in cases has mirrored a resurgence elsewhere in the country’s South and West.
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.
The White House proposes barring many migrants from obtaining asylum in the U.S.
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.
Unemployment claims in the U.S. may be leveling off after a steady fall.
Fresh U.S. government data on Thursday is expected to show that new unemployment claims have leveled off after a steady decline, as rising coronavirus cases have pushed some states to reverse course and reimpose shutdown orders on businesses.
According to Bloomberg, the average estimate is that 1.37 million new state jobless claims were filed last week, a dip from the previous week’s 1.43 million. Although new claims in the Labor Department’s tally have been declining since early April, the weekly total has not dropped below a million since the coronavirus pandemic started — levels that are far above previous records.
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 of the rehiring of workers temporarily laid off because of the pandemic. The pool of workers whose previous jobs have disappeared and who must search for new ones has grown.
“The recovery in new hiring has yet to begin.” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at the employment site ZipRecruiter.
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.
A clinic in New York City found antibodies in 68% of people. Can they beat a second wave?
According to antibody test results, some of New York City’s neighborhoods were so disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus during the peak of the epidemic in March and April that the most vulnerable communities might have a higher degree of protection during a potential second wave.
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.
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.”
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.
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Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Peter Baker, Damien Cave, Patricia Cohen, Abdi Latif Dahir, Mike Ives, Joseph Goldstein, Erica L. Green, Anemona Hartocollis, Andrew Jacobs, Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Patrick Kingsley, Raphael Minder, Richard C. Paddock, Mitch Smith, Megan Specia, Megan Twohey, Noah Weiland, Billy Witz, Sameer Yasir and Elaine Yu.