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Live Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Daily Cases Surpass 59,000

2020-07-09 11:55:10
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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.

“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.

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.

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.

Hong Kong announced new social-distancing measures on Thursday, as the Chinese territory 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.

To identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus, the health authorities will also test employees at nursing homes and restaurants, as well as public transportation drivers, Ms. Chan said.

The local government has adopted what it called a “suppress and lift” strategy in recent months to alternately tighten and relax distancing rules, as cases surged and fell in the territory. This week, Hong Kong has entered what one health official described as “a third wave” of infections, a setback for a city where the Covid-19 death toll remains in the single digits and many social-distancing restrictions were relaxed in April.

Eight of the 42 new infections on Thursday were imported. The sick included three pilots and an airline crew member. The authorities on Wednesday began requiring all airline workers to take deep-throat saliva tests that nearly everyone entering the city must take but from which crew members were previously exempt, prompting United Airlines to suspend flights to and from Hong Kong. American Airlines also said Wednesday it would postpone the resumption of flights to Hong Kong to early August.

Unemployment claims in the U.S. may be leveling off after a steady fall.

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.

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.

How to start a new job from home.

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, 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.


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