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Live Global Coronavirus News

2020-07-17 04:41:20
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The U.S. shatters its single-day record for new cases, with more than 75,000.

As clashes over face-covering mandates and school reopening plans intensified throughout the United States, the country shattered its single-day record for new cases on Thursday — more than 75,000 with some numbers still to be announced, according to a New York Times database.

This was the 11th time in the past month that the record had been broken. The number has more than doubled since June 24, when the country registered 37,014 cases after a lull in the outbreak had kept the previous record, 36,738, standing for two months. As of Wednesday, the country’s seven-day average case number exceeded 63,000, up from about 22,200 a month before.

The previous single-day record, 68,241 cases, was announced last Friday.

Thursday’s record included more than 5,000 cases in Bexar County, Texas, which contains San Antonio, where numbers spiked in part because of a backlog in test reporting.

Florida on Thursday broke its single-day death record for the second time this week, reporting 156 new fatalities. It was one of 10 states to reach a record for deaths in a single day this week, joining Idaho, Alabama, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Texas, Hawaii, Montana and South Carolina.

More than half the 50 states have issued mask requirements, including Arkansas, where Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, announced a face covering requirement on Thursday, after previously taking a more hands-off approach. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Democrat, also issued a mask order on Thursday, after questioning whether such a mandate would be enforceable.

But there remains firm resistance in many circles, including from some Republican leaders who view mask requirements as a threat to personal liberty.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who announced this week that he was suspending all local mask mandates, filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging the authority of leaders in Atlanta to require masks inside their city’s limits.

Also on Thursday, health officials in Dallas announced that the city’s public and private schools would conduct classes virtually for the first three weeks of the school year, which begins Aug. 17. Several other large school districts have announced plans to rely on distance learning when they reopen for the upcoming school year, bucking pressure from the Trump administration.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Thursday reiterated President Trump’s view that schools must open in the fall. “When he says open,” she said, “he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., noted in an interview Thursday on Facebook with its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, that after its initial peak, the nation never succeeded in driving the virus beneath a plateau of about 20,000 new cases a day.

“What I think we need to do, and my colleagues agree, is we really almost need to regroup, call a timeout — not necessarily lock down again, but say that we’ve got to do this in a more measured way,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’ve got to get our arms around this and we’ve got to get this controlled.”

Critics say that Mr. Modi imposed the lockdown before it was needed, then lifted it too soon. In his defense, he has pointed to wealthier countries where the official death toll has been 20 to 50 times as high, relative to the size of their populations, as in India.

Learn about 20 of the most talked-about possible coronavirus treatments with this new tracking tool.

Companies and researchers worldwide are rushing to test hundreds of possible treatments meant to prevent or quell coronavirus infections. Some they hope will block the virus itself, nipping a burgeoning infection in the bud, while others are aimed at mimicking the immune system or quieting an overactive immune response.

The New York Times is cataloging some of the most talked-about drugs, devices and therapies in a new tracker that summarizes the evidence for and against each proposed treatment. The tracker includes 20 treatments so far; five have strong evidence of efficacy, three are pseudoscience, and the rest fall somewhere in between.

USA Today says a Trump adviser’s opinion piece attacking Dr. Fauci did not meet its standards.

A scathing op-ed article by President Trump’s top trade adviser that declared Dr. Anthony S. Fauci “wrong about everything” caused a fissure at the White House this week, with Trump aides scrambling to disavow the attack on one of the most trusted public figures of the coronavirus crisis.

Now the article, written by Peter Navarro, has generated second thoughts at the newspaper that published it, USA Today.

In a note published Wednesday evening, a day after the article was posted online, Bill Sternberg, the editorial page editor of USA Today, wrote that several of Mr. Navarro’s attacks on Dr. Fauci “were misleading or lacked context.” He concluded that the op-ed, which appeared in print Wednesday, “did not meet USA Today’s fact-checking standards.”

Mr. Sternberg said the newspaper had solicited the article from Mr. Navarro as a countervailing view to an editorial that also ran in Wednesday’s newspaper. That article, attributed to the paper’s editorial board — and therefore carrying the institutional imprimatur — criticized Mr. Trump for sidelining Dr. Fauci and praised the doctor as a “national treasure.”

Israel’s government, under fire for its management of the crisis, tightens restrictions.

The Israeli government announced new coronavirus restrictions early Friday as the number of cases in the country continued to swell and the government faced further criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office and the Health Ministry said in a statement that gyms would be closed and almost all restaurants would be limited to takeaway and delivery services, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday. Malls, libraries, beauty salons, zoos, nonessential stores and many pools will also be shut for most weekends.

Cruise ships will not be allowed to resume regular departures from the United States until October at the soonest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In a scathing 20-page order, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., blamed the cruise industry for widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Dr. Redfield also said that cruise lines had done little to stop the spread among crew members, failing to comply with social-distancing measures like closing crew gyms and stopping staff social gatherings.

The industry had already voluntarily suspended operations until Sept. 15, but the C.D.C. order makes clear that it has a long way to go before public health officials allow cruise vacations to begin again.

The agency pointed to 99 outbreaks on 123 ships in U.S. waters alone. “During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by Covid-19,” it said in a statement.

Nine ships still had active outbreaks among crew members as of July 3. One ship, the Disney Wonder, had an outbreak that lasted 10 weeks, the agency said.

France will make masks compulsory in all public indoor areas starting next week, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday, as the authorities try to contain an uptick of coronavirus cases in recent days.

President Emmanuel Macron had initially suggested the rule would into effect Aug. 1, but Mr. Castex said the requirement would start earlier because Aug. 1 “sounded late.” An exact date was not announced.

Masks were already obligatory on public transportation in France, but there have been countless examples in recent days of people flouting social-distancing rules or not wearing masks inside — including during government meetings — raising concerns that the lack of precautions could trigger a wave of infections.

Britain announced similar measures this week, with face coverings compulsory in shops and supermarkets starting July 24.

In other news around the world:

  • The United Nations issued an appeal to the most affluent countries on Thursday for $10.3 billion in emergency aid to fight the coronavirus pandemic in low-income and especially vulnerable populations. That is more than five times the aid initially sought four months ago by the organization to deal with the scourge. Without a muscular aid response, the United Nations said, the pandemic and associated global recession are set to trigger the first increase in global poverty since 1990 and push 265 million people to the point of starvation by year’s end.

  • The authorities in Bangladesh have arrested the owner of a hospital accused of selling thousands of certificates showing a negative result on coronavirus tests to migrant workers, when in fact many tests were never performed. There is a huge market for these certificates among migrant workers from Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in Asia, who are eager to get back to work in Europe, doing jobs like stocking grocery stores, busing tables in restaurants or selling bottled water on the streets.

  • Hong Kong on Thursday reported its highest daily number of cases since the outbreak began in January, as the Chinese territory grappled with what some have called its “third wave” of infections and its most serious one yet. Of the 67 new cases recorded on Thursday, 63 were local infections, meaning the sick had no recent travel history.

  • The World Health Organization raised the alarm on Thursday about a growing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It said that 56 cases had been reported in Equator Province, more than during the last outbreak in 2018. Officials said that the coronavirus pandemic had complicated the response to the Ebola outbreak, and warned of an imminent shortage of funds.

  • Movie theaters in China, which have been closed since January, will be allowed to reopen starting Monday, the state media announced. President Xi Jinping said in March that people could stay at home to watch movies online, so even though much of everyday life in China has resumed, officials had not allowed cinemas to reopen for fear of angering Mr. Xi.

U.S. Roundup

In Washington State, which seemed to have beaten back the virus, the fight is on again.

In what seems like almost a lifetime ago, America’s virus story started in January in Washington State, with the nation’s first confirmed case followed by an early outbreak that spread with alarming ferocity.

But swift lockdown measures were credited with holding down illnesses and deaths. By June, nail salons and bars had begun to reopen, even as the virus began to rage in Arizona, Florida and Texas. Washington still had relatively low case numbers, and some counties were even contemplating a return to movie theaters and museums.

Now, those plans are on hold, as the coronavirus is once again ravaging Washington.

Since the middle of June, the state has reported an average of 700 new cases per day — the highest levels since the start of the pandemic. At least 45,000 people in the state have been infected, and at least 1,400 have died.

“If these trends were to continue, we would have to prepare to go back to where we were in March,” Gov. Jay Inslee said recently.

As New York grapples with how to prevent another large outbreak, state officials said Thursday that restrictions would remain in place on indoor businesses in New York City. And they said bars and restaurants statewide would now be permitted to serve alcohol only to seated customers who order food, starting on Friday.

Even at bar tops, alcohol will be served only to seated customers. Purchasing takeout drinks will still be allowed if the drinks are bought with food.

In normal times, snacks like popcorn and pretzels would meet that food requirement, but in the current environment they do not, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in an interview after the announcement. To meet the new requirement, bars and restaurants must serve something more closely resembling a meal, he said.

With cases rising across the country, Mr. Cuomo has stressed the importance of bars and restaurants — and their patrons — complying with social-distancing guidelines. The new rules are meant to reduce crowds outside bars and restaurants.

“We are still seeing issues,” Mr. Cuomo said, “not just in the bars and restaurants, but all across the country.”

The governor, citing what he said was a “significant evidence of failure to comply” with social-distancing regulations, said any bar or restaurant in New York City that received three violations would be shut down. Even without a third violation, violations that are “egregious” can result in the immediate loss of liquor license or closure, officials said.

While Mr. Cuomo said that New York City remained on track to move into Phase 4 of reopening on Monday, indoor activities outlined in that stage would remain on hold. A final decision on whether the city will move into Phase 4 will be announced by Friday afternoon, he said.

Under the state’s guidelines, regions in Phase 4 can normally reopen zoos, historical sites and museums, as well as malls with “enhanced” air-filtration systems. Outside New York City, the rest of the state has already eased those restrictions. Some museums in the city, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had previously announced plans to wait until late August or September to reopen. When asked whether those target dates were likely, Mr. Cuomo said museums “can plan to reopen,” but added that “we’ll see what the facts say” when August comes.

At his daily briefing earlier in the day, New York City’s mayor said that outdoor businesses are expected to still be on track, but that indoor activities were giving him pause.

About 100,000 New York City students will have access to child care come fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, in an attempt to address growing concerns about how the city will accommodate hundreds of thousands of public school students on the days they do not attend school in-person.

The city is planning to partially reopen schools in September, meaning that children will return to classrooms one to three days a week and learn remotely the rest of the week. But the city’s sputtering economy will not be able to recover until well over one million public school parents can return to work full-time.

Mr. de Blasio said libraries, community centers and other spaces will be used to provide tutoring and support for about a tenth of the city’s schoolchildren in September, allowing at least some parents to return to work more regularly. Child care facilities will be available for children through eighth grade, and will use the same social distancing guidelines as schools, meaning there would be about 15 children in a room at any one time.

Here’s how animals are helping us through the pandemic.

Whether it’s a therapy dog providing an escape for children in a hospital or your own — less useful — furry friend at home, here are some ways they are helping.

Reporting was contributed by Rachel Abrams, Julian E. Barnes, Keith Bradsher, Julia Calderone, Troy Closson, Michael Cooper, Michael Corkery, Caitlin Dickerson, Manny Fernandez, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jeffrey Gettleman, Russell Goldman, Michael M. Grynbaum, John Ismay, Mike Ives, Patrick J. Lyons, Sapna Maheshwari, Jeffrey C. Mays, Patricia Mazzei, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Jesse McKinley, Sarah Mervosh, Claire Cain Miller, Jennifer Miller, Raphael Minder, Azi Paybarah, Elian Peltier, Frances Robles, Katie Rogers, Eliza Shapiro, Nelson D. Schwartz, Karan Deep Singh, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Jim Tankersley, Katie Thomas, Lucy Tompkins, Megan Twohey, Will Wright, Katherine J. Wu, Sameer Yasir, Ceylan Yeginsu and Elaine Yu.


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