Live Coronavirus News Updates – The New York Times


KEY DATA OF THE DAY

The number of confirmed cases is growing faster than ever as new hot spots emerge around the world.

The coronavirus pandemic is ebbing in some of the countries that were hit hard early on, but the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 100,000 reported each day.

Twice as many countries have reported a rise in new cases over the past two weeks as have reported declines, according to a New York Times database. On May 30, more new cases were reported in a single day worldwide than ever before: 134,064. The increase has been driven by emerging hot spots in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Over all, there have been more than 6.3 million reported cases worldwide and more than 380,000 known deaths. More than a quarter of all known deaths have been in the United States. But the geography of the pandemic is changing quickly.

The increases in some countries can be attributed to improved testing programs. But in many places, it appears that the virus has only now arrived with a wide scope and fatal force. Here is a look at some of the countries where the number of new cases has been doubling every two to three weeks.

  • The death toll in Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, passed 30,000 on Tuesday, when officials reported 1,262 deaths, which was the nation’s highest one-day total. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly minimized the threat, said, “We are sorry for all the dead, but that’s everyone’s destiny.” Brazil now has more than half a million known cases, second only to the United States.

    But it has no health minister: Two were forced out in less than a month after they balked at expanding the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug promoted by President Trump and subsequently Mr. Bolsonaro that has not been proved effective against the virus. And despite the growing number of cases and hospitals that are close to capacity, businesses have started reopening in major cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Vitória.

  • Peru has more than 170,000 confirmed cases, despite taking the virus seriously early on. The president, Martín Vizcarra, ordered one of the first national lockdowns in South America. Though the official virus death toll stands at around 5,000, Peru had 14,000 more deaths than usual in May, suggesting that a growing number of people are dying at home as hospitals struggle to handle a flood of cases.

    The pandemic provoked an exodus from Lima, the capital, as people unable to work fled by bus, and even by foot, to family farms. It is widely expected that the number of new cases and of deaths will continue to rise in coming weeks as winter nears and the economy slowly reopens.

  • For months, Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, seemed to avoid the worst of the pandemic. In early March, Egypt confirmed 45 cases on a Nile tour boat in the area, among both crew and passengers. But recently the number of cases there has been rising significantly, reaching 27,536 on Tuesday.

    The recent death of a young doctor, who was denied treatment for Covid-19 at an overwhelmed hospital, ignited a revolt by members of the medical staff. They said the government had failed to provide adequate protective equipment and training to front-line workers.

  • With more than 35,000 confirmed infections, the most in Africa, South Africa still has a growing number of new cases, despite enacting a strict lockdown in March that included a ban on the sale of tobacco and alcohol. The prohibition was lifted this month even though the total number of cases continued to rise.

  • Bangladesh now has 55,000 known cases, and its troubles were compounded last month by Cyclone Amphan, a deadly storm that tore through communities under lockdown.

    This week, the country reported its first death from Covid-19 in a refugee camp: A 71-year-old Rohingya man died May 31 while receiving treatment in an isolation center. His death raised fears about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who, after fleeing Myanmar, live in camps with tightly packed tents and shacks.

Workers fearful of catching the virus are faced with being fired if they don’t return to work.

As people across the United States are told to return to work, employees who balk at the health risks say they are being confronted with painful reprisals: Some are losing their jobs if they try to stay home, and thousands more are being reported to the state to have their unemployment benefits cut off.

Even as more states reopen and some businesses slowly start to rehire, 1.9 million people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported today.

The weekly tally continues to decline from the more than six million who submitted applications in a single week in March. Still, it underlines the persistent strain that the pandemic has had on the economy and the long climb back that lies ahead.

Businesses want to bring back customers and profits, but workers now worry about contracting the coronavirus once they return to cramped restaurant kitchens, dental offices or conference rooms where few colleagues are wearing masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines for how to safely resume normal life, and some states have incorporated those recommendations into reopening plans. But heath precautions for returning workers are varied.

In interviews across the country, workers said they were anxious to keep their jobs at a time when the economic devastation of the coronavirus has left more than 40 million in the country out of work. With the job market bleak and many family members unemployed, many people said they felt powerless to refuse an order to return to work or question the safety practices at their jobs.

Labor advocates and unions say the push to recall workers and kick reluctant employees off unemployment benefits carries grave risks in an age of coronavirus, when infections have rampaged through meatpacking plants, call centers, factories and other confined spaces where co-workers spend hours touching the same surfaces and breathing the same air.

Iran freed a U.S. Navy veteran who had contracted the virus in prison.

Iran has freed Michael R. White, a Navy veteran who had been held in that country for nearly two years, his mother announced on Thursday.

Mr. White, a cancer patient who was infected with the coronavirus while in prison, had been temporarily released in late March as part of a furlough to help control the contagion, which is raging through Iran. He had been in the custody of the Switzerland Embassy in Tehran.

His release came a day after an Iranian scientist held in the United States was returned to Iran. The scientist, Sirous Asgari, 59, had also tested positive for the coronavirus while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

American officials had insisted the two cases were not linked. But Iranian officials had suggested that once Mr. Asgari was back in Iran, they would look favorably at permitting Mr. White to go home.

Mr. White had been convicted in 2018 on charges of insulting Iran’s supreme leader and for privacy violations. He had traveled to Iran to meet a woman whom his family said he had met and fallen in love with on the internet.

Mr. Asgari was acquitted in federal court on charges of stealing trade secrets in violation of sanctions while on a sabbatical visit at an American university in Ohio. ICE agents detained him for deportation after his case had been dismissed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said on Thursday that the city could begin a second phase of reopening “as early as the beginning of July,” in which offices, stores and personal-service businesses like barber shops could reopen with restrictions, and restaurants could offer outdoor dining.

The city has yet to start reopening at all, but the mayor has reiterated that the city was on track to begin the first phase on Monday. Under state guidelines, regions in Phase 1 that continue to meet health-related benchmarks can enter Phase 2 after two weeks.

After seven days of crowded, mostly peaceful protests against racism and police brutality in New York City, the governor said that the state’s testing criteria were being expanded to include anyone who had participated in the protests and encouraged people to tested. The city announced universal testing earlier this week.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also said that demonstrators should inform others that they had been to a protest and to behave as if they had been exposed. Statewide, there were an additional 52 virus-related deaths, he said. Nine counties ringing the city are expected to enter Phase 2 next week, he said, and the state is allowing drive-in and drive-through graduations.

As more Americans return to offices and stores after months stuck indoors, new coronavirus clusters continue to emerge. Here’s a look around the rest of the country.

  • In northeastern Mississippi, a recent funeral spread the virus to at least nine people, some of whom were from other states. In Arkansas, at least 35 people at a factory that makes boots became ill. And in Kansas City, Mo., health officials announced a cluster this week of more than 200 employees at a facility that makes paper plates and cups.

  • Most of the largest case groupings remain in nursing homes, prisons and food processing facilities, all places where social distancing is difficult. But as more of the country reopens, and as testing and contact tracing capabilities expand, outbreaks are emerging in new settings.

  • At least 26 workers on a construction site in Augusta, Maine, tested positive, along with at least 24 people at a Walmart distribution center in Colorado and at least 16 at a convenience store in Kansas. In Macon County, N.C., the site of recent outbreaks at a church and an inn, officials last week urged people to maintain social distancing even as restrictions eased.

The head of the C.D.C. is answering questions from lawmakers on the response to the virus.

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is testifying Thursday in front of a House health subcommittee, a rare congressional appearance by a top federal health official. The hearing, which will cover the coronavirus, comes as the C.D.C. is under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers over a halting response to the pandemic.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee’s panel that oversees health spending will likely drill down on a series of significant early mistakes the C.D.C. made dating back to February, including shipping faulty test kits, that contributed to a cascade of problems. The New York Times reported this week that the agency was also hindered by slow and dated technology, failing to provide timely counts of infections and deaths. And it hesitated to recommend new guidelines as it learned more about how silent carriers spread the infection.

Congress has also repeatedly questioned Dr. Redfield in the past year about improving the agency’s surveillance systems. In February, the C.D.C. announced plans to test samples from people with flulike symptoms to determine whether the virus was spreading undetected. But after disagreements over how to proceed, it did not start.

Dr. Redfield and the top federal scientists at the C.D.C. have been largely quiet in recent months, and his appearance in the Democratic-led House is unusual given that Mr. Trump has suggested he is only inclined to cooperate with oversight requests from the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House has strictly limited the congressional and media appearances of federal health officials in charge of the coronavirus response, saying they must focus on confronting the virus.

George Floyd had the virus weeks before his death, an autopsy report shows.

George Floyd had the virus in early April, nearly two months before he died in police custody, according to a full autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner on Wednesday.

Dr. Andrew M. Baker, the county’s top medical examiner, said that the Minnesota Department of Health had swabbed Mr. Floyd’s nose after his death, and that he had tested positive, but that it was likely a lasting positive result from his previous infection.

There is no indication that the virus played any role in his death, and Dr. Baker said Mr. Floyd was likely asymptomatic at the time of his death.

Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who was among two doctors who conducted a private autopsy for Mr. Floyd’s family last week, said county officials did not tell him that Mr. Floyd had tested positive.

“The funeral director wasn’t told, and we weren’t told, and now a lot of people are running around trying to get tested,” Dr. Baden said. “If you do the autopsy and it’s positive for the coronavirus, it’s usual to tell everyone who is going to be in touch with the body. There would have been more care.”

The four police officers who were charged in Mr. Floyd’s death should also get tested, as should some of the witnesses, Dr. Baden said. “I’m not angry,” he said. “But there would have been more care.”

Germans will receive 300 euros, or about $336, per child, pay less tax on daily items and be charged less for electricity, under a €130 billion, or about $146 billion, stimulus plan agreed to by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Ms. Merkel called the package, which was agreed to late Wednesday, a “bold response” to the pandemic downturn.

The plan also includes €5.3 billion for the social security system, €10 billion to help municipalities cover housing and other costs and €1.9 billion for cultural institutions and nonprofits.

The plan requires new borrowing. Ms. Merkel’s government abandoned its adherence to a balanced budget in March, when it passed a €750 billion rescue package that included taking on more than €150 billion of fresh debt.

“We need to get out of this crisis with an oomph,” the finance minister, Olaf Scholz, said. Here are some other developments from around the world.

  • The European Central Bank administered another dose of stimulus to the battered eurozone economy Thursday, saying it would step up its bond purchases by another 600 billion euros, or $675 billion, to a total of 1.35 trillion euros, a way of driving down market interest rates and making credit cheaper. The unemployment rate in the eurozone in April was 7.3 percent, according to data released Wednesday, a number that reflects the government-backed furlough programs designed to curb mass unemployment. But many national financial support programs are set to begin scaling back soon.

  • Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, was suspended Thursday, and lawmakers and workers were told to stay away after a lawmaker said he had tested positive for the virus.

  • Italians, who often have to fight through throngs of tourists just to walk the street, are getting to experience something they had only dreamed of: a tourist-free visit to some of the world’s greatest — and most popular — museums.

  • The government of North Macedonia reimposed a nationwide curfew and a lockdown of its capital city, Skopje, to curb a spike in cases. A new daily record of 120 cases was reported on Thursday. Health Minister Venko Filipce blamed citizens’ “loosening discipline” for a resurgence of infections.

  • The traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs-Élysées in Paris will be replaced by a smaller military ceremony because of the pandemic and will include a tribute to health workers, the French president’s office said on Thursday.

New Yorkers are getting antibody tests. The results mean different things to different people.

More and more people in New York City, the center of the U.S. outbreak, are getting tested for virus antibodies these days. And because there is little clarity on what the test results actually mean, different people interpret them differently.

When Catherine Zito of Manhattan tested positive on May 4, she texted at least 15 friends to share the good news.

“I’ve never been so happy for a positive test in my life,” said Ms. Zito, who didn’t experience symptoms and works in finance. “Usually you want these tests to be negative.”

Some with positive antibody results, like Ms. Zito, feel triumphant they came into contact with the virus and it didn’t cripple them.

Some who test negative see it as validation that their social distancing measures are working, and that they should stay the course.

Judith Kafka, a professor who lives in Brooklyn, saw an upside to testing negative. Her husband had Covid-19, but the family was quick to isolate him. “We were really, really careful after he was sick, so I guess this means we did a good job,” she said.

Scientists agree that having the antibodies means that a patient has been exposed to the virus. But they aren’t sure what that means. Could those with antibodies get Covid-19 again? Could they still pass the virus to someone else?

Marsheen Truesdale, a bus driver in Manhattan, remains wary, even though he tested positive. “I use precautions, but in my head, I have built up anxiety,” he said. “It’s constant questioning, questioning, questioning.”

While the National Basketball Association’s team owners are preparing to vote today on a plan to resume play, Major League Baseball’s efforts to return to the field have stalled as owners and the players’ union battle over the length of a reconstituted season.

The N.B.A. plan calls for bringing back 22 of the league’s 30 teams and stationing them all at Walt Disney World in Florida, where they would each play eight games to decide a 16-team playoff field. Fans would not be present. The proposal, which needs approval from 23 of the owners, is expected to pass and then be presented to the union, whose president, Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been working on the proposal with the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver.

For M.L.B., team owners have proposed an 82-game schedule, just over half of the usual 162 regular-season games. The union, long considered the most tenacious in American professional sports, countered with a 114-game proposal, which the owners reportedly rejected on Wednesday. Now the owners are threatening to schedule only 50 games.

Like most major U.S. sports organizations, the N.B.A. and M.L.B. shut down in mid-March. At the time, they were in very different positions, the N.B.A. deep into its 82-game regular season and just weeks away starting the playoffs, while M.L.B. was in spring training, two weeks from its first official game of the year.

On Wednesday, Major League Soccer players ratified a new labor agreement and agreed to turn this season into a tournament at the site the N.B.A. has also chosen, the Disney World sports complex. The National Hockey League and the National Women’s Soccer League had previously announced plans for abbreviated seasons. All of the plans hinge on approval from public health officials.

Reporting was contributed by Rachel Abrams, Manuela Andreoni, Aurelien Breeden, José María León Cabrera, Brian X. Chen, Michael Cooper, Farnaz Fassihi, Rick Gladstone, David M. Halbfinger, Tiffany Hsu, Anatol Magdziarz, Nelson D. Schwartz, Melissa Eddy, Jack Ewing, Joshua Keller, Jack Healy, Alyson Kreuger, Iliana Magra, Raphael Minder, Andy Newman, Eileen Sullivan, Luis Ferré Sadurní, Dagny Salas, Elisabetta Povoledo, Tyler Kepner, Adam Rasgon, Kaly Soto, Marc Stein, Mitra Taj, Safak Timur and Karen Zraick.



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