Live Coronavirus Updates: Nations Scramble to Fend Off Outbreaks

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Credit…Callaghan O’Hare/Reuters

The U.S. just recorded its third-highest total of new cases, as hospitalizations rise in some states.

More than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the United States on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database, the highest single-day total since late April and the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.

As the United States continues to reopen its economy, case numbers are rising in more than 20 states, mostly in the South and West. Texas reported more than 5,000 cases on Tuesday, its largest single-day total yet. Arizona added more than 3,600 cases, also a record. And in Washington State, where case numbers are again trending upward, the governor said residents would have to start wearing masks in public.

“This is about saving lives,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. “It’s about reopening our businesses. And it’s about showing respect and care for one another.”

The elevated case numbers are a result of worsening conditions across much of the country as well as increased testing, but testing alone does not explain the surge. The percentage of people in Florida testing positive has risen sharply. Increases in hospitalizations also signal the virus’s spread. Arizona reported its highest number of virus hospitalizations on Monday. In Texas, more than 4,000 people with the virus are hospitalized, more than double the number at the beginning of June.

“I strongly feel we are moving in the wrong direction and we are moving fast,” Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston said.

But in Missouri, where new case reports have reached their highest levels in recent days, coronavirus hospitalizations have declined slightly over the last month.

“We are NOT overwhelmed,” Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said on Twitter, linking the uptick to more testing. “We are NOT currently experiencing a second wave. We have NO intentions of closing Missouri back down at this point in time.”

The global economy will shrink 4.9 percent this year, the I.M.F. predicts in a more dismal forecast.

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The International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday that the global economy faces an even deeper downturn than it previously projected as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sow uncertainty and businesses around the world struggle to shake off the virus.

The forecast underscores the scale of the task that policymakers are facing as they try to dig out from what the I.M.F. has described as the most severe economic contraction since the Great Depression. Even as countries begin reopening their economies, it is increasingly evident that the recovery will be uneven and protracted, particularly until the virus dissipates or a vaccine becomes available.

In an update to its World Economic Outlook, the I.M.F. said it expected the global economy to shrink 4.9 percent this year — a sharper contraction than the 3 percent it predicted in April. The fund noted that, even as businesses began to reopen, voluntary social distancing and enhanced workplace safety standards were weighing on economic activity. Moreover, the “scarring” of the labor force from mass job cuts and business closures means that the world economy will recover much more slowly, with the I.M.F. projecting 5.4 percent global growth in 2021, far below its pre-pandemic projections.

The I.M.F. now projects that the U.S. economy will shrink 8 percent this year before expanding 4.5 percent next year. Economies in the eurozone are projected to shrink 10.2 percent this year and expand 6 percent next year. The economy of China, where the virus originated and which imposed draconian containment measures, is expected to expand 1 percent this year and 8.2 percent in 2021.

How the world is learning to live with a virus that’s here to stay.

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Credit…Roman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

China is testing restaurant workers and delivery drivers block by block. South Korea tells people to carry two types of masks for differing risky social situations. Germany requires communities to crack down when the number of infections hits certain thresholds.

Around the world, governments that appeared to have tamed the coronavirus are adjusting to the reality that the disease is here to stay. But in a shift away from nationwide lockdowns that damage the economy, they are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before they become third or fourth waves.

While the details differ, the strategies call for flexibility or for tightening or easing regulations as needed. They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by the authorities, tight border management and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact.

The strategies often force central governments and local officials to share data and to work closely together, overcoming incompatible computer systems, turf battles and other longstanding bureaucratic rivalries. Already, in Britain, some local officials say their efforts are not coordinated enough.

The shifting strategies are an acknowledgment that even the most successful countries cannot declare victory until a vaccine is found. They also show the challenge facing countries like the United States, Brazil and India, where the authorities never fully contained initial outbreaks and from where the coronavirus will continue to threaten to spread.

“It’s always going to be with us,” said Dr. Simon James Thornley, an epidemiologist from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “I don’t think we can eliminate the virus long term. We are going to need to learn to live with the virus.”

Even in places where the coronavirus appeared to be under control, big outbreaks remain a major risk. In Tokyo, there have been 253 new infections in the past week, 83 from a nightlife district. In Gütersloh, in western Germany, more than 1,500 workers from a meat processing plant tested positive, prompting the authorities to shut down the district. South Korea has announced dozens of new infections in recent days.

Biden has a big lead as voters reject Trump’s response to the virus, a Times poll finds.

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Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term.

Nearly three-fifths of voters disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including majorities of white voters and men. Self-described moderate voters disapproved of Mr. Trump on the coronavirus by a margin of more than two to one.

Most of the country is also rejecting Mr. Trump’s call to reopen the economy as quickly as possible, even at the cost of exposing people to greater health risks. By a 21-point margin, voters said the federal government should prioritize containing the coronavirus, even if it hurts the economy, a view that aligns them with Mr. Biden.

Just a third of voters said the government should focus on restarting the economy even if that entails greater public-health risks.

The poll is the first national survey of the 2020 cycle by The New York Times and Siena College. Here are more results and the methodology for the poll.

Global roundup

Pummeled by the virus, Russia holds a mostly mask-free victory parade.

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Tens of thousands turned out for the annual celebration of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany, which had been delayed because of the pandemic, but few took precautions.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Alexander Vilf

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday celebrated his country’s victory 75 years ago against Nazi Germany, presiding over an enormous military parade through Red Square in Moscow that featured thousands of soldiers marching shoulder-to-shoulder without face masks.

The parade, the largest of several celebrations taking place nationwide, was originally scheduled for May 9, an annual holiday known as Victory Day, but was delayed for six weeks by the pandemic. The outbreak continues to grow in Russia — the world’s third-worst-affected country, with more than 600,000 cases — but at a slightly slower pace than before.

Aging veterans in their 80s and 90s joined Mr. Putin on the reviewing stand, nearly all of them without masks, to watch 14,000 troops march by.

Kremlin critics have accused Mr. Putin of gambling with public health to put himself at the center of a gigantic display of Russia’s military might and to rally support ahead of a nationwide vote on his future. Voting on constitutional amendments that would allow Mr. Putin to stay in power until 2036 starts on Thursday.

In other news from around the world:

  • Saudi Arabia effectively canceled the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, for what some scholars say may be the first time in history. The decision sent shock waves of sadness and disappointment across the Muslim world.

  • European Union countries are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the virus, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers reviewed by The New York Times. Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world had already been excluded from visiting the European Union since mid-March, but a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens on July 1.

  • The virus is gaining steam in Latin America, where the number of deaths have more than doubled in a month, according to the Pan American Health Organization. The region now accounts for several of the world’s worst outbreaks.

  • Taiwan said on Wednesday that it would relax its entry rules for travelers from Hong Kong and Macau for “humanitarian” reasons, after closing its borders in March. Arrivals from the Chinese-controlled territories would have to provide proof that they had tested negative for Covid-19 at least three days before boarding their flights and enter home quarantine for 14 days after entry, according to a statement from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.

  • India is under pressure to open its airspace to international airlines after the United States and some European nations accused the Asian nation of discriminatory practices under the guise of “repatriations.” The U.S. Department of Transportation accused Air India of selling tickets in the open market, even while New Delhi officials keep American carriers from flying to India.

  • The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said on Wednesday that he was considering relocating City Hall next year to save money amid the financial emergency prompted by the pandemic. A move to East London from the center of the British capital would save about 55 million pounds, or around $68 million, over five years, Mr. Khan said.

  • Citing the pandemic, the Walt Disney Company has decided to close Disney English, a 12-year-old chain of 25 language schools in China, ending a once-promising business that, at times, prompted questions about education as brand building.

The New York City Marathon, the world’s largest, has been canceled this year.

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Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

The New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon and one of the city’s biggest annual spectacles, has been canceled this year as the virus prevents the holding of large-scale events.

The race would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this year in November. It regularly attracts more than 50,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers and roughly one million fans, who line the 26.2-mile course through the five boroughs.

City officials and the New York Road Runners, which owns and organizes the event, decided holding the race would be too risky. Public health experts have said mass events, especially those that bring people together from across the globe, will remain a danger until a treatment or a vaccine for Covid-19 is widely available.

Following widespread health guidelines like avoiding crowds and social distancing while holding a major race is simply impossible, leaving the endurance sports business economically devastated this year.

Michael Capiraso, the chief executive of New York Road Runners, said he and other organizers had held out hope that the race could happen. They decided to cancel before having to spend more money to organize it.

“There was hope but that turned to uncertainty, and given what we have seen the past months this was really the only decision,” Mr. Capiraso said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City will close 23 more miles of streets to car traffic, in an attempt to give pedestrians and cyclists more outdoor space while social distancing rules remain in place. The closed streets will also provide seating space for restaurants, which are currently restricted to outdoor dining.

The city’s beaches will be open for swimming and recreation on July 1, the mayor said. Social distancing will still be required.

In impoverished nations, many critically ill patients cannot get oxygen treatments.

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As the pandemic hits more impoverished countries with fragile health care systems, global health authorities are scrambling for supplies to deliver a simple treatment that saves lives: oxygen.

Many patients severely ill with Covid-19 require help with breathing at some point. But now the virus is spreading rapidly in South Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa, where many hospitals are poorly equipped. They lack the ventilators, tanks and other equipment necessary to save patients whose lungs are failing.

The World Health Organization hopes to raise $250 million to increase supplies of oxygen in those regions.

In 2017, the W.H.O., UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began searching for ways to increase oxygen delivery in poor and middle-income countries — not in anticipation of a pandemic but to treat children with pneumonia.

The organizations began ordering equipment in January, but suppliers were soon swamped by the sudden surge in demand created by the pandemic.

Although the machinery needed to generate oxygen is relatively simple, it must be sturdy enough to withstand the dust, humidity and other hazards common in rural hospitals in poor countries.

In May, the Alliance for International Medical Action treated 123 Covid-19 patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Dr. Baweye Mayoum Barka, the charity’s representative in Kinshasa. Fifty-six of them needed oxygen, but not enough equipment was available.

“So, unfortunately, there were 26 deaths, 70 percent of them in less than 24 hours,” Dr. Barka said.

Without baseball, mountains of peanuts are sitting in cold storage.

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Credit…Jessica Rinali/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

More than two million pounds of in-shell peanuts are consumed during a typical baseball season. Now, vast quantities are languishing in cold storage, waiting — like the fans — for an opening day at the stadium that is unlikely to come.

Major League Baseball appears on track to begin a 60-game season in July, but there will be no one in the stands to shell out $4 or $5 for a bag of peanuts.

The pandemic shut down the season before it even started. Teams postponed or canceled orders. Farmers, who had harvested peanuts for the 2020 season in October, had already shipped them to the roasters and been paid.

Now, the race is on to figure out what to do with all those peanuts — and not just any peanuts. Only a certain type bred for the proper size and look makes the cut for the ballpark trade: the Virginia.

There’s always peanut butter, but it doesn’t make sense to dump Virginias into the grinder. Because they cost more to produce, they need to sell at a premium for the economics to work.

Our critic celebrates the return of New York’s restaurants.

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Credit…Emon Hassan for The New York Times

After Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that restaurants in New York City could start serving outdoors this week, our critic Pete Wells was ready:

On Monday, I had lunch at Veselka in the East Village. Normally I wouldn’t bother you with this fact. I’ve done the same thing at least a hundred times before. But this lunch, I’m pretty sure, I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was the first restaurant food I’ve had since March that didn’t come out of a paper bag.

Answering your questions about the virus.

With cases on the rise in the United States and around the world, here’s what to do if you feel sick and are worried it may be the coronavirus.

Reporting was contributed by Azam Ahmed, Brooks Barnes, Emma Bubola, Alexander Burns, Matthew Futterman, Michael Gold, Jack Healy, Andrew Higgins, Ben Hubbard, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Ernesto Londoño, Iliana Magra, Jonathan Martin, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Jesse McKinley, Alan Rappeport, Donald McNeil Jr., Benjamin Mueller, Daniel Politi, Austin Ramzy, Dana Rubinstein, Kim Severson, Mitch Smith, Matt Stevens, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Declan Walsh, Sui-Lee Wee, Noah Weiland, Pete Wells and Sameer Yasir.

Source: nytimes.com

Tags: health

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