The number of confirmed cases is rising in 16 states, partly a consequence of expanded testing.
Police brutality, protests and unrest may have knocked the pandemic from the lead of many U.S. newscasts, but the outbreak is continuing to spread. Even as some Northeast states are seeing improvements, in others, daily case numbers are reaching new highs.
That is partly a consequence of the country’s vastly expanded testing capacity. Earlier in the pandemic, when test kits were scarce, many people who contracted the virus were not tested and not included in official counts. Here is a look around the country.
In California, daily case reports exceeded 3,000 twice in the past week, a threshold the state had not crossed before. In Northern California, six chief health officers said in a statement that they were “encouraged by what we are seeing in some areas and concerned about what we are seeing in others.” As more businesses were allowed to reopen, they said, “each decision we make involves difficult trade-offs.”
Arizona, Wisconsin, Tennessee, at least 12 other states and Puerto Rico are also seeing an upward trend of newly reported cases, and some are reaching new highs.
In Mississippi, the 439 cases announced Saturday were the most yet on a single day. In Alaska, which has so far avoided the worst of the virus, cases have soared to their highest levels in recent days.
With New York City still working toward lifting some virus-related restrictions on June 8 — despite a nightly curfew imposed to curb looting — Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the agency that runs the city’s subways and buses to limit capacity. “It is crucial that every other seat be blocked off so that it’s clear that you never end up sitting next to someone,” he said. The agency had said it would take some steps to encourage and enforce social distancing, including putting floor markings at all subway stations.
President Trump’s high-stakes feud with Democratic officials in North Carolina is disrupting planning for the Republican National Convention. His speech will be moved out of Charlotte, party officials said Tuesday night, after indications that the entire event might be relocated.
In Dallas County, Texas, case numbers have continued to rise, and the 16 deaths announced Tuesday were the most of any day so far. Clay Jenkins, Dallas County’s chief elected official, said there was also no improvement in data on hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions. He called for residents to use caution even though restrictions had eased.
Chicago moved to its third phase of reopening, which eases restrictions on businesses combined with new precautions. Child care centers are reopening, but children are screened for signs of illness, and parents and teachers must wear face coverings. Restaurants will reopen with outdoor dining only. And riders will be encouraged to wear face masks while using public transportation.
Germany will lift its travel ban on 29 European countries, including Britain and Iceland, on June 15 and replace it with travel advisories, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
The ban was imposed on March 17, when infections were rising exponentially in Europe.
Still, Mr. Maas urged caution. “We must not lull ourselves into a false sense of security,” he said in a statement. “Together we must prevent the resumption of tourism from leading to a second wave of the coronavirus infections, here or elsewhere.”
The loosening of the ban covers the 26 other European Union members, other states that are part of the Schengen free-travel agreement, and Britain.
The decision to allow tourists to travel abroad, taken by Ms. Merkel’s cabinet Wednesday morning in Berlin, is based on relatively low infection rates in Europe. According to the new rules, if regional infections should mount, bans to specific countries could be reinstated.
Germany was initially hard hit by the virus, but its percentage of fatal cases has been remarkably low, leaving other countries to look to its actions as an example.
The foreign minister said that while he was removing the blanket travel ban, his ministry would not hesitate to issue warnings for individual countries if the virus threat merited it.
Here’s what else is happening around the world:
Italy lifted travel restrictions on Wednesday, allowing Italians and foreign travelers to cross its regional and national borders. Tourism accounts for 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, accounting annually for 3 billion euros, or about $3.3 billion, about 2 billion euros of which is expected to have been lost by the end of summer.
Sweden’s restrictions should have been tighter, the architect of its no-lockdown policy, Anders Tegnell, said on Wednesday. Mr. Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, told Radio Sweden: “If we encountered the same disease, knowing what we know today, I think we would end up doing something in the middle between what Sweden did, and what the rest of the world did.” Sweden currently has 38,589 confirmed cases and 4,468 deaths.
Joblessness in Europe ticked up slightly in April, as government-backed furlough programs designed to limit mass unemployment cushioned the blow of a devastating economic downturn. The eurozone unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.1 percent in March, although it was down from 7.6 percent a year ago.
The Trump administration plans to block Chinese airlines from flying to the United States.
The Trump administration on Wednesday said that it planned to block Chinese airlines from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16, after the Chinese government effectively prevented U.S. airlines from resuming service between the countries.
The dispute stems from a March 26 decision by China’s aviation regulators that limited foreign carriers to one flight per week based on the flight schedules they had in place earlier that month. But all three U.S. airlines that fly between China and the United States had stopped all service to the country by then because of the pandemic. As a result, the Chinese government had effectively banned them from flying between the two countries. Chinese airlines, by contrast, have been flying to American cities.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines had hoped to resume flights to China this month. Both companies appealed to the Civil Aviation Authority of China but did not receive a response. The U.S. Transportation Department also pressed Chinese officials to allow flights by American companies during a call on May 14, arguing that China was violating a 1980 agreement that governs flights between the countries and aims to ensure that rules “equally apply to all domestic and foreign carriers” in both countries.
Tensions between the United States and China have escalated to heights not seen in the trade war as the countries scuffle over the origin of the pandemic and China’s recent move to tighten its authority over Hong Kong. With the presidential election just five months away, President Trump and his campaign team have taken a much tougher stand against the country, blaming China for allowing the virus to spread so widely and wreck the American economy.
The C.D.C., long considered the world’s premier health agency, also made early testing mistakes, which contributed to a cascade of problems that persist today as the country tries to reopen, according to a New York Times review of thousands of emails and interviews with more than 100 state and federal officials, public health experts, C.D.C. employees and medical workers.
The agency failed to provide timely counts of infections and deaths, hindered by a fractured reporting system and aging technology. And it hesitated to absorb the lessons of other countries, including the danger of silent carriers spreading the infection. It also struggled to adjust its cautious, bureaucratic tendencies to accommodate the need to move fast as the coronavirus ravaged the country.
Given its record and resources, the C.D.C. might have become the undisputed leader in the global fight against the virus. Instead, it made missteps that undermined America’s response, report, Eric Lipton, Abby Goodnough, Michael D. Shear, Megan Twohey, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sheri Fink and Mark Walker.
“The C.D.C. is no longer the reliable go-to place,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
The C.D.C.’s most consequential failure was its inability, early on, to provide state laboratories around the country with an effective diagnostic test.
And as the number of suspected cases — and deaths — mounted, the C.D.C. struggled to record them accurately. It rushed to hire extra workers to process emails from hospitals. Still, many officials turned to Johns Hopkins University, which became the primary source for up-to-date counts. Even the White House cited its numbers instead of the C.D.C.’s.
Some staff members were mortified when a Seattle teenager managed to compile virus data faster than the agency, creating a website that attracted millions of daily visitors. “If a high schooler can do it, someone at C.D.C. should be able to do it,” said one longtime employee.
Along with the immediate pain that can cause watering eyes and burning throats, tear gas may cause damage to people’s lungs and make them more susceptible to getting a respiratory illness, according to studies on the risks of exposure. The gas can also incite coughing, which can further spread the virus from an infected person.
Sven-Eric Jordt, a researcher at Duke University who has studied the effects of tear gas agents, said he had been shocked to watch how much the authorities had turned to the control method in recent days.
“I’m really concerned that this might catalyze a new wave of Covid-19,” Mr. Jordt said.
The protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have already raised alarm among health experts who have watched as protesters gathered by the thousands in cities around the country. While some demonstrators have worn masks and gloves, the crowds have often involved shouting and chanting in close quarters — a risky activity for a virus spread by respiratory droplets. Epidemiologists have said the protests would almost certainly lead to more cases.
Because of delays between exposure and the start of symptoms, the impact of protests on the virus likely won’t be known for several weeks.
Black and Asian people in London were more likely to be fined under England’s coronavirus lockdown rules than white people, according to figures released on Wednesday by the city’s police service.
Black Londoners make up 12 percent of the city’s population but received 26 percent of the 973 lockdown-related fines from late March to mid-May. Asian people, who are 18 percent of the city’s population, were given 23 percent of the fines. White people make up 59 percent of London’s population but received 46 percent of the penalties.
The figures were released amid marches in London over the death of George Floyd, who died after being handcuffed and pinned down by a police officer in Minneapolis, and racism in Britain. They mirror differences by race in enforcement of the lockdown rules in New York.
The Metropolitan Police, London’s main police force, acknowledged that there were “some differences in the use of Covid-19 related enforcement” with regard to to gender, age and race.
It said that enforcement of the lockdown tended to be heaviest in places that were already “priority areas for policing, such as high-violence areas,” and that officers had stepped up proactive policing of drugs, robbery and domestic abuse.
Black people in England and Wales are more likely to die from the virus than white people, even accounting for differences in class and in some underlying health measures, according to official figures.
The police in London also arrested 747 people on charges of breaching lockdown regulations, but 711 of those arrests were primarily for a separate criminal offense, like drug possession, theft or assault. Officers made only 36 arrests exclusively for breaking the lockdown rules, the police said.
What will your next international flight look like?
International travel has always been a proxy for trust among nations and people, but the pandemic has poisoned the air. Now, relationships are being rebuilt under enormous economic pressure, with a wary eye on a pathogen that is not going away anytime soon.
The calculations of risk and reward vary. Some countries are seeking ways to reopen to traditionally important sources of trade and tourism even if they are still struggling with the virus, like the United States. Others are scanning the globe for safer, if less lucrative, partners.
The challenge involves both epidemiology and psychology — enough restrictions to make travelers feel safe, but not so many that no one wants to bother.
In interviews, airport executives, tourism officials and travel analysts, investors, doctors and government officials predicted masks, fever checks, contact-tracing apps and even coronavirus throat swabs. Fewer flights will mean more connections and longer journeys. But discounts and smaller crowds will soften the blow.
With every phase of reopening, officials said, more movement means more risk and more work, for governments but also travelers.
“It’s just not going to be as free-flowing and spontaneous as it once was,” said Margy Osmond, the chief executive of Australia’s largest tourism association and co-chair of the group working on travel between that country and New Zealand. “I don’t know that it will be more expensive — the jury is still out on that — but it will mean the average traveler has to take more responsibility.”
The Arolsen Archives, the world’s largest devoted to the victims of Nazi persecution, have gotten a hand from people who are stranded at home because of the pandemic.
The archive’s “Every Name Counts” project has attracted thousands of online volunteers to help index names from an enormous collection of papers. To date, they have added over 120,000 names, birth dates and prisoner numbers in the database.
The archive has more than 30 million original documents, containing information on the wartime experiences of as many as 40 million people, including Jews executed in extermination camps and forced laborers conscripted from across Nazi-occupied Europe.
It began scanning and digitizing its collection in the late 1980s. In the last year, 26 million scanned documents have been posted online. Most, however, are still not indexed by name, making it hard to find references to a specific person.
“We’ve had 20 or 30 staffers indexing documents day in and day out for 20 years, but we have 30 million documents,” said the archive’s director, Floriane Ms. Azoulay. “It’s just not feasible to do it all ourselves.”
The archive had been working with Zooniverse, a crowdsourcing platform for academic research. With the pandemic, it decided to scale up that work.
On April 24, the archive posted tens of thousands of documents from the Buchenwald, Dachau and Sachsenhausen concentration camps to the platform. Soon, volunteers from around the world were poring over the records.
Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns. Read all their dispatches.
In De Wallen, the main red-light district of Amsterdam, a locksmith is open, as are a few bars and the shops selling sex toys, whips, handcuffs and the odd latex dress.
As much of the economy in the Netherlands has begun reopening, this area, typically packed with tourists, has remained largely empty because the trade at its heart remains shut down. Brothels and their sex workers have been told to wait until September to start doing business again, about two months after gyms and saunas are scheduled to resume operations.
For many sex workers, the continuing shutdown has meant poverty — or a surreptitious, and hazardous, return to their trade.
Charlotte DeVries, the professional name of an escort working in Amsterdam, said she knew seven sex workers who had decided to work in secret, just to pay their rent, even though they knew they could be especially vulnerable to abusive clients.
Before the coronavirus crisis, if a client became violent, “you would go to the police,” Ms. DeVries said. “But now you can’t do that, because what you’re doing is illegal.”
Though prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, many sex workers prefer not to declare their profession to the government because the trade still carries a social stigma and because some of them are not fully licensed. As a result, many did not qualify for emergency unemployment funds.
In a survey of 108 sex workers in the Netherlands conducted online by SekswerkExpertise, a research group in Amsterdam, 56 percent of the respondents said they had applied for coronavirus support. Of those applicants, only 13 percent said they had received help.
Staring down the barrel of a long, hot summer — with vacations on hold and many camps, playgrounds and public pools closed — homeowners are hunting for ways to stay cool, active and sane.
So pools are having a moment in the sun, if you will.
High-end in-ground varieties remain in demand among homeowners with deep pockets and the luxury to wait months for permits and construction. But aboveground versions are the hottest items at many pool stores, both because of their relative affordability and ease of installation.
“Sales are up exponentially,” said Steven Metz, president of Central Jersey Pools in Freehold. “Triple what it was last year.”
And it’s not just Americans.
“It’s really been 48 states and Europe,” said Doug Hollowell, the owner of one of the nation’s largest aboveground pool manufacturers, Doughboy Pools in Arkansas. “We’ve seen pool packages shipped to places we never thought they’d go.”
Prices for metal-frame pools, including installation, can range from about $3,500 to $15,000, Mr. Metz said, depending on size and sophistication. (Some can be sunken partially into the ground with built-in steps, for example, much like in-ground pools.)
Reporting was contributed by Liz Alderman, Mike Baker, Andrew Curry, Melissa Eddy, Thomas Erdbrink, Sheri Fink, Eric Lipton, Abby Goodnough, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sarah Mervosh, Benjamin Mueller, Christopher F. Schuetze, Michael D. Shear, Kaly Soto, Megan Twohey, Tracey Tully, Mark Walker, Noah Weiland and Karen Zraick.