Live Coronavirus Updates – The New York Times


In Europe, the virus has taken some of the last witnesses of its grim history.

For years, Gildo Negri visited schools to share his stories about blowing up bridges and cutting electrical wires to sabotage Nazis and fascists during World War II. In January, the 89-year-old made another visit, leaving his nursing home outside Milan to help students plant trees in honor of Italians deported to concentration camps.

But at the end of February, as Europe’s first outbreak of the coronavirus spread through Mr. Negri’s nursing home, it fatally infected him, too.

The virus, which is so lethal to the old, has hastened the departure of these last witnesses and forced the cancellation of anniversary commemorations that offered a last chance to tell their stories to large audiences. It has also created an opportunity for rising political forces who seek to recast the history of the last century in order to play a greater role in remaking the present one.

Throughout Europe, radical right-wing parties with histories of Holocaust denial, Mussolini infatuation and fascist motifs, have gained traction in recent years, moving from the fringes and into parliaments and even governing coalitions.

The Alternative for Germany is looking to capitalize on the economic frustration the coronavirus crisis has triggered. In France, the hard-right National Rally had the country’s strongest showing in the last European Parliament elections. And in Italy, the birthplace of fascism, the descendants of post-fascist parties have grown popular as the stigma around Mussolini and strongman politics has faded.

KEY DATA OF THE DAY

The U.S. is still confirming more than 20,000 new cases a day, with counts rising in the South and West.

The United States reported 21,614 new infections on Thursday, and while that number is below its April peak, the daily average has been rising slightly in recent days as the continued improvement in Northeast is offset by new outbreaks in the South and parts of the West.

The uptick appears to represent a combination of increased testing, the coronavirus taking hold in more regions and outbreaks in localized hot spots. It comes during a convergence of two developments that health officials are watching warily: states and cities pressing ahead with plans to allow more businesses to reopen, and masses of people gathering around the country in large-scale protests against police brutality and racism.

More states have seen an increase in new virus cases over the past two weeks than have seen a decline, according to a New York Times database: 18 have seen a rise in new cases over that period, 17 have seen the count of new cases stay largely the same, and 15 have seen decreases.

Speaking to the employees of a production facility that manufactures swabs for Covid-19 test, President Trump continued a war of words with the state’s Democratic governor, Janet Mills.

“You have a governor that won’t let you open up,” Mr. Trump said Friday during a speech at Puritan Medical Products. “I might as well say it while I’m up here: You better get the state open, Governor.”

Ms. Mills had told the president earlier in the week that his planned trip to the medical swab factory north of Bangor “may cause security problems.” Mr. Trump responded by dismissing her caution and saying he was even more determined to go.

During his speech, Mr. Trump suggested Maine was missing out on crucial tourism dollars

“This is your time, this is your big month, this is your Christmas,” Mr. Trump said. “How can you be closed?”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had applied similar pressure to all of the nation’s governors in a speech in the Rose Garden, telling Americans to “do social distancing, and you wear masks if you want.” He equated the pandemic to a “hurricane” that “goes away, and within two hours, everyone is rebuilding and fixing and cleaning and cutting their grass.”

The president was not subtle in his desire to move on from lingering questions about the pandemic. “Even you,” Mr. Trump said to reporters assembled there, “I notice you’re starting to get much closer together, looks much better, not all the way there yet but you’ll be there soon.” The White House Correspondents’ Association said later that White House officials violated federal social distancing guidelines by moving chairs in the Rose Garden closer together before the event.

“The health of the press corps should not be put in jeopardy because the White House wants reporters to be a prop for a ‘news conference’ where the president refused to answer any questions,” said Jonathan Karl of ABC News, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

China has warned its citizens against traveling to Australia because of what it describes as rampant racial discrimination and violence in the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The move was mostly symbolic, given that most foreign nationals are barred from traveling to Australia and that tourism has plummeted across the world because of the pandemic. It follows a series of economic punishments by China against Australia, after Australian officials led a call for an independent investigation into the spread of the coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

While the early response of the French government could be faulted for some sluggishness and a shortage of masks, and more than 29,000 people died, the country has fared better than many in the pandemic, especially when compared with the United States, Italy, Spain and especially Britain.

On Friday the head of the government’s scientific council, the immunologist Jean-François Delfraissy, declared France’s epidemic “under control” in an interview on French radio. Many experts credit the government’s tightly enforced lockdown, mobilization of technology like high-speed trains to save patients, and closely followed counsel from scientists.

Just don’t tell that to the French, who resent President Emmanuel Macron more than ever.

As they celebrated their provisional release from lockdown this week with the much-anticipated partial reopening of cafes and restaurants, the coronavirus has only reinforced the paradox of the president’s uneasy relationship with his own citizens.

On average, over half of Europe’s citizens outside of France — even in countries with far worse records — view their government’s virus response favorably. In France, 66 percent have an unfavorable view, according to a recent Figaro poll.

In some ways, Mr. Macron is his own worst enemy, with a style that can come off as imperious. His speeches during the crisis were lengthy and literary, both trademarks. He reproached the French for lacking “a sense of responsibilities,” then later praised them for their discipline.

Asked recently on French television about his unpopularity, Mr. Macron stiffened and looked impatient.

“Look, I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself,” he said. “I’m looking ahead.’’

In New York City, concerns are growing that mainly peaceful protests are exposing many people to the possibility of infection, as many police officers and protesters, who are often in close quarters, were not wearing face coverings. Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized on Friday that officers are supposed to be wearing face coverings.

“It has not been happening consistently,” Mr. de Blasio said on WNYC radio, adding that he was frustrated and had asked his police commissioner “multiple times” to address the laxness. “It has to be fixed.”

The mayor reiterated that the city was set to start reopening on Monday, with nonessential retailers open for curbside pickup, construction at more than 30,000 sites allowed to restart, and manufacturing resuming. Here are some other important developments around the country.

  • In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order late Friday afternoon allowing “necessary” in-person special education instruction to resume but it was not immediately clear how individual school districts would choose to implement such an order. The order also did not include specifics on where this in-person instruction would take place or what safety protocols would be implemented to protect students, teachers and parents.

  • In California, several new economic sectors will be allowed to reopen beginning June 12 including restaurants, gyms, museums and day camps. The state’s public health department released detailed guidance for reopening emphasizing maintaining social distancing, face coverings and limiting patrons. Music, film and television production and professional sports without live audiences would also be allowed to resume pending safety protocols agreed upon by labor unions, management and county health officials.

  • Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota signed an executive order Friday easing restrictions on bars and restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and salons beginning Wednesday. As a condition for reopening, businesses must maintain social distancing between patrons and limit occupancy. Workers and customers will also be required to wear masks whenever possible.

  • Coronavirus cases at two correctional facilities and an ICE detention center in Otero County, New Mexico swelled to 583, according to the state’s department of health. Otero County has become a growing hot spot in recent days, according to a New York Times database, and cases in the state have continued to rise amid efforts to reopen.

  • In Michigan hair and nail salons will be allowed to reopen in June 15, under an executive order issued Friday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

  • In Louisiana, where Tropical Storm Cristobal is expected to make landfall on Sunday, the governor has declared a state of emergency and warned that the pandemic will complicate efforts for people seeking shelter. Along with the typical preparations residents would make ahead of a major storm, he has urged them to also prepare a supply of face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

“Turning our back on the W.H.O. makes us and the world less safe,” Dr. Friedan said.

Experts argued that global cooperation would be crucial to containing the virus, as it did six years ago during the Ebola outbreak that was raging through West Africa.

At the time, President Barack Obama sent 3,000 American troops to the region to help with the response on the ground. And Samantha Power, former ambassador to the U.N., convened the U.N. Security Council for its first ever meeting over a public health crisis and helped pass a resolution declaring the outbreak a “threat to international peace and security” — a step that led to an infusion of funds and resources for the response effort.

“Like so many 21st-century challenges, Ebola was not a zero-sum fight in which some countries could ‘win’ by pursuing their interests in a vacuum,” Ms. Power wrote in her book “The Education of an Idealist.”

The Times’s Alisha Haridasani Gupta spoke to Ms. Power about what the W.H.O. would look like without the United States.

So far this year, more than 2.5 million unemployment claims have been filed in the state. About 500,000 people in the state receive their benefits on a KeyBank card.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has struggled to balance a pandemic response with the economic needs of a country in which over half of the population lives hand-to-mouth.

Early on, he played down the severity of the virus’s threat, allowing soccer tournaments, concerts and preparations for the busy spring tourist season to continue.

But the relaxation of restrictions comes at a moment when the disease appears to be peaking. On Wednesday, Mexico reported 1,092 deaths, its highest daily toll to date, though the López Obrador administration said the increase was caused by an administrative delay in reporting deaths. By Friday morning, the total number of dead in the country was 12,545. More developments from around the world:

  • Britain became the second nation to suffer more than 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Friday, according to British public health authorities. The country has confirmed at least 283,300 cases of coronavirus and is surpassed only by the United States in both cases and deaths.

  • The head of France’s government’s scientific council declared France’s epidemic “under control.” Many experts credit the government’s tightly enforced lockdown, mobilization of technology like high-speed trains to save patients, and closely followed counsel from scientists.

  • South Korea reported 39 new cases in and around Seoul, where a recent wave of infections had been traced to nightclubs and an e-commerce warehouse.

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia warned people against attending protests this weekend organized in sympathy with American protests against racism and police brutality, saying that a large gathering could sabotage the country’s efforts to control the outbreak. “Let’s find a better way, and another way, to express these sentiments rather than putting your health at risk, the health of others at risk,” he said.

  • In Indonesia, mosques opened for midday prayer in the capital, Jakarta, for the first time in more than two months, with social-distancing protocols, temperature checks, face masks and plenty of hand sanitizer.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey revoked a much-debated weekend lockdown, citing “social and economic consequences.” The country’s Interior Ministry had said residents would be confined to their homes during the weekend, but Mr. Erdogan said complaints from citizens had made him re-evaluate.

Roulette wheels spun. One-armed bandits coughed out payouts. Customers erupted in cheers at hot blackjack tables. But at Las Vegas’s famed casinos, which reopened for business on Thursday after a 78-day shutdown, it was anything but business as usual.

Showgirls in the gambling capital of the world strutted their stuff wearing face masks. Hotel guests had their temperatures taken at check-in. Plexiglass partitions separated dealers from players, and dice were doused in sanitizer between throws.

A huge neon sign on the Aria Resort and Casino summed up Sin City’s new ethos: “Think dirty thoughts but keep your hands clean.”

Under new social distancing guidelines, casinos across Nevada have cut their capacity in half. State regulators are not requiring guests to wear masks but some of the larger casino operators, including MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, have mandated them in certain circumstances.

“We are seeing enthusiastic and excited guests who appreciate all the visible changes that were made to the property to keep them safe,” said Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM. “We’ve kept our occupancy low for opening weekend so that we can do this slowly and safely. But what is clear is that the demand is there.”

Companies are trying to renegotiate their office and retail leases — and in some cases refusing to pay.

Faced with plunging sales that have already led to tens of millions of layoffs, companies are trying to renegotiate their office and retail leases — and in some cases refusing to pay — in hopes of lowering their overhead and surviving the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression during the coronavirus pandemic. This has given rise to fierce negotiations with building owners, who are trying to hold the line on rents for fear that rising vacancies and falling revenue could threaten their own survival.

Simon Property Group, the biggest mall operator in the United States, this week sued Gap, the owner of retail chains that include Old Navy and Banana Republic, for nearly $66 million in unpaid rent for April, May and June, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware this week.

In many cases, the strongest tenants — those most able to pay — are driving the hardest for a discount. They include brand-name companies like LVMH, the luxury goods conglomerate that owns Sephora and other outlets; and Starbucks, which had $2.6 billion of cash on hand at the end of March and would have little problem selling stock or bonds to raise more money.

Beyond the immediate impact of business closings on tenants’ revenue are larger questions, including the already-dire trends for malls and shopping centers, how office and consumer behavior might change after the pandemic, and the effects of recent looting and vandalism on retail corridors. Will companies need more space so that employees can spread out, or will they need less because they need fewer offices at all?

The job market unexpectedly reversed its pandemic-induced free fall in May as employers added 2.5 million jobs. But tens of millions of people remain out of work, and the unemployment rate, which fell to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent in April, remains higher than in any previous postwar recession.

The improvement came as government relief checks helped consumers and companies, and President Trump took a victory lap on Twitter and declared during an event at the White House that the jobs report signaled “the greatest comeback in American history.” He signed a bill to give small businesses more time to use loans from the Paycheck Protection Program to help them stay afloat during the pandemic.

But the trillions of dollars in government assistance that have helped keep the economy on life support may be nearing their end, many economists warn that the economic comeback will not be swift, and the prospects for a new round of stimulus — desperately sought by state and local governments that have seen tax collections plummet — dimmed after the report.

Here is a look at the economic news driving the day.

  • Restaurants that rehired employees after restrictions on dining out eased around the country played a large part in lifting payrolls. About 1.4 million people gained or took back their restaurant jobs, and health care employers and construction were among the sectors that drove the May job market improvement, based on the Labor Department’s report.

  • There are millions of people who are not working and want a job whom the unemployment rate leaves out. To be officially counted as unemployed, workers who are not on temporary layoff must indicate that they have looked for work in the past four weeks.

  • Stocks jumped on Wall Street, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite nearing a record high and the S&P 500 close to wiping out its losses for 2020.

  • Prospects on Capitol Hill of another virus stimulus bill dimmed after the news of the upswing in unemployment numbers. Republicans had already thrown substantial cold water on the idea of another package on top of the nearly $2.8 trillion already enacted, warning of soaring deficits and arguing that they wanted to see how the economy responded to before doling out more money. But a number of sectors are still suffering, and state and local governments are warning of layoffs and cuts to essential services absent federal aid.

  • Many businesses are still reeling. Brooks Brothers, the oldest apparel brand in continuous operation in the United States, plans to lay off nearly 700 employees this summer at its factories in Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. The company is also trying to find buyers for the factories by mid-July, and expects to close them if it can’t.

Behind the N.B.A.’s plan to restart play: Money trouble and tight relationships.

The N.B.A. players’ union is discussing a first-of-its-kind reboot, a plan that the league’s owners overwhelmingly approved on Thursday.

The league has been hopeful that the National Basketball Players Association will approve the plan, which calls for 22 of the league’s 30 teams to live and play from July to mid-October in one carefully maintained safety bubble: Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

Marc Stein, a Times sports reporter, and Brooks Barnes, who covers the entertainment industry for The Times, write that the path to putting the game back on hardwood materialized in large part through the strong relationship between the union’s president, Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul, and the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, and also their shared close ties to Robert A. Iger, the executive chairman of Disney.

They also report on the scale of the financial pressure on the N.B.A. The league faces what The Athletic recently estimated would be a revenue loss approaching $1 billion if it fails to provide playoff games to its primary television partners, Disney and Turner Sports.

In October, a tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in support of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong did damage in “the hundreds of millions of dollars” to the N.B.A.’s business relationships in China, according to Mr. Silver’s estimate in February. And the far more lucrative revenue stream from ticket purchases and other in-arena fan expenditures is unavailable indefinitely.

The N.B.A. has said it is working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish safety guidelines to minimize the chances that the coronavirus can infiltrate its “campus” at the Florida resort. Negotiations with the players’ union on the depths of the restrictions are underway, and will not be publicly revealed until next week at the earliest.

Mujtaba Rahman, a former European Commission economist now at the political risk consulting firm, Eurasia Group, said, “The economy after the crisis is going to look fundamentally different than before the crisis, and the government wants a freer hand in reshaping that economy.”

And with Mr. Johnson under fire for his chaotic handling of the virus, the compromises he would have to make with Brussels might be too great for his embattled government.

Long after most nations urged their citizens to wear masks, and after months of hand-wringing about the quality of the evidence available, the World Health Organization on Friday endorsed the use of face masks by the public to reduce transmission of the virus.

Since the beginning of the pandemic the W.H.O. had refused to endorse masks. The announcement was long overdue, critics said, as masks are an easy and inexpensive preventive measure.

Even in its latest guidance, the W.H.O. made its reluctance abundantly clear, saying the usefulness of face masks is “not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence,” but that governments should encourage mask wearing because of “a growing compendium of observational evidence.”

Pandemic lockdowns have given nature a breather around the world, bringing animals to unexpected places. Cougars toured the deserted streets of Santiago, the Chilean capital. Wild boars have strolled through the lanes of Haifa, Israel. Fish catches off Vietnam are teeming again.

In Thailand, Khao Yai National Park, the country’s oldest, has been closed to human visitors for the first time since it opened in 1962. The upshot? Its 300 or so elephants have been able to roam freely, venturing onto paths once packed with humans.

With few cars around, the elephants, the park’s dominant species, stroll along roads, chomping on foliage without needing to retreat to dangerous corners of the forest where cliffs meet waterfalls. Rarely spotted animals, like the Asian black bear or the gaur, the world’s largest bovine, have emerged, too.

“The park has been able to restore itself,” said Chananya Kanchanasaka, a national park department veterinarian. “We are excited to see the animals are coming out.”

The reprieve is notable in part because Thailand is a country where the bond with nature has long been framed as one of domination — as the jungle consuming people or vice versa.

Beyond the pillaging of its own rainforests, Thailand is a key way station on global wildlife trafficking routes, with horns, tusks and scales from as far away as Africa making their way to China.

Reporting was contributed by Jo Becker, Hannah Beech, Ben Casselman, Stephen Castle, Michael Cooper, Ellen Gabler, Dana Goldstein, Rebecca Halleck, Javier C. Hernandez, Matthew Haag, Eileen Sullivan, Andrew Jacobs, Patrick Kingsley, Isabella Kwai, Mark Landler, Apoorva Mandavilli, Brent McDonald, Raphael Minder, Alisha Haridasani Gupta, Andy Newman, Richard C. Paddock, Roni Caryn Rabin, Nada Rashwan, Katie Rogers, Kaly Soto, Safak Timur, Declan Walsh, Noah Weiland, Mitch Smith, Danielle Ivory and Robert Gebeloff.



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