U.S. Reports More Than 70,000 New Coronavirus Cases for the Second Time

Across the United States, leaders grappling with surging caseloads and a rising death toll on Friday introduced new measures intended to curb the coronavirus outbreak’s severity, some in places where the virus had looked to be in retreat.

For the second time, more than 70,000 coronavirus cases were announced in the United States, according to a New York Times database. A day earlier, the country set a record with 75,600 new cases, the 11th time in the past month that the daily record had been broken.

The outbreak is so widespread that 18 states have been placed in a so-called red zone because they have more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people per week, according to an unpublished report distributed this week by the White House coronavirus task force, which urged many states to take stricter steps to contain the spread.

The states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah — constitute more than a third of the country.

The record for U.S. daily cases has more than doubled since June 24, when the country registered 37,014 cases, after a lull in the outbreak that kept the previous record, 36,738, standing for two months. Daily virus fatalities had decreased slightly until last week, when they began rising again.

Some of the states in the red zone are not following the unpublished report’s recommendations for curbing the spread.

With cases rising across Georgia, the report had some clear recommendations, including: “Mandate statewide wearing of cloth face coverings outside the home.”

But while Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican, said Friday that he believed that residents should wear face masks, he added that he would not require them to do so. And he is working to prevent local governments from issuing their own mask orders: He filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of leaders in Atlanta to require masks within their city’s limits.

“Now I know that many well-intentioned and well-informed Georgians want a mask mandate and while we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” Mr. Kemp said Friday.

The report on the red zone was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom based in Washington, and was later obtained by The New York Times.

The report called for mask mandates in Alabama and Arkansas, and those states’ governors, who are both Republicans, issued new orders this week. More than half of the United States now has some form of mask requirement in place.

The authorities in China’s far western Xinjiang region announced on Friday that 13 coronavirus infections had been found in the region’s capital, the latest hint that China may not have been able to snuff out the pandemic completely.

Five of the 13 people have symptoms, according to the state news media. The confirmed cases on Friday followed the discovery of four infections in the capital, Urumqi, on Thursday, three of which are asymptomatic so far.

The highest political body in the region, the Chinese Communist Party Standing Committee of Xinjiang, ordered contact tracing and called for the management of people entering or leaving the region to be strictly enforced.

One of Urumqi’s municipal subway lines was closed, and hundreds of scheduled flights in and out of the city were immediately canceled.

Elsewhere in the United States:

Iran will start enforcing new restrictions in Tehran on Saturday as it sees a surge of coronavirus cases that health officials say is even worse than the first wave that hit the capital city in March.

A third of government employees will work from home. Large gatherings such as funerals, weddings and religious ceremonies will be banned. Gyms, swimming pools, amusement and water parks, cafes and the zoo will also be closed, a health ministry official said. Restrictions in the capital city could last several weeks as the number of new infected cases, deaths and hospitalizations spiked.

Local hospitals are at full capacity and at one public hospital, 172 medical staff members are currently ill from the virus, officials said.

Iran imposed a brief two-week lockdown in April that coincided with the annual New Year holiday. The government chose to reopen the country in May, amid concerns that the country’s economy was in danger of collapsing, before it had met recommended benchmarks such as a steady decline in cases or having a contact-tracing system in place.

Iranians have largely resumed everyday life, returning to work, socializing at one another’s homes and gathering at public places such as parks and shopping malls. In light of the new surge in cases, the government announced a nationwide mask order and urged people to practice social distancing.

In other news around the world:

  • India surpassed a million confirmed infections and 25,000 deaths on Friday, weeks after the government lifted a nationwide lockdown in hopes of getting the economy up and running. India is now recording about 30,000 new cases a day, almost three times as many as a month ago, and with testing still sparse, the true figure is likely to be much higher. The country ranks third in the world — behind only the United States and Brazil — in both total infections and the number of new ones recorded each day.

  • The United Nations is calling on wealthier countries to provide billions of dollars more in aid to poorer nations to prevent widespread suffering. The issue will be prominent at the upcoming G20 meeting of finance ministers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to Mark Lowcock, the U.N.’s top humanitarian aid official.

  • Japan has asked the U.S. military to quarantine all of its personnel arriving at American bases in Japan for two weeks and then test them for the coronavirus, the country’s defense minister, Taro Kono, said on Friday. There has been an outbreak of cases on U.S. military bases on the island of Okinawa.

  • European Union leaders are meeting to negotiate a huge economic aid package. The major sticking point is how much latitude to give those countries receiving the aid. The talks in Brussels are the first time that E.U. leaders have held an in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic.

  • The residents of Barcelona, Spain, were told on Friday to stay indoors in order to help contain a new coronavirus outbreak in the Catalonia region in the northeastern part of the country. The authorities also announced a ban on outdoor gatherings of 10 people or more in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia.

  • In Australia, the state of Victoria reported 217 new cases on Saturday, after a record 428 cases on Friday.

  • The authorities in the Philippines said that foreigners with long-term visas could begin entering the country in August, for the first time since March. They will be quarantined, monitored and tested.

  • A 27-year-old woman in Tunisia was found guilty of “inciting hatred between religions” and sentenced to six months in jail and a $700 fine after she shared another Facebook user’s post about the coronavirus that mimicked Quranic iconography.

  • The Israeli government announced new coronavirus restrictions on 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 takeout and delivery services, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday. Beaches, they said, would be inaccessible during most of the weekends, starting July 24.

Xingcheng is not a particularly well-known town even within China. But it produced $2 billion worth of swimwear in 2018, according to the government’s official Xinhua news agency. There are 1,200 swimwear companies in the town, Xinhua says, employing as many as 100,000 people, or one in five residents.

The global contraction is hitting all of China’s giant export sector hard. The country’s exports were up only 0.5 percent in June from a year earlier, even as the overall economy rebounded more strongly. But as Chinese industrial towns go, Xingcheng may take longer than most to recover.

What if summer comes and goes and swimsuit sales still don’t pick up in a major way?

“Supposing there’s no work for another year, I guess I’ll just have to scrimp and make do,” said Qi Lei, who owns a Xingcheng factory that cuts fabric for swimsuits. “I don’t have any other ideas.”

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.

Reporting was contributed by Katie Benner, Lilia Blaise, Keith Bradsher, Troy Closson, Michael Cooper, Michael Corkery, Maria Cramer, Nicholas Fandos, Farnaz Fassihi, Manny Fernandez, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jeffrey Gettleman, Erin Griffith, Josh Katz, Mark Landler, Lauren Leatherby, Patricia Mazzei, Jesse McKinley, Sarah Mervosh, Jennifer Miller, Raphael Minder, Azi Paybarah, Elian Peltier, Kevin Quealy, Alan Rappeport, Adam Rasgon, Motoko Rich, Campbell Robertson, Margot Sanger-Katz, Mariana Simões, Karan Deep Singh, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, David Waldstein, Sui-Lee Wee, Will Wright and Carl Zimmer.

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