With case counts rising, U.S. leaders push stricter measures.
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placed in a so-called red zone because they have more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people per week, according to an unpublished report distributed this week by the White House coronavirus task force, which urged many states to take stricter steps to contain the spread.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.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new rules on Friday that would force many of the state’s districts to teach remotely when school starts next month and require most of its more than six million students to wear masks when they do attend class. This week, the state also announced a sweeping rollback of plans to reopen businesses.
More than 10,100 cases were announced on Friday in California, the state’s second-highest daily total yet.
In Florida, where more than 11,400 cases and more than 125 deaths were reported on Friday, some localities added curfews. With its hospitals reaching capacity, Broward County imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Friday. Curfews were also imposed in the city of Miami Beach and the rest of Miami-Dade County.
Noting the rise in cases, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before a House committee that he thought Congress should consider automatically forgiving all small loans that had been given to businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.
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.
China reports infections in its far west, where security is already tight.
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.
Caixin, an influential newsmagazine, also said on Friday that residential compounds in Urumqi had been placed under lockdown.
“We must resolutely overcome the paralysis and loosen our thoughts, draw lessons and make all the difference, be prudent and never relax, grasp the normalization of epidemic prevention and control, and resolutely safeguard the safety and health of the people,” the standing committee declared, according to the official Xinjiang Daily.
Xinjiang is already under very tight security, as the authorities have in recent years rounded up as many as a million members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities and confined them in barbed-wire compounds. They have also made Xinjiang an incubator for high-tech surveillance and increasingly intrusive policing systems.
Beijing has said that such measures are needed to combat religious extremism and to teach vocational skills.
As for the virus, Beijing insists it is under tight control across the Chinese mainland. But outbreaks have nonetheless occurred in northeastern China and in the city of Beijing itself, although the government says these have been quickly tamed.
Hong Kong has also reported a rising number of locally transmitted infections in recent days, including a record single-day tally of 67 on Thursday.
Once the center of the pandemic, New York City will enter a limited version of its fourth phase of reopening next week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.
Starting Monday, outdoor venues like zoos and botanical gardens will be allowed to operate at a limited capacity, Mr. Cuomo said. But citing rising case numbers in other large states, like Texas and Arizona, he said stringent limits would remain on indoor activities.
Malls, museums and cultural institutions, for example, will stay closed. Indoor dining will also remain on hold.
“The second wave is going to be the confluence of the lack of compliance and the local governments’ lack of enforcement, plus the viral spread coming back from the other states,” Mr. Cuomo said. “It is going to happen.”
Mr. Cuomo said the state would revisit the city’s relatively curtailed Phase 4 as the “facts change.”
The rest of New York State, which has already moved into Phase 4, does not have the same limitations on indoor businesses. But New York City will be allowed to have groups of up to 50 people, as well as indoor religious gatherings operating with capacity constraints. Outdoor film productions and professional sports events without audiences can also resume.
Elsewhere in the United States:
In Ohio, more than 1,600 new cases were reported on Friday, a single-day record.
Two days after Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma announced he had tested positive, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and four officers who are members of Mr. Stitt’s security team were self-isolating at home. Mr. Pinnell said that he had been “showing absolutely no symptoms, but sometimes that doesn’t matter.” One of the troopers has exhibited symptoms.
Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, released a five-point “road map” Friday for reopening schools, an implicit rebuke of Mr. Trump, who has pushed them to resume in-person classes as soon as possible. The Biden campaign said the decision “should be made by state, tribal and local officials, based on science,” and Mr. Biden urged federal agencies to establish national guidelines and called for emergency funding for public schools.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said 36 new virus cases were traced to a single football team in a news conference Friday. The governor, a Democrat, said team members were not wearing masks in a weight room and as a result 18 players, three coaches and 15 family members were sickened.
Officials in Arkansas reported 12 new deaths today for a single-day record, according to a New York Times database. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, issued an executive order requiring residents to wear face coverings in public on Thursday after resisting a statewide mandate and opposing stay-at-home orders for months. The state has recorded more than 31,000 cases and 353 deaths since the pandemic began.
A federal judge handed the Republican Party of Texas a surprise legal victory on Friday, ruling that it can proceed with holding an in-person convention in Houston after city officials canceled the face-to-face gathering. Although the judge cleared the path for the party to meet in person, Republican leaders said they planned to keep meeting virtually but would use the in-person option as “a last-resort method.” The party had already switched to an online-only format and held the opening day of its virtual convention on Thursday.
Lowe’s and Home Depot on Friday became the latest retailers that will begin requiring all their customers to wear masks. Lowe’s said the new policy would take effect on Monday, adding that it would supply masks to any customer who needed one. Home Depot’s mask requirement will start Wednesday. The company said children and customers with medical conditions would not be required to wear facial coverings.
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:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain on Friday outlined a road map on Friday to ease lockdown restrictions and to contain the spread of the virus in the coming months, as he warned that there won’t be any “significant return to normality” until November at the earliest, and “possibly in time for Christmas.” All schools in England will reopen in September, Mr. Johnson said, and concert halls and theaters might welcome visitors again in the fall, as well as stadiums.
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.
Swimwear sales are way down. That’s hitting one Chinese town particularly hard.
Xingcheng, an out-of-the-way factory town on China’s northeastern coast, claims to make a quarter of the world’s swimwear. But when China forced its people to stay home to stop the coronavirus, its production of trunks, bikinis and one-pieces ground to a halt.
Across the globe, pools, beaches and water parks are reopening only cautiously. Travel and tourism are still mostly nonstarters. Perhaps never in recent history has so little of humankind had any need for new swimwear.
Now, with a peak season’s worth of sales already largely lost, Xingcheng’s factories are scraping by an order at a time, waiting for governments to get a grip on the illness and for more people to venture back into the water.
“It’s the same abroad and at home — there’s still no spending power,” said Hao Jing, a trader who sells swimsuits from Xingcheng to international buyers.
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.”
Learn about 20 of the most talked-about possible coronavirus treatments with this new tracking tool.
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.