Here’s what you need to know:
As Fauci pleads for more caution, the E.U. aims to bar U.S. travelers.
After the top infectious diseases expert in the United States, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, warned on Friday that coronavirus outbreaks in the South and West could engulf the country, European Union officials emphasized how perilous they viewed the situation in the United States: The bloc said it was ready to bar most U.S. travelers because it considers them too risky.
The exclusion of the United States, an important source of tourism for the European Union, would represent a stinging rebuke to the Trump administration’s management of the virus.
Dr. Fauci pleaded for social distancing and mask wearing as “a societal responsibility” when he spoke during the first public briefing by the White House coronavirus task force in nearly two months. The U.S. on Friday approached a record number of new cases for the third consecutive day, after recording 41,113 cases on Thursday, according to a New York Times database.
“You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility, because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it, and then hopefully when a vaccine comes and puts a nail in the coffin, we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process,” Dr. Fauci said, noting that some states are doing better than others.
“If we don’t extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread,” he said.
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the response coordinator for the task force, said that rising positive test rates in states across the South, including Texas, Arizona, Florida and Mississippi, were causing significant concern among health officials, and that the officials had created an “alert system” to track the test results.
E.U. officials first disclosed on Tuesday that the United States, which has reported more virus-related deaths and infections than any other country, was highly unlikely to make a final list of countries whose residents would be permitted to enter. The bloc is also likely to bar most travelers from Russia and dozens of other countries it sees as threats to its safety, officials said Friday.
European Union officials tried to base their decision on scientific criteria, in part to depoliticize the process and shield themselves from diplomatic pressures. But it’s proven to be difficult, and officials said the United States and other nations had been lobbying intensely to get on the list of safe countries.
The United States, which barred most European Union travelers in March as the virus was raging there, has not eased its own restrictions since then, even though infections and deaths in the bloc have dropped.
Pence defends the administration response and Trump’s rallies.
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the same briefing as Dr. Fauci, defended Mr. Trump’s crowded campaign rallies and often maskless supporters and sought to take a victory lap for the administration’s response even as cases spike around the country.
“We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives,” Mr. Pence said, making a claim that was true in earlier months but is now outdated after the seven-day average of new cases began to climb in recent weeks.
He maintained a positive tone as task force members acknowledged surging cases in Texas and elsewhere. Mr. Pence described the revelation that half of new cases are affecting Americans under 35 as “good news” because younger people are less likely to fall seriously ill. However, Dr. Fauci has noted that infected young people can still suffer serious effects and infect the more vulnerable.
Mr. Pence said he and Dr. Birx will visit hot spots next week, including Texas and Arizona, to get an “on-the-ground report.” And he said the task force would have its 26th weekly call with the nation’s governors on Monday.
Addressing questions about the safety of Trump campaign events, Mr. Pence praised the exercises of free speech and assembly.
“The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States,” he said, “and we have an election coming up this fall.”
Florida reports more than 8,900 new daily cases and bans drinking in bars.
As cases rise around the United States, Florida reported more than 8,900 new cases on Friday, after counting more than 10,000 new cases over the previous two days, pushing its total past 120,000.
The eye-popping numbers came as hospitals and local leaders warned about rampant complacency.
“When I go out, I see fewer and fewer people wearing masks and practicing safe, physical distancing,” said Dr. Lawrence Antonucci, chief executive of the Lee Health hospital system in Fort Myers. “The threat of this virus is as real as it’s ever been.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who has resisted rolling back the economic reopening, said on Friday that drinking had been banned in bars because many businesses were not following social distancing and capacity restrictions. Bars can remain open to sell takeout alcohol and food if they have a an appropriate license.
“There was widespread noncompliance, and that led to issues,” he said at a news conference in Fort Myers. “If folks just follow the guidelines, we’re going to be in good shape. When you depart from that, it becomes problematic.”
Mr. DeSantis attributed the spike in cases to more socializing among young people rather than businesses being open.
“Beginning of May, we went to this, you didn’t see any problems,” he said of the reopening, which started on May 4.
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami said city officials are considering whether to restore even more restrictions, although they may first try to stiffen penalties he said were not harsh enough against businesses that fail to comply with existing rules. He added said that it should be possible to restore some restrictions.
“This is a pendulum,” he said. “There’s a point where people all coalesce behind that idea if it becomes necessary. We’re in a far more precarious position than we were a month ago.”
But in Palm Beach County, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said going back to a more stringent phase of reopening might be difficult.
“I don’t think it’s possible,” she said. “We’d get huge pushback from the public in trying to do that.”
Florida’s problems with issuing unemployment benefit checks will make it even more difficult for elected officials to put people out of work again, Ms. McKinlay said. She said that some people have returned to work, if at reduced wages, without having received any unemployment checks.
“Can you imagine if you’re a worker who’s tried to apply for 60, 90 days to get an unemployment check and never got anything, she said. “And we’re going to try to close that again and you haven’t gotten your unemployment from the first time?”
But she emphasized the reopening cannot move forward: “I’m not ready to do anything further at this time until we get these numbers under control.”
Across the state, long lines have returned at testing sites that just a few weeks ago were seeing limited demand. Florida also reported an unusually high number of tests results on Friday — more than 71,000 — according to a daily Department of Health case report, and Mr. DeSantis noted that “we had a big test dump,” but did not go into detail or offer any details.
After pausing its reopening, Texas closes bars and Houston-area officials call for more restrictions.
The governor of Texas and the leader of its largest county moved separately Friday to respond to a sharp surge in cases, with Gov. Greg Abbott ordering bars closed statewide and Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County calling for the region to return to stay-at-home conditions to avoid “a catastrophic and unsustainable situation.”
The moves came just a day after Mr. Abbott, a Republican, put the reopening of the nation’s second largest state on pause, while remaining firm that going “backward” and closing down businesses was “the last thing we want to do.”
By Friday, he said, “it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”
Under the order, bars were required to close effective 12 p.m. Friday locally, but they can remain open for takeout. Restaurants, which had been operating at 75 percent capacity, must reduce capacity to 50 percent starting Monday.
In Harris County, which is home to Houston and is the third-largest county in the U.S. with nearly 5 million residents, officials had created a four-level threat system to gauge the spread of the virus. On Friday, Ms. Hidalgo, a Democrat, announced that she was setting the county’s threat level to red, the highest level.
Ms. Hidalgo also issued a stay-at-home advisory for the county, urging residents to avoid nonessential personal and business travel. Local officials in Texas can only issue advisories and not orders, because the governor, whose virus orders supersede local ones, previously lifted a statewide stay-at-home mandate.
“Today, we find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic and unsustainable situation,” Ms. Hidalgo said at a news conference, adding that the current hospitalization rate was on pace to overwhelm the hospital system “in the near future.” Since June 13, she said, the number of Covid-19 patients in county hospitals has doubled, including patients in both intensive care and in the general population.
“The curves that show our capacity running out in a matter of days or just a few weeks are conservative estimates,” she said.
Ms. Hidalgo wore a mask during her announcement, and equated the response to the spread of the virus with the response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. “This pandemic is like an invisible hurricane, where all of a sudden your neighborhood is flooding, your next-door neighbor’s house is under water, and nobody knows why,” she said.
The changes come as the percent of positive tests in Texas exceeded 10 percent, a benchmark that Mr. Abbott had previously set as a warning sign of a more urgent crisis.
“If I could go back and redo anything it probably would be to go back and slow down the opening of bars,” Mr. Abbott said in an appearance on a local news program late Friday afternoon, adding that bars presented unique challenges for stopping the spread of the virus. “And so sure, in hindsight, it may have been better to have slowed the opening of the bar setting. But again, Texas was looking so good even a month after we opened up, but now our obligation is to make sure we take steps — measured steps — to make sure we once again slow the spread as we did before.”
Texas set several single-day records for new cases this week, including a high of 6,584 on Wednesday. Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, ordered businesses to require customers and employees to wear face masks. The order, which went into effect on Friday, comes days after a similar policy went into effect in neighboring Dallas County.
In other Texas news:
The Supreme Court rejected a request by Texas Democrats to require the state to let all eligible voters vote by mail this year.
Texas Tech University announced that of 197 football student athletes and staff tested, 23 tested positive for Covid-19. The school in Lubbock said that 21 of the 23 people with the virus had recovered and none required hospitalization.
San Antonio’s metro health director, Dawn Emerick, resigned Friday after less than six months on the job, requesting that she be replaced by a person of color. She is one of several local and state health officials across the country to have stepped down during the pandemic. Most of the others have been subjected to harassment from a vocal minority of the public who say that mask requirements and restrictions on businesses have gone too far. “Public health officials in this country probably have the most difficult job right now,” Erik Walsh, San Antonio’s city manager, said.
California’s governor tells counties to consider pausing their reopenings, but doesn’t commit to rolling them back.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Friday that counties across the state should heed rising case counts and consider dialing back or postponing reopening, as San Francisco did.
But he stopped short of saying whether the state would reimpose restrictions that have been lifted. Instead, he said, the state had simply paused issuing more reopening guidelines.
And Mr. Newsom said the state reserves the right to “toggle back” if it becomes necessary in days ahead, once again pleading with residents to follow the state’s mask order and stay away from loved ones.
Officials in California, where stay-at-home orders were imposed particularly early in the pandemic, acknowledged the challenges of managing a constantly shifting situation when, as the governor put it, the state “is not one-size-fits-all.”
After more than 5,500 new cases were announced on Thursday, thousands more were identified on Friday. The state surpassed 200,000 total cases on Thursday, as its number of infections doubled over the past month. That is the second highest total for any state, though California’s cumulative per capita infection rate remains far lower than New York’s.
The governor reported that there was a 3.3 percent increase in hospitalizations and a 4.4 percent increase in cases requiring intensive care. The state’s positivity rate increased to 5.3 percent over the past two weeks.
He also laid out how the state and federal governments have sent extra resources to Imperial County, an impoverished agrarian valley along the border, that has notched a 23 percent positivity rate and where an influx of Americans returning from Mexico have been hospitalized. More than 500 people have been transferred to other hospitals around the state from the area.
Turkey’s outbreak is spreading beyond urban centers.
The shape of the pandemic appears to be shifting in Turkey, which has the world’s 13th largest known outbreak. Cases have been rising in the country’s east, southeast and center since national restrictions were eased as June began.
Turkey’s official figures do not break down national figures by region. It is mostly doctors who are reporting cases in the areas that are raising the alarm about the shift. Hospitals outside of the larger cities have limited capacity to cope with case surges.
Turkey has recorded 193,000 infections and just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic first erupted in March, though, as in many countries, experts suggest the true counts are higher. The government had claimed success in curbing the virus, and when it relaxed an intercity travel ban several weeks ago, many workers left the cities to return to their home provinces.
Since then, daily national counts have increased from around 900 to 1,500, even as Turkey’s health minister said that infections are declining in the large western cities, including Istanbul, where 60 percent of infections have occurred. He has acknowledged that cases have started to rise in central and eastern Turkey.
In Ankara, the Parliament has suspended work after an infection among staff members and one legislator. And members of the Turkish Medical Association, an independent professional association, said the number of cases is rising rapidly and hospitals are filling up in several eastern cities.
In the southeast, the president of the Diyarbakir Medical Chamber, Mehmet Serif Demir, said that the city had registered 900 Covid-19 patients in the first two and a half months starting in March, but that the number had doubled in the last few weeks, reaching more than 2,000.
His counterpart in the neighboring district of Sirnak, Dr. Serdar Kuni, said in an interview that hospitals there “are almost full.” And the town of Cizre, he said, was a “red alarm,” with patients being quarantined in student dorms for lack of hospital space or being taken by their families to bigger cities to try to find care.
Elsewhere in the world:
Officials in Britain have warned of enhanced measures to restrict gatherings after many residents abandoned caution during the country’s attempt to reopen. In sweltering heat over recent days, beaches have been packed. In London’s Notting Hill district hundreds of people have gathered nightly for drinks and music events, defying government guidance allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors. London’s police chief said on Friday that patrols would increase over the weekend, dispersing unauthorized gatherings, and the health secretary threatened to close the country’s beaches if social distancing measures continued to be violated.
Officials in India’s capital, New Delhi, plan to test all of the city’s 29 million residents over about 10 days, as the nationwide caseload surged toward 500,000 infections and pushed many hospitals to their breaking point. On Thursday, the government reported 16,922 new cases, a single-day record.
Officials in South Africa — where the national caseload of more than 118,000 is the highest on the continent — published new measures to ease restrictions that had been in effect since late March. People will be allowed to leave home to go to work, buy food and attend a place of worship in their neighborhoods.
In Italy, local health authorities are monitoring a surge in Mondragone, a town of nearly 30,000 some 35 miles north of Naples, that has set off unrest. More than 40 people in a cluster of low-income apartment buildings tested positive this week, mostly Bulgarian farm workers, and violent tensions flared with Italian residents, prompting the interior minister to send an army contingent of 50.
In South Korea, the city of Daegu has filed a lawsuit seeking at least $83 million in damages from a church that was an center of the country’s outbreak. More than 40 percent of the country’s nearly 13,000 virus patients have been members of the church or linked to them.
Officials in Canada have traced 18 cases in a single nail salon in Kingston, Ontario, a college and prison town east of Toronto. The salon, which reopened on June 12, has been closed again.
The World Health Organization said Friday that it needed $27.9 billion over the next year to speed up the production of a vaccine and to develop other tools in the fight against the virus.
New York Roundup
After a judge’s ruling, houses of worship in N.Y.C. can hold services indoors at 50 percent capacity.
In recent weeks, businesses in New York have started gradually reopening amid mass protests against systemic racism. But houses of worship have had to wait until Phase 2 of the state’s reopening, which New York City entered on Monday, to operate at 25 percent capacity.
On Friday, a federal judge in Albany ordered Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to afford religious worshipers the same reopening privileges as others. The decision by Judge Gary L. Sharpe means that houses of worship in New York City can now hold services indoors at 50 percent capacity and can act without restrictions if they hold them outside.
In his ruling, Judge Sharpe pointed out that across New York, businesses have reopened, noting that the governor even permitted graduation ceremonies of 150 people to begin this weekend. The judge also argued that the governor and the mayor have both encouraged nearly a month of well-attended demonstrations for racial equality, sending “a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.” A group of more than 1,000 people working in health and medicine signed a letter recently that said protests were, in fact, vital to public health.
A senior aide to Mr. Cuomo said the governor’s office would review the decision. A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio declined to comment.
Elsewhere in New York:
Asked Friday when New York City could expect to transition to Phase 4 and beyond, the mayor reiterated the need for a careful approach. Earlier in the week, he said the city was on track to enter Phase 3 on July 6. Statewide, there were an additional 14 virus-related deaths, the governor said Friday.
The mayor also announced that, from July 4 to Labor Day, he would close up to 40 streets to all but emergency vehicles and pedestrians on Friday evenings and weekend afternoons to create more outdoor seating areas for restaurants.
After more than 100 students at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., reported that items in their dorm rooms had gone missing, the university said in a statement on Friday that it appeared that contractors or staff members had stolen the items after having been recruited to clean or ship those belongings to students. “We apologize for the added stress this failure has created,” the university said, adding that it is investigating the missing item reports, tightening access to the campus and installing video cameras.
Online learning in U.S. schools is here to stay for some students this fall.
A handful of school districts across the United States have started announcing plans for the upcoming school year, forcing parents to grapple with the reality that it is unlikely many schools will return to a normal schedule in the fall. This means learning will take place at home and online, and emergency child care arrangements will continue indefinitely.
On Thursday, the Seattle Public Schools announced that its goal was to provide at least two days of in-person instruction per week to elementary students and one day per week to middle and high school students. Children with disabilities, those learning English and those living in poverty would be the priorities for receiving additional in-school support.
In the Washington suburb of Fairfax County, Va., students will have either four days of remote learning per week, with the promise of live teaching over video, or an in-person schedule of at least two days per week, with online learning the rest of the time.
In New Jersey, the new school year will likely look different in each district, with some expected to resume in-person learning, the governor said on Friday. School staff will be required to wear masks, and students will be encouraged to do so.
Many of the nation’s largest school districts have yet to announce concrete reopening plans. Some states, like California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have issued guidelines, but district policymakers will have the final say.
On Friday, New York City’s mayor described a list of considerations that would determine how many children can be in a classroom in the fall and said staggered schedules and online learning would be part of any plan.
Many districts are surveying parents to better understand their comfort level with reopening school buildings. The Marietta City Schools in Georgia, for example, announced Thursday that families could choose between regular in-person schooling, beginning Aug. 4, and full-time online instruction. Temperature checks will be required for those returning to school.
Elsewhere in the United States:
In Illinois, where the governor described a “trajectory of relative success,” museums, zoos and bowling alleys were set to reopen on Friday, along with indoor dining.
“I’m not afraid to protect the people of Illinois by moving a region back to an earlier phase if we see a surge,” he said. “Ours will not be one of the states that takes no action in response to a return to a peak.”
Infections among Latinos in the United States have far outpaced those among the rest of the population during the country’s surge in recent weeks, a testament to the makeup of the nation’s essential work force.
Tennessee health officials on Friday announced sweeping changes to guidelines on who would get lifesaving treatments if resources fell dramatically short during a crisis. The new plan weighs how likely patients are to survive their immediate illness. The change came after disability groups filed a federal civil rights complaint over the previous guidelines that considered patients’ long-term survival prospects, which could disproportionately penalize those who are older or have disabilities.
Most of the 121 cruise ships that entered U.S. waters after March 1 had cases on board, according to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alaska Native corporations, for-profit businesses which serve tribal villages in Alaska, will receive a portion of the $8 billion pot of funds set aside for tribal governments, dealing a blow to tribes in the lower 48 states who had argued that they should not be made eligible for the aid.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that could bring a permanent end to the health insurance program known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.
Morehouse, one of the country’s most celebrated historically black colleges, said Friday that it had canceled its fall sports of football and cross country, making it one of the first to publicly abandon its football season outright, though a handful of other schools have canceled games.
P.G.A. tour officials sent golfers a health tracking device and expanded testing protocols after eight golfers pulled out of the Traveler’s Championship because of some positive tests that have emerged.
Rediscover personal ways to communicate.
Writing letters and journal entries has helped people connect meaningfully and find comfort during this period of isolation, grief and unrest. Here are some tips on doing it well.
Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Brooks Barnes, Ronen Bergman, Julie Bosman, Damien Cave, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Jill Cowan, Abdi Latif Dahir, Melissa Eddy, Marie Fazio, Manny Fernandez, Alan Feuer, Jacey Fortin, Sheri Fink, Thomas Fuller, Carlotta Gall, Dana Goldstein, J. David Goodman, Katie Glueck, Rebecca Halleck, Ben Hubbard, Shawn Hubler, Mike Ives, Juliette Love, Apoorva Mandavilli, Mike Mason, Patricia Mazzei, Jesse McKinley, Donald G. McNeil Jr, Sarah Mervosh, Zachary Montague, Elian Peltier, Nicole Perlroth, Alan Rappeport, Frances Robles, Amanda Rosa, David E. Sanger, Nelson D. Schwartz, Eliza Shapiro, Anjali Singhvi, Daniel E. Slotnik, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, David Waldstein, Declan Walsh, Noah Weiland, David Yaffe-Bellany, Sameer Yasir and Ceylan Yeginsu.
View original article here Source