Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Protests Raise Fears of New Outbreaks

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As protesters flood streets across the country, officials worry that they could be spreading the virus.

Mass protests over police violence against black Americans in at least 75 U.S. cities have spurred concern that the gatherings will seed new outbreaks.

Speaking on CNN, Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she was concerned that the protests could increase infections in communities of color, which are already being disproportionately hit by the disease. Death rates among black Americans are double those of whites, and the economic toll of lockdowns has also inflicted disproportionate economic pain.

“I’m extremely concerned we are seeing mass gatherings,” Ms. Bottoms said. “We’re going to see the other side of this in a couple of weeks.”

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, echoed those concerns. Mr. Hogan told CNN the gatherings of “thousands of people jammed in together in close proximity” could lead to a spike in cases.

Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, urged protesters to continue taking safety precautions, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

“The question is how do we do protesting safely,” Dr. Jha said on CNN. “I think masks are a critical part of it.”

The protests, spurred by the killing of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, came after weeks of virus restrictions and economic hardship across the country. More than 100,000 Americans who were infected have died, and some 40 million are out of work.

The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate economic and health tolls on racial minorities and immigrants. Black and Latino workers have been more likely to lose their jobs. Many others are among the low-paid hourly workers with jobs that cannot be done remotely.

“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” said Jimmy Mills, a barber in a working-class area of Minneapolis who has struggled to keep his shop open.

Merkel declined Trump’s invitation to attend the G7 in person. Then Trump postponed the summit.

Credit…Pool photo by Henning Schacht

President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump also said he wanted to invite Russia to rejoin the group.

Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, the president said he also planned to invite Australia, India and South Korea to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wanted to hold the meeting in September.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his intention to unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexation of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.

In March, with the coronavirus spreading around the world, Mr. Trump said that the June summit would take place virtually. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the participating leaders to Washington as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Australia said on Sunday that it would welcome an official invitation, and a government spokesman told reporters that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the United States had made contact to discuss the matter.

Nations expand reopenings, and global cases pass 6 million.

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This week, as global coronavirus cases pass six million, many nations are entering a pivotal period, giving students, shoppers and travelers more freedom to return to some sense of normalcy after months under lockdown.

Greece, seeking to bolster its crucial tourism sector, announced one of the more aggressive reopening plans. After initially announcing on Friday that it would allow entries from 29 countries whose outbreaks were mostly contained, it shifted to allow flights from all countries.

From June 15 to June 30, the Greek foreign ministry said on Saturday, the flights will go to Greece’s two largest airports, in Athens and Thessaloniki. Passengers from the 29-nation list, including Germany, Australia and South Korea, will be subject to random tests. Those flying in from countries deemed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to have a high risk of virus transmission will be tested.

As of July 1, all Greek airports will reopen to international flights, with random screening for all passengers. Arrivals by sea will be allowed as of July 1, also subject to random testing.

In Britain, more stores will be allowed to open starting Monday, and small groups from different households can meet outdoors. Primary schools will open in England with new social-distancing rules and spaced seating. The government also gave the green light for professional sports to resume under strict protocols, according to government guidelines published on Saturday.

Other countries are creating “travel bubbles,” allowing visitors from nations with low infection rates.

Norway and Denmark will allow leisure travel between the two countries, excluding Sweden, where coronavirus infections are higher. Norway will also allow entry to business travelers from the other Nordic countries from Monday, the government said.

But in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Sunday that he would ask Parliament for a sixth and final extension to the state of emergency, allowing his central government to keep control over the lockdown in Madrid, Barcelona and other parts of the country until June 21.

Mr. Sánchez told a news conference that Spain needed to “immediately” recover its tourism sector, but that quarantine rules for outside visitors would be kept in place until July 1. “We cannot throw away all the work that we have done,” he said.

Most tenants have been able to pay their rent, but those in smaller buildings are struggling more.

Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Since April, U.S. landlords have looked to the first of the month fearing that tenants would stop paying their rent. For the most part, that has not happened. Despite a 14.7 percent unemployment rate and millions of new jobless claims each week, collections are only slightly below where they were last year, when the economy was booming.

At the same time, many of the numbers showing only a slight dip skew toward higher-end buildings. Other surveys show that buildings with poorer tenants have lower collection rates.

And deferrals and partial payments appear to be increasing: Apartment List, a rental listing service, said 31 percent of respondents failed to make the full May payment on time, up from a quarter the month before. Hoping for a swift recovery, many landlords are telling tenants they can pay later, knowing this often won’t happen.

The rate of those who have been able to continue paying rent is unlikely to remain stable without a swift and robust recovery, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, or without another big injection of government money, which Senate Republicans say will not happen anytime soon.

American households were struggling with rent long before the economy went into free fall, and there are signs — from an increase in partial payments to surveys that show many tenants are putting rent on their credit cards and struggling to pay for essentials like food — that this pressure is building.

Pope Francis offers his first blessings to a crowd since March.

Credit…Divisione Produzione Fotografica/Vatican News, via Associated Press

Pope Francis appeared in person on Sunday to bless a gathering of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the first time since the coronavirus exploded in Italy and the government imposed a national lockdown in March.

“Today since the square is open we can return,” he said to a scattered audience that applauded as he approached an open window of his private study. “It is a pleasure.”

Francis recited the Regina Coeli prayer and gave his blessing to the crowd.

“You know that from a crisis such as this we will not be the same as before,” he said. “Let’s have the courage to change in order to be better than before.”

The pope began reciting the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace on March 8 because of the pandemic. “It is a bit strange this Angelus prayer today,” he said then, “with the pope ‘caged’ in the library. But I can see you. I am close to you.”

Earlier Sunday, the pope celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in front of a limited number of worshipers. In his homily, he urged people to fight three enemies: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism, saying that they “prevent us from giving ourselves” during the pandemic.

As a Maryland beach towns reopen, few masks are seen.

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Thousands of maskless vacationers flocked to the Maryland town of Ocean City this weekend as the Greater Washington region began to emerge from a coronavirus lockdown.

As Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has emphasized, the state is at Phase 1 of his “Roadmap to Recovery,” which includes restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. Among them are a requirement that face coverings be worn inside businesses.

But at the Quiet Storm Surf Shop, a clerk folding T-shirts said, “We make them optional.” On the boardwalk outside, a police officer said that the problem was that merchants have to enforce the mask order, but many are reluctant to alienate their first summer customers.

Not all of the tourists were nonchalant about the restrictions. Sitting on a wall dividing the boardwalk from the beach, Kelly and Dan Goddard, who live in a Baltimore suburb, were wearing masks. Their children were sporting tie-dyed cloth ones sewn by relatives.

“There are a lot of unknowns and not a lot of real clear guidance,” Mr. Goddard said. “But I don’t think people realize how serious things are, or they don’t care.”

A drive-in theater keeps Czech drama alive during the lockdown.

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.

PRAGUE — To attend her first play in more than two months, Marie Reslova, a prominent Czech theater critic, drove into Prague, headed to a large vegetable market, parked next to a convertible sports car and switched off her engine.

Soon, actors from the Czech National Theater strode onto a platform a few yards from Ms. Reslova’s windshield.

The play had begun. And she hadn’t even left her car.

The Czech Republic enforced tighter restrictions than most European countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. For several weeks, Czechs were barred even from jogging without a mask. Even after the government eased that restriction, masks were still mandatory in most other public contexts.

But the country also loosened the lockdown earlier than most — and that has made it a laboratory for how arts and culture can adapt to a context in which some restrictions on social life have been lifted, while others remain in place.

The drive-in theater at Prague’s vegetable market was an ambitious example. To circumvent restrictions on public gatherings, audience members watched plays, concerts and comedy from behind their steering wheels — in a monthlong program that ended with a variety act by the National Theater last Sunday evening, attended by Ms. Reslova.

Across Europe, drive-ins have become a familiar means of circumventing pandemic restrictions. By default, cars keep their occupants socially distanced, leading even nightclub owners and priests to set up drive-in discos and churches.

Read the full dispatch here.

Did that donation reach those who need it?

As U.S. unemployment claims exceed 40 million and those filing them grow more desperate, an altruistic instinct has emerged among some people who are more financially secure. Yet the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are widespread.

So what is the best way to give money to those who require it for food, shelter and other necessities?

Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. They also may not make it possible to be identified or anonymous based on the preference of a giver or a beneficiary.

Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers.

Credit…Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since being closed more than two months ago because of the coronavirus.

At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social distancing guidelines.

“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the mosque’s director, said through a loudspeaker system.

Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, wept as he laid down his prayer mat. “Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”

The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed.

Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”

Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.

“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.

Romania’s prime minister pays a fine after breaking his own coronavirus rules.

Credit…Andreea Alexandru/Associated Press

The Romanian prime minister, Ludovic Orban, paid a fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions, after a photo widely shared on social media showed him with other cabinet members smoking in his office and not wearing a mask.

In a statement, Mr. Orban admitted to breaking the lockdown rules on May 25, his 57th birthday, when some cabinet members gathered at his office after work.

And in Belgium, a nephew of King Philippe tested positive for the coronavirus last week after attending a party in Spain, according to the Belgian royal palace.

The nephew, Prince Joachim, 28, tested positive on Thursday after attending an event in the southern city of Cordoba, the palace said. Spanish news outlets reported that 27 people had attended the party, which would be in violation of regional lockdown rules that limit gatherings in private households to 15 people.

Prince Joachim traveled from Belgium to Madrid and then to Cordoba, where he contracted the virus and has been isolating since then. Under Phase 2 of Spain’s reopening plan, those who violate lockdown rules face a fine of 600 to 10,000 euros, or about $650 to $11,100.

Coronavirus lockdown scandal shines a harsh light on Britain’s oldest weekly magazine.

Credit…Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Boris Johnson became the editor of The Spectator in 1999, he said he planned to make the weekly magazine, Britain’s oldest, a “refuge for logic, fun, and good writing.” It would, he promised somewhat paradoxically, “continue to set the political agenda, and to debunk it.”

Now that Mr. Johnson is Britain’s prime minister, the magazine he once ran has never been closer to fulfilling his ambition of being both in bed with the country’s conservative establishment and willing to yank the covers off it.

Yet The Spectator’s incestuous ties with the governing elite have thrust it into the heart of an uproar over a 260-mile drive that Mr. Johnson’s most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife made, violating Britain’s lockdown rules.

Mary Wakefield, one of the magazine’s senior editors, is married to Mr. Cummings and wrote a vivid account of how she and her husband both fell ill with the coronavirus. Mr. Cummings, she said, lay “doggo” in bed for 10 days before emerging into “the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown.”

The trouble is, she did not mention that they had gone to northern England — a journey that has brought charges of hypocrisy and calls for Mr. Johnson to dismiss Mr. Cummings.

Ms. Wakefield’s omissions have also cast an unflattering light on The Spectator. Critics have accused it of misleading readers. Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization, a watchdog group, has received more than 100 complaints about the column. Pending an investigation, it could force the magazine to publish a correction.

Reporting was contributed by Niki Kitsantonis, Roni Caryn Rabin, Raphael Minder, Karen Zraick, Conor Dougherty, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Ron Lieber, Emma Bubola, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Patrick Kingsley, Elizabeth Williamson, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Hannah Beech, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.

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