Here’s what you need to know:
Grim virus milestones continue to sweep across the U.S.
The United States reported 49,932 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the fifth single-day case record in eight days, according to a New York Times database. North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas also hit daily records, with Texas reaching more than 8,000 new infections.
As new cases rise, states and localities have reversed course on reopenings. New York City decided not to let its restaurants resume indoor service next week as originally planned. Miami Beach said that it would reinstate a nightly curfew beginning Thursday at 12:30 a.m., extending until 5 a.m., to try to curb the spread. And California shut down bars and halted indoor dining at restaurants in 19 counties that are home to more than 70 percent of the state’s population.
New outbreaks are erupting in the South and West, and areas that have made progress against the virus are showing signs of resurgence. Several Republican-led states that moved quickly to reopen this spring at the urging of President Trump are now reimposing some restrictions.
Arizona, which Mr. Trump visited in May and praised for its reopening plans, is now seeing record numbers of new cases, and Gov. Doug Ducey decided this week to close its water parks and to order bars, gyms and movie theaters in the state to close for 30 days. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence visited Arizona to discuss the crisis as the state reported more than 4,700 new cases.
California, which was the first state to shut down and which took some of the most aggressive actions to contain the virus, has seen a recent explosion in cases after it eased restrictions, leading the governor to move Wednesday to close bars and halt indoor dining in much of the state.
Mr. Pence told Mr. Ducey that the federal government would help the state with a request for 500 additional public health personnel by mobilizing doctors, nurses and technical personnel.
And in Florida, which had more than 6,500 new cases on Wednesday, Miami’s biggest public hospital announced that it would stop non-urgent elective surgeries as of Monday. The caseload at the hospital, Jackson Memorial, has doubled over the past two weeks.
“If the trends continue the way we are, we will be inundated,” Carlos Migoya, the hospital’s president and chief executive, told the Miami-Dade County Commission.
More Republicans embrace masks despite resistance from Trump.
Some conservatives and libertarians have made opposition to masks a political cause, but, as cases surge, a growing number of Republican governors are trying to send a different message.
Vice President Mike Pence has abruptly started wearing and recommending masks. Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming shared a photograph on Twitter of her father, the former vice president, wearing a cowboy hat and pale blue surgical mask, adding the hashtag “#realmenwearmasks.”
Some Republicans have shunned masks because Mr. Trump has declined to wear them and stressed that doing so was voluntary. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” he said in April. On Tuesday, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Senate Health Committee, appealed to the president to wear one.
The new entreaties follow months of misinformation, debate and confusion about the question of wearing a mask. Early in the pandemic, government officials instructed Americans not to buy or wear masks. In April, they revised that guidance, advising that cloth face coverings were recommended.
Most of the public does not appear to have an aversion to masks. In a New York Times/Siena College poll published last week, 54 percent of people said they always wear a mask when they expect to be in proximity to other people, while another 22 percent said they usually wear a mask. Masks will soon be mandated in at least 19 states.
Mr. Trump spoke less skeptically about masks on Wednesday than he has in the past. Asked whether Americans should be required to wear them, he said: “Well, I don’t know if you need mandatory because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks. I think masks are good. I would wear one if I were in a group of people and I was close.”
Mr. Trump said that he had worn a mask before, but that it was usually not necessary, because he and anyone allowed near him were regularly tested. “But if I were in a tight situation with people, I would, absolutely,” he said.
Mr. Trump added that he “sort of liked” the way he looked in a mask.
“It was a dark black mask,” he said, “and I thought it looked OK. I looked like the Lone Ranger.”
Mr. Trump also said on Wednesday that he believed the virus was “going to sort of just disappear,” even as cases rise rapidly across the nation.
Will Europe’s economy recover faster than America’s? The debate is on.
The pandemic has turned the world into a giant laboratory of competing systems, each with its own way of fighting the virus and mitigating its economic damage. The contrast between Europe and the United States has been particularly stark.
After the devastating financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the United States recovered much more quickly than Europe, which suffered a double-dip recession. This time, many economists say Europe may have the edge.
Much of Europe resorted to strict lockdowns that mostly beat back the virus but capsized economies. In the United States, President Trump has prioritized getting the economy moving even as infections multiply.
The main reason America did well after the financial crisis was the rapid response of the government and the flexible nature of the American economy, which was quick to fire workers but also to hire them again. Europe, with built-in social insurance, tries to keep workers from layoffs through subsidies to employers, making it harder to fire and more expensive to rehire.
But this is a different kind of collapse, a mandated shutdown in response to a pandemic, driving down both supply and demand simultaneously. And that difference creates the possibility that the European response, freezing the economy in place, might work better this time.
“It’s an important debate,’’ said Jean Pisani-Ferry, a senior economist with Bruegel in Brussels and the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This isn’t a normal recession, and there’s a lot you don’t know, especially if the virus comes back.’’
New Zealand’s health minister, who breached a lockdown, resigns.
New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark, resigned on Thursday, saying that his missteps during the pandemic had become a distraction for the government.
Mr. Clark had been criticized for traveling during a national lockdown and mishandling the quarantine of visitors at the border. He was widely seen as a blemish on what health experts say has otherwise been one of the world’s most successful responses to the outbreak.
“It has become increasingly clear to me that my continuation in the role is distracting from the government’s overall response to Covid-19,” Mr. Clark told reporters in the capital, Wellington, on Thursday. “With the focus shifting to containing the virus at the border, it is appropriate for me to move on.”
In March, New Zealand closed its borders and imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns during the early stages of its outbreak. By June, it had virtually eradicated community transmission and lifted all restrictions.
But after a long streak with no new cases, a few have emerged in recent days, including two that were reported on Thursday, from travelers who entered the country and went into isolation. The country now has 1,528 confirmed infections and 22 deaths.
In April, Mr. Clark courted public ire by going mountain biking on a public trail during the lockdown. He then admitted that he had also visited the beach with his family, and offered to resign.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stripped Mr. Clark of a portfolio but kept him in her cabinet, saying that a lack of continuity would have hurt the government’s response.
Public criticism of Mr. Clark resumed after he blamed the recent failures to contain new cases at the border on the country’s popular director general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, who has been praised for his calm manner. Videos of Dr. Bloomfield looking dejected behind Mr. Clark further angered New Zealanders.
Ms. Ardern said on Thursday that she had accepted Mr. Clark’s resignation. “David has put the interests of the team ahead of his own,” she said. “We cannot afford any diversions from our objectives.”
Texas cities are in crisis mode as the state’s caseloads surge.
Surging infection rates have thrown Texas cities into crisis mode ahead of the July Fourth weekend. The state has recorded more than 174,000 cases and 2,518 deaths. More than 8,000 new cases were announced across Texas on Wednesday, surpassing the previous daily record set on Tuesday.
With some hospitals near capacity, officials have been forced to bring in health care reinforcements from out of state. Ambulances in Houston have been waiting up to an hour to unload patients at emergency rooms, officials said.
“The cases continue to increase in a manner that we just cannot sustain,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim medical director of the Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “Cases are skyrocketing across the state of Texas.”
In Galveston, city officials announced the closure of beaches for the July Fourth weekend. Organizers announced the cancellation of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, describing the move as the only “responsible solution.” This year’s South by Southwest, the city’s internationally acclaimed film, music and interactive conference, was canceled in March.
The Texas Republican Executive Committee will meet Thursday night to consider shifting its in-person state convention in July to a virtual event, said the state party chairman, James Dickey. The Texas Medical Association has called for cancellation of the Houston event, which could draw 4,000 to 6,000 delegates.
Texas moved swiftly to reopen, but as cases surged, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” when it comes to the state’s handling of the pandemic.
Mr. Patrick made the comments in an interview with Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host, after Dr. Fauci told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that some states were moving “too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints.”
In other news from around the country:
Officials rushing to contain a coronavirus cluster tied to a party in a New York City suburb used an unusual legal strategy: issuing subpoenas to partygoers.
In Pennsylvania, the governor announced Wednesday that the state would require people to wear masks whenever they leave home, effective immediately.
More than 1,500 new cases were announced Wednesday in Tennessee, a single-day record.
Congress is investigating about a dozen medical laboratories and emergency rooms for potential virus test price gouging. In a letter sent Wednesday afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce committee asked 11 health care providers, including two laboratories that were the subjects of New York Times articles, to submit information on testing prices.
Correction: An earlier version of this item misstated the number of deaths related to Covid-19 in Texas. More than 2,500 deaths have been recorded there, not at least 24,000.
California halts indoor dining for more than 70 percent of its population.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that he was closing down bars and indoor dining in 19 counties, pulling back reopening for more than 70 percent of the state’s population. He also ordered the closure of indoor operations in wineries and tasting rooms, zoos, museums and card rooms. The closures, he said, would remain in place for at least three weeks.
More than 37,000 new cases have been announced over the last week in California.
In Los Angeles County, the public health department announced Monday the closure of all “public beaches, piers, public beach parking lots, beach bike paths that traverse that sanded portion of the beach, and beach access points.” The county has been averaging more than 2,100 new cases per day over the last week. More than 100,000 people have been infected in that county, up from about 56,000 at the start of June.
Mr. Newsom also said parking lots at beaches across the state would be closed for the Fourth of July weekend. He implored the public to avoid gatherings with people who are not part of their immediate households during the holiday weekend.
“Patriotism in a Covid-19 environment can be expressed a little bit differently,” he said.
Apple said on Wednesday that it would close 30 more of its stores in seven states, including California, Georgia and Nevada, adding to the 16 stores already closed around the country. Apple has 271 stores in the United States.
As Iran’s hospitals fill with virus patients, its cities are locking back down.
The Iranian government, already struggling under the weight of international sanctions, has been especially reluctant to lock down. Its president once said the economy must remain open because Iran “did not have a second option.”
But on Wednesday, as infections surged, hospitals filled and the death toll climbed, Iranian officials announced new shutdown measures in cities across 11 provinces.
Health ministry officials said eight provinces, including Tehran, the capital, were now considered red zones.
Dr. Alireza Zali, head of Tehran’s virus management committee, told local news media that he had requested a partial shutdown for Tehran that would limit movement, cut back work hours and ban large gatherings like weddings and funerals.
And wearing a mask in public spaces will be mandatory as of next week.
“It’s because of a change in numbers in the past week for people infected, hospitalized and death rates,” Dr. Zali said. Tehran, he reported, has had a nearly 8 percent increase in hospitalization in the past 24 hours.
In April, Iran shut down for several weeks. But the next month, worried about the economy, it lifted restrictions, even though the country had not met any of the benchmarks health experts set out for reopenings, among them a steady decline in the number of new infections or contact and tracing measures.
As the country reopened, many Iranians abandoned measures like wearing masks and social distancing and essentially resumed ordinary life. But cases began to spike after about a month — and they have been steadily increasing since. On average, said the deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, one Iranian dies every 10 minutes from Covid-19, and every 35 seconds one contracts the virus.
As of Wednesday, the country had 230,211 confirmed cases and nearly 11,000 deaths.
Here are other developments from around the globe:
In Australia, the state of Victoria reported 77 new cases on Thursday, the most so far in an outbreak around Melbourne that has forced 300,000 people back into lockdown.
Japan reported 125 new cases on Wednesday, as the national caseload approached 19,000. NHK, the national broadcaster, said that there were 107 new infections in Tokyo on Thursday.
The European Union reopened its borders on Wednesday to visitors from 15 countries, excluding the United States, Russia and Brazil.
The Hebron region of the West Bank accounts for more than 80 percent of active virus cases in the territory, and the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry reported Wednesday that it had recorded 199 new cases, bringing the number of active cases there to 1,804.
Spain and Portugal are officially reopening their land border, an event that will be attended by King Felipe VI and the prime ministers of both countries. The border had been closed since mid-March, and Spain reopened its border with France on June 2.
In Israel, the Health Ministry announced that it recorded 773 cases on Tuesday — the highest daily case count since the virus first emerged in the country.
A pediatric group has a message: Get children back to school this fall. Here’s why.
The American Academy of Pediatrics made a splash this week with advice about reopening schools that appears to be somewhat at odds with what administrators are hearing from some federal and state health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that remote learning is the safest option. But the academy’s guidelines strongly recommend that students be “physically present in school” as much as possible and emphasize that there are major health, social and educational risks to keeping children at home.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrics infectious disease specialist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, helped write the academy’s guidelines. He is a father of two and a survivor of Covid-19 who is still experiencing some symptoms after he and his wife contracted the coronavirus in March.
“I absolutely take this seriously,” Dr. O’Leary said. “I’m still sick.” But he explained why the academy was emphasizing the need to get students back in classrooms.
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. O’ Leary discussed the importance of physical school, how the academy’s guidance compared with that of the C.D.C., next steps for schools and more.
“Reopening schools is so important for the kids, but really for the entire community,” he said. “So much of our world relies on kids being in school and parents being able to work.”
Late action on virus prompts fears over safety of U.S. diplomats in Saudi Arabia.
Inside the sprawling American Embassy compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a coronavirus outbreak was spreading. Dozens of embassy employees became sick last month, and more than 20 others were quarantined after a birthday barbecue became a potential vector for the spread of the disease.
A Sudanese driver for the top diplomats died.
A bleak analysis from within the embassy that circulated in closed channels in Riyadh and Washington late last month likened the coronavirus situation in Saudi Arabia to that of New York City in March, when an outbreak was set to explode.
Some in the embassy even took the extraordinary step of conveying information to Congress outside official channels, saying that they did not believe the State Department’s leadership or the American ambassador to the kingdom, John P. Abizaid, were taking the situation seriously enough, and that most American Embassy employees and their families should be evacuated.
The episode, based on accounts from eight current and one former official, highlights the perils facing American diplomacy with a global pandemic still raging, and the frictions between front-line diplomats, intelligence officers and defense officials on one side and senior Trump administration officials on the other who are eager to preserve relations with nations like Saudi Arabia that have special ties with the Trump White House.
Saudi Arabia has reported about 4,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, among the fastest-growing caseloads in the world. Despite that, the government has ended lockdown measures.
‘Celebrate at home’: A Fourth of July plea as U.S. cases skyrocket.
Health officials are urging Americans to scale back Independence Day plans as virus case levels reach disheartening new highs, with eight states setting single-day reporting records on Tuesday.
“The safest choice this holiday is to celebrate at home,” said the Oregon Health Authority.
For Nebraskans planning to host cookouts, state leaders offered this sobering advice: Keep the guest list. It makes contact tracing easier.
And in Los Angeles County, the public health department ordered fireworks shows canceled.
The community was just one of many across the country to pull the plug on fireworks.
As many as 80 percent of displays have been canceled over concerns that social distancing would be too difficult. The 150 companies that were to put on the shows have now joined the long list of American businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
Researchers debate infecting people on purpose to test vaccines.
One way to quickly see if a coronavirus vaccine works would be to immunize healthy people and then deliberately expose them to the virus, some researchers are suggesting.
Proponents say this strategy, called a human challenge trial, could save time because rather than conducting tests the usual way — by waiting for vaccinated people to encounter the virus naturally — researchers could intentionally infect them.
Challenge trials have been used to test vaccines for typhoid, cholera, malaria and other diseases. For malaria, volunteers have stuck their arms into chambers full of mosquitoes to be bitten and infected. But there were so-called rescue medicines to cure those who got sick. There is no cure for Covid-19.
For both ethical and practical reasons, the idea of challenge trials for a coronavirus vaccine has provoked fierce debate.
In a draft report published last month, the World Health Organization said that challenge trials could yield important information, but that they would be daunting to run because of the potential of the coronavirus “to cause severe and fatal illness and its high transmissibility.”
The report, by a 19-member advisory panel, provided detailed guidelines about the safest way to conduct challenge trials, recommending that they be limited to healthy people ages 18 to 25 because they have the least risk of severe illness or death from the virus. The virus would be dripped into their noses.
But the panel also said its members split nearly in half over several major issues. They were divided over whether trials should be carried out if no highly effective therapy had been identified to treat participants who got sick; over whether studies in healthy young adults could predict the efficacy of a vaccine in older people or other high-risk adults; and over whether challenge trials could really speed vaccine development.
How the plan to pool virus tests in the U.S. would work.
The Trump administration plans to adopt a decades-old testing strategy that will vastly increase the number of virus tests performed in the United States and permit widespread tracking of the virus as it surges across the country.
The method, called pooled testing, signals a paradigm shift. Instead of carefully rationing tests to only those with symptoms, pooled testing would enable frequent surveillance of asymptomatic people. Mass identification of coronavirus infections could hasten the reopening of schools, offices and factories.
“We’re in intensive discussions about how we’re going to do it,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said in an interview. “We hope to get this off the ground as soon as possible.”
Given the many advantages, experts said, health officials should have embraced pooled testing much sooner. The United States military has used the technique at its bases worldwide, and has done so since it first tested men for syphilis in the 1940s. Health officials in China, Germany, Israel and Thailand have all deployed pooled testing for the coronavirus.
Here’s how the technique works: A university, for example, takes samples from every one of its thousands of students by nasal swab, or perhaps saliva. Setting aside part of each individual’s sample, the lab combines the rest into a batch holding five to 10 samples each.
The pooled sample is tested for coronavirus infection. If a pool yields a positive result, the lab would retest the reserved parts of each individual sample that went into the pool, pinpointing the infected student.
The strategy could be employed for as little as $3 per person per day, according an estimate from economists at the University of California, Berkeley.
By testing large numbers of people at a fraction of the cost, time and necessary ingredients, pooled surveillance could be widely adopted by workplaces, religious organizations, and schools and universities seeking to reopen.
But Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that any testing strategy was unlikely to succeed without additional measures.
“What good is testing if the results take four days to come back and infectious people aren’t isolated in the interim?” he asked. “What good is testing if contact tracing doesn’t identify and warn exposed people quickly?”
The W.H.O. raises alarm about a U.S. deal to buy up the global supply of remdesivir.
The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday over an arrangement for the United States to buy up almost all supplies of the drug remdesivir through the end of September.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O.’s health emergencies program, said the agency was trying to verify the details, announced on Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services and the drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences. The deal most likely contradicts the W.H.O.’s policy that treatments and vaccines for the virus should be distributed equitably to the most needy.
“Obviously, there are many people around the world who are very sick with this disease, and we want to make sure that everybody has access to the necessary lifesaving interventions,” Dr. Ryan said.
Remdesivir has been shown to help people recover somewhat faster. On Monday, federal officials announced that more than 500,000 treatment courses would be reserved for American hospitals through September. That accounts for all of Gilead’s projected production in July, and 90 percent in August and September.
“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for Covid-19,” said Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services. “To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it.”
The W.H.O. also reported on Wednesday that countries in its Eastern Mediterranean region, especially those in conflict zones, are facing a growing crisis.One million people in the region have been infected with the virus, and the number of cases reported in June exceeded the number reported from the previous four months combined.
Congress extends small-business loan program for five weeks.
The House agreed on Wednesday to extend for five weeks a pandemic relief loan program for small businesses, sending President Trump legislation to give companies more time to apply for federal help under an initiative created by the stimulus law.
The move to extend the Paycheck Protection Program through Aug. 8, which allows small businesses to secure low-interest loans to help maintain their payrolls, came as Republicans and Democrats remained divided over how much additional federal assistance to provide to businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus and the economic hardship it has caused.
The program was expected to end on Tuesday with more than $130 billion in loan money unspent, after allocating $520 billion in loans to nearly five million businesses nationwide. But hours before, senators unexpectedly reached agreement to Democratic demands for a five-week extension. The House cleared it on Wednesday afternoon without a formal vote.
NEW YORK ROUNDUP
N.Y.C. will not resume indoor dining, officials say.
With the virus spreading rapidly in other large states like Florida and Texas, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would not resume indoor dining at restaurants next week as planned.
The decision comes as officials are becoming increasingly concerned that the increase in cases in more than 30 states could trickle back to New York, which has managed to rein in the outbreak.
“Indoors is the problem more and more,” Mr. de Blasio said, adding, that “the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse,” and that restaurants should “double down” on outdoor dining.
Shortly afterward, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agreed that bringing back indoor dining in the city was “imprudent,” pointing to the rising rates of infection elsewhere that he said were “storm clouds on the horizon.”
Indoor dining could resume, he said, once more citizens complied with wearing masks and social distancing, and when case numbers nationally stabilized.
On Tuesday, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut called on travelers from 16 states, including the nation’s three largest — California, Florida and Texas — to quarantine for 14 days after arriving.
Elsewhere in New York:
Statewide, all New Yorkers can get tested, the governor said; there were also 11 additional virus-related deaths. New York City had previously allowed anyone to be tested.
New York City beaches reopened Wednesday and will open 15 public pools with social distancing guidelines, the mayor said, starting with three pools on July 24 in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The 12 other pools will open Aug. 1.
In New Jersey, a family’s 73-year-old matriarch, three of her 11 children and her sister all died of Covid-19. Her survivors are focused on finding a remedy. Statewide, there were an additional 45 virus-related deaths, the governor said Wednesday.
As cases surge in Florida, Miami-area hospital workers fear being ‘inundated.’
On Wednesday, Florida reported more than 6,500 new cases, as hospitals sounded the alarm about seeing their beds increasingly filled with Covid-19 patients. Jackson Memorial, Miami’s biggest public hospital, announced that beginning on Monday, it would stop elective surgeries except for those deemed urgent, in order to cope with its Covid-19 caseload, which has doubled over the past two weeks.
“If the trends continue the way we are, we will be inundated,” Carlos Migoya, the hospital’s president and chief executive, told the Miami-Dade County Commission.
Before the Fourth of July weekend, a handful of counties announced that the beaches would be closed. In some places, parks will also be off limits. Traditional mass gatherings to watch fireworks have been canceled.
In Miami-Dade, which has seen more than 1,400 new cases a day, Mayor Carlos Gimenez banned restaurants from selling food or drink after midnight. Over the holiday weekend, hotel pools will have to close at 8 p.m., and alcohol sales will be prohibited before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m. “There is no more patriotic an act than protecting the lives of everyone in our county,” Mr. Gimenez said in a statement.
High prices for virus tests prompt a congressional inquiry.
Congress is investigating about a dozen medical laboratories and emergency rooms for potential virus test price gouging.
In a letter sent Wednesday afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce committee chairman, Frank Pallone Jr., asked 11 health care providers to submit information on testing prices. Two laboratories that were the subject of recent New York Times articles — Gibson Diagnostic Labs and Genesis Laboratory — are among those receiving the letter.
Gibson has charged as much as $2,315 for one coronavirus test. Patients who thought they were getting tested for coronavirus by Genesis Laboratory found themselves billed for many additional tests, including for herpes, enterovirus and Legionnaires’ disease.
The recent CARES Act requires that insurers cover the full cost of coronavirus testing, with no co-pays or deductibles required from the patient. The health plans must also pay an out-of-network doctor’s office or lab its full charge so long as the provider posts that “cash price” online.
That’s meant to ensure patients don’t receive surprise bills, but health policy experts worry that it may unintentionally give some providers the green light to set exceptionally high charges. Mr. Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, has requested a response to his letter by July 10.
The lieutenant governor of Texas, where cases are surging, claims Fauci ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’
As cases surge in Texas, the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, claimed that Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” when it comes to the state’s handling of the worsening pandemic.
Mr. Patrick made the comments in an interview with Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host, on Tuesday evening after Dr. Fauci laid out a grim assessment of the crisis in testimony on Capitol Hill. Dr. Fauci warned that new infections could more than double to 100,000 a day, and that outbreaks in the South and the West could put “the entire country at risk” if not contained.
Mr. Patrick claimed that Dr. Fauci “has been wrong every time on every issue.” He added: “I don’t need his advice anymore.” He spoke on a day that Texas added more than 7,900 new cases, a new record.
Texas, which moved swiftly to reopen, has emerged as one of the new centers of the pandemic, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to roll back part of the state’s phased reopening plans by ordering the closure of bars and reducing capacity at restaurants.
Dr. Fauci told lawmakers that states that try to reopen again need to carefully follow national guidance for containing the virus. Some states, he said, are moving “too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints.”
Mr. Patrick took issue with that, saying: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”
Texas Democrats countered that it was Mr. Patrick who did not know what he was talking about.
“He’s the least credible politician in Texas history,” said Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. “Texans should listen to science, Fauci’s warnings, wear a mask, make sure your grandparents don’t die for the economy, and ignore Patrick once again, like we usually do.”
Wall Street starts the second half of 2020 on uneasy ground.
On Wednesday, stocks inched higher as investors started a new quarter on a cautious note, balancing tentative signs of economic resilience and a steady climb in virus cases in the United States.
The S&P 500 rose slightly, while European markets were modestly lower, following a mixed day in Asia.
The first half of 2020 proved to be unpredictable as stocks on Wall Street experienced their biggest quarter-to-quarter swing in more than 80 years, propelled by the global pandemic and economic shutdowns, followed by extra big helpings of fiscal stimulus by central banks. In the three months that just ended, the S&P 500 rose 20 percent, the best calendar quarter for the broad market index since 1998.
And on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to extend the application period for a relief program for small businesses, granting five additional weeks for the remaining money in the program to be spent. The program still has about $130 billion available.
But the direction of stocks for the rest of the year is a mystery. There’s so much uncertainty about the virus that roughly 40 percent of the S&P 500, about 200 companies, have withdrawn their customary forecasts about how their businesses will perform in the months ahead, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.
The companies’ silence has unnerved analysts, who have already axed their expectations for profit growth substantially. They’re now expecting that second-quarter profits will fall more than 40 percent, according to numbers compiled by the data provider FactSet.
Time to give your home a good scrubbing.
There’s no way around it: When you rarely leave home, things get dirty faster. Here are some tips for a good deep-cleaning.
Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Ben Casselman, Niraj Chokshi, Emily Cochrane, Michael Cooper, Michael Crowley, Sopan Deb, Steven Erlanger, Farnaz Fassihi, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Sheri Fink, Thomas Fuller, Elaine Glusac, Dana Goldstein, Makiko Inoue, Joseph Goldstein, Denise Grady, Jenny Gross, Shawn Hubler, Sarah Kliff, Isabella Kwai, Iliana Magra, Patricia Mazzei, Mark Mazzetti, Jesse McKinley, Raphael Minder, David Montgomery, Claire Moses, Sharon Otterman, Matt Phillips, Adam Rasgon, Motoko Rich, Amanda Rosa, Brian M. Rosenthal, Dagny Salas, Michael D. Shear, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jim Tankersley, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Tracey Tully, David Waldstein, Noah Weiland, Billy Witz, Edward Wong and Karen Zraick.
View original article here Source