Confirmed virus cases in the U.S. surpass 6 million.
It took more than three months for the United States to reach one million coronavirus cases after reporting its first confirmed infection, but less than a third of that time to notch the latest million-case leap.
On Sunday, the United States hit yet another milestone, with six million reported cases, according to a New York Times database.
But while the virus continues to spread relentlessly, raising tensions as states and school systems take ginger steps toward normalcy, the newest numbers provide evidence that the outbreak may be slowing.
It took 16 days, for example, for U.S. cases to climb to five million from four million. And new daily cases have been going down since the end of July.
Still, U.S. case numbers remain at the top of the global chart, accounting for almost a quarter of the 25 million cases.
And while daily death reports in the United States remain far below the peak they hit in the spring, the cumulative toll is closing in on 200,000. Daily death counts in August more than doubled the average for early July.
|United States ›||On Sept. 29||14-day
Where cases are
The F.D.A. chief confirms his agency’s willingness to approve a vaccine before human trials are complete.
Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who has been under pressure from the White House to speed coronavirus treatments, said in a newspaper interview that his agency would be willing to approve a coronavirus vaccine before Phase 3 clinical trials were complete if the agency found it “appropriate” to do so.
Dr. Hahn told the newspaper that a vaccine developer could apply for approval before the end of Phase 3 clinical trials, which are the largest and most rigorous, but that the agency would make “a science, medicine, data decision” and might issue emergency authorization for use for particularly vulnerable groups rather than a blanket approval.
“This is not going to be a political decision,” he said.
Dr. Hahn’s comments, published online on Sunday by The Financial Times, were not his first indication that the agency could fast-track a vaccine under the right circumstances, which would not be out of line with the agency’s standard protocols. But the interview came at the end of a particularly turbulent week for the F.D.A.
Last weekend, after President Trump criticized the agency for moving too slowly to develop vaccines and treatments and accused it of being part of the “deep state,” Dr. Hahn appeared with Mr. Trump at a news conference where they made erroneous claims that overstated the benefits of plasma treatments for Covid-19, prompting a wave of scientific disbelief and criticism.
Dr. Hahn later corrected the misleading claims. On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of the F.D.A., terminated the contract of a public relations consultant who had advised Dr. Hahn to issue the correction, and the F.D.A.’s chief spokeswoman, who had been on the job for just 11 days, was removed from her position.
Last week, The Times reported that, on July 30, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, that a vaccine would probably be given emergency approval before the end of Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States, perhaps as early as late September.
The account was based on information from two people briefed on the discussion, who said that Mr. Meadows indicated it would most likely be the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which is now undergoing Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. However, senior administration officials disputed the account, saying Mr. Meadows and Mr. Mnuchin were either being misrepresented or had been misunderstood.
Last week, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, told The Times of London that three vaccine candidates at the heart of Operation Warp Speed, the White House’s effort to speed vaccine development, were lined up for testing and that getting results by November or December was “a safe bet.” He also said that it was “conceivable that we would get an answer before that.”
The former F.D.A. commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the agency leadership could not “obviate” the process of approval. But he also said that the trials could “read out early” if the data shows a particular vaccine to be “very effective” and such results might allow emergency authorization for vulnerable populations.
Some experts fear that rapid approval could have unintended consequences. In a letter to Dr. Hahn dated Aug. 26, the Infectious Disease Society of America, an association of infectious disease doctors, warned that approval before the completion of a Phase 3 trial “could significantly undermine Covid-19 vaccination efforts and seriously erode confidence in all vaccines in the current atmosphere of vaccine hesitancy.”
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Sunday that she hoped Americans would want to receive a coronavirus vaccine once they saw data that proved it was safe and effective. In the meantime, she urged people to continue wearing masks and taking other precautions.
“Don’t wait for the vaccine to do the right thing,” she said in St. Paul, Minn., after meeting with Gov. Tim Walz.
“I’m hopeful for a vaccine, but I’m also very convinced right now that we can stop community spread by wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding crowds,” she said.
New Delhi’s subway is reopening even as India’s daily cases set global records.
Five months after shutting down the subway in New Delhi, India is reopening the city’s underground rail network, even as the country continues to set global records for the greatest number of new daily confirmed cases.
India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, is loosening some restrictions in parts of the country while adding others aimed at thwarting the virus.
“This is good news,” said Anuradha Raman, a college student in New Delhi. “But people are also scared, because we don’t follow social distance guidelines here.”
Indian officials say the steep rise in confirmed infections is partly explained by an increase in testing. More than 64,000 Indians have died from Covid-19, according to a Times database, surpassing Mexico as the country with the third-highest number of deaths after the United States and Brazil.
Arvind Kejriwal, New Delhi’s chief minister, said he was glad the subway, which is used by 2.6 million commuters a day, was resuming service. But the capital also recorded more than 2,000 new cases on Sunday, its largest daily tally in 51 days.
It was not clear whether subways in other cities would also resume service.
While sports events and religious festivals have been allowed with restrictions on attendance, the country’s schools will remain closed until the end of September.
Other coronavirus developments around the world:
Global confirmed cases have surpassed 25 million, reaching 25,125,300, according to a Times database, and at least 845,000 people have died. The 10 countries reporting the highest per capita infections in the last week are largely clustered in the Caribbean (Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Sint Maarten) and in Central and South America (Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Panama). The Maldives, Bahrain and Israel are also in that category.
New Zealand reported nine new cases on Monday, including four imported cases and five community cases linked to a cluster in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, which came out of lockdown late Sunday after more than two weeks. Monday is also the first day it is mandatory to wear masks on public transportation nationwide.
Australia reported its highest daily death toll on Monday, most of them deaths from the past month that had not been recorded earlier. Of the 41 deaths — all of them in the state of Victoria, the center of Australia’s worst outbreak — eight were in the previous 24 hours, officials said. The rest occurred in nursing homes as early as late July but are being counted now because of a change in the way they are required to report coronavirus deaths. Australia has had almost 26,000 cases and 652 deaths, according to a Times database.
President Trump retweets a barrage of false claims, including some about the pandemic.
Almost 183,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. But President Trump retweeted multiple messages overnight and Sunday morning by people embracing fringe conspiracy theories claiming the death toll has been grossly exaggerated.
The reposted messages, decidedly at odds with government and other tallies, assert that the virus’s real death toll is only around 9,000 because many of those who died also had other health issues and most were of an advanced age.
“So get this straight — based on the recommendation of doctors Fauci and Birx the US shut down the entire economy based on 9,000 American deaths to the China coronavirus,” said the summary of a story by the hard-line conservative website Gateway Pundit that was retweeted by the president, assailing his own health advisers, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. Deborah L. Birx.
In fact, experts say, the official estimate of deaths may actually undercount mortality attributable to Covid-19. The more accurate figure may well exceed 200,000, according to an analysis by The Times earlier this month.
There were at least 370 new coronavirus deaths and 33,239 new cases reported in the United States on Sunday, according to a database maintained by the The Times.
Twitter deleted one of the tweets that Mr. Trump reposted advancing this claim, replacing it with a message: “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”
Mr. Trump also retweeted a message calling for New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, to be imprisoned because of the high death toll from the virus in nursing homes in the state. “#KillerCuomo should be in jail,” said the message by the actor James Woods, a strong supporter of the president.
Mr. Cuomo responded on his own Twitter feed a few hours later, pointing to the Trump administration’s failure to contain the pandemic. “The White House has learned nothing from COVID,” Mr. Cuomo wrote. “National threats require national leadership. It’s been 6 months without a national strategy on testing or mask mandate. Only the federal government has the power to go to war with COVID. They are failing and the nation suffers.”
Mr. Trump’s tweets were part of more than 80 presidential tweets and retweets, many of them inflammatory comments or assertions about violent clashes in Portland, Ore., where a man wearing the hat of a far-right, pro-Trump group was shot and killed Saturday after a large group of Mr. Trump’s supporters gathered in the streets.
Where can you find hot spots now? Look near big universities.
Take a look at the places where the coronavirus is spreading fastest in the U.S. relative to population, and you’ll see that many have something worrisome in common: Nearly half of the top 20 metropolitan areas where new cases per capita rose the most over the past two weeks are college towns, home to the reopened campuses of large public universities.
The trend has prompted municipal officials to reimpose restrictions on businesses, especially bars, to slow outbreaks that they attribute mostly to young adults.
The starkest so far has been Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University. The school found 104 cases on campus in the first week of fall classes and quarantined 204 more people. Officials also reported a 13.6 percent positivity rate for tests performed in the first week.
Iowa City is also on the list. The University of Iowa had 607 students test positive by last Friday, a week into the semester. The outbreaks at the two universities prompted Gov. Kim Reynolds to order bars closed through most of September in six Iowa counties.
In small cities with large schools, per capita rates can be somewhat exaggerated, if students are counted among the city’s virus cases but not in its overall population. Even so, the recent spikes in college towns pose significant dangers.
Other college towns with the greatest increases in cases relative to their populations include Oxford, Miss.; Lawrence, Kan.; Auburn, Ala.; Pullman, Wash.; Statesboro, Ga.; and Grand Forks, N.D.
In other education news:
In Philadelphia, Temple University announced on Sunday that it would suspend in-person classes for two weeks and shift to online learning after more than 100 students tested positive for the virus. The university said it had conducted more than 5,000 tests for the virus during the past two weeks and that there were 103 active cases, most of which were asymptomatic.
The University of Alabama has reported that more than 1,000 students at its main campus in Tuscaloosa have tested positive. Even before the latest count, the university’s president said in a message to faculty, students and staff members that “there is an unacceptable rise in positive Covid cases on our campus.” In his latest message to the community, on Wednesday, he wrote that “we all want to remain on campus throughout this fall, but we can only do so with your daily assistance.”
SUNY Oneonta, a public college in central New York, closed down in-person classes within a few days of reopening. The college took the step after learning of more than 100 coronavirus cases connected with the campus. Officials began testing 3,000 students and faculty members after “several large parties” and positive tests for 20 people on campus. Fall classes at the school began last week.
A U.S. Open unlike any other is about to get underway in New York.
The U.S. Open is always a showcase for grace under pressure, but as tennis officials in New York prepare for it to get underway Monday, the stakes are a lot higher.
This year, the Open is not merely a tennis tournament but a grand experiment that may show what is possible for many international sports during the pandemic.
New York may be rooting especially hard for the Open to prove a success, since it is taking place as the local sports calendar heats up.
After the tennis tournament ends on Sept. 13, the world’s top golfers will arrive in the New York City area for their U.S. Open, which will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester County.
In baseball, the Yankees may have a good shot at the playoffs in October.
And later in the year, the N.H.L. and the N.B.A., home to five teams in the region, want to start playing in their arenas again.
The United States Tennis Association realized months ago that this year’s U.S. Open would be unlike anything they had ever experienced — if they could stage it at all.
For one thing, it soon became clear that whatever happened at the cavernous stadiums of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, fans would not be part of it.
Players, who began arriving in mid-August for a smaller tournament held before the U.S. Open, are mostly cloistered in a Long Island hotel, prohibited even from sharing an outdoor table with friends.
But already one player has withdrawn from the tournament after testing positive for the virus.
The U.S. will revive a global virus-hunting effort abandoned last year.
A worldwide virus-hunting program allowed to expire last year by the Trump administration, just before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, will have a second life — whatever the outcome of the presidential election.
The Obama-era program, called Predict, searched for dangerous new animal viruses in bat caves, camel pens, wet markets and wildlife-smuggling routes around the globe.
USAID, the government agency that let Predict lapse last October, has quietly created a $100 million program with a similar purpose set to begin in October. It will be called Stop Spillover.
And Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised that, if elected, he will restore Predict.
The program’s expiration came just weeks before the advent of the pandemic, and its termination prompted wide criticism among scientists, who noted that the coronavirus is exactly the sort of catastrophic animal virus the program was designed to head off.
In a speech on Thursday, ahead of the last night of the Republican National Convention, Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, briefly alluded to the controversy.
“Barack Obama and Joe Biden had a program, called Predict, that tracked emerging diseases in places like China,” she said. “Trump cut it.”
Dennis Carroll, Predict’s creator and director, retired from government service when the program shut down. In an interview on Friday, he said Predict was closed by “risk-averse bureaucrats who were trying to divine what the Trump administration did and didn’t want.”
Dr. Carroll is now a fellow at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M in College Station and an informal adviser on global health to the Biden campaign.
On Friday, a USAID spokeswoman, Pooja Jhunjhunwala, denied that Predict had been canceled and said it simply came to the end of its 10-year “life cycle.”
Ms. Jhunjhunwala said that Stop Spillover “is not a revival of Predict, nor a follow-on project,” but that it was designed to “implement the scientific gains of Predict to reduce the risk of viral spillover.”
Also, on Thursday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced that it would spend $82 million over five years to create 11 centers in which American and foreign scientists would collaborate to hunt emerging diseases.
“Yes, it’s like Predict, but it wasn’t the cancellation of Predict that inspired it,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the institute.
‘The demand is insane.’ New Yorkers flee to the suburbs, hefty wallets in tow.
Over three days in late July, a three-bedroom house in East Orange, N.J., was listed for sale for $285,000, had 97 showings, received 24 offers and went under contract for 21 percent over that price. On Long Island, six people made offers on a house listed at $499,000 in Valley Stream without seeing it in person after it was shown on a Facebook Live video.
Since the pandemic began, the suburbs around New York City have experienced enormous demand for homes of all prices, a surge unlike any in recent memory, according to officials, real estate agents and residents.
In July, there was a 44 percent increase in home sales for the suburban counties surrounding the city compared with the previous year, according to Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. The increase was 112 percent in Westchester, just north of New York City, and 73 percent in Fairfield County, Conn., just over the state border.
“The people from New York are coming with a sense of urgency, and the thing they want is space,” said James Hughes, a real estate agent in New Jersey, who said that roughly 60 percent of potential buyers for his properties lived in the city. “The demand is insane.”
At the same time, the number of properties sold in Manhattan plummeted 56 percent, according to Miller Samuel.
The suburban demand, driven in part by New York City residents who are able to work remotely while offices are closed, raises unsettling questions about how fast the city will be able to recover from the pandemic.
Experts have predicted the city’s demise during past crises, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, only to be proven wrong. In fact, even as office towers in Manhattan remain largely empty because of the outbreak, some businesses, including Amazon and Facebook, are expanding their footprints, betting that workers will eventually return to their desks.
The New York Philharmonic is taking performances to the streets.
For months, the internet has been the New York Philharmonic’s only venue for performing, with many of its offerings including videos of individual pieces stitched together in “Brady Bunch”-like tiles.
That changed a bit this weekend, when a trio took their instruments to the streets and staged pop-up concerts in Brooklyn.
“I feel suddenly energized,” said Yulia Ziskel, the trio’s violinist.
Cynthia Phelps, the orchestra’s principal violist, agreed. “It’s a charge,” she said.
That may have been because as the musicians performed in Downtown Brooklyn on Friday evening, dark storm clouds loomed; at one point, orchestra administrators had to unfurl umbrellas over the musicians as they performed.
But the electricity in the air came more from the prospect of a genuine ensemble performance.
“This is the thing, to groove off each other,” Ms. Phelps said. “It’s not the same when we’re at home doing things over the internet.”
The Philharmonic had not given a public performance since the pandemic forced it to close in March. Its return comes in the form of a new venture called the NY Phil Bandwagon.
Over the next eight weeks, the Philharmonic plans to perform at three unannounced locations around New York City each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For the first one, Ms. Ziskel, Ms. Phelps and the third member of the trio, the cellist Sumire Kudo, arrived in front of the Brooklyn Academy of Music wearing red shirts and black masks.
It did not take long for a crowd to form.
But playing in the streets is a far cry from playing at the Philharmonic’s usual home, and so the musicians are prepared to do what musicians do best: improvise.
The look of ‘Covid toes’ varies on different skin colors, but the sample images were mostly white.
In the spring, teenagers started showing up at U.S. doctors’ offices with angry red and purple blisters on their fingers and toes — the latest unexpected feature of the coronavirus. Suddenly photographs of so-called Covid toes were everywhere on social media.
But almost all of the images depicted glossy pink lesions on white skin. Though people of color have been affected disproportionately by the pandemic, pictures of Covid toes on dark skin were curiously hard to find.
The problem isn’t unique to Covid toes or social media. Although progress has been made in recent years, most textbooks that serve as road maps for diagnosing skin disorders often don’t include images of skin conditions as they appear on people of color.
It’s a glaring omission that can lead to misdiagnoses and unnecessary suffering.
“Pattern recognition is central to dermatology, and a lot of the pattern recognition is training your eye to recognize certain colors that trigger you to think of certain diseases,” said Dr. Jenna Lester, the director of the skin of color program at the University of California, San Francisco.
As the coronavirus spread, dermatologists started an international registry to catalog examples of skin manifestations of Covid-19. It included more than 700 images, but only 34 of disorders in Hispanic patients and 13 in Black patients were submitted.
It wasn’t until July that Dr. Roxana Daneshjou and her colleagues at Stanford University published some of the first pictures of Covid toes in nonwhite patients, in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
“We know for certain that if dark skin images are not well represented, skin doctors — but also other doctors who are not skin experts — are at a disadvantage for making a proper diagnosis,” said Dr. Hao Feng, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Connecticut.
Facing the pandemic’s limitations, some world-class athletes have grown stronger.
The Times’s Jeré Longman talked to five elite athletes — a shot-putter, a long-distance runner, a swimmer, a discus thrower and a baseball outfielder — who have found ways to turn the limitations of the pandemic into benefits.
Ryan Crouser, the 2016 Olympic shot-put champion, had expected to defend his gold medal in Tokyo this summer. He did not expect to enter bass-fishing tournaments as a way to feed his competitive bend that was being stifled by a pandemic.
“Finished in the money three of the last four tournaments,” Mr. Crouser, 27, who lives in Fayetteville, Ark., said in a telephone interview.
Many Olympic sports lost their primary showcase with the postponement of this year’s Tokyo Games. The annual international circuit for dozens of sports were also disrupted. Some athletes, their motivation sagging, decided to throw in the towel and resume serious training in the fall.
But not everyone.
On July 18, after driving 10 hours to compete in one of the rare track meets held this summer, Mr. Crouser unleashed the best throw of his life — 75 feet 2 inches, or 22.91 meters — which tied for the fourth-best throw of all time.
He is one of many athletes who have performed as well as or better than ever despite the complications of the last several months. They say they feel refreshed by increased rest, less exhaustive travel, enhanced focus on training, healed injuries, creative improvisation and a less stressful perspective.
Claire Curzan, 16, an Olympic swimming hopeful from Raleigh, N.C., said it had been “almost a relief” when the Tokyo Games were postponed. After posting a top-20 time in the world last year in the 100-meter butterfly and reaching the medal podium at the world junior championships, she said she felt pressure to make the Olympic team “to make everyone proud.”
Yet when her club pool shut down in March, Ms. Curzan was forced to rethink her approach. She improvised her workouts, ran to maintain her stamina, and began focusing on improvement instead of international rankings. And perhaps most important, she slept at least nine hours per night instead of six or seven.
After resuming her usual workouts, Ms. Curzan posted four personal-best times at an intrasquad meet.
California, as its infection rate falls, becomes the first state to top 700,000 known cases.
California this weekend became the first state to pass 700,000 known coronavirus cases, according to a New York Times database, even as its infection rate continued a steep decline.
By far the most populous state in the country, California has not been among the most severely affected by the virus on a per-capita basis: It ranks 21st among the states in cases and 26th in deaths per 100,000 residents. But along with the Sun Belt states, it has been among the hardest hit in the virus’s summer resurgence.
On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan that would allow some counties, including San Diego and San Francisco, to reopen businesses like gyms and houses of worship indoors as early as Monday under limited circumstances. It will also permit indoor dining, though bars will remain closed in most of the state.
California has seesawed through the pandemic. It was the first state to issue a comprehensive stay-at-home order, on March 19, when it was reporting about 116 new cases a day. But after the state started to reopen two months later, its caseload surged.
Mr. Newsom allowed counties to reopen certain sectors such as gyms and indoor entertainment in May and June, but backtracked after an increase of cases in July. As the new school year has started across the state, most districts have stuck to online instruction.
Louisiana currently has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people in the United States, with over 3,100, while California has about 1,770. New Jersey, where the virus peaked months ago, has the highest death rate: 179 per 100,000 residents. California has 33 deaths per capita.
The pandemic is shaping Steven Mnuchin’s legacy, for better and worse.
The $2.2 trillion rescue package that the government passed in March — the largest economic stimulus measure in U.S. history — was a crucial victory for President Trump, who was facing withering attacks over his response to the pandemic.
He didn’t have a lot of fans. The president ran hot and cold on him. Conservatives distrusted him as a Republican in Name Only. Liberals demonized him as a plutocrat. Even members of his immediate family distanced themselves.
When the pandemic hit, the task of saving the economy was an opportunity for Mr. Mnuchin, a former banker and film financier, to transform himself from an unremarkable Treasury secretary into a national hero.
After Mr. Mnuchin worked with Democrats to devise and pass the landmark stimulus bill, Mr. Trump hailed him as a “great” Treasury secretary and “fantastic guy.”
Yet the acclaim didn’t last. Republicans said Mr. Mnuchin had been outfoxed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the embodiment of free-spending liberals. And on a spring day in the Oval Office not long after the stimulus package was passed, the president was venting about it.
“I never should have signed it,” Mr. Trump bellowed, according to someone who was present. He pointed at his Treasury secretary and said, “You’re to blame.”
Yet Mr. Mnuchin insisted that he didn’t take the criticism personally.
“When people ask why have I succeeded in this job, one, I understand why the president is the president. I was there — I saw why he won,” he said in a mid-August interview.
After all, he said he was simply acting on behalf of Mr. Trump. “Anything that’s significant or material,” Mr. Mnuchin said, “I check with the president.”
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Joshua Barone, Tess Felder, Matthew Futterman, Abby Goodnough, Matthew Haag, Thomas Kaplan, Sharon LaFraniere, Jeré Longman, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Eric Nagourney, Roni Caryn Rabin, Alan Rappeport, Matt Richtel, James B. Stewart, Lucy Tompkins, Neil Vigdor, Sameer Yasir and Mihir Zaveri.
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India’s Vaccine Industry Will ‘Help All Humanity,’ Modi Says
In a recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said the country’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
India’s prime minister says his country’s vaccine industry will ‘help all humanity’ in fighting the virus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said in his annual United Nations General Assembly address Saturday that his country’s vast vaccine-production industry would serve the world in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” Mr. Modi said in a prerecorded speech. “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.”
The pledge touched on a recurrent theme at this year’s General Assembly, held virtually this year because of the pandemic: worries about the availability and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, coupled with fears that affluent countries with the means and the income would be at an advantage over smaller and poorer countries that also need the vaccines.
A number of General Assembly speakers this past week, including Pope Francis, expressed concerns that vaccines might go only to those who can afford them. “If anyone should be given preference, let it be the poorest, the most vulnerable, those who so often experience discrimination because they have neither power nor economic resources,” Francis said.
Mr. Modi’s seeming generosity on sharing the vaccine came amid questions about how the country would provide such protection to its own people. Just hours before Mr. Modi’s address was broadcast, Adar Poonawalla, the leader of India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker, said that the country’s Health Ministry would need close to $1 billion in the next year for a mass vaccination campaign. “This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle,” he wrote on Twitter.
India, the second-most populous country after China, has reported 5.9 million coronavirus infections. Only the United States has reported more, with more than seven million cases.
In his U.N. address, Mr. Modi said that India was proceeding with Phase 3 clinical trials — the advanced, large-scale trials of promising vaccines that help ensure their safety and effectiveness — and would assist other countries in strengthening storage capacities for delivery of approved vaccines.
Researchers are testing at least 42 vaccines around the world on humans, and at least four are in the Phase 3 stage.
A global collaboration of the World Health Organization, European Commission and France launched in April is seeking to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. Known as COVAX, it has pledged that once the vaccines are available, they will be given to countries “regardless of their wealth.”
A police officer in Ohio used a Taser on a woman who refused to wear a mask at a middle-school football game.
A woman in central Ohio was arrested and shocked with a Taser this week when she declined to leave a middle-school football game after refusing to wear a face covering, the police said.
A video of the episode shows the woman, Alicia Kitts, yelling at the officer, Chris Smith, as he struggles to handcuff her. “Get off of me!” she screams.
The Police Department in Logan, a city of about 7,000 southeast of Columbus, said in a statement that a school resource officer noticed Ms. Kitts sitting in the stands on Wednesday without a mask, which the department said was a violation of a school policy requiring all spectators to wear face coverings. Officer Smith asked her multiple times to put on a mask but she did not comply, telling the officer that she had asthma, the statement said, and he also asked her multiple times to leave the stands, which she refused to do.
When he advised her she was under arrest and tried to handcuff her arms behind her back, Ms. Kitts resisted and Officer Smith used the Taser on her shoulder, according to the police account. She was charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.
“It is important to note, the female was not arrested for failing to wear a mask; she was asked to leave the premises for continually violating school policy,” the police statement said.
Ms. Kitts’s lawyer, Maurice A. Thompson, said in a statement that officials from the Logan-Hocking School District ignored Ms. Kitts when she told them she had asthma and disputed the justification that the officer was enforcing a school policy on masks.
Mr. Thompson said the school had no written policy of its own and that the officer was attempting to enforce a statewide policy for mask-wearing. However, he noted, the state policy exempts individuals with respiratory conditions. The school’s position was “not consistent with any directive or other law,” Mr. Thompson said, and the school district “misapplied the law, and misapplied it haphazardly and violently.”
Local media reported that the Logan Police Department said that calls had come in from people who directed racial slurs at Officer Smith, who is Black. On Thursday, district schools were placed on lockdown after various callers made threats directed at the school system and the police department, The Marietta Times reported.
The police said that the case remained under investigation, and that additional charges were pending against Ms. Kitts and another woman involved in the altercation.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, mask policies have been at the center of disputes that sometimes turn violent.
In May, a security guard in Flint, Mich., was fatally shot after an altercation that his wife said had occurred over a customer refusing to wear a face covering. Various viral videos have captured tense standoffs about mask wearing in grocery stores and other businesses.
Though still relatively low, New York State’s single-day case total reaches 1,000 for the first time since June.
New York State has recorded over 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time since June, when far fewer tests were being conducted.
Out of the 99,953 tests that were reported to the state on Friday, 1,005 were positive, the governor’s office said, for a positivity rate of around 1 percent. That is still well below the 5 percent positivity rate that health experts say indicates containment of the virus’s spread in a community.
On June 5, when there were 1,108 new cases in the state, only 77,895 people were tested — a positivity rate of 1.4 percent, Jack Sterne, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email; the seven-day average positivity rate at the time was 2 percent.
In South Dakota, where the positivity rate is the highest in the country, nearly one in five tests are positive.
New York’s total on Friday did not come close to the numbers at the height of the state’s crisis in the spring, when cases soared to an average of about 10,000 per day, but it was a reminder of what could lie ahead as schools reopen and people begin to spend more time indoors.
“It’s vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight Covid-19 as we move into the fall and flu season,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday.
The number of new cases in the state had gradually grown as summer turned to fall; the seven-day average of new cases per day on Friday was 909, while in early August, the seven-day average was around 650.
Deaths from the virus in New York State have stayed much lower since the height of its outbreak. Four new deaths were reported on Friday, the governor’s office said.
The virus has claimed more than 203,000 lives in the United States, over 32,000 of them in New York State.
Melbourne further eases its lockdown as cases drop faster than hoped.
Efforts to combat the coronavirus in the Australian state of Victoria are “ahead of schedule,” Premier Dan Andrews said Sunday, as he announced a further easing of restrictions after two months of a severe lockdown in Melbourne, the state capital.
The curfew in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, will be lifted starting at 5 a.m. Monday, said Mr. Andrews, who denied it was because of a looming legal challenge. Child care facilities will reopen, and outdoor public gatherings of up to five people from two different households will be allowed. Primary students will return to school starting Oct. 12.
Melbourne residents are still required to stay at home except for care or caregiving, essential shopping, exercise and work or education that cannot be done from home. Restaurants and cafes remain closed for dine-in service. Other rules have been tightened, with fines for unlawful indoor or outdoor gatherings of almost 5,000 Australian dollars, or about $3,500, and residents now required to wear fitted face masks rather than scarves or bandannas.
The rolling 14-day average of new cases in Melbourne — which was over 400 at the height of the city’s outbreak last month — is now 22.1, well below the target of 30 to 50 for taking this second step out of lockdown. If the decline in cases continues, Mr. Andrews said, all restrictions on leaving home could be lifted on Oct. 19, a week earlier than planned.
“It’s a remarkable thing — and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian,” he said. “Because with grit and with guts and with heart — we are beating this thing. We are driving it down. We are winning.”
Victoria’s road maps for easing restrictions in Melbourne and the rest of the state, where the outbreak is less severe, are broken down into several stages with the goal of having a “Covid-normal Christmas.”
Australian federal officials have criticized Victoria’s lockdown measures as excessive. In a statement on Sunday, Scott Morrison, the prime minister; Josh Frydenberg, the treasurer; and Greg Hunt, the health minister, welcomed the easing of restrictions but noted that the neighboring state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, was “fundamentally open” when it had a similar number of cases.
“As it stands this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world,” they said. “We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lockdown on Melbourne residents.”
Thousands gather in London to protest lockdown measures and question the official virus narrative.
Thousands Protest Lockdown Measures in London
Demonstrators flouted social distancing rules at a rally in central London against new coronavirus restrictions. A day earlier, Britain saw its highest daily number of new infections since the start of the pandemic.
[chanting] “Choose your side!” “Mate, you’re killing us!” [unintelligible] [chanting] “Choose your side!”
Thousands of unmasked demonstrators gathered in central London on Saturday to protest new lockdown measures, but the Metropolitan Police dispersed the crowds within hours because they were not respecting social distancing rules.
The protesters chanted “Freedom” and called to “end the crazy rules,” as some held signs declaring, “No more lies, no more masks, no more lockdown.” They engaged in tense faceoffs with officers trying to shut down the protest.
The police said nine officers were injured and 16 people were arrested on charges including assaulting an officer and violent disorder, the Reuters news agency reported.
A day earlier, Britain reported its highest daily number of new infections since the pandemic began — nearly 6,900 — and 34 new deaths, bringing the country’s toll of lives lost to the virus to nearly 42,000. Conspiracy theories undermining authorities’ warnings of the danger of contagion are gaining traction, and various news organizations have reported that the QAnon movement that began in the United States is taking root, as it has in Germany.
Over all, Britain has been the hardest-hit country in Europe, though its current seven-day average of new infections per capita is far lower than the averages in Spain and France. But with its daily raw numbers rising sharply over recent weeks, the authorities are reimposing lockdown measures. More than 20 million people are set to be affected by new measures by Sunday night, as numerous parts of northern and central England as well as Wales go under tighter restrictions.
Bars and restaurants must close at 10 p.m. in England, and in countless areas, household visits and gatherings have been restricted. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban household visits to the city’s nine million inhabitants, and the city has been placed on the government’s watchlist.
Fifteen police officers were injured in lockdown protests earlier this month, and on Saturday, the local authorities said they would not tolerate any violence against law enforcement.
“I know there is great frustration to these regulations, but they have been designed to keep everyone safe from what is a lethal virus,” said Ade Adelekan, a commander for the Metropolitan Police who was leading Saturday’s operation. “By flagrantly gathering in large numbers and ignoring social distancing, you are putting your health and the health of your loved ones at risk.”
|United States ›||On Sept. 28||14-day
Where cases are
Iran’s president authorizes local officials to impose new lockdowns as infections rise.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Saturday that he would begin allowing the country’s provincial leaders to impose lockdowns as needed to beat back a rise in infections.
The move empowers local officials to shut down parts of the country for one-week intervals in places where infections flare up.
“We are forced to intensify regulations and supervisions, starting in the capital Tehran,” Mr. Rouhani said. “If provincial governors deem it necessary, these centers will have to close for a week.”
Mr. Rouhani’s televised remarks were reported by Press TV, a state-controlled English- and French-language news network, at the end of an article that led with the leader’s accusations that the White House was targeting Iran with “illegal and inhumane sanctions as well as terrorist operations.”
Mr. Rouhani has consistently blamed the United States for making its situation worse by refusing to lift the painful sanctions. But corruption and a breakdown in the country’s health care system caused by months of strain also appear to have played a major role.
While Iran weathered a punishing first wave that turned it into an early epicenter of the pandemic throughout March and April, it progressed to largely keeping the virus in check since.
But months of mismanagement and poor governance have jeopardized Iran’s ability to keep a lid on the outbreak. Stockpiles of medical equipment are running out, health workers have gone months without pay and, most alarming, about $800 million of emergency funding set aside to combat the virus appears to have vanished, the country’s health minister, Saeed Namaki, said on Wednesday.
With signs that the country could be headed for a second wave, Mr. Rouhani appeared to be delegating some control in hopes of pre-empting a resurgence.
According to Iranian news broadcasts, local officials could shut down a range of public spaces, including schools, mosques and businesses.
A Maryland man has been sentenced to a year in prison after hosting parties in violation of the state’s lockdowns.
A man from Hughesville, Md., was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine after hosting two parties in March that violated Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency order prohibiting large gatherings, the local authorities said Friday.
The man, Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, was arrested on March 27 after he hosted two parties with more than 50 guests, just five days apart, according to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Meyers had been argumentative with police officers when asked to shut the parties down, and refused to ask guests to leave when the police responded the second time, leading to his arrest.
At the time, Mr. Hogan’s order prohibited gatherings larger than 10 people. Mr. Myers was not arrested after he agreed to shut down the first gathering, but was ultimately convicted of two counts of failing to comply with an emergency order, one for each party.
The sentence is a rare case of an individual facing serious punishment for violating lockdown orders, as many of the early restrictions states placed on travel and private gatherings were not strongly enforced.
China gives unproven vaccines to thousands, with risks unknown.
First, workers at state-owned companies were dosed. Then government officials and vaccine company staffers. Up next: teachers, supermarket employees and people traveling to risky areas abroad.
The world still has no proven coronavirus vaccine, but Chinese officials have nonetheless tried to inoculate tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people. Three vaccine candidates are being injected into workers whom the government considers essential, along with many others, including employees of the pharmaceutical companies.
Officials are laying out plans to give shots to even more people, amounting to a big wager that the vaccines will eventually prove safe and effective.
China’s move has bewildered global experts. Many of the injections appear to be taking place outside the typical drug approval process. Yet the unproven vaccines could have harmful side effects, and ineffective vaccines could lead to a false sense of security and encourage behavior that can lead to even more infections. The wide use of vaccines also raises issues of consent.
While China is racing the United States and other countries to develop a vaccine, its rivals are moving more cautiously. U.S. companies have pledged to thoroughly vet a vaccine before wide use, despite pressure from President Trump to go faster. In Russia, the first country to approve a vaccine even before trials were completed, the authorities have yet to administer it to a large population, according to health officials and experts.
Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, said that part of the government’s motivation was to “test” the public’s willingness to take a vaccine.
In other global developments:
Spain’s health minister warned residents in Madrid and its surrounding region on Saturday that they were at “serious risk” without tougher restrictions and urged the authorities there to tighten them, beyond a new partial lockdown in 45 districts, the Reuters news agency reported. As the virus surges again in Spain, hospitals in Madrid are close to capacity and the government has said it is preparing to reopen field hospitals in hotels and in the city’s largest exhibition center. The districts covered by the new lockdown are mostly high-density, low-income areas, and the restrictions elicited complaints about “class confinement” during a protest outside the regional assembly building late on Friday, Reuters reported. The national government has called for a citywide lockdown.
Two months after reopening Asia’s most popular tourist destination, the governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, disclosed this week that more than 20 workers at his official residence had tested positive for the coronavirus, including aides, a waiter, a gardener and a typist, and his wife posted on Instagram that she had tested positive, though was not suffering any symptoms.
A study offers an explanation for children’s ability to fight off the virus better than adults.
The first study to compare the immune response in children with that in adults suggests a reason that the coronavirus affects children much less severely.
In children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect against unfamiliar pathogens rapidly destroys the coronavirus before it wreaks damage on their bodies, according to the research, published this week in Science Translational Medicine. In adults, the immune response is much more muted, the research found.
“The bottom line is, yes, children do respond differently immunologically to this virus, and it seems to be protecting the kids,” said Dr. Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease expert at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine who led the study.
When the body encounters an unfamiliar pathogen, it responds within hours with a flurry of immune activity, called an innate immune response. The body’s defenders are quickly recruited to the fight and begin releasing signals calling for backup.
Children more often encounter pathogens that are new to their immune systems. Their innate defense is fast and overwhelming.
Over time, as an immune system encounters pathogen after pathogen, it builds up a memory of known villains. By the time a body reaches adulthood, it relies on a more sophisticated and specialized system that has adapted to remembering and fighting specific threats.
If the innate immune system resembles emergency responders first on the scene, the adaptive system represents skilled specialists at a hospital.
The adaptive system makes sense biologically, because adults rarely encounter a virus for the first time, said Dr. Michael Mina, a pediatric immunologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Epidemiology in Boston.
But the coronavirus is new to everyone, and the innate system fades as people grow older, leaving them more vulnerable. In the time it takes for an adult body to get the specialized adaptive system up and running, the virus has had time to do harm, Dr. Herold’s research suggests.
She and her colleagues compared immune responses in 60 adults and 65 children and young adults under the age of 24, all of whom were hospitalized at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City from March 13 to May 17.
The patients included 20 children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, the severe and sometimes deadly immune overreaction linked to the coronavirus.
Over all, the children were only mildly affected by the virus, compared with adults, mostly reporting gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and a loss of taste or smell. Only five children needed mechanical ventilation, compared with 22 of the adults; two children died, compared with 17 adults.
Children had much higher blood levels of two particular immune molecules, interleukin 17A and interferon gamma, the researchers found. The molecules were most abundant in the youngest patients and decreased progressively with age.
In the Navajo Nation, residents are ordered to stay home or face fines as high as $1,000 as cases surge again.
The Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation, has reinstated a full weekend lockdown to try to contain new spikes in infections.
Weekend lockdowns helped curb the spread of the virus after harrowing outbreaks earlier in the year, and the 57-hour lockdown that started at 8 p.m. on Friday will last through Monday at 5 a.m.
Residents were ordered to stay home or face fines as high as $1,000. Stores, restaurants and businesses such as hay vendors are prohibited to operate during the lockdown, and the measure also bans wood hauling, a common weekend activity this time of year. The authorities said they would confiscate firewood from violators.
The nation has had more than 10,200 infections and 551 related deaths since the pandemic began. Months ago, when the virus first exploded on the reservation, leaders instituted full weekend lockdowns. Infections subsided, but they kept the restrictions from Saturday night through Monday morning.
The reservation recently experienced a stretch of weeks with few or no new virus cases on some days, but then new clusters were detected, and new daily cases reached 42 on Thursday, followed by 26 on Friday and 32 on Saturday.
Jonathan Nez, the Navajo Nation’s president, said that contact tracers had found the new clusters to be connected to Navajo citizens who had contracted the virus after traveling off the reservation. All three of the states the nation is spread over — Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — are enduring high or rising rates of infection, and only New Mexico has a statewide mask requirement.
“Please do not hold family gatherings, and please do not travel to hot spots off the Navajo Nation,” Mr. Nez said in a statement after the new clusters were disclosed.
A judge in Texas blocked a change to the state’s ballots that was years in the making, citing the pandemic.
Only a handful of states still allow for straight-ticket voting, the option of choosing a party’s entire slate of candidates with one mark of the ballot.
On Friday, just three weeks before the start of early voting, a U.S. district judge in Texas blocked plans to fully eliminate the straight-ticket option in the state, citing an interest in minimizing the time voters have to spend in their polling places amid a pandemic.
The judge, Marina Garcia Marmolejo, said in her ruling on Friday that she feared that eliminating the practice would “cause irreparable injury” to voters “by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to Covid-19,” according to The Texas Tribune.
The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed a law in 2017 eliminating straight-ticket voting beginning in 2020. While supporters said the move would force voters to make more informed choices, Democrats argued at the time that it was actually done to stem their party’s growing margins for down-ballot races, particularly in the state’s large cities.
Democratic organizers filed a legal challenge in March of this year, arguing that the straight-ticket option saved voters time. In some of Texas’ urban counties, races for local and statewide candidates can force voters to pore over ballots that are several pages long.
Whether straight-ticket voting actually benefits either party disproportionately is unclear, and both Democrats and Republicans in Texas have expressed concern about how eliminating it could affect voters’ behavior. But the Democrats who challenged the proposed changes said it placed an undue burden on voters and could discourage turnout.
Judge Marmolejo agreed in her ruling, saying that removing the option would not only inconvenience voters lining up to cast ballots amid a pandemic, but was likely to disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic voters as well.
More than 130,000 cases have been identified at U.S. colleges.
More than 130,000 coronavirus cases have been identified at American colleges over the course of the pandemic, according to a New York Times survey. That figure has grown by tens of thousands since early September as fall classes have continued despite major uncontrolled outbreaks.
Infections have emerged at large public universities, elite private schools and community colleges. Of more than 1,600 colleges surveyed by The Times, more than 1,300 reported at least one case and at least 35 colleges had more than 1,000 infections.
Although some schools did not reopen this fall and others shifted online after a brief return to campus, many have forged ahead with a highly unusual semester. But as clusters have continued to emerge in residence halls, in fraternity houses and on sports teams, the outbreaks have upended campus life.
Brigham Young University ended visiting hours at its dorms and stopped intramural sports as infection numbers grew. The University of Colorado’s flagship campus shifted to online classes in hopes of controlling an outbreak. And in Wisconsin, where college towns are contributing to a statewide spike in cases, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes gave a radio address pleading with students to wear masks.
“College isn’t just about your coursework 24/7. Believe me, I get it,” Mr. Barnes said. “But in order for you to participate in all the things that make college so memorable, you all need to wear masks anytime you leave the dorm room or your apartment.”
In a letter on Saturday, Jane Close Conoley, president of California State University, Long Beach, said all on-campus residents would be placed in quarantine and tested for the coronavirus after five students tested positive, four of whom live on campus. In-person classes will also be stopped for two weeks, she said.
Italy, an e-commerce holdout, embraces Amazon in the pandemic.
Amazon has been one of the biggest winners in the pandemic as people in its most established markets — the United States, Germany and Britain — have flocked to it for things like toilet paper and board games. What has been less noticed is that people in countries that traditionally resisted the e-commerce giant are also falling into its grasp after retail stores shut down for months.
The shift has been particularly pronounced in Italy, which was one of the first countries hard hit by the virus. Italians have traditionally preferred to shop in stores and pay cash. But after the government imposed Europe’s first nationwide virus lockdown, people in the country began buying items online in record numbers.
Even now, as people return to stores, the behavioral shift has not halted. People are using Amazon to buy staples like wine and ham, as well as web cameras, printer cartridges and fitness bands. At one point, orders of inflatable swimming pools through the site were so backlogged that some people complained.
“The change is real, the change is deep and the change is here to stay,” said David Parma, who has conducted surveys about shifting consumer behavior in Italy for Ipsos in Milan. “Amazon is the biggest winner.”
The pandemic could set working women back years, or more.
As if working mothers did not have enough to worry about, experts are sounding the alarm that progress toward gender equality may be a casualty of the pandemic.
Women tend to take on more of the burdens of caring for children and the family. To go to work, they need someone to help with that care. But fathers have been slow to change their behavior, and private child care can be prohibitively expensive.
Workplaces also tend to penalize women who work fewer hours or need more flexibility, and that is being exacerbated in the pandemic.
Around the world, working women are facing brutally hard choices about whether to stay home if they haven’t already been laid off. And the effect may be particularly severe in countries like the United States, where the pandemic is compounding inequalities that women already faced without guaranteed paid maternity leave and affordable child care.
Before the pandemic, many mothers in America were effectively forced to stop working for some period of time because they could not afford paid child care. And research shows that the longer a woman is out of the work force, the more severe the long-term effects on her earnings will be.
“The question is,” said Dr. Olivetti, who studies gender inequality: “How far back do we go?”
Reporting was contributed by Hannah Beech, Emma Bubola, Damien Cave, Karen Crouse, Matthew Futterman, Rick Gladstone, Mike Ives, Jennifer Jett, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Zach Montgomery, Richard C. Paddock, Bryan Pietsch, Elian Peltier, Simon Romero, Adam Satariano, Mitch Smith, Amanda Taub and Sui-Lee Wee.
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Thousands attend a Trump rally indoors as others ask why he played down the virus threat.
President Trump on Sunday held a campaign rally indoors for the first time since late June, when he appeared at an event in Tulsa, Okla., that was later blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases in the area. The rally on Sunday night, held at a manufacturing plant outside Las Vegas in defiance of a state directive limiting indoor gatherings to under 50 people, was attended by thousands of the president’s supporters, the vast majority of whom did not wear masks.
Steve Sisolak, the Democratic governor of Nevada, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump was “taking reckless and selfish actions” that endangered the lives of people in the state. “This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices and put their neighbors before themselves,” he said. “It’s also a direct threat to all of the recent progress we’ve made, and could potentially set us back.”
The Trump campaign had vetted several outdoor venues, but they were all blocked by the governor, according to an administration official familiar with the planning. Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman, defended the indoor setting, saying in a statement, “If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the First Amendment to hear from the president of the United States.”
Earlier in the day, White House and Republican officials struggled to respond to sharp questioning by Sunday morning news show hosts about why Mr. Trump knowingly played down the coronavirus in the crucial early months of the pandemic, as revealed by the journalist Bob Woodward in his new book, “Rage.”
The White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, claimed on the CNN program “State of the Union” that “nobody knew” how dangerous the virus was at the time the president spoke to Mr. Woodward in February and March. In fact, Mr. Navarro himself wrote a memo in late January warning Trump administration officials that the virus could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, provided a different defense of the president, saying that Mr. Trump had understood the serious threat the virus posed by early February, but was “calm and steady and methodical” because he did not want to cause a panic.
The host, Chuck Todd, characterized the president’s defenders as saying, “You don’t yell fire if you’re in a crowded movie theater.”
“It’s true,” he said. “But you do if the theater is actually on fire.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under Mr. Trump, suggested on the CBS program “Face the Nation” that the president may have chosen to underplay the seriousness of the virus in part because he was getting bad information early on from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies.
“I had a lot of conversations with the White House over this time period because I was concerned it was spreading,” Dr. Gottlieb said, “and they were telling me over and over they were hearing from top officials from the agencies that they were pretty confident it wasn’t spreading here.”
In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, Mr. Woodward discussed interviews he recorded with the president. He said Mr. Trump was warned about the danger at a Jan. 28 meeting by a deputy national security adviser, Matthew Pottinger.
“Pottinger said his contacts in China told him, ‘This is going to be like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in this country,’” Mr. Woodward said.
|United States ›||On Sept. 27||14-day
Where cases are
Scientists are alarmed by companies’ secrecy around vaccine clinical trials.
Independent scientists and public health experts are criticizing vaccine companies for a lack of public transparency, and particularly their refusal to release their criteria for deciding whether to stop a trial for safety concerns.
The outcry grew after news that AstraZeneca’s chief executive had disclosed the reason his company recently halted its vaccine trial — a subject given the vaccine experienced serious neurological symptoms — at a closed meeting organized by J.P. Morgan, the investment bank.
AstraZeneca said on Saturday that an outside panel had cleared its trial in Britain to begin again, but the company still has not given any details about the test subject’s medical condition. And it has not released a transcript of the executive’s remarks to investors, which were reported by the news outlet STAT and later confirmed by an analyst for J.P. Morgan.
Another front-runner in the vaccine race, Pfizer, made a similarly terse announcement on Saturday: The company wants to expand its clinical trial to include thousands more participants, but it gave few other details about its plan.
Critics say American taxpayers are entitled to know more since the federal government has committed billions of dollars to vaccine research and to buying the vaccines once they’re approved.
Greater transparency could also help bolster faltering public confidence in vaccines at a time when a growing number of Americans fear President Trump will pressure federal regulators to approve a vaccine before it is proved safe and effective.
“Trust is in short supply,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist and health care researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., who has spent years prodding companies and academic researchers to share more trial data with outside scientists. “And the more that they can share, the better off we are.”
A refugee camp in Greece on virus lockdown was burned to the ground. Now officials are trying again.
It was Europe’s largest refugee camp. Its squalid conditions made it one of the most notorious. Then the virus found its way in.
If the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was a tinderbox, the virus was the spark.
When the authorities tried to quarantine the residents to contain the outbreak, a small group of asylum seekers, angry that their living situations were about to get even worse, began setting blazes, officials and aid workers say.
Now, with the camp destroyed, some 8,000 adults and 4,000 children, among them hundreds of infants, are stranded without shelter or sanitation.
“We escaped from fire, but everything is black,” said Mujtaba Saber, sitting on a thin blanket spread on a street, next to his napping 3-year-old son. His 20-day-old baby slept nearby in her mother’s arms.
The Times’s Matina Stevis-Gridneff, who is on Lesbos, reports that the Greek army has been setting up tents for a new camp. The authorities said they hoped to relocate the migrants, nearly two-thirds of whom are Afghans, into 2,000 tents over the next few days.
For now, they’ve been sleeping on tombstones and on the side of the road, in parking lots and among dried weeds on the hillsides. Some have pitched makeshift tents with bamboo poles and blankets. They’ve used the few clothes they have to make mattresses so their babies don’t sleep on tarmac.
“I think sleeping on the street is bad, but Moria is bad-bad,” said Mahbube Ahzani, 15, who had been in the camp with her family for 10 months. But what will be worse, she said, is the “new Moria.”
A record surge in new cases has hit the Midwest.
As cases fall in most parts of the United States, they are on the rise in the Midwest, prompting alarm in places that had until now avoided the worst of the pandemic.
“Our community is experiencing its first sustained, significant surge of illness since this terrible pandemic began,” said Joe Parisi, the county executive in Dane County, Wis., which includes Madison. “We will have some incredibly difficult and sad weeks ahead if we don’t rally together now and stop this deeply disturbing trend.”
Through Friday, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Iowa had added more recent cases per capita than all other states.
Case numbers are not the only sign of trouble. Testing positivity rates, which measure the percent of positive findings among all people tested, are high across much of the Great Plains, a sign of uncontrolled spread and insufficient monitoring.
The rise of infection in the Midwest is different from what New York experienced in March or South Texas in July. So far, hospitalizations have not spiked. Morgues have not been overrun. Lockdowns have not been ordered.
Young adults, who often have milder cases of the virus, are helping to drive the current surge. Thousands of infections have been linked to Midwestern universities, some of which have struggled to enforce social distancing rules.
“We knew this was coming,” said Mayor Brandon Bochenski of Grand Forks, N.D., where more than 600 infections — or roughly one of every 24 cases in the state — have been linked to the University of North Dakota.
“If we could control college students,” the mayor said, “we would have figured that out about 200 years ago. We did the best we could.”
Many cases across several states have also been linked to a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., which attracted thousands of people from around the country. Hundreds of people were infected at a jail in Wichita, Kan. And in parts of rural Iowa and North Dakota, case numbers have risen with no obvious link to a college.
As Britain’s surge gains ground, a government adviser urges action to prevent ‘exponential growth.’
One day before England and Wales introduce tighter restrictions, Britain has recorded 3,330 new infections, making it the third consecutive day of new case counts surpassing 3,000.
Infections in Britain have reached levels not seen since May, leading a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group to warn that the country will have to act fast.
“I think everyone is in agreement that we really need to act very quickly now in order to prevent this from growing exponentially,” the adviser, Professor Peter Openshaw, told Sky News.
He warned that failure would send the country “right back in hard lockdown in short order.”
In an effort to curtail the virus’s spread, the British government dropped the limit on the number of people allowed to meet to six from 30, as of Monday.
Despite various costly mistakes made in rolling out testing systems and contact tracing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has at various points in the pandemic boasted of Britain’s performance. Recently, Mr. Johnson introduced “Operation Moonshot,” a plan for mass testing that aims to carry out 10 million tests a day — enough to test each individual in the country once a week — by early next year, at a cost of $130 billion.
But the current testing rate falls far below that.
The government says it has processed about 200,000 coronavirus tests each day in the past week, and officials claim testing capacity is the highest to date. However, people all over England have reported that they cannot obtain tests in their local areas or have been asked to travel hundreds of miles to be tested. A spokeswoman from the Department of Health acknowledged in a statement that there was significant demand for tests.
The Sunday Times reported that Britain’s laboratories are so overstretched that there is a backlog of 185,000 swabs, and the country is sending swabs to laboratories abroad to be processed.
Other European countries are also seeing an increase in cases.
France has reported a record daily increase, with 10,561 cases newly diagnosed and a rise in the number of people admitted to hospitals and intensive care. Spain and the Czech Republic have also had new outbreaks.
Israel is heading back into a nationwide lockdown.
Israel will be returning to a nationwide lockdown for at least three weeks, starting on Friday, the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday.
The public sector and some private businesses will continue to work under tight limitations, and citizens will only be allowed to move within 500 yards of their homes. Schools, which reopened for the new school year on Sept. 1, will also close on Friday for the duration of the lockdown. No decision has been made yet on whether the airport will remain open to international travel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the drastic and unpopular measures in a televised address on Sunday evening after Israel’s per capita coronavirus infection rate rose to among the highest in the world. More than 1,100 people in the country have died from the virus.
The announcement, which came barely four months after the country emerged from the last lockdown, was the clearest sign yet of the government’s failure to contain the spread of the virus.
Earlier Sunday, an ultra-Orthodox minister resigned from Israel’s government over the lockdown plans. Yaakov Litzman, the minister of housing and construction, was furious that it was coinciding with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the day of fasting and atonement, and that worshipers would be allowed in synagogues only in limited numbers.
Dr. Ronni Gamzu, the country’s virus czar, argued that a lockdown over the Jewish holidays would do less economic damage and would prevent large family gatherings where the virus could spread. But Mr. Litzman said the government had delayed acting earlier for fear of spoiling Israelis’ summer vacation plans.
Mr. Netanyahu said Dr. Gamzu and other health professionals had “raised a red flag,” warning of a jump in the number of serious cases and deaths, of hospital teams becoming worn out and of the double danger of the virus and influenza that winter would bring.
Other developments around the world:
New Zealand is likely to end coronavirus restrictions across the country on Sept. 21, with the exception of its largest city, Auckland, where an outbreak occurred last month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that current alert levels would be maintained for another week and then lowered if case numbers stayed the same. She also said physical distancing rules on planes and other public transportation would be dropped immediately, allowing more passengers to travel at the same time, though they are still required to wear masks. New Zealand reported one new case on Monday linked to the Auckland cluster, bringing the country’s total to 1,798.
A health official in Australia said Monday that she was under police protection because of death threats amid rising opposition to her pandemic policies. Dr. Jeannette Young, the chief health officer of Queensland, has been criticized over a requirement that travelers arriving in the state from other parts of Australia quarantine for two weeks, especially after a woman in quarantine was not allowed to attend her father’s funeral last week. Strict border controls are also in place in other parts of the country, including Tasmania and Western Australia. The criticism “has taken an enormous toll on me, but then this has taken an enormous toll on nearly every single person in our community,” Dr. Young said. On Monday, Queensland reported zero new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row. Australia as a whole reported 39 cases, its lowest one-day rise in almost three months.
India reported 92,071 new cases on Monday, the fifth consecutive day that new cases exceeded 90,000 in the country, according to a New York Times database. India has the world’s second-highest number of cases after the United States. On Monday, members of Parliament are gathering for a session with social-distancing precautions.
Ireland is backing a proposal that all E.U. countries adopt shared rules on international travel restrictions. If the measures are approved, Ireland’s quarantine requirements will be replaced with a focus on testing and a system rating countries from low to high risk. The initiative would require some travelers to be tested for the virus before entering Ireland, Prime Minister Micheal Martin told the state broadcaster, RTE, on Sunday.
Officials in South Korea said on Sunday that social-distancing measures would be eased in metropolitan Seoul for the next two weeks, even though daily new cases remain in the triple digits. The easing includes lifting a ban on on-site dining after 9 p.m. and reopening gyms and internet cafes. Stronger measures are to return on Sept. 28, ahead of the Chuseok fall harvest holiday, during which many people travel.
Ethiopia opens a test-kit factory in partnership with a Chinese company.
Ethiopia, which has some of the highest numbers of virus cases and deaths in Africa, has formed a partnership with a Chinese company to increase testing capacity across the country.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presided over the opening of a commercial test-kit production facility in the country’s capital that he said would produce kits for both the local market and for export, with a focus on African nations.
The facility — which is being run by BGI Health Ethiopia, a subsidiary of the genome sequencing company BGI Group based in Shenzhen, China — is also expected to provide laboratory services for travelers at Ethiopia’s Bole International Airport, one of the biggest and busiest airports in Africa.
Mr. Abiy said that after the pandemic the facility was expected to produce other types of testing kits for diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis. He also highlighted a field hospital in the country that can hold as many as 200 Covid-19 patients.
China has in recent years been extending its influence around the world, including in Africa, through commercial enterprise. Now the virus is offering new opportunities. The country has also used the promise of a vaccine as a diplomatic carrot to repair strained ties and bolster engagement, an effort that helps it project itself as a responsible player as the United States retreats from global leadership.
Although Ethiopia lags behind South Africa — the hardest-hit African country — it has so far reported more than 63,000 cases, with almost a thousand deaths, according to a New York Times database. Experts say those numbers are low for a nation with over 110 million people, and the authorities recently detected a rising number of cases after starting a testing campaign nationwide.
The collection of virus data in Texas has been inconsistent.
Inconsistencies and problems with data collection in Texas have clouded the picture of the pandemic’s trajectory in that state, the latest of many examples of how states’ reporting of data in real time has complicated efforts to understand the virus.
Texas has overlooked thousands of coronavirus cases, only to report them weeks after infection. It has made major adjustments to its case and death counts, defining them one way and then another, sometimes suddenly reporting figures for some counties that were vastly different from those posted by the local health department.
Other states have also grappled with data challenges, including glitches and backlogs in California and a debate over transparency in Florida. But Texas has been troubled by multiple issues.
Public health officials and researchers place the blame for the state’s data problems on Texas’ antiquated data systems and a reliance on faxed test results, which limit the state’s ability to track every infection and death in many of its 254 counties. They also say that the state’s decentralized structure — with many local governments, some of them tiny, running their own public health operations — is ill suited to coping with the crush of Covid-19.
“It’s a colossal undertaking, and because it’s happening in real time, there will inevitably be situations where we have to update or correct something,” said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Texas has these 57 strong, independent organizations that will do what they do,” he said, referring to the state’s local health departments. “That’s just the situation we’re in.”
Politics stall U.S. efforts to provide international pandemic aid, adding to evidence of White House interference.
The coronavirus was spreading around the world, and officials at the United States Agency for International Development were anxious to rush humanitarian aid to nations in need. But first they had to settle a debate over branding on the packages.
Political appointees from the White House and the State Department wanted the aid agency’s logo affixed to all of the packages to show the world how much the United States was sending abroad, even as it grappled with its own outbreak.
Career employees at U.S.A.I.D. argued that the logo and other American symbols could endanger people who delivered or received the aid in countries that are hostile to the United States and where branding exceptions are usually granted.
At the end of the debate this spring, relief workers were allowed to distribute aid without the branding in a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But the discussion delayed assistance for several weeks to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities and served as a cautionary example of political intervention roiling an agency that prides itself as leading the humanitarian response to global disasters, conflict and other emergencies.
“As far back as I go, working on these programs, U.S.A.I.D. has really been an extraordinary, respected leader in global health and humanitarian responses,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. “To distort that mission is an insult, and it’s really outrageous to me.”
As President Trump campaigns for re-election and the virus has claimed more than 193,000 lives in the United States, evidence has been building of his administration’s interference across many agencies dealing with the virus crisis.
For instance, political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise, delay and even scuttle reports on the virus that they believed were unflattering to Mr. Trump.
And the president personally pressured the director of the National Institutes of Health to speed up the review of convalescent plasma as a treatment for Covid-19. Even though that agency’s vetting was not complete, Mr. Trump announced on the eve of the Republican National Convention that the F.D.A. had approved plasma therapy for wider use, and he vastly overstated what the data had shown about the benefits.
What will deter collegiate partying? British police try a £10,000 fine.
As students return to colleges worldwide, eager to socialize after months under virus restrictions, they are paying a price for a previously common aspect of student life: parties.
In Britain, the police in recent days issued a fine of 10,000 pounds, or about $12,800, to a university student who had organized a party of more than 50 people at his off-campus housing. The fine — the maximum penalty possible for violating the country’s 30-person limit on gatherings — came as England and Wales prepared to sharply reduce the size of permitted gatherings to just six people, starting Monday.
In the United States, six Miami University students in a house near the campus in Oxford, Ohio, received citations with fines of $500 each over Labor Day weekend when they were found hosting a party at which many students present had tested positive for the virus.
Penalties for attending unlawful gatherings have been frequent, with 11 Northeastern University students dismissed for violating public health rules and hundreds of students at Ohio State University suspended, in addition to suspensions at Purdue University, Syracuse University and New York University.
Some institutions acknowledged that there would be little point in trying to clamp down on parties altogether. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a comprehensive plan to keep the virus under control factored into its model that the school’s more than 7,000 students would attend parties three times a week. What it did not calculate was that some would attend gatherings after testing positive.
Yet many are taking the virus restrictions seriously. Oxford University and other colleges have experimented with asking students to sign “responsibility agreements,” and Yale University set up hotlines for reports of risky activity.
Though many students have said the idea of blowing the whistle on their classmates makes them uncomfortable, more than 4,000 people signed a petition started by students to revoke the admission of a first-year student at Cornell University after she posted a video from a party mocking safety precautions.
As outbreaks hit U.S. campuses, a college president in Georgia died of Covid-19.
The president of North Georgia Technical College, a public two-year college in Clarkesville, Ga., with about 2,700 students, has died “after losing his battle with Covid-19,” the school announced on Sunday.
Mark Ivester, who was 57 (not 58, as an earlier version of this briefing stated) and had served as the college’s president since 2016, had been hospitalized since Aug. 16, according to The Northeast Georgian, a local newspaper. The paper also reported that Amy Hulsey, the college’s vice president of community relations, said last week during a prayer vigil for Dr. Ivester that he was on continuous dialysis at North Georgia Medical Center in Braselton.
“With incredibly heavy hearts, we are so sad to say that Dr. Mark Ivester passed away last night around midnight after losing his battle to Covid-19,” the college said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday. “Once again, please continue to pray for Eleanor” — his wife — “and his entire family. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown them and one another during this time. We are all devastated and will miss him terribly.”
A New York Times survey found that in just the past week, American colleges and universities have recorded more than 36,000 virus cases, not all of them new, bringing the total of campus infections to 88,000 since the pandemic began. Only about 60 of the campus cases have resulted in death, mostly in the spring and among college employees, not students.
It was not immediately clear where or how Dr. Ivester contracted the virus.
“He was always so cautious and wore a mask as much as possible,” Ms. Hulsey said in an email. “Although he was in ICU for 4 weeks, we are all still in shock over his passing.”
The website of North Georgia Technical College says is it “providing a safe, clean and protective environment for everyone on campus,” including plexiglass shields in areas where students and staff members frequently interact face to face and a requirement that students wear masks in classrooms and common areas.
Temperature checks, required in many public places, have little value, U.S. health officials say.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the practice of checking for fever in public spaces has become increasingly common, causing a surge in sales of infrared contact-free thermometers and body temperature scanners — even as scientific evidence indicating that they are of little value has solidified.
Gatekeepers with thermometer guns have appeared at the entrances of U.S. hospitals, office buildings and manufacturing plants to screen out people with fevers who may carry the virus. And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York last week called for checking patrons’ temperatures as one of several ground rules for resuming indoor dining in restaurants.
But while health officials have endorsed masks and social distancing as effective measures for curbing the spread of the virus, some experts scoff at fever checks. They say that taking temperatures at entry points is a gesture that is unlikely to screen out many infected people and offers little more than an illusion of safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a fever as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. But some reports have questioned the accuracy of thermometer guns, and while temperature checks may identify people who are seriously ill, those people are unlikely to be socializing much or going out for meals. A growing body of evidence also suggests that many of those who are driving transmission are silent carriers — people who have been infected but feel fine and don’t have a fever or other symptoms.
Last week, the C.D.C. — which in May told employers to consider checking workers daily for symptoms like fever, but appeared to reverse itself in July — said it would stop requiring airport health screenings beginning Sept. 14 for international passengers from countries like Brazil, China and Iran because the checks do not identify silent carriers.
Temperature checks are akin to “getting the oil checked before you go on a long car trip,” said Dr. David Thomas, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It makes you feel better, but it’s not going to keep you from wrecking the car or prevent the tires from falling off.”
“It’s something you can do, and it makes you feel like you’re doing something,” he said. “But it won’t catch most people who are spreading Covid.”
Amid wildfire devastation, adjustments made for the pandemic allow some schools to carry on.
As the worst wildfire season in decades scorches the western United States, families and educators who were already starting the strangest and most challenging school year of their lifetimes have been traumatized all over again. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, with some mourning the loss of their entire communities.
Now, the remote learning preparations that schools made for the pandemic are providing a modicum of stability for teachers and students, letting many stay connected and take comfort in an unexpected form of virtual community.
“The pandemic has actually helped,” said Patsy Oxford, the principal of Berry Creek Elementary, the only school in Berry Creek, a Northern California town of about 1,200 people hit by what one official described as a “massive wall of fire.” It killed nine residents, including a 16-year-old boy, and destroyed the school and almost every home and business.
The fires prompted some West Coast schools to delay or cancel classes, and educators across parts of California, Washington and Oregon have spent recent days tracking down students to check on their safety.
Some schools have continued teaching remotely or are preparing to do so this week, even as families find themselves huddling in hotels, shelters and relatives’ homes.
A reporter found a virus story through her toddler.
The Times’s Sarah Kliff writes about how her latest article idea came from an unlikely source: her 2-year-old son.
A day care classmate of his had tested positive for the coronavirus, and a few days later, her son vomited. Between the known exposure to the virus and a possible symptom, she thought it made sense to find out whether he had been infected. The information, she notes, may help the family’s child-care provider and local health officials better understand how the disease spreads among young children, something that little is still known about:
It seemed like an easy task, given that I live in Washington, D.C., where health providers and the city have opened dozens of testing locations in recent months.
Except it wasn’t. I quickly stumbled upon another weakness in America’s testing infrastructure that I hadn’t seen news outlets reporting on: Most drive-through testing sites will not test young children.
My first thought was to go to the Walgreens drugstore near my house, until I learned it sees only adults. I began looking into the District of Columbia’s free testing sites. Again, no luck: The city’s walk-up sites are limited to adults, and its drive-through sites see only children 5 and older.
There was an urgent care center a half-hour drive from my house that would test my son, but I was hoping to go to a drive-through site so I could minimize our risk of becoming infected at a doctor’s office (and likewise reduce the chances of my son passing it to a health provider if he did have the virus). But everywhere I turned, I kept encountering age restrictions that excluded my child.
Finally, I had a stroke of luck. After I vented about the problem to a few other parents, one of them directed me to an urgent care center that offers drive-through testing for children of all ages. The hourslong search made me wonder: Were other parents going through the same thing? And why did these age limits exist in the first place?
My colleague Margot Sanger-Katz and I began researching testing sites in other cities, and found that D.C. was not unique: Dallas sets a cutoff at 5 years old. San Francisco won’t test children younger than 13. In Florida, where schools recently reopened, only a quarter of the 60 state-supported testing sites will see children of all ages.
Reporting was contributed by Christopher Cameron, Damien Cave, Abdi Latif Dahir, Tess Felder, Lazaro Gamio, Abby Goodnough, Lara Jakes, Jennifer Jett, Lisa Waananen Jones, Annie Karni, Isabel Kershner, Sarah Kliff, Dan Levin, Jennifer Medina, Eric Nagourney, Dan Powell, Roni Caryn Rabin, Anna Schaverien, Mitch Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Kate Taylor, Katie Thomas, Pranshu Verma, Amy Schoenfeld Walker and Will Wright.
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