Live Covid-19 Global Updates – The New York Times

SaveSavedRemoved 0
Deal Score0
Deal Score0


Credit…Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

A committee of experts advising Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considering a wide-scale vaccine distribution approach people at high risk living in communities hit hardest by the virus. Those communities often are predominantly people of color who have been getting sick and dying from Covid-19 at a much higher rate than the rest of the population.

Citing principles of equity and justice, public health experts are urging that a portion of the first, limited supply of coronavirus vaccines be set aside for these people. The idea, which draws on other proposals, may be the first of its kind for broad vaccine distribution in the country.

The virus’s devastating spread across the United States overlapped with periods of great social unrest over police brutality, though few if any clusters of infections were linked to the protests themselves. In some ways, the concurrent national crises magnified the inequities in health care that has long existed across the country.

“I see this as a seismic shift,” said Harald Schmidt, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania. “We can’t go back to colorblind allocation.”

A C.D.C. advisory group on immunizations is developing the plan, and members say it will not vote on a final proposal until a vaccine receives either full approval or an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, likely weeks or months from now. There are currently four vaccines in late-stage trials in the U.S.

But priorities extend beyond those in hard-hit neighborhoods.

The advisers suggest a framework that divides the U.S. population into four broad groups for vaccine allocation when supplies are short, and a vaccine would be administered in phases, with the possibility of dedicating portions to people in the hardest-hit populations. The first phase would offer a vaccine to health care workers, a large group that constitutes at least 15 million people and includes low-wage workers, such as nursing assistants and housekeepers in nursing homes.

The second potential phase is made up of essential workers who are not in health care, a group that includes teachers. It also includes people in homeless shelters, and those who work in or are confined in correctional facilities. It also includes those with medical conditions that place them at high risk and people older than 65.

Subsequent phases include people at lower and lower risk levels until the final phase, which includes everyone not offered vaccines in the previous phases.

But any move to weave justice and equity into the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine raises difficulties. Its underlying concepts and execution must be further defined, and the approach may then face legal and political challenges, even as the medical system grapples with the anticipated logistical hurdles of distributing new vaccines.

Credit…Daniel Slim/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

More than 2,000 new coronavirus cases in Colorado. More than 6,400 new cases in Illinois. And more than 1,000 new cases in New Mexico.

All record-breaking numbers for those states — and all on a day when the United States as a nation reached two grim new highs. On Thursday, the country recorded at least 90,000 new cases (that’s the equivalent of more than one per second) and crossed the threshold of nine million cases since the start of the pandemic.

And the records keep coming: Maine, West Virginia and South Dakota all reported on Friday records for new daily cases. And officials in Minnesota reported 3,155 new cases, the second single-day record in a row and the first time the state has seen more than 3,000 cases in a single day.

Over the past week, the United States has recorded more than 500,000 new cases, averaging more than 77,000 a day, and nine states reported daily records on Thursday. More total cases have been identified in the United States than in any other country, although some nations have had more cases in proportion to their populations.

“There is no way to sugarcoat it: We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors,” said Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin has been badly hit. More than 200 coronavirus deaths have been announced over the past week, and as case numbers have exploded, hospitals have been under increasing strain.

But it is hardly alone.

The surge that started in the Upper Midwest and rural West has now spread far beyond, sending infection levels soaring in places as disparate as El Paso, Chicago and Rexburg, Idaho.

In the seven-day period ending Thursday, 24 states added more cases than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic.

All of this is taking place against the backdrop of a bitter presidential contest in which the pandemic — and the government’s response to it — is the dominant issue.

Daily reports of deaths from the virus remain far below their spring peaks, averaging around 800 a day, but those, too, have started to tick upward.

On Thursday, officials in South Dakota reported 19 new deaths, a new single-day record. Officials in Wyoming reported 10 new deaths — also a record for the state.

There are not many hopeful signs in the recent data.

Reports of new cases are increasing in 42 states. Northeastern states, including New Jersey and Rhode Island, are seeing infection numbers rise after months of stability. And in North Dakota, where more than 5 percent of the population has now tested positive — the biggest share of any state — reports of new cases continue to soar.

Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press

With many colleges ending in-person instruction for the semester before Thanksgiving, public health officials are encouraging schools to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as students return home to their families.

The American College Health Association, which represents college health officers, issued public health guidelines on Thursday recommending that schools encourage students to get tested before their Thanksgiving departures, not travel if they test positive and quarantine for 14 days at home upon arrival.

Students should stay put and have a socially distant “Friendsgiving” on campus or celebrate virtually with their families if their school plans to resume face-to-face classes after Thanksgiving weekend, the association advised. Schools should also plan to keep quarantine housing open and provide support for students who test positive in the days just before dismissal.

Some colleges had already begun to make plans. The State University of New York announced this week that its students would have to test negative for the coronavirus during the 10 days before they leave campus; positive cases will be quarantined for a period prior to returning home. Pennsylvania State University and the University of Southern California are both offering free departure testing to students, though not mandating it.

More than a third of U.S. colleges invited students back for the fall with some degree of socially distanced campus housing and face-to-face instruction, and more than a quarter have been holding classes mostly or entirely in person, according to the College Crisis Initiative and the Chronicle of Higher Education. They have been tracking about 3,000 schools.

Many colleges have experienced serious outbreaks throughout the fall, though some hot spots have managed to contain the coronavirus in recent weeks. A New York Times survey of more than 1,700 American colleges and universities has found more than 214,000 cases since the pandemic began, with more than 50 colleges reporting at least 1,000 cases.

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

When Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany announced the latest round of restrictions on public life, she named bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, gyms and tattoo parlors as institutions that would be forced to close. But missing from the list released on Wednesday were schools and day care centers — among the first to be shuttered in the spring lockdown.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron also said on Wednesday that schools would be exempt from wide-reaching nationwide restrictions that are to take effect beginning Friday. Ireland also allowed schools to remain open despite a nationwide lockdown that went into effect earlier this month.

Not everyone is happy with the decisions, but policymakers are taking extra precautions to reduce the risk in schools, from mask requirements for teachers and pupils, to regular airing of classrooms, to split use of schoolyards during breaks. They say they are applying hard-learned lessons from months of fighting the pandemic, and are prepared to change directions if things take a turn for the worse.

Micheal Martin, the Irish prime minister, said that while his country could no longer avoid restrictions, despite the detrimental impact on the economy, it was vital that schools remained open.

“We cannot and will not allow our children and young people’s futures to be another victim of this disease,” Mr. Martin said in a national address. “They need their education.”

Medical experts point to many things they now know that were unknown back in the spring: with proper precautions, the rate of coronavirus transmission in schools is relatively low, especially among the youngest students; children who do get infected tend to have mild symptoms; and measures like mask-wearing, social distancing and air circulation are more effective than they had predicted.

But that does not mean open schools are risk-free. While schools are not known to have been a major source of outbreaks in western Europe and the United States, they were in Israel, when it wasn’t implementing social distancing in schools and relaxed a restriction requiring masks.

Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

Like so many other plans this pandemic year, Halloween, at least as people have long known it, is canceled.

Would-be revelers across the United States are grappling with how to celebrate a holiday that is normally dependent on placing a great deal of trust in complete strangers at a time when social distancing is paramount.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that many traditional ways of marking Halloween, including trick-or-treating and crowding into haunted houses, are “higher risk” activities.

Some towns in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas, among other states, have banned door-to-door trick-or-treating altogether. Others are promoting reimagined celebrations like open-air costume parties or outdoor movie nights, which are considered “moderate risk.”

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Halloween should still be celebrated, trick-or-treating and all. He stressed that any festivities should take place outdoors, and with both ordinary face coverings and costume masks. But he expressed hope that Halloween would bring some relief to children weary of the pandemic.

“It can be exciting for our youngest New Yorkers,” the mayor said. “And they deserve it. They deserve it after everything they’ve been through.”

One parent, Christian Foster, a Bronx resident, said Halloween ranked high on the holiday list for his two school-aged children.

“These past six months have pretty much been disappointment after disappointment,” Mr. Foster said. “And you don’t want this to be another ‘maybe next year we’ll be happy again.’ But we also have to be real about the safety of it.”

Credit…John Shishmanian/The Bulletin, via Associated Press

Months after Connecticut first began its reopening, its largest cities on Thursday announced plans to reimpose restrictions on businesses and gatherings as the state confronts a surge in virus cases.

Over the past week, Connecticut has seen an average of 725 cases per day, according to a Times analysis — more than double its average two weeks earlier.

On Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont reported that the state’s average positivity rate in the last week was 3.1 percent — a rate not seen in Connecticut since early June, when the state first started opening up after a severe outbreak gripped the New York City region.

“I look hard to find a silver lining, and I can’t find it in these numbers,” Mr. Lamont said. “There’s no good news in those numbers.”

Earlier this month, the state released a color-coded plan to begin targeted shutdowns in the hardest-hit municipalities, which are labeled red. Thirty towns and cities are currently in red zones, meaning they must cancel public events and postpone indoor and outdoor activities where social-distancing or wearing masks is not possible.

Those municipalities are also allowed to roll back to an earlier phase of the state’s reopening plan, reducing the occupancy limits for many businesses and capping the size of private gatherings.

As of Thursday, three of the state’s largest cities — New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford — said they would roll back their reopenings.

Mr. Lamont also said the state’s single-day positivity rate was 6.1 percent, its highest since June 1, which he viewed as cause for concern.

“This 6.1 may be a harbinger of things to come,” he said, later saying “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Elsewhere in the region, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said on Friday that his state had reported 2,089 more cases of the coronavirus — the first time since early May that the state had reported over 2,000 new cases in a single day.

Newark, the state’s largest city, earlier this week imposed a curfew requiring non-essential businesses close by 8 p.m.

Credit…Christopher Black/World Health Organization, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Quitting the World Health Organization, as President Trump has pledged to do, could potentially be “ruinous” for the United States in the event of a future pandemic, public health experts say.

Speaking at a forum on the planned U.S. withdrawal, they noted that the W.H.O. plays a critical role as the clearinghouse for advance warnings of disease outbreaks anywhere in the world.

“We’re only one plane flight away from something very bad being transmitted from one country to another,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Benjamin spoke at a webinar Thursday on the U.S. withdrawal plan that was sponsored by Physicians for Human Rights.

Instead of pulling the United States out of the organization, the experts argued, whoever takes over in the White House in January should work with other nations to give the W.H.O. greater legal powers to demand that member states divulge everything they know about their outbreaks so that other countries can prepare if they spread.

Mr. Trump has blamed China and the W.H.O. for the spread of Covid-19 in the United States. Most public health experts instead blame him because he played down the disease, and failed to mount a robust federal response.

Because Congress approved the American entry into the W.H.O. in 1948, it may not be possible to withdraw without Congress’ approval, said Lawrence O. Gostin, chair of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law School.

In any case, the United States cannot leave the agency until July, because American law requires that the administration give one year’s notice and pay all back dues owed.

Credit…Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

About three million total confirmed coronavirus cases, 75,000 related deaths, and the highest weekly number of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Countries in the Middle East, including Iran, Lebanon and Turkey, have been grappling with a resurgence of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, and the World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic has reached “an alarming juncture” in the region.

“Case numbers are expected to grow at an increasing rate during the winter season,” Dr. Rana Hajjeh, the organization’s director of program management, said earlier this week.

Jordan reported its deadliest days since the beginning of the pandemic this week, and Turkey has recorded its highest numbers of daily new cases since May. Israel has been under a strict nationwide lockdown after daily infection and death rates soared to among the highest in the world last month, but infections have started to decline. Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official, has been in critical condition after contracting the coronavirus.

Lebanon, which successfully contained the spread of the virus in the first months of the pandemic, has faced a resurgence of cases in the fall, and most Covid-19 units in hospitals are now at high occupancy, according to the head of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

But nowhere in the region is the situation officially worse than in Iran, which saw two days of record deaths this week. The authorities tallied nearly 400 deaths on Thursday, bringing the reported death toll in the region’s worst-hit country to more than 34,000 — though officials have acknowledged that is likely an undercount. A senior member of Iran’s medical association said earlier this month that the real death toll could be three to four times higher.

Hospitals in Iran are saturated, according to officials, and President Hassan Rouhani has warned that the worst was yet to come.

“We are now in a full-scale war with the coronavirus,” Iran’s health ministry spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, said in a televised address this week, according to Agence-France Presse.

Global roundup

Credit…Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA, via Shutterstock

Thousands of people left Paris on Thursday, just hours before France went into its second nationwide lockdown, clogging the city with massive traffic jams as many sought to be confined in the countryside and less crowded areas.

Lines of cars stretched across hundreds of miles in the city and on the Boulevard Périphérique, the multilane ring road that circles around Paris, in scenes reminiscent of an exodus in the spring, when France imposed its first lockdown.

In March, 1.2 million people left the Paris area, nearly a fifth of its population. In some areas, the massive exodus by affluent city dwellers who decamped to their second homes helped spread the coronavirus to regions that at that point had been spared by the pandemic.

This time, the virus is spreading fast throughout the country, according to authorities. France has recorded an average of 40,000 new cases a day over the past week, one of the highest levels in the world. More than 2,500 new patients have been hospitalized daily in the past several days, the highest numbers since mid-April.

The new restrictions, which went into effect on Friday, require people to stay at home except for essential work or medical reasons. Restaurants and businesses are closed, but schools remain open.

President Emmanuel Macron predicted earlier this week that the second wave of the virus would be more deadly than the first.

“I know the weariness and this feeling of a day with no end that is overcoming all of us,” Mr. Macron said as he announced the second lockdown on Wednesday. “This period is hard precisely because it is testing our resilience and our unity.”

Elsewhere in Paris this week, one of the world’s most iconic bookshops, Shakespeare & Company, said that sales were down almost 80 percent since March. “Like many independent businesses, we are struggling, trying to see a way forward during this time when we’ve been operating at a loss,” the bookshop wrote in its newsletter. The first iteration of the Parisian institution opened in 1919.

On Thursday, the organization that hands out the Goncourt Prize, France’s most prestigious literary award, announced that it will be postponed, in solidarity with bookstores closed by the virus rules. Goncourt winners are automatic best-sellers, and the organization said it didn’t want e-commerce platforms like Amazon to be the sole beneficiaries of the windfall.

François Busnel, a famous literary critic who hosts a widely-watched television show, has launched a petition asking authorities to let bookstores reopen, and several prominent politicians, including Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, and former President François Hollande support the move.

Here are some other developments from around the globe:

  • Ahead of a long holiday weekend, several cities and regions around Spain announced new restrictions on Friday, including the northwestern region of Galicia, where the authorities banned all city residents from traveling during the three-day vacation. In northeastern Catalonia, residents will have to stay within their municipalities not only this coming weekend, but also during the following ones. On Thursday, Parliament approved maintaining the country’s state of emergency until May, although the government is delegating to regional authorities many of the key decisions over where and when to impose new restrictions in order to contain the second wave of Covid-19.

Credit…Lena Mucha for The New York Times

Last Sunday, before Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany announced a second national lockdown, a homemade bomb exploded in the early morning hours in central Berlin, close to a research institute that tracks virus cases and less than a mile from Ms. Merkel’s office. The bomb produced a flash and a boom but not much else. No one was hurt.

But a note found in the blast’s vicinity made clear that the bomb was more than a juvenile prank: The letter demanded the end of all measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, the resignation of the entire government and new elections, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday. The note also indicated that more of the same would come if the authorities did not meet the demands.

Protests against coronavirus restrictions in Germany have included signs and slogans personally attacking politicians or scientists, but the crude bomb in Berlin and other recent attacks are among the first documented cases of violence directed at the scientific institutes helping to fight the pandemic. One favorite target of demonstrators has been the federal health minister Jens Spahn, who recently tested positive for the virus but said he would return to work next week after quarantining at home.

In a speech to Germany’s Parliament on Thursday, Ms. Merkel condemned the lies and conspiracy theories around the virus, noting that they impeded the fight against the virus.

The police are not saying whether the bomb is linked to two other amateurish attacks directed at the federal scientific authority involved in fighting the coronavirus. Over the past week, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, was attacked several times. Last week, its website, which keeps Germans abreast of the latest infection numbers, was down for several hours because of a cyberattack. Hours before the explosive with the letter went off, attackers threw crude Molotov cocktails at the windows of the institute’s office building until a security guard chased them off.

Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

As Covid cases rise around the United States and the holidays approach, mayors and governors have begun to preach a doctrine of mirthlessness to American families: This will be the year of pie eaten alone in front of an iPad.

But some will find a way to travel to places where they will sit at communal tables, conviviality unhindered.

The difference often comes down to testing.

Kim Kardashian West, for example, recently flew friends and family to a private island for her 40th birthday, after “2 weeks of multiple health screens,” she wrote on Twitter.

In New York City, the disparities are unmistakable.

Wil Lieberman-Cribbin, a doctoral student in environmental health at Columbia, tabulated the prevalence of testing in the city during September and October by ZIP code.

Overwhelmingly, he found, the wealthiest neighborhoods showed the highest rates of testing, and the poorest neighborhoods largely correlated with the lowest.

What concerns public-health experts is that high rates of positivity have emerged in areas with low rates of testing, which suggests that infection could be much more widespread than it appears. And while the city now has 200 testing sites, disseminating information about them has been poor.

In the view of Beverly Xaviera Watkins, a social epidemiologist at the University of California-Irvine, messaging in low-income communities of color has been “horrendous.’’ The authorities have had little success overriding suspicions of a medical class with a history of exploiting Black Americans or easing a broader mistrust of government.

Such doubt is amplified in public housing, where decades of neglect and deceit have resulted in buildings tainted with lead paint and mold and a vanished faith among people who live there that their well-being is anyone’s priority.

Surveying a sample of people living in three New York City Housing Authority complexes in Brooklyn, Dr. Watkins and Dawn Blondel, an environmental justice advocate, found that a vast majority of respondents had not been tested even though more than a third knew someone who had died of Covid-19.

“The thing is, you could get control of the virus everywhere in the city,” said Dr. Watkins, “but if you can’t get it down in public housing, you’ve lost the war.”

Credit…Pool photo by Ken Ruinard

Trevor Lawrence, the star quarterback at top-ranked Clemson and a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, has tested positive for coronavirus, the university said Thursday night.

Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement that Lawrence was “doing well with mild symptoms” but that he would miss Saturday’s game against Boston College.

Perhaps more crucially for the race toward the College Football Playoff, Swinney did not say when Lawrence had tested positive or when he had developed symptoms — distinctions that could determine whether he would be eligible to play at No. 4 Notre Dame on Nov. 7.

In a post on Twitter late Thursday, Lawrence said that his symptoms had been “relatively mild” and that “the only thing that hurts is missing an opportunity to be with my teammates this weekend and play the game I love.”

Lawrence has been among the most electrifying quarterbacks in college football in recent years. He passed for more than 3,600 yards last season, when he steered Clemson back to the national championship game a year after it had won the title.

And just a few months ago, he was a leading figure in the #WeWantToPlay movement that urged college sports executives to mount a football season during the pandemic.

Last Friday, when Clemson’s athletic department most recently released data about its coronavirus testing, the university in South Carolina said seven of its student-athletes had tested positive over the previous week. Now, given Lawrence’s result, at least 138 Clemson student-athletes have tested positive since June 1.

The Lawrence announcement was the latest development in a turbulent college football season marked by conferences’ shifting their decisions about whether to proceed and the postponement or cancellation of more than three dozen games involving Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin canceled its game at Nebraska after at least 12 people, including six players and Coach Paul Chryst, tested positive for the virus. (The university said Thursday that three more people associated with the football program had since tested positive, and it remained unclear whether the Badgers’ next game, a Nov. 7 matchup with Purdue, would happen.)

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Voters in several swing states are casting their ballots at the same time the coronavirus reaches new peaks in their communities, creating more uncertainty about how they will vote — and for whom.

The pandemic has killed nearly 230,000 people in the United States and upended the nation’s economy. Now it could help decide the presidential election.

Some electoral battlegrounds, like Michigan and North Carolina, are seeing record numbers of new cases and deaths. Hospitals in Wisconsin and other hard-hit areas are reaching capacity, pushing health care providers to the brink and leaving their workers reeling. Other swing states, like Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona, are experiencing more mild upswings.

“Things are really running rampant, so there is a lot of discontent,” said Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wisconsin narrowly voted for President Trump in 2016, but the virus may change the outlook for him there.

“I do think it provides more of a challenge for Trump to try and win the state because any news about the pandemic — it’s not good for him,” Dr. Burden said.

Already, the pandemic has complicated the voting process.

Because of concerns the virus would hamper people’s ability to vote, several states have encouraged mail-in voting. About 1.64 million people had returned absentee ballots in Wisconsin as of Thursday, more than half of the total ballots cast in 2016.

In other battleground states like North Carolina, Florida and — this year — Texas, the president could see fading support from Republicans who feel frustrated by what they see as a lackluster federal response to the coronavirus. Those states may also see higher turnout among Democrats who opted to vote by mail for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Enthusiasm for turning out for Trump among Trump supporters will wane somewhat, and so it will affect turnout somewhat,” said John Aldrich, a professor of political science at Duke University. “I don’t think it’s going to be a massive thing.”

Still, he said, in places where elections can come down to a few thousand votes, “everything matters.”

Credit…Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the country’s second-largest system, will probably not bring students back into classrooms until at least January, two members of the Board of Education said on Thursday.

The state requires a county to have no more than seven new daily cases per 100,000 people for two weeks before schools can fully reopen. In Los Angeles County, the daily case number is now about 18, and it has been climbing.

The president of the school board, Richard Vladovic, said that even if infections started declining soon, it would not make sense to reopen schools just as the holidays are about to begin. The news was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

With the current county case numbers, Los Angeles schools are allowed to bring up to a quarter of students back onto campus, and can seek waivers to bring back all students in prekindergarten through second grade. But the district has not pursued those options.

Katie Braude, chief executive officer of Speak Up, a group that advocates for educational equity, said the district’s hands were tied because it had agreed with the teachers’ union that no teachers would be required to come back in person until schools were reopened for all students. The agreement expires on December 31.

Ms. Braude said the district, which has over 600,000 students, had done a lot of work to make the return to school safe, setting up an ambitious testing system for students and the staff and replacing ventilation systems.

“It’s just kind of ironic that the district has really gone out of its way on that front and they’re still not able to get kids back on campus who really need to be on campus,” she said, adding that “these kids are all losing out, and these are the kids who are already falling behind.”

The vice president of the Board of Education, Jackie Goldberg, said that even January was optimistic.

“It may be February or March,” she said.

And at that point, she said, the question may be whether it is worth starting in-person instruction if many children have to change teachers that late in the year.

The district has said that when it does reopen, it will use a hybrid model, in which students cycle between going to school buildings and learning at home.





Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply