Live Coronavirus News and Updates


As the C.D.C. recommends workplace changes, millions of the unemployed have more immediate concerns.

Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.

Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that isn’t possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around them.

If followed, the guidelines would lead to a far-reaching remaking of the corporate work experience. They even upend years of advice on commuting, urging people to drive to work by themselves, instead of taking mass transportation or car-pooling, to avoid potential exposure to the virus.

The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state programs hasn’t kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks. But it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that individuals and the economy are hurtling toward.

And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that has allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July.

In an open letter addressed to The Lancet’s editor Richard Horton and the paper’s authors, they asked the journal to provide details about the provenance of the data and called for the study to be independently validated by the World Health Organization or another institution.

Use of the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat Covid-19 has been a focus of intense public attention. President Trump has touted the promise of hydroxychloroquine despite the absence of gold standard evidence from randomized clinical trials to prove its effectiveness, and he recently said he was taking the drug himself in hopes of preventing coronavirus infection.

The experts who wrote the letter to The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to disclose information on the hospitals that contributed their data, or even to name the countries where they were located. The company that owns the database is Surgisphere.

“Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25 percent of all Covid-19 cases and 40 percent of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording,” the scientists wrote. “Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely.”

A spokeswoman for The Lancet, Emily Head, said in an email that the journal had received numerous inquiries about the paper, and had referred the questions to the authors. “We will provide further updates as necessary,” she said.

Dr. Sapan S. Desai, the owner of Surgisphere and one of the paper’s authors, said in a statement that the database was an aggregation of the anonymous electronic health records of hospitals that are customers of QuartzClinical, a machine learning and analytics company. He also said that contractual agreements with the hospitals bar the sharing of patient-level data, though it is available to qualified scientists for research purposes.

“Our strong privacy standards are a major reason that hospitals trust Surgisphere and we have been able to collect data from over 1,200 institutions across 46 countries,” the statement said.

Outbreaks have accelerated especially sharply in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, leading the World Health Organization to say on Tuesday that it considered the Americas to be the new center of the pandemic.

And although much of the Middle East seemed to avert early catastrophe even as the virus ravaged Iran, case counts have been swelling in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

That is why Wisconsin is being closely monitored. Two weeks ago, the conservative majority on the State Supreme Court overturned that state’s stay-at-home order, effectively removing the most serious restrictions on residents.

It can take several weeks after changes in behavior — like the increased movement and interactions associated with the end of a stay-at-home order — for the effect on transmissions to be reflected in the data. In Wisconsin, there were indications that the virus was still spreading before the order was lifted. But in the weeks since restrictions were overturned, the case numbers have continued to grow.

“It worries us,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, the medical director for infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. “We wonder if this is a trend in an unfavorable direction.”

Washington State, which has been battling a deluge of fraudulent unemployment claims, has managed to claw back some $300 million in payments that went out to fraudsters, officials said Thursday.

Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of Washington State’s Employment Security Department, said the recovery came from coordination among law enforcement agencies and financial institutions. She did not reveal exact numbers on recoveries or the total number of fraudulent claims and said that the state was continuing to work on additional collections while blocking more false claims.

“The criminals have not gone away because we continue to see significant highly suspicious traffic,” Ms. LeVine said.

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance said in a statement that it had also seen fraudsters trying to file large numbers of illegitimate claims, while the cybersecurity firm Agari said it had seen evidence of the fraudulent claims targeting states all over the country.

With the weather getting warmer and New Yorkers getting antsier, the New York City Council introduced legislation on Thursday afternoon that would push Mayor Bill de Blasio to open streets and other public areas to outdoor dining.

The legislation, backed by the restaurant industry, would also require the city to set health and safety requirements for such operations.

“Our hope is there may be areas where entire streets could be shut down for restaurant service,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “We really need to be creative.”

The move came as Mr. de Blasio estimated that 200,000 to 400,000 unemployed New Yorkers could return to work when the city meets the public health benchmarks to begin reopening some of its nonessential businesses, possibly in early June.

New York City is the only part of the state that has yet to meet those requirements. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hinted in a radio interview on Thursday that five regions of the state that have already begun the process could soon move on to a “Phase 2.”

Mr. Cuomo also announced on Thursday that he would issue an executive order authorizing any business in the state to deny entry to people who were not wearing face coverings. Store owners, he said, have “a right to protect themselves” and “a right to protect the other patrons.”

As restrictions eased across the country, new measures were issued and under consideration in some cities and states where protests were growing over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes.

Large crowds of demonstrators have gathered against the backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic that has kept many residents from engaging with one another directly for months. Last week, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that Minneapolis was considered a hot spot for virus cases.

As many businesses across the country resume, some states are allowing day care centers and preschools to reopen.

The coronavirus cost the industry — which typically serves more than 12 million children in the United States under 6 — more than 355,000 jobs in March and April. And a survey by an industry group showed that many providers were so short of cash that they could go out of business permanently.

Mandy Zaransky-Hurst, a corporate executive in Chicago, has been missing her 4-month-old’s day care.

She said her current arrangement, which required her to frequently rise at 4 a.m. to begin a 10-hour workday, while also caring for her 6-year-old was “not sustainable.” But she worries that day care is not safe.

“What true flexibility and understanding will companies give to employees who can’t send their kids back to day care?” Ms. Zaransky-Hurst asked.

Experts now worry that if licensed centers disappear, more families will resort to ad hoc arrangements, such as relying on relatives, friends or neighbors who lack experience, let alone formal training in safety or education.

“Is that essential business?” asked Nayda Alvarez, 49, who recently found construction markers on land in Starr County, Texas, that has been in her family for five generations. “That didn’t stop a single minute during the shelter in place or stay at home.”

Some of the landowners sued have kept the properties in their families for generations. But some say the government’s timing has left them further disadvantaged in a process in which the administration already has the law on its side. Social distancing and other virus restrictions have made it difficult for landowners to meet with relatives and lawyers to discuss the government’s offers, and some have questioned why the push to access their properties is coming as the virus spreads.

Landowners can choose to allow the government to access and survey their land and, if the administration wants it, accept compensation that is supposed to be based on fair market value. But if they refuse, they are likely to be taken to court, where the government can use eminent domain powers to argue that the wall is an emergency and eventually take possession of their land. The government can then begin construction, even while continuing to argue with the landowners over compensation.

The Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, and the president of the convention committee, Marcia Lee Kelly, laid out the deadline in a joint letter to Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.

The president has tried to force Mr. Cooper and Vi Lyles, the mayor of Charlotte, to commit quickly to a Republican plan for a party celebration in the biggest city in a state that Mr. Trump won in 2016.

But the letter also appeared to be an effort to put the onus on Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lyles, both of whom are Democrats, if Republicans end up trying to stage their convention in another state.

“We still do not have solid guidelines from the state and cannot in good faith, ask thousands of visitors to begin paying deposits and making travel plans without knowing the full commitment of the governor, elected officials and other stakeholders in supporting the convention,” Ms. McDaniel and Ms. Kelly wrote.

Global updates: Countries are opening up, even as their caseloads rise.

There have been nearly 700,000 new known cases reported in the past week as the virus spreads in Latin America. But many countries are sputtering into reopenings at what experts fear may be the worst time.

What you need to know about flying.

Airplane travel is inching back, but staying safe remains a concern and safety protocols are changing. We have tips for approaching your next flight.

Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Julie Bosman, Ben Casselman, Andrew Das, Dana Goldstein, Maggie Haberman, Matt Richtel, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Matt Stevens, Roni Caryn Rabin and Marc Santora.

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