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Officials call for greater vigilance, as Florida and South Carolina set repeated highs for new daily cases.
As record daily highs for new coronavirus cases were repeatedly set this week in Florida and South Carolina, officials there aimed to subdue alarm while doubling down on calls for greater vigilance, mask-wearing and social distancing.
Florida, among the hardest hit states, reported 3,822 new cases on Friday, beating the single-day record it set the previous day, and bringing its total number of cases close to 90,000. A total of 3,104 people have died.
South Carolina also reported on Friday a record of 1,081 new daily cases. It was the seventh time in 11 days that the state broke its single-day case record, and the state epidemiologist on Thursday pleaded with residents to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“We understand that what we’re continuing to ask of everyone is not easy and that many are tired of hearing the same warnings and of taking the same daily precautions,” Dr. Linda Bell, the epidemiologist, said in a statement. “Every day that we don’t all do our part, we are extending the duration of illnesses, missed work, hospitalizations and deaths in our state.”
The recent spikes in both states come as policymakers across the United States are struggling to find a precarious balance between reopening their battered economies and keeping future outbreaks at bay.
This week, outbreaks have been growing in much of the South and West. Officials in Arizona, Oklahoma and California all reported their highest daily case numbers on Thursday. And Texas became the sixth state in the nation to surpass 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Cases there have doubled over the past month.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, sought to allay concerns about the spike in cases. He attributed the rise to an increase of infections among people under 40, many of whom, he stressed, were asymptomatic and less likely to put a strain on hospitals. The majority of deaths in the state were among residents 65 and older, and were centered at long-term care facilities, where Mr. DeSantis said the number of cases was declining.
He said an increase in testing across the state had also contributed to the rise, even as he cautioned that there had been an “erosion of social distancing among the younger population.” “As you test more, you find more,” he said.
The Trump administration has made a misleading claim that the recent jumps are a result of more aggressive testing.
But public health officials point to the easing of restrictions at businesses such as bars and restaurants, and a lack of social distancing among many beach-goers, among other factors, to help explain the rise. Some businesses in the state have had to reclose after employees fell ill. Apple on Friday said it was temporarily closing 11 retail stores across four states — Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arizona — amid the surge in infections.
Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and an influential policy maker within the central bank system, cited the rising caseloads in South Carolina and Florida as he warned of the economic impact of states’ reopening before the virus is under control.
Mr. Rosengren said that because of the virus’s continued spread “and the acceleration of new cases in many states, I expect the economic rebound in the second half of the year to be less than was hoped for at the outset of the pandemic.”
The World Health Organization issued a dire warning on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, and noted that Thursday was a record day for new cases — more than 150,000 globally.
“The world is in a new and dangerous phase,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the W.H.O. “Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and their economies. But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly, and most people are still susceptible.”
If the outbreak was defined early on by a series of shifting epicenters — including Wuhan, China; Iran; northern Italy; Spain; and New York — it is now defined by its wide and expanding scope. According to a Times database, 81 nations have seen a growth in new cases over the past two weeks, while only 36 have seen declines.
Dr. Tedros said that almost half of the new cases reported on Thursday came from the Americas. Large numbers are also being reported from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.
Dr. Tedros urged individuals to continue to maintain distance from others, to cover their noses and mouths with masks when appropriate and to wash their hands. He said nations must continue to find, isolate, test and care for every person infected with the virus, and to test and quarantine every contact. “We call on all countries to exercise extreme vigilance,” he said.
But risks are multiplying as nations begin to reopen their economies.
In India, which initially placed all 1.3 billion of its citizens under a lockdown — then moved to reopen even with its public health system near the breaking point — officials reported a record number of new cases Wednesday. And the virus is now spreading rapidly in nearby Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.
It took Africa nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases, the W.H.O. has noted, but only 19 days to double that tally. South Africa now averages a thousand more new cases each day than it did two weeks ago.
And some countries where caseloads had appeared to taper — including Israel, Sweden and Costa Rica — are watching them rise again. Costa Rica’s health minister said Friday that the country was halting reopening its economy because of the increase in cases.
Scientists generally agree that wearing face masks can help curb the spread of the virus. For politicians and businesses, however, the decision of whether to require masks is growing increasingly contentious, with some viewing the requirements as an essential safety measure while others call them an infringement on personal liberty.
The chief executive of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Adam Aron, drew a swift backlash on Thursday after he said that moviegoers would not be required to wear masks at the company’s theaters when they reopen next month. He said that AMC “did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.”
“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary,” Mr. Aron said in an interview published Thursday by Variety magazine.
AMC reversed itself on Friday, saying it had consulted with scientific advisers and would require masks in theaters nationwide when it reopens on July 15.
“This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks,” the company said in a statement.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema also said on Friday that it would require face masks in its theaters.
Similar tensions are playing out nationwide, even as cases surge in several states.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, where there has been a surge, on Thursday ordered people to wear face masks in most indoor — and some outdoor — public settings. This week Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, which has seen record numbers of new daily cases, gave mayors the power to require masks. Previously, municipalities there were forbidden to introduce more restrictive rules.
In Tulsa, Okla., people were lining up early for President Trump’s campaign rally on Saturday, his first since the start of the pandemic. The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said this week that attendees would be given face masks, but that using them would be optional. Mr. Trump has eschewed masks in public, and Ms. McEnany said on Friday that she would not wear one at the rally.
As health officials in Tulsa braced for the possibility that attendees could spread the virus further, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 352 additional cases on Friday, its second-highest daily number of new cases.
The only day with more new cases in the state was Thursday, when 450 were reported. The third-highest number, 259, came on Wednesday.
On Friday afternoon, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a legal bid to stop Mr. Trump from holding the rally because of virus concerns. A lawsuit filed by local residents and businesses had demanded that the event be postponed unless the arena hosting it agreed to enforce social distancing guidelines.
The plaintiffs had sought a temporary injunction against the parent company of the BOK Center, the 19,000-seat arena where the rally is to be held. But the court ultimately said that because Oklahoma’s reopening plan, put in place on June 1, allowed businesses to use their discretion when instituting social distancing measures, such restrictions were not mandatory.
A Navy investigation has concluded that the two top officers aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt made poor decisions in response to the outbreak of the virus on board the warship.
As a result of the findings, Capt. Brett E. Crozier, will not be restored to command of the virus-stricken ship, and his boss on board, Rear. Adm. Stuart P. Baker, will have a promotion to two-star admiral put on hold. There will be no other punitive action against Captain Crozier.
The conclusions of the investigation were announced by Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite and Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, at a Pentagon news conference.
The decisions amounted to a reversal by Admiral Gilday, who had previously recommended to his Pentagon superiors that command of the Roosevelt be returned to Captain Crozier, who was relieved in April after he pleaded for more help fighting the outbreak aboard his ship.
The events surrounding Captain Crozier, who has been viewed as a hero by his crew for putting their lives above his career, seized the nation’s attention.
Three pro sports teams shut down facilities in Florida, amid worries over player safety.
Two Major League Baseball clubs, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays, and a professional hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, shut down their training facilities in Florida this week, after several players and staff members tested positive and others showed symptoms consistent with the virus.
The Phillies said in a statement Friday that five players and three staff members working at the club’s facility in Clearwater had tested positive for the virus, first reported by NBC. The club said eight staff members tested negative and more than 30 others were awaiting results.
The Blue Jays facility, in nearby Dunedin, was closed Thursday after one of the players appeared to exhibit Covid-19 symptoms, according to ESPN. And ESPN and the Canadian network TSN reported that the Lightning shut down a facility after multiple players and staff tested positive. Both the N.H.L. and M.L.B. are hoping to start up in late July.
Florida has become a hub for sports leagues trying to restart, but the state has seen a sharp rise in cases. The N.B.A., W.N.B.A., Major League Soccer and others are all attempting to hold their upcoming seasons there.
The shutdowns on Friday cast a shadow over the return of professional sports, which this week became a source of friction between Mr. Trump and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
Mr. Trump rebuked Dr. Fauci after Dr. Fauci said Thursday on CNN that the National Football League would need to replicate the kind of safety “bubble” planned by professional basketball and soccer leagues to safely resume play.
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Dr. Fauci said.
Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday that “Tony Fauci has nothing to do with N.F.L. Football. They are planning a very safe and controlled opening.”
As New York City prepares for a broader reopening, the mayor says: Take it slow.
As New York City, once the center of the pandemic in the United States, was preparing to enter its next phase of reopening on Monday, officials urged caution and implored restless residents to use their judgment when deciding whether to participate in more parts of life.
As many as 300,000 employees are expected to return to their jobs next week as office work, in-store retail, outdoor dining and several other sectors of the city’s economy restart with limits. Apple said this week it was going to reopen 10 stores in the city “by appointment” for customers to pick up purchases or for repairs.
The shift in phases will be a major test for a dense city where people have already been gathering in crowds outside bars, in parks and other public places.
Asked at his daily news briefing on Friday exactly how much activity he would deem safe, Mayor Bill de Blasio put the onus on New Yorkers to decide for themselves.
“This is a very personal decision that people need to make, and I’d say to anyone who feels cautious or uncomfortable, listen to that — and less is more, right?” Mr. de Blasio said. “We are going through stages — we’re feeling our way.”
A short time later, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ended his run of more than 100 consecutive daily news conferences, with an address from his office. After confirming that New York City would ease more restrictions on Monday, he presented a montage of New Yorkers during the crisis that featured his own narration.
During his address, Mr. Cuomo warned that “Covid isn’t over” — there were 25 additional deaths reported statewide — and said more work was needed to contain it. But he also struck a reflective and celebratory tone, citing continued low levels of virus-related infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
“I’m so incredibly proud of what we all did together, and as a community,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We reopened the economy and we saved lives.”
Here’s what else is happening in the U.S.:
In Washington, the mayor said that some restrictions in the nation’s capital would ease on Monday, allowing gatherings of up to 50 people, limited indoor dining, and reopening playgrounds and fitness centers.
In New Jersey, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can begin seeing visitors on June 21, state officials announced. As of Friday, more than 6,150 deaths had been reported in long-term care facilities, almost half the total number of deaths in the state. The overall death toll grew by 37 statewide.
Visits must take place outdoors, with everyone wearing masks and remaining six feet apart. Visitors who experience symptoms or test positive within 14 days should contact the facility immediately, state officials said.
Cruise lines won’t sail from U.S. ports until Sept. 15, the Cruise Lines International Association said, after its member cruise lines agreed to extend a suspension that was to expire on July 24.
After three days of record highs, Texas reported at least 3,454 new coronavirus cases Friday. And it became the sixth state in the nation to surpass 100,000 cases, according to a Times database. Cases there have doubled over the past month and at least 2,140 people have died.
All week long, two competing narratives faced off on Wall Street.
Investors were encouraged by signs that business reopenings were having an immediate positive effect on the economy. But they were troubled by the growing number of coronavirus infections around the country.
The reversal came after Apple said it would temporarily close some stores in states where cases are spiking. The number of new cases is increasing in at least 20 states, an analysis by The Times found.
Apple’s decision had an instant impact on the market: Shares of companies that are likely to benefit from a return to normalcy, like airlines and retailers, immediately gave up their gains. Oil prices also gave up their early gains.
The push and pull this week has come amid mixed reports on the economy. A Labor Department report on Thursday showed that another 1.5 million workers had filed for state unemployment benefits. The pace of layoffs has slowed in recent weeks but remains elevated. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said that retail sales rebounded sharply in May, as stores reopened and governments lifted some restrictions. But there is growing uncertainty about the economic picture going forward.
Yet despite investors’ general unease, the S&P 500 was up nearly 2 percent for the week.
Italian scientists on Friday said they found traces of the virus in samples of sewage water collected in December, further suggesting that the virus was already circulating in the country months before the outbreak at the end of February.
Researchers at the Italian National Institute of Health discovered the presence of the RNA of the virus in samples taken in the northern cities of Milan and Turin on Dec. 18, more than two months before the country’s first case was diagnosed on Feb 20. Traces were also found in samples from the city of Bologna, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of Milan, on Jan. 29.
“We showed that the virus was already circulating,” said Lucia Bonadonna, an official at the institute. “Probably in asymptomatic or little-symptomatic forms before we had our first local case.”
While the new findings shift the virus’s timeline earlier in Europe, they do not significantly change the pandemic’s known timeline. Chinese officials reported the outbreak in Wuhan on Dec. 31, but later traced cases that emerged as far back as Dec. 1.
Italian scientists and officials have long suspected that the virus had moved undetected in the northern region of Lombardy, an economic hub where there is frequent trade with China, at least weeks before the contagion came to light.
Similar evidence has recently emerged around the world, indicating that by the time the authorities were aware of an outbreak, the virus was already more widespread than initially believed.
In France, a sample taken from a patient on Dec. 27 tested positive last month. And in California, health officials discovered a virus-linked death on Feb. 6, weeks before the earliest recorded case of U.S. community transmission.
In other news from around the world:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan lifted a virus-related ban on domestic travel. Mr. Abe’s government is also in discussions to ease international travel bans for passengers arriving from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.
Britain reduced its Covid-19 alert level to three from four. At Level 3, the virus is considered to remain “in general circulation.” But the change paves the way for a gradual easing of social-distancing measures.
Spain updated its death toll from the virus for the first time in almost two week. The country’s health ministry said 28,313 people had died, up from 27,136 on June 7. Officials said the intervening time had been used to ensure that all Covid-19 fatalities were properly recorded. Last month, the ministry abruptly reduced its tally by about 2,000, citing testing uncertainties.
South Korea reported 49 more cases, as a second wave of infections continued to spread in the Seoul metropolitan area.
In Canada, a doctor who traveled across a provincial border has been accused of igniting a coronavirus outbreak. The backlash against him has spurred debate over how to balance collective responsibility and individual freedom during a pandemic.
Older adults may be left out of some clinical trials for a vaccine or treatment.
Health experts worry that in the race to find drugs and vaccines, a substantial proportion of studies may be excluding older subjects, purposely or inadvertently, even as 80 percent of American deaths have occurred in people over age 65.
“A year from now, when these trials are published, I don’t want to see that there’s no one in them over 75,” said Dr. Sharon K. Inouye, a geriatrician at Harvard Medical School and Hebrew SeniorLife. “If they create a drug that works really well in healthy 50- and 60-year-olds, they’ve missed the boat.”
She and her team have reviewed 241 interventional Covid-19 studies that have been undertaken in the United States and are listed on clinicaltrials.gov, a site maintained by a division of the National Institutes of Health.
They found that 37 of these trials — which test drugs, vaccines and devices — set specific age limits and would not enroll participants older than 75, 80 or 85. A few even excluded those over 65.
Another group of 27 trials set no maximum age but used study designs that could nevertheless disqualify many older adults. Some excluded people with illnesses common among the older population, like hypertension or diabetes, even if participants controlled the disease through medication. “Surrogates for age exclusion,” Dr. Inouye said.
There is a long history of older people being excluded from clinical trials, even when the diseases in question disproportionately affected this group.
“Ideally, the patients enrolled in a randomized clinical trial reflect the demographics of the disease,” said Dr. Mark Sloan, a hematologist leading a Covid-19 drug study at Boston Medical Center, in an email. “Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.”
Chinese scientists see a European link to the Beijing outbreak, but the W.H.O. sees less.
Genetic analysis of the coronavirus spreading in Beijing indicates that it has recent roots in Europe, Chinese government scientists have told the World Health Organization.
That is a strong suggestion that “the disease was probably imported from outside Beijing at some point,” though not that Europe was the origin of the new outbreak, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the health emergency services program at the W.H.O., said on Friday.
Chinese researchers have posted the genomic sequence to online databases for further analysis, Dr. Ryan said.
Officials have been racing to explain and contain the new outbreak in the Chinese capital, a cluster of more than 180 infections at the vast Xinfadi wholesale market that emerged after 56 days of no new locally-transmitted cases.
There has been no wholesale lockdown, but the city’s schools have been shut and strict limitations imposed in high-risk neighborhoods. On Thursday, thousands of restaurant workers lined up around the city to get tested.
Travelers are being required to show proof of a negative nucleic acid test taken within seven days of boarding planes or trains out of Beijing, and the wait-list at some hospitals stretches into September, according to Caixin, a Chinese investigative news outlet.
The health authorities also released new guidelines urging the public to prevent “splash contamination” by not rinsing raw meat or seafood directly under the tap.
Chinese officials had initially pointed to imported salmon as a possible source of the new cluster, an idea that echoed some Chinese suggestions early in the pandemic that the virus itself may have originated elsewhere. But Dr. Ryan of the W.H.O. said there was no sign that fish had transmitted the virus in Beijing.
However, a top Chinese epidemiologist made another kind of link to seafood.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Thursday that seafood vendors at the Xinfadi market had suffered the most infections and showed symptoms earlier than those who sold beef and lamb.
He suggested that low temperatures and high humidity in the seafood and meat areas may have contributed to the virus’s spread, and suggested that clues to the virus’s emergence might be found in the proximity of fish and meat stalls — true of both the Xinfadi market and the market in the city of Wuhan where the initial outbreak was identified.
For small towns in the West, canceled rodeos are more than just forgone sports events.
Around the United States, but mostly in small towns in the West, hundreds of professional rodeos have been canceled — hard blows to tradition and economies. In many places, the rodeo is the biggest event on the annual calendar.
Stonyford, Calif., can feel like the middle of nowhere. But it could always count on a few crowded days every year during its annual rodeo, when the town’s population swells into the thousands.
Not this year. There was no 77th Stonyford Rodeo.
Some rodeos, like Stonyford, with $18,000 in prize money, are relatively small affairs. Others are immense undertakings filled with concerts, carnivals and livestock shows — and $1 million or more in payouts.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the governing body of about 700 annual rodeos, estimates that about half will not take place in 2020. Those still on the schedule are working with fingers crossed, some moving dates to buy more time.
“Covid-19 has impacted the entire country, every business you can think of,” said George Taylor, chief executive of the association. “Our business is a representation of that, but also represents a loss of community — something that brings these small towns together.”
Rodeos hold a unique spot in the American sports landscape. They are not a league, but a loose coalition of community events, usually run by nonprofit organizations and volunteers.
In late May, when Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming tearfully announced the cancellation of July’s Cheyenne Frontier Days for the first time in the event’s 124-year history, he was surrounded by representatives of other canceled Wyoming rodeos. They were socially distanced, wearing masks and cowboy hats.
Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Brooks Barnes, Keith Bradsher, John Branch, Gillian R. Brassil, Emma Bubola, Chris Buckley, Nancy Coleman, Maria Cramer, Michael Crowley, Gillian Friedman, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Jenny Gross, Mohammed Hadi, Annie Karni, Sarah Kliff, Jesse McKinley, Raphael Minder, Elian Peltier, Motoko Rich, Eric Schmitt, Jeanna Smialek, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Paula Span, Matt Stevens, Katie Thomas, Neil Vigdor, Daisuke Wakabayashi, David Waldstein and Mihir Zaveri.