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As Election Day nears and the United States reports its highest daily case totals yet, battleground Great Lakes states that could help decide the presidency are enduring some of the most alarming coronavirus surges.
While the surge quickens and early voting draws to a close, President Trump has continued downplaying the virus and falsely saying the country is “rounding the turn.” And on Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. tried to minimize the death toll, claiming it was “almost nothing” in an appearance on Fox News.
But deaths are beginning to rise across the country, averaging 818 a day over the last week, up nearly 15 percent since Oct. 1, according to a New York Times database. More than 84,000 new cases were announced Saturday in the United States, pushing the seven-day average for new cases above 80,000 for the first time, a rise of 86 percent over the same period.
Deaths are a lagging indicator in the pandemic. First comes a jump in cases — like the one in Minnesota, which this week reported its three highest daily case totals yet — followed by an increase in hospitalizations, as in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — all states that could tip the balance of the election.
These states are trying to avoid what has happened in Wisconsin, where more than 275 deaths have been reported in the last week. The state is home to nine of the country’s 16 metro areas with the highest rates of recent cases.
In Ohio, hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Pennsylvania is averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, more than twice as many as at the start of October, and hospitalizations have more than doubled.
In the final days before the election, Pennsylvania will be see a number of rallies for each presidential candidate. Mr. Trump, who visited the state on Saturday, was set to host another rally on Monday, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was set to visit on Sunday.
Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, urged caution. “This weekend, there will be multiple rallies across the commonwealth at a time when we are seeing a resurgence in cases,” Mr. Wolf said Saturday on Twitter. “We need everyone to take this seriously, especially at a time when our cases are at their highest.”
The surge has been ravaging the middle of the country, where states that had once been considered safely Republican-leaning, like Ohio, Iowa and Texas, are now fiercely competitive. In Iowa, the daily average of new cases increased over 80 percent in the past two weeks, according to a Times database; in Texas, the figure is up about 40 percent over the same period.
Across the country, reports of new cases remain at their highest levels yet. More than 99,000 cases were announced on Friday in the United States, a single-day record, and more than 20 states have set weekly case records recently. On Saturday, officials in Colorado and North Dakota announced daily record numbers of new cases.
On Saturday, 47,374 people were hospitalized with the virus in the United States, according to the Covid Tracking Project, an increase of more than 26 percent over the past two weeks.
Travel and family gatherings will make Thanksgiving an “inflection point,” causing even higher spikes in coronavirus cases than the record-breaking numbers now occurring in the United States, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned on Sunday.
“I think December is probably going to be our toughest month,” he said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Other health officials have issued similar warnings, including the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has said his daughters, living in different part of the country, will not travel home to spend Thanksgiving with their parents, because of the pandemic. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, also said his family had canceled its traditional gathering this year.
In a recorded conversation with the editor of JAMA on Wednesday, Dr. Fauci said that even small home gatherings were causing many cases.
“You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole the holidays,” Dr. Fauci said, but he urged families to consider the risks and adjust their plans to protect older people and those with health problems.
A study published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underlined the need for caution, showing that once someone in a household was infected, the virus spread rapidly through the home.
Dr. Gottlieb also expressed concern over teh accelerating spread of coronavirus infections in sometwo dozen states.
“We’re right at the beginning of what looks like exponential spread in a lot of states,” he said, adding, “This is very worrisome as we head into the winter.”
He said the United States would have to take “tough steps” to try to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed again. But he described those measures as “targeted mitigation” on a state level rather than the kind of nationwide lockdown that some countries in Europe are imposing.
He said he did not think there was political support in the United States, even on a state level, for broad lockdowns. He said that the nation should prioritize the opening of schools, and that there was evidence that doing so could be done safely with proper precautions.
“The contours of how bad the next few months are going to be are being decided by the policy steps we take now and in December,” he said in a message.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert whose criticism of President Trump’s pandemic response has steadily grown in pitch, gave a bleak appraisal of the administration’s coronavirus response in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday.
“You could not possibly be positioned more poorly” heading into the winter, when people will be gathering indoors more, he said.
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” he said in the interview, which was published on Saturday.
And in comments likely to grate on Mr. Trump, who has called Dr. Fauci “a disaster” as he has batted away the doctor’s growing criticism, Dr. Fauci praised the Biden campaign’s approach to the coronavirus, saying it was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign was “looking at it from a different perspective,” he said, which was focused on the economy and reopening the country.
The interview was the latest instance of Dr. Fauci, who was once the face of the government’s response, refusing to join in on the Trump administration’s efforts to insist the virus is under control. His influence has given way to Dr. Scott W. Atlas, Mr. Trump’s pandemic adviser who has questioned mask use and offered a number of other contrarian philosophies.
In the interview, Dr. Fauci directly criticized Dr. Atlas, saying “I have real problems with that guy.”
“He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in,” Dr. Fauci said. “He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
In a statement, Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said that it was “unacceptable and breaking with all norms” for Dr. Fauci to “play politics” three days before the election.
President Trump’s election night party will be held in the East Room of the White House, and aides are discussing inviting roughly 400 people, according to two officials familiar with the discussions.
The party had been moved from the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, the original venue chosen by the campaign, in part because of rules in Washington prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people indoors to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, what had initially been expected to be a small gathering in the East Room has ballooned into a large indoor party with several hundred people expected.
The event is certain to raise questions about safety, given that the coronavirus spreads more easily in indoor spaces. An event on Sept. 26 for Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, at which people were bunched together both indoors and outside in the Rose Garden, was widely seen by health experts as a point of spread of the virus.
A White House official and a spokeswoman for the first lady, whose office oversees the East Wing of the complex, did not respond to requests for comment. A campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign announced on Saturday that he would address the nation on election night from his hometown, Wilmington, Del.
The wealthiest nations have been cushioned from the worst of the pandemic’s economic toll by extraordinary surges of credit unleashed by central banks and by government spending collectively estimated at more than $8 trillion.
But developing countries have yet to receive help on such a scale, despite pledges from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund — organizations created at the end of World War II specifically to support nations at times of financial distress.
For instance, the I.M.F. has tapped only $280 billion of its $1 trillion lending capacity, making $31 billion in emergency loans to 76 member states — less than $11 billion of which went to low-income countries. The World Bank more than doubled its loan commitments over the first seven months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, but it has been slow to actually pay out that money, with disbursements were up by less than one-third over the same period, according to research from the Center for Global Development.
The relatively anemic response from the I.M.F. and the World Bank stems in part from the predilections of their largest shareholder, the United States.
The World Bank is headed by David Malpass, who was effectively an appointee of President Trump under the gentlemen’s agreement that has for decades accorded the United States the right to select the institution’s leader. Mr. Malpass, a longtime government finance official who worked in the Treasury Department under Mr. Trump, has displayed contempt for the World Bank and the I.M.F.
The I.M.F. is run by Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist who previously worked at the World Bank. She is answerable to the institution’s shareholders — its 190 member countries. The Trump administration has resisted calls to expand the I.M.F.’s reserves, arguing that most of the benefits would flow to wealthier countries.
The organizations’ unfulfilled promises did not stem from altruism. Emerging markets make up 60 percent of the world economy, by one I.M.F. measure. The pandemic’s blow to their fortunes has inflicted pain around the planet: diminishing the amount of money that migrant workers normally send home to poor countries, leaving many developing countries bereft of tourism, and robbing billions of people of the wherewithal to buy food.
By next year, the pandemic could have pushed 150 million people into extreme poverty, the World Bank has warned, the first increase in the global ranks of the extremely poor in more than two decades.
Defying coronavirus safety restrictions, tens of thousands of Montenegrins attended the funeral on Sunday of the nation’s most prominent religious leader, who died from Covid-19 complications last week.
Amfilohije Radovic, the 82-year-old Serbian Orthodox metropolitan bishop of Montenegro and the Littoral, was hospitalized last month after falling ill and testing positive for the virus. He died of pneumonia related to the disease on Friday, his representatives said.
His open coffin was carried through the closely packed crowd outside a church in Podgorica, the capital. The church urged attendees to wear masks and stay distant from others, and said it would hand out some 5,000 masks to those who did not have them. But few in the crowd or among the clerics who officiated at the services appeared to be wearing masks.
Mourners sang and shared communion, and some people who paid respects to the metropolitan bishop kissed his remains, prompting pleas from doctors to close the coffin, The Associated Press reported.
A powerful figure known for his anti-Western views and his support of Serb nationalism, the metropolitan bishop played a part in unseating the long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists earlier this year, by organizing protests against a law that gave the state ownership of some of religious buildings and lands. He had been seen at public events without a mask, and during a sermon in May he compared a pilgrimage to “God’s vaccine.”
Dignitaries from neighboring countries also attended the services, including President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and a leading Bosnian Serb politician, Milorad Dodik, according to local news reports. Other nations, including Russia, also were represented.
About three-quarters of Montenegrins belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has more than 8 million members worldwide, most of them in the Balkan nations.
The coronavirus has been surging in Montenegro, with an average of about 244 new cases a day over the past week, in a population of about 625,000 people. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Montenegro has reported 18,341 cases and 301 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
A senior British cabinet minister acknowledged on Sunday that the expansive monthlong restrictions Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a day earlier could be extended if coronavirus infection rates do not fall rapidly enough.
The restrictions Mr. Johnson imposed on England — shutting pubs, restaurants and most retail stores — had already been instituted in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so the announcement amounted to a national lockdown.
On Sunday, in an appearance on the Sky News program “Sophy Ridge on Sunday,” the minister, Michael Gove, answered “yes” after being pressed on whether the lockdown might be extended beyond the announced end date of Dec. 2.
“With a virus this malignant, and with its capacity to move so quickly,” Mr. Gove said, “it would be foolish to predict with absolute certainty what will happen in four weeks’ time, when over the course of the last two weeks its rate, its infectiousness, its malignancy have grown.”
Under the restrictions, people are required to stay home unless their workplaces, such as factories or construction sites, need them. They can go to school or college and leave home for a few other essential reasons, like buying food or seeking medical attention. But nonessential shops will be closed, people will be urged not to travel, except for business, and pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeout food.
The British government’s scientific advisory panel, known as SAGE, estimated this month that England was experiencing from 43,000 to 75,000 new infections a day, exceeding worst-case scenarios calculated just weeks ago. Hospital admissions were also running ahead of the worst-case scenario, the panel said.
On Friday, 1,489 patients were hospitalized in Britain with Covid-19 symptoms, nearly 1,000 of them in intensive care, while 274 people had died. The country has crossed the one million mark for total cases, according to a New York Times database, and its death toll from the virus is 58,925, one of the highest in Europe.
They used to call it “the tyranny of distance.” Australia’s remoteness was something to escape, and for generations, the country that hates being referred to as “down under” has been rushing toward the world. Trade and immigration made Australians richer than the Swiss, creating a culture where life can be complete only with overseas trips and imported purchases.
Until the pandemic. The virus has turned this outgoing nation into a hermit. Australia’s borders are closed, internationally and between several states. Its economy is smaller, and its population growth has fallen to its lowest rate in more than 100 years.
Rather than chafing against isolation, though, many Australians these days are focusing on what they love about their country. Island living looks like a privilege when the world is pestilent. Those gnawing questions about travel, recession and the loss of global experience are being shoved down, below a more immediate appreciation for home and a search for silver linings.
Australia, a country of about 25 million people, has recorded about 28,000 coronavirus infections and fewer than 1,000 deaths. In dozens of interviews, Australians have said they’re quite happy with their country’s response to the pandemic. Even with travel rules so strict they seem like something out of China or North Korea. Even with a 111-day lockdown in Australia’s second-largest city of Melbourne, which just finally ended. Even when the people kept away are grandparents longing to see new grandchildren.
That’s the case for Jane Harper, a best-selling novelist in Melbourne whose parents in Britain haven’t been able to see her second child.
“We’ve all worked so hard to keep our cases down, and that’s such a fragile, precious thing that I can completely understand the strong urge to protect it,” Ms. Harper said. “My desire to see my parents, does that outweigh my desire to never go into lockdown again?”
“It’s not my decision to make,” she said. “But nationally that’s the question we are all asking ourselves.”
In the spring, the pandemic hit Moscow particularly hard while mostly sparing provincial Russia. But infections are rising in several of the country’s far-flung regions, overwhelming hospitals and morgues.
President Vladimir V. Putin, who has centralized political power during his long tenure, delegated to regional authorities decisions on locking down businesses, shutting schools and taking other public health precautions.
The stated purpose was to allow local officials to tailor their responses to their circumstances, though political analysts also noted that it allowed Mr. Putin to deflect blame for unpopular shutdowns or bad outcomes. Either way, the result has become a patchwork of rules throughout the country that are often poorly observed.
Over all, Russia’s health system has been coping. Tatyana Golikova, a deputy prime minister, said 80 percent of the beds in Covid-19 wards were occupied nationally. But some provinces have clearly lost control; five regions reported that 95 percent of the beds were occupied.
In Novokuznetsk, a coal mining town in Siberia, a morgue worker posted a video in which he appeared to walk on bodies in bags. They were so tightly packed in a corridor that there seemed no other way to get through.
“This is the hallway,” said the worker, who did not identify himself. “There are corpses all over. You can fall down walking here, you can trip over them. I have to walk on their heads.”
In Blagoveshchensk, a city in the Far East on the border with China, a local journalist, Natalya Nadelyaeva, described waiting in line at a morgue to pick up the body of her grandfather, then waiting in another line at a funeral home to arrange burial.
“The undertakers told me they just don’t have enough crews to bury everybody on time,” she said.
Russia has reported 1,579,446 cases, the fourth-highest number in the world, after the United States, India and Brazil.
Those We’ve Lost
This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
Enzo Mari, an irascible industrial designer, artist and polemicist who made simple, beautiful objects, including toys and traffic bollards, that delighted generations of Italians and design buffs all over the world, died on Oct. 19 at a hospital in Milan. He was 88.
The cause was complications of the coronavirus, said Hans Ulrich Obrist, who, with Francesca Giacomelli, curated a major retrospective of his work at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, which opened two days before his death.
Mr. Mari’s wife, Lea Vergine, an art critic, theoretician and performance artist, also died from the coronavirus, on Oct. 20, at 82.
Mr. Mari was known as much for his grumpy pronouncements on the state of design — which he disdained as mostly unnecessary and a waste of labor and material — as for his own designs.
His most beloved works include an elegant platter made from a slightly bent I-beam (a functional art piece that presaged Donald Judd’s explorations by a few years); a cunning puzzle of 16 animals jigsawed from a single piece of oak; a perpetual calendar that worked like old traffic signals, with days and months printed on plastic cards that pivot out; and a do-it-yourself handbook and anti-industrial manifesto for making furniture using only nails and standard lumber (no need for fancy joinery, or a fancy designer).
That all of these things became collectibles for design aficionados was particularly irritating to him.
Nearly 22 percent of children in the United States had an unemployed parent in April, the highest rate on record, according to Zachary Parolin, a researcher at Columbia University.
Research dating to the Great Depression warns that parental unemployment puts children at risk: When finances fall and adult tensions rise, young people tend to do worse in school and experience psychological strains, reducing their prospects for success later in life.
But despite the economic problems caused by the coronavirus, some parents are finding an unexpected consolation.
Gregory Pike, a single father in Las Vegas, fell behind on rent and utilities payments when he lost his job in March. But he now has more time with his 6-year-old daughter, Makayla, whom he has raised alone for three years.
“As much as this pandemic has brought me some hardship and uncertainty, it’s kind of a blessing — it’s let me focus more on parenting,” Mr. Pike said. “It’s bad but it’s also been good. It’s really brought us a lot closer.”
A recent New York Times questionnaire asked parents how the pandemic had affected their relationships with their children. Many simultaneously lamented the lost income but praised the increased family time.
“We are struggling financially, but we have grown closer,” a mother in North Carolina wrote.
The trial for the January 2015 terrorist attacks on two sites in Paris — the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket — has been suspended after one of the main defendants tested positive for the coronavirus.
The attacks, which killed 17 people, were carried out by three Islamist extremists working in concert. All three died in shootouts with the police, leaving only suspected accomplices to stand trial.
The trial, held at the main courthouse in northern Paris, was suspended for the first time last Wednesday after one of the defendants — Ali Riza Polat, 35 — fell ill with nausea. A first test for the coronavirus came back negative, and the trial briefly resumed. But the presiding judge notified lawyers in the case by email late Saturday evening that a second test for Mr. Riza Polat was positive.
In the email, which was seen by The New York Times, the judge, Régis de Jorna, told lawyers that the trial would be suspended at least until Nov. 4, and that all of the other defendants would have to be tested. The suspension is likely to delay the verdict in the trial, which had been expected later this month.
“The trial will start again depending on the results of these tests, and of the evolution of the health of those involved,” Mr. de Jorna wrote.
In the courtroom, everyone is required to wear masks, including the defendants, the judges and the lawyers. The defendants are grouped together in two plexiglas “boxes.” Mr. Riza Polat spent much of last week loudly, and sometimes angrily, defending himself in court.
In all, 13 men and one woman stand accused at the trial, which started in early September; three of them are being tried in absentia. The trial was scheduled to begin in the spring but was postponed when the first wave of the pandemic hit France.
The accused are charged with providing varying degrees of logistical aid to the assailants, by carrying or supplying cash, equipment, weapons or vehicles. Most face possible sentences of up to 20 years. But Mr. Riza Polat, who is accused of being a key accomplice of Amédy Coulibaly, the gunman at the kosher supermarket, faces a more serious charge of complicity and a possible life sentence.
When the coronavirus first hit Italy, overwhelming the country’s hospitals and prompting the West’s first lockdown, Italians inspired the world with their resilience and civic responsibility, staying home and singing on their balconies. Their reward for months of quarantine was a flattened curve, a gulp of normalcy and the satisfaction of usually patronizing allies pointing to Italy as a model.
Italy is now a long way away from those balcony days and its summer fling with freedom. Instead, as a second wave of the virus engulfs Europe and triggers new nationwide lockdowns, Italy has become emblematic of the despair, exhaustion and fear that is spreading throughout the Continent.
France has applied a new national lockdown to contain skyrocketing cases. Germany has put in place softer, but still severe, nationwide restrictions. Britain announced expansive new restrictions on Saturday that effectively establish a national lockdown. Throughout Europe, governments are scrambling to deliver relief, keep schools open and salvage their economies.
And everywhere, if people are not sick with the virus, they are sick of it. In Italy, the discontent is exploding.
The country that gave the Western world a preview of the Covid’s awful human toll — that demonstrated the necessity, and success, of a national lockdown, that then seemed an oasis in an infected Continent — now stands for something darker. Italy has become a symbol of Europe’s squandered advantages, the impotence of half-measures in the face of a virus that does not abide by compromises, and the social and political costs of not making good on promises of relief.
Italians, coming down hard from their summer euphoria, are exasperated.