The number of virus deaths in the US exceeds 200,000.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic was 200,000 on Tuesday as the first day of autumn raises questions about what might lie ahead.
More deaths have been announced in the US than any other country and in the past few days reports of new coronavirus cases in the US and parts of Europe have risen, indicating an uncertain new phase of the crisis.
Some estimated in March that fewer than 500 people would die as the pandemic progressed. "More than 60,000," the leading US infectious disease agency predicted in April. "Between 75,000, 80,000 and 100,000 people," President Trump said in May.
But even as the toll has shifted from bleak estimates to cold realities, the extent is difficult to grasp. More than 200,000 deaths are an enormous loss – almost two and a half times as many US soldiers who died fighting in the Vietnam and Korean wars – Disguising the accumulation of individual tragedies: a hard working single mother, a Hall of Fame pitcher, a D-Day veteran, an inseparable couple, and a troubadour of the picket lines.
Now that 200,000 people have died – which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had discussed in internal documents in March as low range for a worst-case scenario – infectious disease specialists are trying to find out how the pandemic is playing out in the could develop in the coming months.
Fewer new cases have been discovered each week since a summer surge peaked in the south and west in late July. But the number of cases in the nation is growing again, especially in central states like Wisconsin, Montana, and North Dakota. The first few months of the pandemic had mainly affected urban coastal areas. The virus is now spreading in rural communities and university towns. The arrival of flu season and the prospect of cooler fall air – which is likely to send lots of people indoors – have heightened fears about what the months ahead may bring.
Trends can change quickly. Around 800 people died every day in early April, but that soon rose. For two weeks, April 13-27, daily deaths, averaged over seven days, remained in excess of 2,000. Almost 800 deaths are currently reported in the country every day. Some epidemiologists say the US death toll could rise to 300,000 by the end of the year.
The painful milestones have come quickly: 50,000 deaths in April, 100,000 by May, and now 200,000, although some states like Arizona have shown how harm reduction measures can reduce both cases and deaths quickly.
The United States has the highest total number of deaths in the world, although a handful of countries in Europe and Latin America recorded more deaths per capita.
Still, the persistently high death toll in the United States contrasts sharply with death rates in other high-income countries. Italy, once the center of the pandemic, reported 17 deaths on Monday; Germany reported 10 deaths on the same day. In the United States, 428 people are said to have died from the virus that day.
In the past few days, the virus has risen again in countries that have seen fewer cases this summer. Improvements were seen in newly discovered cases in at least 73 countries around the world on Sunday as scientists searched for a vaccine and new therapies.
When it comes to the pandemic, many parents ask two questions. First, when can I get a vaccine? Second, when can my kids get it? The answers are not the same: adults may be able to get a vaccine by next summer, but their children will have to wait longer. Maybe much longer.
Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and other U.S. government programs, a number of adult Covid-19 vaccines are already in advanced clinical trials. However, studies have not yet begun in the United States to determine whether these vaccines are safe and effective for children.
"Right now I'm pretty concerned that we won't have a vaccine available for children by the beginning of the next school year," said Dr. Evan Anderson, Pediatrician at Children's Healthcare in Atlanta and Professor at Emory University School of Atlanta Medicine.
Many vaccines – including against measles, polio, and tetanus – were developed for children from the start. In such cases, vaccine developers usually begin adult studies to look for significant safety issues.
These trials take place in three phases, from small to large. Phase 1 and 2 studies can help vaccine developers determine which dose is likely to be safest while providing the best immune protection. Phase 3 trials, the final phase of vaccine testing, are conducted on thousands or tens of thousands of volunteers. During these studies, scientists can obtain clear evidence that a vaccine protects people from disease. They can also reveal side effects that were missed in smaller studies.
Only if the researchers found no serious side effects would they test them in children, often starting with teenagers and then working their way through to younger ages. Vaccine developers are well aware that children are not just miniature adults. Their biology differs in ways that can affect how vaccines work.
These studies allow vaccine developers to adjust the dose to get the best immune protection with the lowest risk of side effects. This process has proven to be safe and extremely successful.
When the pandemic broke out, some vaccine makers figured out how stages could be combined to collect more data over the same time period. The result was a quick march towards a vaccine. Just nine months after the pandemic, dozens of Covid-19 vaccines have reached clinical trials.
Dr. Anderson said vaccine manufacturers could have started running studies in children this summer once they got good Phase 2 results from adults. This did not happen, however, and whenever these studies begin it can take over a year to prepare vaccines for children.
A vote on vaccine rollout plans by a group supporting the C.D.C. was delayed.
A committee advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has postponed voting on plans to prioritize starting doses of a coronavirus vaccine, should it prove safe and effective.
The vote was originally scheduled for Tuesday at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The next meeting of the committee is planned for October. By then, more data from multiple vaccines in late-stage clinical trials around the world is likely to be available.
The results of the vote will help identify who is receiving the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine, which is showing promising results in late clinical trials testing whether the product is used to prevent serious cases of Covid-19 or possibly even infection contributes through the virus. As a rule, the committee does not vote on these recommendations until they have been highlighted green by the Food and Drug Administration.
Two with the vaccines board of the C.D.C. trusted federal officials said it would be a wise move to postpone the vote until more data from clinical trials and the F.D.A. has started its review process. Some of the vaccines have very different logistical requirements and may perform better in certain populations. These factors affect the details of the rollout plan.
The delay was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. It was created by the C.D.C. Tom Skinner, Senior Public Affairs Officer, and attendees at the ACIP meeting on Tuesday.
President Trump has repeatedly claimed that a vaccine will be available to Americans by October, alarming that he is pressuring federal health officials to accelerate their scientific and regulatory deliberations ahead of the November election.
Pfizer, a front runner in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, has repeatedly stated that its studies could provide data on the vaccine's effectiveness as early as October. At that point, the company could apply for an emergency permit for use in a subset of the population. However, vaccines for limited use have not yet been approved in the United States. And Pfizer, along with eight other pharmaceutical companies, is committed to "staying with science" and only approving vaccines based on the results of rigorous clinical trials.
Health workers are expected to be among those who will have priority in upcoming vaccine launches.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new virus-related restrictions on Tuesday, saying the country had reached a "dangerous turning point" in the pandemic.
"This is the moment when we must act," Johnson said in a statement in parliament as he announced new measures to save "lives and livelihoods" that could last for the next six months.
England is introducing higher penalties for violating virus restrictions and Mr Johnson pledged to enforce the rules for wearing masks more strictly. He also announced new restrictions on nightlife and encouraged people to work from home, stepping up the country's efforts to curb the rising number of confirmed cases.
Pubs and restaurants are only allowed to offer table service and must close at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday. Downing Street will be announced on Monday evening. There is usually no mandatory closing time, although many close at 11pm. The new rules are the strictest as restaurants, pubs, and many other businesses were allowed to emerge from the full lockdown in July.
After urging workers to return to the office last summer, the UK government is now encouraging people to work from home. For workers unable to do their jobs from home, Mr Johnson said rules for “Covid-safe” workplaces would become a legal requirement.
Mr Johnson also announced that fines for missing a mask or for meeting more than six people would double to £ 200 (about $ 260). Repeat offenders can currently be fined up to £ 3,200 (not £ 10,000 as stated in an earlier version of this post). Employees in retail and interior design as well as passengers in taxis and rental vehicles must now also wear masks.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions will be reduced to a maximum of 15 people from Monday, adult indoor sports teams will be limited to six people and a partial reopening of the sports stadiums expected for the beginning of October has been postponed.
The restrictions imposed by the central government apply only to England; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own guidelines that follow a similar pattern.
There are already stricter restrictions in place in some parts of the country, and the virus alert rating was raised to Level 4 on Monday, meaning the virus is in general circulation and transmission is high or exponentially.
British opposition leader Keir Starmer targeted Mr Johnson's management of the crisis on Tuesday. He denounced it as "just not up to the task" and said a second national lockdown was a "sign of government failure".
In his first major address since taking office as Labor leader in April, Mr. Starmer said, "I am angry that when the country needs leadership, we get serial incompetence."
Like much of Europe, Britain is firmly in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic. Confirmed new infections fell from more than 5,000 a day in April and May to around 600 in early July, but the UK reported 4,368 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, according to a New York Times database.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday gave an optimistic view of the economic recovery, calling it the fastest recovery from a crisis in American history. However, he admitted that more than half of the jobs lost in the pandemic had yet to be restored.
Federal Reserve chairman Mr. Mnuchin and Jerome H. Powell were optimistic when they testified to the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday. However, Mr Powell made it clear that much of those gains were due to strong fiscal support, including supplemental unemployment benefits and stimulus measures – largely expired economic support, and that lawmakers are showing little sign of agreeing on another package.
Mr Powell told Congress that the economy had made significant strides but the outlook was uncertain and more policymakers needed to do to help the millions of Americans who are unemployed.
Mr. Mnuchin predicted “tremendous” economic growth for the third quarter, with growth in business, manufacturing and real estate markets. He said the 8.4 percent unemployment rate was a "remarkable achievement" given his own projections earlier this year that unemployment could reach 25 percent.
Still, Mr Mnuchin said further incentives were needed and he would continue to work with Congress to reach a deal.
"The president and I remain determined to support American workers and businesses," said Mnuchin. "I believe a targeted package is still needed and the administration stands ready to reach a bipartisan agreement."
An Iowa school district that had openly opposed the state's Republican governor through distance learning decided on Monday to switch to a mix of face-to-face and online learning starting next month.
However, the district has still not decided what the coronavirus prevalence would be in the community to send students home.
The dispute between the Des Moines Independent Community School District and Governor Kim Reynolds is a strong example of tension between Republican civil servants who have followed President Trump's example in education policy and local administrators, often in democratic cities, who fear personal tuition too great a risk to public health.
Ms. Reynolds said she prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable students, and the state Department of Education has threatened to oblige Des Moines to extend his school year – at a cost of around $ 1.5 million a day – if it does not conform to state regulations.
However, the local school board has argued that the high number of cases in Polk County, which includes Des Moines, makes it unsafe to hold personal classes.
Of the more than 80,000 coronavirus cases in Iowa, Polk has more than 15,000, by far the most in any state, according to a New York Times database.
Des Moines Schools Board voted 6-1 on Monday for the gradual introduction of a Hybrid Return to Learn plan. Preschoolers will return on October 12, followed by elementary, middle, and high school through November 10, the Des Moines Register reported.
However, the board delayed setting an infection rate that would force the district to return to distance learning and decided instead to invite public health issues to provide guidance on the matter at a subsequent meeting. This means that the planned return to class could be delayed.
Iowa officials said 15 percent of a county's coronavirus tests must be positive over a two-week period before schools can close their doors – a threshold at least three times what many public health experts have recommended. The rules also state that counties in counties that stay below 15 percent must offer at least 50 percent of their classes in person.
For two weeks in late August and early September, Polk County had an average positivity rate of about 8 percent.
As American students move away, it becomes even more difficult to make sure they are taking courses.
Teachers and school administrators across the country are struggling to face one of the most pressing challenges of the new school year: how to ensure that students get into the virtual class and whether they will be punished for failing to do so?
Last spring attendance data, while limited, suggests that the problem was large in many districts. In a survey of 5,659 educators across the country, 34 percent of respondents said no more than one in four students attend their correspondence courses, and a majority say fewer than half of their students attend.
Recent data show that the problem persists, particularly in poorer communities, including many urban school systems.
Data on why students are disappearing from virtual schools is hard to come by, but there are some obvious explanations. Many students lack a computer or stable internet. others have to work or look after younger children; and some families have been evicted and moved.
It is also likely that some students found learning online so tedious or difficult that they just dropped out, especially since many schools stopped grading or attended school after their doors closed.
Most states are pushing school districts to return to normal school and assessment guidelines in the fall after having had some time to improve their distance learning programs. This puts pressure on schools not only to keep students busy, but also to keep track of their personal circumstances and emotional health.
The return to normal attendance expectations has also exacerbated the debate among education officials about how to approach early school leaving. Last spring, Massachusetts school officials reported dozens of families to the state's Department of Children and Families because of issues related to their children's distance learning, The Boston Globe reported last month. Districts with large black and Latin American populations submitted the most reports.
But many districts relaxed strict early school dropout rules – which can include fines and even jail for parents and sometimes students – during the pandemic, amid concerns that students had legitimate barriers to attending class.
"I think more schools are open to the idea that they need alternatives to legal action," said Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, a national group promoting solutions to chronic absenteeism. "There's a lot more empathy."
Russia has reported a sharp surge in the number of new cases, with Moscow being the epicenter of a nationwide surge in infections.
The official numbers released on Tuesday showed 6,215 new cases in the past 24 hours – a significant increase since the beginning of the month and the highest number of daily cases since mid-July. Of these, 980 were reported in Moscow.
Despite the spike, there are far fewer new cases each day in Russia than in Spain or France, smaller countries where the 7-day average of new cases on Monday in each country was around 10,000. Russia's average According to a Times database, the number of new daily cases for the past seven days on Monday was 5,801, or four cases per 100,000 people.
Russia lifted draconian restrictions in June to allow a major military parade to be held in Red Square and a vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir V. Putin to stay in office until 2036.
However, only in the last few weeks has the number of new cases increased rapidly, especially in Moscow. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin insisted over the weekend that there was no cause for concern, saying the increase was mainly due to increased testing. Moscow now runs 66,000 tests every day, he said.
Russia, the fourth largest country in the world, has reported a total of 1.1 million cases, well below the 6.8 million cases in the US.
The New Zealand Prime Minister apologizes after shaking hands at election rallies.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has apologized after being photographed on the campaign last week with supporters without social distance or masks and receiving criticism from the public and opposition politicians.
Ms Ardern, who on Monday announced a relaxation of virus restrictions across the country, said she "made a mistake" by standing near workers while touring a construction site in Palmerston North, a town on New Zealand's North Island . She also took a selfie with a group of students huddled together without masks.
David Seymour, an opposition politician, criticized Ms. Ardern on Twitter for what he described as "selfish" behavior on the campaign. Judith Collins, leader of the National Party and Ms Ardern's main opponent in the upcoming election, said she was "shocked" by the prime minister's decisions. On Tuesday, Ms. Collins and Ms. Ardern will participate in the first of four debates ahead of the election, which will take place on October 17th.
When Ms. Ardern spoke to reporters on Monday, she apologized and said she had worked hard on her election campaign not to shake hands with people. “I disinfect, I wear my mask in Auckland. And I work hard to keep my social distance, ”she said.
"I should have stepped forward," she added, admitting that it could be difficult not to shake hands in "those awkward moments".
After a virus outbreak in Auckland and a resulting lockdown last month, New Zealand has started easing restrictions again. While masks are not mandatory in public, they are mandatory on public transport in Auckland and recommended in the rest of the country.
In other news around the world:
This year's award ceremony Nobel Peace Prize was canceled due to the pandemic, the Norwegian Nobel Institute announced on Tuesday. Instead of the usual ceremony in Oslo City Hall, a reduced event with a limited number of guests will take place on December 10th at the city's university. The price will be announced at a press conference on October 9th.
Mexico has exceeded 700,000 confirmed cases of the virus. The country with the seventh-highest number of cases in the world has also recorded 73,697 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The 7-day average for daily cases in the country is over 4,000, but those numbers are declining.
South Korea A free flu vaccination plan for about 19 million people was suspended on Tuesday. There have been reports of problems with the storage of some vaccines during transit. The number of newly confirmed cases in the country, which is grappling with a second wave of infections, has remained below 100 in the past three days. But next week millions will be traveling domestically to celebrate a five-day vacation.
The state Bavaria announced new rules on Tuesday to try to contain an increasing number of virus cases, a day after the region's capital, Munich, also set new lockdown rules. The new restrictions in Bavaria prohibit more than five people or two families from meeting and forcing pubs and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. in areas where more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants were registered within seven days. They also make masks mandatory and prohibit alcohol consumption in some outdoor public areas. Bavaria, the largest and most severely affected state in Germany, registered 412 new cases yesterday.
Sixteen other residential areas in Madrid Infection rate data exceeded to revert to lockdown restrictions. This was shown by government data on Tuesday. These areas are in addition to 37 areas that were closed again on Monday, increasing the prospect of an early expansion of movement restrictions in the Spanish capital region. Ignacio Aguado, the deputy head of the Madrid region, said health services were struggling to control the spread of the virus while Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa urged Madrid residents to stay at home as much as possible.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands I had blunt advice after soccer fans ignored virus restrictions and yelled and sang in a stadium during a weekend game, "Just shut up when you're there. Don't scream." The Prime Minister later told a Dutch broadcaster that he should have said "shut up" instead, but "the message remains unchanged".
NEW YORK ROUNDUP
"A Complete Washout": Some New York City Hotels Are Closing Their Doors For Good.
Many of New York City's largest hotels closed their doors in March when the virus wiped out tourism and business travel. The shutdowns were supposed to be temporary, but six months later, with no potential influx of visitors in sight, a wave of permanent closings has begun.
In the past two weeks, the 478-room Hilton Times Square and two Courtyard by Marriott Manhattan hotels announced they would not be reopening and joined several other hotels that had closed permanently, including the Omni Berkshire Place 399 rooms in Midtown.
In total, more than 25,000 hotel employees have been unemployed for more than six months. That makes the industry one of the hardest hit in the city and a symbol of the challenges New York faces as it tries to recover.
Financial experts believe the pace of hotel failures will accelerate as lenders lose patience six months after the pandemic.
"Autumn is really New York's busiest season for hotels," said Douglas Hercher, managing director of Robert Douglas, a hotel investment bank. “It starts with the United Nations General Assembly, the Conventions, the Holidays and the Rockettes. This whole season is going to be basically an obliteration. "
Vijay Dandapani, president of the Hotel Association of New York City, which represents 300 hotels in the city, was also depressed about the outlook for the industry.
"The year is a washout," he said in an interview.
Mr Dandapani said in late summer only 7 percent of the city's 120,000 or so hotel rooms were occupied by traditional guests.
Elsewhere in the New York area:
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that an announcement was made about the status of Outdoor dining after October 31st could come very soon. While indoor eating is expected to resume with limited capacity in the city on Sept. 30, Mr de Blasio said eating outdoors brings different health and safety concerns in the colder months than in summer. "The last piece that has to be filled in are the rules for the continued existence of Outdoor: What makes sense, what doesn't make sense, how will it work?" he said.
Reporting was by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Stephen Castle, Troy Closson, Abby Goodnough, Andrew Higgins, Jan Hoffman, Mike Ives, Apoorva Mandavilli, Patrick McGeehan, Raphael Minder, Claire Moses, Campbell Robertson, Simon Romero, Anna Schaverien and Christopher F Authored Schütze, Megan Specia, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Katherine J. Wu, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.