The outlook worsens in much of the U.S. as July begins with a crush of cases.
July in America is off to a miserable start.
Over the month’s first five days, the United States reported its three largest daily case totals. Fourteen states recorded single-day highs. In all, more than 250,000 new cases were announced nationwide, the equivalent of every person in Reno catching the virus in less than a week.
“The situation is that we are experiencing rampant community spread,” said Clay Jenkins, the top elected official in Dallas County, Texas, where more than 2,000 new cases were announced over the weekend. Mr. Jenkins pleaded with residents to “move from selfishness to sacrifice” and wear a mask in public.
Across much of the country, the outlook was worsening quickly.
On Sunday, Texas and Florida both surpassed 200,000 total cases. In Mississippi, where nearly every county has reported an uptick in cases, the speaker of the State House of Representatives was among several lawmakers to test positive. The governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, a Republican, announced Monday on Twitter that he would isolate while awaiting test results for the virus after he was “briefly in contact” with a lawmaker there who tested positive.
And in Starr County, Texas, along the Mexican border, cases were being identified by the hundreds and hospitals were running out of room.
“The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available,” Eloy Vera, the top official in Starr County, said in a Facebook post. “I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS.”
New case clusters emerged as people resumed their pre-pandemic routines. At least 16 infections were linked to a church in San Antonio. In Missouri, a summer camp shut down after more than 40 people, including campers and employees, tested positive.
But the move toward reopening continues. Some federal workers are heading back to their offices in the Washington area, where confirmed infections have held steady or declined.
At the Energy Department’s headquarters, 20 percent of employees — possibly as many as 600 — have been authorized to return. The Interior Department said in a statement that it anticipated that about 1,000 workers would soon return daily to its main office near the White House. The Defense Department has authorized up to 80 percent of its work force to return to office spaces, which could result in up to 18,000 employees inside the Pentagon, according to a spokeswoman. Many of them are already there.
Three leading health organizations urged Americans to wear masks when they leave their homes in an open letter published Monday.
“Covid-19 is not behind us and we must resist confusing reopening with returning to normalcy,” officials from the American Health, Medical and Nurses associations warned. “Doing so will escalate this crisis and result in more suffering and death.”
The groups argued that the steps that were critical to early advances against the virus were too quickly abandoned, and emphasized their advice to practice social distancing and be diligent about hand hygiene in addition to using masks.
President Trump has refused to wear a mask in public but last week said he would wear one in a “in a tight situation with people.” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, repeated Mr. Trump’s position on Monday.
“The president’s mentioned that he’s willing to wear a mask if appropriate in tight quarters,” Mr. Meadows said on Fox News. “I know a number of us have done the same.”
The Louvre, the world’s most-visited museum, reopened on Monday, ending a 16-week coronavirus shutdown that resulted in a loss of more than 40 million euros, or about $45 million, in ticket sales.
Speaking in front of the large glass pyramid of the Paris museum, its director, Jean-Luc Martinez, said the Louvre was losing about 80 percent of its visitors — most of whom come from outside France — because of international flight restrictions.
On Monday, about 7,000 visitors had booked tickets, compared with the 30,000 daily visitors who toured the Louvre before the pandemic.
“This drop in visitor numbers will last a few years,” Mr. Martinez said, adding that he was confident about the museum’s finances thanks to the large subsidy that it receives from the French government.
The museum has added a string of health rules to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. A third of its galleries — those where social distancing is difficult to respect — remain closed, while visitors are expected to follow arrows that will guide them through the galleries to avoid bottlenecks.
Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, the Salle des États, the room where the Mona Lisa hangs, held only about a hundred people, far from the crowds that usually flock to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece.
In other news from around the world:
About 270,000 people in Spain have re-entered lockdown, after the country officially ended its state of emergency on June 21. Emergency measures went into effect over the weekend in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain, as well as in the northeastern region of Catalonia, around the city of Lleida. The Catalan authorities anticipated that the Lleida lockdown would last two weeks, while officials in Galicia said theirs would be limited to five days, which would also allow residents to vote on Sunday in regional elections.
Officials in India postponed the reopening of the Taj Mahal this week. The number of cases in the country started to rapidly rise several weeks ago after the government began lifting a lockdown imposed in March, and some cities have already reinstated tough rules to keep their caseloads down. India has reported about 700,000 confirmed infections and nearly 20,000 deaths as of Monday.
The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, won a second term on Sunday, as voters endorsed her highly visible leadership during the pandemic. The sprawling metropolis has avoided the kind of spiraling death toll from the virus seen in other world capitals.
Pakistan’s health minister said he had tested positive for the virus. The official, Zafar Mirza, wrote on Twitter that he has mild symptoms and is isolating at home. There have been at least 231,000 cases in Pakistan and at least 4,700 deaths.
With the virus roaring back and positive test results reaching new heights, the Israeli government on Monday ratcheted up its restrictions, closing bars, gyms and public swimming pools, curtailing gatherings in restaurants, synagogues and buses and canceling summer camps for all but the youngest children.
Separately, Israel’s largest airline, El Al, agreed to a government bailout that will provide it with a $250 million cash infusion but could allow it to be nationalized depending on the proceeds of a separate public stock offering. The airline was barely still operating when it put its last 500 crew members on unpaid leave last week.
Israel had fared relatively well in the early days of the pandemic after closing its borders. But lax compliance and erratic action by a government rushing to revive the battered economy sent numbers spiking last week. The number of daily positive tests reached 781 on June 30, a new high, and 1,138 on Thursday.
The prime minister’s office said government offices would require at least 30 percent of their staff members to work from home. No more than 20 people will be allowed on public buses and in indoor restaurants. Outdoor restaurants may seat up to 30. Some of the measures require Parliament’s approval, but others can be imposed by fiat.
Israel news media reported that government ministers vigorously debated the new restrictions, with the health minister warning that the number of cases could double in a week given Israelis’ failure to follow instructions and an ultra-Orthodox minister demanding that synagogues be left alone. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel was “a step away from a full lockdown,” according to local reports.
Miami’s social scene will close again on Wednesday, as health officials try to stem virus’s spread.
In Florida, after a 10-fold increase in the daily number of new Covid-19 cases in a matter of a few weeks, the mayor of Miami-Dade County rolled back business openings on Monday.
The mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez, signed an executive order effective Wednesday that will prohibit dining at restaurants, although takeout and delivery can continue. He also shut down gyms and short-term rentals. The emergency order includes shuttering party halls and venues as part of an effort to crack down on graduation parties and other group events.
“I am continuing to roll back business openings as we continue to see a spike in the percent of positive Covid-19 tests and an uptick in hospitalizations,” Mr. Gimenez said in a statement.
Miami-Dade County has had nearly a quarter of Florida’s 200,103 Covid-19 cases, including a surge of nearly 6,700 cases over the holiday weekend.
Even as Miami’s nightclubs closed in March, the party scene in some residential neighborhoods has raged on. Local health officials have said these mostly maskless all-nighters have contributed to the increase of cases in Florida, one of the most troubling infection spots in the country. Florida reported more than 10,000 new cases on Sunday.
Just how many parties have been linked to positive cases is unclear because Florida does not make public information about confirmed disease clusters. And the state’s contact tracers, already overwhelmed, have found that some infected people refused to divulge who they went out with or had over to their houses.
More than 850 members of the Georgia Tech faculty have signed a letter opposing the school’s reopening plans for the fall, under which wearing face masks on campus would not be mandatory but only “strongly encouraged.”
“We are alarmed to see the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia mandating procedures that do not follow science-based evidence, increase the health risks to faculty, students and staff, and interfere with the nimble decision-making necessary to prepare and respond to Covid-19 infection risk,” the letter says.
The letter also seeks to make remote classes the default method of teaching and wants the institution to provide testing and contact tracing on campus.
Georgia Tech officials were not immediately available to comment on Monday. In a statement to CNN, the school’s president, Ángel Cabrera, said administrators were “meeting with faculty regularly to plan best modes of instruction” and were monitoring C.D.C. guidance.
The signatories’ concerns reflect a nationwide struggle over how to resume classes in the fall without putting staff and students at greater risk of contracting the virus.
The Montana University System is also facing pushback from faculty after it announced a policy that would encourage masks on campus, but not allow professors to require them in their classrooms. Faculty at institutions including Penn State, the University of Illinois, Notre Dame and the State University of New York have signed petitions saying they’re being pushed back into classrooms too fast, and some professors have said they won’t return to campus at all until there is a vaccine.
Are protests unsafe? What experts say may depend on who’s protesting what.
As the pandemic took hold, most epidemiologists have had clear proscriptions in fighting it: No students in classrooms, no in-person religious services, no visits to sick relatives in hospitals, no large public gatherings.
So when conservative anti-lockdown protesters gathered on state capitol steps in places like Columbus, Ohio and Lansing, Mich., in April and May, epidemiologists scolded them and forecast surging infections.
And then the brutal killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25 changed everything.
Soon the streets nationwide were full of tens of thousands of people in a mass protest movement that continues to this day, with demonstrations and the toppling of statues. And rather than decrying mass gatherings, more than 1,300 public health officials signed a May 30 letter of support, and many joined the protests.
That reaction, and the contrast with the epidemiologists’ earlier fervent support for the lockdown, gave rise to an uncomfortable question: Was public health advice in a pandemic dependent on whether people approved of the mass gathering in question. To many, the answer seemed to be, “Yes.”
Of course, there are differences: A distinct majority of George Floyd protesters wore masks in many cities, even if they often crowded too close together. By contrast, many anti-lockdown protesters refused to wear masks — and their rallying cry ran directly contrary to public health officials’ instructions.
And in practical terms, no team of epidemiologists could have stopped the waves of impassioned protesters, any more than they could have blocked the anti-lockdown protests.
Still, the divergence in their own reactions left some of the country’s prominent epidemiologists wrestling with deeper questions of morality, responsibility and risk.
Regeneron will begin late-stage clinical trials on mild and severe forms of Covid-19.
The drug manufacturer Regeneron said Monday that it would begin late-stage clinical trials of its experimental treatment for Covid-19 after an initial safety study showed good results.
The company is testing whether the treatment, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, will work in people with mild and severe forms of the disease, and also whether the product — an injection — might also prevent people from getting infected.
Regeneron is one of several companies testing antibody treatments, which are being closely watched as among the most promising therapeutics for Covid-19. The treatments are believed to work by giving patients powerful versions of the antibodies that the immune system naturally makes to fight off viruses. Regeneron developed a similar treatment for Ebola, and has said it hopes to have a treatment available for the coronavirus as early as the fall.
The company has received at least $160 million from the federal government to test and manufacture the product before it is known whether it works.
The company’s late-stage prevention study is being run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health, and will test whether it can prevent infection among those who have been exposed to people with the virus. That study is hoping to enroll 2,000 patients at 100 sites across the United States.
Other trials will look at how well it treats people who are already infected, including those who are hospitalized and others who are not as sick. Those will take place in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile, the company said.
Regeneron’s announcement comes days after the company announced that a separate study of its rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Kevzara, had failed to work in patients with Covid-19.
Britain’s arts sector, largely shuttered since March because of the pandemic, is being given a lifeline through what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as a “world-leading” rescue package for cultural and heritage institutions.
The organizations will be handed 1.57 billion pounds, about $2 billion, the culture ministry said Sunday.
Mr. Johnson said in a statement that the money would “help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring art groups and venues across the U.K. can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”
The money will go to a variety of recipients, including Britain’s “local basement” music venues and museums, he added, although he did not provide details. Museums in England were allowed to reopen on Saturday, but it is unclear when theaters and music venues will be permitted to.
The amount of the rescue package is on par with others in Europe’s largest nations.
On Friday, Germany’s Parliament approved a fund of 1 billion euros (about $1.13 billion) to get its culture sector back up and running, building on already generous support from its regional legislatures. Many state-funded theaters in Germany receive 70 to 80 percent of their income from the state, compared with about 20 to 30 percent in Britain.
France’s culture ministry said in a news release last week that it had committed €5 billion toward the arts, although much of that included unemployment benefits and job retention initiatives that did not figure in the British or German bailout totals.
Nick Cordero, a musical theater actor whose intimidating height and effortless charm brought him a series of tough-guy roles on Broadway, died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 41.
His death was announced on Instagram by his wife, Amanda Kloots. The couple, who moved from New York to Los Angeles last year, have a 1-year-old son, Elvis.
She did not cite a cause, but he had been hospitalized for three months after contracting the coronavirus.
Mr. Cordero’s experience with the virus, which included weeks in a medically induced coma and the amputation of his right leg, was chronicled by Ms. Kloots on Instagram.
Mr. Cordero’s big break came in 2014, when he played Cheech, a gangster with a fondness for theater and a talent for tap who was the highlight of a musical adaptation of “Bullets Over Broadway.” The role won him a Tony nomination.
He went on to play the abusive husband of the title character in “Waitress” and a mentoring mobster in “A Bronx Tale.”
Take some time for a little self-care.
Salons may be open in your area, but you don’t have to schedule an appointment there to give yourself a little pampering. Here are some ideas for adding a spa moment to your week.
Reporting was contributed by Liz Alderman, Stephen Castle, Robert Gebeloff, Christina Goldbaum, Winnie Hu, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Apoorva Mandavilli, Alex Marshall, Constant Méheut, Raphael Minder, Zach Montague, Michael Powell, Richard A. Oppel Jr., David M. Halbfinger, Patricia Mazzei, Michael Paulson, Motoko Rich, Kai Schultz, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Eileen Sullivan, Katie Thomas, Lucy Tompkins, Will Wright, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.