Miami’s social scene will close again on Wednesday, as health officials try to stem the virus.
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.
Florida set a record on July 4 when it recorded 11,458 new cases, according to a New York Times database, a single-day high. So far the state has seen at least 206,439 cases of the virus and as of Monday afternoon, at least 3,777 people had died.
Miami-Dade County has had nearly a quarter of Florida’s 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.
Here’s what else is happening around the country:
Restaurants, medical offices and car dealerships were the top recipients of large loans from the federal government’s $660 billion small business relief program, according to data released Monday by the Trump administration. The information released on Monday was confined to companies that received loans of more than $150,000, offering just a partial picture of where the money went.
Early numbers found that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the coronavirus at higher rates, but new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected across the United States, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.
In the battle for riders, New York City’s subway has always trounced buses. By a lot. But at the height of the pandemic the equation was flipped on its head — average daily ridership in April and May was 444,000 on the subway and 505,000 on the buses. It was the first time that happened since officials started keeping such records more than half a century ago.
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, three months after he was hospitalized with Covid-19. He was 41.
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.
Harvard University announced Monday that only up to 40 percent of its undergraduates would be allowed on campus at a time during the next academic year, but that tuition and fees would remain the same.
The university said that all first-year students would be invited to campus for the fall semester, but would be sent home in the spring to allow seniors to return before they graduate. Some students whose home environments are not conducive to learning will also be invited to return to campus.
While room and board costs will be waived for students learning from home, the university said, tuition and fees will remain the same, whether students are studying on-campus or off. (It had previously announced that tuition for the year would be $49,653 and fees would be $4,314.)
But the university offered a summer term next year of two tuition-free courses for all students who had to study away from campus for the full academic year.
All classes will be online, even for those students living on campus.
Returning students will live in single bedrooms with a shared bathroom. The university said they will be required to sign a “community compact” agreeing to health measures like viral testing every three days.
Preference was given to first-year students so they could have “the opportunity to adjust to college academics and to begin to create connections with faculty and other classmates,” the announcement said.
As with many other colleges, Harvard said that students would move out of their campus residence halls before Thanksgiving and complete the semester from home.
Harvard officials acknowledged that sophomores and juniors would be disappointed by the decision. The university said it had trained a special team to advise upperclassmen who were thinking of taking a leave of absence because of the disruption in their education.
The university said it had made the decision in light of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some states, particularly among young people.
Colleges and universities around the nation are grappling with when and how to reopen.
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.” The Montana University System is also facing pushback from the faculty over its mask policy.
And faculty members 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. Some professors have said they won’t return to campus at all until there is a vaccine.
Domestic workers in Arab states have been detained, abused and deprived of wages.
When the nine African women lost their jobs as housekeepers in Saudi Arabia because of the coronavirus lockdown, the agency that had recruited them stuffed them in a bare room with a few thin mattresses and locked the door.
Some have been there since March. One is now six months pregnant but receiving no maternity care. Another tore her clothes off in a fit of distress, so the agency chained her to a wall.
The women receive food once a day, they said, but don’t know when they will get out, much less be able to return to their countries.
“Everybody is fearing,” one of the women, Apisaki, from Kenya, said via WhatsApp. “The environment here is not good. No one will listen to our voice.”
Families in many Arab countries rely on millions of low-paid workers from Southeast Asia and Africa to drive their cars, clean their homes and care for their children and elderly relatives under conditions that rights groups have long said allow exploitation and abuse.
Now, the pandemic and associated economic downturns have exacerbated these dangers. Many families will not let housekeepers leave the house, fearing they will bring back the virus, while requiring more of them since entire families are staying home, workers’ advocates say.
Other workers have been laid off, deprived of wages and left stranded far from home with nowhere to turn for help. In other news from around the world:
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. On Monday, about 7,000 visitors had booked tickets, compared with the 30,000 daily visitors who toured the Louvre before the pandemic.
Even as the United States reported record numbers of coronavirus cases, New York City took a tentative yet symbolic step toward normalcy on Monday, when personal-care services and some outdoor recreation were allowed to resume.
The businesses allowed to reopen include tanning salons, massage centers and spas. The city is also reopening outdoor basketball, tennis, volleyball and handball courts, providing new recreation opportunities during the summer. Public beaches are now open for swimming, and dogs will get their opportunity for more exercise as dog runs reopen.
For the city, the third phase of the state’s reopening plan was narrower in scope than previous stages, but it marked the return of nonessential services that promised to bring some jobs back and offer a balm to New Yorkers unnerved by virus-related fears and economic woes.
“I’m a hairy woman,” said Françoise Gordon, 40, who had just finished getting waxed at Spa Belles in the West Village in Manhattan. “It was a relief.”
Only about 50,000 people were expected to return to work on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said — a modest figure compared with the hundreds of thousands brought back last month as restrictions eased on construction, manufacturing, retail, real estate and office work.
But concerned by the rising caseload in other states that have eased restrictions, New York officials decided last week to delay the resumption of indoor dining in the city, even though restaurants elsewhere in the state can welcome diners inside, with occupancy limits, during Phase 3.
Tattoo and piercing parlors were also allowed to restart — but any services that would require a mask to be removed are prohibited, so lip rings and face tattoos will probably have to wait.
Even as the city provided more open spaces, officials urged residents to continue covering their faces and following social-distancing guidelines, including staying six feet apart.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was particularly worried about reports of large gatherings over the Fourth of July weekend where attendees appeared to dispense with masks.
“We get cocky, we get a little arrogant, that is a real threat,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news briefing on Monday.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said that he had no plans to hurry his state out of Stage 2 of its reopening, given the grim case numbers from other states.
“We’re not going to be jumping the gun on a whole lot more opening up steps right now,” Mr. Murphy said. “We’re where we are now, and my guess is we’re going to be here a bit.”
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.
Researchers around the world are working on the next generation of coronavirus tests that give answers in less than an hour, without onerous equipment or highly trained personnel.
The latest so-called point-of-care tests, which could be done in a doctor’s office or even at home, would be a welcome upgrade from today’s status quo: uncomfortable swabs that snake up the nose and can take several days to produce results.
The handful of point-of-care devices now on the market are frequently inaccurate. Up-and-coming tests could yield more reliable results, researchers say, potentially leading to on-the-spot testing nationwide. But most of the new contenders are still in early stages, and won’t be available in clinics for months.
Some of the tests in development swap brain-tickling swabs for plastic tubes that collect spit. Others dunk patient samples into chemical cocktails that light up when they detect coronavirus genes. Another type of test identifies coronavirus proteins in minutes, using a cheap device that’s easy to produce in bulk and deploy in low-resource settings.
“To combat this virus, we need to test widely and frequently, and get the results back quickly,” said Dr. Zev Williams at Columbia University, who is developing a coronavirus spit test that can run in about 30 minutes. “That requires a genuine paradigm shift in the way we go about testing for it.”
The pandemic is causing critical shortages of H.I.V. medications in many nations.
With supply chains disrupted and access to health care compromised by the pandemic, the World Health Organization reported Monday that 73 countries are in danger of running out of essential H.I.V. medications and 24 are already facing critical shortages.
The agency released a survey that measured the ability of countries to access and distribute vital H.I.V. medications, and warned that a six-month disruption in the supply could lead to a doubling in the number of AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year.
“We cannot let the Covid-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the W.H.O., said in a statement.
The main reasons for the shortages include disruptions in transportation of medical provisions by air and sea, and a decrease in access to health care facilities as countries went into lockdowns earlier this year.
Antiretroviral drugs, which suppress blood levels of H.I.V., have been critical in the fight against AIDS, the disease caused by the virus. The W.H.O. reported that new H.I.V. infections fell by 39 percent between 2000 and 2019, and H.I.V.-related deaths fell by 51 percent over the same time period. The agency estimated that 15 million lives were saved through the use of antiretroviral therapy, but the drug shortages could lead to a new crisis.
The W.H.O. recommended strategies to deal with the shortages, including “multi-month dispensing,” in which medicines are prescribed for longer periods of time — up to six months, in some cases. It said that 129 countries have already adopted this policy.
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.
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 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 World Health Organization did not endorse face coverings until early June, frustrating many health experts. And masks and good ventilation could be even more important than previously recognized: In an open letter to be published this week, 239 scientists in 32 countries called on the W.H.O. to recognize that the virus can infect people through tiny aerosolized particles that linger in the air, not just larger droplets expelled by infected people in coughs and sneezes.
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, Michael Cooper, Louise Donovan, Robert Gebeloff, Christina Goldbaum, Anemona Hartocollis, Winnie Hu, Ben Hubbard, 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, David Waldstein, Will Wright, Katherine J. Wu, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.