Four states, including Florida and Texas, report highest single-day totals as the U.S. reopens.
The United States reported 36,880 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the largest one-day total since the start of the pandemic and more than two months after the previous high.
The number of infections indicated that the country was not only failing to contain the virus, but also that the caseload was worsening — a path at odds with many other nations that have seen steady declines after an earlier peak. Cases in the United States had been on a downward trajectory after the previous high of 36,739 cases on April 24, but they have roared back in recent weeks.
The resurgence is concentrated largely in the South and West. Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas reported their highest single-day totals on Wednesday, but case numbers have been rising in 29 states.
The tally of new cases, based on a New York Times database, showed that the outbreak was stronger than ever. The elevated numbers are a result of worsening conditions across much of the country, as well as increased testing — but testing alone does not explain the surge. The percentage of people in Florida who have tested positive for the virus has risen sharply. Increases in hospitalizations also signal the virus’s spread.
Some states, including New York, which at one point had the most daily virus cases, have brought their numbers under control. Hoping to keep it that way, New York — along with Connecticut and New Jersey — said it would institute a quarantine for some out-of-state travelers.
As of Wednesday, more than 2.3 million Americans have been infected and about 122,000 have died.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said that his state had recorded more than 7,000 new cases over the previous day.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave no indication that the state would roll back its economic opening, but he urged residents to avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowds and close contact with others.
Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, continued to attribute the rising infections, especially in cities, to younger people who have started to socialize in bars and homes, in spite of rules in many municipalities prohibiting group gatherings. He pressed older people to keep staying home as much as possible, and pleaded with young people to be responsible.
“You need to do your part and make sure that you’re not spreading it to people who are going to be more at risk for this,” he said.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday suspending elective procedures in hospitals in four counties to free up space for virus patients. More than 4,300 people with the virus are hospitalized across the state, more than double the number at the beginning of June.
The World Health Organization warned Wednesday that if the Americas were not able to stop the spread of the virus, there may be a need to impose — or reimpose — general lockdowns.
“It is very difficult to take the sting out of this pandemic unless we are able to successfully isolate cases and quarantine contacts,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O. health emergencies program. “In the absence of a capacity to do that, then the specter of further lockdowns cannot be excluded.”
He said that the growing number of coronavirus cases in the Americas had not peaked and that the region was likely to see sustained numbers of cases and deaths in the coming weeks. Brazil, Chile and Peru are among the countries with the highest caseloads.
New York City is on track to ease more restrictions on July 6, the mayor said.
New York City is on track to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan on July 6, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday, which would allow indoor dining and personal-care services to resume with social-distancing limits.
“Right now we are on track for Phase 3,” he said at a news briefing. “That’s exciting.”
New York State has a four-stage reopening plan that gradually lifts shutdown restrictions imposed at the start of the outbreak. New York City is the only region left in the state that has yet to enter the third phase; five upstate regions will enter Phase 4 on Friday.
When Phase 3 begins, the city will also reopen outdoor recreational spaces, including basketball courts, tennis courts and dog runs, the mayor said. (Separately, the city’s public beaches will open to swimming on July 1.)
Mr. de Blasio said he expected the change would come as a particular relief to children, who have been cooped up for months now, with limited access to school and friends and outdoor activities.
The mayor said that the city had continued to keep its infection rate down as it eased earlier restrictions. But as he has with each stage of the reopening, Mr. de Blasio cautioned that plans could change if the city’s infection rate surges.
“Am I 100 percent confident? Of course not,” Mr. de Blasio said.
Here’s how the virus stayed a step ahead of the American authorities.
By mid-February, there were only 15 known coronavirus cases in the United States, all with direct links to China.
The patients were isolated. Their contacts were monitored. Travel from China was restricted.
But none of that worked, as some 2,000 hidden infections were already spreading through major cities.
At every crucial moment, American officials were weeks or months behind the reality of the outbreak. Those delays likely cost tens of thousands of lives.
The Times has analyzed travel patterns, hidden infections and genetic data to show how the epidemic spun out of control in the United States.
In other news from around the country:
The United States’ testing capacity has begun to strain as the pandemic spreads, with more than a dozen public laboratories saying they are “challenged” to meet the demand. The problem has become especially acute in Arizona.
The cliffhanger elections on Tuesday in Kentucky and New York were what election officials called a preview of what could happen after the polls close in November: no clear and immediate winner in the presidential race.
The record number of mailed-in ballots during the pandemic has made vote-counting more unwieldy, and election administrators are straining to deliver timely results.
The Democratic National Convention will move out of Milwaukee’s professional basketball arena, and state delegations are being urged not to travel to the city because of concerns about the pandemic, party officials said Wednesday.
With no major outbreaks among its workers, the U.S. auto industry is nearly back to pre-pandemic production levels, and vehicle sales have perked up more than many industry executives had expected.
The Walt Disney Company on Wednesday abandoned a plan to reopen its California theme parks on July 17, citing a slower-than-anticipated approval process by state regulators. The announcement came after some employees had criticized the reopening timetable as too fast.
Travelers to Hawaii can avoid the state’s 14-day quarantine by showing a negative result from a valid coronavirus test, Gov. David Ige of Hawaii announced. The program begins Aug. 1.
Europe sees a ‘significant resurgence’ of cases, a W.H.O. official warns.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Europe increased last week for the first time in months, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
In 11 countries in particular, “accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.’s regional director for Europe, warning that if left unchecked, the resurgence could “push health systems to the brink once again.”
Dr. Kluge did not name the countries, but he added that a total of 30 European countries had reported increases in the number of new cases over the previous two weeks.
His warning was the latest reminder of the risks of a resurgence in infections and deaths as countries around the world try to ease out of lockdowns.
“The pandemic continues to accelerate,” Dr. Kluge said, in a series of Twitter messages summarizing a briefing for the news media.
He noted that a record 183,020 new cases had been reported to the W.H.O. over the previous 24 hours. More than nine million cases and 400,000 deaths have been reported worldwide, he added.
The center of the pandemic has shifted from Europe to other continents, such as the Americas. But Europe continues to report 20,000 new cases and 700 deaths a day, Dr. Kluge said.
Hinting at a long struggle ahead, Dr. Kluge applauded Germany, Israel, Poland and Spain for “targeted interventions” that had controlled local outbreaks. He also commended the citizens of Europe for adopting behaviors like physical distancing and wearing face masks.
A C.D.C. study overlooks an important factor as it measures the effects of pregnancy on Covid-19 patients.
Pregnant women infected with the coronavirus are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit and put on a ventilator than are infected women who are not pregnant, according to a new government analysis presented to a federal immunization committee on Wednesday.
Pregnant women are known to be particularly susceptible to other respiratory infections, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained from the start of the pandemic that the virus does not seem to “affect pregnant people differently than others.”
The increased risk for intensive care and mechanical ventilation worried experts. But the new study, by C.D.C. researchers, did not include one pivotal detail: whether pregnant women were hospitalized because of labor and delivery. That may have significantly inflated the numbers, so it is unclear whether the analysis reflects a true increase in the risk of hospitalization.
Admission for delivery represents 25 percent of all hospitalizations in the United States, said Dr. Neel Shah, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard University. Even at earlier stages of pregnancy, doctors err on the side of being overly cautious when treating pregnant women — whether they have the coronavirus or not.
The analysis, the largest of its type so far, is based on data from women with confirmed infections of the coronavirus as reported to the C.D.C. by 50 states, as well as New York City and Washington, from Jan. 22 to June 7.
Despite the ambiguities, some experts said that the new data suggested at the very least that pregnant women with the coronavirus should be carefully monitored.
“I think the bottom line is this: These findings suggest that compared to nonpregnant women, pregnant women are more likely to have severe Covid,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, a member of the Covid-19 task force for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (An earlier version of this article misstated Dr. Jamieson’s title in the task force.)
The French health minister said on Thursday that the authorities would introduce a “large-scale campaign” to test over a million people in the Paris region in a bid to stave off a fresh wave of infections.
The minister, Olivier Véran, told the newspaper Le Monde on Thursday that nearly 1.3 million people living in the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, would receive vouchers from the national health insurance fund to get tested, on a voluntary basis, in any public or private medical lab, “even if they don’t have symptoms.”
“The goal is to identify potentially dormant clusters, that is to say invisible hotbeds of asymptomatic people,” Mr. Véran said.
Mr. Véran added that the authorities were first going to target 30 towns near existing clusters.
“For now, we are at an experimental stage to see if this is something the French want,” he said. “This experimentation could then be extended to other regions.”
Mr. Véran’s comments came as the Eiffel Tower in Paris partially reopened after a monthslong closure that had left one of Europe’s biggest tourist attractions unusually empty. Millions of visitors, most of them from abroad, usually stand in snaking lines at its base.
The tower’s elevators are still off limits, as is the top observation deck, until July 15 at the earliest. Face masks are also mandatory for any visitors older than 11, and the number of visitors will be limited.
Coronavirus contagions have struck at the heart of two Central American governments that are struggling to contain outbreaks in their countries. In one, Guatemala, scores of presidential staff members have fallen ill; in another, Honduras, the pathogen has sickened the president himself.
The condition of President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, who was hospitalized last week and who has pneumonia after testing positive for the coronavirus, was improving after adjustments were made to his treatment this week, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by his office.
Doctors detected a worsening of the pneumonia on Monday, with falling oxygen levels and increasing inflammation, the statement said, but exams on Wednesday showed “a good general condition, without fever, without respiratory difficulty” and with a decrease in inflammation.
In neighboring Guatemala, the number of members of the presidential staff who have tested positive for the virus has climbed to 158, President Alejandro Giammattei said on Wednesday. The employees work in Mr. Giammattei’s official residential compound in Guatemala City’s historic center, and they include members of his security detail and workers on the compound’s cleaning and kitchen staffs.
Officials first announced the outbreak in early June, when there were a few dozen cases. Mr. Giammattei said on Wednesday that one of the infected employees, a member of the presidential security service, had died.
The president said that he himself had been tested three times, and that the results had been negative.
In other news from around the world:
The top U.N. relief official warned on Wednesday of a drastic worsening in the outbreak in war-ravaged Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, where he said that 25 percent of those infected die — about five times the global average.
Although Germany recorded 630 new cases on Wednesday — hundreds more than the daily total 10 days ago — the numbers have stabilized, easing fears that several local outbreaks would lead to a second wave. After peaking on Saturday, Germany’s reproduction number was back down to 0.72 on Wednesday, indicating that the number of infections could once again start decreasing.
The Australian airline Qantas will cut roughly a fifth of its work force as it joins other carriers grappling with the near halt in global travel. In addition to the reductions of at least 6,000 jobs, the company will also keep an additional 15,000 workers on furlough until flying resumes. It will also retire its six Boeing 747 jumbo jets six months ahead of schedule.
The Netherlands is giving a bonus of 1,000 euros ($1,120) to health care workers who helped the country during the outbreak. The health ministry said the payment was meant to express thanks to workers such as nurses, cleaners and other support staff in the health sector.
More than 1 million people in the U.S. seek state jobless benefits for the 14th week in a row.
Nearly 1.5 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the 14th week in a row that the figure has topped one million.
An additional 728,000 filed for benefits from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded emergency program aimed at covering the self-employed, independent contractors and other workers who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.
The total number of people collecting state unemployment insurance is 19.5 million, down from about 25 million in early May.
Stocks drifted on Thursday, as growing outbreaks in parts of the United States added to concerns about the economic recovery. The S&P 500 and major European markets wavered between gains and losses.
Investors have worried for days about a rising number of new infections in the United States, a surge that raises questions about how quickly the world’s largest economy can get back up to speed.
While New York and other places that were hard hit are starting to get back to business, a spike in cases in states that reopened earlier has raised fears of new setbacks. On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas urged residents to stay home and warned that the state might have to impose new restrictions if the virus could not be contained. And California and Florida have each posted record numbers of new cases in recent days.
The reopening of many businesses is not going as smoothly as financial markets had once anticipated. Apple has shut its stores in four states — Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arizona — and on Wednesday closed seven stores in Houston.
The shaky economic outlook has both experts and workers worried about the looming expiration of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides a supplement of $600 a week to those collecting state jobless benefits.
In a news conference on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said interest in the drug had “surged” after announcements of its “clear benefit.” Dr. Tedros called for a sharp increase in production, while urging continued vigilance about recommended public health measures such as increased testing, contact tracing, physical distancing and hygiene.
The analysis by Vizient, an American health care services company, highlighted dexamethasone’s spike in popularity. Vizient serves more than 5,000 nonprofit health care system members and their affiliates.
Dexamethasone is frequently administered to patients with various conditions that involve excess inflammation, including arthritis, allergic reactions and certain gastrointestinal disorders. The drug, prized for its ability to tamp down certain aspects of the immune system, appears to ease the severity of some of the worst cases of Covid-19. For many infected by the coronavirus, the most severe consequences arise when immune cells and molecules, roused to fight the virus, cannot be kept in check.
Experts caution that dexamethasone is not a cure-all. Patients with milder cases of Covid-19, particularly those not on respiratory support, did not benefit from the drug, the trial’s results showed. And if the steroid is administered too early in an infection, it might even quell the immune system to a degree that compromises a person’s ability to vanquish the virus.
Gatherings of more than six people from separate households are banned in England, but hundreds of partygoers had assembled for the block party in the Brixton neighborhood, as the city experienced its hottest day so far this year.
The party was one of dozens of illegal gatherings across Britain, which is still grappling with the pandemic. Even as the numbers of new cases and deaths have dropped significantly, scientists have warned that the easing of restrictions and a reduction in the required social distance between people could trigger a wave of infections.
Britain has reported more than 43,000 coronavirus deaths and 306,000 cases since the pandemic began, and this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country’s pubs, restaurants, hotels and museums would reopen on July 4.
China tells its citizens in Russia to stop faking test results.
China has warned its citizens to stop falsifying coronavirus test results to board flights home from Russia.
The Chinese Embassy in Russia issued a statement this week in response to recent discoveries that Chinese travelers from Russia had fabricated negative results for the nucleic acid tests that are required before passengers can board their flights. The embassy announced that the counterfeiters had been placed under investigation and would be made to “bear the corresponding legal responsibilities.” It was the second time in three weeks that the embassy had issued such a warning.
Some passengers had “deliberately concealed their illnesses, caused adverse effects and consequences, caused great harm to the health and safety of other passengers and crew members on the same flight, and undermined China’s domestic epidemic prevention work,” the embassy said in a statement.
China requires passengers to produce a negative coronavirus test that must be taken within the five days preceding their flight from Russia to China.
The Chinese government, fearful that incoming travelers would bring in the coronavirus, has restricted international flights and banned foreigners, including those with resident permits.
Several Chinese cities along the China-Russia border have struggled with hundreds of coronavirus infections. Russia on Wednesday reported 7,176 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours.
The director of a spiritual center in Bali is to be deported after a gathering that violated virus rules.
For the House of Om, a spiritual center on Bali, the gathering last week was meant to be a celebration of community and bliss. Any joy evaporated, however, after it became public that the gathering of about 60 foreigners had violated Indonesia’s coronavirus protocols.
The House of Om’s director, Wissam Barakeh, has been detained and will be deported to his native Syria for endangering the public health, officials said on Thursday.
Photographs of the event in the tourist town of Ubud, which showed the celebrants sitting close together without wearing masks, were widely shared on social media and prompted harsh criticism of the foreign community for disregarding social-distancing rules.
Indonesia, the Southeast Asian country hit hardest by the virus, has seen its cases surge in recent weeks to 50,187, with 2,620 deaths, even as it tries to revive its sputtering economy.
Bali, a magnet for tourists, has reported 1,214 cases, but the island is hoping to begin reopening hotels and tourist facilities as early as next month.
The Ubud gathering came to light in a Twitter post by Jenny Jusuf, a scriptwriter and women’s empowerment activist. She said by email on Thursday that other organizers of the event should also face disciplinary action.
Mr. Barakeh initially asserted that the gathering was held last year, but after more evidence surfaced, including his open invitation to the event on Instagram, he apologized. His visa was revoked and officials said he would be detained until international flights resumed.
The challenges of maintaining a distance.
With eased lockdowns in many places, keeping the recommended distance from others this summer has become more complicated. Here are ideas for handling conflicts over differing ideas of what is safe.
Reporting was contributed by Brooks Barnes, Aurelien Breeden, Weiyi Cai, Benedict Carey, Choe Sang-Hun, Abdi Latif Dahir, Reid J. Epstein, Thomas Erdbrink, Rick Gladstone, James Glanz, Michael Gold, Shane Goldmacher, Josh Holder, David D. Kirkpatrick, Apoorva Mandavilli, Salman Masood, Richard C. Paddock, Elian Peltier, Dana Rubinstein, Christopher F. Schuetze, Nelson D. Schwartz, Kirk Semple, Dera Menra Sijabat, Mitch Smith, Chris Stanford, Carlos Tejada, Daniel Victor, Derek Watkins, Sui-Lee Wee, Jeremy White, Nic Wirtz, Katherine J. Wu and Karen Zraick.