Coronavirus Live Updates: Latest News and Analysis


Universities make reopening plans, and parents see tough choices no matter what.

The usual parental worries about college-bound children — whether they will be happy, or productive, or find a suitable major leading to a stable career — are getting sidelined this fall by one overwhelming concern: With coronavirus cases spiking in many parts of the country, will students be safe at school?

More than a quarter of U.S. colleges plan to begin fall instruction fully or mostly online, but many are still opening up their dorms. And at many schools, upperclassmen are returning to off-campus apartments, or fraternity or sorority houses. That leaves parents with the choice of forcing their 20-year-olds to stay home against their will, or allowing them to leave and join their friends, knowing the infection data may not be in their favor.

“This is a situation where you have to pray for the best and be ready for the worst,” said Kelly Hutchison, a retired firefighter and single father in Chicago whose daughter, Katelyn, is a student at Ithaca College.

Some parents are still debating whether their child should take the year off entirely. For schools on the semester system, tuition bills for thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, are due this month. But up until those due dates, colleges are trying to be flexible. In many cases, “you can defer admission, or you can take an academic leave, and they’ll allow you to come back,” said Lynn Pasquerella, the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Taking such a break, however, may not be realistic, said Jill Schwitzgebel, a college counselor in Celebration, Fla. “What is your child going to do with a gap year?” she said. “Getting a job is tough. Flying overseas is not happening.”

Other updates from around the U.S.:

Crisis negotiations between the White House and top Democrats teetered on the brink of collapse on Friday, as both sides said they remained deeply divided on an economic recovery package and President Trump indicated that he was prepared to act on his own to provide relief, although it was unclear whether he has the authority to do so.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump plans to sign a handful of executive orders related to virus relief. The White House declined to describe the substance of the orders in advance. One person familiar with what was expected said they related to a halt in the payroll tax, an eviction moratorium, unemployment benefits and student loan relief.

At a news conference on Friday evening at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., Mr. Trump said that if an aid agreement with congressional Democrats could not be reached, he would sign executive orders reinstating a national moratorium on evictions, deferring student loan interest and payments “until further notice,” and “enhancing unemployment benefits” through the end of the year.

He also said he would defer payroll taxes, retroactive from July 1 through the end of the year.

The president did not specify how the deferral would work, and it was unclear whether he had the authority to take such an action without approval from Congress. The move, which would not help unemployed workers, faces opposition from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

The news conference came after a meeting between administration officials and Democratic leaders that ended with no agreement and no additional talks scheduled.

Democrats, who had earlier said they would be willing to lower their spending demands to $2 trillion from $3.4 trillion, said the White House needed to return with a higher overall price tag after Mr. Trump’s negotiators declined to accept that offer. Republicans have proposed a $1 trillion plan.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, called for Democrats to lower the amount of aid for state and local governments and to provide more specifics on how they proposed to revive lapsed unemployment benefits.

While the executive orders have not been finalized, Mr. Meadows said it was likely that action would come over the weekend.

The researchers said that from early March to late July, the C.D.C. received reports of 570 young people — ranging from infants to age 20 — who met the definition of the new condition, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C. The reports came from health departments in 40 states, as well as New York City and Washington, D.C.

The patients were disproportionately people of color, echoing a pattern in adults who have been struck by the respiratory disease caused by the virus. About 40 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 33 percent were Black, and 13 percent were white, the report said. The median age was 8. About 25 percent of the patients had obesity before becoming sick.

MIS-C was first recognized in May as a condition linked to Covid-19 that appears to occur in children and young people who often had not developed any of the respiratory symptoms that are the primary way the virus attacks adults.

The syndrome, which can include a fever, rash, pinkeye, stomach distress, confusion, bluish lips, muscle weakness, racing heart rate and cardiac shock, appears to emerge days or weeks after the initial viral infection, and experts believe it may be the result of a revved-up immune system response to defeating the virus’s first assault.

The C.D.C. reported that about two-thirds of the patients had no previous underlying medical conditions, and most experienced complications that involved four or more organ systems, especially the heart. Ten died. Nearly two-thirds were admitted to intensive care units for a median of five days.

The blockaded Gaza Strip is nearly untouched, except for tough new limits on movement.

The blockaded Gaza Strip might be among the few places in the world where no cases of community transmission of the coronavirus have been recorded — a phenomenon attributed to the coastal enclave’s isolation as well as to swift measures taken by its militant Hamas rulers.

But the pandemic has not left Gaza untouched.

Citing a need to combat the virus, the authorities that control Gaza’s borders have imposed new restrictions on movement outside the territory. That has exacerbated an already challenging situation for Palestinians who say they urgently need to travel to Israel and the West Bank.

In March, fearing an outbreak in Gaza, the Hamas authorities ordered all travelers returning to the territory by way of Israel and Egypt to enter quarantine facilities for three weeks. They could not leave quarantine until they had passed two virus tests.

The system seems to have succeeded. All 78 known infections in the territory were detected at quarantine facilities.

Still, experts did not rule out the possibility of the pandemic penetrating into the area’s densely populated cities and towns.

“All it takes is one small mistake,” said Gerald Rockenschaub, the head of the World Health Organization’s mission to the Palestinians. “There’s no guarantee the virus won’t get inside.”

Mr. Rockenschaub warned that Gaza lacked the resources to deal with a widespread outbreak, noting that medical institutions had only about 100 adult ventilators, most of which were already in use.

Before the coronavirus hobbled the U.S. economy, many low-wage workers were already struggling to make ends meet.

After mass layoffs and a deep recession followed in the early months of the pandemic, millions of workers found themselves faced with evictions, late car payments, and crushing medical bills. For many, the main solace through the worst months of the crisis was a broad range of stimulus measures, including $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits.

But with those measures expiring, and no clear indication of whether new ones will replace them, many unemployed workers now find themselves in limbo, struggling to find work in an economy that remains significantly weakened.

Eviction moratoriums are expiring or have expired in much of the country, and a report released Friday warned that 30 million to 40 million tenants risk losing their homes in the coming months. The Paycheck Protection Program, which helped thousands of small businesses to retain workers, also ends this week.

Research from the last recession found that when unemployment benefits ran out, people cut their spending on food, medicine and other necessities, suggesting they were able to do little to prepare for the drop in income.

While wealthier families may be able to draw on savings to get by until Congress strikes a deal to prolong the stimulus, lower-income households face serious long-term consequences from even a temporary lapse in income. An eviction can make it hard to rent in the future. Having a car repossessed can make it hard to find another job. And for children, periods of hunger, homelessness and stress can have long-term effects on development and learning.

Even as the coronavirus continues to spread widely, and public health officials have urged people to move activities outside as much as possible, the summer heat still tends to demand a great deal of time spent indoors.

For those who regularly share home or office spaces with others for extended periods, this may raise questions about indoor air quality. A growing number of scientists are convinced that significant coronavirus transmission can occur through the air indoors, and that poor ventilation magnifies the risk. But the options available for increasing airflow or filtering out are not all created equal.

Experts have a few recommendations.

If the temperature outside is tolerable, consider opening a few windows to let outdoor air in. This can be amplified by blowing air inside with a box fan.

“The more outside air you have, the more you dilute the virus,” said Jose-Luis Jimenez, an aerosol scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder.

In hotter climates, some air-conditioners can be used safely if they cool and circulate both outdoor and indoor air. But be wary of certain models that only recirculate the air inside.

Those looking to be especially cautious may consider using air filters. But as with air-conditioners, to derive any real benefit consumers should look to those that meet specifications to filter out virus particles that are far smaller than other airborne particles like dust or pollen.

Above all, experts caution that airflow patterns are difficult to predict. The best way to prevent spreading the virus inside may be to avoid holding indoor gatherings altogether.

Making ambitious change to the political system or taking up an aggressive economic stimulus package would most likely require a full-fledged majority government, something that has eluded Belgium since December 2018. Leaders of the two largest parties — the conservative Flemish separatist party known as the N-VA and the French-speaking Socialists — are seeking a majority coalition with smaller parties.

But party leaders said Saturday that they were unable to meet the deadline set by King Philippe, the Belgian head of state. The king extended the deadline, once again, to Aug. 17.

The country is polarized along regional and linguistic lines, making governing perpetually difficult. This is now the longest period without a formal government in Belgian history.

“I hope to form a government as soon as possible,” said Paul Magnette, the head of the French-speaking Socialists. “Our country needs it to effectively combat the epidemic, which sadly is rising again.”

The C.D.C. closes some offices in Atlanta after discovering dangerous bacteria in the water.

Are illicit parties endangering New York City?

Credit…Jimmy Escobar

New Yorkers, by and large, have adhered to rules mandating social distancing and mask wearing. The diligence has helped keep the coronavirus under control in the city even as outbreaks have raged across the United States, primarily in the South and the West.

With his horse and a cart painted like a fairy-tale stagecoach, Mr. Maung Win could pull in $10 in a single day, delivering tourists to the botanical gardens or cafes offering fresh strawberries. Couples posed for wedding pictures in the carriages, holding the bell-adorned reins in their intertwined hands.

Two-thirds of the 100 or so horse carts in town are now gone, Mr. Maung Win said.

“I tried not to sell the horse to the slaughterhouse, but I had no choice,” he said. “I still feel sad talking about this.”

Lucky friends, he said, had two horses. But he owned only one.

When the virus hit, nursing home residents in some countries were left to die.

Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila, Matt Apuzzo, Makr Walker, Hannah Beech, Pam Belluck, Conor Dougherty, Alex Marshall, Constant Méheut, Zach Montague, Heather Murphy, Julia Echikson, Max Horberry, Claire Moses, Monika Pronczuk, Adam Rasgon, Thomas Rogers, Constance Sommer, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Katherine J. Wu and Mihir Zaveri.



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