Live Coronavirus News Updates – The New York Times


Ohio’s governor tests positive before a planned Trump meeting. Two days ago, he offered a stark virus warning.

Two days after he implored residents to avoid large gatherings because of the risk of spreading the virus to family and friends, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio tested positive for the virus while being screened to greet President Trump in Cleveland on Thursday, his office said.

Mr. DeWine, a Republican who has stood out for his studious virus briefings and aggressive response, was tested as part of a standard protocol in order to greet Mr. Trump on the tarmac of Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.

Mr. DeWine did not meet with the president, who was scheduled to speak about rebuilding the economy during a stop in Cleveland and then tour a Whirlpool plant in Clyde.

Mr. DeWine was not experiencing symptoms, and was headed back to Columbus, where he will be tested again and plans to self-isolate for 14 days, his office said. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was tested at the same time, the office said; his test was negative.

The economy remains down more than 10 million jobs from its pre-pandemic peak in February. If Friday’s report shows a drastic slowdown in job creation, pressure will rise on Mr. Trump and congressional leaders to cut a deal to provide additional aid for struggling small businesses, laid-off workers and state and local governments that face large shortfalls in tax revenue amid the crisis. New claims for unemployment benefits have exceeded 1 million a week for 20 straight weeks, the Labor Department reported on Thursday, though the latest figure was not as dire as some weeks early in the pandemic.

A better-than-expected report on Friday could sway Mr. Trump — who has said repeatedly that the economy will rapidly return to its pre-crisis state — against agreeing to Democrats’ demands on issues like extending the now-expired $600-a-week federal supplement for unemployed workers.

Mr. Trump escalated his threat on Thursday to walk away from the negotiations and act unilaterally instead. He told reporters he was considering issuing executive orders to forestall evictions, suspend payroll tax collection and provide extra unemployment aid and student loan relief, perhaps as soon as Friday or Saturday.

It is not clear that he has the legal authority for some of those moves, given that spending power lies with Congress. But a White House official said lawyers there believe Mr. Trump would be on solid ground to use money provided in the last stimulus measure but not yet spent. Democrats rejected the idea, calling it illegal and insufficient.

“Congress has the power of the purse, and President Trump has no authority to deviate from spending decisions the House and Senate made in previous coronavirus relief bills,” said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. “Executive actions to redirect funds that have not yet been spent are neither legal nor a substitute for legislative action to address this crisis.”

Earlier Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would welcome a presidential eviction moratorium, provided that it was accompanied by rental and housing assistance that Democrats have demanded.

“What’s the use of a moratorium if you’re going to have eight months of rent to pay at the end?” said Ms. Pelosi, speaking at her weekly news conference.

Trump is set to sign an executive order to encourage American manufacturing of critical health care supplies.

Mr. Trump is expected on Thursday to sign a long-awaited executive order that would require the federal government to purchase certain pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and equipment from American factories, in an effort to encourage more domestic manufacturing of critical health care products.

The move comes as politicians of both parties have begun criticizing the country’s dependence on China and other nations for drugs and medical supplies. The pandemic has strained supply chains and led to spiraling global demand and shortages of products like masks, testing equipment and certain pharmaceuticals.

The order, which was led by White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro and reported by The New York Times in March, has been on hold for months amid opposition from pharmaceutical lobbyists, business groups and economists, who argued that the rule change could further disrupt supply chains and result in higher drug prices.

It will require the federal government, including the departments of defense, veterans affairs and health and human services, to purchase drugs from American sources, though it also allows certain exemptions based on cost, availability and public interest.

“If we’ve learned anything from the China virus pandemic, it is simply that we’re dangerously overdependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines, for medical supplies like masks, gloves, goggles, and the like, and medical equipment like ventilators,” Mr. Navarro said Thursday. “We are dangerously dependent, at this point in time, for essential medicines.”

But it remains unclear just how broad its effects will be, since the order gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to decide which medicines and supplies will be subject to the new requirements, Mr. Navarro said in a call with reporters.

Counties across California have posted messages warning the public not to rely on their coronavirus data dashboards after the state said that the system used to collect and disseminate case data was broken.

A note on the website of Santa Clara County, in Silicon Valley, said that it was “impossible for State and local health officials to identify the extent to which Covid-19 is circulating in the community.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the seven-day average of cases had fallen by around 20 percent in the state, but officials now say the underreporting of cases puts that decline into question.

California is America’s hub for technology and a major center for biotech companies, but the state has struggled to track the progression of the virus in two key ways: the breakdown in the data sharing system — which Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said Wednesday may have begun months ago — and huge lags in providing testing results.

Contra Costa County, across the Bay from San Francisco, is taking at least 16 days to process tests at its drive-through centers, according to county officials. Other counties in the state are returning results after a week or more.

Dr. Bob Wachter, the chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said that a test that takes weeks to process is “a worthless piece of information.”

“In order to get back to work and open schools we have to have intimate knowledge of who’s got the virus and who’s been in contact with someone who’s got the virus,” Dr. Wachter said. “If you can’t do that within a day or two, the whole system falls apart very rapidly.”

Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary, told reporters on Tuesday that “discrepancies” in the data dissemination system, known as CalREDIE, would “absolutely” affect the test positivity rates, but he did not say by how much.

Hospitalization rates, which are reported using a different system and have been falling, continue to be accurate, he said.

A spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health, Ali Bay, could not say when the data dissemination system would be fixed.

“Our team continues to work around the clock to address the underreporting issue,” she said.

U.S. ROUNDUP

‘We have to try something different’: Experts call for a large-scale rethinking of the U.S. testing strategy.

“Even if you miss somebody on Day 1,” said Omai Garner, director of clinical microbiology in the U.C.L.A. Health System. “If you test them repeatedly, the argument is, you’ll catch them the next time around.”

This quantity-over-quality strategy has its downsides, and is contingent on an enormous supply of testing kits. Currently, only a handful of speedy tests have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. But many experts now believe more rapid, frequent testing would be enough to identify those who need immediate medical care — and perhaps even pinpoint those at greatest risk of spreading the disease.

One such option includes antigen testing, which, at its simplest, could provide a fast answer in the same way as pregnancy tests. These tests could be done at a doctor’s office, or even at home — no fancy machines or specially trained personnel required — and cost just a few dollars each, perhaps even less. And there would be no delays of a week or longer.

The approach is unconventional for lab researchers, who have traditionally valued accuracy above all else.

Elsewhere in the U.S.:

  • Indiana on Thursday reported more than 1,050 new cases, a single-day record for the state.

  • After reports of large parties in recent weeks, the mayor of Los Angeles said on Wednesday that the city could cut off power to homes or businesses that host large gatherings in defiance of public health guidelines.

The photos, which were shared on social media and cited in news reports, have quickly come to symbolize a chaotic first week back in U.S. classrooms. Schools in states where students have returned, including Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Indiana, have had to initiate quarantines and in some cases shut down classrooms and entire schools temporarily become positive cases emerged.

The superintendent of the Paulding County School District, Brian Otott, defended his system’s reopening plan after the hallway photos circulated, saying in a letter to the community that they were taken out of context. Students only remained in the hallways briefly while switching classes, he wrote, and the school was following recommendations issued by the Georgia Department of Education.

But he acknowledged, “There is no question that the photo does not look good.”

Masks are not required at the school, Mr. Otott said, but the administration strongly encourages them for students and staff members.

“Wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them,” he wrote, adding that more than 2,000 students attend the high school.

The school district did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The district’s guidelines say staff members will do their best to require students to maintain social distancing, but note that it would “not be possible to enforce social distancing in classrooms or on school buses unless it is a class or a bus with fewer students.”

The high school opened for the school year on Monday even though there had already been reports of a coronavirus outbreak among members of the football team.

France and Germany have each recorded a higher number of daily new coronavirus cases this week than either country has seen in months. France reported 1,695 new cases on Wednesday, and Germany on Thursday reported more than 1,000.

The rise in cases for both countries come as other Western European countries, like Spain and Belgium, are also facing surges. And though the numbers are high, they are not on the level of the spikes being seen in the United States.

Germany’s public health authority, the Robert Koch Institute, said new cases were spread across the country, and were not concentrated in one region as more recent spikes have been.

In France, which had been seeing a slow resurgence of the pandemic, the 1,242 daily average of cases since the beginning of August has almost reached the level of infections in the first week of May, when the country was still under lockdown. And the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, which had been steadily falling since early April, has risen very slightly in recent days.

As numbers began rising last week in Germany, Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, had warned that Germans were becoming too lax and failing to uphold the social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements that remain in place.

In France, the scientific council that advises President Emmanuel Macron warned that a second wave of infections by the fall was “highly possible” given current trends. The council called on large cities to prepare home-confinement strategies that could be tightened or loosened in step with the evolution of the pandemic.

Discussions about asymptomatic spread have been dogged by confusion about people who are “pre-symptomatic” — meaning they eventually become visibly ill — versus the truly asymptomatic, who appear healthy throughout the course of their infection.

The new study is among the first to clearly distinguish between these two groups. It measured the virus’s genetic material in the patients; the researchers did not follow the chain of transmission or grow live virus, which might have more directly confirmed active infections.

Still, experts said the results strongly suggest that asymptomatic people are unwitting broadcasters of the virus.

The South Korean team analyzed samples taken between March 6 and March 26 from 193 symptomatic and 110 asymptomatic people isolated at a community treatment center. Of the initially asymptomatic patients, 89 — roughly 30 percent of the total — appeared healthy throughout, while 21 developed symptoms.

The participants in the new study were all isolated when they tested positive for the virus and did not have the opportunity to infect others. Doctors and nurses tracked their temperatures and other symptoms, and tested their sputum — which indicates virus present in the lungs — as well as their noses and throats.

The participants were mostly young, with a median age of just 25. (A study last week found that children, who are mostly mildly infected, also harbor at least as much virus as adults do.)

The study’s estimate that 30 percent of infected people never develop symptoms is in line with findings from other studies. In an television interview on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tendered 40 percent as the figure.

Travelers are also divided in their willingness to pay to have an empty seat next to them. Just under half said they would not shell out any money for greater distance from others, while 47 percent said they would pay up to $100. That share shrinks as the price of an empty seat rises, though 18 percent said they would spend $250 or more.

The C.D.C. to Americans: Please do not drink hand sanitizer.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the government came under fierce criticism over shortages of personal protective equipment, particularly respirator masks that protect health workers from inhaling harmful materials.

“Throughout this global pandemic, we have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect people on the front line,” a government spokesman said, adding, “Over 2.4 billion items have been delivered, and more than 30 billion have been ordered from U.K.-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply, which meets the needs of health and social care staff both now and in the future.”

In other news from around the world:

Reporting was contributed by Geneva Abdul, Emily Bobrow, Luke Broadwater, Emma Bubola, Julia Calderone, Niraj Chokshi, Emily Cochrane, Patricia Cohen, Melissa Eddy, Thomas Erdbrink, Jacey Fortin, Sheera Frenkel, Maggie Haberman, Cecilia Kang, Annie Karni, David Leonhardt, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Constant Méheut, Sarah Mervosh, Saw Nang, Richard C. Paddock, Eileen Sullivan, Jim Tankersley, Neil Vigdor, Katherine J. Wu, Ceylan Yeginsu, Elaine Yu and Karen Zraick.



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