Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Are Rising, Even as Death Rates Trend Down

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ImageMedical workers at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston on Thursday transporting a patient from the Covid-19 intensive care unit.
Credit…Go Nakamura/Getty Images

As infections in the U.S. are rising sharply, the death rate has dropped.

After a minor late-spring lull, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States is again on the rise. States like Arizona, Florida and Texas are seeing some of their highest numbers to date, and as the nation hurtles deeper into summer, the surge shows few signs of stopping.

Yet the virus appears to be killing fewer of the people it infects — a seemingly counterintuitive trend that might not last, experts said.

In April and May, Covid-19 led to as many as 3,000 deaths per day and claimed the lives of roughly 7 to 8 percent of Americans known to have been infected. Now, even though cases are rising in the majority of states, some of which are hitting single-day records, the number of daily deaths is closer to 600, and the death rate is less than 5 percent.

Because death reports can lag diagnoses by weeks, the current rise in coronavirus cases could portend increases in mortality in the days to come. However, there are also a few factors that can help explain the apparent drop.

One is increased diagnostic testing, which has identified many more infected individuals with mild or no symptoms. That means those who die with Covid-19 form a smaller overall proportion of cases, said Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

And with more tests available, infections are often identified earlier, “which allows us to intervene earlier,” said Saskia Popescu, a hospital epidemiologist and infectious disease expert in Arizona.

Health experts also noted that treatments had improved, and that the virus is now infecting more young people, who are less likely to die of Covid-19.

With U.S. infections surging, Trump visits Mt. Rushmore for fireworks.

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Credit…Al Drago/Bloomberg

Health officials are urging Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans as the coronavirus pandemic makes a frightening resurgence.

Reports of new cases have increased 90 percent in the United States in the last two weeks. More than 53,000 new daily coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Friday, according to a New York Times database. That total exceeded all previous daily counts but the 55,595 on Thursday, the first time the number had passed 50,000.

At least five states set single-day case records on Friday: Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina, according to data compiled by The New York Times. In South Carolina, where more than 1,800 new cases were announced Friday, the positivity rate has hovered around 20 percent this week, up from about 10 percent in early June. In Kansas, where at least 770 new cases were announced, daily reporting totals vary widely because the state government only releases new data three times a week. The state reported positivity rates exceeding 10 percent for the first three days in July, a significant uptick from mid-June when the rate hovered between 5 and 7 percent.

On Thursday, the United States set a single-day case record for the sixth time in nine days, with more than 55,000 new cases announced, and single-day highs in eight states. Domestic travel restrictions have re-emerged, and many locales have slowed or reversed reopenings.

The vast majority of July 4 fireworks displays in big cities and small rural towns have been canceled. Most politicians, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, are forgoing the traditional parades and flag-waving appearances.

President Trump, however, has a different, discordant message: The sparkly, booming show must go on at all costs. Mr. Trump was in South Dakota on Friday evening for a massive fireworks display at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a made-for-TV patriotic display that he has spent years lobbying to revive. (There have been no fireworks at Mount Rushmore since 2009 because of fears that they would set off forest fires and contaminate groundwater.)

Few in the packed crowd of supporters wore masks. In his pre-fireworks speech, Mr. Trump barely mentioned the pandemic, which has killed more than 120,000 people in America, instead choosing to cast himself as waging battle against a “new far-left fascism.”

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Credit…Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hours before Mr. Trump spoke at Mount Rushmore, law enforcement officials, many holding shields, clashed with protesters blocking a road.

As tension escalated, an officer warned demonstrators that they should disperse if they wanted to avoid chemical agents.

“It’s not going to be a pleasant smell,” the officer said, according to a video posted on Twitter. “If you don’t mind it, you can stay here, but it’s going to be very irritating.”

Anti-Trump protesters chanted and held signs reading, “You are trespassing on stolen land,” and “Black Lives Matter,” according to video footage of the event. A group of Trump supporters held Trump 2020 posters and “All Lives Matter” signs.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Mr. Trump’s eldest son and a top fund-raising official for the Trump re-election campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday before the event at Mount Rushmore, a person familiar with her condition said.

Ms. Guilfoyle traveled to South Dakota with Donald Trump Jr. They did not travel aboard Air Force One, according to the person familiar with her condition, and she was the only person in the group who tested positive.

The president plans to follow up his trip with a “Salute to America” celebration the following day on the South Lawn at the White House, including a military flyover and a massive fireworks display on the National Mall that Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has warned violates local health guidelines.

Mr. Trump has consistently downplayed concerns over new cases, claiming that young people “get better much easier and faster” and that the virus will “just disappear.”

In many places across the country, face coverings have gone from suggestions to mandates, but Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, a Republican, said there were no plans to enforce social distancing during Mr. Trump’s open-air address before a live audience, framed by some of the nation’s most revered presidents.

Early in the pandemic, more than 1,000 cases were linked to the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, which remains one of the country’s largest known clusters. But in recent weeks, South Dakota has had one of the country’s most encouraging trend lines. The state has averaged a few-dozen new cases each day, including 85 announced Friday. There has not been a day with more than 100 new cases in South Dakota since late May.

For the U.S. capital, July 4 will mean protests as well as celebration.

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Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

A number of protests are planned for Independence Day in the nation’s capital, ahead of the annual fireworks display and a military flyover hosted by Mr. Trump.

Since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May, Washington has become a center of protests. Its mayor, Muriel Bowser, publicly challenged Mr. Trump’s decision to order National Guard troops into the city during demonstrations against racism and police brutality, and she presided over the painting of the words “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters on a street near the White House.

Black Lives Matter DC and two other groups, Sunrise and the Black Youth Project 100, announced several events over the weekend focused on defunding the police. The Instagram account #dcteensaction lists at least nine protests for Saturday, including a march near the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and an evening protest beginning in Malcolm X Park.

For the official celebration, the federal government said it would provide around 300,000 face coverings, and a news release from the Department of the Interior warned visitors to observe social distancing — while noting that viewing areas on the Mall would be accessible by four security entry points. Ms. Bowser told reporters that she did not think the event was in keeping with federal health officials’ guidelines for gatherings during the pandemic.

The holiday comes amid a national reckoning over racism, and the founding story of the United States is part of what is being questioned right now.

William H. Lamar IV, the pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the White House, said that he did not normally celebrate the Fourth but that this year the country might be observing the holiday with more honesty than usual.

“The symbols coming down, that’s only the beginning,” Reverend Lamar said. “That’s people saying, ‘We need a new story. This story excludes me. It is inherently violent and evil. It murdered me. It erased me as a human being. I deserve a story that includes me and wants me to flourish.’”

He added: “Is there a kind of national story that can hold us together in this multiethnic, multiracial, multireligious reality? The survival of this experiment called America depends upon it.”

Brazil tops 1.5 million total infections, just two weeks after reaching a million.

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Credit…Mauro Pimentel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Brazil, which has more coronavirus cases than any country but the United States, topped 1.5 million total infections on Friday, just two weeks after reaching a million cases, according to a New York Times database.

But even as the country passed that grim milestone, President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed a measure that would have provided masks to vulnerable groups and required businesses to provide masks to their employees, according to The Associated Press.

Since mid-June, some major cities in Brazil have eased preventive measures. Shopping malls have already reopened in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Beaches are starting to draw crowds again. And Rio allowed gyms and bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity on Thursday, while some hospital systems were close to running out of intensive care beds.

If the country’s trend lines hold, some epidemiologists project the pandemic’s death toll in Brazil could surpass that of the U.S. by late July. Brazil had recorded 63,174 total deaths as of Friday; the U.S. has recorded 129,402.

Some experts initially thought that Brazil was well equipped to cope with the pandemic, based on its track record during past public health emergencies. Brazil has a public health care system that, while underfunded, provides robust coverage across the country.

Global roundup

England will end its quarantine for visitors from more than 50 countries. The U.S. isn’t one of them.

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‘Social Distancing Is Still Essential,’ Boris Johnson Says

Britain is set to ease lockdown restrictions in the next week, but at a news conference on Friday, the prime minister stressed the importance of quarantining travelers from countries with high infection rates.

Social distancing is still essential. I want these restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible. Of course I do. We’ve established task forces to work rapidly and closely with the sectors that remain closed to explore how they can be Covid-secure, and I’m pleased to report that good progress is being made. Next week, we will set out a timetable for their reopening, though, of course, I can only lift those remaining national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so. Our goal remains to enable as many people as possible to live their lives as close to normally as possible, in a way which is as fair and as safe as possible. And to achieve this, we need to move away from blanket national measures to targeted local measures. And instead of quarantining arrivals from the whole world, we will only quarantine arrivals from those countries where the virus is sadly not yet under control. And that’s what we are going to have — large numbers of countries around the world, where I’m afraid the disease is still prevalent or indeed becoming more prevalent. We’re going to keep the 14-day quarantine system. There are some countries — and the list has been published.

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Britain is set to ease lockdown restrictions in the next week, but at a news conference on Friday, the prime minister stressed the importance of quarantining travelers from countries with high infection rates.CreditCredit…Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Starting July 10, England will drop its mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from more than 50 countries but leave the restrictions in place for travelers coming from the United States, deepening the isolation of America. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland apply their own travel policies and may not follow England’s lead in easing restrictions.

The European Union recently upheld a ban on U.S. travelers, even as it opened its borders to visitors from Canada, Rwanda, Thailand and 15 other countries. England’s policy, announced on Friday, is less restrictive: Americans can still enter so long as they agree to isolate themselves for two weeks.

The United States has barred most visitors from Britain since March, after briefly exempting them from a travel ban on the European Union. At the time, Europe was dealing with far more coronavirus infections than the United States. Since then, the epicenter of the pandemic has moved across the Atlantic.

However, Britain still has the world’s third-highest known death toll, with triple-digit death counts still coming most days.

More than half the country’s nursing homes have had at least one case since March. The government announced on Friday that nursing home residents will be tested for the virus monthly, while staff members will receive tests weekly, officials announced.

Some public-health experts said the fractious debate over the travel quarantine had distracted from more pressing problems, like safely reopening Britain’s schools and organizing an effective test-and-trace program.

“The U.K. government seems focused on giving people a summer pandemic holiday instead of dealing with the hard issues facing the aviation industry for the coming year,” said Professor Devi Sridhar, the director of the global health governance program at the University of Edinburgh.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said earlier this week that it was Britons’ “patriotic duty” to go to the pub when they reopen at 6 a.m. on Saturday, has now urged people not to “overdo it.” His warning came after tens of thousands have flocked to beaches, organized illegal music parties and violated social-distancing rules in recent weeks.

“Let’s not blow it now, folks,” Mr. Johnson told LBC radio on Friday, weeks after he announced that the country’s “long hibernation” was over and that the virus was under control.

In other news:

  • Brazil, which has been experiencing a surge in virus cases, allowed restaurants and bars to reopen with conditions on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. Gyms, dance, fighting and swimming classes were also authorized to restart, The A.P. said, as long as there is no physical contact, a third of capacity and a time-slot schedule.

  • Seeking to give his government a fresh start after the pandemic battered the nation, President Emmanuel Macron of France shuffled prime ministers on Friday, trading in the popular incumbent, Édouard Philippe, for a relatively unknown functionary who helped guide the country out of the health emergency, Jean Castex. Mr. Philippe is one of three government officials facing investigation into their handling of the coronavirus crisis, according to French prosecutors.

  • Air France, which like other airlines has seen ticket sales plummet, told labor union leaders on Friday that it needs to cut about 7,500 jobs by the end of 2022, but that it would achieve the most through attrition and would also offer buyouts, early retirement packages and assistance with applying for open positions at the company. The airline has received 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) from the French government.

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose successful response to the coronavirus crisis in Germany has been widely praised, was seen wearing a mask for the first time on Friday, as she headed into a session at the cramped Bundesrat. Asked by a reporter this week why she didn’t mask, even as she encourages Germans to, she said: “If I keep the social distancing rules, then I don’t need to wear a mask. And when I don’t social distance, when I go shopping for example, we clearly never run into each other.”

  • Spain said on Friday that it would not reopen its borders with Morocco after Morocco’s decision to keep entry points closed that are used by millions of people every summer. The dispute also affects Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves in North Africa. Spain also said that it would bar arrivals from Algeria and China. The European Union reopened its borders this week to travelers from 15 countries, including Algeria, while travelers from China would be permitted if China reciprocates.

  • Austria recorded more than 100 new cases of the virus on a single day this week, its highest such total in more than two months. Many of the confirmed infections are connected to a religious community in Linz, a city in the northern part of the country, and officials closed schools and day care centers in the area for a week. Austria’s health ministry has registered 17,959 cases and 705 deaths.

Foreigners in a South Korean quarantine hotel are finding the welcome anything but warm.

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Credit…Choe Sang-hun/The New York Times

Spending two weeks quarantined in a hotel room is not a pleasant experience, as thousands of people who’ve flown internationally since the pandemic began can attest.

But the 300 foreigners confined to a Ramada hotel in Yongin, South Korea, have it worse than most.

Each day for the past week, from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., protesters outside the hotel have been raising a deafening noise with drums, brass gongs and loudspeakers blaring music. They are local residents, angry that the government chose a hotel in their neighborhood as a quarantine site.

“Even with double-glazed windows, they can still be heard when the windows are closed,” said James Martin Thompson, an app developer from Washington, from his fifth-floor room in the hotel, the Ramada by Wyndham Yongin.

“When you’re stuck in a small indoor space 24/7, being able to open the windows makes it much more bearable,” said Mr. Thompson. “And during much of the daytime, that isn’t practical with the noise coming from the demonstrators.”

On June 11, the South Korean government designated the Ramada as one of eight facilities where foreigners who arrive with no Covid-19 symptoms are quarantined for two weeks.

Three days later, a foreigner quarantined at the hotel tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then, residents of the neighborhood, called Jeondae-ri, have been accusing the government of recklessly exposing them to infection.

On June 27, protesters began their daily noise-making campaign in front of the 18-story hotel, hoping to force the authorities to send foreigners elsewhere for quarantine.

A large banner that protesters hung in front of the Ramada read, “This is a hotel that produced a confirmed Covid-19 case. Shut it down immediately!”

The foreigners are confined to their rooms with little hope of escaping the torment, even if they wanted to try.

Infections among Secret Service agents explain Pence’s changed visit to Arizona.

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Credit…Samuel Corum for The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence changed his travel plans in Arizona after Secret Service agents set to accompany with him tested positive or showed symptoms, two administration officials said on Thursday.

Mr. Pence had been scheduled to visit Arizona on Tuesday, but multiple factors related to the spread of the virus foiled those plans, according to a person familiar with Mr. Pence’s travel.

A swift rise in new cases in the state has overwhelmed testing centers in recent days, and Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, ordered bars, gyms and movie theaters closed this week. As of Friday, there have been more than 4,300 new cases reported in the state. In an apparent acknowledgment of outbreaks erupting across the South and the West, the vice president canceled his plan to headline a “Faith in America” campaign rally in Tucson on Tuesday and then tour Yuma with Mr. Ducey.

Instead, Mr. Pence opted for a shorter visit to Phoenix on Wednesday, where he participated in a public health briefing at Sky Harbor International Airport.

“Help is on the way,” Mr. Pence said at a news conference with Mr. Ducey at the airport, after descending the steps of Air Force Two wearing a mask, the latest sign of the administration’s evolving stance on face coverings.

But the positive tests and symptoms of Secret Service agents expected to be in proximity to the man who is next in line for the presidency were some of the factors that prompted his change of schedule, the officials said. The news of the agents who showed symptoms, or tested positive, was first reported by The Washington Post.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Pence did not respond to a request for comment.

The latest illnesses among the small circle of individuals who interact directly with the vice president were a reminder of the dangers of carrying on with campaign and official government travel as the pandemic rages on.

The president of Honduras is recovering at home after being hospitalized for Covid-19.

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Credit…Agence France-Presse, via Honduras’ Presidency

President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras has been discharged from the hospital after receiving more than two weeks of inpatient treatment for Covid-19 and related pneumonia.

He was admitted on June 17, hours after he tested positive for the illness. His wife, Ana García, also tested positive, but convalesced at home.

“My commitment to Honduras is stronger than ever,” Mr. Hernández said on Twitter, announcing his release on Thursday. “To work!”

Officials said he would continue his recuperation in isolation at home.

Honduras, like many other countries in Latin America, is struggling to contain the spread of the virus. As of Friday, more than 21,000 cases had been confirmed in Honduras, along with more than 590 deaths.

The World Health Organization has declared Latin America the center of the pandemic, and several countries in the region are now suffering some of the world’s worst outbreaks.

The organization’s regional director for the Americas, Carissa Etienne, warned this week that the death toll from Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean could roughly quadruple by October to more than 438,000.

U.S. Roundup

For Fourth of July, officials offer a patchwork of guidance.

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Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

As case counts continued to hit record highs in many states, local officials released new guidance, creating a patchwork system for Americans planning to celebrate the holiday weekend.

As many as 80 percent of community fireworks displays in large cities and small rural towns have been canceled this year over fears that they would create a social distancing nightmare. In New York City, instead of the usual hourlong fireworks extravaganza, Macy’s will have five-minute displays in undisclosed locations across the five boroughs. The grand finale on Saturday, which will also be from an undisclosed location, will be televised.

In Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties had already announced they were closing beaches for the Fourth of July weekend. And on Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez’s countywide curfew, which was announced Thursday, went into effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mr. Giménez also rolled back the opening of movie theaters, arcades, casinos, concert halls, bowling halls and adult entertainment venues that recently had their reopening plans approved by the county. Florida reported more than 9,400 new cases Friday. Exactly one month earlier, the state reported just 1,317 new cases.

In Mississippi, which reported more than 900 new coronavirus cases Friday — the second-highest single day total recorded by the state — Gov. Tate Reeves’s executive orders will allow indoor gatherings of up to 20 people. Bars and restaurants can offer indoor dining as long as they stay below 50 percent capacity. Backyard BBQs can have up to 100 people so long as guests remain socially distanced. And outdoor stadiums will also be allowed to remain open at 25 percent capacity, potentially allowing thousands to gather at a single event.

And in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott reversed course on Thursday, ordering residents in counties with 20 or more virus cases to wear masks in public. Mr. Abbott, a Republican, had previously opposed attempts by Democratic mayors and other local officials to require everyone in their cities to wear masks in public. Texas has been one of the worst-hit states in the past week reaching a record number of hospitalizations on Friday, up 270 to 7,652, and reporting more than 6,400 new cases.

Elsewhere in the U.S.:

  • In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order allowing local officials to pass mask ordinances on Friday. Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican, never implemented a statewide stay-at-home order, instead opting to close high-contact businesses like gyms and personal care services. More than 540 new cases were announced in the state on Friday, just a day after a record 878 cases were reported, according to a New York Times database.

  • Critics of Amtrak’s newly announced cutbacks worry that the rail agency will not bring back service to the long-distance routes it has long sought to end. With ridership down 95 percent and revenue plummeting, Amtrak plans to cut up to 20 percent of its work force by October and suspend daily service on routes that service over 220 communities. Amtrak has received letters from 16 senators asking why it needed to enact such steep cuts since it had already received $1 billion in emergency aid.

  • Results of Major League Baseball’s first round of widespread coronavirus testing were released on Friday, as preseason training resumed in full after being shut down for more than three months. Out of 3,185 tests, 38 were positive (31 players and seven staff members). The league plans to open a 60-game season on July 23, with no fans in the stands. Preseason preparation has resumed at teams’ home stadiums rather than returning to spring-training sites in Florida and Arizona.

  • In New York Times/Siena College surveys of voters in battleground states for the presidential election, supporters of Joseph R. Biden Jr. were far more likely than President Trump’s to be concerned about in-person voting during the pandemic. About 40 percent of Mr. Biden’s supporters said they would feel uncomfortable, compared with just 6 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters. Most of these people said they would go to the polls anyway, but 8 percent of Mr. Biden’s surveyed supporters and less than 2 percent of Mr. Trump’s said they would be too uncomfortable to go vote. Voting by mail for any reason is available in all six battleground states included in the Times/Siena data.

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago said Thursday that travelers from 15 states with large outbreaks would have to quarantine for two weeks or face up to $7,000 in fines.

  • Some 13,400 employees, or nearly 70 percent of the staffing, of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that handles U.S. visas and naturalization, face furlough by Aug. 3 because the immigration processing fees that fund it have plummeted

The actors’ union, citing safety concerns, tells members not to work on a film being produced by Michael Bay.

The SAG-AFTRA actors’ union issued a do-not-work notice to its members for a pandemic-themed independent film starring Demi Moore and Craig Robinson, saying that producers had “not been transparent about their safety protocols.” Producers for the film, “Songbird,” include Michael Bay, who is better known for his work on big-budget films, and Adam Goodman, a former president of production at Paramount Pictures.

“Songbird” has drawn attention as one of the first movies aiming to roll cameras since the virus brought production in Hollywood to a halt in March. California allowed film and television shoots to resume on June 12 — under strict safety protocols — and Los Angeles began issuing permits last week. So far, however, only a handful of TV shows (mostly soap operas like “The Bold and the Beautiful”) have restarted production; none of the major movie studios are expected to shoot anything before next month.

The independent companies behind “Songbird” have said they planned to use nontraditional camera techniques to avoid having actors in proximity. The film, a thriller, takes place in the near future during a pandemic lockdown — martial law has been imposed to combat a fast-mutating virus — and focuses on a young woman and a motorbike courier with rare immunity.

Representatives for the producers either declined to comment or did not respond to a query. Invisible Narratives, one of the companies involved, told Deadline, an entertainment trade news site, that it was “actively working to resolve this paperwork issue.”

Here are tips on how to have some socially distanced fun this weekend.

Leaders in many states are urging people to stay at home this holiday weekend. Here are some safe ideas for enjoying the Fourth of July holiday.

Reluctant professors are one problem for colleges in the fall.

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Credit…Tristan Spinski for The New York Times

College students across the country have been warned that campus life will look dramatically different in the fall, with temperature checks at academic buildings, masks in half-empty lecture halls and maybe no football games.

What they might not expect: a lack of professors in the classroom.

Thousands of instructors at American colleges and universities have told administrators in recent days that they are unwilling to resume in-person classes because of the pandemic.

More than three-quarters of colleges and universities have decided students can return to campus this fall. But they face a growing faculty revolt.

“Until there’s a vaccine, I’m not setting foot on campus,” said Dana Ward, 70, an emeritus professor of political studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who teaches a class in anarchist history and thought. “Going into the classroom is like playing Russian roulette.”

This comes as major outbreaks have hit college towns this summer, spread by partying students and practicing athletes.

In Pennsylvania, a Penn State student living off campus has died of respiratory failure and Covid-19, the first known death of a student at the university related to the virus, according to the university.

The student, Juan Garcia, 21, who was in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, had been living off-campus in State College when he began to feel sick, the university said in an announcement expressing its condolences. He went home to Allentown on June 19, and tested positive for the coronavirus the next day. He died on June 30, the university said.

The death comes as faculty, concerned about their own safety and that of students, are organizing to have more say in the campus opening for the fall. Sarah J. Townsend, an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and a faculty organizer, said the student’s death was disturbing in part because of the close connection between the campus and the surrounding town.

In an indication of how fluid the situation is, the University of Southern California said on Wednesday that an “alarming spike” in coronavirus cases had prompted it to reverse an earlier decision to encourage attending classes in person.

With more than a month before campuses start reopening, it is hard to predict how many professors will refuse to teach face-to-face classes in the fall. But colleges and professors are planning ahead.

U.S. Roundup

New Yorkers head back to the city’s beaches.

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Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

New York, transformed by the virus and protests for racial justice, has been cooped up, and a good, old-fashioned swim “takes the edge off,” said Rachel Thompson, a schoolteacher. She was at Rockaway Beach in Queens on Wednesday as New York City opened its beaches for swimming — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, when even more people are expected to pack the sand.

Still, several beachgoers that morning, Ms. Thompson included, were feeling a bit jittery about the city’s gradual reopening. An hour after the ban on swimming was lifted, the mayor announced that indoor dining at restaurants would not resume on Monday as anticipated, citing the virus’s rapid spread in other large states.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, worried that large crowds might risk virus transmission, had kept the city’s 14 miles of beaches closed even as temperatures rose — along with frustration from long-quarantined New Yorkers. With an estimated million visitors total on a hot day, they are some of the country’s most crowded shorelines, and people largely access them via subways and buses.

Safety measures include lifeguards in masks carrying waist packs with a face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer. Beachgoers must keep at least six feet apart and wear face coverings when on the sand or the boardwalk. Restrooms will operate at half-capacity, and boardwalk concessions must offer to-go service only.

Hundreds of city workers, deployed as social distancing ambassadors, will hand out masks, keep space between beachgoers, tally beachgoers to prevent overcrowding, tend beach entrances to limit capacity and, if necessary, direct people to less crowded sections.

Worries have lingered about a possible backslide in the state, where, after reining in the virus, there have been a few alarming outbreaks, such those at a house party and graduation party in the suburbs just north of the city.

Elsewhere in the U.S.:

  • In Miami-Dade County, Fla., the mayor imposed a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Friday; he also rolled back the opening of movie theaters, arcades, casinos, concert halls, bowling halls and adult entertainment venues that recently had their reopening plans approved by the county. Miami-Dade and Broward counties had already announced they were closing beaches for the Fourth of July weekend. On Friday, Florida reported 9,488 new cases.

  • Critics of Amtrak’s newly announced cutbacks worry that the rail agency will not bring back service to the long-distance routes it has long sought to end. With ridership down 95 percent and revenue plummeting, Amtrak plans to cut up to 20 percent of its work force by October and suspend daily service on routes that service over 220 communities. Amtrak has received letters from 16 senators asking why it needed to enact such steep cuts since it had already received $1 billion in emergency aid.

  • Results of Major League Baseball’s first round of widespread coronavirus testing were released on Friday, as preseason training resumed in full after being shut down for more than three months. Out of 3,185 tests, 38 were positive (31 players and seven staff members). The league plans to open a 60-game season on July 23, with no fans in the stands. Preseason preparation has resumed at teams’ home stadiums rather than returning to spring-training sites in Florida and Arizona.

  • In New York Times/Siena College surveys of voters in battleground states for the presidential election, supporters of Joseph R. Biden Jr. were far more likely than President Trump’s to be concerned about in-person voting during the pandemic. About 40 percent of Mr. Biden’s supporters said they would feel uncomfortable, compared with just 6 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters. Most of these people said they would go to the polls anyway, but 8 percent of Mr. Biden’s surveyed supporters and less than 2 percent of Mr. Trump’s said they would be too uncomfortable to go vote. Voting by mail for any reason is available in all six battleground states included in the Times/Siena data.

  • Texas, one of the worst-hit states in the past week, saw a record number of hospitalizations on Friday, up 270 to 7,652. In a reversal, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered residents in counties with 20 or more virus cases to wear masks in public. Mr. Abbott, a Republican, had previously opposed attempts by Democratic mayors and other local officials to require everyone in their cities to wear masks in public.

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago said Thursday that travelers from 15 states with large outbreaks would have to quarantine for two weeks or face up to $7,000 in fines.

  • Some 13,400 employees, or nearly 70 percent of the staffing, of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that handles U.S. visas and naturalization, face furlough by Aug. 3 because the immigration processing fees that fund it have plummeted.

  • In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order allowing local officials to pass mask ordinances on Friday. Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican, never implemented a statewide stay-at-home order, instead opting to close high-contact businesses like gyms and personal care services. More than 540 new cases were announced in the state on Friday, just a day after a record 878 cases were reported, according to a New York Times database.

Biden supporters are more worried about the health hazards of voting.

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Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Identifying likely voters is a challenge for pollsters in every election. This year, the coronavirus, mail voting and a surge in political engagement may make it even harder than usual.

For now, Mr. Biden’s nine-point lead across the critical battleground states is so significant that it is essentially invulnerable to assumptions about turnout, according to New York Times/Siena College surveys of the states likeliest to decide the election. But supporters of Mr. Biden are far more likely to be concerned about in-person voting during the pandemic, and his wide polling lead among registered voters could narrow if their concerns persist to the election.

Over all, one-quarter of registered voters in the battleground states said they would feel uncomfortable voting in person.

People were asked if they would feel uncomfortable voting in person if the election were held during the week they were interviewed in June. About 40 percent of Mr. Biden’s supporters said they would feel uncomfortable, compared with just 6 percent of President Trump’s supporters.

This political divide transcends demographics. A young Biden supporter in a rural area, for instance, would be likelier to feel uncomfortable voting than an older Trump supporter in a city, even though the health risk is probably quite low for the Biden voter and potentially quite significant for the Trump supporter.

Most of these voters would go to the polls anyway. But about one-quarter of the uncomfortable voters — or about 6 percent of the overall electorate — said they would feel too uncomfortable to vote in person if the election were held during the week they were interviewed. This includes 8 percent of all of Mr. Biden’s supporters in the battleground states, compared with fewer than 2 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters.

It is important to emphasize that no-excuse absentee voting, in which any voter can request a mail ballot, is available in all six of the battleground states included in the Times/Siena data.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked a trial judge’s order that would have made it easier for voters in three Alabama counties to use absentee ballots in this month’s primary runoff election.

The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when it rules on emergency applications, and it said the order would remain in effect while appeals moved forward.

The court’s four more liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — said they would have rejected Alabama’s request.

Pubs are reopening in Britain, and Boris Johnson urges people not to ‘overdo it.’

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‘Social Distancing Is Still Essential,’ Boris Johnson Says

Britain is set to ease lockdown restrictions in the next week, but at a news conference on Friday, the prime minister stressed the importance of quarantining travelers from countries with high infection rates.

Social distancing is still essential. I want these restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible. Of course I do. We’ve established task forces to work rapidly and closely with the sectors that remain closed to explore how they can be Covid-secure, and I’m pleased to report that good progress is being made. Next week, we will set out a timetable for their reopening, though, of course, I can only lift those remaining national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so. Our goal remains to enable as many people as possible to live their lives as close to normally as possible, in a way which is as fair and as safe as possible. And to achieve this, we need to move away from blanket national measures to targeted local measures. And instead of quarantining arrivals from the whole world, we will only quarantine arrivals from those countries where the virus is sadly not yet under control. And that’s what we are going to have — large numbers of countries around the world, where I’m afraid the disease is still prevalent or indeed becoming more prevalent. We’re going to keep the 14-day quarantine system. There are some countries — and the list has been published.

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Britain is set to ease lockdown restrictions in the next week, but at a news conference on Friday, the prime minister stressed the importance of quarantining travelers from countries with high infection rates.CreditCredit…Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, who said earlier this week that it was Britons’ “patriotic duty” to go to the pub when they reopen on Saturday, has now urged people not to “overdo it.” His warning came after tens of thousands have flocked to beaches, organized illegal music parties and violated social-distancing rules in recent weeks.

Britain has reported the world’s third-highest pandemic death toll, with triple-digit death counts still coming most days.

“Let’s not blow it now, folks,” Mr. Johnson told LBC radio on Friday, weeks after he announced that the country’s “long hibernation” was over and that the virus was under control. Restaurant industry workers have said in British news outlets that they were afraid of going back to work, and concerns are high that pub customers could flout basic rules and trigger new waves of infections.

A spokesman for Mr. Johnson said that pubs could reopen starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, “in the event anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight.”

On Wednesday, the Treasury tweeted that people should “grab a drink and raise a glass” when pubs reopen. The tweet was later deleted. A pub in south London has promised “endless supply” of drinks to “fuel your shenanigans,” after more than three months of closure, which was a first in the history of the country’s pubs.

Pubs — like restaurants, hair salons and other businesses welcoming visitors again on Saturday — will have to maintain a 21-day record of their customers, the government has said, to trace contacts in case of new outbreaks.

In Leicester, 100 miles north of London, pubs and other nonessential businesses will remain closed because of a regional outbreak of virus cases.

The British authorities also announced on Friday that, starting July 10, travelers from countries in Europe including France, Italy and Spain will no longer have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The change will currently only apply to England, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland expected to set up their own rules.

  • Starting July 10, England will drop its mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from more than 50 countries but leave the restrictions in place for travelers coming from the United States, deepening the isolation of America. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland apply their own travel policies and may not follow England’s lead in easing restrictions.

  • Residents in nursing homes in Britain will be tested for the virus monthly, while staff members will receive tests weekly, officials announced. According to a survey published on Friday by the Office for National Statistics, 56 percent of the country’s nursing homes have had at least one case since March, with 20 percent of residents in such facilities known to have been infected. Out of the nearly 44,000 reported deaths in Britain, at least 15,500 people have died in nursing homes.

Ahead of a W.H.O. trip to China, officials in Beijing downplay expectations.

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China appears to be downplaying expectations ahead of a planned trip next week by a World Health Organization team to the country to investigate the origins of the outbreak.

Since the head of the W.H.O., Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the trip on Monday, several Chinese officials and experts have said that any investigation into the origins of the virus should not focus only on China.

“It does not matter which country the scientific identification work starts with, as long as it involves all related countries and is fairly conducted,” Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the state-run nationalist newspaper Global Times on Tuesday.

Wang Guangfa, a top government health adviser, told Global Times this week that the W.H.O. should also go to Spain. He cited a not-yet-published study by researchers at the University of Barcelona that suggests the virus was present in Spain’s wastewater as early as March 2019.

Independent experts have said the study was flawed, and that other lines of evidence strongly suggest the virus emerged in China late last year.

The virus most likely originated in bats, but the path of transmission is still unknown. Experts say establishing that will be a crucial step in preventing future outbreaks.

The hunt for information has focused on Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus is believed to have first emerged, and specifically the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was said to have sold wildlife and had links to many of the country’s first reported cases.

Mike Ryan, head of the W.H.O.’s emergencies program, said on Wednesday that the agency would be sending two experts from Geneva to join its China team on next week’s trip. He said one would likely be an epidemiologist and the other an expert in animal health.

Dr. Ryan did not reveal which cities the team was planning to visit. He described it as a “scoping mission.”

Getting answers on the origins of the virus has become more difficult as the issue has become increasingly politicized. China has been on the defensive for months in response to growing criticism from the United States and other countries for its initial mishandling of the outbreak. Officials from both the United States and China have, without providing evidence, accused each other of intentionally releasing the virus.

But at a news briefing this week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman sounded a less-aggressive note.

“China has always believed that virus tracing is a scientific issue, and relevant research should be carried out by scientists and medical experts,” said Zhao Lijian, the spokesman, who in March promoted a theory that the U.S. Army purposely introduced the virus to China.

“China continues to support scientists from all over the world in conducting global scientific research on the source and spread of viruses,” he added.

As daily cases in the U.S. pass 50,000, officials stress precautions.

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Credit…Nitashia Johnson for The New York Times

In Columbia, Mo., where coronavirus case numbers are as high as they’ve ever been, contact tracers are overwhelmed. Around Seattle, where a surge is underway, officials warned that social distancing was waning. And in Flint, Mich., where there are worrisome signs after weeks of improvement, the mayor said the city would crack down on late-night parties that have drawn hundreds of young people.

“Someday we will welcome these crowds to our great city,” Flint’s mayor, Sheldon Neeley, said. “Now is not the time.”

As the pandemic spirals further out of control in the United States, politicians and public health officials have become noticeably more stern. New cases reported have increased 90 percent in the United States in the last two weeks. On Thursday, the U.S. also set a single-day case record for the sixth time in nine days, with more than 55,000 new cases announced, and single-day highs in eight states.

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In many places, face coverings have gone from suggestions to mandates. Bars have been reopened — and closed again. Domestic travel restrictions have re-emerged. And mayors have told people to shape up and follow the rules.

“I know that wearing a mask is uncomfortable,” said Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, where case numbers are spiking and face coverings are now required. “I know that, unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political flash point. But I also know that masks save lives.”

In a reversal, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, one of the worst-hit states in the past week, on Thursday ordered residents in counties with 20 or more virus cases to wear masks in public.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, had previously opposed attempts by Democratic mayors and other local officials to require everyone in their cities to wear masks in public.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday that travelers from 15 states with large outbreaks would have to quarantine for two weeks or face up to $7,000 in fines. In Los Angeles County, Calif., where there are more than 2,000 new cases most days, the top public health official said “we urgently need to make a change in the trajectory.” And in Northern California, where the outlook is also bad, leaders in several counties urged residents to celebrate the Fourth of July at home and not test the limits of the law.

“Just because you can does not mean it is safe or that you should rush to do it,” said Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County public health officer.

President Trump plans to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with a fireworks display on Friday at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. About 7,500 people are expected to attend the outdoor event, where masks will be available but not required.

As U.S. infections reach another record, leaders seek new answers and itineraries.

As the United States headed into the Fourth of July weekend, officials were telling people to hold the partying until next year. The coronavirus has exploded in large parts of the nation: On Thursday, the U.S. set a single-day case record for the sixth time in nine days, with more than 50,000 new cases reported for the first time, according to a New York Times database. The figure topped 55,000 by the end of the day.

Thursday’s daily new case total represented an increase of more than 85 percent since two weeks ago, when states were reopening after extensive lockdowns tempered the outbreak, particularly in the hard-hit Northeast. Until last week, the country had not surpassed a record daily total for two months, since 36,738 new cases were reported on April 24.

In a reversal, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, one of the worst-hit states in the past week, on Thursday ordered residents in counties with 20 or more virus cases to wear masks in public.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, had previously opposed attempts by Democratic mayors and other local officials to require everyone in their cities to wear masks in public. But as the number of cases increased in recent weeks, he cleared the way for local authorities to require masks in businesses, before imposing the more aggressive statewide requirement.

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Governor Orders Texans to Wear Masks as Virus Cases Surge

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered residents to wear face coverings in public as the state confronts mounting coronavirus infections and pressure from local officials.

In the past few weeks, there has been a swift and a substantial spike in Covid-19 cases. So we need to refocus on slowing the spread. But this time we want to do it without closing down Texas again. One of the best ways to keep businesses open while also slowing the spread is for everyone to wear a face covering like this when they go out. Medical studies have shown that wearing a face covering slows the spread of Covid-19 and it protects you and your family. That is why today, I am issuing a face-covering requirement for all counties with more than 20 Covid cases. This safe standard requires Texans to wear masks in public spaces with certain common sense exceptions. Local law enforcement has the authority to enforce this safety standard just like they do when enforcing seat belt standards. Now I know that wearing a face covering is not the convenient thing to do. But I also know that wearing a face covering will help us to keep Texas open for business. And it will help Texans earn the paycheck they need.

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Gov. Greg Abbott ordered residents to wear face coverings in public as the state confronts mounting coronavirus infections and pressure from local officials.CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence changed a planned trip this week to Arizona after Secret Service agents set to travel with him tested positive for the coronavirus or showed symptoms, two administration officials said on Thursday.

Mr. Pence had been scheduled to visit Arizona on Tuesday, but multiple factors related to the spread of the virus foiled those plans, according to a person familiar with Mr. Pence’s travel.

A swift rise in new cases in the state had overwhelmed testing centers in recent days, and Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, ordered bars, gyms and movie theaters closed this week. In an apparent acknowledgment of outbreaks erupting across the South and the West, the vice president canceled his plan to headline a “Faith in America” campaign rally in Tucson on Tuesday and then to tour Yuma with Mr. Ducey.

Instead, Mr. Pence opted for a shorter visit to Phoenix on Wednesday, where he participated in a public health briefing at Sky Harbor International Airport.

At least eight states reported single-day case records on Thursday: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Only a dozen states, mostly in the Northeast, have managed to keep new case levels flat or declining.

In Florida, Mayor Carlos A. Giménez of Miami-Dade County imposed a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Friday. Miami-Dade and Broward counties had already announced they were closing beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.

“This is one of various actions I’m pursuing to tamp down this spike of Covid-19 and protect our residents,” Mr. Giménez said. He is also rolling back the opening of movie theaters, arcades, casinos, concert halls, bowling halls and adult entertainment venues that recently had their reopening plans approved by the county.

Reporting was contributed by Manuela Andreoni,Vikas Bajaj, Aurelien Breeden, Benedict Carey, Stephen Castle, Nate Cohn, Richard Fausset, Marie Fazio, J. David Goodman, Jenny Gross, Maggie Haberman, Rebecca Halleck, Anemona Hartocollis, Annie Karni, Tyler Kepner, Corey Kilgannon, Mark Landler, Adam Liptak, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Raphael Minder, David Montgomery, Adam Nossiter, Elian Peltier, Amy Qin, Christopher F. Schuetze, Kirk Semple, Mitch Smith, Sabrina Tavernise, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Pranshu Verma and Katherine J. Wu.

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