As many as 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns — a startlingly high number that complicates efforts to predict the pandemic’s course and strategies to mitigate its spread.
In particular, the high level of symptom-free cases is leading the C.D.C. to consider broadening its guidelines on who should wear masks.
“This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country,” the director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told National Public Radio in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.
The agency has repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are feeling sick. But with the new data on people who may be infected without ever feeling sick, or who are transmitting the virus for a couple of days before feeling ill, Mr. Redfield said that such guidance was “being critically re-reviewed.”
Researchers do not know precisely how many people are infected without feeling ill, or if some of them are simply presymptomatic. But since the new coronavirus surfaced in December, they have spotted unsettling anecdotes of apparently healthy people who were unwitting spreaders.
“Patient Z,” for example, a 26-year-old man in Guangdong, China, was a close contact of a Wuhan traveler infected with the coronavirus in February. But he felt no signs of anything amiss, not on Day 7 after the contact, nor on Day 10 or 11.
Already by Day 7, though, the virus had bloomed in his nose and throat, just as copiously as in those who did become ill. Patient Z might have felt fine, but he was infected just the same.
Researchers now say that people like Patient Z are not merely anecdotes. For example, as many as 18 percent of people infected with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship never developed symptoms, according to one analysis. A team in Hong Kong suggests that from 20 to 40 percent of transmissions in China occurred before symptoms appeared.
The high level of covert spread may help explain why the novel coronavirus is the first virus that is not an influenza virus to set off a pandemic.
The new virus spreads about as easily as flu, “and when’s the last time anyone thought anything about stopping influenza transmission, short of the vaccine?” said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota.
With any vaccine still in early development, the best way to mitigate the pandemic is social distancing, he and other experts said. Because people may be passing the virus on to others even when they feel fine, asking only unwell people to stay home is unlikely to be enough. This is why many experts, going against recommendations by the C.D.C. and the World Health Organization, are now urging everyone to wear masks — to prevent those who are unaware they have the virus from spreading it.
Like influenza, some experts now say, this virus appears to spread both through large droplets and droplets smaller than five micrometers — termed aerosols — containing the virus that infected people might release especially while coughing, but also while merely exhaling. They emphasized that the level of virus in both types of particles is low, so simply jogging or walking by an infected person does not put people at risk.
“If you have a passing contact with an infectious person, you would have a very, very low chance of transmission occurring,” said Dr. Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
The risk goes up with sustained contact — during face-to-face conversation, for example, or by sharing the same air space for a prolonged time. In addition to its confusing stance on masks, “the W.H.O. has been saying aerosol transmission doesn’t occur, which is also perplexing,” Dr. Cowling said, adding, “I think both are actually wrong.”
Experts agreed that infections were being passed along by people who do not report symptoms — what they call asymptomatic transmissions — but they also noted some confusion around the term.
“There’s no standard definition for it, and you could say to yourself, Well, that’s kind of ridiculous: You either have symptoms or you don’t,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious diseases expert at Columbia University. But studies by his team have shown, he said, that some people never notice their symptoms, others are unable to distinguish the infection from their smoker’s cough or allergies or other conditions, and still others may feel every pain acutely.
There is also a largely semantic debate about what proportion of people who appear to be perfectly fine but then become ill — as in the report in The New England Journal of Medicine of an apparently asymptomatic spreader who later acknowledged having felt mild symptoms.
Ultimately, Dr. Shaman said, these definitions are unimportant.
“The bottom line is that there are people out there shedding the virus who don’t know that they’re infected,” he said.
Where the definitions may matter is in being able to understand the true scope of the pandemic.
Dr. Cowling’s team has analyzed data from China at various stages in the pandemic. The W.H.O.’s mission to China concluded that most people who were infected with the virus had significant symptoms. But in the early weeks of the epidemic, his analysis shows, China set a high bar for what constituted a confirmed case of infection — requiring respiratory symptoms, fever and a chest X-ray for pneumonia.
Their definition left out mild and asymptomatic cases and, as a result, the team vastly underestimated the scale and nature of the outbreak there.
“We’ve estimated in China that between 20 percent and 40 percent of transmission events occurred before symptoms appeared,” Dr. Cowling said.
A separate analysis of the hundreds of people cloistered aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship bears out this scale. Once the ship docked in Japan on Feb. 5, researchers tested all of the passengers and reviewed those who tested positive for the virus on multiple occasions over a two-week period. They found that 18 percent of the infected passengers remained symptom-free throughout.
“The substantial asymptomatic proportion for Covid-19 is quite alarming,” said Dr. Gerardo Chowell, an epidemiologist at Georgia State University who worked on the analysis.
Dr. Chowell noted that the passengers on the ship tended to be older and therefore more likely to develop symptoms. He estimated that about 40 percent in the general population might be able to be infected without showing signs of it.
There have also been many hints, subtle and not, that the virus can be transmitted via aerosols. Sixty members of a choir in Seattle gathered on March 10 for a practice session for over two and a half hours. None of them felt ill, and they made no contact with one another. But by this weekend, dozens of the members had fallen ill, and two had died.
Their experience points toward airborne transmission via aerosols, which can travel farther than the large droplets the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. have emphasized. The virus is still most likely to be expelled with a cough or a sneeze, as far as eight meters (about 26 feet), according to one study. But studies on influenza and other respiratory viruses, including other coronaviruses, have shown that people can release aerosols containing the virus simply by breathing or talking — or, presumably, by singing.
“I think increasing evidence suggests the virus is spread not just through droplets but through aerosols,” Dr. Chowell said. “It would make a lot of sense to encourage at the very least face mask use in enclosed spaces including supermarkets.”
Several studies have shown now that people infected with the new coronavirus are most contagious about one to three days before they begin to show symptoms. This presymptomatic transmission was not true of the coronaviruses that caused SARS and MERS.
“This is where we got very lucky with SARS, was that it really didn’t transmit until after people were showing symptoms, and that made it much easier to detect it and shut it down with aggressive public health measures,” said Dr. Carl Bergstrom, an expert in emerging infectious diseases at the University of Washington in Seattle.
With the new coronavirus, there is transmission by healthy-seeming people, and often severe symptoms and a high fatality rate. “That whole combination makes it very, very tough to fight using standard public health measures,” he said.
A separate analysis from the C.D.C. on Tuesday offered new evidence that a significant portion of people with severe coronavirus infections in the United States have underlying medical conditions. The agency looked at 7,162 cases, a small subset of the 122,000 cases in the U.S., but the findings provided a stark portrait. Of 457 people in that subset who were admitted to intensive care units, 32 percent suffered from diabetes; 29 percent had heart disease; and 21 percent had lung disease. Overall, 78 percent of people with Covid-19 admitted to the I.C.U. had at least one pre-existing condition. The study did not look at deaths.
Rapid tests for infection might help detect people, especially health care workers, who are infected yet feel normal. Masks may help. But experts kept returning to social distancing as the single best tool for stopping the chain of transmission in the long term — not lockdowns, necessarily, but canceling mass events, working from home when possible and closing schools.
“We can’t assume that any of us are not potential vectors at any time,” Dr. Bergstrom said. “This is why even though I’m feeling great, and have felt great and haven’t been exposed to anybody with any symptoms of anything, that’s why it would be irresponsible of me to go out and about today.”
Matt Richtel contributed reporting.
BRASÍLIA — President Jair Bolsonaro has galvanized gun culture in Brazil.
His trademark campaign sign was a hand folded into the shape of a gun. One of his first moves in office was to ease gun ownership rules. His three oldest sons, politicians themselves, have been fierce proponents of expanding gun ownership through policy proposals and social media posts.
With their actions, Mr. Bolsonaro and his sons have done more than make it easier for Brazilians to legally get a gun. They have fueled a political and cultural debate over guns that was new to Brazil, but that in many ways mirrors the discussion in the United States, where critics say more guns means more deaths and supporters say guns are necessary for self-defense.
“With disarmament laws, who gives up access to firearms, the decent citizen who only wants to protect himself, or the criminal, who by definition doesn’t follow laws?” Mr. Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter. “The right to legitimate self-defense cannot continue to be violated!”
In Brazil, a country of more than 209 million that has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, the right to bear arms is not a constitutional guarantee, as it is in the United States. The gun rights movement has long been on the losing side of policy debates.
About two in three Brazilians are opposed to gun ownership, and an even greater portion of the population is against making it easier to get a gun permit, according to a 2019 survey by Datafolha, a leading Brazilian research group.
But attitudes toward guns may be changing under Mr. Bolsonaro. Since he eased gun ownership rules in his first weeks in office, the number of applications for permits has gone up sharply.
“In the long run, this could be disastrous,” said Natália Pollachi, the projects coordinator for Sou da Paz Institute, a public policy group that supports stringent gun laws.
During Mr. Bolsonaro’s first year in office, the government issued more than 200,000 licenses to gun owners. The federal police, which issues licenses for self-defense, approved 54,300 permits in 2019, a 98 percent increase from the previous year. The army, which grants permits to hunters and collectors, issued more than 147,800 new licenses in 2019, a 68 percent increase.
Sou da Paz Institute obtained those figures through freedom of information requests and shared them with The Times.
The flood of new guns in Brazilian homes stands to make domestic violence more lethal, turn ordinary confrontations fatal and turbocharge a black market that is already thriving, Ms. Pollachi warned.
Congress is currently considering a handful of bills that would further ease regulations. And the most high-profile champions of the gun rights movement are the president’s three older sons.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, a member of Congress and one of his father’s most visible surrogates, has spoken admiringly of the Second Amendment in the United States. He has lobbied to make the Brazilian market more attractive to foreign arms manufacturers, which he says would lower prices and provide gun enthusiasts with more choices.
Flávio Bolsonaro, a senator, made the promotion of gun manufacturing in Brazil the focus of his first project in the legislature last year. And Carlos Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro council member, has also been a vocal advocate for gun rights.
“The right to defend his own life is a legitimate right of Brazilian citizens,” Flávio Bolsonaro, the senator, said in an interview. “The right to life is nonnegotiable for us.”
Reacting to a surge of drug-related violence that took root in the 1990s, Brazil’s congress in 2003 passed a sweeping disarmament law that sought to make gun ownership rare by making the process of applying for a permit expensive, time-consuming and bureaucratic.
It mandated that anyone interested in applying for a gun permit for self-defense had to persuade the federal police that they had a “reasonable need” for a gun, a vague criteria that gave the government plenty of discretion to deny petitions. Collectors and hunters had to apply for a permit with the army.
Applicants also had to pay high fees, demonstrate they did not have a criminal history, submit to a psychological test and get training in marksmanship. Once granted, the licenses entitled civilians to keep guns at home, but not carry them outside.
The law also paid gun owners — licensed and not — to turn over their weapons to the state, and nearly 650,000 did so in the first year, according to the federal government.
Two years after the law was passed, voters rejected a more sweeping measure put forward in a referendum, which would have effectively outlawed all civilian gun sales.
But even with the possession of firearms heavily regulated, illicit weapons still circulated widely.
Powerful drug trafficking cartels have long flouted gun regulations by smuggling weapons, mainly across the porous border with Paraguay. Gang members openly carry handguns and powerful rifles in several districts of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and other cities where criminal organizations often hold more sway among citizens than the state.
Last year, the police in Rio de Janeiro seized more than 8,400 firearms, including 505 rifles, a record high.
Mr. Bolsonaro, a far-right former Army captain, promised to make it easier for civilians to get weapons.
“All good-for-nothings are armed!” he exclaimed during a television interview in 2018, when he was campaigning. “Only decent citizens are not.”
The president’s near fatal stabbing at a rally a few weeks before the election gave a new sense of urgency to Mr. Bolsonaro’s contention that “good citizens” needed to be armed to protect themselves from “criminals.”
The executive decree Mr. Bolsonaro signed two weeks after taking office relaxed the licensing process by making it easier to meet the requirements for gun ownership. For instance, merely living in a rural area or an urban area with a high crime rate can now be used as justification to apply for a gun permit under the decree.
The decree extended the validity of permits from five to 10 years, and increased the amount of ammunition that can be purchased at once, and the number of weapons an individual can own. It also allowed for the sale of higher caliber weapons.
Among those now commercially available is the T4, a military-style semiautomatic rifle produced by Taurus, a Brazilian gun manufacturer, which had previously only been available to the armed forces.
At the time he signed the decree, Mr. Bolsonaro said that the ability to own guns would give Brazilians “peace inside their homes.”
Getting permission to buy a gun in Brazil still requires a lengthy process — including a mental health assessment and a criminal-background check — that can drag on for months. But shooting ranges and gun stores started to see an uptick in business, even before the new rules went into effect.
Lilia Melo, a high school teacher in the northern state of Pará, said the new rules would inevitably lead to more weapons flowing into the black market, which can only lead to more violence.
“Weapons don’t bring us safety,” she said. “These conflicts end up depriving us of our right to be on the streets.”
Letícia Casado reported from Brasília and Ernesto Londoño reported from Rio de Janeiro.
Here’s what you need to know:
Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times
Americans are told to brace for “very, very painful” period, and U.N. says virus threatens global stability.
The United Nations warned on Wednesday that the unfolding battle against the coronavirus would lead to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”
As Americans steeled themselves for what President Trump said would be a “very, very painful two weeks,” the scale of the economic, political and societal fallout around the world came into ever greater focus.
“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people’s lives,” the United Nations declared in a report calling for global solidarity in the fight.
“This is much more than a health crisis,” the report added. “The coronavirus is attacking societies at their core.”
With more than 30,000 dead across Europe and the virus still spreading ferociously, millions across the continent resigned themselves to hunkering down for weeks more, and possibly months.
Britain, France and Spain all experienced their highest death tolls on Tuesday.
At the White House, the scientists charged with leading the battle against the virus made it clear that there were two distinctly different campaigns underway in the United States.
One was taking place in the New York metropolitan region, where more than half of the nation’s cases have been detected — the death toll in New York City alone surged past 1,000. More than 2,000 nurses, 500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, as well as 250 ambulances from across the country, were converging on the city, joining the Navy and the National Guard in assisting the region’s front-line medical workers.
Adding to the warlike atmosphere, the home of the U.S. Open tennis championship in Queens was being turned into a triage center, and hospital tents were being set up in Central Park.
Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the nation’s coronavirus response, pointed to the exponential growth of cases in New York and parts of New Jersey as just the thing that national officials were trying to prevent in other parts of the country.
The charts — with multicolor lines representing the virus in each of the 50 states — looked like the maps used to track hurricanes. And as with the weather, there is a good deal of uncertainty in the predictions.
Dr. Birx said that there had been worrying outbreaks in other metropolitan regions, including Detroit and Miami, but that the second broad campaign at the moment was to keep the lines tracking the virus in the rest of the country from looking like those in New York and New Jersey.
The best tool at the government’s disposal, she said, remained strict adherence to social distancing guidelines.
Even if those guidelines are followed perfectly, officials said, the estimated death toll in the United States is 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.
Governors say they are forced to bid against each other for critical supplies, and the N.Y. crisis deepens.
A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum publicly challenged the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well stocked and well prepared to test people for the coronavirus and care for the sickest patients.
In many cases, the governors said, the country’s patchwork approach had left them bidding against one another for supplies.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York — whose younger brother, Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor, has tested positive for the virus — likened the conflicts to “being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator.”
The crisis has gripped the state with stunning speed. Thirty days ago, there was one detected case in New York City. By April 1, there were more than 40,000 infections, and 1,096 deaths from the virus.
Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the numbers of cases and hospitalizations were expected to continue rising rapidly. The city’s need for equipment and medical workers remained vast and immediate, he said.
“This coming Sunday, April 5, is a demarcation line,” Mr. de Blasio said, zeroing in again on what he has called a critical date. “This is the point at which we must be prepared for next week when we expect a huge increase in the number of cases.”
President Trump officially called for another month of social distancing and warned that “this is going to be a very painful, very very painful two weeks” — even as he added that Americans would soon “start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going through a very tough few weeks,” Mr. Trump said.
He spoke on Tuesday evening at a news conference where the nation’s top scientists displayed to the public the grim models that showed how, even in a best-case scenario, an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die.
Mr. Trump, who spent weeks playing down the threat of the virus, congratulated himself for the projections, which he said showed that strict public health measures may have already curtailed the death toll. He suggested that as many as 2.2 million people “would have died if we did nothing, if we just carried on with our life.”
By comparison, Mr. Trump said, a potential death toll of 100,000 “is a very low number.”
Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak
The virus has infected more than 874,300 people in at least 171 countries.
U.N. chief says the virus poses gravest threat to humanity since World War II.
The International Monetary Fund has declared that the world economy has now entered a recession and recovery is unlikely until 2021. As many as 25 million jobs could simply disappear and the world could lose some $3.4 trillion in labor income. More than 1.5 billion students are currently out of school or university, representing 87 percent of the world’s children and young people, and about 60 million teachers are no longer in the classroom.
That is just a sampling of the radical ways the virus and the fight to slow its spread are reshaping the world, according to a United Nations report.
“Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, said on Wednesday.
The report stated that, “This is the moment to dismantle trade barriers, maintain open trade, and re-establish supply chains.”
“Tariff and nontariff measures, as well as export bans, especially those imposed on medicinal and related products, would slow countries’ action to contain the virus,” the study added. “Import taxes or restrictions on medical supplies need to be waived.”
The report called for “a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10 percent of global G.D.P.”
‘We Take the Dead From Morning Till Night’
No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus than Italy, and no province has suffered as many losses as Bergamo. Photos and voices from there evoke a portrait of despair.
As the virus swept around the world, the first reaction of many nations was to retreat within their own borders, institute travel restrictions and nationalize the fight against the virus.
But the United Nations said that in this global fight, a global approach was needed.
And it is essential that developed countries immediately assist those less developed to bolster their health systems, the report found. Otherwise, the world faces the nightmare of the disease spreading like wildfire in the Global South, according to the report, with “millions of deaths and the prospect of the disease re-emerging where it was previously suppressed.
Indian court sides with the government and forces journalists to toe the prime minister’s line.
Putting even more pressure on a news media sector already under assault by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s Supreme Court released an order Tuesday night requiring news organizations to publish everything that the government says about the coronavirus.
The order read: “We do not intend to interfere with the free discussion about the pandemic but direct the media to refer to and publish the official version about the developments.’’
Anyone who creates a panic can be punished by up to a year in jail, the court said.
The Indian ruling echoes the actions of other governments, who have used the pandemic as a pretext to grab power or impose authoritarian restrictions.
Many lawyers and journalists in India denounced the order as an attack on India’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, at a time when many problems have cropped up from the Indian government’s severe response to the coronavirus.
The government has imposed the world’s largest lockdown, putting 1.3 billion people essentially under house arrest, ordering them not to leave their homes unless vitally necessary. Hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers have fled cities, marching hundreds of miles to their villages in long lines.
Karuna Nundy, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, said that the government had asked for a “de facto gag” on the news media and that the Supreme Court’s order means every outlet must carry the government’s version of events, though journalists can still present independent reporting.
India has reported around 1,400 coronavirus cases, relatively low compared with other countries. But many Indians fear that their weak public health system will be overwhelmed if cases begin to multiply. Some public health professionals say there are likely many more cases that have not been detected because of limits on testing.
Stream of grim economic news drives global stocks lower.
London and Paris stocks were trading 2 percent to 4 percent lower, following similar drops in Asia. Futures markets predicted that Wall Street would open lower on Wednesday. And Bank stocks in Britain fell after several large lenders announced that they would cancel dividends.
While the panic of recent weeks appeared to have subsided, numerous signs pointed to glum prospects for a quick solution to the coronavirus outbreak. After Wall Street’s close on Tuesday, President Trump said at a news conference that the United States would face a “very, very painful two weeks,” and American government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 people in the country.
Global free-for-all to find masks creates a shadowy trade.
Global desperation to protect front-line medical workers battling the coronavirus epidemic has spurred a mad international scramble for masks and other protective gear. Governments, hospital chains, clinics and entrepreneurs are scouring the world for personal protection equipment they can buy or sell — and a new type of trader has sprung up to make that happen.
The market has become a series of hasty deals in bars, sudden calls to corporate jet pilots and fast-moving wire transfers among bank accounts in Hong Kong, the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
The stakes are high, and so are the prices. Wholesale costs for N95 respirators, a crucial type of mask for protecting medical workers, have quintupled. Trans-Pacific airfreight charges have tripled.
“It’s a global free-for-all, trying to get capacity,” said Eric Jantzen, the vice president for North America at Vertis Aviation, an aircraft and air cargo brokerage based in Zurich. “And the prices reflect that.”
The hurdles keep rising. On Tuesday, after complaints from Europe about shoddy Chinese masks and ineffective test kits, China’s Ministry of Commerce ordered manufacturers to provide further assurances that their products met standards.
World leaders are moving to get supplies, but they are still grappling with the vast scope of the problem.
China vacuumed up a big share of global supplies after the outbreak emerged in January. It imported two billion masks in a five-week period starting then. Now, China has become a major part of the solution. Already a giant in mask manufacturing, it has ramped up production to nearly 12 times its earlier level of 10 million a day.
In the age of coronavirus, coughing can be a crime.
A month ago, a cough was just a cough. Now, in the anxious era of coronavirus, a cough can be a crime.
Coughing that is directed at others is increasingly being treated as a type of assault in Europe and the United States. And in some cases, like when health workers or emergency medical workers are targeted, it can now be classified in some places as an act of terrorism.
George Falcone, a 50-year-old New Jersey man, was charged with making a terroristic threat after he intentionally coughed near a supermarket employee and told her he had the coronavirus. Margaret Cirko, 35, was arrested in Hanover, Pa., when she intentionally coughed and spat at a supermarket’s fresh produce after she said she was sick — the charges against her included two counts of terrorist threats and one count of threatening to use a “biological agent,” the Hanover Township Police Department said in a statement last week.
The police in Spain have in the past weeks arrested people for coughing at supermarket workers and at members of the public, and the authorities in Greece have taken similar steps against people accused of spitting at police officers, according to local media reports. In Britain, common assault charges have been leveled against people accused of coughing intentionally at others.
The Crown Prosecution Service in Britain said that those found guilty of coughing to threaten emergency workers, specifically while claiming to have Covid-19, could face 12 months in prison.
Greater Manchester Police, a force servicing an area in northwestern England, charged a 33-year-old man with assault after he coughed at a police officer last week, and the force said it had also charged a 14-year-old boy with assault after he coughed and shouted “coronavirus” at a 66-year-old woman on March 17.
Warrington Police, another force in northwestern England, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that a group of teenagers who had coughed at health workers would be prosecuted, as would their parents.
Max Hill, the director of public prosecutions in Britain, said in a statement last week that he was “appalled” by reports of people claiming to have coronavirus and intentionally coughing on emergency and other key workers.
“Let me be very clear: This is a crime and needs to stop,” he said.
Covid-19 is changing how the world does science.
While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all research, other than anything related to coronavirus, has ground to a halt.
Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been started, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.
On a recent morning, for example, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that a ferret exposed to Covid-19 particles had developed a high fever — a potential advance toward animal vaccine testing. Under ordinary circumstances, they would have started work on an academic journal article.
“But you know what? There is going to be plenty of time to get papers published,” said Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research. Within two hours, he said, he had shared the findings with scientists around the world on a World Health Organization conference call. “It is pretty cool, right? You cut the crap, for lack of a better word, and you get to be part of a global enterprise.”
Dr. Duprex’s lab in Pittsburgh is collaborating with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience. The consortium has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, a Norway-based organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a group of governments, and is in talks with the Serum Institute of India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world.
When basic errands feel fraught, we’re here to help.
Laundry, grocery shopping, even walking the dog is fraught with challenges these days. The key to accomplish any essential task is a little preparation, levelheaded thinking and a lot of hand washing before and after. (A few anti-bacterial wipes can’t hurt either.)
Teen coronavirus deaths, while rare, draw attention in Europe.
As the grim roster of the dead across Europe grows by thousands daily, the reports of young and otherwise healthy people succumbing to the virus have stoked grief across the continent.
In the past week, the deaths of a 12-year-old in Belgium, a 13-year-old in Britain, and a 16-year-old in France have drawn attention to the fact that, while it is rare for teenagers to become seriously ill, it can still happen.
Most fatalities are in older patients with underlying health problems, but they are far from the only victims.
On Monday, a 13-year-old in Britain, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, died after being admitted to the hospital days earlier and testing positive for the disease.
A post on a fund-raising website set up by a family friend said that the teenager had no previously known health issues.
“Sadly, he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19,” the post read.
A 12-year-old girl in Belgium died after catching the coronavirus, Belgian officials said on Tuesday, but they did not say whether she had other health issues before her illness.
“It is a rare event, but one that devastates us,” Emmanuel André, a spokesman for the Belgian coronavirus response center, said during a news conference on the spread of the disease.
“It’s emotionally challenging because it affects a child, and it also affects the scientific community,” Mr. André said.
“That’s it,” he said, visibly emotional as he ended the daily update.
French news outlets reported the death of a 16-year-old, named in Le Parisien only as Julie, as another victim of the disease.
“We must stop believing that this only affects the elderly,” her older sister, named as Manon, told the news outlet. “No one is invincible.”
Coronavirus has ended the screen-time debate and the screens have won.
Nellie Bowles, who covers tech and internet culture from San Francisco for The New York Times, wrote about her losing battle with screens.
Before the coronavirus, there was something I used to worry about. It was called screen time. Perhaps you remember it.
Now I have thrown off the shackles of screen-time guilt. My television is on. My computer is open. My phone is unlocked, glittering. I want to be covered in screens. If I had a virtual reality headset nearby, I would strap it on.
The screen is my only contact with my parents, whom I miss but can’t visit because I don’t want to accidentally kill them with the virus. It brings me into happy hours with my high school friends and gives me photos of people cooking on Facebook. Was there a time I thought Facebook was bad? An artery of dangerous propaganda flooding the country’s body politic? Maybe. I can’t remember. That was a different time.
A lot of people are coming around.
Walt Mossberg, my former boss and a longtime influential tech product reviewer, deactivated his Facebook and Instagram accounts in 2018 to protest Facebook’s policies and negligence around fake news. Now, for the duration of the pandemic, he is back.
“I haven’t changed my mind about the company’s policies and actions,” Mr. Mossberg wrote on Twitter last week. “I just want to stay in touch with as many friends as possible.”
Grass-roots initiatives and rich donors in Spain help provide critical supplies.
On a day when the toll in Spain rose by yet another record amount, with 864 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the nation’s overwhelmed health care system has received a much-needed influx of emergency equipment as the authorities began distributing seven million sets of individual protection equipment to medical professionals.
The Spanish health minister, Salvador Illa, said his country had also received a new shipment of test sets, after 640,000 kits that proved substandard had to be sent back to China.
But even as the authorities scrambled to fill a shortage of protective equipment that has hobbled Spain’s hospitals — drawing outrage from medical professionals on the front lines — countless private initiatives have sprung up to help fill the gap, often financed by wealthy donors and grass-roots associations.
With more than 9,000 fatalities, Spain is No. 2 in deaths linked to the coronavirus. Only Italy has recorded a worse toll so far.
In Barcelona, homeless shelters and migrant collectives have volunteered to sew masks and medical suits, a local initiative that has been met by praise from health workers.
“I don’t know when the masks or the ventilators will come from China, and we need the equipment now,” Merce Guarro, a health professional at the Granollers hospital in Barcelona, said after she picked up 200 hazmat suits from the group last week. “It might be a drop in the ocean, but if they end up making 500 suits, that’s tremendously helpful.”
The actors Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, perhaps Spain’s most famous couple, sent 100,000 gloves and 20,000 masks to La Paz hospital in Madrid, using one of the cargo planes of Inditex, the clothing giant that has helped deliver several shipments of emergency gear to Spain. The Spanish Formula One champion Fernando Alonso announced on Tuesday a donation to fund 4,000 sets of protective equipment and 300,000 masks.
Reporting was contributed by Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Iliana Magra, Austin Ramzy, Keith Bradsher, Andrew Das, Michael D. Shear, Elian Peltier, Raphael Minder, David D. Kirkpatrick, Kate Kelly, Peter Eavis, Mujib Mashal, Matt Apuzzo and Chris Horton.
Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development/Government of Malaysia
Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting. This week, Malaysia’s government also had a serious public relations issue after an ill-conceived plan went online.
Malaysia’s Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation’s women to help with the country’s partial lockdown by not nagging their husbands.
The ministry also advised women to refrain from being “sarcastic” if they asked for help with household chores. And it urged women working from home to dress up and wear makeup.
“(It) is extremely condescending both to women and men,” Nisha Sabanayagam, a manager at the advocacy group All Women’s Action Society, told Reuters. “These posters promote the concept of gender inequality and perpetuate the concept of patriarchy.”
The posters drew swift ridicule online.
“How did we go from preventing baby dumping, fighting domestic violence to some variant of the Obedient Wives Club?” wrote @yinshaoloong.
How did we go from preventing baby dumping, fighting domestic violence to some sad variant of the Obedient Wives Club? https://t.co/1SrVYp0e5d
— Yin Shao Loong (@yinshaoloong) March 31, 2020
“Avoid wearing home clothes. Dress up as usual, put on make-up and dress neatly. OMG! This is what Rina, our Minister of Women, Family & Community Development thinks is important during the #COVID19 lockdown?” tweeted @honeyean.
Avoid wearing home clothes. Dress up as usual, put on make-up and dress neatly. OMG! This is what Rina, our Minister of Women, Family & Community Development thinks is important during the #COVID19 lockdown? No tips on how to deal with #DomesticViolence? Just state DV is a crime. pic.twitter.com/FfswtPBIPH
— Honey Tan (@honeyean) March 31, 2020
After this torrent of abuse, the ministry abruptly relented late Tuesday and abandoned its campaign. It said its suggestions were simply aimed at “maintaining positive relationships among family members during the period they are working from home.”
The ministry acknowledged that the advice could have offended some people and promised to “remain cautious in the future.”
Women’s groups around the world have warned that the lockdowns could result in a rise in domestic violence, and some governments are reaching out to women in need. The latest World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap index puts Malaysia at 104 out of 153 countries when it comes to women’s political empowerment and economic participation.
Challenged by produce
The ministry’s advice to women was not the only governmental misstep as it confronted the coronavirus. The country’s movement control order on March 18 specified that only the “head of the household” should leave the house to purchase necessities.
While the order did not indicate whether that person was male or female, men took it upon themselves to brave the grocery store.
It didn’t work out so well for many.
Facebook posts showed male heads of households having a tough go of it in the aisles, either staring in confusion at lists in their hands or taking instruction over their cellphones from central command back home.
Malaysian Cheanu Chew made fun of both himself and others in his Facebook post headlined “Attention All Men!” He advised: Shoppers “like me, don’t forget to fully charge your phone before you execute your mission. Also, get enough sleep the night before so you can stay calm over the phone to minimise disruptions during your operation.”
The supermarket chain Tesco Malaysia recognized there was a problem and swiftly came to the hapless male shopper’s aid with a how-to guide.
It proclaimed, “Now all husbands can shop.” And assured them, “Here at Tesco, we have your back!”
In the week or so since that announcement, men may be getting a little better at the supermarket. And with the swift climbdown on its original announcement, the women’s affairs ministry is apparently learning, too.
The world’s scientists, for the most part, have responded with a collective eye roll.
“Absolutely ridiculous,” said Jonathan Heeney, a Cambridge University researcher working on a coronavirus vaccine.
“That isn’t how things happen,” said Adrian Hill, the head of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, one of the largest vaccine research centers at an academic institution.
While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt.
Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.
“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”
On a recent morning, for example, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that a ferret exposed to Covid-19 particles had developed a high fever — a potential advance toward animal vaccine testing. Under ordinary circumstances, they would have started work on an academic journal article.
“But you know what? There is going to be plenty of time to get papers published,” said Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research. Within two hours, he said, he had shared the findings with scientists around the world on a World Health Organization conference call. “It is pretty cool, right? You cut the crap, for lack of a better word, and you get to be part of a global enterprise.”
For Mr. Trump, the unabashedly “America First” president, Dr. Duprex and other American scientists represent the world’s best hope for a vaccine. “America will get it done!” the president declared.
But trying to sew a “Made in the USA” label onto scientific research gets complicated.
Dr. Duprex’s lab in Pittsburgh is collaborating with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience. The consortium has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, a Norway-based organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a group of governments, and is in talks with the Serum Institute of India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world.
Vaccine researchers at Oxford recently made use of animal-testing results shared by the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana.
Separately, the French public-health research center Inserm is sponsoring clinical trials on four drugs that may help treat Covid-19 patients. The trials are underway in France, with plans to expand quickly to other nations.
In some ways, the coronavirus response reflects a medical community that has long been international in scope. At Massachusetts General Hospital, a team of Harvard doctors is testing the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide on coronavirus patients. The research is being carried out in conjunction with Xijing Hospital in China and a pair of hospitals in northern Italy. Doctors in those centers have been collaborating for years.
But the coronavirus has ignited the scientific community in ways that no other outbreak or medical mystery has before. That reflects the scope of the pandemic and the fact that, for many researchers, the hot zone is no longer an impoverished village in the developing world. It is their hometowns.
“This is playing at home,” said Professor Hill, of Oxford. He has worked on vaccines for Ebola, malaria and tuberculosis, diseases that have been most prevalent in Africa. “But for Covid, it is happening right here.”
Several scientists said the closest comparison to this moment might be the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s, when scientists and doctors locked arms to combat the disease. But today’s technology and the pace of information-sharing dwarfs what was possible three decades ago.
As a practical matter, medical scientists today have little choice but to study the coronavirus if they want to work at all. Most other laboratory research has been put on hold because of social distancing, lockdowns or work-from-home restrictions.
The pandemic is also eroding the secrecy that pervades academic medical research, said Dr. Ryan Carroll, a Harvard Medical professor who is involved in the coronavirus trial there. Big, exclusive research can lead to grants, promotions and tenure, so scientists often work in secret, suspiciously hoarding data from potential competitors, he said.
“The ability to work collaboratively, setting aside your personal academic progress, is occurring right now because it’s a matter of survival,” he said.
One small measure of openness can be found on the servers of medRxiv and bioRxiv, two online archives that share academic research before it has been reviewed and published in journals. The archives have been deluged with coronavirus research from across the globe. Despite the nationalistic tone set by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, Chinese researchers have contributed a significant portion of the coronavirus research available in the archive.
Though Chinese officials initially covered up the outbreak and have since used it for propaganda purposes, Chinese scientists have in many ways led the world’s coronavirus research. A Chinese laboratory made public the initial viral genome in January, a disclosure that formed the basis for coronavirus tests worldwide. And some of today’s most promising clinical trials can trace their origins to early Chinese research on the disease.
Few areas of the world have been spared. Last year, Jamal Ahmadzadeh, an epidemiologist at Urmia University in Iran, warned that the world needed a rapid-alert system in response to MERS, another coronavirus. No country was immune to the risk, he wrote. In an email last week, as Iran grappled with one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, he wrote that defeating the virus required information-sharing across laboratories and across borders.
Even scientists working in fields beyond infectious diseases have been drawn into the effort. Dr. Perrone, who is supervising an Italian clinical trial of the immunosuppressive drug tocilizumab, is a cancer specialist. He is involved because of his experience running clinical trials for the National Cancer Institute in Naples.
Dr. Perrone said the coronavirus pandemic may make medical science more nimble long after the emergency has passed. Ten days after researchers conceived of the trial, the normally laborious government approval process was complete and doctors began enrolling patients, he said. “This should be a lesson for the future,” he said.
While Mr. Trump has touted American pharmaceutical prowess, and big drug companies like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have announced that they are bankrolling coronavirus vaccine research, the biggest drug companies focus on drugs they can sell year after year in affluent countries, not during short-lived crises centered in the developing world. Vaccine research has been seen as insufficiently profitable.
When Ebola captured the world’s attention in 2014, for example, the drug giants that chased a vaccine all took major losses on their investments. The first vaccine, originally devised by a Canadian government lab and now sold by Merck, was approved for sale last year, long after the epidemic faded.
“Of course there are people in competition. This is the human condition,” said Dr. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, the director of infectious disease at Inserm in France. “What is important is to come up with a solution for everyone. The way to achieve that is to collaborate.”
SYDNEY, Australia — As countries began sealing their borders against the coronavirus and airlines rapidly slashed flights, Isabel Lo, who is due to give birth in July, had a decision to make: rely on the American health care system or leave her husband to fly home to Australia.
Ms. Lo, a Chinese-Australian who until last month worked as a freelance writer based in New York, chose to leave.
While she is facing the prospect of having her baby without her husband, Ms. Lo, like other expatriates who have settled in the United States, has opted for the peace of mind afforded by universal health care in her home country.
“I think when a crisis hits, no amount of insurance will guarantee you a hospital bed,” Ms. Lo said. “If there ever was a case for universal health care, this is it.”
With the United States quickly becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, many people who moved to the country for study, life experience or professional opportunities have abandoned the lives they had built. They feared that the inequalities of the American health care system, exacerbated by the rampaging virus, could leave them vulnerable.
These transplants, many of whom completed lengthy visa applications and countless job interviews for the chance to work in America, now face the reality that their time in the country may, through a cruel twist of fate, be up, or at least interrupted for an indefinite period.
Many feel that the federal government’s delayed response to the epidemic created too risky a situation, and that they are lucky to be able to escape. Some had less choice in the matter: They lost jobs that provided them health insurance, or were freelancers and could not afford coverage.
A large share of those who have fled are young professionals based in New York. The city has been pummeled by the virus, with a death toll that already exceeds 1,000, and these expats have in many cases made flash decisions to pack up and buy a ticket on any flight they could find.
As New York hospitals quickly became overwhelmed, “it seemed like the most responsible thing to do on all fronts,” Em Bartlett, a marketing director who fled to Australia, said in an interview via Facebook.
Ms. Bartlett, who had been in the city for nine years, said that while making the decision to leave had been heartbreaking, she was relieved to be in Australia, where the virus has not yet spiraled out of control, and deeply concerned for friends in New York who had developed symptoms.
“They’re worried if they take a turn for the worse that they’ll be screwed, and I’m scared for that scenario too,” she said.
Groups for expats on social media, usually places for neighborhood recommendations and subletting advertisements, have filled with questions about apartments left behind and worries about abandoned pets, soon-to-be-due taxes and the status of visas.
In many ways, these transplants are a privileged subset. Thousands of immigrants, drawn to the United States out of necessity, have no choice but to stay. Others, like those from hard-hit Italy or Spain, may not find a benefit in returning home.
Some expats are staying put, potentially at risk to their health, to remain employed. “If I was to go back to Australia, I might not be able to come back to America. I could lose my job,” said Tara Kenny, 29, who works for a mental health nonprofit in New York.
Others who were able to travel home many time zones away are working middle-of-the-night hours to keep pace with their colleagues.
Clare Rawlinson, 33, a podcast producer, along with her partner and another couple who are also their housemates, arrived in Australia last month from New York, and just finished 14 days in quarantine. The two couples are now living in an Airbnb together, and they wake up between 3 and 5 a.m. to remotely work their New York City jobs on Eastern time.
“We only had 24 hours between deciding and getting on a plane,” Ms. Rawlinson said, adding that the choice to leave New York involved accepting that “there could be really inconvenient and upsetting consequences either way.” But they hope to return to the United States as soon as possible.
Ms. Lo, the freelance writer, said she was unsure that the pandemic would be quelled enough to allow borders to reopen before she is due to give birth in about four months.
“When we made the decision, we didn’t talk about the possibility that I might give birth here without him,” she said of her husband, an American who stayed behind for his job. “Emotionally, it’s a bit hard to take.”
But when a nurse at the New York hospital where she had planned to give birth died from the virus, Ms. Lo said, it became clear that her decision to move was the right one.
Spotty health insurance coverage has been the deciding factor for some expats. Anna Inglis, a 38-year-old freelance photo producer based in Brooklyn, said she had decided last month to return home to New Zealand in part because she did not have health coverage through her job.
The American system of private health insurance, with varying coverage and sometimes high premiums, deductibles or co-payments, is a stark contrast to the public systems in places like New Zealand, Australia and Britain, where government-subsidized access to doctors and many services is universal.
Some expats say their health insurance options in the United States are so poor that they have instead used travel insurance as their primary coverage. Others, like Ms. Inglis, have only the most basic level of health coverage in New York, but back home, that is not a consideration.
“I feel reassured by the New Zealand political system,” she said. “Hopefully, the system can cope better than the New York system is currently.”
This intuition to flee the United States, and its health care system, during a pandemic may be a good one.
“The U.S. has been a leader in so many other areas, but when it comes to the health care system, it is behind,” said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a global health security expert at the Center for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.
Professor Kamradt-Scott said that as pressure mounted on the American system, it was possible that citizens would be prioritized over foreigners. Some hospitals in the United States, especially in New York, are “literally so overwhelmed that people are only presenting when they are very, very sick.”
By that stage, he said, “it’s too late to save people’s lives.”
One Australian, Shelley Wilcox, and her partner, a Briton, who live in New York, have remained, but they have a contingency plan. If the situation becomes too dire, Ms. Wilcox, who is pregnant with twins, and her partner will drive across the border to Canada, where they are also citizens.
“I’m not so worried about getting the virus,” Ms. Wilcox said. “It’s more about the system here collapsing.”
Isabella Kwai reported from Sydney, and Livia Albeck-Ripka from Melbourne, Australia.
In China, international flights have been cut back so severely that Chinese students abroad wonder when they will be able to get home. In Singapore, recently returned citizens must share their phones’ location data with the authorities each day to prove they are sticking to government-ordered quarantines.
In Taiwan, a man who had traveled to Southeast Asia was fined $33,000 for sneaking out to a club when he was supposed to be on lockdown in his home. In Hong Kong, a 13-year-old girl, who was spotted out at a restaurant wearing a tracking bracelet to monitor those in quarantine, was followed, filmed and subsequently shamed online.
Across Asia, countries and cities that seemed to have brought the coronavirus epidemic under control are suddenly tightening their borders and imposing stricter containment measures, fearful about a wave of new infections imported from elsewhere.
The moves portend a worrisome sign for the United States, Europe and the rest of the world still battling a surging outbreak: Any country’s success with containment could be tenuous, and the world could remain on a kind of indefinite lockdown.
Even when the number of new cases starts to fall, travel barriers and bans in many places may persist until a vaccine or treatment is found. The risk otherwise is that the infection could be reintroduced inside their borders, especially given the prevalence of asymptomatic people who might unknowingly carry the virus with them.
Following a recent uptick in cases tied to international travelers, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan barred foreigners from entering altogether in recent days. Japan has barred visitors from most of Europe, and moved Wednesday to deny entry to travelers from 49 more countries, including the United States. South Korea imposed stricter controls, requiring incoming foreigners to quarantine in government facilities for 14 days upon arrival.
“Countries have really been struggling to implement their own domestic solutions, and domestic solutions are insufficient for a transnational global health problem,” said Kristi Govella, an assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
“Even countries that have been relatively successful in managing the pandemic are only as safe as the weakest links in the system,” she said, adding that in the absence of cooperation among countries, “closing borders is one of the ways that individual governments can control the situation.”
The virus, which emerged in Asia and spread to the West, is at risk of ricocheting back. Citizens who were worried about outbreaks in Europe and the United States rushed home after finding themselves in the new epicenters of the pandemic.
Almost immediately, countries and cities in Asia started seeing a rise in new cases, often detecting infected passengers at airports as they passed through health screenings. Hong Kong, which had been reporting new daily cases in the single digits, suddenly saw new cases spike as high as 65 in one day. In Japan, where infections have remained relatively controlled, cases started to rise last month in Tokyo as travelers returned from overseas.
To try to stem the influx of infections, governments clamped down on their borders.
South Korea, which has been praised globally for flattening the curve quickly after an early explosive peak in infections, initially required travelers from some countries to quarantine. This week it expanded the list to cover the entire world.
“We believe that under the current situation of the epidemic, minimizing unnecessary entry and exit activities is a responsible and necessary measure to effectively protect the life, safety and physical health of all Chinese and foreign personnel,” said Liu Haitao, director-general for border control and management of the National Immigration Administration in China.
Even some residents are having a hard time getting home. On mainland China, where leaders are keen to declare the worst of the outbreak that started there over, the new border controls have forced most foreign airlines to cut back to one flight a week. Ticket prices have skyrocketed and bookings are constantly canceled.
Alex Fei, a Chinese student at a university in Canada, has struggled to get back. His flights have been canceled twice — once after Hong Kong banned transfers through the hub, and another time when the airline suspended a direct flight from Vancouver to Shanghai.
Mr. Fei said he might have no choice but to remain in Canada. “Overseas students’ hands are tied for now,” he said.
Citizens who do return to Asia are often put under strict surveillance as they serve out their time in quarantine. In some cases governments are using the tools of criminal justice to enforce them.
Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city, initially managed to contain its early coronavirus outbreak with swift measures like the closing of schools and government offices and restrictions on travelers from mainland China.
But as students and expatriates rushed back from Europe and the United States in March, officials warned that a new wave of imported cases was beginning to strain hospitals. Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, barred all nonresidents on March 19, and returning residents are now tested upon arrival.
During a 14-day quarantine at home, they wear tracking bracelets, and their movements are monitored by a smartphone app. Ms. Lam said that more than 200,000 people were currently being quarantined at home.
Technology is a key tool for enforcing quarantines. In China, returnees spend 14 days in government-assigned hotels and send their temperatures daily to neighborhood committees on WeChat, a messaging service. In Taiwan, the government uses location tracking on mobile phones and adds some old-fashioned police shoe leather; officers visit people at home if they leave or turn off their phones.
Filia Lim, 50, said the quarantine measures in Singapore were a “headache” because she normally travels extensively for her job in human resources. But she said she was “thankful” that Singapore was monitoring returnees so closely.
“The virus spread mostly because people didn’t realize they have the symptoms, or for some they blatantly ignored those symptoms and they interacted with a lot of people despite advice by government to self-isolate themselves,” she said.
Punishment for breaking the rules of quarantine can be stiff. A 53-year-old Singaporean who breached the order had his passport invalidated, the immigration authorities said Sunday.
Japan officially says those who break quarantine can be imprisoned for up to six months or fined as much as 500,000 yen, about $4,600.
But the Japanese government relies on trust that those in quarantine stay cloistered. Upon returning from countries on the banned list, residents sign a pledge stating that they will remain in one place for 14 days and stay off public transit. If they go out for food, they are told to wear a mask and “be quick.”
South Korea has yet to bar entrants from anywhere but the Hubei region of China. Critics say that simply quarantining foreigners may inadvertently put more stress on the medical system.
“Some say that there are people abroad who think they should come to Korea to be tested and treated,” said Dr. Park Jong-hyuk, a family medicine specialist and spokesman for the Korean Medical Association.
Dr. Park has called for a total entry ban on foreigners.
“It is time to make efforts to protect one another on a global level by practicing international social distancing,” he said.
In the immediate term, when governments are still scrambling to protect their citizens, such measures make sense, experts say. But the longer it goes on, the more likely it could do sustained damage to the global economy and the collective psyche.
“Although the first priority should be on definitely trying to control the virus,” said Karen Eggleston, director of the Asia health policy program at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, “one has to think about those very large costs, and as the crisis is prolonged, those costs can definitely mount.”
Sean Sierra, 30, a petty officer in the United States Navy stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, said he did not see an end in sight. After a recent posting to a ship based in Singapore, he was required to quarantine at home in Japan for 14 days when he returned.
Although he has completed his stint in isolation, the entire base is now sheltering in place. “We’re going to be stuck here for a bit,” said Petty Officer Sierra. He said that his mother-in-law was scheduled to visit in two weeks but that the quarantine “puts a damper on any plans.”
Reporting was contributed by Su-hyun Lee from Seoul, Hisako Ueno from Tokyo, and Tiffany May and Elaine Yu from Hong Kong. Claire Fu contributed research from Beijing.
Florida covid-19 cases surge to nearly 7,000 as Ron DeSantis resists statewide restrictions – The Washington Post
The state reported 857 people hospitalized and 85 deaths as of Tuesday, with the heaviest concentration of infection in Broward and Miami-Dade counties along the southeast coast and pockets in other areas like Tampa and Orange County, home of Walt Disney World. On Tuesday alone, 14 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Miami Herald.
Indeed, on the covid-19 nationwide map maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Florida just turned dark brown, the color signifying more than 5,000 cases. It’s now in the company of California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey as of Monday, the cutoff of CDC map data with Louisiana having crossed the 5,000 threshold Tuesday.
Of those states, however, Florida is the only one that is not under a statewide “stay-at-home” order. DeSantis has urged people in Southeast Florida to remain at home and said this week he would issue a “safer at home” order codifying that advice.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said at a news conference that he had no plans to issue a statewide order because the White House had not told him to do so.
“I’m in contact” with the White House coronavirus task force, he said at a news conference, “and I’ve said, ‘Are you recommending this?’ The task force has not recommended that to me,” he added. “If any of those task force folks tell me that we should do X, Y or Z, of course, we’re going to consider it.”
For this, he won praise from President Trump who called him “a great governor who knows exactly what he’s doing.”
DeSantis made his comment at a news conference where reporters were allowed to sit six feet apart for the first time. Previously, he had briefed reporters crammed into a small room despite requests on March 20 from the state’s largest newspapers.
Mary Ellen Klas, Tallahassee bureau chief for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, was barred from a DeSantis news conference last week after requesting social distancing.
DeSantis’s approach to the pandemic has attracted criticism since at least mid-March, when he said it was up to local governments, rather than him, to mandate closing of beaches filled with spring breakers.
DeSantis again pleaded powerlessness at his news conference and wondered how useful orders would be anyway. For example, he said he had closed some beaches at the request of local officials and people were gathering on them anyway.
“I was flying out of Miami yesterday,” he said, “looking at beaches with signs saying they were closed.
“Were there people out there? Damn right there were,” he continued. “It’s really up to the locals to deal with them one way or the other.
“… It’s just unfortunate,” he said, “but no matter what you do you’re going to have a class of folks who are going to do whatever the hell they want to.”
He also suggested Floridians didn’t need public health mandates because most were doing the right thing without them, in part because there just wasn’t much to do. “Everything’s pretty much closed,” he said. “It’s not like there’s anything to do.”
DeSantis attracted national attention when he set up checkpoints to screen travelers from Louisiana and New York for the infection, saying any he found would be ordered into quarantine for 14 days.
Live updates: D.C. region’s death toll rises to 63; number of cases surges as testing increases – The Washington Post
Here are some of the most significant and recent developments as the region responds to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19:
• The greater capital region added 477 known coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the regional tally to 3,411. Virginia reported 230 new infections and Maryland reported 247 — each number a one-day record for its state. The District did not report new overall cases Tuesday because it is shifting the release of data from evenings to mornings, but it announced 12 new cases among first responders.
• Six more fatalities were announced in Maryland, including the deaths of three residents of a nursing home in Carroll County that has seen a major outbreak of the virus. Virginia reported that four more people in the state had died of covid-19.
• Maryland and Virginia have significantly ramped up testing in recent weeks, which is one reason for the surge in new cases. In Maryland, more than 16,500 tests have been conducted, about 90 percent of which have been negative. In Virginia, 13,400 tests have been administered, about 91 percent of which have been negative.
• D.C. officials said that they would start shipping personal protective equipment to city hospitals, long-term-care facilities and doctors, as health-care providers struggle amid the outbreak. George Washington University Hospital is preparing to offer drive-through coronavirus testing for District residents who have test referrals from their health-care providers.
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It’s a new month, but the coronavirus is still with us. We’re covering it and answering your questions, while making suggestions to help take your mind off the news. (April Fools’ Day is canceled.)
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Scientists offer a grim projection
As many as 240,000 Americans could die during the coronavirus pandemic, top health officials said on Tuesday, despite the measures that have closed schools, limited travel and forced people to stay home.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House’s response, encouraged people to adhere to distancing guidelines, noting that more than 2.2 million Americans could have died if nothing had been done.
In other developments:
News analysis: “A crisis that Mr. Trump had repeatedly asserted was ‘under control’ and hoped would ‘miraculously’ disappear has come to consume his presidency,” our chief White House correspondent writes.
The details: We’ve updated the expert guidance we’ve compiled on several subjects, including health, money and travel.
Newly needy and seeking help
In the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Americans are asking for help for the first time, applying for unemployment benefits, visiting food banks, and turning to GoFundMe and equally strapped colleagues.
“I’ve never had to actually do this,” said Dalen Lacy, who was at a food bank in Dallas after losing his job. “But I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my kids.”
Related: The crisis has intensified a long-running debate about whether the U.S. does enough to help the needy.
Another angle: Rent is due today in many places, including New York, where about two-thirds of the population are renters. Landlords and the real estate industry expect up to 40 percent of them to skip April payments.
Changing how the world does science
The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine has created what researchers say is an unprecedented global scientific collaboration, as nearly all other research has ground to a halt.
Studies are posted online long before they would normally appear in academic journals, and researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences.
Quotable: “Of course there are people in competition. This is the human condition,” said a doctor in France. “What is important is to come up with a solution for everyone. The way to achieve that is to collaborate.”
“The Daily”: Today’s episode is about the race to create a vaccine.
Another angle: It’s the spiky blob seen around the world. We tell the back story of the C.D.C. illustration that has come to represent the coronavirus.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
The empty freeways of Los Angeles
Our California restaurant critic, Tejal Rao, says the city is now what she imagined it would be before she moved there.
“I’d thought about what it would feel like to cruise at 80 miles per hour with the windows down, until I ran out of road and reached a canyon or the ocean,” she writes. “But I hadn’t imagined the harrowing reality that would make these clichés possible.”
Here’s what else is happening
F.B.I. wiretap review: The bureau has routinely botched work on surveillance applications for national security investigations, the Justice Department’s independent watchdog said. The findings grew out of a damning report last year about the effort to target a former Trump campaign adviser.
Big-cat mystery: The popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is about a roadside zookeeper and his plot to kill an animal activist. The series has renewed interest in an older case involving the activist.
Snapshot: Above, zebras in Zambia. Travel restrictions are in place around the globe, so we’re starting a series: “The World Through a Lens.” This week, Marcus Westberg shares photographs from Zambia’s national parks.
Late-night comedy: The Empire State Building was illuminated by flashing red-and-white lights to honor medical workers. “At first, New Yorkers thought it meant Target finally got a shipment of toilet paper,” Jimmy Fallon said.
What we’re reading: This Vice interview with the writer Barbara Ehrenreich. “I can’t say it’s uplifting, but Ehrenreich is one of our best thinkers about exactly the issues we’re facing, like the economy, inequality and health,” says Dan Saltzstein, an editor.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Melissa Clark calls this sardine and celery salad from our pantry cooking series a “perfect pairing,” and suggests adding an egg.
Watch: “Lady Bird,” always. Or if you fancy a TV drama, here are the 20 best since “The Sopranos.” (That could lead you to re-streaming “Friday Night Lights.”) Our short film of the day is “Born Again,” a tiny-tale horror comedy, chosen by Erik Piepenburg.
Do: The art critic Jerry Saltz has ideas for how to be creative. “Isolation favors art,” he adds.
And now for the Back Story on …
Comfort food in a crisis
As home cooking takes on new meaning, Margaux Laskey, an editor for NYT Cooking, talked to Times Insider about her go-to recipes, dealing with erratic grocery deliveries, and focusing on comfort foods. Here’s what she had to say:
What kind of recipes have you gravitated toward?
Using things that I have, and that’s a lot of frozen or pantry items. So, canned beans or dried beans. I always have an extra jar of Rao’s spaghetti sauce. I was just having a conversation with somebody about how this is the time to use up all of those weird half boxes of pasta. Basically, I’m just trying to use what I have and what’s in the freezer. And, if I have any leftovers, pulling those out.
What’s in your grocery cart?
I get fresh fruit and vegetables for sure, because we have to stay healthy. Also, I’m leaning toward comforting foods that I know my kids will eat, things that I know they like. This is not the time, for my family anyway, to try a crazy dish. There’s enough uncertainty and enough weirdness about all of this.
So I get my go-tos that I get every week, and then more rice and beans. And ice cream.
What’s been difficult about cooking lately?
Normally, I plan my menu on Friday for the next week, and I put my grocery order in — and maybe I won’t get one or two items, but I get nearly everything that I ordered. Now, first of all, you’re not even sure you’re going to get a slot. Then, you’re not even sure you’re going to get everything.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the race to create a coronavirus vaccine.
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When the Democrats swept into power in November in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for the first time since the Civil War, one of the first things on their agenda was to create an agency the county has never had — a health department.
With a population of more than 560,000, this densely packed collection of towns west of Philadelphia is one of the largest counties in the country without its own health department, and it has to rely on nearby counties and the already overextended state services headquartered two hours away in the state capital, Harrisburg.
But before they could get it off the ground, the coronavirus swept into Delaware County and quickly overwhelmed the first line of defense — three county workers, none of whom are doctors or have public health degrees or training, whose jobs are to dispense information on where to get things like vaccines and pass along health notices from the state.
Since then, Delaware County officials have been scrambling to protect their people from a virus that has sickened more than 300 residents and taken five lives, officials said.
“With no public health department, Delaware County lacked the infrastructure to respond to the initial cases,” recently elected state Sen. Tim Kearney, a Democrat, told NBC News. “While the state’s Health Department has been very responsive, this crisis highlighted the fact that health concerns are a local issue and need local people working on these issues who better understand the community. The lack of specific case information created confusion for our residents and health care providers.”
Monica Taylor, who is both vice chair of the County Council and a doctor, said that because the county doesn’t have a health department, it is limited in its ability to help people who suspect that they caught the coronavirus or test them for it or to track down people who were in contact with them.
So the county has done the only thing it can do — ask the state and neighboring Chester County for help.
“Chester County is doing an amazing job aiding us during this crisis,” Taylor said. “They are performing all contact tracing, quarantining and isolation of those infected, organization of all health care networks and hospitals in the county.”
Chester County officials also got Delaware County’s call center up and running, Taylor said.
“Our contract with them does not have an end date, but they are only contracted to help us with COVID-19-related issues,” Taylor said.
The state Health Department, which has a center in Delaware County, has been dispatching community nurses who work in the area to assist in the battle, department spokesman Nate Wardle said.
Kearney said: “Local Democrats have been calling for a county health department long before the coronavirus crisis. But for years, the Republican establishment said having a health department would raise taxes and be too costly. … We are now seeing the costs of inaction.”
Until January, Delaware County was run by a Republican machine that doled out patronage jobs not unlike the Democratic Machines that ran Chicago for generations.
“Cook County for Democrats is like Delaware County for Republicans,” Democratic strategist Joe Corrigan said.
Corrigan said he suspects the real reason the Republicans objected was that “having a health department comes with federal and state oversight.”
“When you run a county like a jobs programs for your friends and family, this was a level of scrutiny they didn’t want to have to deal with,” he said.
Andrew Reilly, a former member of the County Council and the former chairman of the county’s Republican Committee, disagreed. He said it wasn’t just about money, “although it was certainly a factor.”
Back in 2009, Reilly said, county leaders hired Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health to survey residents on the need for a public health department and to make a recommendation. “Johns Hopkins concluded that Delaware County was better served without a full-fledged county health department,” he said.
Because the issue kept coming up, Reilly said, the county rehired Johns Hopkins to do an update, the results of which are pending.
Asked whether he regrets not having pushed for a health department, Reilly said no. “I was following the advice of Johns Hopkins,” he said.
Tom McGarrigle, a Republican former chairman of the County Council, said the council didn’t leave Delaware County defenseless.
“With this outbreak, I’m not going to argue whether we need a county health department or not,” he said. “But to say we don’t have health services is just not true.”
McGarrigle insisted that the county’s Department of Intercommunity Health Coordination is staffed with a medical doctor and a nurse.
Taylor said McGarrigle was referring to Dr. George Avetian, the county’s senior medical adviser, who works two days a week. The nurse, Taylor said, is Colleen O’Sullivan, who responds for people at the Government Center.
“She doesn’t give guidance or messaging to residents or the community,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who is a Democrat, said that after the election and before their swearing-in on Jan. 6, council members formed a working group to look into creating a real health department.
They met twice with the state Health Department, and their second meeting “was with the state heads of epidemiology and infectious disease to discuss the role our health department would be taking over from their departments,” Taylor said.
But it generally takes 18 months to two years to get a real county health department up and operating, and they had a little over a month, she said.
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The 3,000 local health departments operating in the U.S. “have a fundamental and complex role as the front line for delivery of basic public health services to most of the communities in this country,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
That includes programs like adult and childhood immunizations, restaurant inspections, tuberculosis testing, community outreach and health education. But in recent years, health departments “have greatly increased disease surveillance activities and are now at the center of many of the federal, state, and local emergency planning activities,” it said.
In Pennsylvania, six counties — Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia — have their own health departments, Wardle said. So do four municipalities — Allentown, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre and York.
But in Delaware County, the local League of Women Voters has long insisted that the county needs its own health department because of the population density, the large immigrant populations and the high poverty rates in some areas.
In a December presentation, Rosemarie Halt, chair of the League of Women Voters’ public health committee, and her colleagues noted that Delco, as it is commonly known, already has “significantly lower” health rankings and higher rates of infectious disease than neighboring counties.
“Our neighboring counties have Public Health Departments to target testing and prevention services to communities who are most at risk and have a high prevalence,” the presentation states. “Those departments receive state and federal monies to do that work.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), answers a question during an upper house parliamentary session in Tokyo, Japan April 1, 2020, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan remains on the brink of a state of emergency as the rate of coronavirus infections continues to increase in the country, its top government spokesman said on Wednesday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters controlling the virus was a top priority, and that the government would do “whatever is needed” to minimise the economic impact after a nationwide poll released earlier in the day showed a pessimistic turn in sentiment among manufacturers because of the virus.
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Tom Hogue
LONDON — The world is almost certainly ensnared in a devastating recession delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, fears are growing that the downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared — potentially enduring into next year, and even beyond — as governments intensify restrictions on business to halt the spread of the pandemic, and as fear of the virus reconfigures the very concept of public space, impeding consumer-led economic growth.
The pandemic is above all a public health emergency. So long as human interaction remains dangerous, business cannot responsibly return to normal. And what was normal before may not be anymore. People may be less inclined to jam into crowded restaurants and concert halls even after the virus is contained.
The abrupt halt of commercial activity threatens to impose economic pain so profound and enduring in every region of the world at once that recovery could take years. The losses to companies, many already saturated with debt, risk triggering a financial crisis of cataclysmic proportions.
“I feel like the 2008 financial crisis was just a dry run for this,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and co-author of a history of financial crises, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”
“This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years,” he said. “Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises.”
The situation looks uniquely dire in developing countries, which have seen investment rush for the exits this year, sending currencies plummeting, forcing people to pay more for imported food and fuel, and threatening governments with insolvency — all of this while the pandemic itself threatens to overwhelm inadequate medical systems.
Among investors, a hopeful scenario holds currency: The recession will be painful but short-lived, giving way to a robust recovery this year. The global economy is in a temporary deep freeze, the logic goes. Once the virus is contained, enabling people to return to offices and shopping malls, life will snap back to normal. Jets will fill with families going on merely deferred vacations. Factories will resume, fulfilling saved up orders.
But even after the virus is tamed — and no one really knows when that will be — the world that emerges is likely to be choked with trouble, challenging the recovery. Mass joblessness exacts societal costs. Widespread bankruptcy could leave industry in a weakened state, depleted of investment and innovation.
Households may remain agitated and risk averse, making them prone to thrift. Some social distancing measures could remain indefinitely. Consumer spending amounts to roughly two-thirds of economic activity worldwide. If anxiety endures and people are reluctant to spend, expansion will be limited — especially as continued vigilance against the coronavirus may be required for years.
“The psychology won’t just bounce back,” said Charles Dumas, chief economist at TS Lombard, an investment research firm in London. “People have had a real shock. The recovery will be slow, and certain behavior patterns are going to change, if not forever at least for a long while.”
Rising stock prices in the United States have in recent years propelled spending. Millions of people are now filing claims for unemployment benefits, while wealthier households are absorbing the reality of substantially diminished retirement savings.
Americans boosted their rates of savings significantly in the years after the Great Depression. Fear and tarnished credit limited reliance on borrowing. That could happen again.
“The loss of income on the labor front is tremendous,” Mr. Dumas said. “The loss of value in the wealth effect is also very strong.”
The sense of alarm is enhanced by the fact that every inhabited part of the globe is now in trouble.
The United States, the world’s largest economy, is almost certainly in a recession. So is Europe. So probably are significant economies like Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. China, the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to grow by only 2 percent this year, according to TS Lombard, the research firm.
For years, a segment of the economic orthodoxy advanced the notion that globalization came with a built-in insurance policy against collective disaster. So long as some part of the world economy was growing, that supposedly moderated the impact of a downturn in any one country.
The global recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008 beggared that thesis. The current downturn presents an even more extreme event — a worldwide emergency that has left no safe haven.
When the pandemic emerged, initially in central China, it was viewed as a substantial threat to that economy. Even as China closed itself off, conventional wisdom held that, at worst, large international companies like Apple and General Motors would suffer lost sales to Chinese consumers, while manufacturers elsewhere would struggle to secure parts made in Chinese factories.
But then the pandemic spread to Italy and eventually across Europe, threatening factories on the continent. Then came government policies that essentially locked down modern life, business included, while the virus spread to the United States.
“Now, anywhere you look in the global economy we are seeing a hit to domestic demand on top of those supply chain impacts,” said Innes McFee, managing director of macro and investor services at Oxford Economics in London. “It’s incredibly worrying.”
Oxford Economics estimates that the global economy will contract marginally this year, before improving by June. But this view is likely to be revised down sharply, Mr. McFee said.
Trillions of dollars in credit and loan guarantees dispensed by central banks and governments in the United States and Europe have perhaps cushioned the most developed economies. That may prevent large numbers of businesses from failing, say economists, while ensuring that workers who lose jobs will be able to stay current on their bills.
“I am attached to the notion that this is a temporary crisis,” said Marie Owens Thomsen, global chief economist at Indosuez Wealth Management in Geneva. “You hit the pause button, and then you hit the start button, and the machine starts running again.”
But that depends on the rescue packages proving effective — no sure thing. In the typical economic shock, government spends money to try to encourage people to go out and spend. In this crisis, the authorities are demanding that people stay inside to limit the virus.
“The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that there will be destruction of productive capacity,” Ms. Owens Thomsen said. “Then, the nature of the crisis morphs from temporary to something a bit more lasting.”
Worldwide, foreign direct investment is on track to decline by 40 percent this year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This threatens “lasting damage to global production networks and supply chains,” said the body’s director of investment and enterprise, James Zhan.
“It will likely take two to three years for most economies to return to their pre-pandemic levels of output,” IHS Markit said in a recent research note.
In developing countries, the consequences are already severe. Not only is capital fleeing, but a plunge in commodity prices — especially oil — is assailing many countries, among them Mexico, Chile and Nigeria. China’s slowdown is rippling out to countries that supply Chinese factories with components, from Indonesia to South Korea.
Between now and the end of next year, developing countries are on the hook to repay some $2.7 trillion in debt, according to a report released Monday by the U.N. trade body. In normal times, they could afford to roll most of that debt into new loans. But the abrupt exodus of money has prompted investors to charge higher rates of interest for new loans.
The U.N. body called for a $2.5 trillion rescue for developing countries — $1 trillion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, another $1 trillion in debt forgiveness from a broad range of creditors and $500 billion for health recovery.
“The great fear we have for developing countries is that the economic shocks have actually hit most of them before the health shocks have really begin to hit,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, director of the division on globalization and development strategies at the U.N. trade body in Geneva.
In the most optimistic view, the fix is already underway. China has effectively contained the virus and is beginning to get back to work, though gradually. If Chinese factories spring back to life, that will ripple out across the globe, generating demand for computer chips made in Taiwan, copper mined in Zambia and soybeans grown in Argentina.
But China’s industry is not immune to global reality. Chinese consumers are an increasingly powerful force, yet cannot spur a full recovery. If Americans are still contending with the pandemic, if South Africa cannot borrow on world markets and if Europe is in recession, that will limit the appetite for Chinese wares.
“If Chinese manufacturing comes back, who exactly are they selling to?” asked Mr. Rogoff, the economist. “How can global growth not take a long-term hit?”
How many times have you seen the image? It looms behind newscasters during evening updates, gets handed out on printed fliers and scrolls by in tweet after tweet. It might even show up in your dreams.
But for Alissa Eckert — a medical illustrator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who helped to create what has become the iconic representation of the novel coronavirus — it started out as just another assignment.
On Jan. 21, the day after the C.D.C. activated its emergency operations center for the new coronavirus, Ms. Eckert and her colleague Dan Higgins were asked to create “an identity” for the virus. “Something to grab the public’s attention,” she said. Ms. Eckert expected that whatever they came up with might appear on a few cable news programs, as their creations had in the past.
Instead, as the pandemic spread and intensified, their rendering’s reach did, too. “It started popping up around the world,” she said.
Ms. Eckert uses art to make difficult medical concepts more approachable. For instance the dozens of illustrations of birth defects she’s done over the years can be “a little bit easier for people to look at and understand” than photographs, she said.
Often this means bringing the unseeable into view. One of her favorite recent illustrations, of a cluster of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that cause gonorrhea, was used in a 2019 report on antibiotic resistance. In her portrayal, the bacteria float like jellyfish, their tentacle-like pili intertwined. The aim was to “make them look like they’re really alive,” she said, “so you know to be aware of them.”
Over the years, Ms. Eckert, Mr. Higgins and their colleagues have taken a variety of approaches to viruses. Sometimes, they’ll represent a virus with its main vector — the C.D.C.’s Zika page, for example, highlights mosquitoes. Or they’ll focus on the virus’s symptoms, as they did for Ebola.
But for the coronavirus illustration, they went with what professional medical artists call a “beauty shot”: a detailed, solo close-up.
“We just call attention to the one virus,” she said.
The novel coronavirus, like all viruses, is studded with proteins that give it its character and traits. There are the spike proteins, or S-proteins — the red clusters in the image — which allow the virus to attach to human cells. Envelope or E-proteins, represented by yellow crumbs, help it get into those cells. And membrane proteins, or M-proteins, shown in orange, give the virus its form.
After researching and consulting with scientists, Ms. Eckert and Mr. Higgins found these in the RCSB Protein Data Bank, a repository of protein structures. “We pull from that and compile it into a visualization software,” where they can move each piece around, Ms. Eckert said.
Then, where other portrait artists might layer paint, the team layers programs. One piece of software, Autodesk 3ds Max, is “where all the magic happens,” Ms. Eckert said. “We think of it as our photography studio.” There, they arranged the virus’s parts, and tested different colors, textures and lighting.
They chose a stony texture, wanting it to seem like “something that you could actually touch,” Ms. Eckert said. Other details — like the level of realism and the lighting, which has the spikes cast long shadows — were calibrated to “help display the gravity of the situation and to draw attention,” she said.
And although there are more M-proteins than any of the other structures in the virus, they decided to foreground the spiky S-proteins, whose effectiveness may be responsible for the virus’s rapid spread.
As they were styling the virus, other C.D.C. designers were working on more Covid-19 materials. The illustration “was going to have to go along with the branding,” Ms. Eckert said, so they tried color schemes that matched. Red on gray, with orange and yellow accents, was the most arresting: “It just really stood out.”
The image took about a week to make — a fast turnaround, Ms. Eckert said. She expects its success will set a standard, she said: Next time a novel virus needs to be illustrated, it too will likely get a beauty shot.
And it has certainly spread far and wide. She has seen her illustration turned into cookies and knitting projects. Someone recently told Ms. Eckert that her image haunts them on their occasional trips to the grocery store. If they reach out to touch something, they’ll picture that spiky gray blob and pause.
She was glad to hear it, she said. “It’s out there doing its job.”
Most tattoo parlors do not feature live hand grenades and automatic weapons, but Joe Kintz’s first shop did. In 2006, when Kintz deployed to Habbaniyah, Iraq, as an explosive-ordnance-disposal technician with SEAL Team 5, he took his own tattoo kit with him and set up shop in a plywood-walled room filled with weapons and assault gear. Small ink bottles shared counter space with loaded magazines for handguns and rifles. “I probably did three tattoos a week there,” Kintz said. “Seemed like a good therapy session when you’re not out kicking in doors and shooting people.” His customers mainly were inked with SEAL Tridents, octopuses and platoon flags. “But it was 2006, so there was some tribal stuff, too, of course,” Kintz said with a laugh.
While what Kintz was doing was against military regulations, some officers he worked for came to him for tattoos between missions, so he didn’t get in any trouble. And though the space he worked in would be highly unconventional back in the United States, it was a scene that would not have been out of place for sailors a century before, except for it all taking place in the desert instead of on the decks of a warship.
Tattooing goes back thousands of years, but it gained notable popularity among British sailors following visits to Polynesia in the late 1700s. By the end of the century, according to the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., nearly a third of British sailors and a fifth of American sailors had at least one tattoo. Within the Navy, there were tattoos that indicated someone’s job on a ship or celebrated a particular accomplishment: Boatswain’s mates might get inked with crossed anchors, while gunner’s mates would go for crossed cannons, often on the backs of their hands between their thumbs and index fingers. Oceanic voyages of more than 5,000 miles might be commemorated with a swallow tattoo. And to protect against drowning, sailors were known to get a pig tattooed on the top of one foot and a chicken tattooed on the other. In days of old, the superstition went, when ships hauled pigs, chickens and other animals on deck in wooden crates, the animals could float off and safely wash ashore if the ship sank.
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There is also a long tradition of sailors’ tattooing each other while out to sea. While not often officially sanctioned on ships today, the practice does live on. In 1999, when Greg Crowell reported to the U.S.S. Oldendorf, a Spruance-class destroyer based in San Diego, he had already been tattooing his shipmates for years.
Crowell, a chief petty officer, arrived around the same time as the ship’s new commanding officer. Both were surfers, and while paddling out in the water together one day, the new captain asked Crowell about getting a tattoo. The captain readily agreed to let him bring his tattoo tools and ink aboard the ship, with the understanding that Crowell could only tattoo after working hours. To keep things clean and hygienic, the ship’s medical officer disposed of Crowell’s tattoo needle, and she sterilized machine parts for him in the medical department’s autoclave. “It was a very cool setup,” Crowell said. “As soon as I tattooed one person, the word got out and then I had everyone approaching me.”
When the ship deployed to the Middle East in the summer of 2000, Crowell inked about 60 members of the crew as they steamed from San Diego to the Persian Gulf and back. Before starting each one, he checked with the navigator to make sure the weather ahead had seas smooth enough for tattooing. “The Indian Ocean was usually a better spot to tattoo in,” Crowell said. “Fewer swells.”
By the end of the cruise, Crowell had tattooed his commanding officer, as well as the captain of another destroyer whose ship deployed with them. A shark for the former and the pig-and-chicken for the latter. “I got my mark on a lot of the people running around the Navy,” Crowell said.
Not everyone in uniform who wants to start tattooing gets the approval of their chain of command. Most have to operate underground, turning whatever work space they have into an improvised parlor. When Jesse Vargas got to Camp Leatherneck for his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, he found a computer with an internet connection and ordered a tattoo kit online. It arrived two weeks later through the military mail service, and he took it back to the tent where his scout-sniper platoon lived.
“My buddies were like, ‘Do you know how to do this?’” Vargas said. “And I was like, ‘No, but we’re going to learn.’” He started on himself, spending a little more than an hour inking a fist-size, tribal-style sun on the inside of his upper right thigh. Then he moved on to his platoon mates. Whenever the door to their tent opened while he was tattooing, Vargas and the others hid the equipment under their cots. “I guess we could’ve gotten court-martialed, but it was just the thrill of it,” Vargas said. “It’s the things that go on beside the war — ways to decompress on our end over there.” Vargas left the Marine Corps after that deployment and still inks clients at his Houston home.
When Kintz retired from the Navy as a senior chief petty officer in 2008, he moved to Sydney, Australia, his wife’s hometown, and started looking for work. He applied to the police and fire departments, and even the local bomb squad, but each rejected him. So he picked up the yellow pages and started calling every tattoo shop in town. Most, he said, were owned and run by members of local motorcycle gangs.
“They were cool with me because they knew what I did before,” Kintz said, which allowed him to stay out of the gang rivalries that often set tattoo artists in the area against each other. He eventually got a job managing one biker-owned shop and tattooed there on the side. Still, Kintz fielded threatening phone calls and opened letters promising violence from members of other gangs that escalated over time. He learned to brush them aside as just part of the business.
“We used to get letters mailed to us saying we’d get bombed,” Kintz said. “And one day somebody mailed us one for real.” The former E.O.D. technician put on latex gloves, checked it out and realized he was holding what appeared to be a viable package bomb. He called the police. After the bomb squad carried it off, two of the officers came back to get tattoos from Kintz.
“I can pick and choose my own clients now,” said Kintz, who has bookings weeks in advance at Whistler Street Tattoo, just off Manly Beach in Sydney. “I’ve got my own style — geometric designs and dot work with heavy black lines.”
He has one condition for his clients though: “No more tribal.”
John Ismay is a staff writer who covers armed conflict for The New York Times Magazine. He is based in Washington.
SYDNEY, Australia — Joe Brumm’s daughter was 3 when she was first admitted to a hospital with an asthma-like illness. She spent a week in intensive care.
“When she gets a cold, her lungs shut down,” said Brumm, the creator of “Bluey,” a wildly popular Australian children’s cartoon for 5- to 7-year-olds.
In “Bluey,” Brumm, 41, has turned moments from his own family life into a series of seven-minute episodes. These range from mundane squabbles, chores and playtime to more troubling situations, like his daughter’s hospital visit.
The difference is, onscreen, it’s a family of dogs.
In a country of just 25 million people, the show has been streamed over 200 million times, making it the most popular program ever on ABC iview, the Australian public broadcaster’s on-demand service.
And this week, “Bluey” won an International Emmy Kids Award for the best preschool program, with the winners announced online because of the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the awards ceremony in Cannes.
“Bluey” started to go global last year. Disney purchased the rights for the series, and it premiered on Disney Junior in the United States in September, and is now on Disney+. Youku, a Chinese streaming service, is showing it dubbed into Mandarin.
“Bluey” speaks with a rare frankness and authenticity not only about the experience of being a child, but, also, being a parent. If it becomes as much of a hit abroad as at home, “Bluey” could rival “The Wiggles” as Australia’s most popular children’s cultural export.
The dog family lives in a suburban home in Brisbane with palm trees, colorful birds and endless sunny days — not to mention the city’s quintessential “Queenslander” houses, with corrugated iron roofs and shady verandas.
Jane Gould, Disney’s senior vice president of content strategy and insights, said that the Australian setting and the characters’ strong accents weren’t an issue for young viewers in the United States, but that they would have been in the past.
“Our kids live in a much more global community than the adults do,” Gould said, adding that, because of the internet, children nowadays have heard a broader variety of voices.
Daley Pearson, a co-founder of Ludo Studio, which produced the show, said “Bluey” was “a show for parents who hate kids’ shows.” He described it as a mixture of “Peppa Pig” and “Family Guy” — minus the latter’s vulgarity.
“I think kids can handle a lot of stuff more than film and TV writers give them credit for,” Pearson added. “They can handle heavy themes about compromise, cooperation or death, or jealousy.”
And whereas shows like “Peppa Pig” lampoon a bumbling father figure, “Bluey” celebrates the father, Bandit, as an equal, capable and fun parent, alongside his wife, Chilli. Bandit is always sympathetic to his children, dedicates time to playing games and contributes equally to the housework. Several Australian media outlets have described this portrayal as “groundbreaking.”
At a launch party for a “Bluey” range of soft toys and books in Sydney a few months ago, about 30 parents stood by as their children sat on the floor, rapt, while they were read a “Bluey” story.
James Brown, 39, who came to the event with his wife and two children, said: “I like the father. He is a really interesting role model for dads who are trying to do a bit more than the traditional model.”
“There’s not a lot of TV where that’s represented,” he added.
But Brumm said that he did not set out to redefine fathers.
“I was just trying to show what I did around the house and with the kids,” he said. “We still tease my father that he never changed a nappy,” he added, using the Australian word for a diaper. “The roles were probably more split back then. For my wife and myself, it’s all in.”
Brumm, who also worked on the British cartoon “Charlie and Lola,” said he based “Bluey” on a Blue Heeler dog of the same name he had growing up in Queensland.
Also known as an Australian cattle dog, Blue Heelers — a mix of native wild dingoes and domestic breeds — were bred to herd animals over long distances. They are celebrated in Australia for their loyalty and intelligence and the blue tinge of their coats.
“There are so many Australian shows that are cockatoos and koalas and kangaroos. I just found this really quintessential Australian dog,” Brumm said.
When Brumm had his own children, who are both under 10, he started jotting down the games they played, he said, and these “just morphed into these ‘Monty Python’ bizarre scenarios.”
Brumm said he soon realized he had never seen a depiction of unstructured children’s play — with all the strange, nonsensical turns it can take — in a kids’ TV show before.
It was equally important for him to show the charm and nostalgia of watching children grow up. One trademark of “Bluey” is the realistic dialogue and the constant dribble of random and amusing questions that young people ask about the world: “Where do rocks come from?” “Why are some plants food, like lettuce, but other plants not food?”
Sky Scott, 36, a physiotherapist who was at the recent toy launch, said she loved “Bluey” because it portrayed “the humor of parenting.” She even watches it with friends without her children, she added.
“There are so many things we can relate to as a parent” in the show, she said.
Teigan Butchers, 36, who came to the event with her 6-year-old, said that “Bluey” depicted “a lot of normalities of life: chores and bedtime and rules. When we were growing up, we had fairy tales, which are a little less realistic.”
Brumm said this sense of realism was what “Bluey” was all about. “There’s so much hard work with kids and there’s so much laughter that’s going on in and around the cracks,” he said. “I wanted to get to the core of what’s in the engine room of a family.”
Kim Hjelmgaard, Eric J. Lyman and Deirdre Shesgreen
In late February, as coronavirus infections mounted in Wuhan, China, local authorities went door-to-door for health checks – forcibly isolating every resident in makeshift hospitals and temporary quarantine shelters, even separating parents from young children who displayed symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how seemingly mild.
Caretakers at the city’s ubiquitous large apartment buildings were pressed into service as ad hoc security guards, monitoring the temperatures of all residents, deciding who could come in, and implementing inspections of delivered food and medicines.
Outside, drones hovered above streets, yelling at people to get inside and scolding them for not wearing face masks, while elsewhere in China facial-recognition software, linked to a mandatory phone app that color-coded people based on their contagion risk, decided who could enter shopping malls, subways, cafes and other public spaces.
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“We couldn’t go outside under any circumstances. Not even if you have a pet,” said Wang Jingjun, 27, a graduate student who returned to Wuhan from the Chinese coastal province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong and Macau, in mid-January to live with her elderly mother and grandparents. “Those with dogs had to play with them inside and teach them to use the bathroom in a certain spot,” she said.
China’s zero contact: ‘It seems extreme. It works’
As the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic has moved to the United States, Chinese officials and public health experts insist that even if President Donald Trump were to immediately adopt all the strict testing and lockdown measures that Western scientific advisers are advocating, these actions would still not be sufficient to stem the spread of a disease that is swiftly approaching a million worldwide cases.
More draconian steps are needed in the U.S., these officials say, although they also cast doubt on whether Americans could do what the Chinese did, for a mixture of reasons: political will and deep-rooted cultural inclinations, among them.
To help quell its outbreak, Beijing embarked on one of the largest mass mobilization efforts in history, closing all schools, forcing millions of people inside, quickly building more than a dozen vast temporary hospitals, deploying thousands of extra medical staff to Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, and meticulously testing and tracing anyone and everyone who may have encountered the virus.
But it did a lot more than that.
“Lockdowns, bans on gatherings, basic quarantines, testing, hand-washing, this is not enough,” Huiyao Wang, a senior adviser to China’s government, told USA TODAY in a phone interview from Beijing. “You need to isolate people on an enormous scale, in stadiums, big exhibition halls, wherever you can. It seems extreme. It works,” he said.
“‘No one left behind’ was the slogan in Wuhan,” he said. “No one.”
In the U.S., Trump has urged Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and suggested the worst-affected states should shutter schools, bars and restaurants.
But overall, he has largely left it to individual states and cities to decide whether to close businesses or explicitly order people to stay at home, despite evidence from countries in Asia, such as China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, that aggressively limiting public gatherings and social interactions can help stop transmission of COVID-19, when done in combination with extensive testing and tracing of the disease.
Trump has said he expects to see U.S. cases peak “around Easter,” although his claims about how quickly the U.S. can overcome the outbreak and bounce back appear to contradict assessments from top health officials, such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
With New York City the new locus of the outbreak, Trump announced on March 29 an extension of federal guidance on social-distancing measures through April and issued a “strong travel advisory” urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days to help limit the spread of the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new restrictions would help to slow the spread of the respiratory illness, which has now infected almost 190,000 Americans and killed more than 4,000. The daily death toll in the U.S. may not dip below 100 per day before June, according to a new study by the University of Washington.
Africa’s paradox: It may be the worst and best place to ride out coronavirus
China’s nationwide response vs. America’s patchwork
Wang, the Chinese government adviser, said the example of Wuhan, where authorities have now started lifting some of their stringent anti-virus controls that kept tens of millions of people at home for two months, illustrates that the U.S. and West more generally need to start taking far more radical virus-dampening actions that many people outside China might find culturally, logistically and emotionally unpalatable.
“It was not just families being isolated together in Wuhan, but individuals being isolated away from their friends and families,” said Andy Mok, a fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, a public policy think tank based in Beijing.
“China’s response to the outbreak was truly a nationwide response: systematic, comprehensive and coordinated,” he said. “This is why China was able to ‘flatten the curve’ so dramatically,” he added, referring to social isolation measures aimed at keeping the number of new coronavirus infections at a manageable level for hospitals and medical workers who would otherwise be overwhelmed with sick patients.
Poorest will suffer:Safety-net health clinics cut services amid coronavirus epidemic
Mok said that even in Beijing, about 750 miles north of Wuhan, new coronavirus rules were established requiring residents to have a formal pass to get in and out of their apartment buildings and homes. At the outbreak’s height in Wuhan, nobody was allowed in or out of the city and access to food stores was limited to once every few days.
He questioned whether Americans, raised on a diet of individualism and civil liberties that has informed every aspect of life from travel to economic institutions, would be willing to abide by invasive virus-detection and containment methods that require a strong commitment to “collectivism” and abridged freedoms.
Europe has adopted some, but not all, of China’s most restrictive steps. In France, for example, residents must fill out of a signed attestation to justify leaving their homes or apartments. Police are handing out large fines for anyone who doesn’t follow the rules.
“It’s a very clever form of social engineering for civic purposes: it forces you to think about and justify to yourself as well as to the world why you are leaving the house,” said Sarah Maza, a French history professor and U.S. citizen living in France for the year.
Yang Junchao, a member of a Chinese delegation of COVID-19 doctors and medical experts assisting Italy’s efforts at halting its coronavirus infections – the worst in Europe – said its epidemic will be controlled “as long as the Italian public cooperates.”
Still, some American public health officials have acknowledged that in order to bring the virus under control – outside of a vaccine breakthrough – actions that overstep the bounds of what most Americans would be comfortable with, such as mass quarantines and other severe restrictions on movement, may be necessary.
“The approach we should be taking right now is one that most people would find to be too drastic because otherwise, it is not drastic enough,” said Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, in a recent USA TODAY interview.
“It may be a country like China has a more top-down ability to insist on certain behavior changes. But we ought to be able to do it in our way, in a bottom-up fashion,” he said.
NIH chief Francis Collins on COVID-19:Q&A with top U.S. health official
‘Widespread discontent and dissatisfaction’ in China?
While China’s official figures show that transmission of the coronavirus has all but ended in most of the country’s regions, unverified reports and online photos have begun to circulate suggesting that China’s death toll, most of them in Wuhan, could be far higher than the 3,312 figure published by China’s National Health Commission.
The Beijing-based Caixin newspaper reported on March 27 significantly elevated official cremation rates in Wuhan, possibly indicating a more substantial death figure, though the report acknowledges the increases were inconclusive. It is also not clear how extensively China has been counting asymptomatic cases, though it is tracking them.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly condemned China’s initial suppression of warnings about the outbreak and questioned the accuracy of Beijing’s infection figures.
China’s central government meanwhile has dismissed persistent allegations that it’s been trying to downplay the severity of infections, although it has not denied initially detaining whistleblowing doctors and citizen journalists in December who tried to speak out about a mysterious virus in Wuhan. China’s National Health Commission said Tuesday it will start including asymptomatic coronavirus carriers in its daily figures.
As of April 1, China recorded fewer than half – about 82,000 – the number of U.S. coronavirus cases. However, it appears to be bracing for a potential second-wave of infections and over the last few days China has had to re-close some public spaces and businesses, such as movie theaters, amid spiking clusters of cases, mostly imported.
“The Chinese are trying to paint the narrative that the model they have pursued has been a huge success and that we are failing,” because of our mode of governance, said J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs (CSIS), a Washington think tank, in a media briefing.
Morrison said that there’s significant evidence that the Chinese government’s handling of the crisis has sparked “widespread discontent and dissatisfaction,” pointing specifically to the case of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was detained when he first tried to alert other health care providers about the novel coronavirus. He later died from the virus.
Concern has also grown over the whereabouts of Ai Fen, the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital. She is the doctor who first alerted the late Wenliang about the spread of the deadly virus. An Australian investigation team who interviewed Fen last week said she has disappeared, possibly detained by the Chinese government.
And Heather Conley, the director of the Europe program at CSIS, said that while the response in democratic countries like the U.S. may look chaotic, there’s strength in that approach. “You have neighbors helping neighbors, and you have states making decisions. Sometimes it’s the federal level having to catch up with those decisions, and that’s a much more dynamic, nimble and resilient response,” she said.
Jan Renders, 29, a graduate student who was studying Chinese politics at Central China Normal University in Wuhan and airlifted out on Feb. 1 to his home in Belgium, said that the Chinese response was “too harsh” and lacked transparency.
“In Wuhan, when everything went into lockdown nobody could come or go and that included patients. The hospitals were overloaded and I’m sure people died because they couldn’t be transported to other hospitals, where there was room,” he said, noting that German hospitals have started taking coronavirus patients from overcrowded hospitals in Italy, where more than 12,400 people have died of COVID-19, the most anywhere.
Yet Edward Tse, the Hong Kong-based founder of the Gao Feng Advisory Company, a management consultancy with roots in mainland China, said that his perception is that, on the whole, most people in China supported the government’s tough measures, including systematically isolating and quarantining carriers of the virus, even if they were from the same family or had a very mild or only suspected coronavirus infection.
“Isolation is the key,” he said. “It just depends on how you do it. The Chinese government decided to do it in a certain way. It turned out to be quite effective.”
A British video blogger posted a video on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform last week that explained how China implemented the softer side of its policy of “ling jiechu,” which translates as “zero contact.” It allowed neighborhood committees to take charge of arrangements for shopping and deliveries. Highways were made toll-free, with no limits to the number of cars on a road, previously not the case. For those without a car, customized bus routes were set up, operated according to demand, and with tickets purchased on a smartphone app and capacity set at 50%. Many restaurants installed basic, but effective pulley systems to maintain employee-customer distance.
Wang, the student who returned to Wuhan from Guangdong to live with her elderly relatives, said many people in China “have the idea, and maybe it’s a stereotype, that medical care” in the U.S. and Europe is more advanced than in China.
“I am worried about places like New York City and Milan,” she said. “I don’t know why the deaths are so much higher there. I hope they will be strong and keep calm.”
Hjelmgaard reported from London, Lyman from Rome and Shesgreen from Washington
Biden has repeatedly rebuffed proposals to delay or reschedule the general election due to the virus, even as numerous states have pushed off their primaries to encourage social distancing. More than 32 states and territories have issued stay-at-home orders in the United States to curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking Tuesday, Biden conceded that this election may still need to include serious adaptations to protect the safety of voters. More voters may opt to vote absentee, and he even said it “may be virtual.” He also mentioned the possibility of drive-in voting, akin to the drive-in testing for coronavirus that has been adopted by some states and countries to protect health care workers.
Regardless, the former vice president was confident that the country could still carry out its presidential election process in time for November.
“There’s no rationale for eliminating or delaying the election,” Biden said.
He also urged secretaries of state to start immediately looking into ways to make remote voting a possibility. President Donald Trump rebuffed Monday a Democratic push to digitize voting, saying such efforts to increase turnout would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Biden pushed back on those remarks as “absolutely ridiculous.”
“This is about making sure that we’re able to conduct our democracy while we’re dealing with a pandemic,” Biden said. “There’s a lot of ways to do it, but we should be talking about it now.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Credit…Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock
Models predicting expected spread of the virus in the U.S. paint a grim picture.
The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, in spite of the social distancing measures that have closed schools, banned large gatherings, limited travel and forced people to stay in their homes.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, displayed that grim projection at the White House on Tuesday, calling it “our real number” but pledging to do everything possible to reduce those numbers even further.
The conclusions generally match those from similar models by public health researchers around the globe.
As dire as those predictions are, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said the number of deaths could be much higher if Americans do not follow the strict guidelines to keep the virus from spreading, and they urged people to take the restrictions seriously.
President Trump, who on Sunday extended for 30 days the government’s recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus, made it clear that the data compiled by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx convinced him that the death toll would be even higher if the restrictions on work, school, travel and social life were not taken seriously by all Americans.
The data released on Tuesday was the first time that Mr. Trump’s administration has officially estimated the breadth of the threat to human life from the coronavirus, and the disease it brings, known as Covid-19. In the past several weeks, Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have resisted predicting how many people might die in the pandemic, saying that there was not enough reliable data.
That is no longer the case, they said. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 173,741 people across every state, plus Washington, D.C., and four U.S. territories, have tested positive for the virus, according to a New York Times database. At least 3,433 patients with the virus have died.
President Trump strikes a somber note as he warns of a “painful two weeks ahead.”
On Tuesday, the coronavirus task force used models to deliver an update on the expected spread of the disease. They projected that Covid-19 could kill up to 240,000 Americans, but pledged to do everything possible to reduce that number.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
President Trump said at his daily White House coronavirus briefing that “this is going to be a very painful, very very painful two weeks,” but that Americans will soon “start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going through a very tough few weeks,” Mr. Trump said, later raising his two weeks to three.
Striking perhaps his most somber tone on the subject to date, Mr. Trump said the virus is a “great national trial unlike any we have ever faced before,” and said it would require the “full absolute measure of our collective strength, love and devotion” in order to minimize the number of people infected.
“It’s a matter of life and death, frankly,” he said, officially calling for another month of social distancing and offering a sober assessment of the pandemic’s impact in the United States. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, urged Americans to follow the guidelines: no groups larger than 10 people, no unnecessary travel, no going to restaurants or bars.
“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine,” she said. “It’s just behaviors.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that social distancing measures across the nation are slowing the spread of the virus, but he made clear that the national death toll will continue to rise.
“The 15 days that we’ve had of mitigation clearly are having an effect,” Dr. Fauci said. But, he added: “In the next several days to a week or so we are going to continue to see things go up.”
Mr. Trump, who spent weeks downplaying the threat of the virus — and who has retreated from his recent suggestion that social distancing could be scaled back in mid-April — congratulated himself for projections showing that public health measures may dramatically limit the national death toll.
“What would have happened if we did nothing? Because there was a group that said, ‘Let’s just ride it out,’” Mr. Trump said, without saying what “group” he was referring to.
Mr. Trump said that as many as 2.2 million people “would have died if we did nothing, if we just carried on with our life.”
“You would have seen people dying on airplanes, you would have seen people dying in hotel lobbies — you would have seen death all over,” Mr. Trump said. By comparison, he said, a potential death toll of 100,000 “is a very low number.”
Asked how current casualty estimates might differ had Mr. Trump called for social distancing measures weeks earlier than he did, in mid-March, almost two months after the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States, Mr. Trump insisted that he had acted decisively.
“I think we’ve done a great job,” Mr. Trump said.
Asked about his repeated assurances to Americans in recent weeks that the virus would peter out with minimal impact, Mr. Trump insisted, as he has before, that he was trying to reassure the nation.
“I want to be positive; I don’t want to be negative,” Mr. Trump said. “I want to give people in this country hope.”
“We’re going through probably the worst thing the country’s ever seen,” he added. “We lose more here potentially than you lose in world wars as a country.
As many as 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms.
A startlingly high number of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, complicating efforts to predict the pandemic’s course and strategies to mitigate its spread.
In particular, the high level of symptom-free cases is leading the C.D.C. to consider broadening its guidelines on who should wear masks.
“This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country,” the director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told National Public Radio in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.
The agency has repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are feeling sick. But with the new data on people who may be infected without ever feeling sick, or who are transmitting the virus for a couple of days before feeling ill, Mr. Redfield said that such guidance was “being critically re-reviewed.”
Researchers do not know precisely how many people are infected without feeling ill, or if some of them are simply presymptomatic. But since the new coronavirus surfaced in December, researchers have spotted unsettling anecdotes of apparently healthy people who were unwitting spreaders.
“Patient Z,” for example, a 26-year-old man in Guangdong, China, was a close contact of a Wuhan traveler infected with the coronavirus in February. But he felt no signs of anything amiss, not on Day 7 after the contact, nor on Day 10 or 11.
Already by Day 7, though, the virus had bloomed in his nose and throat, just as copiously as in those who did become ill. Patient Z might have felt fine, but he was infected just the same.
Researchers now say that people like Patient Z are not merely anecdotes. For example, as many as 18 percent of people infected with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship never developed symptoms, according to one analysis. A team in Hong Kong suggests that from 20 to 40 percent of transmissions in China occurred before symptoms appeared.
The high level of covert spread may help explain why the novel coronavirus is the first virus that is not an influenza virus to set off a pandemic.
Ignoring party lines, governors challenge Trump’s assertions on availability of supplies.
A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum is publicly challenging the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well-stocked and well-prepared to test people for the coronavirus and care for the sickest patients.
In New York State — the center of the nation’s outbreak, with at least 1,550 deaths — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that the country’s patchwork approach to the pandemic had made it harder to get desperately needed ventilators.
“It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said in his daily news briefing.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said on Tuesday that his state was “flying blind” in the fight against the coronavirus because officials did not have enough tests. When asked during an NPR interview about President Trump’s comments suggesting that a chronic lack of test kits was no longer a problem in the United States, Mr. Hogan, a Republican, did not mince words: “Yeah, that’s just not true.”
Across the country, America’s governors are going head-to-head with the Trump administration over the need for testing supplies and ventilators. At times defying party lines, some have sparred with the president on phone calls and in public interviews. Still others have sided with the president or calculated that it would be easier to get the needs of their states met with support and praise.
“The coronavirus doesn’t distinguish between red states and blue states,” Mr. Hogan, the Republican from Maryland, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, said in a bipartisan op-ed, “and neither can we.”
See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home
In an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, more than half the states and the Navajo Nation have given directives, affecting about eight in 10 U.S. residents.
‘We are in a cage’: Spanish town lives under a lockdown within a lockdown.
When María José Rodríguez heard on local television that her town in northeastern Spain would be locked down within hours, she knew she had to leave or risk losing her family’s business.
She grabbed a bag of groceries, a fresh change of clothes and her car keys, said goodbye to her husband and drove to her son’s apartment in a nearby village, above the family bakery. For more than two weeks, she has been locked out of the town, Igualada. Her husband has been locked in, and they have no way of knowing how long it will go on.
“Had I not moved out to keep running the bakery, we would have had to close it,” Ms. Rodríguez, 63, said at her shop in the village of La Pobla de Claramunt. “But we’ll be fine, and I call my husband 50 times a day. At the very least.”
Many European countries have imposed various forms of lockdowns to contain the epidemic, but Igualada, an industrial town 30 miles northwest of Barcelona, stands out. Even as Spain has imposed a nationwide lockdown, it has cut Igualada off from the rest of the country — a lockdown within a lockdown.
After its hospital was identified as a hub of a regional outbreak that has reached nearly 20,000 coronavirus infections and more than 2,500 deaths, officials sealed off Igualada and three smaller neighboring towns, at midnight on March 12, stranding about 65,000 people.
Police forces guard every access point, allowing only essential workers to enter and leave. The barriers have divided families like Ms. Rodríguez’s, put people out of work and thrown households into uncertainty for weeks, if not more.
“We are in a cage, and we are learning how to stop trying to control everything,” said Gemma Sabaté, a 48-year-old physical therapist stranded there.
Americans are putting pride aside to seek aid.
By the hundreds of thousands, Americans are asking for help for the first time in their lives, from nail technicians in Los Angeles to airport workers in Fort Lauderdale, from bartenders in Phoenix to former reality show contestants in Minnesota.
Biting back shame, and wondering guiltily about others in more dire straits, they are applying for unemployment, turning to GoFundMe, asking for money on Instagram, quietly accepting handouts from equally strapped co-workers, and showing up in numbers at food banks, which in turn are struggling to meet soaring demand as volunteers stay home for safety.
In its unsparing breadth, the crisis is pitting two American ideals against each other — the e pluribus unum credo of solidarity and its near-religious devotion to the idea that hard work brings rewards. Those notions coexist peacefully in prosperous times.
Today, both are being put to the test, forcing the newly unemployed to re-evaluate beliefs about themselves and their country.
In one week earlier this month, a record-shattering 3.3 million people filed for unemployment.
“A lot of people in the United States are very proud of feeling self-sufficient and independent,” Alice Fothergill, a professor of sociology at the University of Vermont who has studied the human effects of natural disasters. “This is something that is definitely going to be very, very difficult.”
Saving its empty hotel rooms for hospital overflow, Las Vegas opens a homeless shelter in a parking lot.
Its casinos are deserted and thousands of hotel rooms are empty. But when Las Vegas, gripped by the coronavirus, needed space for a temporary homeless shelter, officials chose a location that does not have walls, or even a roof: an outdoor parking lot.
The City of Las Vegas and Clarke County opened the temporary shelter, located on the upper floor of a convention center parking lot, after a 500-person shelter run by Catholic Charities was closed after a homeless man there tested positive for Covid-19.
Medical students from Touro University, wearing protective gear, have been tasked with screening each person for symptoms before they enter the parking area, which has been partly covered with blue mats and closed off by metal barriers. The shelter will remain open until April 3, when the Catholic Charities facility is expected to reopen, according to a statement by the city and county.
More than 6,500 Las Vegas residents lack permanent housing and nearly 70 percent of the city’s homeless population sleeps outside, according to the Las Vegas government. With a nearby shelter overflowing, officials decided to expand into the parking lot, at the Cashman Center convention complex about seven miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Volunteers laid out 24,000 square feet of carpet for the homeless to use as sleeping mats, which have been spaced six feet apart to abide by social distancing protocols, said David Riggleman, a spokesman for the City of Las Vegas. The shelter has portable toilets and washing stations.
“It was a logistical heavy lift,” said Mr. Riggleman, describing the effort, which was accomplished with essentially a day’s notice.
Officials chose to use the parking lot instead of the buildings at the convention complex to reserve the space indoors for possible hospital overflow, he said.
As the virus hobbles the economy, companies race to tap credit and raise cash.
American companies are reeling from the body blow dealt by the pandemic. As revenues dwindle, travel slows and production lines halt, companies have begun to furlough or lay off employees, slash investment in operations and buy less from their suppliers. With no way to tell when the economy will restart, they are racing to conserve money and tap as much credit as possible.
The new reality, say bankers and analysts, will be tough for companies that had grown accustomed to the easy money of the past decade. Enticed by ultralow interest rates, they borrowed trillions of dollars in new debt in the belief that banks would keep lending and the debt markets would always be open. Now many indebted companies, even those whose business has not taken a direct hit from the outbreak, are finding that they have to adapt to an era in which cash is suddenly much harder to raise.
Carlos Hernandez, the chairman of JPMorgan Chase’s investment banking business, recently told clients and colleagues that the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic could prompt the sort of brutal reckoning for corporate America that banks went through after the 2008 financial crisis.
Mr. Hernandez, from his perch at the nation’s biggest lender, is seeing the potential crisis unfold firsthand, as his bank and others get bombarded with loan requests from companies stocking up on cash. Banks are still lending, but these are bloodcurdling times for corporations.
Already, a divide among haves and have-nots is emerging in corporate America, tied to how cheaply and easily companies can get credit. Seeing this, Congress moved quickly in recent legislation to funnel emergency loans into the United States economy. Still, some types of companies could be shut out entirely from a multitrillion-dollar loan program lawmakers just set up, unless the Federal Reserve relaxes its own rules.
Asian countries see that success containing the virus can be tenuous, a worrisome sign.
Across Asia, countries and cities that seemed to have brought the epidemic under control are suddenly tightening their borders and imposing stricter containment measures, fearful about a wave of new infections imported from elsewhere.
The moves portend a worrisome sign for the United States, Europe and the rest of the world still battling a surging outbreak: Any country’s success with containment could be tenuous, and the world could remain on a kind of indefinite lockdown.
Even when the number of new cases starts to fall, travel barriers and bans in many places may persist until a vaccine or treatment is found. The risk otherwise is that the infection could be reintroduced inside their borders, especially given the prevalence of asymptomatic people who might unknowingly carry the virus with them.
Following a recent uptick in cases tied to international travelers, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan barred foreigners from entering altogether in recent days. Japan has barred visitors from most of Europe, and is considering denying entry to travelers from countries including the United States. South Korea imposed stricter controls, requiring incoming foreigners to quarantine in government facilities for 14 days upon arrival.
In China, international flights have been cut back so severely that Chinese students abroad wonder when they will be able to get home. In Singapore, recently returned citizens must share their phones’ location data with the authorities each day to prove they are sticking to government-ordered quarantines. In Taiwan, a man who had traveled to Southeast Asia was fined $33,000 for sneaking out to a club when he was supposed to be on lockdown at home.
“Even countries that have been relatively successful in managing the pandemic are only as safe as the weakest links in the system,” said Kristi Govella, an assistant professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, who added that in the absence of cooperation among countries, “closing borders is one of the ways that individual governments can control the situation.”
British doctors have been reassured they won’t be held liable if there’s a shortage of ventilators.
A British association of intensive care doctors has reassured its members that denying life-sustaining care to a critically ill coronavirus patient because of a shortage of ventilators will not expose doctors to legal liability.
A statement from the Intensive Care Society released Tuesday night reflects the rising anxiety of British doctors as the soaring number of coronavirus patients requiring respiratory support threatens to exceed the limited number of available ventilators. Some doctors facing the same situation in Italy have said they denied care to those deemed relatively less likely to survive. This week, several London doctors said they feared their hospitals might soon face similar choices.
“These are extraordinary times,” the association said in the statement. “Even if a doctor considered certain treatment might help a patient but such treatment was simply not available — perhaps because there were no ventilators available in that hospital or any other reasonably and realistically proximate hospital — the doctor cannot be found at fault for not providing such treatment. It was simply not possible.”
A new law, the Coronavirus Act, will provide additional protection. It indemnifies doctors for negligence liabilities arising from “activities carried out for the purpose of dealing with, or because of, the coronavirus outbreak,” the statement said.
The Intensive Care Society warned doctors, however, that they must not “deliberately intervene and provide treatment that would actively bring about a patient’s death. That would be euthanasia and is illegal.”
Even as New York’s numbers soar, those who can’t afford to quarantine must brave the subway.
‘He’s My Best Friend,’ Cuomo Says of Brother With Coronavirus
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York delivered an update on the coronavirus cases in the state, where he mentioned his brother’s positive test result.
My brother Chris is positive for coronavirus — found out this morning. The, now he is going to be fine. He’s young, in good shape. Strong, not as strong as he thinks, but he will be fine. But there’s a lesson in this. He’s an essential worker, member of the press. So he’s been out there — you go out there, the chance that you’ll get infected is very high. I spoke to him this morning and he’s going to be quarantined in his basement at home. You don’t really know Chris. You know, you see Chris. He has a show at night, 9 o’clock on CNN. But you just see one dimension, right? You see a person in his job, and in his job he’s combative and he’s argumentative and he’s pushing people. But that’s his job. That’s really not who he is. He’s a really sweet, beautiful guy and he’s my best friend. My father was always working so it was always just me and Chris. And he’s a lawyer also, Chris. If my brother still had my mother at his house, again out of love and comfort, and my mother wanted to be at the house anyway, by the way — she didn’t want to be sitting at home in an apartment, so she would have been doing what she wanted to do. He would have been doing what he wanted to do, it would have seemed great and harmless, but now we’d have a much different situation.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York delivered an update on the coronavirus cases in the state, where he mentioned his brother’s positive test result.CreditCredit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times
The New York City subway has become a symbol of the city’s inequality, amplifying the divide between those with the means to safely shelter at home during the pandemic and those who must continue braving public transit to preserve meager livelihoods.
“I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want my family to get sick, but I still need to get to my job,” Yolanda Encanción, a home health aide, said recently as she waited for her train in the Bronx.
Since the crisis erupted, the subways have emptied: Ridership has plummeted to fewer than 1 million riders a day from more than five million before. But a New York Times analysis of M.T.A. data shows that the declines vary significantly — largely along socioeconomic lines.
The steepest ridership declines have been in Manhattan, where the median household income is the highest in the city. Some stations in Bronx neighborhoods with high poverty rates, though, have largely retained their ridership.
Many residents there say they have no choice but to pile onto trains with strangers, potentially exposing themselves to the virus. Even worse, a reduction in service in response to plunging ridership has led, at times, to crowded conditions, making it impossible to maintain the social distancing that public health experts recommend.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the number of confirmed cases in New York increased by 9,298, bringing the statewide total to 75,795 statewide as of Tuesday. In New York City, 43,139 people have tested positive.
The number of patients hospitalized surpassed 10,900, up 15 percent from yesterday. Of those, 2,710 are currently in intensive care rooms with ventilators.
More than 18,000 people were tested overnight, pushing the total number of people tested to about 205,000, more than 1 percent of the state’s population.
Low-paid nursing home workers are caring for those most vulnerable to the virus, with few protections.
Low Pay, High Risk: Nursing Home Workers Confront Coronavirus Dilemma
“Who else is going to take care of them?” We spoke with nursing home workers about their fear of catching and spreading coronavirus.
“You may have just that one patient with the coronavirus that come into your facility, and you don’t know. I can go to work today, wind up feeding them. And then find out two hours later, ‘Oh, they have that virus.’ And I’ve already been exposed. Nursing Assistants, CNA’s, we’re the closest ones, we’re the front line.” The work of nursing assistants has always been difficult and low paying. But add coronavirus, and it’s become dangerous. TV announcers: “Across the country, nursing homes are especially vulnerable —” “One elder care facility, where 19 residents have died —” “In Palo Alto —” “In the New Orleans area —” “In DuPage County —” “In Sacramento County.” “Covid-19 spreading through our most vulnerable population.” We met up with caregivers from nursing homes in Northern California. They attend to the kind of patients who are most likely to die if they get the virus. “So can you do your job without touching people, or without —” “It’s impossible. Everything is touch.” “Bathing. Feeding.” “Assist them to the restroom.” “Brushing their teeth.” “Turning.” “It’s almost like a holding and cleaning at the same time.” “Helping nurses with wound care.” “Cleaning their ears, tying their shoes.” “We do everything.” “Well, you could be feeding that patient or you could be doing something and the patient starts coughing. It’s too late to turn around, you already done got crap all over you. You know, you just run to the bathroom, wash your face or whatever. And then go about your day. Social distance? Can’t do it. It’s impossible.” If this video were filmed at a different time, you’d be seeing footage of these workers with their patients. But nursing homes are closed to visitors right now to protect the people inside. Actually everything you’re seeing here we filmed from afar, following recommendations to slow the spread of Covid-19. But these caregivers can’t maintain that kind of distance in their work. And now, shortages of protective gear like masks are putting them at risk, not just for getting the virus but for spreading it. “If you want to speak, press star 6.” “We’re running out of supplies of masks in our building. And trying to take care of these patients without us also getting sick is worrisome.” “We’re rationing right now, masks, protective gear. But it’s like, what happens if we run out? It scares me.” “They gave us the N95 mask, and told us to maintain it. If the elastic comes off by accident or something, staple and reuse it.” “So you’re actually cleaning the N95 masks in between uses?” “Yeah, with — with alcohol.” “You like wipe off the outside of it or how do you do that?” “The outside, the inside and just let it air dry, and put it back in a Ziploc bag for the next day.” “A lot of people in this field, we have families. So you don’t want to take nothing home. My granddaughter, she’s special needs. So she has a low immune system. When she was born, she was really sick. So we’ve been cautious ever since she’s been born.” “I am very concerned of taking it home. My mom, she’s diabetic, and my dad also just beat cancer in the thyroid. I have asthma. So if I were to get Covid, It would affect my lungs. And how am I going to pay my bills? Because it’s paycheck to paycheck, what I’m doing.” The pay for this work is low: In the U.S., the median salary is less than $30,000 a year. As a result, many nursing assistants work multiple jobs. And as they move between facilities, so can disease. “Usually when I finish the first job, I go right to the second job. I work 16 hours, that’s not including driving time. And I’m not the only one — majority of my co-workers, they work two jobs.” “I work home health care too, on top of taking care of my mom and my grandmother. I’m kind of worried because you don’t see the virus because they’re droplets, and you don’t know who’s coughing or sneezing on you. Even though I do try to sanitize, like along the way, going to my next client. But sometimes it’s just not enough I think. But who else is going to take care of them?”
“Who else is going to take care of them?” We spoke with nursing home workers about their fear of catching and spreading coronavirus.CreditCredit…Elie Khadra for The New York Times
Social distancing is impossible for nursing assistants who care for the sick and elderly. These workers provide hands-on care feeding, bathing and changing patients. It’s strenuous work and the pay is low: The national median salary is less than $30,000. Many nursing assistants live paycheck to paycheck and work second, or even third jobs.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, this work has also become high risk.
Jeffrey Ravago, a nursing assistant who lives in Vallejo, Calif., said that a lack of masks puts workers at risk. Cynthia Yee, who works in long-term care in San Francisco, told us that her facility issued her one N95 mask, and instructed her to clean it with rubbing alcohol. They told her, if the “elastic comes off by accident, staple and reuse it,” she said.
The Trump administration had invoked the Defense Production Act hundreds of thousands of times, but hesitated when the virus hit.
Chemicals used to construct military missiles. Materials needed to build drones. Body armor for agents patrolling the southwest border. Equipment for natural disaster response.
A Korean War-era law called the Defense Production Act has been invoked hundreds of thousands of times by Mr. Trump and his administration to ensure the procurement of vital equipment, according to reports submitted to Congress and interviews with former government officials.
Yet as governors and members of Congress plead with the president to use the law to force the production of ventilators and other medical equipment to combat the pandemic, he has for weeks treated it like a last resort, to be invoked only when all else fails.
“You know, we’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” Mr. Trump said earlier this month.
The law’s frequent use, especially by the military to give its contracts priority ratings to jump ahead of a vendor’s other clients, has prompted those most familiar with it to question why the administration has been so hesitant to tap it for a public health emergency.
“What’s more important? Building an aircraft carrier or a frigate using priority ratings or saving a hundred thousand lives using priorities for ventilators?” said Larry Hall, who retired in August as the director of the Defense Production Act program division at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Afghans meet coronavirus with kindness.
In a moment of need, ordinary Afghans have stepped up to generously share the little that they have, easing the pain of an impending health crisis that is turning into another test of survival for a country where life has been a daily fight for decades.
Across Afghanistan, many landlords have waived rent, in some cases indefinitely until the virus threat recedes. Tailors have handed out thousands of homemade face masks. Youth groups and athletes have delivered food to hospitals and families in destitution. Wedding halls and private schools have volunteered to be turned into hospitals.
The owner of a marketplace of 40 shops forgave rent not just for the month, but for as long as the epidemic continues. The governor of one province set up an emergency Covid-19 fund and in just one day received contributions of more than $100,000.
Mohamed Kareem Tawain, an 80-year-old dentist in Herat, the center of the outbreak in Afghanistan, said that he had experienced multiple wars and droughts in his lifetime, and that Afghanistan was better prepared to deal with the virus than those past scourges.
“I am not too terrified,” he said. “Although it is difficult times, if we join hands, God willing, the corona problem will pass.”
A week after meeting Putin, a Russian doctor leading the fight tests positive.
A doctor leading Russia’s fight against the virus — and who shook hands with President Vladimir V. Putin at a meeting last week — has tested positive.
Denis Protsenko, the head doctor at Hospital No. 40, Moscow’s main and most modern infectious diseases treatment facility, said on Facebook on Tuesday that he had gone into self-isolation in his office at the hospital, which Mr. Putin visited last Tuesday. He said he was feeling “quite well” and would continue working remotely.
Dr. Protsenko had greeted the president with a handshake, and neither man wore a face mask. Mr. Putin donned a protective suit and gas mask to visits wards containing virus patients, but also had extensive unprotected contact with the doctors and nurses.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, responding to news of Dr. Protsenko’s infection, said that Mr. Putin had been tested regularly for coronavirus and that “everything is OK,” the Interfax news agency reported.
Russia on Tuesday reported 500 new confirmed cases, bringing its total to 2,337, a nearly fivefold increase over a week ago, with 17 deaths.
Europe debates using cellphone data to combat the virus without compromising privacy.
Tracking the movements of infected people is critical for stemming the spread of disease. And at a time when cellphones are a powerful personal tracking tool, it is not surprising that governments want to harness that potential to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.
But in the European Union, which has strict laws to protect people’s digital privacy, using such technology is a complicated and thorny issue.
That friction is coming to the fore in Germany, where the government is considering introducing an app that would allow the authorities to quickly alert anyone who may have come into contact with someone who is found to have been infected.
As researchers across Europe scramble to develop an app that would respect personal privacy while still helping track the virus, Germany’s justice minister, Christine Lambrecht, said on Tuesday that the government could not require people to use such technology.
“Voluntary use is a very important aspect here,” she told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “We will not and we do not want to get around that.”
In Europe, Poland is using an app to track the movements of an estimated 10,000 people who are under home quarantine because they either tested positive for coronavirus or recently returned from abroad. Users are required to upload selfies several times a day to prove that they are following the rules of self-isolation, and any lapse in compliance results in an alert being sent to the police.
In Croatia, rights groups are pushing back against proposed legislation to monitor cellphones, saying that it would be “an unnecessary violation of human rights.”
Germany’s health minister has called for a nationwide debate about the ethics of using such technology. Polls have shown an increasing willingness among Germans to rely on digital technology to combat the spread of the virus, in exchange for a return to more personal freedom.
E.U. countries send medical supplies to Iran.
The statement said that the trade mechanism, known as Instex, and its Iranian counterpart would continue to work on further transactions and deliveries of humanitarian goods, which are not forbidden by United States sanctions.
The United States reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran in 2018 when Mr. Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It became almost impossible for European companies to continue trading with Iran because of secondary sanctions that forbid any such trade using the American banking system.
Instex was announced in January 2019 as a kind of barter system to allow Europeans to buy Iranian oil and gas in exchange for European products. Because few European countries were willing to risk American sanctions, however, the system has been limited to items like pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
This month, the three European countries, all signatories to the Iran nuclear deal and eager to try to maintain it, offered Iran an aid package valued at 5 million euros, nearly $5.5 million, to help fight the coronavirus.
Iran had over 41,495 reported coronavirus cases and 2,757 deaths as of Tuesday.
A U.S. judge orders the release of some immigration detainees.
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that more than a dozen people must be released from federal immigration detention facilities in Pennsylvania by the end of the day, because the detainees’ age or pre-existing health conditions put them at high risk of contracting the virus in the facilities.
Two of the plaintiffs were already showing symptoms, their lawyers said, but had not been tested for it. According to their legal complaint, the plaintiffs have been sleeping two or three to a small cell, or side-by-side in bigger rooms of more than 50, with bunk beds so close that they could bump into each other during the night.
“They ate shoulder to shoulder and had 60 people sharing four showers and four sinks with little sanitization in between uses,” said Vic Walczak, the legal director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs. “If you have one infected person in that room, those kind of conditions are only going to guarantee that everybody else is going to be infected.”
The complainants in the case — who are from countries including Nigeria, Indonesia, Guatemala and India — were at especially high risk because of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart stents and other chronic conditions.
In ordering their release, Judge John E. Jones III of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote, “Our world has been altered with lightning speed, and the results are both unprecedented and ghastly.” He continued, “The choices we now make must reflect this new reality.”
Kenyan police are accused of abuses as they enforce a curfew.
The authorities in Kenya are investigating a string of deaths and injuries related to the enforcement of a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew, one of several wide-ranging measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus in the country.
The office of the director of public prosecutions announced on Tuesday that it had ordered an investigation into the killing of Yasin Moyo, a 13-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet and died of his injuries on Monday night as officers enforced the curfew in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital.
The inspector general of Kenya’s police force said he had asked investigators to undertake “a forensic analysis of all firearms” held by officers who were on duty in the area at time of the shooting.
The case is the latest to rock the East African nation since an overnight curfew was introduced on Friday. Hours before it began, images and videos shared on social media showed police officers firing tear gas and beating and detaining commuters at a ferry terminal in the coastal city of Mombasa. On Tuesday, the government-mandated Independent Police Oversight Authority said it would investigate the incident, along with other reports of excessive use of force by police.
The 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is among a raft of new policies aimed at halting the virus. Officials have also closed schools and universities, banned religious gatherings and suspended international flights. Kenya had 59 confirmed cases of the virus on Tuesday, and at least one death.
Police officials in Britain and elsewhere are also enforcing restrictions on movement and have sometimes been accused of overreach. There is “a strong temptation for the police to lose sight of their real functions and turn themselves from citizens in uniform into glorified school prefects,” Jonathan Sumption, a former Supreme Court judge, told the BBC on Monday.
In France, more than a quarter of a million people have been fined since restrictions on movement were announced, according to Interior Ministry figures. And in Italy, the country hardest hit by the outbreak in Europe, anyone violating quarantine rules can be fined up to 3,000 euros, about $3,300.
Seeing the pandemic test Trump, Democrats offer up their own policy ideas.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont share a number of priorities regarding the outbreak.
Both have been sharply critical of Mr. Trump’s stewardship of the crisis. They have called on him to move to accelerate the production of critical medical gear for health care workers. They have urged him to listen to expert advice from scientists. And they have also expressed concerns about the economic impact of the outbreak, with both seeking housing-related protections for the public.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have both urged a moratorium on evictions and support temporary rent freezes.
There are also key differences between how they have navigated the crisis.
For Mr. Sanders, the outbreak has offered another reason to push for his signature single-payer health care proposal, “Medicare for all,” which Mr. Biden opposes. Mr. Sanders argues that the moment has revealed extraordinary weaknesses in the American public health system and underscored the need for universal health care.
Mr. Biden, who supports building on the Affordable Care Act with the addition of a public option, has sought to use the crisis to illustrate how he would govern as president, rolling out a public health advisory committee and spending hours receiving briefings focused on the virus and on the economy.
Yet despite ramping up his news media appearances and virtual events, Mr. Biden — the front-runner for the Democratic nomination — has sometimes found himself struggling to break through.
The U.S. death toll passes China’s as questions mount about China’s statistics.
The United States’ coronavirus death toll has moved past China’s official count, a bleak milestone hours before the Trump administration planned to release the models that fueled fears that as many as 200,000 Americans could die because of the pandemic.
Although the count from mainland China — 3,305 deaths — has been a subject of intense skepticism, and although Italy and Spain have reported more than 20,000 fatalities between them, the swelling toll in the United States is a grim indication of the outbreak’s scale.
The U.S., despite widespread concerns about the availability of testing for the virus, already had the highest known number of infections in the world, and the American toll was at least 3,430 deaths, as of late Tuesday morning.
But there are mounting concerns that some countries, including China, North Korea and Indonesia, are not being forthcoming about the scope of their outbreaks.
China on Tuesday announced more than 1,500 coronavirus cases that had not previously been made public, giving in to pressure for greater transparency nearly two weeks after officials there first announced zero new local infections.
Questions about the accuracy of China’s numbers have circulated since the start of the outbreak there, even as the country has touted its apparent success in bringing it under control. The 1,541 newly announced cases were people who had tested positive but were asymptomatic, according to an official at China’s National Health Commission.
China had not previously included asymptomatic patients in its public tallies of confirmed cases, even though the World Health Organization recommends doing so, and many within China and abroad had expressed fear about the true scale of the epidemic.
Tips for getting through the coronavirus marathon.
Experts keep saying to plan for this to last for a long time. And with many communities a week or more into being homebound, the novelty is wearing off. Here are some tips to help fight burnout, manage antsy teenagers, and even freshen up a home to make it better suit current needs.
Reporting and research were contributed by Cara Buckley, David D. Kirkpatrick, Michael Cooper, Alan Blinder, Apoorva Mandavilli, Emma Cott, Karen Zraick, Michael D. Shear, Michael Crowley, James Glanz, Dan Levin, Corina Knoll, Caitlin Dickerson, Elisabetta Povoledo, Mujib Mashal, Asadullah Timory, Najim Rahim, Aurelien Breeden, Constant Méheut, Selam Gebrekidan, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Joanna Berendt, Benjamin Novak, Sarah Mervosh, Katie Rogers, Raphael Minder, Elian Peltier, Steven Erlanger, Iliana Magra, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Anna Schaverien, Maria Abi-Habib, Sameer Yasir, Raymond Zhong, Knvul Sheikh, Melissa Eddy, Choe Sang-Hun, Abdi Latif Dahir, Michael M. Grynbaum, Andy Newman, Katie Glueck, Helene Cooper, Kate Kelly, Peter Eavis, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Andrew Higgins, Adeel Hassan and Richard C. Paddock.
NEWTON, Mass. — The mayor of Holyoke, Mass., got an unsigned letter over the weekend that deeply disturbed him.
“Are you aware of the horrific circumstances at the Soldiers’ Home?” the letter read, and went on to describe serious breaches, like a resident suspected of having the coronavirus, awaiting the results of a test, being sent back to a dementia ward with 20 other veterans.
“Where is the state in addressing what is truly happening in this building?” the letter concluded.
The mayor, Alex Morse, reached out to Bennett Walsh, the superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, a 247-bed, state-managed nursing home for veterans, to figure out what was going on.
But by then, Mr. Morse said, the damage was far more than he had imagined: In a matter of five days, eight veterans had died, apparently without being reported to either state or local officials. Others were sick with the coronavirus; staff members were too.
Mr. Walsh’s explanations left the mayor “incredibly disappointed,” and so did a conversation with Mr. Walsh’s superior, Francisco Urena, Massachusetts’ Secretary of Veterans’ Services. Frustrated and “with a sense of disappointment at the lack of urgency,” Mr. Morse contacted Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
By Monday, state officials had announced a series of major moves.
Mr. Walsh was placed on administrative leave. A new command structure was put in place. The National Guard was brought in to speed up testing of staff and patients.
And that, Mr. Morse said, is increasingly the role of local government in the coronavirus crisis: To keep watch.
“Mayors should make themselves available, should be vigilant in getting as much information as possible,” he said. “Mayors have to know what’s going on within their community. I don’t have oversight over the facility, but it’s still my city.”
By Tuesday, 10 residents and seven staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus, with 25 more awaiting test results. Among 13 recent deaths, tests had come back positive for the virus in six cases, while five were still pending, another was inconclusive, and another came back negative.
Flags in Holyoke, a city of 40,000 around 90 miles west of Boston, were lowered to half-staff on Tuesday in honor of the veterans who died.
“These are people who gave their all, who risked their lives to protect all of us, and they deserved better, frankly,” Mr. Morse said.
State Representative Aaron Vega, whose district includes Holyoke, said he was still trying to understand how the virus could have moved so swiftly through the home’s population without word getting out to local officials.
“All of us in Western Mass support that home, and nobody knew anything,” he said. “The fact that nobody knew anything until it was in the news is trouble.”
Gov. Charlie Baker, in a news conference, said he had not learned of the deaths until Sunday night, when he spoke with Mr. Morse.
“In the short term, our primary focus is going to be on stabilizing and supporting the health and safety of the residents and their families,” he said. “And we will get to the bottom of what happened and when — and by who.”
Messages for Mr. Walsh were not immediately answered, and no one representing the Soldiers’ Home could be immediately reached for comment.
Brooke Karanovich, a spokeswoman from the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said the state “took immediate action” as soon as it learned the extent of the coronavirus outbreak.
Most of those who have died were not identified.
But one of the dead was Theodore A. Monette, 74, a former senior official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who helped coordinate the emergency response in Lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center attacks, and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
A retired U.S. Army colonel who had served in the Vietnam War and Persian Gulf war, Mr. Monette had moved into the facility two months ago after the death of his wife, who had been his caretaker.
“They told me he was probably the highest-ranked guy there,” but so self-deprecating that he would rarely tell anybody his rank, said his daughter, Aimee Monette.
She recalled that one of her father’s physical therapists once Googled him and returned to her afterward in wide-eyed amazement.
Ms. Monette said she had initially learned from a community message board on Facebook that some veterans at the Soldiers’ Home had contracted the virus.
An anxious nurse called her last week, she said, to report that her father’s oxygen levels had dropped. Ms. Monette said they should transfer him to a hospital.
“They’re all dealing with something completely new, and everyone’s scared,” she said. “I don’t want to place blame, but the protocol should have happened faster.” Mr. Monette died on Monday, and no memorial is yet scheduled, she said.
“He deserves the full-on Army taps and the flag and everything,” she said. “But we have to wait.”
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a new rule on automobile fuel efficiency, completing the president’s rollback of Obama-era standards and gutting the federal government’s most important climate change policy.
President Trump lauded the measure, which his administration called the single largest deregulatory initiative of his tenure. He said on Twitter that the move would save lives, lift the economy and help the auto industry.
Great news! American families will now be able to buy safer, more affordable, and environmentally friendly cars with our new SAFE VEHICLES RULE. Get rid of those old, unsafe clunkers. Build better and safer American cars and create American jobs. Buy American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2020
Some of the data in the administration’s own analysis of the rule, however, does not support those claims.
For example, the analysis found that the new rule, when fully in place, could impose an overall cost on the economy of up to $22 billion. It found that, despite saving money on the initial sticker price of a less-fuel-efficient new car, individual motorists could end up spending about $500 more on gasoline over the life of the vehicle. And it concluded that the rule would lead to the loss of roughly 13,000 jobs in the auto industry in a single year, model year 2029.
Critics of the rule vowed to use the numbers in the administration’s analysis against it in a legal fight against the rule. Already, multiple states are preparing to file a joint lawsuit against the rollback in what is expected to ultimately become a landmark case before the Supreme Court.
The Trump rule rolls back a 2012 standard, put in place by the Obama administration, that had required automakers to cut planet-warming tailpipe pollution by selling vehicles that reach an average fuel economy of about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, replacing that with a standard of 40 miles per gallon.
That would require automakers to increase the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles by 1.5 percent annually, compared with the 5 percent annual increase required by the Obama rules, and the roughly 2 percent annual increase that they had achieved absent any regulations.
The heads of the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, which jointly wrote the new rule, gave a full-throated defense of the measure on Tuesday morning.
“This rule will save hundreds of billions of dollars in regulatory costs over the next decade, and it will save thousands of lives,” said Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary. “This means millions of new vehicles will be more affordable to consumers, more will be sold, and this will be good for the economy, as well.”
Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said that the economic and societal benefits of the rule would outweigh the costs and result in “thousands of lives saved.”
Mr. Wheeler cited several numbers from his agency’s 2,673-page analysis of the rule, saying the measure would lead to 3,300 fewer fatalities and 46,000 fewer hospitalizations after crashes over the lifetime of vehicles through model year 2029.
He said that consumers would see a $1,400 reduction in the total cost of owning a new vehicle, even counting the higher total fuel costs, and that the rule would lead to 2.7 million additional new vehicles being sold thanks to increased affordability.
The administration’s analysis said the job losses predicted for model year 2029 could be offset elsewhere in the economy as car companies used the money they would no longer have to spend on cleaner technology.
“The $15 billion in avoided required technology costs can be invested by manufacturers into other areas, or passed on to consumers,” the document says. “Moreover, consumers can either take those cost savings in the form of a reduced vehicle price, or used toward the purchase of specific automotive features.”
Over all, outside experts said that Mr. Wheeler’s rosy numbers did not represent a full and accurate accounting of the costs of the rule.
“They are monkeying around with the numbers and the benefits, undermining a four-decade commitment to on-the-level cost-benefit analysis that has been in place since the Reagan administration,” said Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago who served on Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.
As an example, other experts pointed to the fact that, in the administration’s own analysis, the overall economic impact of rolling back the auto rule could range from a net cost to the economy of $22 billion to a net benefit of $6.4 billion.
That wide range comes from using two different variables in an economic calculation known as the discount rate. Using a 3 percent discount rate, which would place a high value on lost benefits like improved public health from cleaner air, the new Trump plan would cost the economy $22 billion. Under a 7 percent discount rate, which would place a low value on those benefits, the rule would create a net economic benefit of $6.4 billion.
Analysts said those calculations demonstrated that the rule was likely to be more costly to society.
“It is highly unusual to emphasize the 7 percent discount rate — typically we always did calculations with the 3 percent discount rate,” said Margo Oge, a former top official in the E.P.A.’s vehicle emissions program. “That is more representative of the way the federal government does these calculations.”
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a coronavirus testing kit from Bodysphere, one that can detect antibodies related to the virus in only two minutes. The test will be deployed in states around the country, enabling healthcare facilities to test for signs that the patient had contracted the virus at some point. The testing kit is only intended for use by medical professionals, however.
The FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization was given to Bodysphere for its COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test, which is a lateral flow immunoassay that can look for COVID-19 virus antibodies in the blood, plasma, and serum, according to the company. The benefit of an antibody test is that it can be used to determine whether someone previously contracted COVID-19, but then recovered from it without any testing at that time.
The test takes between two and 10 minutes to return results, according to Bodysphere, which explains that its testing kit doesn’t require lab equipment or extensive staff training. Put simply, Bodysphere says its antibodies test is as simple as a blood glucose test, though consumers won’t get direct access to the testing kits.
Thus far, the Bodysphere testing kit has been put to successful use in multiple states; the company is working with state and federal health officials to expand the availability of its testing kit to hospitals and urgent care facilities. It will only take ‘weeks’ to get millions of these testing kits deployed through the United States.
In a statement, Bodysphere CEO Charlton E. Lui said:
When we realized we had the ability to step up and fight this pandemic at a critical point, we focused all our resources on bringing the rapid test kits, masks and other critical supplies to the front lines as soon as possible. Thankfully, when our perpetual quest for improving health put us in a position to deliver this lifesaving product – it became quite clear what we had to do.
CNN faces backlash for skipping Trump’s initial remarks at White House coronavirus briefing – Fox News
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The network, at first, continued with its scheduled programming and started airing the briefing only when the president was wrapping up his comments and handed the podium to coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx. The network carried most of the rest of the briefing, including Trump taking questions later.
MSNBC carried the briefing from the start until shortly before it ended; the briefing lasted over two hours in all.
It came just one day after primetime anchor Don Lemon called for his network not to air the briefings live. However, CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment over its decision.
It was a sobering briefing as Trump and task force officials revealed projections that 100,000 to 240,000 people could die from the virus in the U.S., even if current prevention measures remained in effect.
The network’s move sparked criticism on social media.
“I never want to hear @CNN-ers — everyone from Tapper to Stelter to Lemon — complain about there not being briefings again. They’ve spent over a year pre-pandemic complaining about no daily briefings with a press secretary. And now they’re ORANGE MAN BAD WE CAN’T,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck exclaimed.
“This is one of the newsier and substantive briefings to date,” National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar reacted.
“I remember CNN cutting away from other candidate’s speeches in 2016 to cover an empty airfield waiting for Trump to land for a rally. Today they don’t cover Trump on a day he promised to give a presentation to show why he extended the coronavirus guidelines. Not a great look,” writer Josh Jordan scolded the network.
“CNN isn’t broadcasting the President of the United States giving an update on a pandemic and is instead tweeting about a former president complaining about fuel standards regulation, in case you were wondering about their priorities,” political strategist Drew Holden reacted to a CNN story about former President Obama’s new complaint about the Trump administration rolling back climate-change initiatives.
One of the anti-Trump network’s primetime anchors made passionate remarks Monday night saying the network should not air such briefings live.
“I have said I don’t think that you should really listen to what he says, you should listen to what the experts say,” Lemon told his colleague Chris Cuomo during their nightly handoff. “I’m not actually sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets. I think we should do it afterwards and get the pertinent points to the American people because he’s never, ever going to tell you the truth.”
That apparently was enough to influence his boss, CNN President Jeff Zucker, who defended the network’s decision to air Trump’s coronavirus task force briefings live, despite employees complaining about them.
Citing “multiple sources,” The Daily Beast reported Zucker told staffers that CNN viewers should hear from coronavirus experts including Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who regularly have appeared alongside Trump at the briefings.
“It’s a very difficult decision… as of now, we are going to continue to carry those briefings,” Zucker reportedly told his staff.
Zucker’s defense of airing the briefings came just hours before Lemon’s opposing plea to the network.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to the report.
Should healthy people be wearing masks when they’re outside to protect themselves and others?
Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. And as health care workers around the world face shortages of N95 masks and protective gear, public health officials have warned people not to hoard masks.
But those official guidelines may be shifting.
On Monday during the coronavirus task force briefing, President Trump was asked whether Americans should wear nonmedical masks. “That’s certainly something we could discuss,” he said. “It could be something like that for a limited period of time.”
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., confirmed in an interview with WABE in Atlanta, a National Public Radio member station, on Monday that the agency was reviewing its guidelines on who should wear masks. Citing new data that shows high rates of transmission from people who are infected but show no symptoms, he said the guidance on mask wearing was “being critically re-reviewed, to see if there’s potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected.”
The coronavirus is probably three times as infectious as the flu, Dr. Redfield said. Some people are infected and transmitting the virus probably as long as two days before showing any symptoms, he said. “This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country, because we have asymptomatic transmitters and we have individuals who are transmitting 48 hours before they become symptomatic,” Dr. Redfield said in the interview.
“That’s important, because now you have individuals that may not have any symptoms that can contribute to transmission, and we have learned that in fact they do contribute to transmission,” Dr. Redfield said.
A federal official said Tuesday that the C.D.C.’s review of mask wearing for the public stemmed from a request by the White House coronavirus task force, which is leaning toward recommending it.
One concern, which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, voiced in an interview with CNN, is that such a recommendation could cause even worse shortages of N95 and other medical masks for health care workers, who need them most.
“You don’t want to take masks away from the health care providers who are in a real and present danger of getting infected,” Dr. Fauci, a member of the task force, said on CNN on Tuesday morning.
Nonetheless, Dr. Fauci said: “The idea of getting a much more broad communitywide use of masks outside of the health care setting is under very active discussion at the task force. The C.D.C. group is looking at that very carefully.”
Masks work by stopping infected droplets spewing from the wearer’s nose or mouth, rather than stopping the acquisition of the virus from others. Both medical grade N95 masks and flat face masks are made of a special melt-blown fabric, which is able to stop infectious particles even finer than a micron in diameter. But in many Asian countries, where everyone is encouraged to wear masks, the approach is about crowd psychology and protection.
If everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another, reducing overall community transmission. And places like Hong Kong and Taiwan that jumped to action early with social distancing and universal mask wearing have gotten their cases under much greater control.
There have been troubling reports that indicate the coronavirus may be able to travel farther in the air and stay in the environment longer than is possible by respiratory droplets, which have so far been assumed to be the primary mode of transmission of the virus.
One study in Singapore found traces of the virus in air vents in patient isolation rooms. In another study, researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center detected extensive contamination in patient rooms as well as in air samples collected from the hallways outside rooms.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said in an interview on Sunday that the C.D.C. should put out designs for cloth masks for the public. “The value of the mask isn’t necessarily to protect you from getting sick, although it may offer some protection,” he told CBS News. “It’s to protect you from other people. So when someone who’s infected is wearing a mask, they’re much less likely to transmit infection.”
He said studies involving the flu suggested that you could reduce your ability to spread the flu by about 50 percent if you wore a mask.
This is what the C.D.C.’s guidelines currently say:
“If you are sick: You should wear a face mask, if available, when you are around other people (including before you enter a health care provider’s office). If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then as their caregiver, you should wear a face mask when in the same room with them. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.
“Note: During a public health emergency, face masks may be reserved for health care workers. You may need to improvise a face mask using a scarf or bandana.”
In the radio interview, Dr. Redfield also emphasized that social distancing, staying at least six feet away from others in public spaces, and staying home, were important measures to keep in place for now.
Just after 6:30 on a recent morning, Dr. Henry Nikicicz, an anesthesiologist in Texas, finished an emergency intubation of a man in his 70s who was suffering severe respiratory distress. Then the doctor’s own trouble began.
Stepping out of an elevator after finishing the procedure, Dr. Nikicicz put his respirator face mask back on when he saw a group of people walking down the hallway toward him — reflexively trying to protect himself, and them, should anyone have been infected by the coronavirus.
In the days that followed, Dr. Nikicicz said, he was told that his job was at risk because policy at the hospital where he works, University Medical Center in El Paso, prohibited the use of protective masks in the hallways. “Wearing that mask is essential for me,” Dr. Nikicicz, 60, who has asthma and hypertension, said in an interview.
After he refused to back down, Dr. Nikicicz was removed from the schedule, effectively suspending him from work without pay.
As infection from the coronavirus spreads — and with it, fear — hospitals are facing extraordinary tension between health care providers and administrators. The tension comes against the backdrop of sickness and death for health care professionals, in China, Italy and Spain, and now more than 200 health care workers sick in New York.
Mostly, staff and administrators are fighting over masks, whether they should be worn outside of treatment rooms, and which kind of masks — thinner surgical ones, or heavier respiratory masks. Should they be worn at all times? Only in procedures or while visiting patients? There is also some quibbling over testing and isolation: whom to test and when, and whom to isolate, given limited bed space? Whom to send home if a staff member has symptoms, and whom to require to work?
Some hospitals allow masks outside of treatment rooms and some even make them mandatory. But a number of others say they aren’t necessary at all times and don’t allow them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance has changed several times. Currently, it says medical professionals don’t need to wear masks all the time. It also says that if there’s not enough protective equipment available, homemade solutions like bandannas or scarfs are OK for health care workers to wear.
On Tuesday Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a leading member of the federal government’s coronavirus response task force, told CNN that the C.D.C. was considering another change: it is reviewing its guidelines on whether the general public should wear masks.
Amid the confusion, furious and terrified, doctors and nurses say they must trust their own judgment. Administrators counter that doctors and nurses, motivated by fear, are writing their own rules.
Some doctors believe that hospital administrators are simply trying to protect their institution’s image and don’t want to be seen as a facility where dangerous germs are rampant.
When Dr. Nikicicz insisted on wearing a mask, he received a text from his boss, the chief of anesthesia, accusing him of overreacting. The text read: “UR WEARING IT DOWN A PUBLIC HALL. THERES NO MORE WUHAN VIRUS IN THE HALLS AT THE HOSPITAL THAN WALMART. MAYBE LESS.”
On midday Monday, the hospital confirmed in a statement that “Dr. Nikicicz has been removed from his rotation/work schedule for insubordination.” But then, later in the day, after the hospital was asked for comment, Dr. Nikicicz said he was told by his boss he had been reinstated and could wear a surgical mask around the hospital and an N95 for procedures.
The circumstances leading to tension vary around the country.
An emergency room doctor, Dr. Ming Lin, wrote on Facebook that he was fired on Friday from his job at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash., after making public his concerns about insufficient protections and testing at the hospital.
The hospital said it had no comment about Dr. Lin’s dismissal.
Administrators at a different hospital in Seattle, the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Medical Center, threatened to indefinitely suspend an anesthesiologist, Dr. Oliver Small, for wearing a surgical mask when not directly involved in patient care, such as walking the hallway.
“He got called into meetings with administration of Swedish because they don’t want to panic employees into thinking they need to wear masks for protection,” Dr. Small’s wife, Jessica Green, wrote on Facebook last week. “He is wearing a surgical mask as a precaution in case he is an asymptomatic carrier of Covid, as many people are, and he does not want to risk infection in uninfected patients.”
The hospital asked him to attend a meeting in which administrators told Dr. Small he could take off the mask or stop coming to work, Ms. Green wrote, adding, “What is wrong with our health care system????!!!”
Dr. Small confirmed the story but said that the hospital had since changed its position on masks and that he was “very pleased” by the outcome. Since the incident, the hospital now allows “universal masking” — the ability to wear masks in any patient area.
The hospital said it had no comment about Dr. Small. It said it has changed its policy as “we learn more about this disease.”
“Despite a limited body of evidence showing its effectiveness, and while keeping a strong focus on reuse and conservation, we have decided to implement universal masking as a reasonable strategy, as long as our mask supplies allow,” the hospital said in an email statement.
The intensifying tension falls into a larger context: In recent years, doctors have felt increasingly like employees working for cost-cutting companies putting profit ahead of medicine. That tension appears to have found an almost volcanic moment with the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s been a loss of autonomy and a denigration going on for a couple of decades now. We’ll take a lot,” said Dr. Christopher Garofalo, a family doctor in North Attleboro, Mass, who holds several regional leadership positions in medicine, including serving as the state’s delegate to the American Medical Association. More than half of physicians now are employees of hospital systems or big groups, he said, a systemic change that has left doctors feeling less empowered and frustrated.
Covid-19, he said, “is causing it to erupt.”
Doctors at a handful of institutions provided communications from administrators that show a face-off with doctors.
An email sent from a midlevel manager at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s elite hospitals, to a group of doctors warned them not to “go rogue” and wear surgical masks around the hospital. “These are emotional times, and we need to control our emotions,” it said.
Dr. Jim Merlino, a top administrator and the chief transformation officer at the Cleveland Clinic, said the language was “not good communication.”
He also said that while he was aware that some doctors at his institution and around the country were frustrated, he contended the vast majority were not.
“People are afraid and what we have to do is set the record straight: It’s OK to be afraid but let’s accept we’re making the right decisions,” Dr. Merlino said. “We have to tamp the fear down. Otherwise we’ll never survive this.”
He said decisions should be made based on clear scientific evidence. The Cleveland Clinic interprets that current evidence as concluding that it is not necessary to wear surgical masks unless dealing with a high-risk situation.
But other administrators interpret the evidence differently. Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island just changed its guidelines to require such masks.
“We are now recommending that all caregivers wear a surgical mask with ear loops while at work. This practice should be used in open hospital spaces,” the new guidance reads.
President Trump and top health officials are urging Americans to stay away from each other because it could be the difference between life and death. The president announced tougher guidelines aimed at flattening the curve of coronavirus cases. Weija Jiang reports.
A herd of wild goats has taken over the deserted streets of a seaside town of Llandudno, Wales, as citizens remain in their homes to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The goats have been spotted in the town center, in front of churches and even nibbling on hedges in front lawns.
The animals are part of a wild herd of more than 100 Kashmiri goats that live around the nearby Great Orme headland, BBC News reported. The headland is a huge 679-foot piece of limestone that extends out from the surrounding sea, according to the Great Orme Country Park’s tourism site.
Typically the herd ventures into the Welsh town of Llandudno when inclement weather hits, according to the BBC. But the animals have recently been spotted wandering the town more frequently.
The creatures have been providing plenty of entertainment for people in the town, with videos and photos of the bold goats popping up social media.
“Well we have NO GUESTS, and the GREAT ORME GOATS expect to stay and eat for free!” the Lansdowne House, a local hotel, wrote on Instagram on Monday. “Least they use the parking white lines to respect 2m Social Distancing!”
“I, for one, welcome our new goat overlords,” tweeted Andrew Stuart, who works for the Manchester Evening News. Stuart has been posting regular updates about the goats since last week.
“They’re scared of me (a human) in this. They don’t like people,” Stuart tweeted alongside video of the goats running from him. “They usually only come down from the Great Orme when it’s windy, and only the back streets at the top of Mostyn Street. Now lockdown means it’s empty, they’re going further than ever.”
Town Councillor Carol Marubbi told BBC News she also believes the herd has come into the town due to the lack of people out and about.
“There are very few visitors on the top [of the Orme], so they have come down in their droves,” she said, according to the BBC. “There isn’t anyone else around so they probably decided they may as well take over.”
She said the town is “very proud” of the goats and that their antics have been “free entertainment” to citizens as they remain inside.
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is theto test positive for coronavirus, ordered a last week. All businesses, other than “essential” ones, were instructed to close and citizens are now only permitted to leave their residences to get essential supplies and exercise once per day.
Authorities have permission to fine people if they violate the rules and the power to split up gatherings over two people. The measures came following weeks of criticism that Johnson’s government did not act quickly enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
There are more than 25,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom and over 1,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 170 people have recovered.
LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure. Doctors perform them to detect or treat cervical cancer.
During a beatrice LEEP, an electrical current passes through a loop of wire. A doctor uses the wire to cut abnormal cells from the cervix. They send a sample of these cells to a laboratory to detect signs of cancer or other conditions.
This article will describe what to expect during a LEEP, as well as the side effects and recovery.
A LEEP can help diagnose or treat cervical cancer. A doctor may suggest a LEEP if a person is having symptoms that indicate a problem with the cervix or vagina.
They may also suggest a LEEP if they find abnormalities during a pelvic examination or a Pap smear.
The purpose of a LEEP is to extract abnormal cells for further testing. The results will inform a doctor about whether a person has an underlying illness and what steps they should take next.
A LEEP can help distinguish between precancerous cells and other abnormal cell types, such as polyps.
Precancerous cells are abnormal cells that may eventually develop into cancer. Cervical polyps are small growths of tissue that can form in the cervix. Polyps are usually benign, which means they are not cancerous.
A LEEP can also detect conditions that increase the risk of cervical cancer, such as human papillomavirus, which is commonly known as HPV.
What to expect
A person will undergo a LEEP in a sterile environment, such as a doctor’s practice or hospital. If a person has recently had a fever or any unusual vaginal bleeding, it is vital to inform the doctor before the procedure.
The doctor will usually perform a LEEP when a person is not menstruating, as this will provide a better view of the cervix.
At the start of the procedure, the doctor will administer a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort.
The person will then lie on their back and place their legs on stirrups. The doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina. A speculum is a small metal device that opens the vagina, allowing the doctor to examine the vagina and cervix.
Some procedures involve the use of a colposcope, which magnifies tissues inside the vagina and cervix to help a doctor see better.
Occasionally, a doctor may also apply a vinegar solution to the cervix. This can make abnormal tissues more visible. It may cause a tingling sensation in the area, but it should not be painful.
Following this preparation, the doctor will insert the loop device through the vagina to reach the cervix. They will extract abnormal cells by gently scraping the surface of the cervix. One or two passes of the loop should be sufficient to extract a sample.
It is possible for the procedure to cause feelings of faintness. If this happens, it is crucial to inform the doctor and remain calm and still. Sudden movements may cause further complications.
Once the procedure is complete, a person should rest for 10-15 minutes. The doctor will send the samples to a laboratory for testing.
LEEP procedure Recovery and aftercare
It can take several weeks to fully recover from a LEEP. During this time, a person may experience some bleeding, discolored discharge, and mild abdominal cramping.
Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce abdominal discomfort. If the cramping becomes severe, contact a doctor immediately.
There may be some bleeding during a LEEP, but the doctor will cauterize the area to seal any broken blood vessels and reduce the chance of substantial bleeding. They may also apply a paste to help prevent bleeding.
Some bleeding can, however, occur for up to 2 weeks after the procedure. If a person experiences heavy bleeding, they should contact a doctor immediately.
The doctor will usually advise against putting anything into the vagina, including tampons, for the first few weeks after surgery. Also, avoid strenuous activity during recovery.
Several follow-up visits will be necessary so that the doctor can monitor healing.
Side effects and risks
A LEEP is a very safe procedure. Some people may experience mild abdominal cramps and bleeding during recovery.
In rare cases, other risks include:
scarring of the cervix
difficulties getting pregnant
a preterm birth
the birth of an underweight baby
Some factors can complicate a LEEP, including:
inflammation around the cervix
It is essential to inform the doctor about any of these factors before undergoing the procedure.
A LEEP is useful for screening and treating cervical cancer. The procedure is relatively quick and painless.
Recovery can take several weeks, and a person may experience some discomfort. Serious complications are rare.
Getting the results from a LEEP procedure can help a person and their doctor make an informed decision about the next steps.
Coronavirus Travel Countries across the world have imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This list, pulled from official government reports and the United States State Department, will be updated as new measures are announced.
On March 15, the Kenyan government announced the suspension of all travelers from countries that have reported Covid-19 cases. Only Kenyan citizens will be allowed into the country “with self-quarantine or government-designated facility,” officials said on Twitter. The measure is in place for 30 days.
“All who arrived within the last 14 days must self-quarantine,” officials added.
Morocco Coronavirus Travel
As of March 15, the Moroccan government has suspended all flights to Algeria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, as well as passenger ferry services. The government also shut down the land borders with Ceuta and Melilla, the autonomous Spanish territories on the coast of Morocco.
Travelers arriving in Morocco “will be asked to fill out a health questionnaire on arrival and may be subject to temperature and other screening,” according to officials.
On March 14, the Namibian government announced that it would be suspending inbound and outbound flights from Qatar, Ethiopia and Germany for 30 days.
On March 15, President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and announced that all travelers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.
Additionally, any foreign traveler who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa. As of March 16, 35 out of 53 of the country’s land ports of entry will be closed, as well as two of its eight sea ports.
Starting March 17, Argentina is halting all flights from Europe and the United States for at least 30 days.
People arriving to Argentina from areas with a significant number of cases — including the United States, Europe, South Korea, Japan and Iran — will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days.
Brazil Coronavirus Travel
As of March 14, Brazil had not imposed travel restrictions. Its health ministry recommended that all passengers who arrive on international flights remain at home for at least seven days and seek medical help if they develop coronavirus symptoms.
Canada has not banned the entry of any foreigners. But it has required that anyone arriving in Canada from Hubei Province in China, Italy or Iran “self-isolate and stay at home” for 14 days and contact public health authorities within 24 hours of arrival.
The government added that all other passengers returning from overseas consider self-isolating for 14 days.
The government announced on March 13 that it would shut down the seven border crossings along its border with Venezuela. Starting March 16, Colombia will bar entry to any foreigner who has been to Europe or Asia within the past 14 days. Colombians who return from affected areas will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
On March 11, El Salvador announced it would bar entry to all foreigners, except accredited diplomats and legal permanent residents.
Effective March 16, Guatemala will bar the entry of citizens of the United States, Canada, South Korea, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, China and Iran.
As of March 14, Mexico had not imposed any travel restrictions.
Peru on March 12 announced it would halt all flights from Asia and Europe, but it did not specify when the measure would take effect.
On March 11 the United States barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries during the previous 14 days.
The ban applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Effective March 16, the ban will apply to foreign nationals departing from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
As of March 13, all American citizens and legal permanent residents who have been in high-risk areas and return to the United States are required to fly to one of the following 13 airports:
Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
On March 13, Uruguay announced that all passengers arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran, Spain, Italy, France and Germany must go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
On March 12, Venezuela announced it would suspend all flights from Colombia and European countries for at least a month.
Travelers in China who have recently visited South Korea, Japan and Italy — countries with “severe outbreaks” — and are headed toward Beijing or Shanghai, or provinces such as Guangdong and Sichuan, will be quarantined for two weeks in a Chinese facility.
As of March 13, the Indian government suspended most travel and tourism visas, with the exception of “diplomatic, official, U.N. or International Organizations, employment and project visas” until April 15.
Additionally, the country is enforcing a two-week quarantine on all passengers, including Indian nationals, “arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany” after Feb. 15.
As of March 15, Japan had banned entry for foreign travelers with Chinese passports issued by Hubei and Zhejiang provinces as well as those who had visited regions in China that have affected by the virus, South Korea, Iran or Italy within the last 14 days.
Singapore As of March 15, “all new visitors with recent travel history to France, Germany, Italy and Spain within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into or transit through Singapore,” according to officials.
Singapore residents and pass-holders who have been to those countries in the past 14 days will be issued a “Stay-Home Notice,” which will require them to quarantine for two weeks.
South Korea Coronavirus
South Korea has restricted the entry of travelers with passports from China’s Hubei Province as well as anyone who has visited that region in the past 14 days. Additionally, Korean visas that were issued to travelers in Hubei are canceled.
Visa-free entry to Jeju Island for all foreigners, as well as visa-free entry for Chinese nationals and travelers who are headed to China, are both suspended.
Thailand Coronavirus Travel
As of March 12, travelers from China, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy and Iran who are headed to Thailand need to present a health certificate confirming a negative coronavirus test when checking in before their flight. These travelers must also show proof of insurance with coverage of at least $100,000.
All passengers arriving in Thailand will need to answer a questionnaire and their temperatures will be taken. Anyone transiting the restricted countries for less than 12 hours will not have to present a certificate or fill out the questionnaire, but they will be subject to enhanced screening.
As of March 13, according to officials, “travelers entering the Kingdom of Thailand who have been in the United States within the prior 14 days are subject to self-monitoring and reporting requirements.”
As ofMarch 15, Vietnam will refuse visitors from Europe’s Schengen Area and Britain, according to officials.
Australia and New Zealand Coronavirus Travel
On March 15, the Australian government announced that all international arrivals will have to self-isolate for 14 days and that cruise ships arriving from foreign ports will be banned for 30 days.
New Zealand announced tight border control measures on March 14 that include requiring all incoming travelers, including its own citizens, to self-isolate for two weeks.
Israel has denied foreign nationals entry into the country as of March 12, but “permission to enter Israel will be considered for foreign nationals who can prove that they have a place and are able to go into a 14-day isolation.”
According to officials the exception does not apply to foreign nationals coming from: China, South Korea, Thailand, Italy, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Egypt.
As of March 17, all flights, excluding commercial air freight traffic, will be suspended, according to officials. The country’s land and sea borders are also closed to travelers.
The country also prohibits foreigners who were in China, Iran, Italy or South Korea within the previous 14 days before arriving in Jordan from entering the country, as well as anyone who had been Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. And “starting on March 16, all foreigners arriving from France, Germany or Spain will be prohibited from entering Jordan,” according to officials.
On March 11, the Lebanese government announced the suspension of all flights departing to Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea, according to officials.
As of March 15, the government of Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights, inbound and outbound, for two weeks, according to officials.
Citizens from countries outside the European Union who have been in coronavirus hot spots, which the Austrian Foreign Ministry currently lists as France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and parts of China in the past 14 days will have to present a medical certificate confirming a negative test result for the new coronavirus upon entry to the country. The Austrian government also announced that all passengers, regardless of citizenship, will also have to provide a certificate confirming a negative test result if they’re entering Austria from Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (from March 16).
The certificate, which must be dated within four days of arrival, needs to be signed by a licensed medical practitioner and be in English, German, Italian or French.
Travelers arriving in Croatia from specific hard-hit areas, such as Italy, Iran and China’s Hubei province, must spend two weeks in government quarantine facilities at the expense of the traveler, according to officials.
The Croatian government also implemented health monitoring for passengers from several countries affected by virus-like Spain, the United States, and Sweden. Travelers from these countries should self-isolate for two weeks, according to officials, “and report their condition to the nearest epidemiologist for further instructions.”
The Czech Republic, which declared a state of emergency, has banned passengers from “high-risk countries” and prohibited Czech citizens from visiting these places.
As of March 14, bus, train and boat transport from the Czech Republic to Germany and Austria was also banned. Air travel was also partially restricted, according to officials.
Denmark closed its borders to most foreign travelers for the next month as of March 14.
“All tourists, all travel, all vacations, and all foreigners who cannot demonstrate a credible reason to enter Denmark will be denied entrance at the Danish border,” Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister, said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
Starting March 16, Germany will close its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the country’s interior minister said on March 15.
In Italy, where the virus has taken hold and already killed more than 1,000 people, government officials implemented strict orders placing the country on lockdown in an attempt to stop the spreading infection.
As of March 3, passengers with a temperature higher than 99.5 degrees were not allowed to board flights to the United States.
All travelers flying into Italy are subject to temperature screening in Italy’s major airports, and the country has suspended flights from China and Taiwan.
Netherlands Coronavirus Travel
On March 13, the Dutch government announced the suspension of flights from “risk countries” — mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. The ban is in place through at least March 27.
On March 12 the Norwegian Directorate of Health said that regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, anyone coming into Norway from outside Nordic countries should be quarantined at home for two weeks from their arrival. The measure is set to last through March 26.
On March 13, the municipality for Oslo, the nation’s capital, said on its website that “foreign travelers from countries outside the Nordics arriving at Oslo airport will have to return home.” Reuters reported.
As of March 15, Poland will ban foreigners from the country, suspend international air and rail services for citizens and border controls will be temporarily restored, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland said on Twitter. All Polish citizens returning from abroad must voluntarily quarantine for two weeks, according to officials.
The Russian government banned entry of Chinese nationals, except for transit, on Feb. 20, and on Feb. 28 it banned the entry of all Iranian citizens. On March 1, Russia restricted travel by South Koreans, mandating they enter the country only via Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. As of March 13, the government banned Italian citizens from entry into Russia.
“Effective March 16, air travel between Russia and countries of the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland will be limited to flights between Moscow and capital cities,” according to officials.
On March 14, Russian officials announced plans to close the country’s land border with Poland and Norway to foreigners, according to Reuters.
Slovakia Coronavirus Travel
The Slovak Republic closed all three international airports on March 12, and since March 13, “all the persons coming to Slovakia from abroad are obliged to remain in quarantine for 14 days.”
Additionally, international bus and rail travel have been suspended, according to officials.
Turkey Coronavirus Travel
As of March 15, Turkey has suspended all flights to and from Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and South Korea. Foreign travelers “who were physically present in these countries in the last 14 days” are also barred from entering the country. Turkish citizens, including dual citizens, are exempt, but they could be subject to a quarantine requirement, according to officials.
The Turkish government also closed its land borders with Iran and Iraq, as well as the Dilucu and Sarp land border crossings.
On March 14, Ukraine announced the suspension of all commercial passenger travel, including flights, trains, and buses, to and from Ukraine, starting March 17. The Ukrainian government said all foreigners would be barred from entering the country starting March 16.
If you know of a travel restriction that should be on this list, please email us, including an official source, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the coronavirus began:
KABUL, Afghanistan — When the coronavirus began spreading, many Afghans were in denial even after it became an obvious and deadly crisis in neighboring Iran.
Some touted their piety as a shield — they already washed and prayed five times a day. Others, even some officials, joked that the health system had been so bad, the country already so infested with germs and bacteria, that a new invading virus simply could not make it far.
That denial is crumbling now, as the 21st positive case has been announced in the country. Testing remains extremely limited — only roughly 250 tests have been conducted thus far — so Afghan officials and lawmakers fear that the number of infected is much higher in the absence of capacity to detect and slow the spread of the virus.
Most worrying is that Iran has disregarded the Afghan government’s plea to restrict border crossings, with as many as 15,000 people still crossing into Afghanistan daily. All of the 21 confirmed coronavirus cases in Afghanistan involved travelers who had returned from Iran, according to Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the Afghan health ministry.
The virus is spreading at a time of raging war and a political crisis that has stalled governance in Afghanistan. Impoverished, with its health and nutrient systems gutted by the conflict, the country has always been extremely vulnerable.
The first positive case was reported in Herat Province, which shares a large border with Iran and is the main entry point to Afghanistan. Now, six other provinces have also reported cases of the virus, raising fears that infections have spread across the country without containment.
Much of the fear stems from the fact that Afghanistan hasn’t even been able to get the situation in the worst-hit province under control, with medical staff lacking some of the most basic equipment and government officials decrying the continuing flow of people from Iran and the lack of funding.
“We are in a situation where the politicians and even some parts of the government don’t feel how grave the danger is,” Abdul Qayoum Rahimi, Herat’s governor, said on Saturday. “If we don’t start acting, I am afraid there might come a day where we can’t even collect the dead.”
Mr. Rahimi lamented the fact that his province, at the center of the concern, still lacked basic funding. The central government, in a meeting chaired by President Ashraf Ghani two weeks ago, announced that it had allocated $25 million for measures to prevent the spread of the virus and that a large share of it would be spent on Herat. But Mr. Rahimi said his province had only received $130,000 — and that sum hadn’t officially hit Herat’s accounts yet.
“We have had to borrow from companies to supply our hospitals,” he said.
In Herat, the doctors at the regional hospital that have dealt with processing the suspected cases said they were simply overwhelmed already. On Sunday, they had no masks until 11 a.m.
“I haven’t gotten close to my own wife and children after I came from work, isolating myself in a room in case I am carrying it since we didn’t have the right equipment,” said one doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing government retaliation. “When we say we are facing a shortage of equipment and that our staff is low, the officials say you can work or you can resign.”
The virus could also derail efforts to start direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
That process was already complicated. For weeks now, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy, has been in Kabul to try to work out a compromise over releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners, which the Afghan government has resisted, and getting the divided Afghan factions to agree on a united negotiating team.
The direct negotiations were scheduled to begin on March 10, with Qatar, Norway, and Germany talked about as likely hosts of the talks. Now, between the ongoing political crisis in Kabul and the advent of travel restrictions around the world because of the coronavirus, it is unclear when the talks could start even if the Afghan government side got back on track.
Mr. Ghani’s government had canceled large gatherings before his planned March 9 inauguration out of a fear of the spread of the virus and has continued that ban since. But thousands were invited to the palace for the oath-taking. Mr. Abdullah, a medical doctor who has disputed Mr. Ghani’s victory and declared a parallel government, held his own inauguration next door, which was also attended by thousands.
Social distancing is already a difficult task in a deeply communal society where homes often contain several generations of family members.
One patient in Balkh Province who had tested positive for the virus even fled the hospital in the middle of the night to return to his family.
“He was afraid of the word ‘quarantine.’ He ripped open the net on the window late at night and escaped to his home, which is in a Taliban area,” said Dr. Amin Sherpor, the senior health official leading the efforts against the virus in the province. “Eventually, by phone, we spoke to him and his family and convinced him to return. He is back with us now.”
There were concerns that the American-led military coalition might also be exposed to the virus in Afghanistan.
A U.S. defense official said while any military personnel at risk of flulike symptoms have access to on-base medical care, COVID-19 tests were not available for them in Afghanistan. Samples of anyone with high-risk symptoms would be sent to labs in Germany. A batch of 300 U.S. soldiers who had returned from Afghanistan are being quarantined at Fort Bragg for 14 days, said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, a spokesman for the unit.
The task of distancing is even harder for soldiers amid a raging war. The Taliban is a guerrilla force, spread in small bands of dozens of fighters. But the Afghan Army and police are a regular force distributed in close quarters in bases, barracks, and dining halls of hundreds and thousands. They might be one of the most vulnerable groups, their immune systems weakened by exhaustion and poor diets and hygiene.
Interviews with members of the security forces around the country showed a clear split between what their officers and generals were saying on measures being taken, and what the soldiers were actually seeing. Many senior officials said they had started supplying the barracks with disinfectants and canceling large gatherings. The soldiers said they hadn’t seen much beyond simple posters on personal hygiene taped in some barracks.
“How can anyone help us on the front lines? My personnel is busy fighting, surrounded by the enemy. God knows they don’t even know that coronavirus is spreading,” said Maj. Gulzar Kohi, who leads the Afghan Army unit in a restive district of northern Baghlan Province.
Major Kohi said his fighters had faced constant fire from the Taliban over several days, with the previous night’s battle, which left two of his men dead, lasting until the early hours of the morning.
“Coronavirus be damned,” said the major, who said he hadn’t slept in two days. “I am busy fighting another virus — the Taliban.”
Mujib Mashal and Najim Rahim reported from Kabul and Asadullah Timory from Herat. Reporting was contributed by David Zucchino, Fahim Abed, and Fatima Faizi in Kabul, Taimoor Shah in Kandahar and Farooq Jan Mangal in Khost.
Here’s what you need to know:
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
By Sunday morning, known cases of coronavirus in the United States exceeded 2,700, spread across 49 states, prompting the mass cancellation of events and the reordering of American public life. Just one week ago, fewer than 500 cases of the illness had been diagnosed in the country.
The scope of the public health crisis became even clearer over the weekend as officials in Louisiana, New York and Virginia reported their first deaths tied to the coronavirus. Only West Virginia was without a single diagnosis.
Nationwide, businesses, schools and public officials continued to struggle with an outbreak that has left more than 50 people dead in the country and upended nearly all aspects of public life. More than 400 new cases have been reported in each of the last three days alone.
At Columbia in New York, the university’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, said that “one of the members of our community has been infected.” In a statement, the university asked those able to leave their dorms to do so by Tuesday.
Officials announced the deaths of a woman in New York City and a man in Rockland County on Saturday, the state’s first attributed to the virus. And two members of the State Assembly tested positive for the coronavirus. Pressure is growing for broader shutdown of New York City.
Some elected officials said on Sunday that the city was moving far too slowly to place restrictions on public life. They pointed out that bars and restaurants on Saturday night in many parts of the city were still relatively crowded, elevating the risk that the coronavirus would continue to spread rapidly.
City Council members have begun calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to close restaurants and bars. “Something has snapped in the last 12 hours,” Councilman Mark D. Levine, a Manhattan Democrat, tweeted. “Today must be the day we move to #ShutDownNYC.”
Mr. Cuomo appeared to acknowledge the pressure. “The decision each of makes now will impact us all tomorrow,” he wrote on Twitter. “STAY HOME.”
In the Omaha, Neb., area, officials reported the first known instance of community spread. In Illinois, a nursing facility where a woman tested positive for the virus was placed on lockdown. And in Pittsburgh, where the first local cases were announced on Saturday, city leaders urged bars to promote social distancing by limiting the number of people they allowed inside.
Two American emergency-room doctors — one in Washington State and one in New Jersey — were in critical condition with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the American College of Emergency Physicians said on Saturday. Dr. William Jaquis, the organization’s president, said it was unclear whether the doctor in Washington, who is in his 40s, had contracted the virus at the hospital. The physician in Paterson, N.J., who is 70, had been leading his hospital’s emergency preparedness.
Georgia said on Saturday that it would push back its presidential primary, originally scheduled for March 24, until May 19 — becoming the second U.S. state to delay voting in response to the outbreak. Officials in the next four states scheduled to vote in the primary — Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio — have indicated that they intend to hold their elections on Tuesday as planned.
Elsewhere, officials were making provisions to house and isolate large numbers of people with the virus. But when officials in Washington State chose two locations to house people exposed to the virus, they picked poorer neighborhoods, drawing ire from local officials who noted that their communities had not yet experienced any cases. Dana Ralph, the mayor of Kent, south of Seattle, said residents wondered whether their neighborhoods were being sacrificed to protect wealthier ones.
The closing of schools in more than a dozen states continues to create concerns that children may miss meals and parents may not be able to stay home from work.After Los Angeles Unified School District said that it was closing, school officials said they would open 40 family resource centers to provide child care and meals to students whose parents cannot get out of work. North Carolina on Saturday became the latest state to close its public schools.
The Bureau of Prisons, which runs federal prisons that hold more than 175,000 people, suspended all visits to prisoners for 30 days, including most by lawyers.
At U.S. airports, passengers coming from Europe describe long waits and confusion.
As the U.S. government rushed on Saturday to implement President Trump’s restrictions on travel from Europe, part of an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, chaos ensued at some of America’s biggest airports.
In Dallas, travelers posted photos on Twitter of long winding lines in the airport. In New York, customs agents in paper and plastic masks boarded a flight from Paris. And in Chicago, where travelers reported standing in line for hours, Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois tagged Mr. Trump in a series of angry tweets about the long waits, saying, “The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW.”
Paige Hardy, an American student who left behind her graduate studies in London because she feared a broader travel ban, said a series of confusing announcements in the air and upon landing in Dallas led to alarm on the plane late Saturday. She posted a video on Twitter of travelers being asked to raise their hands if they had been in mainland Europe. Because of the delay, she also missed her connecting flight.
“It truly felt like an apocalyptic scenario,” said Ms. Hardy, who left many of her belongings behind in England and was unsure whether she would be able to return.
The confusion came as concern spread about the coronavirus pandemic, which has now been identified in more than 2,700 people in the United States and has prompted Mr. Trump to declare a national emergency.
“At this time, we are working quickly with our partners to operationalize a plan which will outline where these travelers will be routed and what the screening process will be,” said Marcus Hubbard, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, said on Twitter that he was aware of the delays and was working to add staffing.
American Airlines said on Saturday that it would suspend almost all of its long-haul international flights beginning Monday in response to decreased demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. restrictions on international travel. The airline said the suspensions would last until at least May 6 and would represent a 75 percent decline in international capacity compared with the same period last year.
The Vatican will close Holy Week celebrations to the public.
The Vatican said on Sunday that its traditional services during the week before Easter, which usually draw tens of thousands of people, would not be open to the public next month.
Holy Week, the week before Easter — which falls on April 12 this year — features a series of events presided over by the pope, including a celebration of Good Friday, which in recent years has been held at the Colosseum in Rome.
Since Italy began locking down cities to try to contain the coronavirus, two of the pope’s weekly events, which also draw large crowds — his Wednesday general audience and his Sunday Prayer — have been livestreamed from the library in the papal palace. Last Sunday, the prayer was shown on two large screens in St. Peter’s Square, which has since been closed.
The Vatican said those two events would continue to be shown by livestream on the Vatican News website through Easter. It gave no details about how the Holy Week celebrations would be carried out.
Italy has been the European country hardest hit by the virus, with more than 21,000 people infected and 1,441 deaths.
Yet even as the country is locked down, Italians are still getting their voices heard. At precisely noon on Saturday, millions of Italians, from Piedmont to Sicily, leaned out of windows or stood on their balconies to applaud the health care workers in hospitals and other front-line medical staff who have been working round the clock to care for coronavirus patients.
Several politicians have tested positive for the coronavirus, and on Friday, Giorgio Valoti, the 70-year-old mayor of Cene, a small town northeast of Milan, died. His son, Alessandro, announced the death on Facebook.
Nike will close its stores in the U.S. and beyond.
Nike said on Sunday that it would shut all of its stores in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia from Monday until March 27 to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Stores in South Korea, Japan, most of China and in many other countries will continue normal operations, the company said in a statement.
The National Basketball Association had suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, and this weekend the Detroit Pistons said that one of its players had tested positive in a preliminary result. The Pistons player, whose name was not released, has been in self-isolation since Wednesday and will remain “under the care of team medical staff,” the team said.
The Nike store closings come days after the company encouraged its workers in the United States to work from home if possible, starting on Monday.
They followed similar moves by companies like Urban Outfitters, which said on Saturday that it would shut all its stores until further notices, and Apple, which said that would close its stores outside mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for two weeks.
President Trump tests negative for the coronavirus.
President Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor said in a memo released Saturday evening. The president’s health had been a concern since he spent time at his Florida resort last weekend with a Brazilian official who was later found to have the illness.
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, the president remains symptom-free,” said Dr. Sean P. Conley, Mr. Trump’s doctor, in the memo.
At a news conference earlier Saturday, Mr. Trump said that he had been tested for the coronavirus on Friday night and was awaiting the results. Vice President Mike Pence also announced the extension of the administration’s European travel ban to Britain and Ireland.
Whether the president would be tested had been a matter of speculation since it emerged that a member of a Brazilian delegation that visited Mar-a-Lago had tested positive. Two other people who were with the president at Mar-a-Lago have tested positive, and various members of Congress have been self-isolating after interacting with some of those people.
Mr. Trump said he had decided to be tested after his news conference on Friday, during which he declared a national emergency.
It was unclear whether Mr. Pence, who interacted with some of the infected Mar-a-Lago visitors, had known that the president was tested. Asked about his own status, Mr. Pence said, “I’m going to speak immediately after this news conference with the White House physician’s office,” which he said had previously advised him that neither he nor his wife needed to be tested.
The White House has begun checking the temperature of anyone in close contact with Mr. Trump or Mr. Pence. White House staff checked the temperature of everyone arriving at the news conference.
Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak
The virus has infected more than 154,800 people in at least 130 countries.
Spain moves toward a lockdown, and France closes most businesses.
Spain and France announced drastic countrywide restrictions this weekend to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Spain on Saturday ordered all residents to confine themselves to their homes — and to leave only to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or assist older people and others in need.
On Sunday, officials reported 6,400 cases of coronavirus and 193 deaths, cementing its status as the European country hit the hardest after Italy, which on Saturday reported 175 new deaths, with a total of 1,441, and 2,795 new cases, with the total crossing 21,000.
The Spanish government has ordered all schools, restaurants and bars to close, extending measures that various regional authorities, including in Madrid and in Catalonia, had taken on Friday.
Amid concerns that the crisis is fueling territorial tensions within Spain, the country’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, was to meet with its regional leaders via video link on Sunday to discuss how to enforce a nationwide state of emergency. Politicians from the Basque and Catalan regions have warned his central government not to take over the management of health care, which is under the remit of regional administrations.
The Spanish authorities said that Mr. Sánchez’s wife, Begoña Gómez, had tested positive for the virus.
France announced the closing of all “non-indispensable” businesses as of midnight, including restaurants, bars and movie theaters, after a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases. French cases doubled over the last 72 hours to about 4,500. There have been 91 deaths, and 300 coronavirus patients are in critical condition — half of them under 50 years of age.
On Sunday, France’s transportation minister said the country would begin reducing plane, train and bus services between cities. Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, in a news conference with Ecology Minister Élisabeth Borne, said cargo services would continue, as would city metro services.
“We have to limit our movements as much as possible,” Ms. Borne said. “Long-distance trips must be kept to what is strictly necessary.”
Mr. Djebbari said the number of long-distance trains would be cut by half, while several airport terminals in Paris would be closed.
Under pressure to add stricter restrictions, Britain will ask older residents to self-isolate.
In an open letter, nearly 350 scientists and doctors called on him to immediately impose the kind of social distancing steps that countries like Italy, France and Spain have adopted.
They warned that Britain’s approach — in which the government has talked of impending moves like quarantining older residents and closing schools but pushed off the timing for 10 days or longer — was putting lives at risk.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the British broadcaster Sky News that the action plan under consideration including asking Britons over 70 to self-isolate for up to four months to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. The government is also expected to ban large gatherings starting next week and to order people over age 70 to remain at home.
The rate of infection in the country has been climbing as rapidly as elsewhere in Europe. Britain had at least 1,140 confirmed cases and 10 deaths as of Sunday, and the United States this weekend extended its ban on travelers from most of Europe to include those coming from Britain, as well.
On Sunday, Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office also advised against “all but essential travel to the U.S.A., due to restrictions put in place by the U.S. government” on foreign nationals arriving from Britain and Ireland from Monday.
The scientists’ letter, which was also signed by 33 experts outside Britain, including from Harvard, Cornell and the University of California, Berkeley, said: “We consider the social distancing measures taken as of today as insufficient, and we believe that additional and more restrictive measures should be taken immediately, as it is already happening in other countries across the world.”
They sharply criticized the British government’s apparent embrace of the theory of “herd immunity,” under which the spread of the virus to a significant percentage of the population is viewed as acceptable, even beneficial, because it would build up immunity in the public and make Britain more resilient in the face of future outbreaks.
The government’s chief scientific adviser laid out that theory in interviews last week, seemingly as a way to justify the country’s more relaxed approach to social distancing. But officials have since clarified that encouraging mass infections is not part of its strategy.
As countries increase restrictions, Israel delays Netanyahu’s corruption trial because of the epidemic.
Israeli court officials, citing the coronavirus pandemic, said on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-awaited trial on bribery and other corruption charges, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, would be delayed at least until May 24.
The announcement came hours after Mr. Netanyahu said on Saturday night that digital and technological means would be employed to track citizens known to have contracted the virus — an extraordinary measure that he said had been drawn from Israel’s war on terrorism.
In a televised address, he said that Israel was “at war” against an “invisible enemy.” Acknowledging that the surveillance would impinge on personal privacy, Mr. Netanyahu said he had sought and received permission from the Justice Ministry.
As the country’s caseload rose to nearly 200, the government mandated the closure of all leisure venues starting on Sunday, including cafes, restaurants, gyms and cultural institutions. Public gatherings are to be limited to 10 people, and workers have been told to work from home if possible.
Many other countries increased restrictions or said they might do so:
Hong Kong said on Sunday that people arriving from the United States, Britain, Ireland and Egypt would have to undergo a 14-day home quarantine beginning Thursday.
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Sunday that all international arrivals would have to self-isolate for 14 days and that cruise ships arriving from foreign ports would be banned.
Norway said on Sunday that starting Monday it would close its borders to all foreign nationals who do not have a residence permit.
Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, declared a national emergency starting on Monday and lasting until April 15, including quarantine measures and travel restrictions in and out of the country.
Jordan said that it was suspending all incoming and outgoing passenger flights, that schools and universities would be suspended for two weeks, and that mosques, churches, gyms, cinemas, youth centers and swimming pools would close.
The number of deaths in Iran increased by 113 in the past 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 724, an Iranian health official said on Twitter on Sunday, adding that nearly 14,000 people had been infected in the country.
The Afghan government closed all schools and universities for a month and asked people to avoid weddings and engagements — events that usually draw thousands. The war-torn country, which shares a porous border with Iran, reported its 11th case on Saturday, but limited testing makes it hard to gauge how widespread the outbreak is.
The governor of Jakarta, Indonesia, said that schools in the capital would close for two weeks. The country’s transportation minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, has tested positive.
Singapore has closed all its 70 mosques for five days to disinfect them, after the spread of the virus in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore was connected to a gathering of 16,000 people at a mosque near Kuala Lumpur. Four cases in Singapore have been linked to that gathering.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said that all foreigners and citizens arriving in the country after Sunday night would have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
Nepal said it would enforce a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals starting from Saturday, with Nepalis allowed to do so at home and foreigners subject to “self-quarantine.”
Rwanda reported its first case, an Indian national who arrived on March 8 from Mumbai.
Namibia reported its first two cases: a Spanish couple who arrived there on Wednesday and who are both now under quarantine.
The president of Colombia ordered the border with Venezuela closed.
Guatemala will bar citizens from the United States and Canada, and recent visitors to those two countries may be asked to self-quarantine for seven days, officials said.
Poland, with 68 cases, will close its borders to all noncitizens on Sunday, and is suspending all international air and rail travel for at least 10 days; the authorities said they would also close businesses and cancel public gatherings of more than 50 people. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have announced similar measures.
In Denmark, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that all foreigners who did not have an essential purpose for visiting the country would be turned away; the measures will be in effect until at least April 13.
In Manila, a lockdown stirs old fears about martial law.
Manila, the densely populated capital of the Philippines, went under lockdown on Sunday as the government sought to assure citizens that the heavy presence of security forces did not herald a return to martial law.
To stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has banned public gatherings, suspended classes for a month, imposed a limited curfew and restricted travel in and out of the Manila metropolitan area. Soldiers and police officers set up checkpoints on Sunday morning, stopping vehicles and checking the temperatures of people inside.
Mr. Duterte announced the measures on Thursday, emphasizing that they were to protect the public and that there would be no return to military rule. Many Filipinos have vivid memories of decades of martial law under President Ferdinand Marcos, who was driven out of power in 1986.
“Do not be afraid of the soldiers — these are your soldiers,” Mr. Duterte said. “The armed forces is there to serve you and they are under orders from civilian authorities.”
Mr. Duterte, an admirer of Mr. Marcos, placed the southern island of Mindanao under martial law for more than two years after an Islamist uprising there. During that time, he mused that it might become necessary to extend it to the whole country.
Carol Araullo, head of a civic group, Bayan, said Mr. Duterte’s lockdown order “appears to focus mainly on limiting the movement of the people rather than addressing the more urgent health requirements and economic needs” of Manila residents. She said it included no provisions for a quarantine system or free testing for the capital’s many poor people, nor did it deploy “doctors, nurses and other health workers in the communities.”
The Philippines has confirmed 111 coronavirus infections and eight deaths. A lawmaker said Sunday morning that an employee of the Philippine House of Representatives had died after testing positive for the virus.
“The whole House of Representatives is saddened,” the lawmaker, Rep. Jericho Nograles, said in a radio interview. “At the same time, we are also worried about the people he had contact with.”
Beijing says new arrivals will have to quarantine, and cover their own costs.
China’s capital, Beijing, is toughening its rules for international arrivals, requiring everyone arriving from overseas to spend 14 days at a quarantine site beginning on Monday.
All arrivals will have to pay for their own quarantine stay, officials said on Sunday. Beijing announced a mandatory quarantine last week but allowed arrivals to complete the two-week isolation at home or in a hotel. The new rules will allow limited exceptions for home quarantine.
Chinese officials have made a priority of controlling the spread of the virus in the capital. As of Saturday, the city had recorded 415 confirmed infections, including eight deaths and 353 people who have been treated.
As it tightens restrictions on people entering the country, the Chinese government also is leading a sweeping campaign to purge the public sphere of dissent, censoring news reports, harassing citizen journalists and shutting down news sites.
But Chinese journalists, buoyed by an outpouring of support from the public and widespread calls for free speech, are fighting back in a rare challenge to the ruling Communist Party.
They are publishing hard-hitting exposés describing government cover-ups and failures in the health care system. They are circulating passionate calls for press freedom. They are using social media to draw attention to injustice and abuse, circumventing an onslaught of propaganda orders.
The authorities have struggled to rein in coverage of the outbreak, in part because the Chinese public has resorted to innovative methods to preserve a record of what has transpired.
When the magazine Profile published a damning interview with a doctor who was warned not to share information about the virus as it first spread in Wuhan, the article disappeared. But Chinese internet users brought the story back to life, using emojis, morse code and obscure languages to render the interview in ways that would evade censors.
“This time the government’s control of free speech has directly damaged the interests and lives of ordinary people,” said Li Datong, a retired newspaper editor in Beijing. “Everyone knows this kind of big disaster happens when you don’t tell the truth.”
17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer, and nowhere to sell them.
While millions of Americans search in vain for hand sanitizer to protect themselves from the coronavirus, Matt Colvin is sitting on 17,700 bottles of the stuff, with little idea where to sell them.
On March 1, the day after the first coronavirus death in the United States was announced, Mr., Colvin and his brother Noah cleared the shelves of hand sanitizer at stores in Chattanooga, Tenn. Noah Colvin followed that up with a 1,300-mile, three-day road trip through Tennessee and into Kentucky, filling a U-Haul truck with thousands of bottles of sanitizer and thousands of packs of antibacterial wipes.
The next step: list them on Amazon. Mr. Colvin said he had posted 300 bottles of hand sanitizer and immediately sold them all for $8 to $70 each, multiples higher than what he had bought them for.
To him, “it was crazy money.” To many others, it was profiteering from a pandemic. And the next day, Amazon pulled his listings and thousands of others.
The company suspended some of the sellers and warned many others that if they kept running up prices, they’d lose their accounts. EBay soon followed with even stricter measures, prohibiting any U.S. sales of masks or sanitizer.
“It’s been a huge amount of whiplash,” Mr. Colvin said. “From being in a situation where what I’ve got coming and going could potentially put my family in a really good place financially to ‘What the heck am I going to do with all of this?’”
To regulators and many others, such sellers are sitting on a stockpile of medical supplies during a pandemic. The attorney general’s offices in California, Washington and New York are all investigating price gouging related to the coronavirus.
After The Times published an article featuring Mr. Colvin, he said he was exploring ways to donate the supplies.
A cruise ship is heading to France after two former passengers tested positive in Puerto Rico.
An Italian couple tested positive for the coronavirus in San Juan, Puerto Rico, late on Friday, five days after they disembarked a cruise ship heading across the Atlantic.
Costa Cruises, an Italian subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corporation, says the ship, the Costa Luminosa, is now heading to Marseilles, France.
The Costa Luminosa set sail on March 5 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a trans-Atlantic voyage. The ship called for an ambulance when it docked in San Juan on March 8.
Puerto Rican doctors suspected that the woman, 68, had the coronavirus and hospitalized her. Her husband, 70, was asymptomatic. By the time Puerto Rico announced the hospitalization, hundreds of passengers had spent the day mingling in colonial Old San Juan, and the ship had left port.
It took five more days to confirm the cases. The island had no tests, so samples were taken from the couple and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Gov. Wanda Vázquez of Puerto Rico called the delay “unacceptable.”
All the while, the Costa Luminosa has been at sea, passengers circulating freely. Shows have been canceled, but the gym, pool and Jacuzzi remain open. Only on Saturday did the crew rework the lunch buffet to serve passengers directly, said Kathryn Bitner, a 66-year-old passenger from San Diego, Calif.
“No one I know of has been tested in our ship,” Ms. Bitner said in a WhatsApp message.
Costa Cruises said that the ship was not in quarantine, but that the “sanitary protocol” on board had been increased and close contacts of the passengers who tested positive had been isolated in their cabins. Costa Cruises also said that it was instituting a daily temperature check for crew and passengers.
The ship’s final destination is unclear. Passengers were first told that they would get off in the Canary Islands, off West Africa. Then Málaga, Spain. But it now appears that Spain is suspending new cruise ship arrivals, and passengers got a letter from the cruise ship company Friday night telling them that the latest plan is to disembark in Marseille, France, on March 19.
Costa Cruises said that it would be contacting the French authorities to report the health situation onboard and that any special rules for disembarkation would be “strictly” followed.
On Saturday, Puerto Rico officials said that another ship, the Celebrity Summit, a Royal Caribbean ship that had been scheduled to disembark in San Juan, would not be doing so after a Canadian woman who had been on the ship tested positive for coronavirus. Puerto Rico officials said that they would allow the ship to resupply, but that they would delay any departures for a week.
Reporting was contributed by Mitch Smith, Mark Landler, Jonathan Weisman, Elisabetta Povoledo, Andrea Salcedo, Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, Iliana Magra, Cliff Levy, Jason Gutierrez, Mariel Padilla, Robert Chiarito, Isabel Kershner, Mujib Mashal, Najim Rahim, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Hannah Beech, Marc Santora, Julie Bosman, Richard Fausset, Johanna Berendt, Richard C. Paddock, Muktita Suhartono, Elian Peltier, Damien Cave, Javier Hernandez, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Mihir Zaveri, Patricia Mazzei, Frances Robles, Badra Sharma and Annie Karni.
US citizens returning from overseas say they are waiting hours for coronavirus screening at airports – CNN
(CNN) — As Americans are being urged to keep their distance from one another, travelers returning on flights from Europe say they are being made to wait for hours in close quarters at US airports to get screened for coronavirus.
Several travelers told CNN that when they arrived at airports in Dallas, Chicago and New York, they faced long lines and confusion.
President Donald Trump announced restrictions on entry into the US from 26 countries in Europe on Wednesday. The ban went into effect at midnight on Friday, but only after the original announcement sparked chaos at European airports as Americans sought ways to return home before it went into place.
Karen Rogers, a passenger returning from Paris by way of London told CNN Saturday night she had been waiting in line for at least five hours to be screened at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and was told she would have at least another hour to go.
CNN has reached out to O’Hare International Airport and US Customs and Border Protection but has not yet received a response.
‘Very close quarters’
Ann Lewis Schmidt, a passenger returning from Iceland, said the process in place at O’Hare has passengers “essentially go(ing) through customs twice.”
Passengers first must wait in line to have their passports checked and to turn in a declaration form and medical forms for those returning from Europe, South Korea, Iran and China, Schmidt said.
Then they are taken to a separate line to undergo a screening and temperature check.
Passengers are grouped together for hours during the process, Schmidt said.
“Seems backwards, as if someone had a fever, they should have been never allowed in these lines for four hours,” Schmidt told CNN.
“Very close quarters… So if we didn’t have the virus before, we have a great chance of getting it now!” Schmidt said.
Travelers who pass the screening are instructed to immediately self-quarantine at home and monitor their health according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Illinois governor calls on federal government to take action
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker reacted to the news of long lines by tweeting directly to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence saying, “The crowds & lines O’Hare are unacceptable & need to be addressed immediately. @realDonaldTrump @VP since this is the only communication medium you pay attention to — you need to do something NOW. These crowds are waiting to get through customs which is under federal jurisdiction.”
Prtizker also told travelers he’s spoken with local officials and is working to get the federal government to resolve the issue. “The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW,” he tweeted.
In a tweet, Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, acknowledged the long lines and the stress the passengers were feeling saying, “DHS is aware of the long lines for passengers who are undergoing increased medical screening requirements. Right now we are working to add additional screening capacity and working with the airlines to expedite the process.”
“I understand this is very stressful. In these unprecedented times, we ask for your patience. It currently takes ~60 seconds for medical professionals to screen each passenger. We will be increasing capacity but the health and safety of the American public is first & foremost.”
Passengers told to share pens
Katelyn Deibler landed at JFK from Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday afternoon and told CNN it took her more than two hours to complete customs.
She says she was given two forms to fill out when she arrived.
“One was just name, passport number, flight number, seat, address, emergency contact, and details about your trip,” Deibler said.
The second form asked specific questions about symptoms and travel to coronavirus hot zones, she said.
The form instructs passengers to circle countries they visited in the last 14 days and asks if they’ve had any symptoms such as fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing, Deibler said.
But there were not enough copies for all the passengers on the flight and many had to wait for more forms to be handed out.
“They didn’t have pens and told us to share,” she said. “Which sounds like a great thing in the middle of the pandemic.”
Three taken to the hospital after screenings at JFK
Another traveler at JFK, Nick Carlin, also told CNN passengers were told to share pens. He said there was no hand sanitizer at JFK.
“It definitely was a little scattered and disorganized,” said Chris Nadolne, a passenger who arrived to JFK said. “I can see how people would start to get frustrated as the line got longer … no bathrooms nearby and no antibacterial around for people to use — unlike in the UK and Paris where it is everywhere.”
At least three passengers who underwent screenings at JFK International were sent to hospitals because of their symptoms, a source with knowledge of the CDC coronavirus screenings at JFK told CNN.
Frank Russo, the Port Director for Customs and Border Control at JFK said the average wait time for a health screening has been two hours. He says there are more than 50 emergency medical technicians on-duty supplementing the staff from the US Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.
CNN relayed to him what the passengers said about a lack of hand sanitizer.
He said that the terminals do have hand sanitizer and officers were instructing people on how to find it. He added that he has asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — which operates the airport — to install more dispensers in the areas where passengers are waiting.
Passengers were intermingling while waiting in lines
Upon landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Kimberly Harris told CNN she witnessed passengers who were in line for CDC screening for the coronavirus skip the line and join other international passengers who did not need to be screened.
Harris returned from Johannesburg, South Africa, by way of a connecting flight through London.
She says as she waited in customs she watched the line grow and wrap around the entire floor.
“It was difficult to tell where the line began and ended,” Harris said. “It almost (was) immediately evident that people who had to stay behind on the plane due to visiting a listed country were integrated into the line of the people who did not require additional screening.”
It took her three hours to make it through passport control and customs, she said.
Another passenger who arrived at DFW Sunday from Thailand by way of Doha described a similar scene. Matthew Thomas says the coronavirus screening line was not separated from the other international arrivals.
“(They were) right next to us,” he says. “We were crowded and there for hours.”
Neither Thomas or Harris required screenings.
“These federally mandated enhanced procedures are part of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” DFW said in a statement. “The necessary additional procedures may cause delays in processing through Customs but are of the utmost importance for the health and safety of everyone.”
CNN’s Alta Spells contributed to this report.
SAN FRANCISCO — Essential Products, a consumer electronics start-up founded by the former Google executive Andy Rubin, said on Wednesday that it was ceasing operations.
Once considered one of Silicon Valley’s most promising hardware technology start-ups, Essential had raised $330 million in outside funding because of the track record of Mr. Rubin, who is widely credited with creating Google’s Android smartphone software.
But Essential, which was once valued at $1 billion, has struggled. It released a premium smartphone in 2017 that did not sell well, and it later scrapped plans to develop a smart speaker.
Essential was also dogged by news about Mr. Rubin and the circumstances of his departure from Google. The New York Times reported in 2018 that Google had paid Mr. Rubin a $90 million exit package after claims of sexual misconduct with an employee were deemed credible. Mr. Rubin has denied the claims.
In a blog post on the company’s website on Wednesday, Essential said that it had developed a new handset, but that there was “no clear path to deliver it to customers.”
Essential’s decision to shut down illustrates the challenges facing consumer electronics start-ups. Unlike software companies, hardware firms need more capital to buy components and maintain inventory of their products.
Some hardware start-ups have broken through with hit products, such as the smart-home device maker Nest and Fitbit, which made a fitness tracker. But those companies were eventually sold to Alphabet, Google’s parent company, partly because of the challenges of running a fledgling hardware business.
Money poured into Essential from both venture capitalists and companies including Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, also known as Foxconn, and Amazon, because of Mr. Rubin’s reputation as a smartphone visionary.
All told, the company raised $330 million in outside funding. Access Technology Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Tencent, the Chinese internet giant, were major investors.
Mr. Rubin helped popularize the use of keyboards on phones when he introduced the Sidekick device in 2002. He went on to develop Android, which Google acquired in 2005. Android software now runs on about 80 percent of the world’s smartphones.
In 2018, Essential received buyout interest from larger companies like Amazon, Walmart and several telecom carriers, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. Walmart and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Any potential buyout would have valued the company below its $1 billion valuation, the person said.
But interest evaporated, in part because of the risk associated with Mr. Rubin’s workplace scandals. In 2017, The Information, a technology news site, reported that he had departed Google after an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, prompting him to take a leave of absence from Essential to deal with “personal matters.”
By the time The Times investigation into his departure from Google was published in October 2018, Essential was already experiencing difficulties. The company slashed the price of its first phone after disappointing sales. It dropped plans to build a home device and laid off a large number of employees, reducing its work force by the end of the year to fewer than 50 from around 120.
Essential will be shutting with around $30 million in cash remaining, the person familiar with the situation said. Investors, some of whom had written off the investment after Mr. Rubin’s scandals, will get “pennies on the dollar” back, the person said.
Several months ago, Mr. Rubin tweeted a photo of what appeared to be Essential’s next phone, which the company called Project Gem. The elongated phone — in a variety of shiny colors — had a long, thin screen resembling a candy bar.
The handset was supposed to be a so-called companion phone, according to former employees familiar with the project. It was intended to free people from being overly reliant on smartphones and would allow them to use a smaller device for tasks like sending and responding to messages using artificial intelligence and voice controls, said the former employees, who declined to be identified because they did not have permission to speak about Essential products.
The company spent at least $50 million developing the device, a person familiar with the company’s effort said.
But after Mr. Rubin’s sneak peek on Twitter, there was no follow-up. Lauren Goode, a writer at Wired, published a widely shared article in response to the tweet, noting that it was hard to separate the allegations about Mr. Rubin from the usual hype surrounding a new device.
“It’s getting harder to look at consumer products and their pretty packages without thinking about the people making them, and the power behind them,” she wrote.
None of the major U.S. mobile carriers expressed interest in offering the phone, according to people familiar with those talks, and plans for an early 2020 release were dropped.
Juul Labs, the vaping company that has long insisted it never marketed its products to teenagers, purchased ad space in its early days on numerous youth-focused websites, including those of Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, Seventeen magazine and educational sites for middle school and high school students, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Massachusetts attorney general.
The suit, brought by the state’s attorney general, Maura Healey, presents some of the starkest evidence to date that the company was targeting young, nonsmokers during its launch period, from June 2015 through early 2016.
Juul executives declined to address the specific charges in the complaint. Instead, a company spokesman, Austin Finan, issued a statement that pointed to recent actions Juul has taken to combat underage vaping and said: “We remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”
According to the lawsuit, Juul rejected an initial marketing proposal by a marketing firm it had hired, Cult Collective, that would have branded it as a technology company with a target audience of adult smokers. The proposed campaign featured images of outdated technology like clunky telephones and joysticks, with a picture of a sleek Juul e-cigarette and the words, “The evolution of smoking. Finally, a truly satisfying alternative.”
Instead, the lawsuit says, Juul dropped Cult Collective and hired an in-house interim art director to produce “Vaporized,” a youth-oriented campaign, featuring beautiful models in provocative poses.
“Juul decided against doing an ad campaign designed for an older audience and instead specifically chose one that targeted young people,” said Ms. Healey. “The information that we uncovered in our investigation demonstrates Juul’s intent — they didn’t accidentally create an advertising campaign with young and attractive people —- that’s what they were going for all along.”
Juul has been the focus of growing public anger and concern over what federal officials have called “an epidemic” of underage vaping. The company’s device, sometimes referred to as the iPhone of e-cigarettes, quickly became fashionable among high school students, and as Juul picked up market share, it became the focus of numerous federal and state investigations into its advertising and sales practices. In response, the company has vehemently denied intentionally marketing to youths and insisted its purpose was to help adult smokers switch to a safer alternative.
The 66-page complaint includes images of young models that it claims were displayed in digital ads on websites, mobile apps and social media. It includes an extensive list of sites where Juul products were promoted that the lawsuit says were clearly aimed at teenagers and even younger children.
The suit says Juul paid a company to place digital promotions across websites.
The list where they ran includes educational sites like basic-mathematics.com, coolmath.com, math-aids.com, mathplayground.com, mathway.com, onlinemathlearning.com, and purplemath.com. and socialstudiesforkids.com.
It includes sites targeted to young girls such as dailydressupgames.com, didigames.com, forhergames.com, games2girls.com, girlgames.com, and girlsgogames.com.
It also includes sites geared to high school students looking at colleges, like collegeconfidential.com and sites aimed at much younger children, including allfreekidscrafts.com, hellokids.com, and kidsgameheroes.com.
Dr. Robert Jackler, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who studies vaping industry marketing, called the lawsuit an important revelation.
“It adds to the compelling body of evidence that the viral uptake of Juul among youth was neither unanticipated nor unintentional as the company maintains, but rather a result of a comprehensive and purposeful effort by the company to recruit underage users,” he said.
The lawsuit charges that Juul attempted to recruit celebrities and social media influencers with large numbers of underage followers, such as Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, and social media influencers Luka Sabbat and Tavi Gevinson.
It also claims that Juul shipped e-cigarettes to consumers who gave student email addresses at high schools.
Credit…Commonwealth of Massachusetts
“Juul allowed more than 1,200 accounts to be established for Massachusetts consumers using school email addresses, including email addresses associated with high schools in Beverly, Malden and Braintree and shipped its products to recipients with obviously fabricated names, like ‘PodGod,’ ” the lawsuit states.
The complaint also contained an email sent from a Juul customer service address advising a young customer how to get around age restrictions. In the email from email@example.com dated Feb. 21, 2018, the complaint says, “Don from the ‘Juul Care Team’ told a consumer whose order had been canceled due to an age verification failure: “The legal age to purchase nicotine products in Milton, Mass. is 21 years old and above. If you have friends or relatives in Quincy, Mass., you may use their address as a shipping address for your order.”
The lawsuit claims that Juul worked with hundreds of Massachusetts stores to sell its products, including approximately 850 stores the company knew were cited by the Food and Drug Administration for attempting to sell tobacco products to underage teenagers. Although Juul caught some of these stores trying to sell its devices and pods to youths, the lawsuit says, it continued to work with those stores.
The lawsuit comes at a time when Juul is struggling to improve its reputation. K.C. Crosthwaite, who replaced Kevin Burns as chief executive in September, stopped sales of most flavored e-cigarettes ahead of the recent F.D.A. flavor ban.
Juul, like other e-cigarette companies, has until May to apply for F.D.A. approval to stay on the market. The F.D.A. will consider several factors, among them, whether Juul can keep its products out of the hands of minors, and whether its devices and pods are safe.
Earlier this week, the state of Pennsylvania sued Juul, alleging that the company misled consumers about the addictive nature of its liquid nicotine pods and marketed them to youths. Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, asked the court to ban Juul, or, barring that, ban all non-tobacco-flavored Juul products.
Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina are among the other states that have sued Juul over its marketing practices, as well as the District of Columbia.
WASHINGTON — Four prosecutors abruptly withdrew on Tuesday from the case of President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. after senior Justice Department officials intervened to recommend a more lenient sentence for crimes he committed in a bid to protect the president.
In an extraordinary decision overruling career lawyers, the Justice Department recommended an unspecified term of incarceration for Mr. Stone instead of the prosecutors’ request of a punishment of seven to nine years. The move coincided with Mr. Trump’s declaration on Twitter early Tuesday that the government was treating Mr. Stone too harshly.
The development immediately prompted questions about whether the Justice Department was bending to White House pressure. The gulf between the prosecutors and their Justice Department superiors burst into public view the week before Mr. Stone was to be sentenced for trying to sabotage a congressional investigation that had posed a threat to the president.
The prosecutors — one of whom resigned from the department — were said to be furious over the reversal of their sentencing request, filed in federal court late Monday. The Stone case was one of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions arising from the nearly two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The development added to the sense of turmoil in Washington that has followed Mr. Trump’s acquittal by the Senate six days ago on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. With the impeachment case behind him, Mr. Trump fired an ambassador while his national security adviser dismissed an aide. Both had testified against the president in the impeachment hearings.
To some, the surprising reversal in the politically sensitive Stone case underscored questions about Attorney General William P. Barr’s willingness to protect the department’s independence from any political influence by Mr. Trump. Critics have accused Mr. Barr of seeming to side with the president over law enforcement, including his criticism of the origins of the F.B.I.’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in 2016. That is now the subject of a criminal inquiry that Mr. Barr is overseeing.
A friend of Mr. Trump for decades, Mr. Stone, 67, was convicted in November of obstructing an inquiry by the House Intelligence Committee into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lying to investigators under oath and trying to block the testimony of a witness who would have exposed his lies.
In a message on Twitter early Tuesday, Mr. Trump criticized the sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years as “horrible and very unfair.” As he did after the jury’s guilty verdict, he attacked federal law enforcement officials, saying “the real crimes were on the other side.”
“Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Mr. Trump added. He later denied to reporters that he tried to influence the case in any way, but described the Justice Department’s initial sentencing request as a disgrace.
The president assailed the prosecutors directly, asking on Twitter who were the lawyers “who cut and ran after being exposed for recommending a ridiculous 9 year prison sentence” for Mr. Stone, who he said “got caught up in an investigation that was illegal, the Mueller Scam.”
In yet another Twitter message, he attacked Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court in Washington, who is presiding over Mr. Stone’s case. He asked whether she had ordered solitary confinement for Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul J. Manafort. The president said Mr. Manafort suffered worse treatment than “even mobster Al Capone had to endure.”
Judge Jackson handled one of two criminal cases that resulted in a prison term of seven and a half years for Mr. Manafort for financial fraud and other crimes. But prison and jail officials, not Judge Jackson, determined his conditions of confinement.
In a new court filing on Tuesday, Timothy Shea, the interim head of the United States attorney’s office in Washington, wrote that the Justice Department believed that Mr. Stone should be imprisoned but that a term of seven to nine years would be excessive.
“Ultimately, the government defers to the court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case,” Mr. Shea stated in the filing, which was also signed by a prosecutor newly assigned to the case, John Crabb Jr. The new filing also noted that Mr. Stone is a senior citizen with no prior criminal record.
Three of the four prosecutors who conducted the investigation and trial of Mr. Stone withdrew from the case, while a fourth resigned from the Justice Department entirely. Some former senior officials said the case showed that the department was in an increasingly precarious position under Mr. Trump.
Michael R. Bromwich, who served as the department’s inspector general under President Bill Clinton, advised prosecutors to report all instances of improper political influence to the agency’s watchdog.
“This is not what you signed up for. The four prosecutors who bailed on the Stone case have shown the way,” he wrote on Twitter. He described the political pressure from the White House as “truly a cancer on our system of justice.”
Mary McCord, who led the Justice Department’s national security division at the end of the Obama administration and the start of the Trump era, predicted that the department would be beset with questions about whether officials had bowed to political pressure from the president.
“The department has to seriously consider what impact a reversal that appears to be in response to the president’s displeasure will have on its credibility and reputation in the courts,” she said.
Justice Department officials did not discuss the case with anyone at the White House, including the president, said Kerri Kupec, a department spokeswoman, adding that they were not reacting to any directive from Mr. Trump or to his criticism on Twitter. Mr. Trump also told reporters later in the day that he did not discuss the case with the department.
As is customary in prominent prosecutions, the line prosecutors on the Stone case discussed their proposed sentencing recommendation with senior officials. But they apparently came to no clear agreement before the document was filed in court, an outcome that one Justice Department official blamed on a breakdown in management.
Among those involved were Mr. Shea, who took over last week as the United States attorney in Washington; his chief of staff, David Metcalf; the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen; and officials in Mr. Barr’s office, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Both Mr. Shea and officials in Mr. Rosen’s office argued that a prison term of seven to nine years was too harsh but they did not push for any specific punishment, one Justice Department official said.
Officials in the offices of Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen decided to override the prosecutors’ recommendation after they filed it in court on Monday night, officials said.
The line prosecutors were even more upset because they were told that they would be reversed only after Fox News had reported it late Tuesday morning, according to people familiar with the situation. Other prosecutors were also distressed, including those working on the case of Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who faces his own sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to investigators in the Russia inquiry.
At least one senior department official expressed surprise at the decision by all four prosecutors to pull out of the case. Two of them — Adam C. Jed and Aaron Zelinsky — began working on the case as members of the special counsel’s team. Michael J. Marando also resigned from the case, as did Jonathan Kravis, who left the Justice Department altogether.
In 2018, three career lawyers withdrew from an Affordable Care Act case after it became entangled in the heated politics of the Trump administration, and one resigned in protest.
But David Laufman, a former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence unit, said he could not recall another criminal case in which an entire team of prosecutors had resigned en masse, apparently to protest improper political interference.
“This is a ‘break glass in case of fire’ moment,” he said. “We have now seen the political leadership of the department, presumably acting on the president’s desires, reaching down into a criminal case to withdraw a reasoned sentencing recommendation to the court.”
The prosecutors’ withdrawals suggest that they not only disagreed with officials at the department’s headquarters, but were concerned about compromising their own ethics, said Greg Brower, a former prosecutor and senior F.B.I. official.
Until now, the Stone case had been viewed as one of the more important successes of the special counsel investigation. Mr. Stone put up a weak defense, and the jury deliberated only seven hours before convicting him on all counts. In what some saw as a last-minute plea for salvation before the verdict came in, Mr. Stone expressed hope through a proxy that the president would pardon him.
If the president intervened to reverse the decision of career prosecutors, it would be “a blatant abuse of power,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who oversees the House committee that Mr. Stone was convicted of lying to.
“Doing so would send an unmistakable message that President Trump will protect those who lie to Congress to cover up his own misconduct and that the attorney general will join him in that effort,” Mr. Schiff said in a statement.
Grant Smith, a lawyer for Mr. Stone, said the defense team was “looking forward to reviewing” the department’s revised position. Judge Jackson is scheduled to sentence Mr. Stone on Feb. 20.
In their initial sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors said that Mr. Stone deserved a stiff sentence because he threatened a witness with bodily harm, deceived congressional investigators and carried out an extensive, deliberate, illegal scheme that included repeatedly lying under oath and forging documents.
Even after he was charged in a felony indictment, the prosecutors said, Mr. Stone continued to try to manipulate the administration of justice by threatening Judge Jackson in a social media post and violating her gag orders.
Those and other aggravating factors justified a prison term of up to nine years under federal sentencing guidelines, the prosecutors said. While the guidelines are advisory, federal judges typically consider them carefully.
Defense lawyers characterized the prosecutors’ arguments as overblown. Mr. Stone not only never intended to harm the witness, they said, but he also never created any real obstacle for investigators. While the witness, a New York radio host named Randy Credico, refused to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, they pointed out, he was later repeatedly interviewed by the F.B.I., appeared before the federal grand jury and testified against Mr. Stone during his trial.
In a letter asking Judge Jackson to spare Mr. Stone a prison term, Mr. Credico said that while he stood by his testimony, he never believed Mr. Stone would carry out his threat to injure him or his beloved dog. “I chalked up his bellicose tirades to ‘Stone being Stone.’ All bark and no bite,” Mr. Credico wrote.
Mr. Stone’s defense team also said that his violations of Judge Jackson’s orders should not count against him because the criminal proceedings had exacerbated his “longstanding battle with anxiety” and that he had corrected that problem through therapy. They requested he be sentenced to less than 15 months in prison — the least serious punishment under the guidelines for his crimes.
The decision to seek a more lenient punishment for Mr. Stone came less than two weeks after prosecutors backed off on their sentencing recommendation for Mr. Flynn. Prosecutors had initially sought up to six months in prison, then said they would not oppose probation instead of prison time.
The intervention by senior Justice Department officials in Mr. Stone’s case serves as the first big test for Mr. Shea, who assumed charge of the United States attorney’s office in Washington only last Monday.
A longtime trusted adviser to Mr. Barr and former senior counselor to him, Mr. Shea now oversees some of the department’s most politically fraught cases, including two inquiries focusing on two former law enforcement officials whom Mr. Trump has cast as political enemies. The former F.B.I. director James B. Comey is said to be the focus of investigators in an unusual inquiry into years-old leaks to the news media. Mr. Comey’s former deputy Andrew G. McCabe faces allegations that he misled investigators in an administrative inquiry. That case has languished.
Mr. Shea replaced Jessie K. Liu, who stepped down after two years as United States attorney after the president nominated her as the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. But some Republicans questioned her conservative credentials and her loyalty to the Trump administration.
LONDON — On a finger numbingly cold morning, Lara Maiklem swung open a metal gate tucked behind a pub in southeast London and scrambled down a set of slick stone steps onto the banks of the River Thames.
The river runs through the city west to east, bisecting London as it winds past the new skyscrapers and old docks that line its banks.
But twice a day, the low tide pulls the flowing edges of the Thames back — dropping the river level by 20 feet in some areas — revealing centuries of forgotten London life in the fragments that poke out from the newly exposed land, known as the foreshore.
This is when the mudlarks, like Ms. Maiklem, come out.
“What you are looking for are straight lines and perfect circles,” she said, her eyes scanning the surface of the mud for man-made artifacts. “They sort of stand out from the natural shapes.”
Within minutes she had spotted fragments of a 17th-century jug, the half-face of a bearded man visible in the clay.
The name — mudlark — was first given to the Victorian-era poor who scrounged for items in the river to sell, pulling copper scraps, rope and other valuables from the shore. But more recently the label has stuck to London’s hobbyists, history buffs and treasure hunters who scour the river edge searching for objects from the city’s past.
Mudlarking’s popularity has grown steadily in recent years, driven in part by social media communities where enthusiasts share their finds, and tour groups that offer a trudge through the shards of history’s castoffs.
Dr. Fiona Haughey, a London archaeologist who has worked on the Thames since the 1990s, said that although some mudlarks are looking for valuables, others are looking for a connection with the everyday objects of a bygone Britain.
But it’s the connection with the layers of lives of Londoners before them, revealed by the tides of the river at the heart of the metropolis, that unites the enthusiasts.
For Dr. Haughey, a specialist in prehistory, it’s about what an object can tell her about its owner rather than what value it has.
“I love the conundrum of it,” she said.
The Port of London Authority, which owns the Thames waterway along with the Crown Estate (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II), began to regulate exploration along the shore in 2016, requiring anyone searching the banks to have a foreshore permit.
These permits — about 1,500 were issued this year — allow people to explore the terrain, and scrape or dig into the mud up to a depth of 7.5 centimeters, around three inches. Mudlarks are advised to report objects that could be of archaeological interest to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, run by the British Museum.
Stuart Wyatt, the regional finds liaison officer based at the Museum of London who assesses the artifacts, said there was a “huge increase in numbers” of mudlarks in recent years.
“I now have months where I see only new finders,” he said by email.
Britain legally obligates anyone who unearths “treasure” — defined as single finds of gold and silver over 300 years old, and hoards of coins and prehistoric metalwork — to inform the government.
Britain takes this law seriously, as one amateur treasure hunter learned in November. He was given a decade-long jail sentence after failing, along with another man, to report the discovery of a Viking hoard they dug up in western England.
A specialized permit allows deeper digging to a depth of 1.2 meters, or 3 feet and 11 inches. But those permits are available only to members of the exclusive Society of Thames Mudlarks — an invitation-only group of around 50 members — who have already held a standard permit and reported their findings to the Museum of London for two years.
Some mudlarks bring metal detectors. But most simply recover what the river has naturally revealed, usually a fascinating trinket rather than treasure.
“I like just to collect what the river decides it’s going to leave on that day,” Ms. Maiklem said. “It’s that element of luck.”
But sometimes there are more significant finds, like the first “spintria” found in Britain. Spintriae are Roman bronze tokens, with depictions of sexual acts on one face and a Roman numeral on the other, whose purpose remains uncertain.
The Thames, the very reason people began settling in the city over 2,000 years ago, is one of the best preservers of London’s history. The river has been used many ways over the millenniums — as a highway, a source of food and, most important to mudlarks, as a dump.
“The Thames is unpredictable, so it’s just all mixed up, like a big washing machine,” said Jason Sandy, an architect who mudlarks in his spare time.
In the center of London, where the heart of the Roman city stood, many of the finds are Roman or medieval. Farther west, evidence of prehistoric settlements have been found.
Where Ms. Maiklem was exploring, in Rotherhithe, once an old shipping center in eastern London, finds from the 16th and 17th centuries are the norm.
This particular morning, the sun was just rising and the tide was still on its way out as she clambered over rocks.
Her eyes flicked quickly over the mud, scattered with bits of modern trash, and settled on the barely visible edge of a coin nestled against a wooden post. She plucked it out and wiped away the grime, revealing a George III farthing, the silhouetted face of the monarch and the date, 1777, nearly rubbed smooth.
The coin had been bent into an ‘S’ shape and had a small hole poked through its edge where a chain could be attached, hallmarks that it was likely a love token. At her feet, pieces of clay tobacco pipes from the 16th and 17th century clinked as they washed against rocks, so common as to escape a mudlark’s interest.
But a perfectly round musket ball was worth plucking from the muck. The leather sole of a hand-stitched shoe, preserved by the anaerobic mud, flapped in the breeze, and she tugged at its toes to wrest it from the bank.
Huge wooden beams from the ships broken up here in the 17th and 18th centuries jut out of the mud. The Mayflower is believed to have been broken down here for scrap.
“There are so many ghosts locked in the foreshore,” Ms. Maiklem said. “Also, it’s so fleeting because if it’s not collected from the surface, it’s going to be washed away or broken down.”
Ms. Maiklem, who has spent more than 15 years exploring the river’s banks, takes only the most unusual items home with her. She sees her discoveries as part of a shared history and uses social media to reveal her finds. She has more than 100,000 people following her.
While Ms. Maiklem recently moved out of the city, she still makes the journey to the Thames weekly, driven by the thrill of discovery.
From here, the hustle of London seems a world away, with gulls cruising between the barges and the old warehouses turned luxury apartments that stand on the north side of the river, a sign of the ever-changing city.
The Shard — London’s tallest and one of its most recognizable skyscrapers — juts in the distance, reflecting the morning light from its thousands of glass windows.
“It’s a way of just escaping from all of this controlled chaos,” Ms. Maiklem said, gesturing to the skyline. “This is what London is about for me.”
Relief, frustration, skepticism and medical needs: Life on Holland America cruise ship stuck in limbo – USA TODAY
Finally, Holland America’s MS Westerdam’s endless, aimless journey is coming to a close – or so it seems.
Late Wednesday, early Thursday local time, the Westerdam arrived in Cambodia and local officials boarded the ship, according to Holland America.
Though it was not yet clear when the ship’s passengers would be allowed to disembark, the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, said a team had arrived at the port to assist the U.S. citizens aboard.
“All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” the line said in a release provided by public relations director Erik Elvejord to USA TODAY.
Westerdam passengers’ emotions have been riding a roller coaster over the last several days as it was rejected from port after port.
And while there is relief over the now-scheduled disembarkation – there was still skepticism.
“We are all very hopeful that Cambodia will come through, but we have been disappointed before by other countries,” passenger Stephen Hansen told USA TODAY Wednesday.
There have been no known cases of coronavirus among the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board despite reports to the contrary, the cruise line said, and the MS Westerdam has not been in quarantine.
“We have no reason to believe there are cases of coronavirus on board,” Elvejord said in an email Friday morning.
Westerdam cruise ship in limbo thanks to port rejections
The Westerdam began a 30-day cruise in Singapore Jan. 16 and made stops in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, according to CruiseMapper.com. Its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 50 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed.
Then the trouble began. The Philippines barred the ship from making a scheduled port call.
The ship had changed its disembarkation point from Shanghai to Yokohama, Japan, before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also denied the MS Westerdam entry.
It was subsequently turned away from Guam, a U.S. territory.
On Tuesday, Thailand became the latest to turn away the Westerdam, which had finally been scheduled for disembarkation in Laem Chabang on Thursday, according to the cruise line. Thailand’s public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, announced on Facebook he had prohibited the ship’s entry and dashed the glimmer of hope that passengers may be able to get off the ship.
“As people reject us, each port seems to be saying, ‘Why should we be the ones to take the people that nobody else wants to take?’” passenger Steve Muth, from Michigan, told USA TODAY.
Passengers who had already begun booking return flights from Bangkok based on the announcement that they’d be getting off the ship in Thailand found themselves back in limbo.
“It looks like we are not going to get off the boat in Thailand,” Muth wrote in an email to The Detroit Free Press, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. “The saga continues.”
The next scheduled cruise on the ship, which was slated to depart Feb. 15 to embark from Yokohama, Japan, has been canceled. The cruise line is assessing the impact of port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing Feb. 29 or later.
What has it been like on board?
“There’s a mix of emotions with guests,” Lorraine Oliveira, a passenger traveling from the U.K. on Westerdam with her family, told USA TODAY in a message on Tuesday. “Frustration, anger with some.”
All passengers had their temperatures taken, and Oliveira said she believes they all “passed with flying colors,” she said, noting everyone on board has been continually sanitizing their hands. Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
They have had full freedom on board and weren’t aware of anyone on the ship being ill, she said. But still, feeling trapped evoked strong emotions.
While many of the children seem to be having a good time, especially with extra entertainment put on by the cruise line, Oliveira’s own children, 9 and 16, had some angst.
“My kids are anxious, but we’re trying to play things down and reassure them,” she said Wednesday. “My youngest is constantly asking if we’re going to die.”
Others had a harder time staying positive.
“Where are we going to go? If you look at the map and we don’t get to Thailand, we’ll have several days at a minimum and maybe a week to two weeks until we do find a port that will take us,” Muth said. “There’s a lot of fear out there that doesn’t seem to be really warranted, and that’s troubling for us.”
Some passengers needed medical attention
Scott Willett’s 25-year-old daughter, Rebecca, is a classical pianist. She’s been sailing on the MS Westerdam to perform with a quintet since September, he told USA TODAY.
But while the ship sailed aimlessly, in search of a port, she became sick and needs medical attention. It’s not the feared coronavirus; in fact, it may be worse.
“She is suffering from an apparent ruptured ovarian cyst,” Willett said. “She is trying to manage the pain with medicine administered by the ship medical staff. Both the ship doctor and her personal doctor (that she spoke with by phone) have advised that she needs an ultrasound to determine the extent of the rupture, which will determine next steps in her care.”
But that kind of equipment isn’t on the Westerdam, and Willett is worried. Without the ultrasound, they don’t know the full extent of her condition.
“We are praying for a quick resolution and access to appropriate care that will allow her to return home soon,” he said.
Willett has tweeted a plea for help to members of the U.S. government, including President Donald Trump.
With Cambodia news came relief – and skepticism
Oliveira’s family felt a sense of relief when they heard the news that Holland America had come to an agreement with Cambodia to allow passengers to disembark. But others aren’t sure yet.
Hansen said Wednesday that they would know for sure when they are scheduled to disembark at 7 a.m. local time. He was hopeful, especially since they are “running out of countries,” he joked.
As for Willett, thinking of his daughter coming home, he feels hopeful about the new plan. “If all goes well, our daughter could be back in Virginia by Friday evening,” he said Wednesday. “It will be good to have her on land somewhere and ultimately on a plane.”
Coronavirus quarantine:Ends for 195 people who flew from Wuhan to California
Contributing: The Associated Press, Jayme Deerwester, Julia Thompson, Curtis Tate, USA TODAY
Jeff Bezos Buys David Geffen’s Los Angeles Mansion for a Record $165 Million – The Wall Street Journal
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has purchased the Warner Estate from media mogul David Geffen for $165 million, according to people familiar with the transaction.
The deal marks a record for the Los Angeles area. The previous residential record was set late last year, when media executive Lachlan Murdoch paid roughly $150 million for Chartwell, a Bel-Air estate used as the Clampett residence in the television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
ISTANBUL — Syrian government attacks on Turkish positions in northwest Syria are driving Turkey deeper into the country’s civil war, prompting it to send reinforcements to the region and press for a Turkish-controlled military zone there.
Syrian troops killed eight Turkish soldiers and a civilian contractor last week and five more soldiers on Monday. Backed by Russian bombers, Syrian forces have encircled several Turkish observation posts in the northwestern province of Idlib — posts established by agreements aimed at reducing violence.
Turkey, which supports Syria’s opposition forces, has pushed back, pummeling the advancing Syrian units with artillery and killing dozens of Syrian troops and allied fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based war monitor. A Syrian helicopter was shot down on Tuesday, reportedly by rebel forces.
The surge in fighting, as the Syrian government tries to retake the country’s last rebel-held province, has created the largest displacement of people in the war’s nine-year history. About 700,000 people have fled their homes in Idlib since December, the United Nations said Tuesday. Many are living in tents near the Turkish border, and there have been recent reports of children freezing to death.
The crush at the border has unnerved Turkey, which has already taken in 3.5 million Syrian refugees. The Syrian offensive could push another three million civilians into Turkey, Turkish officials fear, with 10,000 armed militants among them, some linked to Al Qaeda.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country can take no more and has threatened military action to stop the Syrian advance.
“No one has the right to put that burden on our shoulders,” he said in a speech in Ankara last week. “If the regime does not withdraw, Turkey will have to do it on its own.”
Since then, Turkey has massed 30,000 troops and armor at the Syrian border, and sent 5,000 reinforcements to bolster troops deployed in Idlib Province. Turkey established new positions on the approaches to Idlib City, home to some 700,000 people, setting up posts at an airfield at Taftanaz, east of the city, and in Al Mastumah, to the south.
The Turkish deployments have yet to stop the Syrian government advance — Syrian troops seized control of the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway on Tuesday — but they appear to be an attempt to carve out a zone of control in Idlib before the Syrian government advances too close to its border, analysts said.
Burhanettin Duran, director of SETA, an influential pro-government research center, indicated that Turkey was preparing to ramp up its military posture and enforce a “safe zone” across at least part of Idlib.
“This marks a transition from holding observation posts to holding territory,” he wrote, in a column in the Daily Sabah newspaper. “Turkey intends to show Assad that he cannot seize control of Idlib and send millions of Syrian refugees across the border.”
Turkey has already established a so-called safe zone along its border in northeastern Syria, which it seized in October after the United States removed its forces there.
But Turkey’s options in the northwest are limited.
Russia controls the air there and without air support Turkey is in no position to push back Syrian forces, said Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations.
So while Mr. Erdogan has talked tough, he has also sought accommodation where possible. He demanded that Syrian forces pull back to their previous positions but gave them until the end of the month to do so. And he has sought talks with Russia, the Syrian government’s main backer.
A Russian delegation arrived in Ankara, the Turkish capital, for talks on Sunday, and Mr. Erdogan spoke with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, on Wednesday. James Jeffrey, the American envoy to Syria, is also in Ankara, voicing support for Turkey and condemning Russia and the Syrian government.
Russia and Turkey have backed opposing sides in Syria since the war began, but the two leaders have developed a close, personal dialogue. That channel has produced agreements between Russia, Turkey and Iran to de-escalate violence in several pockets, including 2018 accord that led to the creation of the Turkish military observation posts in Idlib, which are now under attack by the Syrian government.
Turkey is demanding a permanent cease-fire and a return to the original lines of the observation posts although, according to officials and others familiar with the talks, it would settle for a smaller Turkish-controlled safe zone along its border.
Turkey wants the Syrian rebel forces it supports to retain control of a sizable territory in Syria to strengthen its hand in negotiations for a new constitution and a political settlement, said Salih Yilmaz, head of the Russian Studies Institute in Ankara. Russia has demanded the immediate disarmament of those rebels, but Turkey says any disarmament should come only after a political settlement.
Mr. Erdogan’s relationship with Mr. Putin, despite their dialogue, has become increasingly fraught.
Mr. Erdogan recently purchased the Russian S400 missile system, declaring the relationship with Russia “strategic,” a move that cost him dearly in relations with the United States. But Turkey intervened recently in Libya on the opposite side from Russia, and signed a contract to supply military drones to Ukraine, which is fighting Russian-backed separatists.
Ms. Aydintasbas said Turkey’s faith in Russian help may be misplaced. Noting that the last cease-fire negotiated with Russia lasted three days, she said engaging with Russia was likely to gain Turkey only a delay in an eventual Russian-Syrian victory.
Within hours of the Syrian government seizing control of the Damascus-Aleppo highway on Tuesday, Mr. Putin held a telephone call with Mr. Erdogan and reaffirmed the importance of implementing the original de-escalation agreement, Mr. Putin’s spokesman said.
But even if Turkey gets what it wants, it may be drawn even deeper into a quagmire.
A safe zone in northwestern Syria would give Turkey a narrow stretch of territory with much of the displaced population of Idlib, said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“So then you have a Syrian version of the Gaza Strip — the bulk of the population in an area not much bigger than Rhode Island,” he said.
The safe zone Turkey already controls in the northeast, a 100-mile strip along Turkey’s border, is proving costly to maintain.
The zone, intended as a buffer against Kurdish forces, which Turkey considers a threat, has been plagued by car bomb attacks and I.E.D. strikes. Bomb blasts have occurred at least monthly in other areas under Turkish control, including one on Tuesday in the district of Afrin, which killed four civilians.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry has insisted that Turkey will hold its ground, and will not pull out its observation posts even though they are surrounded. And Mr. Erdogan warned Wednesday that Turkey would retaliate against further aggression.
“In the event of the tiniest harm to our soldiers at observation posts or anywhere else, starting today,” he said, “I declare that we will hit regime forces in Idlib and anywhere else.”
The judge that signed off on a $2.5 million settlement deal between the University of North Carolina and Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is effectively voiding the agreement.
In a ruling on Feb. 12, Judge R. Allen Baddour said that the SCV had no standing to bring the initial lawsuit against UNC over the Silent Sam monument. The lawsuit was filed a year after protestors toppled the Confederate monument in 2018 and settled minutes after it was brought in December 2019. In fact, court records show the UNC board of governors’ chairman agreed to the deal before the lawsuit was filed, according to NPR.
The bronze statue of a Confederate soldier — long known as Silent Sam — stood on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus from 1913 until it was pulled down by protestors in 2018.
The settlement was met with suspicion and confusion, as the board never held a public meeting on the future of the statue. UNC’s student newspaper The Daily Tarheel reported that two previous decisions by Baddour that were favorable to UNC had since been overturned.
A group of UNC students and faculty partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to file a motion to intervene with the deal.
“The court system is supposed to resolve conflicts between parties with adverse interests. Parties must have legal authority to be in court at all, which is referred to as ‘standing,’” Attorney Elizabeth Haddix told the Tarheel.
Judge Baddour agreed, vacating his previous consent judgement.
“While this was not the result we had hoped for, we respect the court’s ruling in this case,” UNC responded in a statement. “The Board of Governors knew from the very beginning that this was a difficult but needed solution to meet all their goals to protect public safety of the university community, restore normality to campus, and be compliant with the Monuments Law.”
It is not clear yet what will happen to the Silent Sam statue, which has been put in storage since being taken down.
The remains of 2,411 fetuses found in Illinois last year after the death of a former abortion provider have been buried, but authorities say they’re no closer to knowing why the doctor had been keeping them.
The remains were buried together in a donated plot on Wednesday afternoon following a graveside service in South Bend, Ind. They were found last year after the death of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who had worked as an abortion provider at three clinics in Indiana.
Klopfer was living in Illinois when he died in September at age 79. Soon afterward, officials discovered the remains in his home and vehicle. Officials say they date back to the years from 2000 to 2003.
Indiana’s Republican attorney general, Curtis Hill, who has been leading an investigation into the matter, presided over the memorial service.
“While it would have been preferable to return the remains to each city where the procedure took place, that was not possible, due to the degradation of the remains and the unreliability of the records,” Hill told onlookers.
Hill noted that an Indiana law passed in 2016 — long after the procedures in question — requires the burial or cremation of fetal remains resulting from an abortion. The law was signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
In an interview with NPR, Hill said his office has been combing through “thousands” of records found at Klopfer’s home outside Chicago and at three clinics in Indiana. But Hill said that Klopfer’s motivation for keeping the remains is still unclear and may never be known.
The remains themselves — which had been sealed in plastic bags and stored in boxes — had “degraded,” and the medical records were in “deplorable” condition, complicating the investigative process, Hill said.
“Lots of the records were spoiled, or destroyed, or wet,” he said.
Hill declined to comment on whether he is speaking with former clinic staff members, citing an ongoing investigation.
He said his office has heard from about 180 people through an information hotline for former patients, many of whom were not patients at the time of the procedures.
Hill said he believes Klopfer transported the remains from the clinics in Indiana to his home in Illinois. He said his office is still examining records, but he expressed little hope of finding an explanation for Klopfer’s actions.
“In terms of the why … we may never know,” Hill said. “The best evidence of the why certainly died with Dr. Klopfer in September. … There’s no answer for that, and I don’t know that we ever will get an answer for that.”
DUBLIN — In a century-old political system controlled by two seemingly indistinguishable center-right parties in Ireland, Jamie Clarke did what seemed sensible to him: He never voted in a general election.
“Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were the people that made the decisions, and someone like me could never change it — that’s the way it felt,” Mr. Clarke, a 33-year-old bartender, said on Monday, referring to the Irish political duopoly that has traded power since 1932. “I was so disaffected by how far they were from me.”
But in recent years, successive public votes in Ireland to legalize same-sex marriage and repeal an abortion ban have pulled many young and dissatisfied people into politics, giving voters a chance to shake up traditions that were once rigidly enforced by the Roman Catholic Church. Their next target was Ireland’s ossified political hierarchy.
On Saturday, voters cast off that relic, too, ending the two-party stasis in Irish politics with a breakout vote for Sinn Fein, a party long shunned by the mainstream for its ties to the Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group that sought the reunification of Ireland. Despite what he called the party’s “shady history,” Mr. Clarke said, he voted for Sinn Fein because he felt it was the tonic that Irish politics needed.
“Before the abortion referendum, I was like, ‘Ah, everyone’s going to know we’re bigots and narrow-minded,’ and then we showed we weren’t,” he said, sitting at a central Dublin pub on a night off. “Now we’re showing again that we’re not afraid to have our voices heard.”
The vote sent a tremor through a political system that had long defied the usual left-right divisions across Europe. But for all the disruption, what emerged from the wreckage was, by European standards, a much more normal-looking system, anchored by rival parties on the left and the right.
“For the first time in 100 years, it’s possible you’ll have a party that calls itself left-wing leading a government,” said Eoin O’Malley, an associate professor of political science at Dublin City University, referring to Sinn Fein.
By the time the votes were counted this week, Sinn Fein held one fewer parliamentary seats than Ireland’s main center-right opposition party, Fianna Fail, which had been expected to romp to victory. And it captured two more seats than the current center-right governing party, Fine Gael, led by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s frontman in negotiations with London over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Tortuous coalition negotiations in the coming weeks will determine who, if anyone, can command enough support to lead the next government. But lawmakers from across the political spectrum conceded that the vote for Sinn Fein reflected the desire of a huge cohort of voters — young and old, urban and rural, working-class and middle-class — for new alternatives in a system that had long stamped them out.
“Every other politician, they say they’re going to do this and that,” said Tony Hayes, 64, who lives in central Dublin. “But at the end of the day, they’re feeding you loads of lies. So why not go to somebody you feel like you can trust them? Sinn Fein, you feel like you can trust them.”
There was one issue above all that drove Mr. Hayes’s anger at Ireland’s two old political heavyweights and endeared him, like many voters, to Sinn Fein: housing. The number of homeless people has been rising for years, eclipsing 10,000 in 2019. And average rents have increased by as much as 40 percent in some counties over the past three years.
Young people, especially, are suffering, with some leaving bigger cities like Dublin or moving out of Ireland altogether. Mr. Clarke said that many of his friends had been forced to move back in with their parents. He had lived in a central Dublin neighborhood for five years before high rents drove him out to a suburb.
“It’s not any good for your psyche,” he said, “but it’s cheaper.”
Sinn Fein’s success extended well beyond its core group of young and urban voters, though. Rural seats that had not been represented in a century by a Sinn Fein lawmaker joined inner-city Dublin districts in electing representatives from the party. And Sinn Fein became the most popular party among every age group up to 65, according to exit polls.
Ailbhe Smyth, 73, a political activist and feminist scholar who played a leading role in the campaign to repeal Ireland’s abortion ban, said that many were feeling the anguish of a crisis that had forced people to wait weeks or years for some medical appointments, despite the government’s lavish spending on health care. She said older people, too, had woken up to the pain that Ireland’s cultural and political norms had inflicted on the younger generations.
While power was passed back and forth between the two center-right parties, parts of Irish identity, such as the expectation that people could grow up to own their own homes, began to vanish. And just as Ms. Smyth said the vote for abortion rights had been driven in part by “a very deep sense of national shame at the way women had been treated historically in this country,” she said that the turnout this weekend reflected the regret of some voters for not vanquishing an outdated political system sooner.
“Older people voting for Sinn Fein are saying, ‘Well, actually, my son, my daughter, my grandchildren, they haven’t got a house,’” Ms. Smyth said. “So there is that feeling of guilt that we’re not leaving them a very good world — and we’ve wrecked the planet, too.”
Facing up to rivals like Mr. Varadkar, who focused during the campaign on Brexit achievements that few voters cared about, Sinn Fein stuck to a few clear, tangible promises. And rather than harping on the government’s failures, as it recently had during unsuccessful campaigns, the party tried to home in on what it would get done. It vowed, for instance, to spend 6.5 billion euros, about $7 billion, building 100,000 homes.
It also drew in supporters with a new leader, Mary Lou McDonald, a 50-year-old Dubliner who helped shed the party’s reputation for having predominantly male supporters and who pushed it to liberalize its position on abortion rights. In 2018, she succeeded Gerry Adams, who is from Northern Ireland and who is widely reported to have once served as chief of staff to the I.R.A., though he has always denied that.
Still, Sinn Fein may find it difficult to maintain its momentum. Analysts expressed doubt that it could quickly build its way out of Ireland’s housing crisis, given the challenges facing a construction industry that is already near capacity. The country would need an influx of foreign workers to keep pace with demand, analysts have said, a development that would itself stress the housing market as new workers looked for their own places to live.
The party also has to balance the desires of a traditional base that is hungry for Irish unity with newer voters who flocked to it because of issues like housing and homelessness. That tension became evident in recent days as some candidates faced criticism for singing songs or using slogans associated with the fight for a united Ireland, reminders to some voters of the party’s ties to anti-British violence.
But some of the party’s younger activists have been trying to build a bridge between the party’s past and its future.
Fintan Warfield, 27, credits Irish music with politicizing him as a teenager. He said he came to see Sinn Fein not only as the best hope for a united Ireland, but also as a party with “empathy on other issues and compassion for other marginalized groups.”
Mr. Warfield joined the party at 16, a time when Sinn Fein was largely ignored by mainstream Irish politicians. At that time, he kept his work for the party more private, slipping out of the house to canvass for a Sinn Fein city councilor. Now, Mr. Warfield, who is gay, is a Sinn Fein senator and prominent campaigner on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
He said that Sinn Fein’s years of work on the margins of Irish politics — resolving local housing disputes, campaigning in cattle markets far from Dublin for same-sex marriage — had laid the seeds for its surge this week.
“Now that people have said, ‘OK, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have had their chance,’” he said, “all those years of work have amounted to this.”
PARIS — Gabriel Matzneff, the French writer who talked openly for decades about engaging in pedophilia, was charged on Wednesday in a Paris court with promoting the sexual abuse of children.
Mr. Matzneff, who has been in hiding in the Italian Riviera and did not appear in court, was accused of defending and justifying pedophilia through his many books and public appearances, according to the case filed by l’Ange Bleu, an anti-pedophilia organization.
The court set September 2021 as the start of the trial, which will scrutinize not only the author’s actions but also those of the French elite who published his books, promoted his career and even helped him evade justice.
“Everyone will have to take responsibility,” l’Ange Bleu’s lawyer, Méhana Mouhou, said after the hearing.
Mr. Matzneff was represented in court by his longtime lawyer and supporter, Emmanuel Pierrat, who is also president of the PEN Club in France, a writers’ association, and the secretary general of a museum in Paris devoted to the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008 and was one of Mr. Matzneff’s benefactors. Mr. Pierrat declined to comment.
L’Ange Bleu is using a special legal procedure to force Mr. Matzneff to stand trial, arguing that its interests as an organization devoted to fighting pedophilia were damaged by Mr. Matzneff’s longstanding promotion of pedophilia. If convicted in that case, Mr. Matzneff, 83, could face up to five years in prison.
Although Mr. Matzneff is not scheduled to appear in court until next year in the case brought by the anti-pedophilia organization, he could face legal challenges sooner if prosecutors decide to charge him in specific cases of abuse.
Prosecutors, who have been criticized in recent weeks for their long inaction despite Mr. Matzneff’s avowed pedophilia, are moving on a separate track that could lead to more criminal charges.
They said on Tuesday that they would actively seek other victims of the author, and on Wednesday they raided for the second time the headquarters of Gallimard, one of Mr. Matzneff’s publishers, to seize more of his books and manuscripts, according to the French news media.
Mr. Matzneff openly talked and wrote about pedophilia, but the dynamic changed after the publication last month of “Le Consentement” (“Consent”) by Vanessa Springora, the first testimony by one of the writer’s underage victims.
Fueling an abrupt cultural shift in France, the book touched off the sudden downfall of Mr. Matzneff, who was dropped by his three publishers, stripped of a rare benefit from the French government and abandoned by longtime supporters.
On Wednesday, Christophe Girard, the deputy for culture to the mayor of Paris, released a statement on his Twitter account acknowledging that he had arranged the payment by the Yves Saint Laurent design house of Mr. Matzneff’s hotel bills in the mid-1980s, as reported by The New York Times. Mr. Girard said he had followed the instructions of Pierre Bergé, the business tycoon and partner of Mr. Saint Laurent.
Mr. Girard also wrote that it was “possible’’ that when he occupied the same position in Paris in 2002, he had written a letter of support that won Mr. Matzneff a seldom-awarded lifetime annual stipend from the National Book Center.
Until just a few weeks ago, Mr. Matzneff was recognized as a celebrated writer. He won one of France’s most prestigious literary awards in 2013. His most recent book, “L’Amante de l’Arsenal” (“The Mistress of the Arsenal”), came out three months ago in the prestigious “Collection Blanche” of Gallimard, regarded by many as France’s most distinguished publishing house. He had also enjoyed a wide audience through a column in the magazine Le Point.
As “Le Consentement” was about to be published, Mr. Matzneff left France to spend Christmas with friends in Rome, he said in a long interview with The New York Times, in which he asked that his exact location not be revealed.
Then, as the scandal broke in Paris and nearly all of Mr. Matzneff’s supporters ran for cover, Mr. Matzneff moved to a hotel in the Italian Riviera.
Mr. Matzneff, who said he did not know when he would return to Paris, will be compelled to appear at the start of the trial next year.
In many books, Mr. Matzneff writes about his relations with teenage girls in France and sex tourism in the Philippines with boys as young as 8. His breakthrough book as an author, from 1974, had the title “Les Moins de Seize Ans” (“Under 16 Years Old”).
As a transgressive figure rooted in French literary tradition, Mr. Matzneff appealed to many in France’s elite, in publishing, journalism, politics and business.
In the recent interview with The Times, Mr. Matzneff angrily defended himself, saying that he wrote about what many others did in secret, especially in the years following the May 1968 countercultural revolution.
“Even the silly things I might have done during those euphoric years of freedom, I wasn’t the only one,” he said. “What hypocrisy.”
Mr. Matzneff wrote in meticulous detail about his sexual history, especially in his diaries, which the anti-pedophilia group is planning to present in court as the main evidence of his conduct.
In the interview with the Times, Mr. Matzneff said he renounced nothing in his diaries — a stand that some admirers say reflects his full commitment to literature but now poses legal risks.
Mr. Matzneff said he made up nothing and hid nothing in his diaries. “To my mind, a diary is really of interest only if it deserves the title that Baudelaire gave to one of his, ‘My heart laid bare,’” Mr. Matzneff said, referring to the 19th-century French poet.
“A fake diary is of no interest,” he said, adding that, in real writing, “there has to be blood, there has to be sperm, there has to be life.”
But asked whether, in hindsight, he would write less candidly, he said, “At this moment, I’d tend to say yes, considering how the sky is falling on me.”
In “Le Consentement,” Ms. Springora, now 47, writes that she first met Mr. Matzneff when she was 13 and he was nearly 50. When she turned 14, they became involved sexually for two years, according to her account and Mr. Matzneff’s own diary of the era, “La prunelle des mes yeux” (“The apple of my eye”).
Ms. Springora writes that the relationship led to years of depression and other psychological problems.
In France, it was, and remains illegal, for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 15, although judges have broad leeway to decide what punishment, if any, to impose.
“I am who I am, in good and in evil,” Mr. Matzneff said in the recent interview. “My books are there. When I’ll be gone, they’ll judge my books.”
My fellow Americans, we face a national emergency. Never before have we had a president so utterly lacking in personal integrity, so able to lie and abuse his powers with such impunity and so blindly backed by an amoral party, an unscrupulous attorney general and a media-fund-raising juggernaut. It is an engine of raw power that will cram anything the president says or does right down your throat.
James Carville had it exactly right when he noted on “Morning Joe” the other day that the only thing standing in the way of lasting damage by this machine to all that makes America unique and great is the Democrats’ nominating the right person to defeat Donald Trump.
We have to get this right. This is no ordinary time, no ordinary Republican Party, no ordinary incumbent, and it will require an extraordinary Democratic machine to triumph.
Because, without doubt, Russia and China also will be “voting” Trump 2020 — for three reasons: (1) Trump keeps America in turmoil and unable to focus on building the infrastructure we need to dominate the 21st century the way we did the 20th. (2) Both Beijing and Moscow know that Trump is so disliked by America’s key allies that he can never galvanize a global coalition against China or Russia. And (3) both Russia and China know that Trump is utterly transactional and will never challenge them on human rights abuses. Trump is their chump, and they will not let him go easily.
So who is the right Democratic candidate? Well, for starters I will tell you who it is not. It is not Bernie Sanders. On which planet in the Milky Way galaxy is an avowed “socialist” — who wants to take away the private health care coverage of some 150 million Americans and replace it with a gigantic, untested Medicare-for-All program, which he’d also extend to illegal immigrants — going to defeat the Trump machine this year? It will cast Sanders as Che Guevara — and it won’t even be that hard.
Yes, the failures of American capitalism to deliver inclusive growth, which have propelled the Sanders campaign and animated his followers, require urgent attention by our next president. But Sanders, in key cases, has the wrong solutions to the right problems. He’s the wrong candidate to take down Trump.
Please, Democrats, don’t tell me you need Sanders’s big, ill-thought-through, revolutionary grand schemes to get inspired and mobilized for this election. You want a revolution? I’ll give you a revolution: four more years of Donald Trump, unencumbered by the need to get re-elected. That will be a revolution! And it will do permanent damage to the institutions and norms that have sustained this country since its founding, not to mention our environment, which Trump has been selling off to oil, gas and mining companies at an alarming pace.
So, who is the right candidate and what is the right strategy?
On strategy, we know the formula that works, because it already has: Appeal to independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women. These are the constituencies that did not like Hillary Clinton and were ready to give Trump a chance in 2016 — but abandoned him in 2018 and delivered the House of Representatives to the Democrats, and then also two governorships in red states.
If Democrats can choose a candidate who can hold the core Democratic base and also appeal to these same independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women in the key swing states, they can absolutely defeat Trump.
How do you do that as a candidate?
For starters, by stressing national unity, personal integrity and a willingness to pursue bipartisanship whenever the other side is ready. A lot of Americans are worried sick that Trump is tearing the country in half.
As Larry Diamond, editor of The Journal of Democracy, pointed out to me, several studies he’s been publishing show that the best way to defeat illiberal populism is not by trying to out-polarize the polarizer in chief but rather through broad, inclusive electoral strategies that pragmatically address the economic and social concerns of voters, including those who had previously voted for the populist.
That was the approach that enabled the secular opposition to defeat the party of Turkey’s autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in municipal elections last year in Istanbul and other cities. A similar depolarizing approach powered the victory of Greece’s liberal-centrist New Democracy party over the ruling left-wing populist Syriza in national elections last year.
You also do it by repeating every hour every day — with evidence — that Trump is out to destroy Obamacare through the courts, which means eliminating its coverage for pre-existing conditions, and only the Democrats will save it and improve it.
You do it by not only talking about how to redivide the pie — which we need to do — but by also talking about how to grow the pie, how to create more taxpayers and how to inspire more innovators. Ours is a capitalist country. Americans admire successful entrepreneurs. Let’s praise job creators and risk-takers — as long as they and their companies pay their taxes. You want more and better jobs, you need more Steve Jobs.
You do it by celebrating the growing economy that Barack Obama reignited and Trump continued, while making clear that it still needs work. Too much of the Trump tax cuts have gone to companies and the most wealthy, with virtually nothing invested in infrastructure — roads, ports, schools, bandwidth, scientific research — or affordable housing, which we must have for inclusive prosperity.
You do it by hitting Trump hard on the environment, but not focusing just on “climate change,” which is an abstraction for most people. Trump is unfit to serve four more years because of how he has removed so many protections for the water and air America’s kids drink and breathe every day.
And you do it by supporting a balanced approach to immigration reform — a high wall, with a big gate.
I was glad to see candidates with this kind of message, like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, trending better in Iowa and New Hampshire. It showed that lots of Democrats are searching in this direction.
But there is one candidate on the Democratic side who not only has a track record of supporting all those issues but also has the resources to build a machine big enough to take on the Trump machine.
This candidate also has the toughness to take on Trump, because while Trump was pretending to be a C.E.O. on the show “The Apprentice,” this candidate was actually building one of the most admired global companies as a real C.E.O.
This candidate is not cuddly, he is not always politically correct and he will not always tell you what you want to hear — or try to outbid you on how many free services he’ll give away. He’s made mistakes, especially around stop-and-frisk policing in New York City, which disproportionately targeted black and brown men and for which he recently apologized.
His mistakes, though, have to be weighed against a record of courageously speaking out and devoting enormous personal resources to virtually every progressive cause — gun control, abortion rights, climate change, Planned Parenthood, education reform for predominantly minority schools, affordable housing, income inequality and tax reform. And he has vowed as president to focus on building black wealth, not just ending poverty.
And this candidate knows how to get stuff done — he can fight this fire at the scale of the fire. His team has for years used social networks to promote progressive issues to centrist and conservative audiences. He won’t cede the internet/Facebook/Twitter battlefield to Trump’s team, who are killers in that space.
And this candidate is now rising steadily in the polls. This candidate is Michael Bloomberg. This candidate has Trump very worried.
Yes, Sanders is also polling well against Trump, but the Trump machine has not begun to focus on him yet — it hasn’t begun bombing Facebook with ads about how Sanders honeymooned in the Soviet Union.
Sitting here today, Bloomberg — paired with a progressive vice-presidential candidate who can appeal to Sanders’s voters — has the best chance to carry the day.
In an age when political extremists go all the way, and moderates tend to just go away, Bloomberg has the right stuff — a moderate progressive with a heart of gold but the toughness of a rattlesnake — for what is going to be an incredibly big, brutal task: making Donald Trump a one-term president.
(Disclosure: Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated to Planet Word, the museum my wife is building in Washington, to promote reading and literacy.)
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Tech jobs are coming to New York City in droves. All the big tech companies — even Amazon, which abandoned plans for a headquarters-style campus a year ago — are expanding in the city.
But many local workers could miss out because they are not receiving the training they need for well-paid careers in tech, according to a new study by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research group.
The study echoes one of the concerns of opponents of a deal that would have cleared the way for a new Amazon office park in the city — that tech wealth and good jobs would bypass current New Yorkers. And those natives would be left struggling with the downside: the higher housing prices and living costs in neighborhoods gentrified by newcomers.
Closing the opportunity gap in New York’s tech economy, the study concludes, will require more initiatives that truly prepare workers for careers that can be ladders to the middle class. Per Scholas, a nonprofit founded in 1995 and based in the South Bronx, is an example of how this can be done, according to the study.
The nonprofit offers free technology training in courses that run from 15 to 19 weeks. In recent years, it has expanded beyond training for technology-support jobs to add courses in cybersecurity, cloud computing, software engineering and data engineering. Ninety percent of its students are members of minority groups, 60 percent have no more than a high school degree, and half receive some form of public assistance.
Per Scholas students at a center in the Bronx are mainly in their 20s and early 30s. Their work experience has typically been in retailing and restaurants, where the pay is low and hours are inconsistent.
“I was underemployed in dead-end jobs with no advancement possibilities,” said Francisca Hernandez, a 29-year-old Per Scholas trainee, who never made more than $12,000 a year.
Her prospects should be far brighter after she completes the Per Scholas cybersecurity course in a few weeks. In New York, Per Scholas graduates are now making $18 to $30 an hour, $37,000 to $62,000 a year, with some earning $40 an hour or about $82,000 a year in jobs as software engineers and data specialists, the organization said.
But Per Scholas appears to be an exception. More than 370 adult tech-training programs are offered across the city by nonprofit organizations, for-profit boot camps and continuing-education courses at schools. Yet fewer than 19 percent of them equip graduates for midlevel and advanced-skill jobs, ranging from programmer to data scientist, the study concluded.
The lengthy report, which also examined grade school and high school programs, is intended to serve as a guide to public and private efforts to bring the benefits of the tech economy to minority groups, women and more neighborhoods beyond affluent parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“The goal is to see more clearly what is being done, what needs to be done and what is succeeding,” said Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC, a nonprofit industry group, which commissioned and co-published the study.
Most training initiatives, the researchers found, focus on simpler skills like digital literacy, basic computing concepts and preparation for entry-level jobs such as technology support technician and help-desk associate.
“It’s striking how few in-depth, career-ready programs there are,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future.
Four big tech companies — Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple — already employ thousands in the city and are adding office space to accommodate thousands more. In all, the companies are expected to have roughly 20,000 workers in New York by 2022.
Tech companies, however, are only part of the hiring picture. Half of the current openings in the city for occupations like software engineer and web developer are in other industries such as finance, marketing and media, according to Glassdoor, a job and recruiting site.
The growing need for tech workers is forcing employers to look beyond traditional recruiting pipelines, like elite universities, to new sources of talent, including local people without college degrees.
With offices in 12 cities, Per Scholas is one of the largest tech training programs. Its enrollment has tripled since 2015, to more than 2,000 projected for this year. In New York, the nonprofit will train about 750 people this year — double the number in 2015 — at a smaller office in Brooklyn and its main center in the Bronx. There, Per Scholas occupies the second floor of nondescript concrete building, just down the street from a U-Haul depot.
Independent evaluations of Per Scholas’s success have helped it attract more foundation and government funding to expand in recent years, but it could reach more people, said Plinio Ayala, its chief executive.
Per Scholas accepts 30 percent of its applicants. With added resources, Mr. Ayala estimates, the nonprofit could increase that rate to 50 percent and maintain its income-improving performance.
“There are proven models now,” he said. “The issue is how to scale.”
A key Per Scholas strategy has been forging close ties with companies. For example, in a partnership with Cognizant, the technology services company pays for training tailored to its needs and gets to hire the graduates. Since the partnership began in 2017, the company has trained more than 760 Per Scholas graduates in New York and Dallas.
Some Per Scholas alumni are working at tech companies like Google and Amazon. But far more are employed at places like Barclays, Bloomberg, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the local operations of the Japanese electronics maker Ricoh.
Over the last several years, Barclays has hired 56 Per Scholas graduates and worked with the nonprofit to develop courses. The hires have mostly thrived at the bank, said Deborah Goldfarb, a Barclays managing director. The bank’s experience, she said, shows the value in seeking “untapped talent from often overlooked communities.”
Julissa Ortega, a Per Scholas graduate, joined Barclays in late 2018, beginning a two-year apprenticeship. Her work history included being a line cook at a hotel, and she made $26,000 in the year before her Per Scholas training. At Barclays, Ms. Ortega earns about twice as much, monitoring and upgrading the bank’s computing systems and software.
Before Per Scholas, Ms. Ortega had no computing experience, so the weeks of long days of classroom work and homework in the evenings were difficult and challenging. Yet she found writing code and fixing software bugs remarkably satisfying and creative.
“You’re giving instructions to a computer that knows nothing — you’re making something from scratch,” she said.
Ms. Ortega, 35, can also afford things she never could before. She has, for example, booked a cruise in June to Bermuda with her partner and 8-year-old daughter.
At Barclays, she is one of the people interviewing Per Scholas graduates for jobs at the bank. “I’m on the other side now,” she said.
When a mailroom worker at an Amsterdam office building noticed an unusual hissing sound coming from one of the packages being sorted Wednesday morning, he tossed it away. Moments after the parcel left his hands, it exploded.
Less than an hour later, in Kerkrade, a Dutch town near the German border, a second package mailed to a local business blew up. Nobody was wounded in either case and police officials compared the size of Wednesday’s blasts to a small fireworks explosion, saying that the bombs would have caused nonfatal injuries had anyone been holding them.
But the attacks were just the latest in a spate of parcel bombs directed at businesses across the Netherlands that have set the authorities on edge — and they were the first to actually detonate.
The police believe that the latest attacks were most likely linked because the mail bombs were accompanied by letters demanding money in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to prevent future attacks.
“It’s fair to say that all of these are connected because the same demand was made,” said Lex van Liebergen, an Amsterdam police spokeswoman. “But we still don’t know who sent it. We are still investigating.”
She would not say how much money the bomber had demanded or how the money was to be delivered.
The earlier letter bombs targeted a range of businesses, including a hotel, a gas station, a garage, a real estate agent and a bill collection service.
On Wednesday, the first package exploded at about 8 a.m. in a mail sorting facility at ABN Amro, a large Dutch bank, according to Geert van der Varst, a spokesman for the company.
“The colleague who was sorting the mail heard a hissing sound, and threw the package away,” Mr. van der Varst said.
The second bomb exploded in the mailroom of an unidentified business in Kerkrade, about 140 miles away.
Mail bombs have been used as a means of extortion in the Netherlands before. In 2015, after bombs were mailed to several Jumbo supermarkets, a 58-year-old man was arrested and later sentenced to eight years in prison after investigators tied him to the attacks using DNA evidence.
As the investigation into the current wave of package bombs continued, employees in mailrooms around the country were taking precautions. A third suspicious package arrived at an ABN Amro branch in the southern town of Maastricht on Wednesday, with Mr. van der Varst, the bank’s spokesman, saying that the employee who handled the parcel thought it was “weird looking.” It was put off to the side and the police were called.
In that case, it turned out to be a false alarm — the package contained a computer mouse.
Iliana Magra contributed reporting.
Carlos Maza believes that YouTube is a destructive, unethical, reckless company that amplifies bigots and profits off fascism.
Now it’s also his meal ticket.
Mr. Maza, 31, announced several weeks ago that he was leaving Vox, where he had worked as a video journalist since 2017, to become a full-time YouTube creator.
The move shocked some of Mr. Maza’s fans, who have watched him become one of YouTube’s most vocal critics for failing to stop a right-wing pile-on against him last year. The controversy that followed that campaign, which was led by a prominent conservative YouTuber, turned Mr. Maza into a YouTube mini-celebrity and made him a sworn enemy of the site’s free-speech absolutists. He received death threats — and was temporarily forced to move out of his apartment.
Rather than swearing off YouTube, Mr. Maza, who is a New York-based socialist, decided to seize the means of his own video production.
“I’m going to use the master’s tools to destroy the master’s house,” he said in an interview. “I want to build up an audience and use every chance I get to explain how destructive YouTube is.”
It’s not rare for YouTubers to criticize YouTube. (In fact, among top creators, it’s practically a sport.) But Mr. Maza’s critique extends to the traditional media as well. He believes that media outlets have largely failed to tell compelling stories to a generation raised on YouTube and other social platforms, and that, as a result, they have created a power vacuum that bigots and extremists have been skilled at filling.
“On YouTube, you’re competing against people who have put a lot of time and effort into crafting narrative arcs, characters, settings or just feelings they’re trying to evoke,” he said. “In that environment, what would have been considered typical video content for a newsroom — news clips, or random anchors generically repeating the news with no emotions into a camera — feels really inadequate and anemic.”
Clips from a video Mr. Maza released on his new YouTube channel.Credit
The YouTube series that Mr. Maza hosted at Vox, “Strikethrough,” drew millions of views with acidic takedowns of Fox News, CNN and other mainstream media organizations. But he took aim at YouTube itself last year after Steven Crowder, a bargain-bin conservative comedian with more than four million YouTube subscribers, began taunting Mr. Maza, mocking him as a “lispy queer” and repeatedly making off-color jokes about his sexual orientation (gay) and ethnicity (Cuban American).
In response, Mr. Maza compiled a video of Mr. Crowder’s insults and tweeted them out, blaming YouTube for its inconsistent enforcement of its hate-speech policies. (One tweet read: “YouTube is dominated by alt-right monsters who use the platform to target their critics and make their lives miserable.”)
After an investigation, YouTube found that Mr. Crowder’s videos did not violate its rules. That set off an avalanche of criticism, and provoked backlash from L.G.B.T. groups and YouTube employees, who urged the company to do more to protect Mr. Maza and other creators from harassment. The controversy even ensnared Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive, who was forced to apologize. Late last year, the site revised its harassment policy to address some of the concerns.
A YouTube spokeswoman declined to comment.
Inside the world of YouTube partisans, Mr. Maza’s feud with Mr. Crowder made him a scapegoat. Some creators blamed him for setting off an “adpocalypse” — a YouTube policy change that resulted in some videos being stripped of their ads. Others wove elaborate conspiracy theories that NBCUniversal, an investor in Vox, was using Mr. Maza to drive viewers and advertisers away from YouTube and toward its own TV platform.
In July, Vox ended Mr. Maza’s show, and after a few months in limbo, he decided to hang his own shingle. He set up a YouTube channel and a Patreon crowdfunding account, bought a camera and hit record. For all its flaws, he said, YouTube is essential for people who want to get a message out.
“The one thing that YouTube offers that’s really good is that it does give a space for independent journalists to do important work and build an audience without requiring a huge investment of capital,” Mr. Maza said.
YouTube can be harsh terrain for a professional leftist. The site is nominally open to all views, but in practice is dominated by a strain of reactionary politics that is marked by extreme skepticism of mainstream media, disdain for left-wing “social justice warriors” and a tunnel-vision fixation on political correctness.
In recent years, some progressive YouTubers have tried to counter this trend by making punchy, opinionated videos aimed at left-wing viewers. BreadTube, a loose crew of socialist creators who named themselves after a 19th-century anarchist book, “The Conquest of Bread,” has made modest stars out of leftists like Natalie Wynn, a YouTube personality known as ContraPoints, and Oliver Thorn, a British commentator known as PhilosophyTube.
Credit…Ricky Rhodes for The New York Times
But these creators are still much less powerful than their reactionary counterparts. Mr. Maza attributes that gap to the fact that while a vast network of well-funded YouTube channels exists to push right-wing views, liberal commentary is still mainly underwritten by major news organizations, which have been slower to embrace the highly opinionated, emotionally charged style of content that works well on YouTube.
“People understand the world through stories and personalities,” he said. “People don’t actually want emotionless, thoughtless, viewpoint-less journalism, which is why no one is a Wolf Blitzer stan.”
In order to reach people on YouTube, Mr. Maza said, the left needs to embrace YouTube’s algorithmically driven ecosystem, which rewards “authentic” and “relatable” creators who can connect emotionally with an audience.
“There is a need for compelling progressive content that gives a young kid on YouTube some sense that there is a worldview and an aesthetic and a vibe that is attractive on the left,” he said.
Mr. Maza’s first video, a five-minute introduction to his channel, hints at how he intends to do that. The video is half political manifesto, half self-deprecating monologue. Playing all three parts himself, he has an imagined conversation with his “left flank,” a hammer-and-sickle socialist, and his “right flank,” a tie-clad centrist, along with his therapist, who warns him that YouTube can transform decent people into “cruel, ego-driven” attention-seekers.
It’s a funny, knowing skit, and it shows how familiar Mr. Maza is with the customs and culture of YouTube. He doesn’t wear a suit or plaster himself with stage makeup. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, or adopt a Walter Cronkite-like pose of objectivity.
He gets that YouTube, while a serious forum for political discussion, also requires a kind of pageantry that can be hard for people steeped in the ways of traditional media.
With just 14,000 subscribers, Mr. Maza has a long road ahead to building a platform as large as the one he left at Vox. But he sees no better route to relevance than going all in on YouTube, even if that means embracing a platform whose politics he detests.
“There needs to be some swagger to leftist politics,” Mr. Maza said. “And YouTube gives you a space to have that swagger.”
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We’re covering the results of the New Hampshire primary, a name for the illness caused by the coronavirus, and the Westminster Dog Show.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Bernie Sanders edges out Pete Buttigieg
Mr. Sanders established himself on Tuesday as a formidable contender for the Democratic nomination, recording his second strong showing in a week and narrowly defeating Mr. Buttigieg in the New Hampshire primary.
With most ballots counted, Mr. Sanders had about 26 percent of the vote, fending off Mr. Buttigieg and another moderate rival, Amy Klobuchar. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden finished well behind.
News analysis: “Mr. Sanders’s early hold on a fractured primary field has laid bare a distressing truth for some Democrats: The man who has long resisted the party’s label might just become the standard-bearer.” Read more from our reporters in New Hampshire.
Perspective: Opinion writers from The Times and elsewhere considered the prospect of Mr. Sanders as the Democratic nominee.
“The Daily”: Today’s episode is about what Tuesday’s results mean for the race.
Prosecutors are overruled in Roger Stone case
Hours after President Trump tweeted that a sentencing recommendation for his longtime friend was “horrible and very unfair,” senior Justice Department officials intervened on Tuesday and called for more leniency.
Three of the four government lawyers who made the initial request — of seven to nine years in prison — then withdrew from the case. The fourth quit the Justice Department entirely. Here’s what we know about them all.
Mr. Trump later denied that he had tried to influence the case, and the Justice Department rejected any link to the president’s tweets.
Background: Mr. Stone was convicted last year of charges including perjury and witness-tampering in one of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions arising from Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Another angle: The president suggested that the Pentagon should consider punishing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former White House aide who was fired last week after he testified in the impeachment hearings. Our chief White House correspondent writes: “More axes are sure to fall.”
New name for coronavirus illness: COVID-19
The World Health Organization proposed the label on Tuesday; it’s short for coronavirus disease 2019, because the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.
The organization’s leader said the name did not refer to any people, places or animals associated with the virus in an effort to avoid stigma.
Chinese officials said today that even as the death toll from the illness continued to climb, the infection rate showed signs of slowing. Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.
Related: Public health experts are skeptical that China’s isolation of thousands of patients will contain the virus and worried that the makeshift shelters where they’re being housed pose other risks.
Another angle: Japan’s government has offered mixed messages about its capacity to test the 3,600 people aboard a cruise ship who have been quarantined for more than a week. At least 174 are known to be infected, the largest number of cases outside China.
A win too late after nuclear cleanup
In 1966, an American B-52 bomber carrying hydrogen bombs exploded over Spain. The Air Force kept the disaster classified, but sent 1,600 troops to clean up.
Many later learned they had cancer and other ailments, and they were unsuccessful in their efforts to get the federal government to pay for their medical care.
More than 50 years later, the veterans won the right to sue collectively for health benefits, but many of them have already died from their illnesses.
Background: The bomber exploded during midair refueling on Jan. 17, 1966, dropping its four hydrogen bombs to the ground. They weren’t armed, but the conventional explosives in two of them blew up on impact, scattering plutonium over the town of Palomares.
Response: In a statement this month, the Air Force maintained its assessment that the Palomares troops had not suffered harmful exposure to radiation.
If you have 15 minutes, this is worth it
Drowning in brands
With names like BSTOEM and ZGGCD, so-called pseudo-brands represent a large and growing part of Amazon’s business.
Thousands of product lines — many of which evaporate as quickly as they appear — stock the site with disparate categories of goods, and are challenging the idea of what it means to be a brand.
Here’s what else is happening
Climate-friendly tax break: In 2018, Congress approved a tax break for companies that use carbon capture technology to reduce their emissions. But the policy has hit an unexpected hurdle: the tax man.
Jussie Smollett indictment: A grand jury revived the criminal case against the former “Empire” actor, indicting him on charges that he lied to the police in his claim a year ago to have suffered a hate crime attack. Prosecutors had dropped similar charges.
Snapshot: Above, “A Concise Passage,” an installation at Desert X AlUla, a new art festival in Saudi Arabia that is attracting the Coachella crowd. Some locals are worried about damaging the Saudi desert’s archaeological jewels, and outsiders have called the collaboration with the Saudi authorities “morally corrupt.”
Late-night comedy: “Today, Joe Biden said that Mickey Mouse could run against President Trump and have a shot,” Conan O’Brien said. “Then Biden found out that he was polling third behind Mickey Mouse.”
What we’re reading: This article in The Bitter Southerner, about the busboy in a 1960 photo of four young black men defiantly sitting at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. Dan Saltzstein, our senior editor for Special Projects, calls it a “lovely piece about a supporting character in the history of civil rights.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Few dips are as satisfying as a classic queso.
Eat: Nari, in San Francisco’s Japantown, refuses to flatten Thai cuisine into a Eurocentric model, our California restaurant critic, Tejal Rao, writes.
Smarter Living: Automating savings is one of three simple steps to improve your finances.
And now for the Back Story on …
The Westminster Dog Show
Every year, dog fanciers and fancy dogs get together at Madison Square Garden for a few days of mutual admiration. The competitors have been working toward the Westminster Dog Show for months.
Siba, a black standard poodle pictured below, won best in show on Tuesday. We spoke with Sarah Blesener, one of several photographers who has helped us cover the show.
Have you covered anything like this before?
Oh my, no. This is my first time, and there’s nothing like it. It feels like there’s too much to photograph. It’s visually overwhelming — that’s a better way to put it. The activities are quite redundant, the grooming and the competition, but the people and the dogs are unique. You turn a corner and there’s hair spray in the air and a dog in a new outfit, or people are dressed in ’40s sequins.
How do you work with the other photographers?
We cover different shifts. Somebody will be there in the morning, somebody in the afternoon, somebody in the evening. Somebody is doing video. It feels nice, you have more confidence to have your own vision.
What are you looking to capture?
The people are so quirky and interesting, and their relationships with the dogs are remarkable. That’s what I was drawn to. But it’s hard, because you have to make it not look too kitschy, to get something that’s more than just another cute dog. And you don’t want to disturb or overwhelm anyone. People are really emotional, they’re really stressed. It was more challenging than I realized.
That’s it for this briefing.
Thanks to all the readers who provided restaurant recommendations in Manchester, N.H., after hearing that one of our politics reporters had eaten — twice — at the Olive Garden next to his hotel.
See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Kathleen Massara provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the New Hampshire primary.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Word appearing in nearly every U.S. state constitution, but not the U.S. Constitution (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Manny Fernandez has been named The Times’s Los Angeles bureau chief. Since 2011, he has led our Houston bureau.
LONDON — Britain on Wednesday introduced a plan that would give the government more latitude to regulate internet content, as part of an effort to force Facebook, YouTube and other internet giants to do more to police their platforms.
The government said the country’s media regulator, known as Ofcom, would take on new responsibilities monitoring internet content, and would have the power to issue penalties against companies that do not do enough to combat “harmful and illegal terrorist and child abuse content.”
Left unanswered were many details, including what penalties the new regulator would have at its disposal or how it would keep tabs on the billions of pieces of user-generated content that are posted on the social media platforms.
A proposal circulated by the government last year suggested that the regulator could issue fines, block access to websites, and make individual executives legally liable for harmful content spread on their platforms.
The government said further details would be released in the spring.
“We will give the regulator the powers it needs to lead the fight for an internet that remains vibrant and open but with the protections, accountability and transparency people deserve,” said Nicky Morgan, the secretary of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the agency that announced the proposal on Wednesday.
The push for tougher regulation shows a divergence from the American-driven vision of the internet that is largely market-driven and free of government oversight. In Europe and in Britain, where free speech is more regulated than in the United States, there has been a growing willingness to impose new rules on the web, particularly related to hate speech, terrorism and material targeting children.
In Germany, companies risk fines if hate content is not removed in as little as 24 hours. France is considering a similar proposal. The European Union is also debating changes to laws that protect internet companies from being liable for content posted on their platforms.
Free speech and human rights advocates warned the policies would lead to censorship and be used as a template by more repressive governments.
Europe has been targeting the tech industry for years over growing concerns that American tech giants have too much power and influence. A sweeping privacy law enacted in 2018, called the General Data Protection Regulation, limits what personal information can be collected and shared online. Enforcement of European Union antitrust laws has resulted in billions of dollars in penalties against Google, Apple, Amazon and others for anticompetitive behavior.
Prof. Wendy Hall, a computer scientist at Southampton University in England, said the British proposal showed how the internet was fracturing around the world, with different regions adopting different standards. At one end, she said, is the American approach that lacks regulation and is largely market-driven; at the other sits China’s top-down government control and censorship.
Professor Hall said that Europe was attempting to find a middle path, but that democratic governments must tread carefully because judging what is acceptable online is often very subjective.
“There’s not an easy solution if you’re not an authoritarian government,” said Professor Hall, who has served as a government policy adviser on the use of artificial intelligence.
The British proposal is the first step toward building on recommendations that officials introduced last year to regulate the web. The regulations to be debated in the months ahead will apply to internet platforms that carry user-generated content, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Placing Ofcom in charge of internet-content regulation adds to the agency’s responsibilities overseeing Britain’s television networks, radio stations and newspapers, as well as country’s internet service providers.
Child-protection groups have pushed for the regulations, arguing that too much harmful content is available to young people.
“The government has today signaled they are willing to stand up to Silicon Valley and commit to landmark British regulation that could set a global standard in protecting children online,” Peter Wanless, the chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said in a statement.
In Britain, the handling of the tech industry presents a dilemma. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the sector is critical to the country’s economic future outside the European Union, but his government is also attempting tighter oversight. Antitrust regulators have vowed to clamp down on anticompetitive behavior by big online platforms. And the country’s top privacy regulator is investigating the internet advertising industry.
Many who work in the tech industry are concerned the rules will have unintended consequences, particularly for start-ups that don’t have the financial or legal resources to navigate a more complex regulatory environment.
“It becomes a moat for them,” said Rob Kniaz, a partner at the venture capital firm Hoxton Ventures in London. “These things always favor the incumbents.”
Coronavirus Updates: Dangerous Disease Now Called COVID-19; Death Toll Exceeds 1,100 – The New York Times
Here’s what you need to know:
Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
World health officials now have a name for the coronavirus illness.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday proposed an official name for the illness caused by the new coronavirus: COVID-19. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019, as the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the new name makes no reference to any of the people, places or animals associated with the coronavirus. The goal was to avoid stigma.
Under international guidelines, the W.H.O. “had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” he said on Twitter.
The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to climb, Chinese officials said on Wednesday. Nationwide, 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.
Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak
The virus has sickened more than 45,100 people in China and 24 other countries.
Deaths surpass 1,100, but rate of infection begins to fall.
The death toll from the coronavirus reached a new high on Wednesday even as Chinese officials said the rate of new infections showed signs of slowing.
Nationwide, 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.
Tuesday’s newly confirmed infections represented the lowest in a single day since Jan. 30, when there were 1,982 new confirmed cases.
The new figures brought the total number of deaths in China to at least 1,113. And the total number of confirmed cases rose to 44,653. Most of the newly reported deaths, 94, occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak.
There are 393 COVID-19 cases outside China, in 24 countries.
Japanese official tests positive after surveying cruise ship passengers.
The coronavirus has jumped from ship to shore, Japan’s health ministry said Wednesday, after an employee of the country’s health ministry tested positive for the illness after surveying passengers aboard a cruise ship being held under quarantine in the port of Yokohama.
Additionally, another 39 of the more than 3,600 crew and passengers have also tested positive, bringing the total number of cases to 175.
The ship, known as the Diamond Princess, has been under quarantine for a week, after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with coronavirus.
Japanese authorities have been slowly moving those diagnosed with the illness off the ship and to hospitals. But on board, many passengers are complaining of lack of information and access to necessary medicines.
Outbreak disrupts supply chains, and the effects ripple across the globe.
The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.
In Australia, after hauling hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore to China, returning freighters can face a 14-day quarantine.
BHP, which has headquarters in London and Melbourne, Australia, and is one of the world’s largest copper mining companies, has been in talks to possibly delay shipments to Chinese ports.
And from Qatar to Indonesia, exporters of liquefied natural gas face the prospect of disrupted shipments after a crucial importer in China is turning back deliveries.
“We’re seeing a rippling out,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. “And we don’t see it stopping.”
Prices for key industrial raw materials such as copper, iron ore, nickel, aluminum and liquid natural gas have plummeted since the virus emerged. Countries that export these goods at high rates, including Brazil, South Africa and Australia, are near their lowest levels in recent memory.
And manufacturers, mining companies and commodity producers of all stripes are weighing whether they will be forced to cut back on production for fear of adding to a growing inventory glut.
A hospital released an infected person, and a labeling error is blamed.
A person sick from the coronavirus was released from a San Diego hospital this week after a labeling error led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to incorrectly indicate that the person was not infected, the federal authorities said.
The samples had not yet been tested when officials announced mistakenly that the results were negative.
The patient, among hundreds recently evacuated to the United States from China and under quarantine at a military base, was sent back to the base because of the error, the C.D.C. said.
The patient was among three quarantined evacuees at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego whose samples were lacking information and went untested, said Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C.
It was uncertain how the labeling error had been made and which agency had been responsible. A spokeswoman for the hospital, the University of California San Diego, said there had been a miscommunication over how to identify patients.
With a rare, federal quarantine mandated for people arriving from Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak, the labeling error raised concerns among some being kept at the base.
“It caused quite a commotion on the base,” said John McGory, who had taught English in Wuhan for six years and is one of about 230 people being held on the San Diego base.
Airbnb cancels bookings in Beijing.
Airbnb will suspend bookings in Beijing until May 1, the company said on Wednesday.
The decision was made “in accordance with guidance issued by the government to all companies in the short-term rental industry,” a spokesman for the company said. He added that existing reservations would be refunded.
Airbnb has also waived cancellation fees for travel to and from mainland China until the end of February. Travelers who had booked stays in Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, can cancel reservations without charge until April 1.
The company had continued to accept reservations throughout China during the busy travel season before and after the Lunar New Year holiday, even as the government started to lock down cities and impose road restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.
The company also said it would set aside $10 million “to support hosts in the next few years, during the recovery period of the local tourism industry.”
Reporting and research was contributed by Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Sui-Lee Wee, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Matt Phillips and Tiffany May.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has rejected a proposal made by bishops at a landmark meeting in October to allow the ordination of married men in remote areas, a potentially momentous change that conservatives had warned would set the Roman Catholic Church on a slippery slope toward the lifting of priestly celibacy and the thrashing of church traditions.
Francis’ decision, in a papal letter with the power of church teaching that was made public by the Vatican on Wednesday, surprised many given his openness to considering questions of priestly celibacy in “far-flung places” and his oft-expressed desire for a more collegial and less bureaucratic church.
The pope’s supporters had hoped for revolutionary change. Seven years into his papacy, it raised the question of whether Francis’ promotion of discussing once-taboo issues is resulting in a pontificate that is largely talk.
His closest advisers in the hierarchy have already acknowledged that the pope’s impact on the global stage, especially on his core issues such as immigration and the environment, has waned. His legacy, they have said, would ultimately reside inside the church where his authority is absolute.
The pope’s refusal to allow married priests was likely to delight conservatives, many of whom have come to see Francis and his emphasis on a more pastoral and inclusive church as a grave threat to the rules, orthodoxy and traditions of the faith.
Coronavirus Patients, China is forging ahead in the search for treatments for people sickened by the new coronavirus that has infected more than 28,000 people in a countrywide epidemic, killed more than 500 and seeded smaller outbreaks in 24 other nations.
The need is urgent: There are no approved treatments for illnesses caused by coronaviruses.
On Thursday, China began enrolling patients in a clinical trial of remdesivir, an antiviral medicine made by Gilead, the American pharmaceutical giant.
The drug has to be given intravenously, is experimental and not yet approved for any use, and it has not been studied in patients with any coronavirus disease. But studies of infected mice and monkeys have suggested that remdesivir can fight coronaviruses.
And it appears to be safe. It was tested without ill effects in Ebola patients, although it did not work well against that virus, which is in a different family from coronaviruses.
Doctors in Washington State gave remdesivir to the first coronavirus patient in the United States last week after his condition worsened and pneumonia developed when he’d been in the hospital for a week. His symptoms improved the next day.
A single case cannot determine whether a drug works, but a report on the Washington patient, in The New England Journal of Medicine, has nonetheless sparked excitement about the drug.
Another report published on Tuesday by scientists in China added to the enthusiasm, showing that remdesivir blocked the new coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, from infecting cells grown in the lab.
“It is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental medicine that has only been used in a small number of patients with 2019-nCoV to date, so we do not have an appropriately robust understanding of the effect of this drug to warrant broad use at this time,” Ryan McKeel, a Gilead spokesman, said in an email.
Two clinical trials will take place in Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak; 500 patients will receive the drug, and comparison groups will get a placebo, Mr. McKeel said.
One trial, which began enrolling patients on Thursday, includes people who are severely ill with symptoms such as needing oxygen. The other trial will involve patients who are hospitalized but not as sick.
The patients will be given the drug intravenously for 10 days, and then assessed 28 days after the treatment to see how they fared compared to the placebo groups.
If the drug works, will Gilead be able to provide enough for everyone who needs it?
“There are currently limited available clinical supplies of remdesivir, but we are working to increase our available supply as rapidly as possible,” Mr. McKeel said.
Gilead had stockpiled the drug, as well as the materials used to make it, for use against Ebola. The company is now using that stockpile for the trials in China and for individual patients like the one in Washington State, whose doctors sought special permission from the Food and Drug Administration for “compassionate use” so that they could give him an unapproved drug.
The company plans to speed production and is looking for “manufacturing partners in multiple geographies,” Mr. McKeel said, adding that Gilead was going ahead with these preparations without knowing yet whether the drug works against the new coronavirus.
In the meantime, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has applied for a patent in China to use remdesivir to treat the coronavirus, according to a statement on the institute’s website.
Gilead already has patents for the drug in China and other parts of the world, and in 2016 filed additional patent applications to use it against coronaviruses. But the company’s application for coronavirus use is still pending, Mr. McKeel said.
“Gilead has no influence over whether a patent office issues a patent to the Chinese researchers,” he added.
In its statement, the virology institute said it would not exercise its patent rights “if relevant foreign companies intend to contribute to the prevention and control of China’s epidemic.”
The report from China published on Tuesday about remdesivir also found that chloroquine, a cheap drug used for decades to treat malaria, could also fight the new coronavirus. Researchers are recommending that it also be studied, along with various antiviral medications, including some of the ones used to treat H.I.V.