Grim Models Project High U.S. Toll
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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.