New daily cases have hit records in 12 states, and the White House acknowledges preparing for a fall wave.
Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said in an interview on Sunday that the White House was working to prepare for the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, though he said it wouldn’t necessarily come.
“We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall,” Mr. Navarro told Jake Tapper on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “We’re doing everything we can.”
The comments come in contrast to President Trump’s repeated assertions that the virus will “go away” and his questioning of its ability to last into the fall and winter.
But if anything, the virus is gaining ground. Nationwide, cases have risen 15 percent over the last two weeks. Cases are rising in 18 states across the South, West and Midwest. Seven states hit single-day case records yesterday, and five others hit a record earlier in the week.
Florida and South Carolina had their third straight day breaking single-day records, and Missouri and Nevada both hit their records on Saturday — increases that came as the United States reported more than 30,000 new infections on both Friday and Saturday, its highest totals since May 1.
Florida reported 4,049 new cases on Saturday, bringing the state’s total to about 94,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths; South Carolina reported 1,155 new cases; Missouri 375; and Nevada 452. Arizona, Utah and Montana also hit records.
California, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon hit records last week as well.
At the same time, overall deaths have dropped dramatically. The 14-day average was down 42 percent as of Saturday.
Strikingly, the new infections have skewed younger, with more people in their 20s and 30s testing positive, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said. These clusters may be especially worrying to colleges and universities that plan to bring students back to campus in the fall, when the coronavirus and the flu virus are expected to be circulating simultaneously.
In Florida — which “has all the makings of the next large epicenter,” according to model projections by the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — an advisory from the state’s Department of Health this weekend recommended that people avoid crowds larger than 50 people. It also encouraged social distancing and mask wearing at smaller gatherings.
Mr. Trump is set to deliver his national convention speech on Aug. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla., inside an arena that holds 15,000 people.
As Beijing struggles to stop a coronavirus outbreak that appears to have started at a vast wholesale food market in the city this month, China’s customs agency is taking aim at a U.S. company in a politically contentious industry: Tyson Foods.
China’s General Administration of Customs said on Sunday that effective immediately, it was temporarily suspending poultry imports from a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse that has had coronavirus cases among its workers. Shipments from the slaughterhouse that have already arrived in China will also be seized, the customs agency said in a public notice.
Scientists have said that the coronavirus appears to spread mostly through the air, not contaminated meat. But China has already curbed almost all transmission of the virus within its own borders and is looking to stamp out even low-probability risks.
The Chinese agency’s notice did not identify the location of the slaughterhouse, providing instead a registration number: P5842. Over the course of this spring, Tyson Foods has disclosed cases among its workers in several U.S. states.
On Friday, the company said that 13 percent of the 3,748 employees at its facilities in northwestern Arkansas had tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost all were asymptomatic. Arkansas is one of 18 U.S. states where daily new cases have been increasing.
Safety limits on food imports from the United States could make it even harder for China to meet its promise to buy more U.S. goods as part of its Phase 1 trade agreement with the Trump administration that was signed in January. But American critics of food processing giants, particularly pork producers, contend that the companies have risked the health of their workers by keeping operations running, in part to supply China.
Tyson released a statement saying that it was “looking into” China’s action, noting that it operated in compliance with all government safety requirements and adding, “It is important to note that the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S.D.A. and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration agree that there is no evidence to support transmission of Covid-19 associated with food.”
In his first rally in months, President Trump bragged about his response to the pandemic, despite widespread criticism of his administration’s faltering management of the crisis.
Addressing a mostly maskless crowd on Saturday night in a sparsely filled 19,000-seat indoor arena in Tulsa, Okla., Mr. Trump mocked the coronavirus, which has killed 121,000 Americans, and claimed that he wanted to slow down testing.
“Here’s the bad part,” Mr. Trump said, after boasting that the United States had tested millions more people than any other country. “When you do testing to that extent, you will find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.” He also insisted that schools needed to open in the fall.
On Sunday, Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said in an interview with Jake Tapper on the CNN program “State of the Union” that the president’s comment about slowing testing was “tongue in cheek.”
At the rally, Mr. Trump also blamed China for the pandemic’s economic damage in the United States, saying the country “sent us the plague.”
Mr. Navarro picked up that theme, a favorite among Republicans, alleging without evidence that China’s leaders may have done it on purpose and revisiting the claim that the virus was a Chinese bioweapon. Most American intelligence agencies remain skeptical of such a claim.
“China created this pandemic,” he told Mr. Tapper. “They hid the virus. They created the virus. They sent over hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens here to spread that around and around the world. Whether they did that on purpose, that’s an open question.”
“They are guilty until proven innocent,” Mr. Navarro said, saying that China should be “responsible for the trillions of dollars of damage that they’ve inflicted on us.”
Mr. Trump told the rally that the low turnout had resulted from news media reports on local officials’ health concerns about the indoor rally, and campaign advisers claimed that their supporters had trouble entering the arena because of protesters.
In reality, there were few protests across the city, and black leaders in Tulsa had made calls earlier for people to stay away. TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank.
Concerns that the event could spread the virus were amplified hours before Mr. Trump took the stage, when his campaign acknowledged that six staff members working on the rally had tested positive.
Downing St. seeks new powers against foreign takeovers of vaccine firms and other health-related businesses.
The British government will seek greater powers to intercede in foreign business takeovers to make sure that “they do not threaten” Britain’s ability to deal with a public health crisis like the pandemic, according to a government statement published on Sunday.
The law in question is the Enterprise Act 2002, which gave the government the oversight of mergers and takeovers on three public interest considerations: national security, media plurality and financial stability.
The proposed changes, to be presented to Parliament on Monday, would allow the government to intervene on a fourth: the country’s ability to combat a public health emergency.
“The economic disruption caused by the pandemic may mean that some businesses with critical capabilities are more susceptible to takeovers — either from outwardly hostile approaches, or financially distressed companies being sold to malicious parties,” it said, naming as examples “a vaccine research company or personal protective equipment manufacturer.”
“These measures will strike the right balance between the U.K.’s national security and resilience while maintaining our world-leading position as an attractive place to invest — the U.K. is open for investment, but not for exploitation,” Alok Sharma, Britain’s business secretary, said in a statement on Sunday.
Bullfighting, already in decline in Spain, is battered by the lockdown.
Extremeño, an imposing black bull who weighs more than half a ton, was set to fight to death next month in Valencia, Spain. Instead, the coronavirus gave him an unexpected lease on life: The event was canceled.
Spain ended its state of emergency on Sunday, allowing European visitors to fly in for the first time in months and relaxing lockdown measures across the country. But most of the bullfighting season, which runs from March to October, had already been called off.
Bull breeders and matadors have locked horns with a left-wing Spanish government that they accuse of wanting to use the epidemic as an accelerator for bullfighting’s permanent removal, in line with the wishes of animal rights activists, who say it amounts to torture.
“I find it deplorable that the fiesta of the Spanish people has become so politicized,” said Aurora Algarra, who owns Extremeño. “We now find ourselves under tremendous attack from Spain’s government, but at least this crisis has united us in the face of adversity in a way that I had not seen before.”
Since the lockdown, some animal rights associations have asked the government to disburse funds to help those working in bullfighting find alternative jobs. Many workers are contractually tied to a specific matador, making it hard for them to get jobs elsewhere. Even so, most of the support staff earn money only when there is a fight.
Ana Belén Martín, a politician from Pacma, a party that defends animal rights, said that bullfighting had been declining for over a decade and that it was heading for a natural death. She argued that the coronavirus crisis should not become a reason to extend a lifeline to a cruel pastime.
After several Major League Baseball teams reported positive coronavirus tests for players and staff members, the Yankees and Mets decided to move their preseason training from Florida, where cases have been spiking, to their home stadiums in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said this weekend.
The announcement came soon after M.L.B. temporarily closed all of its spring training facilities, which are in Florida and Arizona, for deep cleanings and asked people to be tested for the virus before returning.
Five teams — the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros — have confirmed that players, other employees or people connected to them have tested positive or exhibited symptoms of Covid-19.
M.L.B. suspended its spring training on March 12 and indefinitely postponed the start of the regular season. But as the league and its players’ union recently appeared to make progress in talks over returning to the field — with the regular season possibly starting in July — some players returned to the training facilities for limited, voluntary workouts.
The Yankees’ spring training facility is in Tampa, Fla., and the Mets’ is in Port St. Lucie.
While Florida reported a record number of new cases three days in a row, including 4,049 on Saturday, the number of new cases in New York has tapered off since a peak in April.
Mr. Cuomo said Mets players would begin training this week at Citi Field in Queens. It was unclear when the Yankees would arrive at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but the team confirmed that the stadium would become its preseason training site.
Recent reports of new coronavirus cases among athletes have heightened concerns about the resumption of competition. On Friday, just over a week after the PGA Tour restarted, the golfer Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament in South Carolina after testing positive.
New York City hired 3,000 disease detectives and case monitors for its contact-tracing program, but the effort has gotten off to a troubling start.
The tracers are expected to identify anyone who has come into contact with the hundreds of people in the city who are still testing positive for the coronavirus every day. But the first statistics from the program, which began June 1, indicate that tracers are often failing to find infected people or are unable to get information from them.
Of the 5,347 people whose contacts needed to be traced in the first two weeks of the program, only 35 percent provided information about close contacts, the city said in releasing the first statistics.
In lieu of a vaccine, contact tracing is one of the few tools that public health officials have to fight Covid-19, along with widespread testing and isolation of those exposed to the coronavirus. The stumbles in New York’s program raise fresh concerns about the difficulties in preventing a second surge of the outbreak in the city, which is to enter a new phase of its reopening on Monday.
China, South Korea and Germany and other countries have set up extensive tracking programs that have helped officials make major strides in reducing outbreaks. But in Britain, the program has struggled to show results with a low-paid, inexperienced work force.
In Massachusetts, which has one of the United States’ most established tracing programs, health officials said in May that only about 60 percent of infected patients were picking up the phone. In Louisiana, less than half were answering.
“The sun might have been elusive, but over 3.6 million of you managed to watch sunset and sunrise with us from Stonehenge,” English Heritage, a charity that manages hundreds of English monuments including Stonehenge, said in a tweet on Sunday.
The summer solstice — when the Northern Hemisphere takes a maximum tilt toward the sun, bathing in direct sunlight for longer than any other day of the year — took place on Saturday, marking the scientific start to summer for half of the world.
Although it remains unclear exactly what kind of events occurred at Stonehenge when it was first erected around 2500 B.C., “marking the movements of the sun” was important to the farmers, herders and pastoralists who built it, and its layout is “positioned in relation to the solstices,” according to English Heritage.
Thousands typically gather at the Neolithic monument each year to celebrate the beginning of summer. Some still made their way close to the site on Saturday, according to local news outlets, despite the rain and the coronavirus restrictions that prevented the site from opening to the public.
Even in an economic crisis, Japan’s workers have escaped mass layoffs.
The pandemic has devastated economies around the globe, shutting businesses and slowing spending. But unlike in the United States, where the jobless rate has soared, workers in Japan have weathered the pandemic with striking success, staying employed in large numbers.
Pro-labor attitudes in Japan, reinforced by strong legal precedents, make it uniquely difficult for Japanese companies, except under severe strain, to fire workers. And a constellation of social and demographic factors, including Japan’s aging population and shrinking work force, have allowed workers to largely hold on to their jobs and benefits, even as the economy has taken big hits over all.
Output in Japan shrank 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year, pushing the country into a recession. Data from April suggests that conditions will most likely continue to worsen.
Yet the unemployment rate in Japan has ticked up just two-tenths of a percentage point since February, to 2.6 percent. And that has helped Japan largely avoid the sense of anxiety that people in other countries experienced as companies shed employees, leaving millions without benefits in the middle of a public health crisis.
Rest assured, France’s culture minister says: The kiss has not been banished from movies.
As movie and television shoots in the country have slowly resumed after months of lockdown, actors have been working out ways of safely smooching, said the minister, Franck Riester.
“Kissing has started again, if I may say so, on movie sets,” he told RTL radio on Friday, although he did not refer to any specific films or actors. “Some artists got tested, waited a bit and then did that kiss that is so important in cinema.”
Last month, the agency that oversees health and hygiene conditions on French film sets issued a guide on how to keep the virus at bay, including measures for scenes that require physical intimacy.
They included adapting or rewriting the action, postponing filming, or asking actors to get tested or regularly take their temperature. Wearing masks was also recommended, camera angles permitting.
The government has created a fund of 50 million euros (about $56 million) to help producers who have to cancel a film shoot for coronavirus-related reasons, but some worry that insurers will balk at the slightest deviation from the guidelines.
Marina Foïs, an actress, expressed worry on French television last week that insurers would have undo influence over how films are made during the pandemic.
“If I want to act well, I need to abandon something,” she told France 5. “I need to let happen what will happen.”
Nursing homes are forcing vulnerable residents into homeless shelters and rundown motels.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, a resident of a Connecticut nursing home was told that he had less than a week to pack his things and move to a homeless shelter, his lawyer said. In April, Los Angeles police officers found an 88-year-old man with dementia crumpled on a city sidewalk. His nursing home had recently deposited him at an unregulated boardinghouse.
And in New York City, nursing homes tried to discharge at least 27 residents to homeless shelters from February through May, according to data from the city’s Department of Homeless Services.
More than any other institution in America, nursing homes have come to symbolize the deadly destruction of the coronavirus. Residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities represent more than 40 percent of the death toll in the United States.
At the same time, nursing homes across the country have been forcing out older and disabled residents — among the people most susceptible to the coronavirus — and often shunting them into unsafe facilities, according to 22 watchdogs in 16 states.
Critics suggest that such ousters create room for a class of customers who can generate more revenue: patients with Covid-19. Aside from sheltering older people, nursing homes gain much of their business by caring for patients of all ages and income levels who are recovering from surgery or acute illnesses like strokes.
Because of a change in federal reimbursement rates last fall, Covid-19 patients can bring in at least $600 more a day from Medicare than people with relatively mild health issues, according to nursing home executives and state officials.
Many of the evictions, known as involuntary discharges, appear to violate federal rules, and at least four states have restricted nursing homes from evicting patients during the pandemic. But 26 ombudsmen from 18 states provided figures to The Times: a total of more than 6,400 discharges, many to homeless shelters.
“We’re dealing with unsafe discharges, whether it be to a homeless shelter or to unlicensed facilities, on a daily basis,” said Molly Davies, the Los Angeles ombudsman. “And Covid-19 has made this all more urgent.”
Making difficult pandemic conversations easier.
When it’s time to invite people over or arrange a play date, would-be hosts face tough conversations with friends, neighbors and family on their standards for avoiding coronavirus infection. Here are some strategies to help.
Reporting was contributed by Anne Barnard, Keith Bradsher, Aurelien Breeden, Benedict Carey, Emily Cochrane, Ben Dooley, Amy Julia Harris, Iliana Magra, Raphael Minder, Aimee Ortiz, Sharon Otterman, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Liam Stack, Ana Swanson, Hisako Ueno, Mark Walker and Karen Zraick.
— to www.nytimes.com