Coronavirus Live Updates: Cases Are Rising in 21 States as the U.S. Reopens

The virus is increasing in 21 states amid efforts to reopen.

The number of cases is increasing in 21 states, as Americans try to return to their normal routines. And at least 15 cases nationally have been linked to protests, including five National Guard members and one police officer in Nebraska. Health officials on Tuesday in Parsons, Kan., and Stevens Point, Wis., also announced new cases involving people who attended protests.

Total case numbers in Yakima County, Wash., surpassed 5,000 on Tuesday, with 1,100 since the beginning of June. And new cases continue to be identified by the hundreds each day in the Phoenix area. More than 4,000 of Maricopa County’s 14,374 total cases are from June alone. Across the state in the past week, there have been more than 7,000 new cases with upticks in Yuma and Santa Cruz Counties.

In Alaska, where new case reports had slowed to a trickle in May, the number of new cases is among the state’s worst since the start of the pandemic. There have been more than 100 new cases in the past week alone, bringing the state’s total since the beginning of March to 620. Recent outbreaks have been reported among seafood workers and ferry crew members. The state reported its first coronavirus death in more than a month on Tuesday.

Some parts of the South are finally showing signs of progress. New case reports have started trending downward in Alabama and have leveled off in Mississippi. But persistent growth continues in Arkansas, North Carolina and Florida. And in South Carolina, there have been nearly 1,000 new cases in the past two days.

The report is slightly more ominous than other recent forecasts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Mnuchin says more financial help for the economy will be needed.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Wednesday that the next round of economic stimulus legislation must be targeted to help industries that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and that the focus must be on creating incentives to get jobless workers rehired.

Testifying before the Senate’s small business committee, Mr. Mnuchin said that he was pleasantly surprised that the economy added 2.5 million jobs last month and that he believed the economy would improve dramatically in the second half of the year.

But the Treasury secretary also said that there is still “significant damage” to parts of the economy that need to be addressed.

The White House has held off on negotiating with Congress over another economic relief package, saying that they want to more thoroughly assess how the existing measures are working. However, Mr. Mnuchin made clear that the work of stabilizing the economy is not done.

“There’s no question that small businesses in many industries are going to need more help,” he said.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned on Wednesday that the protests sweeping the nation could lead to a spike in infections — and said that it is not enough that many people marching against police violence are wearing masks.

“Masks can help, but it’s masks plus physical separation and when you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, like we have said — myself and other health officials — that’s taking a risk,” Dr. Fauci said on the ABC program “Good Morning America.” He added, “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing now is just an example of the kinds of things we were concerned about.”

Dr. Fauci said a report that members of the D.C. National Guard had become infected after the protests “is certainly disturbing but is not surprising.”

Court administrators across the country have turned to measuring tapes, diagrams and various other calculators to determine how many people a jury box can safely hold or how long it will take to transport a socially distanced jury pool by elevator. They have installed plexiglass barriers for witness stands and pondered texting as a means of client-lawyer communication.

Masks pose a number of conundrums. How would a lawyer help choose a jury without being able to see the fleeting smirks or scowls that are normally tipoffs about bias?

Other questions involve more fundamental principles of jurisprudence. Would the jury pool reflect the community if people in groups hit harder by Covid-19, like older residents, African-Americans and Latinos, were more reluctant to show up? Can a trial truly be considered public if the public has been told to stay at home?

“There’s an inherent conflict between the rights of someone on trial and our social-distancing policies,” Dylan Potter said after one of his clients became the first defendant to be tried by jury in Multnomah County, Ore., since the pandemic began. “As smooth as this went, at no point would I ever advise a client to go through with it in these times.”

Republicans expect to move their national convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., a shift planned after Mr. Trump told officials in North Carolina that he did not want to use social distancing measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus, according to three senior Republicans.

In April, when the federal government offered $349 billion in loans to small businesses reeling from government shutdown orders to combat the pandemic, the funding ran out in just 13 days, prompting Congress to swiftly approve a second round of $310 billion.

Small businesses have since grown more wary of taking the money.

As of Monday, more than $130 billion was left in the fund, known as the Paycheck Protection Program. Even more striking was the fact that on many days last month, more money was being returned than borrowed, according to data from the Small Business Administration, which is overseeing the program.

For some owners, the program’s terms were too restrictive; for others, the criteria for loan forgiveness was too murky. Some public companies that received these loans returned them after a public outcry, and in the initial rush, some borrowers accidentally got duplicate loans that they, too, returned.

The turn of events is notable for a signature program of Congress’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. After all, small businesses are still in distress, and millions of storefronts around the country remain shuttered.

On Wednesday last week, Congress moved to loosen the program’s rules and give businesses more flexibility in spending their aid, and President Trump signed the bill on Friday.

The amended rules could help the remaining $130 billion move faster. However, having the terms of their loans revised on the fly again is a nightmare for borrowers, and for many small businesses that depend on foot traffic, like restaurants and nail salons, even the more relaxed relief terms might not be enough.

A study indicates Britain, where more than 40,000 have died from the virus, may have missed a chance to slow its assault.

Only “a tiny fraction” of the first virus cases in Britain came directly from China while a vast majority came via Europe, a study of the genetic lineages of virus samples has found.

The results suggest that Britain could have slowed the arrival of the virus by moving faster to advise against all nonessential overseas travel instead of only counseling against travel to mainland China, where the virus originated. Britain advised against nonessential travel to China on Jan. 28. But the government did not advise until March 17 against nonessential travel overseas.

The study, which was posted on a virology website on Tuesday and has not been peer reviewed, is the latest indication that travel bans on China appear to have had little effect on mitigating the spread of the virus.

The authors note that as a result the volume of incoming arrivals remained high as the global rate of infection was soaring during the first half of that month.

The study comes as Britain, along with the rest of the world, is taking steps to reopen. At a news conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to ease lockdown restrictions, including allowing single-adult households to form a “support bubble” with one other household without practicing social distancing. “We’re making this change to support those who are particularly lonely,” he said.

Here are other developments from around the world.

  • Greece, a country that largely managed to contain the virus, is seeing a spike in cases, just days before it opens its borders to tourists. On Monday, the government announced that in the past four days 97 people had tested positive for the coronavirus since Thursday; 30 of them had traveled from abroad. The government said on Tuesday that it would increase testing and localized restrictions, according to local reports.

  • Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, resigned Wednesday from the committee to respond to the pandemic in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a position he was appointed to two months ago. Dr. Mukwege said he was resigning because of difficulties in testing procedures and disorganization in efforts to fight the virus. Congo has reported 4,259 cases and 90 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, said Wednesday that most travel restrictions on incoming European Union and Swiss citizens would be lifted as of June 16. Controls at German land borders would also be eased. E.U. or Swiss citizens arriving from European coronavirus hot spots — regions where at least 50 coronavirus infections per 100,000 people were registered in the previous seven days — would still have to quarantine when traveling to most German states. Controls on flights coming from Spain will be lifted on June 21.

  • Brazil on Tuesday reinstated the reporting of coronavirus death numbers after a Supreme Court ruling. President Jair Bolsonaro had faced scorching criticism for his administration’s decision to stop reporting comprehensive data about the Covid-19 outbreak. On Wednesday, as he approached a group of supporters, one woman who said she worked on his campaign reminded the president of the current death toll. “I feel you betrayed our people, sir,” she said. “The people are dying, Mr. President.” Mr. Bolsonaro walked away silently.

A Syrian pharmacist shares his story fighting the virus.

Hosam al-Ali is an activist who has supported the democracy protests against Syria’s authoritarian president since they began nine years ago, and he knows a thing or two about battling adversity. But Mr. al-Ali, 35, is more than a little worried about his new adversary: the coronavirus.

A pharmacist in Idlib, the last province still in the hands of Syrian opposition groups, Mr. al-Ali volunteered to be the main virus-response coordinator in his region.

As he set to work, Mr. al-Ali began keeping an audio diary, which he shared day by day with Carlotta Gall, the Istanbul bureau chief for The New York Times.

The pandemic is increasing the amount of medical waste that ends up in the sea.

If you live in a city, you’ve probably seen a lot of discarded face masks lying around on sidewalks over the last month or two. They’re also ending up in the sea.

In a posting on Facebook in late May, a French environmentalist said there soon could be “more masks than jellyfish” in the sea.

It’s hard to say how much of that waste comes from hospitals and how much comes from households. But, over all, some doctors and hospital managers say, the pandemic has raised awareness of a growing medical waste problem in America and exposed an urgent need to make the system more sustainable.

Currently, the country’s health care system generates roughly 30 pounds of waste per hospital bed every day and accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s because, in the last decade or so, hospitals have increasingly favored equipment intended for single use, much of it, like scopes and staplers, that could possibly be reusable.

“I’ve never met a clinician who is OK with the amount of garbage we produce,” said Dr. Cassandra Thiel, an ophthalmologist and professor of population health at NYU Langone hospital.

Reporting was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Mitch Smith, Eileen Sullivan, Jonathan Corum, Abdi Latif Dahir, Shaila Dewan, Sheri Fink, Manuela Andreoni, Josh Katz, David D. Kirkpatrick, Iliana Magra, Allison McCann, Andy Newman, Richard C. Paddock, Alan Rappeport, Christopher F. Schuetze, Dera Menra Sijibat, Natasha Singer, Jenna Smialek, Kaly Soto, Jin Wu, Carl Zimmer, Maggie Haberman, Stacy Cowley and Tatiana Schlossberg.

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