Coronavirus Live Updates: Job Losses Widespread Even if Virus Is Not


Some parts of the United States face financial ruin but few infections.

In Corpus Christi, the oil and gas and vacation town on the southeastern coast of Texas, it can be tough to find people who have experienced the coronavirus’s devastation, or even know someone who has. But people hit with job losses or business closures? They are everywhere.

Theresa Thompson has been furloughed from her position as a catering and events manager at a Holiday Inn. Richard Lomax has seen sales fall by more than 90 percent at the two restaurants his family owns. Brett Oetting, chief executive of the tourism office, has been working with countless businesses struggling to navigate the economic collapse.

None of them knows anyone local who has been sickened by the virus.

In corners of the United States facing financial ruin, but where the coronavirus hasn’t arrived in full, a New York Times analysis of economic and infection data helps explain why some see reopening as long overdue. The sharp disconnect between extreme economic pain and limited health impact presents local officials and businesses with difficult choices, even after Friday’s encouraging jobs report suggested more of the country was returning to work.

“In the first two weeks when they said this was coming, I was like, ‘Let’s all stay in, hunker down, and if we all do this, that can help while we figure out what is going on,’” said Stephanie Anderson, a real estate agent in Satellite Beach, Fla.

But since “places here aren’t producing mass death,” she said, “don’t tell me I can’t open my business in a responsible manner.”

Some business owners and workers in these communities have embraced reopening because of their firsthand experiences. Many are angry or confused. Others plead for caution. But most agree the virus has not posed the local public health threat that so many were expecting — even while acknowledging that things could get worse and the numbers would most likely already be higher with more testing.

Here are some other recent developments on the economic impact of the pandemic:

In Australia, huge crowds turned out in Sydney, Melbourne and many other communities in support of the Black Lives Matter movement calling for an end to systemic racism and Aboriginal deaths in police custody.

The health minister in Britain urged residents not to gather for demonstrations in London, Manchester and Birmingham. But large crowds appeared — despite the cold weather, the rain and warnings by the police that mass gatherings would violate the rule that only six people from different households could gather outside during the pandemic.

In Paris, the authorities barred people from gathering in front of the United States Embassy, but thousands protested there anyway in the late afternoon, as well as near the Eiffel Tower, echoing a protest earlier this week that drew nearly 20,000 people in memory of Adama Traoré, a Frenchman who died in police custody in 2016.

And in the German cities of Berlin and Cologne, thousands responded to social media calls to take to the streets to honor Mr. Floyd. The protests came after a week of demonstrations in cities like Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Fury against racism and police brutality has also brought crowds into the streets of Belgium, Canada, Sweden and Zimbabwe. In other parts of the world:

  • Saudi Arabia reimposed a curfew in the Red Sea city of Jeddah from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. for two weeks starting on Saturday, halted prayers in the city’s mosques and suspended work in offices because of a rise in the spread of the coronavirus, the state news agency SPA reported.

  • Russia on Saturday reported 8,855 new cases of the coronavirus, pushing the total number of infections to 458,689, and 197 deaths in the past 24 hours. The nationwide death toll has reached 5,725.

The weekend ahead of New York City’s start of gradual reopening, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported 35 new coronavirus deaths statewide, a drop of seven from the day before and the lowest daily total in the last two months.

“This is really, really good news compared to where we were,” Mr. Cuomo said Saturday during his daily briefing in Albany. “This is a big sigh of relief.”

Under Phase 1 of reopening, set to begin Monday, retail stores will be allowed to open for curbside or in-store pickup, and nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume, returning as many as 400,000 people to the work force.

“You want to talk about a turnaround — this one, my friends, is going to go in the history books,” Mr. Cuomo said. “There is no state in the United States that has gone from where we were to where we are.”

Mr. Cuomo also announced he was expanding the occupancy guidelines for houses of worship, which could now admit up to 25 percent of the building’s occupancy. It is unclear if the measure applies statewide or only in locations that have reached Phase 2. All regions of the state except New York City are in the first or second phase of reopening.

Across the Hudson River, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced 60 new virus-related deaths Saturday via social media, bringing the state’s toll to 12,106. The figure was a drop from the 79 new deaths reported the previous day. He also reported 606 new confirmed positive cases, totaling 163,893 cases in the state.

While New York City’s shutdown has successfully flattened the number of infections, a study has found that the economic cost could have been reduced by a third or more by strategically choosing neighborhoods to close, calibrating the risk of infection for local residents and workers with the impact on local jobs.

The fear for states in the second category is that with scores of people already infected, recent declines could be quickly erased through increased social contact in the months ahead, threatening health care systems anew.

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For years, Gildo Negri visited schools to share his stories about blowing up bridges and cutting electrical wires to sabotage Nazis and fascists during World War II. In January, the 89-year-old made another visit, leaving his nursing home outside Milan to help students plant trees in honor of Italians deported to concentration camps.

But at the end of February, as Europe’s first outbreak of the coronavirus spread through Mr. Negri’s nursing home, it fatally infected him, too.

The virus, which is so lethal to the old, has hastened the departure of these last witnesses and forced the cancellation of commemorations. It has also created an opportunity for rising political forces who seek to recast the history of the last century in order to play a greater role in remaking the present one.

Throughout Europe, radical right-wing parties with histories of Holocaust denial, Mussolini infatuation and fascist motifs have gained traction in recent years.

When the country was under lockdown, at least the rules were mostly clear. Essential workers ventured out; everyone else sheltered in.

Now states are lifting restrictions, but detailed guidance about navigating the minutiae of everyday life is still hard to come by — and anyway, there’s never going to be a ready solution to every problematic circumstance you may encounter.

As you tiptoe toward normalization — whatever that is, given these times — try to follow three precautions: avoid contact, confinement and crowds. And make realistic choices.

You need to continue with social distancing precautions. That means wearing masks, washing hands well and often, and keeping a six-foot distance from one another. No hugs, no handshakes.

Any 15-minute face-to-face conversation between people who are within six feet of one another constitutes close contact, said Dr. Muge Cevik, an expert on infectious diseases and virology at University of Saint Andrews School of Medicine in Scotland.

Reporting was contributed by Andrea Salcedo, Zach Montague, Michael H. Keller, Steve Eder, Karl Russell, Denise Grady, Jason Horowitz, Damien Cave, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Iliana Magra, Ceylan Yeginsu, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Roni Rabin, Eduardo Porter, Patricia Cohen, Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni, Leticia Casado, Ben Casselman and Paula Span.



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