Coronavirus Live Updates: Latest News and Analysis


Pence and Azar attribute surges to more testing. Health experts and the evidence say otherwise.

Vice President Mike Pence and the nation’s top health official, Alex M. Azar II, continued to assert on Sunday that reopenings in many states were not causing the sharp rises in coronavirus cases, but rather that increased testing was uncovering more and more infections.

But their position was disputed by other public health experts, who said that broadened testing is revealing not only more total cases, but also a higher rate of positive cases. And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said of the Trump administration: “They’re basically in denial about the problem. They don’t want to tell the American people the truth.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that both the total number and the percentage of positive tests for the coronavirus had increased in several states, saying, “There’s also no doubt that the virus has the upper hand.” He predicted that the explosive spread in some states would continue to worsen over the coming weeks.

While much of the Sunday talk shows were more focused on exploring reports that Russia had offered, and paid, bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. soldiers, the country’s surging pandemic remained a major topic. And the comments by Mr. Pence, Mr. Azar and Dr. Frieden exemplified the contradictory positions taken by the White House, which is pressing full speed to reopen the economy and for Mr. Trump to resume in-person campaigning for the fall election, and health experts, who are alarmed by case surges around the country.

Mr. Pence, on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” said, “I know there’s a temptation to associate the new cases in the Sunbelt with reopening,” but denied that to be true, adding that many states with increased cases had already reopened weeks ago.

When the show’s host, John Dickerson, cited the concerns of health experts that states had opened too early, Mr. Pence replied, “I beg to differ.”

Even as residents in some states have been turned away from testing sites that have reached capacity, Mr. Pence falsely said that anyone who wanted to be tested for the coronavirus could be tested.

“Because of the public-private partnership that President Trump initiated, we are literally able to test anyone in the country that would want a test who comes forward,” Mr. Pence said.

President Trump first made this claim in March, and top health experts have repeatedly contradicted this. Testing sites in several states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, have been overrun.

Other highlights from the Sunday talk shows:

  • Mr. Pence downplayed the seriousness of the increase in new cases by saying that the virus had predominantly infected younger people, who are less likely to be hospitalized. But Dr. Frieden noted that it took time for Covid-19 patients who felt sick to be hospitalized and potentially die, and also that infected young people were also carriers was significant. “What starts in the young doesn’t stay in the young,” he said. “Younger people have parents, uncles, nephews. We’re going to see increasing spread.”

This weekend would normally have been a time for large Pride marches, parades and parties. And in New York City, Sunday’s events would have included the 50th anniversary of the city’s Pride March.

Instead, with public life only gradually resuming amid the coronavirus pandemic — and restrictions being tightened in some places where cases have spiked in recent days — these events were replaced with small gatherings and virtual events, including a 24-hour online celebration streamed on YouTube and the Global Pride website.

And while the Pride celebrations are not alone in being called off, few other events are as much about being seen — by everyone. So this year, some L.G.B.T.Q. people are missing out on an important moment of visibility and acceptance: their first Pride.

“It’s something that’s so central to our identities as L.G.B.T.Q. folks,” said Fred Lopez, the executive director of San Francisco Pride. “To remember that time when we were able to walk hand in hand with a boyfriend or a crush, even amongst hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, is really inspiring.”

An in-person Pride gathering was held on Sunday in Taiwan, however, as the self-governing island has largely kept the coronavirus at bay, with just 446 recorded cases and seven deaths since its first case was reported in January.

A giant rainbow flag led a procession across Liberty Square, a large plaza in central Taipei, in an event that Darien Chen, one of the organizers, said he hoped would bring comfort to the millions around the world who could not attend large gatherings because of the pandemic.

“We really hope we can bring some hope to all the L.G.B.T. community who can’t march for themselves this year,” he said.

Yemeni militiamen rumbled up to a group of migrants in a settlement one morning, firing their machine guns at Ethiopians caught in the middle of somebody else’s war. The militiamen shouted: Take your coronavirus and leave the country, or face death.

“The sound of the bullets was like thunder that wouldn’t stop,” said Kedir Jenni, 30, an Ethiopian waiter who fled the settlement near the Saudi border in northern Yemen that morning in early April. “Men and women get shot next to you. You see them die and move on.”

This scene and others were recounted in telephone interviews with a half dozen migrants now in Saudi prisons. Although their accounts could not be independently verified, human rights groups have corroborated similar incidents.

The Houthis, the Iran-backed militia that controls most of northern Yemen, have driven out thousands of migrants at gunpoint over the past three months, blaming them for spreading the coronavirus, and dumped them in the desert without food or water.

The community around the University of California, Davis, used to have a population of 70,000 and a thriving economy. Rentals were tight. Downtown was jammed. Hotels were booked months in advance for commencement.

November, he said, could be like the pandemic itself: manageable if done right, but vulnerable to unpredictable hot spots — “and we only need it to go badly in a few places for the whole election to feel like it’s in trouble.”

Many have hosted services and events online throughout the pandemic, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral will continue to do so with its Masses. When it was closed during Easter, its Palm Sunday service attracted more than 100,000 viewers.

“We do miss the people in the pews,” Jennifer Pascual, the cathedral’s music director, said at the time. “It’s kind of odd to be doing Mass and doing it to an empty cathedral. You look out there and there’s nobody there.”

How to use public bathrooms as safely as possible.

As people begin venturing out into public more, here are some strategies for minimizing the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus in public restrooms.

Reporting was contributed by Christopher Cameron, Rebecca Chao, Melina Delkic, Tess Felder, Rebecca Halleck, Chris Horton, Shawn Hubler, Sheila Kaplan, Sarah Kliff, Pierre-Antoine Louis, Raphael Minder, Tiksa Negeri, Elian Peltier, Michael Shear, Michael Wines, Vivian Yee, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.



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