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Live Coronavirus Global News Tracker: Latest Updates

Live Coronavirus Global News Tracker: Latest Updates

Americans mark a holiday like no other.

President Trump and the first lady arrived at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday morning for a wreath-laying ceremony. They then traveled to Fort McHenry in Baltimore “to honor the American heroes who have sacrificed their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” a White House statement read.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, wearing black masks, laid down a wreath at a veterans memorial in Delaware, in what was an unannounced visit. During their trips in Arlington and Baltimore, Mr. Trump and the first lady did not wear masks.

Those looking to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer in the United States, were confronted by the difficulties of how to gather during a pandemic as the country inched closer to the terrible milestone of 100,000 deaths.

Along the East Coast, clouds, rain and choppy waters dampened sunbathing plans.

Under gray skies, a dozen or so surfers rode the waves on a beach in Boca Raton, Fla. — one of the few open in South Florida — just before another thunderstorm was expected to pass through.

Don Thomas, a 55-year-old lawyer, said the beach was so packed on Sunday that he drew a circle in the sand, reinforced with a few rocks, to keep people six feet away. But that did not deter him from returning to the beach, where masks are encouraged but not required, at 6 a.m. Monday to catch some waves.

“People have been inside so long that they are not thinking, they just want to enjoy the outside,” he said.

Trump threatens to move the Republican Convention from North Carolina.

President Trump on Monday threatened to yank the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, N.C., where it is scheduled to be held in August, accusing the state’s Democratic governor of being in a “shutdown mood” that could prevent a fully attended event.

The president tweeted that he had “LOVE” for North Carolina, a swing state that he won in 2016, but he added that without a “guarantee” from the Gov. Roy Cooper, “we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.”

Mr. Trump wrote that if Mr. Cooper did not provide an answer “immediately,” he would “be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do.”

Separately, in an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Vice President Mike Pence said that without guarantees from North Carolina, Republicans might need to move the convention to a state further along in the reopening process.

The New York Times reported last week that Republicans were quietly discussing the possibility of a pared-down convention. Mr. Trump has wondered aloud to several aides why the convention can’t be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida, a state with a Republican governor that is further along in relaxing restrictions related to the coronavirus.

Republicans are contractually bound by a 2018 agreement to hold the convention in Charlotte. But Mr. Cooper and Vi Lyles, the mayor of Charlotte, have said they would let health experts determine whether the convention can be safely held from Aug. 24 to 27.

Even before Monday, Mr. Trump made clear that he would blame Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lyles, who is also a Democrat, if the convention is altered or modified.

The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing.

The federal government’s role is to “enable innovation, help scale supplies and provide strategic guidance,” according to the report, but states, territories and tribes are ultimately responsible for setting and meeting testing goals, with some help from private companies.

The United States is conducting about 300,000 tests per day, and the proposal says this number should be sufficient if testing can be targeted to “likely-positive individuals.” An analysis by the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University estimated the actual need at more than 3 million tests per day and 5 million per day by June. This estimate is based on the idea of testing everyone infected, and also tracing and testing all of their contacts, with a test that would miss 20 percent of cases.

The proposal also leaves it to states to plan for contact tracing and isolation, rapidly identify new clusters of Covid-19 and adopt new technologies. It says the federal government is “supporting and encouraging” states to rely heavily on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The staggering American death toll from the coronavirus, now approaching 100,000, has touched every part of the country, but the losses have been especially acute along its coasts, in its major cities, across the industrial Midwest and in New York City.

The devastation, in other words, has been disproportionately felt in blue America, which helps explain why people on opposing sides of a partisan divide that has intensified in the past two decades are thinking about the virus differently. It is not just that Democrats and Republicans disagree on how to reopen businesses, schools and the country as a whole. Beyond perception, beyond ideology, there are starkly different realities for red and blue America right now.

Democrats are far more likely to live in counties where the virus has ravaged the community, while Republicans are more likely to live in counties that have been relatively unscathed by the illness, though they are paying an economic price. Counties won by President Trump in 2016 have reported just 27 percent of the virus infections and 21 percent of the deaths — even though 45 percent of Americans live in these communities, a New York Times analysis has found.

The very real difference in death rates has helped fuel deep disagreement over the dangers of the pandemic and how the country should proceed. Right-wing media, which moved swiftly from downplaying the severity of the crisis to calling it a Democratic plot to bring down the president, has exacerbated the rift. And even as the nation’s top medical experts note the danger of easing restrictions, communities across the country are doing so, creating a patchwork of regulations, often along ideological lines.

Around the world, countries are wrestling with the challenge of how to best restart air travel, a cornerstone of modern commerce but also a dangerous vector of coronavirus infection.

As the United States was restricting travel, India, emerging from a nationwide lockdown, was resuming it.

In Europe, the countries that have been most successful at containing the virus looked to broker travel agreements, while others negotiated bailouts to help keep their airlines afloat.

Officials in Greece have suggested an “air bridge” with other nations that have minor outbreaks. International flights to Athens are to resume on June 15, and to the country’s other airports on July 1.

In Germany, Lufthansa will receive a bailout worth 9 billion euros, or $9.8 billion, to help the airline survive an “existential emergency” caused by the pandemic and a virtual shutdown of passenger air traffic, the German government said Monday.

The agreement, reached after several weeks of negotiations, will give the government part ownership of the airline for the first time since it was privatized in 1997.

Facing a political firestorm over his breach of coronavirus lockdown rules, a key adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain asked for public sympathy — but made no direct apology — at a highly unusual news conference in Downing Street on Monday.

Dominic Cummings, Mr. Johnson’s closest aide, admitted driving more than 250 miles from London to Durham, in the northeast of England, while the country was on lockdown. He made the journey with his wife, who was ill, and his four-year-old son.

At the time Britons were being told to self-isolate and not to leave their home if they believed they were suffering from the virus.

Mr. Cummings said that he had done so to ensure care for his young son with relatives in Durham should both he and his wife fall ill with Covid-19. Mr. Cummings added that, because of his high profile, he had been “subject to threats and violence” at his home in London.

“I’m not surprised many people are very angry,” Mr. Cummings said, adding that he had not consulted Mr. Johnson, who has defended him, before leaving London.

“I don’t regret what I did, I think what I did was reasonable in these circumstances,” he added.

Mr. Cummings is also accused of having visited a location more than 20 miles from the house where he stayed in the northeast. That appeared to go against another rule, as Britons were only permitted to leave home by foot for a walk or run.

On Monday, Mr. Cummings said he had made the shorter trip to test whether he was fit to complete the long drive back to London.

At least 18 lawmakers from Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party have now criticized Mr. Cummings, as have a number of Church of England bishops, opposition lawmakers and members of the public. Some scientists and opposition politicians have warned that the episode risks undermining the credibility of government public health messages on the pandemic.

It was 1952, and the young men had returned to the industrial towns of western Massachusetts after serving in World War II. They were children from poor families. And they were damaged: shellshocked, learning to live without limbs, unable to communicate what they had seen.

It was to these men that Gov. Paul Dever, who had fought in the war himself, dedicated the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, promising to protect wounded veterans.

But nearly 70 years later, as the coronavirus began spreading across the country, that promise was broken. Of the 210 veterans who were living in the facility in late March, 89 are now dead, 74 having tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost three-quarters of the veterans inside were infected. It is one of the highest death tolls of any end-of-life facility in the country.

There was James Leach Miller, who at 21 was on Omaha Beach on D-Day, crowded into a landing ship with other young men. He died of the coronavirus on March 30.

There was Emilio DiPalma, who at 19 was an Army staff sergeant. He guarded Hermann Goering, the driving force behind the Nazi concentration camps, during the Nuremberg trials. He died of the coronavirus on April 8.

The question of what went wrong at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will be with Massachusetts for a long time.

Investigations have been opened, several of which seek to determine whether state officials should be charged with negligence under civil or criminal law.

“He died with no care whatsoever,” said Linda McKee, the daughter of Mr. Miller. “There was no one there giving orders.”

On the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland, residents thought they had sealed themselves off from the coronavirus. They shuttered hotels. Officials warned of police checks. Traffic emptied on the only bridge from the mainland.

But the frailest spot on the island remained catastrophically exposed: Home Farm, a 40-bed nursing home for people with dementia. Owned by a private equity firm, Home Farm has become a grim monument of the push to maximize profits at Britain’s largest nursing home chains, and of the government’s failure to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

By Monday, all but three of the residents had been stricken. Nearly a third are dead.

The virus has ravaged nursing homes across Europe and the United States. But the death toll in British homes — 14,000, official figures say, with thousands more dying as an indirect result of the virus — is becoming the defining scandal of the pandemic for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

By focusing at first on protecting the health system, Mr. Johnson’s strategy meant that some infected patients were unwittingly moved out of hospitals and into nursing homes. Residents and staff members were denied tests, while nursing home workers begged in vain for protective gear.

“We were witnessing horrendous images in Spain and Italy, so a lot of attention was paid to maintaining and securing the National Health Service,” said Dr. Donald Macaskill, the chief executive of Scottish Care, which represents nursing homes. “The N.H.S. was prioritized at the expense of social care.”

In Germany, those fed up with exercising at home and staring at their own four walls will be able to escape on Monday, as hotels, swimming pools and campgrounds were allowed to reopen in several states, the latest step in the country’s efforts to carefully revive the economy.

Strict hygiene rules and limitations govern the new steps. Measures include advance online booking for a time slot at Berlin’s outdoor pools, buffets giving way to advance orders at distanced tables in hotel breakfast rooms and shuttered campground shower rooms in some states. And people are still required to stay five feet from strangers.

More states plan to allow re-openings this week, as the number of new infections in Germany remained manageable, with 289 new cases — many of them concentrated in nursing homes or refugee centers — reported on Monday. Germany has recorded 8,257 deaths since the outbreak began.

Starting on Monday, other parts of Spain, covering areas that are home to almost half the population, reopened public swimming pools and beaches, and restaurants and bars can now serve customers indoors with specific restrictions to avoid overcrowding.

The government said that beginning July 1, it would no longer require foreign tourists to enter quarantine upon arrival.

Greece also allowed cafes, restaurants, and bars to reopen on Monday, while domestic ferry services that shuttle visitors from the mainland to the country’s numerous islands also restarted.

People flocked to cafes, where groups of up to six can dine, and wait staff wore masks, as did some of the customers. Giannis Neonakis, a manager at a bistro in central Athens, told local news outlets that the first day back was going well,

“Thankfully, people are careful and are getting used to — fortunately or otherwise — such a situation,” he said.

Japan on Monday ended its state of emergency in the Tokyo area and the northern island of Hokkaido, moves that completed the lifting of nationwide restrictions and ushered in the beginning of a new phase in the country’s response.

The measures were lifted for most of the rest of the country earlier this month after a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases led officials to step back initial requests for most businesses to close and individuals to stay home.

The Japanese government does not have the legal authority to impose a lockdown on the country and had instead asked for the public’s cooperation in curbing the virus’s spread. The state of emergency began in Japan’s urban areas in early April before expanding to the rest of the nation by the middle of the month.

The results were more successful than anticipated, defying predictions that the country’s densely populated capital would experience a disaster comparable to what has taken place in New York. As of Sunday, the country had recorded 16,500 coronavirus cases nationwide and 830 deaths, some of the lowest mortality rates among major economies.

Addressing the nation after the announcement, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on the public to continue taking measures to defend against infection, asking them to avoid crowded places.

“We need to make a new normal. Let’s change our thinking,” he said, warning that “We can’t continue to live and work in the way we’ve done until now.”

And yet this spring, Providence received at least $509 million in government funds, one of many wealthy beneficiaries of a federal program that is supposed to prevent health care providers from capsizing during the coronavirus pandemic.

With states restricting hospitals from performing elective surgery and other nonessential services, their revenue has shriveled. The Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $72 billion in grants since April to hospitals and other health care providers through the bailout program, which was part of the CARES Act economic stimulus package. The department plans to eventually distribute more than $100 billion more.

So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.

Damien Cave, the Times’ bureau chief in Sydney, writes about the resumption of classes in Australia.

I made my daughter her favorite breakfast this morning and packed extra snacks in my son’s lunchbox. Not even a soaking rain could dampen my mood — if my wife and I could have popped champagne at 8 a.m. we would have.

Finally, after seven weeks at home filled with Zoom lessons, fractions, overdue assignments, TikTok and a few tears, our two children were returning to their real-life classrooms full time.

“I’m not excited for school,” my daughter, Amelia, 9, told me, as we made our way to morning drop-off in downtown Sydney. “I’m excited for normal life!”

The announcement of a full return came suddenly last week. In our house, cheers rattled the windows. We’d seen Australia’s infection rates decline, and wondered when the moment would come. Schools, we felt, brought only minimal risk and great benefits.

But as I watched other parents this morning, some in masks, others with hand sanitizer, I couldn’t shake the sense that “normal life” had already narrowed.

Amelia tells me that hugging at school now brings a scolding. Dance is still canceled. Balthazar, her brother, who is 11, will also probably not be going to bush camp with his class next month — a sixth-grade milestone he’d been looking forward to since last year.

I want to believe that these small sacrifices are not what they’ll remember. I want to believe they’ll look back and recall these insular months as a special interlude, yes, with some arguing, but also with a lot of Snickerdoodles, art projects and funny family videos too.

What have we learned? Honestly, less about school than ourselves.

Our children said they were surprised to discover how hard their parents worked. I come away with a deeper understanding of my children as students — now I know my usually quiet son learns best not alone but in groups, even if that means sitting across from me; and my daughter, it turns out, is far more diligent than her chattiness suggests.

There’s a part of me that will miss them now that they’re gone. But I don’t want them back, not just because that would mean a second wave of the virus; also because school, we now know more than ever, is a beautiful luxury.

Reporting was contributed by Jack Ewing, Jennifer Medina, Robert Gebeloff, Benjamin Mueller, Iliana Magra, Raphael Minder, Melissa Eddy, Megan Specia, Ben Dooley, Joshua Barone, Jesse Drucker, Sarah Kliff, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Damien Cave, Joshua Barone, Mariel Padilla, Michael Paulson, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Knvul Sheikh, Ben Sisario, Michael Wilson, Zachary Woolfe, Kai Schultz and Ellen Barry.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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