Coronavirus Live Updates – The New York Times


Republicans step up their search for an alternate convention site.

The Republican National Committee is actively looking at alternative sites for its nominating convention in August, amid a high-stakes public feud with Democratic officials in Charlotte, N.C., the long-planned host city.

Officials are planning to visit Nashville this week. Other cities under consideration, according to a Republican official familiar with the plans, are Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville and sites in Georgia.

President Trump and Republican officials have been pressing North Carolina for reassurances that they can hold a large-scale, traditional convention. But with virus cases growing in North Carolina and hospitalizations still climbing, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to Republican officials on Tuesday that “the people of North Carolina do not know what the status of Covid-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.”

The back-and-forth over where to hold Mr. Trump’s nominating convention has been caught up in the partisan battle about whether to reopen the country, and how, and whether to exercise caution or press forward as the country struggles to regain normalcy amid the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the R.N.C., escalated an ongoing feud with North Carolina officials over how to hold the nominating convention, putting the state on notice that there was a strong possibility of moving the event.

“We have an obligation to our delegates and nominee to begin visiting the multiple cities and states who have reached out in recent days about hosting an historic event to show that America is open for business,” Ms. McDaniel wrote in a letter to Mr. Cooper.

The confirmation puts Mr. Miller at the center of the politically charged effort to distribute government money to a broad swath of businesses that have been crippled by the pandemic. And it comes at a moment when Mr. Trump’s management of the bailout is under intense scrutiny.

In his role as inspector general, Mr. Miller will be required to monitor the flow of government funds and report any wrongdoing to Congress.

Mr. Miller was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 40. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama was the only Democrat to join Republicans in voting in favor of the nominee.

The fund that Mr. Miller will be charged with overseeing was created as part of the $2 trillion economic relief package Congress approved in March. It includes money to backstop the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities and funds for loans and grants to support airlines and businesses that are critical to national security. Mr. Trump’s political opponents have already criticized the disbursement of funds as benefiting rich companies over small businesses and have accused the president of corporate cronyism.

As part of the legislation, lawmakers created a three-pronged oversight structure. It includes a special inspector general within the Treasury Department, a committee of inspectors general and the Congressional Oversight Commission, which is selected by the majority and minority leaders of the Senate as well as the House Speaker and minority leader.

Democrats have been wary of the appointment of Mr. Miller. He worked in White House Counsel’s Office during the president’s impeachment proceedings and on at least one occasion he stonewalled an oversight request. Mr. Trump also has demonstrated a penchant for firing inspectors general, raising concerns that anyone who attempts to conduct independent oversight will be stymied.

As the United States begins what is expected to be a slow climb out of lockdowns, economists and researchers are questioning whether the government’s response to help companies will prove sufficient in the longer run.

Highly indebted public companies that employ millions of people are largely excluded from direct relief options that Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have designed to help companies through the pandemic downturn, an analysis from a group of Harvard University economists found.

Policymakers have prioritized getting help to businesses that entered the crisis in good health. That lowers the chances that taxpayers will foot the bill to save big companies that had loaded up on risky debt, and it could help officials to deflect the kind of angry criticism that surrounded 2008 bank and auto company bailouts.

But it also leaves a large slice of U.S. companies fending for themselves in the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression, leaving them at greater risk of bankruptcy — and their workers at greater risk of job loss.

Publicly traded firms that employ about 8.1 million people — about 26 percent of all employment at tracked publicly traded companies — are all or mostly left out of direct government relief, according to research by Samuel Hanson, Jeremy Stein and Adi Sunderam of Harvard, along with Eric Zwick at the University of Chicago.

Some of the firms that government programs miss — like the Gap, Dell Technologies and Kraft Heinz — are household names with huge workforces. If such companies were to run into problems accessing cash, it could precipitate job cuts, the researchers said.

“We’re trying to flatten the bankruptcy curve, or flatten the financial distress curve,” said Mr. Hanson, who refined the analysis for The New York Times. If a large number of companies go out of business, “it’s likely to be very costly and leave permanent scarring to our productive capacity.”

Several months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders have resulted in fewer people donating blood, which is now leading to shortages in the United States.

The American Red Cross, which usually has enough blood supplies to meet the nation’s needs for five days, now has less than two days’ worth.

For a while, the drop in donations was not critical because supply and demand fell in tandem, as most surgeries were canceled and far fewer people were getting injured in car crashes and other accidents.

But now, even as hospitals have resumed elective surgeries and many Americans are venturing out of their homes again, the rate of blood donations has yet to bounce back. The result is what Chris Hrouda, president of biomedical services for the Red Cross, which collects about 40 percent of the country’s blood donations, called a “staggering” drop in supply.

Hurricane season, which is underway and is projected to be even more devastating than usual, may also increase the need for blood supplies while making it more difficult to collect.

Further aggravating the shortage is that many hospitals are performing surgeries at a faster clip than before the pandemic, as they work through a backlog of operations.

On Sunday, the Red Cross stopped sending hospitals around the country the full amount of blood requested in their standing orders, instead providing just 75 percent of the requests.

Without an increase in donations in the next week or two, the Red Cross will have to send hospitals just half their requested amounts.

“Taking it would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all,” the board said, adding that it would continue to deliver an online version of the SAT at some schools, but would not “introduce the stress that could result from extended at-home testing in an already disrupted admissions season.”

The College Board asked colleges and universities on Tuesday to “show flexibility” to the millions of students who were not able to take the SAT this spring because of cancellations. It asked colleges to extend deadlines for receiving test scores and to give equal consideration to students who were unable to take the test because of the pandemic.

Its decision came after the organization had a rocky experience last month introducing a digital version of the Advanced Placement exams, which it also administers. Many students complained that they were not able to submit their answer sheets electronically, and their tests were disqualified.

The SAT’s rival exam, the ACT, announced on Tuesday that it still planned to offer a remote option in the fall.

The dog, a German shepherd in New York, is expected to recover.

There was a false alarm in April, when a low amount of the virus was detected in the saliva of Winston, a pug in North Carolina. But the U.S.D.A. laboratory performed its own tests on Winston and released the results on May 27. “No virus was isolated, and there was no evidence of an immune response,” said Joelle Hayden, a U.S.D.A. spokeswoman.

This time, the German shepherd in New York tested positive at the U.S.D.A.’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

One of the dog’s owners has tested positive for Covid-19, and the dog had showed some signs of respiratory illness, the U.S.D.A. said. That prompted testing at a private veterinary facility, and the presumptive positive results were reported to government officials.

Those results were confirmed using swabs as well as blood tests for antibodies.

Another dog in the German shepherd’s household had showed no symptoms but was also tested and found to have coronavirus antibodies, suggested it had been exposed to the virus.

In its statement on Tuesday, the U.S.D.A noted that “there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” and the risk of animals passing it to humans is considered to be low. It would appear that people with Covid-19 can spread the virus to their pets if they are in close contact, but routine testing for animals is not recommended.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets, like humans, should be isolated from members of their household who get sick. There is no need for them to be outfitted with face coverings or wiped down with disinfectants.

New York officials worry that protests could cause a second virus wave.

After five nights of densely packed protests against racism and police brutality in New York, elected officials again warned on Tuesday about a possible second wave of virus infections. New York City health officials urged protesters to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and get tested.

“Express your outrage,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, referring to the protests. “But be responsible, because the last thing we want to do is see a spike in the number of Covid cases.”

After an 11 p.m. curfew on Monday in New York City failed to curb looting, Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed a nightly curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., through Sunday. As the city proceeds with plans to begin reopening on Monday, Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday he was “very worried” that the virus could be spreading at protests, which he described as “overwhelmingly peaceful.”

In other news from the tri-state region:

  • New York City is now offering universal, free testing at its 150 testing sites, the mayor’s office announced Tuesday. Previously, testing was available only to people who had symptoms, people who had contact with someone who tested positive, or essential workers.

  • In New Jersey, the number of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which appears related to the virus, has increased to 32, with nine new cases in the past week. Seven children remained hospitalized. In New York, state officials are investigating 190 reported cases and three deaths from the syndrome.

  • Two more parts of New York, the Buffalo region and the Albany region, are entering a second reopening phase this week in which offices and many retail stores and salons can open, with restrictions, and restaurants can offer outdoor dining.

Democratic governors testify that the Trump administration has failed to support testing efforts.

The Democratic governors of Michigan and Colorado pleaded with the Trump administration on Tuesday to take a more proactive role in procuring and distributing testing supplies to the states, saying its failure to do so had led to both waste and shortages.

In testimony before a House committee, Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Jared Polis of Colorado, whose states have been hit hard by the virus, said the federal response had improved significantly since the hectic early weeks of the outbreak, but warned that their states continued to fall short of the testing capacity they needed to effectively monitor and fight the virus.

They said the administration had provided inadequate and sometimes inaccurate information about what essential supplies like swabs and transport materials it was distributing, and when.

“It’s made planning very difficult,” Ms. Whitmer said in a hearing convened by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. “Supplies could be allocated more quickly, and if we had a detailed breakdown of what was actually in the shipment, we could mobilize and ensure that we can make the best use of these supplies and hit our capacity.”

Ms. Whitmer testified on the same day Michigan lifted a stay-at-home order for the state’s 10 million residents, saying that groups of 100 people or less would be allowed to gather outdoors. Restaurants are also allowed to reopen, though tables must be at least six feet apart.

Mr. Polis said that because of “vague commitments” from federal agencies about what they were sending, Colorado had purchased items it did not need and run short of others.

He described “a lot of discussions that left us as a state not knowing — not with a no, not with a yes — are there going to be masks? Are there going to be tests? Delivery days that were not met.”

Mr. Polis added that the federal government needed to put all its cards on the table with states so they could all plan effectively.

Republicans on the panel spent much of their allotted time quizzing the one Republican governor invited to testify, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, but at points they tried to redirect criticism back at Ms. Whitmer, a favorite target of Mr. Trump.

Representative David B. McKinley, Republican of West Virginia, asked Ms. Whitmer to explain why, at the same time that she was criticizing Mr. Trump, she had waited until late March to declare a disaster in her state.

“Governor,” he asked, “do you regret not acting sooner?”

Global Roundup

Spain reports no Covid-19 deaths, and Bangladesh confirms its first in a refugee camp.

Spain did not announce any new Covid-19 deaths on Monday or Tuesday, a first since the start of the outbreak. The news came with a caveat, however: How to tally deaths has been a topic of heated debate in Spain, and several regional governments did include new deaths in their own counts.

Here’s a look at what else is happening around the globe:

  • A dozen passengers on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha tested positive for the virus when they landed in Athens, and the Greek authorities said all 91 passengers aboard the flight would be quarantined. The episode highlighted the challenges that European nations will face as they try to reopen their borders and salvage the economically crucial summer tourist season.

Britain’s ‘conga line Parliament’ votes to uphold a centuries-old tradition.

On Tuesday those who tried to force continued digital voting were confronted by the awkward fact that they had to vote for it.

In person. Then, to make matters worse, they lost.

Stocks on Wall Street see modest gains.

Stocks on Tuesday mostly shrugged off the increasing tension as protesters and the police faced off across the country and President Trump threatened to use the military to quell widespread unrest precipitated by the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, at the hands of the police last week.

The S&P 500 rose less than 1 percent, adding to small gains from Monday. Energy, financial and industrial shares led the gains early. Investors have added the unrest to the list of other issues that they are willing to overlook as they bet on renewed economic activity as states relax stay-at-home orders.

Despite a pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the stock market has roared higher since late March, largely on the back of the creation of trillions of new dollars by the Federal Reserve, which have been pumped into the financial system.

“We’re dealing with a market that seems to lack self-awareness,” said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at INTL FCStone, a financial services and brokerage firm. “There are several underappreciated risks: U.S.-China relations, political risks, Covid second wave.”

Since March 23, when the Federal Reserve signaled its willingness to do whatever it took to stabilize financial markets that were in disarray because of the crisis, the S&P has soared more than 37 percent. It is now less than 10 percent below its pre-pandemic high.

What have New Yorkers been doing during the shutdown? Check the trash.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, has completed a sweeping push to test almost all of its 11 million residents in the span of a few weeks, Chinese officials said on Tuesday.

Officials said nearly 9.9 million people were tested during the drive, which began in mid-May and has not been matched in scale or speed elsewhere. (Children and those who had recently been tested were exempt.) It revealed no new symptomatic infections and about 300 asymptomatic infections.

The testing cost 900 million renminbi, or $126 million, which would be paid for by the government, said Hu Yabo, Wuhan’s executive deputy mayor. It was conducted in batches to save time and money.

China has been criticized over its handing of the pandemic and over efforts to control the narrative surrounding the virus’s spread. There have also been concerns that China’s numbers may be flawed or incomplete.

Some medical experts had questioned the need for such widespread testing in a city where new cases were already low; some residents had balked at being tested, for fear of infections spreading at crowded testing sites. But other experts said the move was necessary to reassure an anxious city and to restart China’s economy.

“Through this screening, we have restored the entire country’s peace of mind,” Mr. Hu said.

The city also said on Tuesday that it had no new symptomatic or asymptomatic infections for the second consecutive day, a major milestone for the city. Sunday and Monday were the first days that both tallies were zero since officials began publishing such numbers in January.

From luxurious carriage-trade establishments like Cafe de Flore on the Left Bank to everybody’s grimy neighborhood bar, Paris reconnected on Tuesday with a key element of urban life: Cafes were allowed to reopen and Parisians could once again sit down with one another, separately. No cafes were allowed to serve inside, however, and the tables on the outdoor terraces had to be at least three feet apart.

“It’s obviously the most important turning point for returning to true Parisian life,” said Michel Wattebault, a retired employee of the Bank of France. He was sitting with a friend at one of the handful of outdoor tables at L’Avant-Première, near the Palais Royal. “We’ve been waiting for this moment with impatience,” said his friend, Amélie Juste-Thomas.

The cafe’s owner, Sébastien Fumel, echoed the excitement. “Oh yeah, it was necessary,” he said. “Mental reasons. Personal reasons. Professional reasons. Human reasons. Just a mix of things, you know. This is all about the human. About exchanging.”

Take control of what you can, like your living space.

Virtual repairs can help you fix what’s broken without exposing yourself to the virus, while interior design shops can help you upgrade your look without an in-person visit. Or take matters into your own hands and organize your closet.

Endowments have long been viewed as the bedrock upon which the long-term financial health of arts organizations are built — money that was painstakingly accumulated and protected over decades to finance the future.

They are not rainy day funds, or pots of gold to be casually raided to cover some unforeseen expense.

But as millions of dollars in losses created by closed galleries and concert halls accumulate, that orthodoxy is being challenged.

Elite organizations like the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Los Angeles Philharmonic — institutions with veteran leadership and a track record of solid financial management — now feel they have to blow past the stop signs. Faced with looming deficits of unforeseen levels, many arts groups are now taking amounts several times greater than usual from their endowments.

Some institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, are resisting the urge to dip into endowments beyond their usual take and are finding other ways to finance their shortfalls.

But within the arts community, there is debate over whether endowment preservation is too fusty a principle to uphold when some organizations are fighting for their very survival.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Anne Barnard, Hannah Beech, Graham Bowley, Alan Burdick, Stephen Castle, Christopher Clarey, Michael Cooper, Maria Cramer, Nicholas Fandos, Christopher Flavelle, Luis Ferré Sadurní, Jacey Fortin, Trip Gabriel, David Gonzalez, James Gorman, Anemona Hartocollis, Mike Ives, Julia Jacobs, Annie Karni, Ruth Maclean, Jacob Meschke, Raphael Minder, Andy Newman, Adam Nossiter, Richard C. Paddock, Azi Paybarah, Eduardo Porter, Roni Caryn Rabin, Alan Rappeport, Dagny Salas, Jeanna Smialek, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Vivian Wang, Elizabeth Williamson, Devin Yalkin, Elaine Yu and Karen Zraick.



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