Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Deaths Approach 100,000, but Experts Say Toll Is Likely Higher


There are a number of reasons for an undercount in the official tally: Many early cases were probably overlooked or mislabeled as the flu or pneumonia. In some rural areas, coroners say they don’t have the tests they need to detect the disease. And cases that are confirmed by testing do not always make it onto death certificates.

“In an ideal world, every Covid-19 death would have ‘Covid-19’ written on the death certificate as the underlying cause,” said Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine. “But that is not happening.”

As a result, even the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths fails to fully capture the devastation.

Still, this much is known: The virus moved across the country in a matter of weeks, and no state was spared. New York and New Jersey have had the most deaths by far, with more than 29,000 and 11,000 each. The next highest totals came from Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have recorded more than 5,000 deaths each.

On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska has recorded just eight deaths attributed to the virus, the lowest of any state. Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming have also reported fewer than 20 deaths each.

At least 37,000 deaths have been linked to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, accounting for about 37 percent of the national toll. Nearly 500 more have been tied to outbreaks in correctional facilities.

Hundreds of virus deaths continue to be announced every day in the United States. But the pace has slowed significantly since April, when it was common for more than 2,000 deaths to be announced on weekdays.

Only once in the last 10 days have there been more than 1,500 deaths announced in a single day. The 510 announced on Monday were the fewest in a day since late March, though limited reporting on Memorial Day could have contributed to that figure.

Still, the national trend line has been encouraging. Fewer deaths are being announced nationally on some days than were being announced in New York State during the peak of its crisis.

But in other places, the toll remains persistently high. Dozens of deaths are announced most days in Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, and in Los Angeles County.

Some rural parts of the country have also reported upticks. McKinley County, N.M., which includes Gallup and part of the hard-hit Navajo Nation, had 95 deaths by Wednesday, up from 20 at the start of May. Twenty of the 21 deaths in Dakota County, Neb., which has the second-highest infection rate nationally, were announced in May.

In California, which has become the fourth state with at least 100,000 known infections, Gov. Gavin Newsom seems to be moving closer to handing the reins of reopening to county public health officials.

The state joins Illinois, New Jersey and New York with the highest case counts.

At least 47 of California’s 58 counties have filed their so-called county variance attestations to prove that they meet the criteria to reopen more quickly than the rest of the state, the governor said. And he has been in talks with leaders in Los Angeles County, by most measures the hardest-hit part of the state, about the possibility of allowing some areas there to reopen more quickly than others.

The gradual changes in California reflect a national shift as states that had previously been among the most locked down begin loosening restrictions, often on a regional basis.

The rising case counts in parts of California come as other sections of the country — including the Minneapolis area, Wisconsin and parts of the South — have reported more infections. Those increasing numbers are certain to intensify debates over when and how the country should ease restrictions that were imposed to try to slow the spread of the virus.

After months of lockdown, Illinois plans to lift restrictions on Friday on retail stores, gyms and personal care services in some areas, though the Chicago area will reopen on its own timeline. Washington, D.C., which has also been locked down, is also tentatively planning to open certain businesses on Friday.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta announced on Wednesday that the city would move to the second phase of its reopening plan and allow private gatherings of no more than 10 people, as long as they followed social-distancing guidelines.

“Data shows that we are in a position to move forward,” the mayor said in a statement. “We encourage Atlantans citywide to continue to follow all precautionary guidelines as community transmission of Covid-19 still poses a threat to our city.”

The fallout is predicted to be devastating for the nation’s renters, who entered the pandemic with lower incomes, significantly less in savings and housing costs that ate up more of their paychecks. They also were more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Many have been scraping by because of temporary government assistance and emergency orders that put many evictions on hold. But evictions will soon be allowed in about half of the states, according to Emily A. Benfer, a housing expert and associate professor at Columbia Law School who is tracking eviction policies.

“I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis, and very quickly,” Professor Benfer said. Without a new round of government intervention, she added, “we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

That means more and more families may soon face displacement at a time when people are still being urged to stay at home.

In unprompted remarks to reporters after a news conference on Capitol Hill, Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, said that Mr. Trump should stop spreading the false claim that Mr. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, was involved in the death of an aide in 2001, which the police ruled an accident.

“I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough,” Ms. Cheney said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic. He’s the commander-in-chief of this nation, and it’s causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died, so I would urge him to stop it.”

It was a striking line of criticism from Ms. Cheney, who is one of just a few Republicans who have rebuked the president for his barrage against Mr. Scarborough. The president’s attacks have continued even as the family of Lori Klausutis, the aide who died after a heart attack caused her to fall and hit her head on a desk, begged him publicly to stop.

“But T.J.?” Mr. Romney said of Ms. Klausutis’s widower, who pleaded unsuccessfully with Twitter to take down the posts. “His heart is breaking. Enough already.”

A vast majority Republicans, however, have remained silent about the president’s Twitter campaign against Mr. Scarborough. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, sidestepped a question about it on Wednesday, telling reporters that he had not served in Congress with the cable news host, who represented Florida in the House from 1995 to 2001.

“My focus right now is the House of Representatives,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Asked whether she knew Mr. Scarborough personally, Ms. Cheney simply repeated: “The president should stop tweeting about it.”

The mayor of Washington, D.C., said Wednesday that the city on Friday would begin to loosen stay-at-home restrictions, even though the chief White House official overseeing the virus response said this week that the suburban region around the nation’s capital remains among the most worrisome metropolitan areas in the country.

“The bottom line we do want to emphasize is this virus is still in our city and our region and our country,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said as she announced that restaurants would be able to allow outdoor seating for groups or six or fewer, hair styling salons could provide services by appointment only and stores could open curbside pickup. Gatherings of more than ten people will remain prohibited.

“I want to make sure we all understand that moving into phase one means that more people can get infected,” Ms. Bowser said, emphasizing that residents were expected to use masks, maintain social distancing and maintain aggressive hand washing. “We know that without a vaccine or a cure that we will see new infections.”

She added that City Hall would continue to encourage remote work for city businesses and the federal government. “It cannot be said enough every single one of us has a role to play,” she said.

Still, demonstrators gathered for a rare large protest since the pandemic began.

Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis said he understood and supported the rights of people who would protest the episode but asked that protesters wear masks and respect social distancing procedures.

“I encourage people to voice their opinions and anger, their heartbreak and their sadness, because undoubtedly it will be there,” he said.

Many people wore face coverings, and some brought hand sanitizer to help keep people safe. But the group as a whole seemed to send a message that their desire for justice had outweighed any potential safety concerns, as they gathered at the intersection where Mr. Floyd, 46, had been pinned down by the police a day earlier and captured on video saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Protesters yelled full-faced and full throated about Mr. Floyd’s death, and some pulled their masks aside to be fully heard. One woman said, “anyone worried about social distancing should have just stayed home.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she will direct public school districts to share a large portion of federal rescue funding with private school students, regardless of income.

“The CARES Act is a special, pandemic-related appropriation to benefit all American students, teachers and families,” Ms. DeVos wrote in a letter Friday, referring to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. “There is nothing in the act suggesting Congress intended to discriminate between children based on public or nonpublic school attendance, as you seem to do. The virus affects everyone.”

A range of education officials say Ms. DeVos’s guidance would divert millions of dollars away from disadvantaged students and force districts to support even the wealthiest private schools.

The association representing the nation’s schools superintendents told districts to ignore the guidance, and at least two states — Indiana and Maine — said they would.

Private school leaders say they too are in crisis. Many of those schools serve low-income students whose parents have fled failing public schools. About 5.7 million students attend private schools, 30 percent of them from families with incomes below $75,000 a year. Private school groups say those families are most at-risk without federal aid.

Under federal education law, school districts are required to use funding they receive for their poorest students to provide “equitable services,” such as tutoring and transportation for low-income students attending private schools in their districts. But Ms. DeVos’s guidance would award private schools more services than the law would normally require.

Democratic leaders called on Ms. DeVos to revise her guidance.

Disney World will reopen in July.

Walt Disney World in Florida, one of the world’s largest tourist sites which draws 93 million people a year, will reopen to the public on a limited basis in mid-July.

Disney presented its reopening plan on Wednesday to the Orange County Recovery Task Force in Orlando. Two of Disney World’s four main theme parks, the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, will reopen on July 11 with reduced capacity and numerous safety precautions, including mandatory face masks for all visitors and employees. Disney World’s remaining major parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, will reopen on July 15. The resort has been closed since March 15.

Disney said its “thoughtful, methodical and phased” approach to reopening would include increased use of plexiglass barriers and contactless payment systems. All visitors will need a reservation. Temperature checks will be conducted at entrances. Disney also said its parades, fireworks displays and character meet and greets would be suspended because of crowd control concerns.

Disney did not give reopening dates for its two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Disney Springs, an adjacent 120-acre shopping mall, began to reopen on May 20.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Wednesday that he had a “good conversation” with Mr. Trump about funding for unfinished local infrastructure projects. But he demurred when asked whether the president shared the view of Republican lawmakers about blocking aid to New York.

Reminding reporters gathered for his briefing in Washington that Mr. Trump was a native New Yorker, Mr. Cuomo said the president “understood what we were talking about, understood what we need.”

“He said we’ll talk next week,” Mr. Cuomo said after his meeting at the White House, his second in recent weeks.

The governor was far less sanguine about Republican senators who had questioned the need to give additional funding to states like New York and California, which have been hit hard by the virus.

“I know what the Republican senators are saying, and first of all, it’s a lie,” Mr. Cuomo said.

He said that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and other senators “take more money” from the federal government than they provide in revenue.

When they ask why they should give money to states to deal with the pandemic, Mr. Cuomo said, “Why not? What better national purpose?”

He would not say whether Mr. Trump said he was aligned with Mr. McConnell.

“I think the president is focused on the reopening, on stimulating the economy and getting the economy back,” Mr. Cuomo said, saying it was “the correct focus.”

But he said he believed the president understood discreet and specific projects, such as infrastructure. “He’s a builder. He’s a developer,” Mr. Cuomo said. “He gets it.”

A group of Democratic lawmakers from the Washington area told the Trump administration this week that they believed it would be “impossible” to safely stage a major celebration around Independence Day in the nation’s capital this summer.

Mr. Trump, a vocal proponent of patriotic displays that critics have sometimes condemned as extravagant or politically motivated, suggested in April that Fourth of July festivities in Washington would have more limited attendance.

“This year, most likely, we’ll be standing six feet apart,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll have to do that in a very, very interesting way. And we’ll even do it greater, so we’ll leave a little extra distance.”

This week, though, the lawmakers asked the administration to shelve any plans entirely. The Washington area has struggled to contain the virus, and they warned that holding a mass gathering along the National Mall would be perilous.

“The administration, including your agencies, should be focusing on helping American families, not on a vanity project for the president,” the lawmakers wrote.

For months, college sports leaders have declared that if classes do not resume on campus this fall, football and other sports would not be played. But even then, some believe exceptions can be made if there is other limited student activity, and there is increasing pressure to find ways to play.

Though campuses remain largely shuttered for the summer, signs of reopening for football have emerged in the last two weeks.

The Southeastern and Big 12 conferences voted Friday to open their training facilities in early June for voluntary workouts, following the end of an N.C.A.A. ban on on-campus sports activities. The Pac-12 joined them Tuesday, after Commissioner Larry Scott suggested in a CNN interview that athletes would be safer on campuses than at home. The expectation is that by mid-July, teams could begin practicing.

And there’s no guarantee that if the season begins on time, it will finish as scheduled.

As Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, said in a webinar with other college administrators, in which he described college campuses as petri dishes for the transmission of infectious diseases: “It isn’t a matter of when we’re going to have outbreaks, it’s a matter of how big they are and how we go about triaging.”

Under the schedule that league officials outlined Wednesday morning, the nine teams would gather in Utah in late June and complete their entire seasons as a 25-game tournament over 30 days.

The tournament — the first game is set for June 27 — will be the league’s first competition since last October’s championship game, and will succeed only through a mix of careful planning, extensive virus testing, strict health protocols and no small amount of good fortune.

And all of it hinges on the players’ willingness to participate, the absence of new outbreaks and hundreds of tests before and after the games arrive in Utah.

France is no longer allowing hydroxychloroquine, a drug promoted by Trump, as a treatment.

France revoked the authorization allowing the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 patients on Wednesday, a day after halting its use in clinical trials.

The drug, which has been heavily promoted by Mr. Trump despite the lack of evidence that it is effective against the virus, was temporarily removed from global safety trials earlier this week by the World Health Organization, which called for a review of new safety concerns.

France had authorized limited use of the drug on patients in serious condition and had included it in several clinical trials. But now the country has joined the ranks of others moving away from the use of the drug.

Global updates: Japan and Europe have major stimulus plans.

Two of the world’s biggest economies said that they would pump trillions of dollars into propping up hard-hit businesses, industries and individuals.

“The sheer volume of panic attacks, nightmares and tears that have been related to me in the past two weeks is staggering,” Joshua McCartney, a senior at Denison University, wrote to the school provost in a letter signed by 23 other students.

Most people are resilient, and sadness and anxiety can be an understandable reaction to this wrenching moment.

Still, Mr. McCartney said his friends could testify to these feelings.

“I have lost my support network,” one said. “I just spent an hour crying,” said another. “I don’t think I can do this much more,” said a third.

The provost responded to Mr. McCartney, telling him that she, too, was having adjustment problems.

Mr. McCartney is sheltering in a little room in an empty summer camp his family operates. In some ways, it is a cozy setup. But he still feels trapped.

“I spend all day in this room,” he said.

About a week ago, Mr. McCartney celebrated his commencement online, with family members dropping in remotely. It was a happy event, but he felt anxious as soon as it was over. Medical school beckons in the future, but he is not sure what to do right now.

“Everything has been ended — closed or canceled or disallowed,” he said.

Is your family more ‘together,’ or less?

All this time with your family may have led to greater feelings of connectedness. Or maybe you are experiencing the opposite: more bickering, fighting and frustrations. Here is some advice for getting through those rough patches.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Brookes Barnes, Karen Barrow, Alan Blinder, Emily Cochrane, Lindsey Rogers Cook, Michael Cooper, Jill Cowan, Andrew Das, Nicholas Fandos, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Matt Furber, Michael Gold, Erica L. Green, Chris Hamby, Maggie Haberman, Amy Harmon, Anemona Hartocollis, Winnie Hu, Julia Jacobs, Sarah Mervosh, Claire Cain Miller, Matt Phillips, Michael S. Schmidt, Mitch Smith, Kaly Soto, Jennifer Steinhauer, Matt Stevens, Eileen Sullivan, David Waldstein and Billy Witz.



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