The world recorded more than one million new cases of the coronavirus in just the last three days, the highest total ever in such short span, a reflection of resurgences in Europe and the United States and uninterrupted outbreaks in India, Brazil and other countries.
The number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide. Deaths and hospitalizations in some countries are also beginning to rise, a warning signal of the widespread impact of the current wave. The pandemic has sickened nearly 37 million people and more than one million people have died globally, according to a New York Times database.
A hot spot has emerged in the United Kingdom, which has suffered the highest number of virus-related deaths in Europe. France and Spain are also experiencing a second wave of soaring cases. Argentina, which has seen more than 90,000 new cases in the past seven days, is a hot spot in South America, as are Brazil and Colombia.
However, the United States one of the largest contributors to the surging global tally. On Friday, the country recorded more than 900 new deaths and more than 58,500 new cases, the highest number of new cases it has reported in a single day since mid-August. That tally included single-day case records in nine states: Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Five of those states announced more cases this week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic, as did Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.
Within the United States, uncontrolled outbreaks continue to spread in the Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast is seeing early signs of a resurgence. In Wisconsin, a long-dormant field hospital at the state fairgrounds is being readied for patients. In New York, officials fear clusters in some neighborhoods and suburbs could spread further.
Still, the number of new cases nationally remains below the levels seen in late July, when the country averaged more than 66,000 per day. Deaths, though still well below their peak spring levels, averaged around 700 per day in October. That is far more than the toll in early July, when the country was in the beginning stages of reopening.
The new highs in the United States come one week after President Trump himself tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized. Though he has returned to the White House and said repeatedly that he feels “great,” he has continued to play down the effectiveness of masks and routinely sidelined his own public health experts. Mr. Trump plans to resume his schedule of campaign rallies and events, which often violate local guidelines on social distancing. He hosted a large outdoor gathering at the White House on Saturday.
Globally, the United States has led the ranking of nations with the highest number of coronavirus infections since late May. However, the spread of the virus in India — which has roughly four times the population of the United States — has put the country on course to overtake the United States. Infections are rippling into the rural corners of India, with more than 500,000 cases in the past seven days among the nation’s 1.3 billion people. In comparison, U.S. has added more than 330,000 cases over the same period of time, according to a New York Times database.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol Building on Friday. On Saturday, she offered little enthusiasm for Republicans’ $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Saturday panned the administration’s latest proposal for a coronavirus relief package — and at $1.8 trillion its largest — telling her Democratic colleagues that a number of divisions remained in her negotiations with the White House, including over aid for families and state and local governments.
“This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats. “At this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the administration on several provisions as the negotiations on the overall funding amount continue.”
Ms. Pelosi’s lackluster response signaled that the administration’s renewed urgency for a relief package had not managed to bridge the sharp divides and political headwinds that have imperiled efforts to infuse the shuddering economy with tens of billions of dollars in relief.
The $1.8 trillion proposal that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, put forward on Friday was the administration’s largest offer since bipartisan negotiations began in late summer. The proposal came just days after President Trump abruptly ended negotiations and then reversed course.
Multiple Senate Republicans have voiced concern that any agreement that passes muster with the speaker and her top lieutenants will be too costly for them to secure an agreement.
Ms. Pelosi ticked off a number of stark divides with the administration, including the lack of a national strategy to contain the spread of the virus, and what she deemed to be inadequate funding for child care and supplemental unemployment insurance benefits. Ms. Pelosi also said the administration had not agreed to her push for tax credits to help families.
Democrats have also demanded billions of dollars for state and local governments, and Ms. Pelosi said the administration’s funding level “remains sadly inadequate.”
Hundreds of supporters of President Trump attended a gathering on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday.Credit…Tom Brenner/Reuters
President Trump, whose progress in recovering from Covid-19 remains unclear, stood on a White House balcony on Saturday afternoon to greet several hundred supporters gathered on the South Lawn, his first in-person event since announcing that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’m feeling great!” Mr. Trump told the crowd, which was organized by Candace Owens, an ally who has led a so-called “Blexit” movement to prompt Black voters to leave the Democratic Party.
“I know you’ve been praying, and I was in that hospital, I was watching down over so many people,” Mr. Trump said.
Regarding the pandemic, which is flaring up in several states and around the globe, he once again insisted: “It’s going to disappear. It is disappearing.”
Outside medical experts had issued cautions about the gathering, saying that an inappropriately expedited return to the public arena could endanger the president’s own health and risk infecting others.
The White House has not been transparent about the severity of Mr. Trump’s illness, which makes it hard to know how much longer C.D.C. guidelines suggest he should remain in isolation. Mr. Trump was hospitalized Oct. 2 and received some treatments typically reserved for those who are severely ill, an indication that he may need to isolate until Oct. 21.
Attendees at the South Lawn event were supposed to fill out a screening questionnaire and also have their temperature taken before they could join the crowd. Masks were required, and many in the crowd complied.
The event was the first large-scale gathering held at the White House in two weeks. On Saturday, Sept. 26, a large ceremony was held to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and the following day, Gold Star families were honored. After those events, infections among White House staff, military officials and other attendees were announced almost daily.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, said the White House had held a “super spreader event,” an apparent reference to the nomination ceremony.
Both the nomination ceremony and Saturday’s event violated Washington, D.C.’s mandates prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people. But because the White House is on federal property, it is exempt from such rules.
In the week after the nomination ceremony for Judge Barrett, the White House also decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members.
During the outdoor portion of the ceremony last month, few people wore masks or kept their social distance. But experts say a reception held earlier that day inside the White House was even more risky. There, President Trump mingled with Judge Barrett, her family and prominent Republicans. It is unclear whether the event on Saturday will include an indoor gathering.
On Friday, the Washington, D.C. government set up a new Covid-19 testing site just outside the White House, underscoring concerns by local officials that the administration’s actions were potentially compromising public health for the rest of the nation’s capitol.
“We recommend that if you have worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the Supreme Court announcement in the Rose Garden on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and/or have had close contact with others who work in those spaces, you should get a test for Covid,” said a sign at the testing site.
At least one testing site in Washington reported that those seeking a test doubled to 600 on Oct. 5 as residents responded with concern to the cases stemming from the White House and Capitol Hill.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has mounting pressure to speak out against the Trump administrations handing of the coronavirus. Credit…Pool photo by Alex Edelman
Pressure is mounting on the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to speak publicly against the White House’s manhandling of C.D.C. research and public health decisions, with demoralized career scientists talking of quitting if President Trump wins re-election.
The situation came to a boiling point this week when William H. Foege, a giant in public health who led the C.D.C. under Democratic and Republican presidents, called for its current director, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, to “stand up to a bully” — he meant Mr. Trump — even at the risk of being fired.
“Silence becomes complicity,” he said in an interview, after a private letter he wrote to Dr. Redfield leaked to the news media.
Dr. Redfield’s recent memo clearing Vice President Mike Pence to participate in the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday, even as the White House became a coronavirus hot spot, infuriated health experts. Nearly a dozen current and former C.D.C. officials called the letter highly inappropriate.
And Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Senate health committee, said she told Dr. Redfield in a private telephone conversation last month that he had to take a stand.
“What I said to him was that my concern was about the agency’s credibility today — and the agency’s credibility that we need as a country in the future,” Ms. Murray said in an interview. “This isn’t just about right now. If we lose all the really good scientists there, if people don’t believe the C.D.C. when they put out guidance, what happens in the next flu outbreak? What happens in the next public health crisis?”
C.D.C. scientists know that their work will invariably collide with politics, but they have never seen anything quite like what is happening under Mr. Trump.
The White House successfully pressured the agency to revise guidelines on matters like school reopenings, church gatherings and whether cruise ships can sail. The C.D.C. was forced, over the objections of its own scientists, to post guidelines that suggested asymptomatic people should not be tested. (That was ultimately reversed.) And the White House thwarted a C.D.C. plan to require individuals to wear masks on all U.S. commercial transportation.
“What has happened at C.D.C. has been horrifying to see,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who pioneered public health research into gun violence at the C.D.C. but was pushed out after Republicans in Congress effectively cut off funding for his work. “It’s been terribly demoralizing to people who have been working 16 and 17 hour days for weeks or months at a time while taking on Covid-19.”
Dr. Redfield declined to comment.
Current C.D.C. employees contacted would not speak on the record for fear of reprisal, but the sense of despair is clear. Many view public health as a calling, and remain at the agency knowing that they could earn much higher salaries working in industry.
Most current and former C.D.C. officials acknowledge that Dr. Redfield is in a terrible position, working for a president who regards the agency’s scientists as members of a so-called deep state out to get him. Unlike Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, he is a political appointee and lacks Civil Service protections. And unlike the F.D.A. commissioner, he cannot turn to a powerful industry constituency like pharmaceuticals to back him up.
Some say it would be unwise for him to step down, for fear of his successor.
“What happens if 50 of the top scientists at C.D.C. say, ‘We’ve had it, we’re leaving?’ Does that leave the country better off or worse off?” asked Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, who served as the C.D.C. director under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and regularly met Dr. Redfield for lunch before the pandemic. “I suspect that Dr. Redfield is asking himself the same question.”
In Malaga, Spain, this summer. Last week, the central bank said the country’s economy could contract 12.6 percent this year.Credit…Samuel Aranda for The New York Times
What faint hopes remained that Europe was recovering from the economic catastrophe delivered by the pandemic have faded as the virus has resumed spreading rapidly across much of the continent.
After sharply expanding in the early part of the summer, Britain’s economy grew far less than anticipated in August — 2.1 percent compared with July, the government reported on Friday, adding to worries that further weakness lies ahead.
Earlier in the week, France, Europe’s second-largest economy, downgraded its forecast for the pace of expansion for the last three months of the year from an already minimal 1 percent to zero. The national statistics agency predicted that the economy would contract 9 percent this year.
The diminished expectations are an outgrowth of alarm over the revival of the virus, which has prompted President Emmanuel Macron to announce new restrictions, including a two-month shutdown of cafes and bars in Paris and surrounding areas.
In July, with infection rates down and lockdowns lifted, many European economies expanded strongly as people returned to shops, restaurants and vacation destinations. The most optimistic economists began celebrating a so-called V-shaped recovery, featuring a bounce-back just as steep as the plunge that preceded it.
But Spain’s central bank governor said this week that new restrictions to slow the virus’s accelerating spread could produce an economic contraction of as much as 12.6 percent this year.
And the European Central Bank’s chief economist said on Tuesday that the 19 countries that share the euro currency might not recover from the disaster until 2022, with those that are dependent on tourism especially vulnerable.
President Trump on the Truman Balcony of the White House on Monday after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
President Trump’s campaign has started airing a television ad focused on his coronavirus infection, an attempt to reset the way voters view the president on a major issue in the election.
A majority of voters have a negative view of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus, according to public opinion polls. The spot seeks to use his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as evidence that he is on top of a virus he has repeatedly played down.
“President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the ad’s narrator says. “Together, we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them lifesaving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. President Trump tackled the virus head-on, as leaders should.”
The ad then cuts to an interview with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci from the end of March, when the virus was just starting, saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.” Dr. Fauci, the country’s top epidemiologist, has tangled with the White House for much of the year over its coronavirus response.
The ad concludes: “We’ll get through this together. We’ll live carefully, but not afraid.”
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, has been released from the hospital, a week after testing positive for the coronavirus.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, said in a tweet on Saturday that he had been released from the hospital that morning, one week after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Mr. Christie is one of at least a dozen people who tested positive in the days after attending a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and had huddled with President Trump and his close advisers during debate preparations just days before Mr. Trump tested positive.
Mr. Christie, who is overweight and has a history of asthma, said last week that he had checked himself into Morristown Medical Center in consultation with his doctors.
“I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center,” he wrote on Twitter. “I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me the last week. Thanks to my family & friends fro their prayers.”
He ended his message with an intriguing pledge: “I will have more to say about all of this next week.”
I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center. I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me for the last week. Thanks to my family & friends for their prayers. I will have more to say about all of this next week.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 10, 2020
Since the early days of the pandemic, the White House has regularly used rapid coronavirus tests to screen staff members and guests for the coronavirus because they are fast, portable and easy to operate.
These tests, however, frequently miss infections in people without symptoms. Nevertheless, those who tested negative would often skip other precautions, like wearing a mask or social distancing.
And while officials had given the impression that Mr. Trump was getting tested every day, the White House has since conceded that tests were not as frequent and has refused to reveal the last time Mr. Trump tested negative.
Guests at the reception for Judge Barrett were said to be tested. Part of the event was indoors, and photographs show few masks among the guests there, or later in the larger outdoor portion.
The president also huddled with advisers for maskless preparation sessions ahead of the first presidential debate on Sept. 29.
Several of those involved besides Mr. Christie have said they have since tested positive, including Kellyanne Conway, a former White House adviser; Hope Hicks, a current adviser; and Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager.
Police officers in Palm Tree, N.Y., handing out face masks to residents this week.Credit…Kevin Hagen for The New York Times
In Palm Tree, N.Y., a town of 26,000 residents where life revolves around family, religious services and prayer, the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive is at least 15 percent, among the highest in New York. There are more than 200 active cases, enough to place this Orthodox Jewish community northwest of New York City into a state-ordered “red zone” with strict new restrictions on synagogue capacity and public gatherings.
Yet on Wednesday, as men and boys streamed out of prayer services at Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar for the holiday of Sukkot, most were not wearing face masks.
Dina Aker, 67, walked by the synagogue, also not wearing a mask. Her husband, 73, caught the coronavirus in May, despite being mainly confined to their home, she said. That left her feeling that there was no utility to masks and that new lockdown measures would only prolong the disease’s spread.
“I pray every day, ‘Please, my lovely God, make it finish,’” she said.
The peaceful scenes during Sukkot, where families gather in open-air, leaf-covered booths in a celebration of the fall harvest, were interrupted by a loudspeaker atop a town police car outside a shopping center, with a recording in Yiddish and English warning of a spike in cases in the area and emphasizing the importance of wearing masks.
A police officer standing near the car handed out disposable masks.
Public health officials and experts say that factors driving an uptick in the ultra-Orthodox enclaves north of the city include a distrust of scientific messaging and secular authority, a dedication to communal life, dense living conditions, and fatalism about the virus brought by a traumatic spring of death and sickness.
Supporters during a Trump campaign rally at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, NC.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
This week, Joseph R. Biden Jr. dismissed President Trump’s reluctant attitude toward wearing masks as “this macho thing.”
Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator and Fox Nation host, countered that Mr. Biden “might as well carry a purse with that mask.”
Some experts who study masculinity and public health say the perception that wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines are unmanly has carried a destructive cost. The virus has infected more men than women and killed far more of them.
Men’s resistance to showing weakness — and their tendency to take risks — was demonstrated by scientists long before Covid-19. Studies have shown men are less likely than women to wear seatbelts and helmets, or to get flu shots. They’re more likely to speed or drive drunk. They are less likely to seek out medical care.
Some initial research indicates a similar pattern is playing out with the coronavirus. Surveys have found that women are more likely than men to wear masks in the United States.
If you wear a mask, said Peter Glick, a professor of social sciences at Lawrence University, “the underlying message is: ‘I’m afraid of catching this disease.’”
This is not a new problem for those who work in public health messaging.
It tends to be more difficult to reach those who identify strongly with traditional masculine characteristics. As an example, the more someone identifies with those masculine traits, the less likely that person will be to use condoms during sex, according to Stacey Hust, an associate professor of communication at Washington State University.
“I think that translates really clearly into why some men choose not to wear masks,” she said. “It’s really about not wanting to show weakness or fear, not wanting to show any vulnerability.”
Police officers on duty at a protest this week in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn over new restrictions.Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times
A federal judge on Friday allowed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to move forward with new restrictions on gatherings at synagogues and other houses of worships, finding that the rules did not violate the free exercise of religion for Orthodox Jews.
The ruling in federal court in Brooklyn came after Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization, sued Mr. Cuomo this week over an executive order detailing restrictions to address rising coronavirus cases in neighborhoods with large populations of Orthodox Jews.
After an emergency hearing on Friday, the judge declined to temporarily block the executive order ahead of three Jewish holidays over the weekend. She said she sympathized with the order’s impact on the Orthodox Jewish community, but rejected the argument that Mr. Cuomo had unconstitutionally targeted a religious minority.
“How can we ignore the compelling state interest in protecting the health and life of all New Yorkers?” said Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
When announcing the executive order, Mr. Cuomo set new capacity limits for houses of worship. In zones with the highest positivity rates, houses of worship would be limited to 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 10 people, while those in a less severe hot spot could have 50 percent capacity.
Lawyers for Agudath Israel, an umbrella group with affiliated synagogues around the country, argued that the new rules were unconstitutional because they prevented Orthodox Jews from exercising their religion. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn also filed a similar lawsuit against Mr. Cuomo on Thursday.
The judge’s decision means that Mr. Cuomo can impose the new restrictions as the lawsuit progresses.
A trial site for Regeneron and Eli Lilly in Mesa, Ariz.Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
In a five-minute video posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday, President Trump stood in front of the White House and offered a lavish endorsement for a treatment he had received while hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“They gave me Regeneron, and it was like, unbelievable — I felt good immediately,” he said, referring to an experimental cocktail of monoclonal antibodies produced by the pharmaceutical company Regeneron. “I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president.”
The president’s video raised many questions, including whether the antibody cocktail could have such a significant effect in such a short time. (Some physicians were skeptical.)
But for the question of how he planned to ensure that a therapy not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration would soon be available, he had an answer: “I have emergency-use authorization all set,” he said in the video. “And we’ve got to get it signed now.”
Vaccines, drugs and medical devices sold in the United States generally require F.D.A. approval. But for more than 15 years, the agency has had the authority, when certain conditions are met, to grant emergency-use authorizations, which allow the sale of unapproved medical products.
It has used such authorizations during several disease outbreaks, including H1N1 flu in 2009 and Zika in 2016, but the coronavirus has brought their deployment on a new scale.
Since February, the agency has granted more than 300 Covid-related emergency-use authorizations, and many observers expect that Covid vaccines will first be made available in the United States under a such a procedure.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has not been able to shed the perception that after his bout with the coronavirus, “he’s lost his élan and brio,” as one analyst put it.Credit…Justin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
President Trump got a well-wishing phone call this past week from one of the few foreign leaders who knows what he’s been going through: Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, the survivor of a serious brush with the coronavirus this spring.
Mr. Trump seized on the call as another opportunity to boast of a swift recovery from Covid-19. But he should take little comfort from Mr. Johnson’s experience — and not just because the prime minister ended up in an intensive-care unit.
Six months after being released from the hospital, Mr. Johnson has yet to shake off questions about the effects of the disease on his energy, focus and spirit, and the idea that his illness has become a symptom of his broader political decline.
“It’s a metaphor for his government, and that’s affecting him personally,” said Jonathan Powell, who was chief of staff to Tony Blair when he was prime minister. “He looks like the wrong man for the job at this time.”
Despite his efforts, Mr. Johnson has not been able to recapture the public buoyancy that propelled him to a landslide election victory last December.
A speech he gave to his Conservative Party’s annual conference on Tuesday “was palpably a chance to shake off the sense that he’s half the man he used to be, that he’s lost his élan and brio,” said Andrew Gimson, one of Mr. Johnson’s biographers.
“But he hasn’t been able to shake it off,” Mr. Gimson said.
The C.D.C. order would have been the toughest federal mandate aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transit in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials.
The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 people in America each day. The officials said that it had been drafted under the agency’s “quarantine powers” and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.
The two officials said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots.
A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities.
The thwarting of the mask rule is the latest C.D.C. action to be stalled or changed by the White House. Late last month, the coronavirus task force overruled an order by the agency’s director to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. That plan was opposed by the tourism industry in Florida, an important swing state in the presidential election.
Political appointees at the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have also been involved in rewriting the agency’s guidelines on reopening schools and testing for the virus, bypassing the agency’s scientists.