Global Death Toll From Virus Surpasses 800,000

The Four Percent


The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 800,000 on Saturday, according to data compiled by The New York Times, as new infections flared in Europe and high numbers of deaths were recorded across the United States, India, South Africa and most of Latin America.

Since the pandemic began, the countries with the highest number of deaths per capita have largely been concentrated in Europe, with countries including Belgium, Britain, Italy and the independent enclave of San Marino within it, and Spain all reporting more than 50 deaths per 100,000 people.

The rally ended last Sunday, but health officials warn that it will take time before the extent of associated outbreaks can be measured, as it can take days for symptoms to appear in people who have been infected.

Ms. Ehresmann said on Friday that she expected to see more cases recorded as additional information about the outbreak and subsequent contact tracing became available.

The seven-day rolling average in South Dakota is approaching its high point from this spring after setting a single-day record on Saturday with 251 new cases announced. Neighboring North Dakota is also reporting cases at its highest levels during the pandemic.

The country was subject to one of the world’s strictest lockdowns starting in late March, with all people ordered to stay inside, businesses closed and public transit halted. But as the measures took a severe economic and social toll, government officials began lifting some restrictions in hopes of easing the suffering.

In recent months, there have been complaints across the country of shortages of hospital beds, and many people have accused the government of not making the most of the gains made during the lockdown.

As public markets and other spaces were allowed to reopen with little social distancing, cases began rising in congested localities. Now, India’s confirmed caseload has climbed from two million to more than three million in just over two weeks.

In other developments around the world:

  • South Korea on Sunday reported 397 new cases, its highest daily increase since early March, amid fears that an outbreak at a church in Seoul, the capital, was spreading to the rest of the country. On Sunday, a ban in Seoul on large gatherings — as well as the shutdown of nightclubs, karaoke rooms and other high-risk facilities — was extended nationwide.

  • Lebanon is under partial lockdown after a dramatic spike in virus cases in the aftermath of the devastating Aug. 4 explosion at the Beirut port. The rules, which took effect on Friday, include a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., with exceptions for pharmacies, grocery stores and disaster relief efforts around the port. Markets, gyms, restaurants and other public spaces were ordered to close until the lockdown ends on Sept. 7. The country has recorded 3,749 cases in the last seven days, according to a New York Times database, bringing its total number of cases to 12,191. Of the 121 total deaths, 24 of them were in the last seven days.

Despite the recent rise of coronavirus infections in Germany, 4,000 people lined up to watch the singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko on Saturday in the eastern city of Leipzig.

But this wasn’t another story of an entertainment venue flouting public health concerns in order to get back to business. The daylong show was an experiment set up by scientists to help figure out why mass events are so effective at spreading the virus and how the riskiest behaviors could be avoided.

Each of the concertgoers passed a coronavirus test and had their temperature taken before entering the closed arena. They were all given trackers to allow researchers to monitor whom they came close to, as well as an FFP2 respirator mask to wear and a bottle of special fluorescing hand sanitizer that allowed researchers to learn which areas were most frequently touched.

Residence hall advisers are the front line in dorms. Students started arriving over the past week at Cornell University, and Jason Chang, a 24-year-old doctoral student who oversees undergraduates in his dorm, has been overwhelmed with violations of distancing rules.

“Constant insanity and madness,” Mr. Chang said. “That’s been my life this week.”

Penalties can run to suspensions and expulsions from campus housing, but education officials say it is generally not in the nature of colleges and universities to function like police states.

Many university officials seem to be relying on students to report one another to enforce coronavirus restrictions. Some colleges are advertising hotlines where students can anonymously report unsafe behavior.

A recent TikTok video that has more than 3.4 million views captured the spirit of self-enforcement, with two young men warning that they would rather tell on their classmates than be sent home. “I will rat you out,” one emphatically warns, adding: “I’m not doing Khan Academy from home. I refuse. And I hate the cops.”

A couple who planned to hold a wedding with 175 guests in western New York State on Saturday had to postpone it after a federal appeals court judge blocked the event, responding to a legal challenge by the state government over the crowd’s expected size.

The ruling, issued on Friday, came two weeks after a lower court said weddings at venues in the state that also function as restaurants where indoor dining is allowed were not subject to a 50-person cap on gatherings that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo imposed to help fight the coronavirus.

The lower court ruling opened the door for such wedding venues to host parties of more than 50 people under the same rules that apply to restaurants. Those rules now limit indoor service to half a restaurant’s typical capacity.

The lower court’s decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by two couples who had booked weddings at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, N.Y., about a half-hour’s drive northeast of Buffalo. One of the couples was married the day the ruling was issued. The other was to be married this weekend.

State officials, who have argued in court filings that weddings pose a greater public health risk than indoor dining and are potential “super-spreader” events, immediately appealed the ruling.

On Friday, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted state lawyers’ emergency request to halt the second wedding until a panel of judges could consider their arguments more fully.

Coming on the heels of the Democratic National Convention, which concluded on Thursday, Republicans are gathering for a convention of their own, including an in-person roll call in Charlotte, N.C.

The Republican convention, which begins on Monday, will feature a gathering of 336 representatives who will nominate President Trump from the city’s Convention Center.

In June, Mr. Trump announced plans to move the convention to Jacksonville, Fla., after North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, refused to compromise the state’s social distancing rules to allow crowds to attend. But as virus outbreaks exploded across Florida this summer, the relocation was scrapped as well.

The final design for the event still bows to the dangers of the pandemic. Much of the convention will take place online, and attendees of the in-person segment will be instructed to wear masks and observe social distancing.

But Republican operatives have said that the decision to preserve the in-person segment was choreographed to contrast with the fully-online Democratic convention and drum up enthusiasm from voters about Mr. Trump’s nomination.

“Waving the middle finger to public health guidelines, the ‘political establishment’ and the ‘mainstream media’ in the form of an in-person roll call amid the pandemic is a great way to invigorate his hard-core base,” said Lucy Caldwell, a Republican strategist.

The House interrupted its annual summer recess on Saturday for a rare weekend session to approve legislation blocking cost-cutting and operational changes at the Postal Service — moves that Democrats, civil rights advocates and some Republicans fear could jeopardize mail-in voting this fall.

The measure, put forward by Democratic leaders, also would require the Postal Service to prioritize the delivery of all election-related mail. It would grant the beleaguered agency a rare $25 billion infusion to cover revenue lost because of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has the resources to address what is expected to be the largest vote-by-mail operation in the nation’s history.

Democrats were joined by a small group of Republicans in voting yes, but the bill, as written, appeared unlikely to move through the Republican-controlled Senate. President Trump opposed the bill in last-minute tweets, calling it a “money wasting HOAX” by Democrats.

Democrats pressed ahead anyway, however, framing Saturday’s action as an emergency intervention to protect vital mail and package services that have seen significant delays this summer as the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, moved swiftly to cut costs to close a yawning budget gap. They said it was necessary to instill confidence in American voters that the agency would safeguard their ballots despite often baseless near daily attacks by President Trump on mail-in voting, criticisms that have raised concerns about the politicization of a trusted institution.

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the lead author of the bill, released internal post office documents on Saturday that she said revealed “a significant drop in service standards across the board since the beginning of July.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” Ms. Maloney said before the bill passed the House. “It makes absolutely no sense to impose these kinds of dangerous cuts in the middle of a pandemic and just months before the elections in November.”

Rafael Nadal has chosen not to travel to the U.S. Open. Roger Federer is recovering from knee surgery. But Novak Djokovic is in New York and is expected to play at the tournament, which will be held beginning Aug. 31 without spectators.

Djokovic is ranked No. 1 and remains a perfect 18-0 in 2020, just as he was when the pandemic-related hiatus began in March.

But he was hardly a big winner during the forced off-season. He generated concern and controversy by questioning vaccination and claiming that water could be affected by human emotions. And he dented his credibility and brand by organizing the Adria Tour, a charity exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia in June that lacked in social distancing and decorum, leading to a cluster of coronavirus cases. It was canceled before the finish with several leading players and some support staff testing positive.

Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, were among them, and they isolated for two weeks with their two young children in their native city of Belgrade, Serbia.

“We tried to do something with the right intentions,” Djokovic said of the tour. “Yes, there were some steps that could have been done differently, of course, but am I going to be then forever blamed for doing a mistake?” he told The Times’s Christopher Clarey.

Djokovic said his own virus symptoms were mild, lasting four to five days. He said he had no fever but did have fatigue and some loss of smell and taste and sensed some loss of stamina when he initially returned to practice. He’s monitoring himself for long-term effects.

With Zoom meetings, remote schooling and the rest of the ways people are spending life online, privacy is more important than ever. Here is how to go about securing your computer and information.

Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Julia Calderone, Choe Sang-Hun, Emily Cochrane, Ron DePasquale, Conor Dougherty, Nicholas Fandos, Marie Fazio, Gillian Friedman, Anemona Hartocollis, Shawn Hubler, Annie Karni, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Dan Levin, Zach Montague, Allison McCann, Elisabetta Povoledo, Christopher F. Schuetze, Ed Shanahan, María Silvia Trigo and Sameer Yasir.



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