Live Coronavirus News Updates: Chile, Florida and NY

The Four Percent


In Chile, criticism over erratic measures and confusion over its records of deaths.

Chile’s health minister resigned Saturday amid criticism of his handling of the pandemic and controversy over the number of related deaths.

Dr. Jaime Mañalich faced growing calls for his resignation because of what many considered an erratic strategy to address the rising rate of contagion per capita, one of the highest in the world. The government reported 167,355 cases and 3,101 deaths as of Friday night, mostly concentrated in the capital, Santiago. Chile’s population is about 19 million.

The resignation coincided with press reports that the government was reporting a much higher number of deaths — over 5,000 — to the World Health Organization, by including unconfirmed cases of deaths suspected to be caused by the virus.

Dr. Mañalich came under fire for his ministry’s ever-changing methodology of reporting Covid-related deaths, which did not always coincide with morgue records. Poor traceability and weak enforcement of a lockdown and other sanitary restrictions, despite mobilizing the military and the police, are contributing to the spread of the virus.

The government began ordering partial lockdowns in certain neighborhoods and cities as of mid-March, and as the virus continued to spread, lifted restrictions in some areas and imposed them in others. For months, mayors in several municipalities and cities with high contagion rates pleaded with the government to impose lockdowns in their areas to no avail.

Some members of the health and scientific community said the minister had not considered their professional opinions, not even of those participating in the government’s Covid-19 advisory panel.

In mid-April, before the country reached a peak in cases, Dr. Mañalich promoted a return to a “new normal,” prompting people to go out with friends, children to go back to school and for malls to reopen with the necessary precautions. A month later, on May 22, the government ordered a total lockdown for the Santiago Metropolitan Region, which is still in effect.

President Sebastián Piñera replaced Dr. Mañalich with Dr. Enrique Paris, a former president of the Medical Association and member of the advisory panel. In a public statement shortly after, Dr. Paris called for “dialogue and cooperation” and for the scientific community, health professionals and research centers to work together.

“A new stage begins in which we should be receptive of divergent opinions and those that support current policies,” he said.

The developments also prompted the authorities to partly or completely close five other Beijing markets and to tighten controls on movement in and out of the city. State media outlets described the effort as a “wartime mechanism.”

China was the site of the first major coronavirus outbreak — with many of the first reported cases tied to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan. But as the pandemic has ravaged the rest of the world, China’s government has loudly promoted its apparent success in controlling the virus’s spread. According to New York Times data, China has had 89,720 cases and 4,634 deaths.

Here are some other developments around the world:

  • In Britain, the police urged people to stay away from demonstrations in London on Saturday, and imposed restrictions on both a Black Lives Matter protest and a planned right-wing counterdemonstration.

  • President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Saturday that he was prepared to reinstate a strict coronavirus lockdown if looser measures were not observed. Press TV, a state-run broadcaster, quoted him as saying that a recent drop in compliance “could be worrying.”

  • At least 58 people on the staff of President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala have tested positive for the virus, including members of his security detail and domestic workers at the presidential compound. The president said he had tested negative.

  • Immigration officials in Canada said the government may allow caregivers who are seeking asylum to remain in the country permanently because of their outsized contributions to fighting the pandemic.

  • Prosecutors questioned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy on Friday over his delay in locking down two towns in the Lombardy region, where the virus devastated the health care system. No one has been charged with a crime and the lead prosecutor, Maria Cristina Rota, said Mr. Conte and other officials were interviewed as witnesses, not suspects.

“I thought, well, I’m pretty good at this, so I think I will stop hiding and do something for the people who now don’t trust this other dashboard,” she said. “They think it’s a political tool, which it partly is.”

To support its economic reopening, the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has selectively picked data to show a lower percentage of people testing positive for the virus, Ms. Jones said. Her dashboard uses a more straightforward calculation and clearly shows that the rate is increasing.

Unlike the official site, the totals for cases and deaths in Ms. Jones’s dashboard include non-Florida residents who were in Florida when they became sick. She also lists the number of positive antibody tests statewide.

Ms. Jones’s site uses publicly available data that in some cases is buried deep in PDF spreadsheets and not easy for residents to peruse at a glance. “I don’t have access to the data I did before, but there’s other information out there that can provide context, can provide resources, and can enable people to take control during this crisis,” she said.

As of Saturday morning, Brazil had acknowledged 41,828 virus deaths, 166 more than Britain’s total. The figure for the United States was 115,136. Brazil’s daily death toll is now the highest in the world, bucking the downward trend that is allowing many other major economies to reopen.

Meanwhile, India has overtaken Britain as the nation with the fourth-highest number of cases worldwide after it experienced the most new cases in a single day on Friday, according to the Times tally.

There have been at least 308,900 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in India, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. As of Saturday morning, 8,884 people had died.

The country had instituted one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns in late March, but recently lifted most of its lockdown measures in an effort to ease pressure on the economy.

In Brazil, experts point to President Jair Bolsonaro’s rejection of the emerging scientific consensus on how to fight the pandemic — including his promotion of unproven remedies such as the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — as one of the factors that helped tilt the country into its current health crisis.

Mr. Bolsonaro has sabotaged quarantine measures adopted by governors, encouraged mass rallies and repeatedly dismissed the danger of the virus. He has asserted that the virus was a “measly cold” and that people with “athletic backgrounds,” like himself, were impervious to serious complications.

This week, his administration stopped disclosing comprehensive coronavirus statistics, though the data was restored after a Supreme Court order.

It was a commencement like none other in the 218-year history of West Point.

Graduating cadets who had been isolated for 14 days marched onto the field on Saturday in their dress gray-and-white uniforms and face masks. They sat in white folding chairs spaced six feet apart, at which point they were allowed to take their masks off. The West Point band played with plexiglass shields to protect against the virus.

Cannons fired a 21-gun salute and, from the bandstand, President Trump delivered a commencement address in which he stressed staunch support of the armed forces and honored the class’s unity.

“You have come from the farms and the cities, from states big and small and from every race, religion, color and creed,” he told the graduating class, “but when you enter these grounds you became part of one team, one family, proudly serving one great American nation.”

Later, with diplomas in hand, the cadets saluted the commander in chief two by two as their names were called. Hundreds of times, Mr. Trump saluted back. No family or friends were allowed to attend, but they commented on the live-stream of the event on West Point’s YouTube channel. And at the end, the cadets were permitted the traditional touch of throwing their caps into the air.

Mr. Trump’s decision to deliver the address in person was contentious. Cadets had been sent home in March because of the coronavirus, but after Mr. Trump said he would go through with plans for the speech, they were ordered back to campus in time to be tested and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

“This is a frightening time,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We thought that we were past it. Well, the beast is rearing its ugly head. Half the states are seeing an increase. New York is exactly the opposite.”

This week, as many as 400,000 workers began returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores in New York City’s first phase of reopening. Other parts of the state have moved on to more advanced stages of reopening, Mr. Cuomo said. The Western Region is scheduled to move to Phase 3 on Tuesday, and the Capital Region is expected to enter Phase 3 on Wednesday.

Increased testing has also shown that the virus is spreading at a slower pace than it did three months ago, when as many as 800 people were dying a day, Mr. Cuomo said.

Across the Hudson River, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced 103 new virus-related deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 12,589.

While some officials in states seeing increases attribute the rise to increased testing, and the number of cases per capita in Texas and Florida remains low, some health experts see worrying signs that the virus is continuing to make inroads.

“Whenever you loosen mitigation, you can expect you’ll see new infections. I think it would be unrealistic to think that you won’t,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on ABC News’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. “The critical issue is how do you prevent those new infections that you see from all of a sudden emerging into something that is a spike, and that’s the thing that we hope we will be able to contain.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released forecasts on Friday suggesting that the United States was likely to reach 124,000 to 140,000 Covid-19 deaths by July 4.

‘We’re sort of losing the will to take off our sweatpants.’

Relationships can flourish — or wither — in times of stress. Add months of isolation, the physical and emotional toll of a pandemic, followed by global protests, and this period we’re living through has the capacity to reshape relationships on a broad scale. We wanted to know how people who are living together — romantically or otherwise — have fared with so much time together. Will this era be more about the costs of claustrophobia or the deepening of love? What about the fights? The annoying habits? The romance? The chaos? Here are 18 stories of isolating together.

The vaccine is currently in clinical trials and has not been proven effective, but governments and nonprofit foundations have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to create production capacity so that vaccines that are approved can be rapidly distributed. AstraZeneca, announcing a manufacturing deal with the vaccine giant Serum Institute of India last week, said it had secured the capacity to produce as many as two billion doses by next year.

On his Facebook feed, the Italian minister, Roberto Speranza, said that the trials were at an “advanced stage” and would be concluded in the autumn “with the distribution of the first lot of doses before the end of the year.” He said that the development and production phase of the vaccine would involve “important Italian companies.”

“Today’s agreement is a first promising step forward for Italy and Europe,” Mr. Speranza said. “The vaccine is the only definitive solution for Covid-19. For me, it will always be considered a global public good, a right for everyone, not the privilege of a few.”

AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said in a statement: “This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval. With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in May that it would provide “up to $1.2 billion” to AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine and was collaborating with the drug company “to make available at least 300 million doses.” The money will pay for a Phase 3 clinical trial of a potential vaccine in the United States this summer with about 30,000 volunteers.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are aggressively placing new bets as the coronavirus pandemic has made them near-essential services, with people turning to them to shop online, entertain themselves and stay in touch with loved ones. The skyrocketing use has given the companies new fuel to invest as other industries retrench.

Even with the global economy reeling and dozens of businesses filing for bankruptcy, tech’s largest companies — still wildly profitable and flush with billions of dollars from years of corporate dominance — are deliberately laying the groundwork for a future in which they will be bigger and more powerful than ever.

Some of the tech behemoths have made little secret of their intention to forge ahead in a recession that has put more than 44 million Americans out of work.

Facebook also recently invested in Gojek, a “super app” in Southeast Asia. The deal followed a $5.7 billion investment it recently pumped into Reliance Jio, a telecom giant in India.

The social network is also spending millions of dollars to build a nearly 23,000-mile undersea fiber-optic cable encircling Africa, and on Thursday, Facebook confirmed that it was developing a venture capital fund to invest in promising start-ups.

Other technology giants are demonstrating similar ambitions. Apple has bought at least four companies this year and released a new iPhone. Microsoft has bought three cloud computing businesses. Amazon is in talks to acquire an autonomous vehicle start-up, has leased more airplanes for delivery and has hired an additional 175,000 people since March. And Google has unveiled new messaging and video features.

How to keep your children safe in a reopening world.

Social distancing is hard — especially for the very young. Here are some ways to get children to care about wearing masks and avoiding germs.

Reporting and research was contributed by Peter Baker, Pascale Bonnefoy, Aurelien Breeden, Benedict Carey, Michael Cooper, Bella Huang, Mike Isaac, Aishvarya Kavi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Andrew E. Kramer, Qiqing Lin, Ernesto Londoño, Patricia Mazzei, Zach Montague, Heather Murphy, Jack Nicas, Sergey Ponomarev, Elisabetta Povoledo, Peter Robins, Andrea Salcedo, Edgar Sandoval, Eric Schmitt, Michael D. Shear, Mariana Simões, Vivian Wang and Elaine Yu.



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