Live World Updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Four Percent


Memorial Day is met with a varied approach, from strict closures to crowded celebrations.

Those looking to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer in the United States, were confronted by the difficulties of how to gather during a pandemic as the country inched closer to the terrible milestone of 100,000 deaths.

But elsewhere in the country, crowds flocked to the beaches and parks that were open for the holiday weekend. While many maintained social distancing, others partied with abandon.

President Trump and the first lady were set to observe Memorial Day on Monday with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a visit to Fort McHenry in Baltimore “to honor the American heroes who have sacrificed their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” a White House statement read.

Parts of Spain that were affected particularly badly by the coronavirus, including Barcelona and Madrid, took significant steps toward easing restrictions, with outdoor dining terraces reopening for the first time in months in both cities.

And Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on Monday announced an end to the national state of emergency, but called on the public to continue taking measures to defend against infection.

“We can’t continue to live and work in the way we’ve done until now,” he said.

Around the world, countries are wrestling with the challenge of how to best restart air travel, a cornerstone of modern commerce but also a dangerous vector of coronavirus infection.

As some nations have brought their outbreaks under control, they are both reopening their skies and identifying other relatively safe countries to which travel will be allowed.

But nations still in the throes of the pandemic were finding themselves newly closed off, with their people barred from once-accepting airports.

As the United States was restricting travel, India, emerging from a nationwide lockdown, was resuming it.

In Europe, the countries that have been most successful at containing the virus looked to broker travel agreements.

There was James Leach Miller, who at 21 was on Omaha Beach on D-Day, crowded into a landing ship with other young men. He died of the coronavirus on March 30.

The question of what went wrong at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will be with Massachusetts for a long time.

Investigations have been opened, several of which seek to determine whether state officials should be charged with negligence under civil or criminal law.

“He died with no care whatsoever,” said Linda McKee, the daughter of Mr. Miller. “There was no one there giving orders.”

The measures were lifted for most of the rest of the country earlier this month after a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases led officials to step back initial requests for most businesses to close and individuals to stay home.

Addressing the nation after the announcement, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on the public to continue taking measures to defend against infection, asking them to avoid crowded places.

“We need to make a new normal. Let’s change our thinking,” he said, warning that “We can’t continue to live and work in the way we’ve done until now.”

As businesses reopen, the authorities and medical experts counsel that the country must remain vigilant against the threat of a second wave, which could quickly undo progress in controlling the coronavirus’s spread.

While Japan’s case count is low, it has also carried out much less testing than other countries, raising anxiety that there could be a reservoir of undiscovered asymptomatic cases in the country.

Damien Cave, the Times’ bureau chief in Sydney, writes about the resumption of classes in Australia.

I made my daughter her favorite breakfast this morning and packed extra snacks in my son’s lunchbox. Not even a soaking rain could dampen my mood — if my wife and I could have popped champagne at 8 a.m. we would have.

Finally, after seven weeks at home filled with Zoom lessons, fractions, overdue assignments, TikTok and a few tears, our two children were returning to their real-life classrooms full time.

“I’m not excited for school,” my daughter, Amelia, 9, told me, as we made our way to morning drop-off in downtown Sydney. “I’m excited for normal life!”

But as I watched other parents this morning, some in masks, others with hand sanitizer, I couldn’t shake the sense that “normal life” had already narrowed.

Amelia tells me that hugging at school now brings a scolding. Dance is still canceled. Balthazar, her brother, who is 11, will also probably not be going to bush camp with his class next month — a sixth-grade milestone he’d been looking forward to since last year.

What have we learned? Honestly, less about school than ourselves.

Our children said they were surprised to discover how hard their parents worked. I come away with a deeper understanding of my children as students — now I know my usually quiet son learns best not alone but in groups, even if that means sitting across from me; and my daughter, it turns out, is far more diligent than her chattiness suggests.

There’s a part of me that will miss them now that they’re gone. But I don’t want them back, not just because that would mean a second wave of the virus; also because school, we now know more than ever, is a beautiful luxury.

“We didn’t have any knowledge about the virus before that, nor have we ever met, researched or kept the virus,” Dr. Wang said.

Scientists are still studying how the outbreak first happened. Most of them believe that the virus was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species, one that was probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, appeared on “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press,” accusing Chinese officials of carrying out a cover-up of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Congregations across the United States were still using Facebook or YouTube to hold services on Sunday, or were taking part from their cars in church parking lots.

“Some governors have deemed the liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”

Leaders of the Church of God in Christ, a historically black denomination with about six million members worldwide, were urging pastors not to begin reopening until at least July.

“The moral safe choice is to wait,” Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., the church’s presiding bishop, said. “We don’t think now is the time, and neither do the scientists and doctors we consult with.”

In Germany, which for weeks now has allowed religious services, 40 churchgoers became infected with the coronavirus during a service at a Baptist church in Frankfurt, the health authorities said.

Six parishioners were hospitalized, according to Wladimir Pritzkau, a leader of the parish.

France took tentative steps on Sunday to reopen churches, mosques and synagogues. Officials were nudged by a legal challenge to a blanket ban on public worship that was not set to be lifted until the end of May.

In Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher reopened after a two-month lockdown. On the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians crowded into streets early Sunday in defiance of coronavirus restrictions, including many who demanded that the Palestinian authorities reopen mosques for Eid al-Fitr, the festival for the conclusion of the fasting month of Ramadan.

“I wear a face shield every time I enter a store or other building,” said Dr. Eli Perencevich. “Sometimes I also wear a cloth mask, if required by the store’s policy.”

There has also been no research on how well one person’s face shield protects other people from viral transmission — the concept called source control that is a primary benefit of surgical and cloth masks.

A multibillion-dollar institution in the Seattle area invests in hedge funds, runs a pair of venture capital funds and works with elite private equity firms like the Carlyle Group.

And this spring, Providence received at least $509 million in government funds, one of many wealthy beneficiaries of a federal program that is supposed to prevent health care providers from capsizing during the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.

In the world of performing arts, the coronavirus pandemic has already sunk summer. Now it is felling fall.

“I think 2020 is gone,” said Anna D. Shapiro, the artistic director of the storied Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. “I’ll be stunned if we’re back in the theater.”

“We won’t have programming this fall,” said Chris Coleman, the artistic director of the theater company at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. “Part of it is the uncertainty of when it’s going to be safe to gather, and part of it is economic — we’ve thought about social distancing, but it makes zero economic sense.”

Reporting was contributed by Raphael Minder, Melissa Eddy, Megan Specia, Ben Dooley, Joshua Barone, Jesse Drucker, Sarah Kliff, Mark Landler Stephen Castle, Damien Cave, Joshua Barone, Mariel Padilla, Michael Paulson, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Knvul Sheikh, Ben Sisario, Michael Wilson, Zachary Woolfe, Kai Schultz and Ellen Barry.



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