Trump Superfans Line Up Early for Tulsa Rally

The Four Percent


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Two days before President Trump was scheduled to speak at a rally downtown, some of his biggest fans braved a sweltering Thursday afternoon to make sure they made it into the event.

The crowd of a few hundred included locals and visitors, most everyone pitching a tent to shield themselves from the 90-degree heat. Vendors and performers hawked memorabilia with Mr. Trump’s likeness, including a silver bust of the president and T-shirts with some of his best-known commentary.

Mike Grimes, of Minnesota, drove 750 miles to line up at the event.

“I wanted to be at the first one back, because it feels like a symbol of America opening back up,” he said. Mr. Grimes, a 41-year-old postal carrier, said well wishers had dropped off Gatorade and water.

One Trump supporter, who said Saturday will be the 64th rally he has attended, is part of a group of Mr. Trump’s superfans who call themselves “Front Row Joes.” Other members had arrived in Tulsa as early as Monday, he said. He made it to town on Thursday.

The man, who is 60, said he was not worried about the spread of coronavirus in the arena here. (Previous reports show he was arrested for disorderly conduct after disrupting a 2019 event in Iowa for Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts.)

“Sure, the virus is out there. But when you look at the survivability rate — I’ll take those odds,” he said, laughing.

He said this rally feels different.

“We’re going to show the country and were going to show the world that we need to open up,” he said. “We’re Americans. We have freedom and choice. And we have the choice to be at risk.”

The coronavirus caseload is surging globally, driven by outbreaks in Latin America, Africa, South Asia and the United States.

More than 140,000 cases were reported on Tuesday and another 166,000 on Wednesday, two of the three highest tallies since the outbreak began. Seventy-seven nations have seen a growth in new cases over the past two weeks, while only 43 have seen declines.

While Wednesday’s total, the record high, was inflated by a backlog of more than 30,000 mishandled and unreported cases that Chile added to its tally, the rising daily numbers reflect the pandemic’s stubborn grip on the world.

Brazil reported more than 32,000 new cases on Wednesday, the most in the world, and the United States was second, with more than 25,000. The leaders of both nations have been criticized for their handling of the outbreak.

On Thursday, California and Florida reported their highest daily totals of new cases yet. And Texas became the sixth state in the nation to surpass 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Cases there have doubled over the past month.

The virus is also taking off in other parts of the world.

If the outbreak was defined early on by a series of shifting epicenters — including Wuhan, China; Iran; northern Italy; Spain; and New York — it is now defined by its wide and expanding scope. And more risks lie ahead as nations begin to reopen their economies.

In India, which initially placed all 1.3 billion of its citizens under a lockdown — then moved to reopen even with its strained public health system near the breaking point — officials reported a record number of new cases Wednesday. And the virus is now spreading rapidly in nearby Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.

In California, face mask requirements have varied from county to county, and at least seven county health officers have recently resigned amid controversy over those and other preventive measures. Earlier this week, Santa Clara County revealed that its public health officer had been threatened.

The state’s orders make exceptions for toddlers, people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings, restaurant customers while eating and people who are incarcerated.

Other news from around the United States:

For months, British authorities went their own way, pursuing an app they promised would help ease the country out of lockdown, even as criticism grew that it posed privacy risks and would not work well.

On Thursday, they abruptly reversed course.

Now, Britain plans to join other countries and design a new contact-tracing app based on software provided by Apple and Google.

It was an embarrassing turnaround, and just one of a string of pandemic missteps by the government. At one point, the government said the contact-tracing technology would be available to the public in May. Now the aim is to have it ready by winter.

British officials had counted on the app, which is intended to alert anyone who may have come near an infected person, such as on a bus or subway, to help prevent a new wave of infections.

Leaders stuck to a plan of building an app in-house even as other countries changed course. Germany and Italy, which both agreed to use Apple and Google’s technology more than a month ago, debuted contact-tracing apps this week.

British public health officials wanted to avoid using the software provided by Apple and Google because it limits the amount of data that can be centrally collected and analyzed — information they felt was critical in tracking the disease. But the British team struggled to build an app that worked properly without support from the Silicon Valley giants.

Apple and Google, whose operating systems run on nearly every smartphone on the planet, prevented outside apps that did not use their code from taking full advantage of a device’s ability to measure proximity. The companies took this approach in the interests of privacy.

A top Chinese epidemiologist has said that seafood vendors in a Beijing market linked to at least 183 new coronavirus cases had suffered the most infections and showed symptoms of the virus earlier than those who sold beef and lamb.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Thursday that low temperatures and high humidity in the seafood and meat areas of Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market may have contributed to the spread of the virus.

Dr. Wu compared the circumstances surrounding the latest cluster in Beijing to the initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged late last year. Specifically, he said the vendors selling wildlife in the Wuhan market had been grouped together with the seafood stalls, and that the proximity of fish and meat stalls could provide clues into how the virus emerged.

“The findings reminded us of the first outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in Wuhan last year — that happened at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market,” he said. “Why do seafood markets appear to be a possible source of infection?”

Officials have been racing to contain the new outbreak in the Chinese capital, shutting down the city’s schools and enacting strict lockdowns in high-risk neighborhoods. On Thursday, thousands of restaurant workers lined up around the city to get tested for the virus. The health authorities also released new guidelines urging the public to prevent “splash contamination” by not rinsing raw meat or seafood directly under the tap.

Travelers looking to leave Beijing via plane or train are being required to show proof of a negative nucleic acid test taken within seven days before boarding. As a result, demand for tests has surged in the capital, with the wait-list at some hospitals stretching into September, according to Caixin, a Chinese investigative news outlet.

The latest flare-up emerged after 56 days of no new locally-transmitted cases in Beijing, and despite an order by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to fortify the capital against the virus.

But Mr. Wu on Thursday expressed confidence that the peak of the latest wave had passed and that the number of new infections would soon be declining. “Beijing’s epidemic has already been controlled,” he said.

On Friday, Beijing recorded 25 new cases, four more than were reported a day earlier.

In other news from around the world:

  • South Korea reported 49 more cases on Friday, as a second wave of infections continued to spread in the Seoul metropolitan area.

  • Britain’s official coronavirus caseload surpassed 300,000 on Thursday.

  • Nearly 500 medical workers in Russia have died after contracting the virus, more than four times the number announced previously, the head of a health watchdog agency said Thursday. But the agency later backtracked, saying the figure was not an official count — merely one from the internet.

As cases rise in 20 states around the United States, pockets of student-athletes returning to campus have tested positive, underscoring the difficulty colleges and professional sports leagues face as they prepare for the possibility of a fall sports season.

The University of Texas, where football players began voluntary workouts this week, said Thursday that 13 players had tested positive, and another 10 were self-quarantining after officials carried out contact tracing. Last week, the University of Houston suspended voluntary workouts for its athletes after six of them tested positive. And at Southern Methodist University, officials said this week that five of 75 athletes tested were positive.

At least eight Kansas State University athletes tested positive for the virus since returning to campus, officials said this week. University officials said athletes were being asked to quarantine for seven days after arriving on campus and were not being allowed to practice until they tested negative. Many of the athletes who tested positive were asymptomatic, according to their universities. As students return to campus, they risk bringing the virus with them and seeding outbreaks in parts of the country with relatively few cases. Some fall games can usually attract about 100,000 fans.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday on CNN. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

At least four Division I football games have already been canceled. On Thursday, the Atlantic Coast Conference said that it would move its annual kickoff event to a virtual format, following similar decisions by the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conferences.

In professional sports, no leagues have regular-season games on any public schedules. Because of precautions, there are few solid plans to include fans. And the N.F.L. slate could be in jeopardy as teams are unsure about the start of training camps in July.

Texas, which has reported large increases in new cases in recent days, plans to reopen its schools in the fall with both in-person classes and options for remote instruction, the governor’s office said Thursday.

After Gov. Greg Abbott announced the plans in a conference call with lawmakers, one of the state’s major teachers’ organizations quickly raised concerns about restarting classes during the pandemic and demanded that teachers be directly involved in any planning for reopening schools.

“We don’t think right now that it’s safe to be talking about reopening school buildings,” said Clay Robison, a spokesman for the 65,000-member Texas State Teachers Association.

A doctor in a small city in Canada tested positive. Then the police opened a criminal investigation.

The crime? He had driven from the province of New Brunswick into Quebec, and returned without self-isolating, violating an emergency rule. The authorities accused him of bringing back the virus and sparking an outbreak, which he disputes. He believes he contracted the virus at his hospital job.

  • Updated June 16, 2020

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • Will protests set off a second viral wave of coronavirus?

      Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases. While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus. Some infectious disease experts were reassured by the fact that the protests were held outdoors, saying the open air settings could mitigate the risk of transmission.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


The story of the doctor, Jean Robert Ngola Monzinga, captures the fear and uncertainty the pandemic has unleashed. While it has brought some communities together, it has turned others against one another. In some places, doctors and nurses have been physically attacked and ostracized as perceived vectors of the disease.

Dr. Ngola made the trip to pick up his 4-year-old daughter, stopping for a job interview along the way. Two weeks later, he and his daughter tested positive. The same day, he was denounced online and by the provincial government, and suspended from his job without pay.

Some say Dr. Ngola’s example shows the calamitous effect a single person’s carelessness can have; others say it highlights the danger of scapegoating individuals for suffering unleashed by a virus that will be with us for the foreseeable future.

Weeks after he was diagnosed, Dr. Ngola remains hidden in his home, not even leaving for groceries for fear he will be targeted. He is an easy mark — a rare black man and immigrant in the shrinking mill city of Campbellton. He believes that racism played a role in his public denunciation and shaming.

“I have been treated like a criminal,” Dr. Ngola said. “I am a destroyed person.”

Antibodies to the new virus may last only two to three months in the body, especially in people who never showed symptoms while they were infected, according to a study published on Thursday.

The new study, published in Nature Medicine, looked at only 37 people who did not show symptoms when infected, but it is the first to offer a characterization of the immune response in such people.

It suggests that asymptomatic people mount a weaker response to the virus than people who develop symptoms. And within weeks, antibody levels fall to undetectable levels in 40 percent of asymptomatic people and 13 percent of symptomatic people.

“That is a concern, but I’d point out that these are pretty small group sizes,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York who was not involved in the work. She also noted that immune cells would continue to offer protection even in the absence of antibodies.

“Most people are generally not aware of T cell immunity and so much of the conversation has focused on antibody levels,” she said.

Still, the results offer a strong note of caution against the idea of “immunity certificates” for people who have recovered from the illness. If levels of immunity decrease so soon after illness, the authors suggest, people who have had the infection once might fall ill a second time.

Antibodies to other coronaviruses, including those that cause SARS and MERS, are thought to last about a year. Scientists had hoped that antibodies to the new virus might last at least as long.

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that the city will ease more restrictions on Monday, which the governor said the day before could go forward. As many as 300,000 workers are expected to get back to work as outdoor dining, in-store shopping and office work resumes with limits, the mayor said at his daily briefing.

Not long afterward, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that while the state would not make its final decision on easing restrictions until Friday, he was still advising businesses to prepare.

Restaurants, many which have been open for takeout but do not have available outdoor space, would be able to place seating in curbside parking areas and on sidewalks adjacent to their restaurants, the mayor said. In July, the city would allow restaurant seating on 43 miles of streets closed to vehicle traffic. The mayor predicted that the expanded outdoor dining plan would save 5,000 of the city’s restaurants and 45,000 jobs.

The governor said he is also signing executive orders that allow the state to immediately suspend the liquor license of a business or shut it down if they’re not complying with reopening guidelines, as well to give bars the responsibility to limit the number of people gathered outside.

In Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Heather Sumner, 32, repeated a phrase commonly heard these days: “We can’t stay inside forever.”

Here’s what else is going on in New York:

  • The mayor again repeated concerns that the virus might have spread during massive protests over systemic racism and police brutality. Still, he said that city and state officials had been encouraged by “the trend line” of test results and hospitalizations, which have stayed flat in recent weeks, and decided to allow the reopening to go forward.

  • The mayor said that the city’s playgrounds, which have been shut since March, would also reopen on Monday. But team sports, like basketball, soccer and softball, will not be permitted in city parks.

  • Mr. Cuomo said that he was considering requiring travelers coming into New York from Florida to quarantine for 14 days — a move similar to one Florida imposed on New Yorkers in March. “I have experts who have advised me to do that,” he said. “I’m considering it now.”

  • The state would issue guidance to colleges and universities to allow some residential and in-person programming to resume this fall, the governor said. Schools needed to submit plans for monitoring the virus and discouraging its spread in order to reopen.

  • Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet and Lincoln Center all canceled their fall seasons, following similar announcements from the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. It will be City Ballet’s first year without “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” since its premiere in 1954 — disrupting a holiday tradition beloved by thousands, and leaving a big hole in the company’s budget.

Mr. Trump questioned the use of masks as a means of slowing the virus’s spread, and said some people wear them to signal political opposition to him. Most experts say that risk does not outweigh the benefits of widespread use of face masks.

“They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth,” Mr. Trump said. “And then they don’t know how they caught it?”

Mr. Trump shrugged off concerns that attendees at his scheduled indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday will be at risk of infection.

Since the killing of George Floyd, some of these health care workers have joined the fight against another crisis: racism. While acknowledging the risk of infection posed by protests, they say this movement is too important to sit out.

Gyms are slowly reopening, outdoor fitness classes are starting up, and many people are hoping to get back to their typical workout routines. But wearing a mask while working out can be challenging. Here are some ways to make it more tolerable.

Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Jane Bradley, John Branch, Chris Buckley, Ben Casselman, Damien Cave, Michael Cooper, Maria Cramer, Michael Crowley, Melissa Eddy, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Michael Gold, Jenny Gross, Matthew Haag, Amy Haimerl, David M. Halbfinger, Andrew Higgins, Tiffany Hsu, Mike Ives, Josh Keller, Apoorva Mandavilli, Patricia Mazzei, Sarah Mervosh, Raphael Minder, Benjamin Mueller, Elian Peltier, Catherine Porter, Amy Qin, Motoko Rich, David E. Sanger, Adam Satariano, Natasha Singer, Mitch Smith, Matt Stevens, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Noah Weiland, Michael Wilson, Billy Witz, Will Wright, Mihir Zaveri and Karen Zraick.



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