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Global COVID-19 cases reach 5 million

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Missouri principal sent off to retirement with surprise drive-by parade

Missouri principal Stacey King didn’t get the usual send-off to mark her retirement, but retiring during a pandemic isn’t exactly typical. 

The staff at Central Elementary school helped celebrate King’s career Tuesday with a drive-by parade in Saint Charles, Missouri. After nearly 15 years in the role, her last official day will be June 30, but Tuesday was the final day of classes. 

“It’s not how we typically do send-offs. They were very creative,” King, 51, told NBC News.

“The administrators were here working, social distancing in our offices, but staff was working remotely, and so they were able to drive up and surprise me with the parade while still keeping distances,” she said.

Like many, the global pandemic has brought its share of challenges for King, but she said she has focused on the silver linings like learning new technology to work remotely.

“Wrapping up my career and knowing that I had no idea when I walked out of the building on March 12 that, that was going to be the last time I saw my kids, and so, it is hard,” King said.

“Knowing I won’t be here when they come back in the fall to put my eyes on them and to know that they are okay, I know that they will be in great hands, but that’s just hard,” she said.

Eighth Amazon warehouse worker dies

Another Amazon warehouse worker has died from COVID-19, bringing the total known deaths to eight employees, the company said Thursday.

The female employee worked in packing at the fulfillment center outside Cleveland in North Randall, Ohio, known as CLE2, Amazon said. She had been with the company since November 2018.

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Financial help en route for struggling New York City transit system, Trump says

More federal financial help is on the way for New York City’s transit system, which has been reeling from losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Thursday night that about $300 million was heading to New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, part of the $3.9 billion that’s been allocated for New York under coronavirus stimulus legislation passed by Congress.

The MTA runs the state’s trains, subways and buses. With the payment, the agency will have received over $2 billion in federal funding to date, Trump said. 

“This is critical to keeping essential personnel moving and aiding metro NYC in recovery,” the president tweeted. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters last week that the agency “desperately needs funding because the ridership is way down” and credited Trump for expediting the payments to his former home state. The “president cut red tape,” Cuomo said. 

Early release of Cohen and Manafort shows how unfair prison system is, experts say

Brian Stauffer / for NBC News

Michael Cohen is just the latest well-connected federal prisoner to be sent home early because of the coronavirus, even though he has served only a third of his sentence — well shy of the 50 percent threshold federal officials often cite in denying requests for early release.

By contrast, prisoners like Eddie Brown, an Oklahoma man who has served a bigger portion of his sentence than Cohen and also cites health problems, remain behind bars, raising questions about the Bureau of Prisons’ opaque process and its fairness.

New data show that Cohen, along with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, released last week, are among the relatively few federal prisoners to win early release in the seven weeks since Attorney General William Barr cited the pandemic in ordering more federal prisoners to be let out.

During that time, the number of people in home confinement increased by only 2,578, about 1.5 percent of the nearly 171,000 people in federal prisons and halfway houses when Barr issued his memo.

Read the full story here

Nursing home executive to Pence: Enough photo ops

The head of an association representing more than 5,000 non-profit senior living facilities sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence Thursday asking that he stop doing what she characterized as “photo op” deliveries of personal protective gear to nursing homes.

“While it may not be your intention, these photo-ops send a false impression that nursing homes and other aging services providers are getting what they need. That is nowhere close to the truth,” wrote Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge.

Pence delivered PPE to a nursing home in Orlando yesterday in front of reporters and also to a facility in Northern Virginia on May 7. In late April, the White House announced FEMA would deliver one week’s worth of PPE to every nursing home in the U.S.; after criticism FEMA increased the size of the shipments to a 14-day supply.

NBC News previously reported that one of the first shipments went to a facility in Saratoga Springs, New York with no coronavirus cases.

Trump spotted wearing mask during Ford tour, but refuses to wear it in front of press cameras

President Donald Trump has a face covering with the presidential seal on it, but refused to wear it on the public part of his tour of a Ford plant in Michigan on Thursday despite factory policy.

Trump was photographed wearing a mask at the plant, and a source familiar with the matter confirmed the authenticity of that photo. The president was given a mask by Ford.

President Donald Trump wears a mask during his tour of the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant that is manufacturing ventilators, masks and other medical supplies in Ypsilanti, Michigan on May 21, 2020.

“I wore one in the back area but I didn’t want to press to get the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump told reporters during an appearing at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti that’s making ventilators to combat the coronavirus.

He then displayed the black face covering, which has the presidential seal in the corner. “I think I look better in the mask,” Trump said, before offering a different explanation for why he wasn’t wearing it. “I’m making a speech so I won’t have it on now,” he said.

Click here for the full story. 

As country reopens, a question remains: Can coronavirus spread on surfaces?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the wording on its website earlier this month to emphasize that the coronavirus is not easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.

The change, made May 11 with no public announcement, was to a headline on the agency’s page about how the virus spreads, and specifically, whether a person can get sick from touching a surface with the virus on it.

Read more. 

USDA to provide $1 billion in loans to rural businesses and farmers

Dairy cows stand in a pen at a cattle farm in West Canaan, Ohio on, April 30, 2020.Dane Rhys / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would provide up to $1 billion in guaranteed loans to rural businesses and farmers in an effort to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic. 

“USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses and agricultural producers and being a strong supporter of all aspects of the rural economy,” Perdue said. “Ensuring more rural agricultural producers are able to gain access to much-needed capital in these unprecedented times is a cornerstone of that commitment.”

The policy change opens up eligibility to some agriculture producers who were not able to receive loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency program, but the loans can only be used as working capital “to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.” 

They can only be used by rural businesses, which includes farmers, that were operating as of Feb. 15. 

Security firm says North Dakota’s contact-tracing app is sending user data to third parties

A new report from cybersecurity firm Jumbo Privacy claims that Care19, a contact-tracing app created to track the spread of coronavirus in North Dakota, is sending user data to third-party services, including location service Foursquare.

FAQs about the app published on North Dakota’s official site say that “information is 100% anonymous,” and that “the application does not have any information that is tied to an individual person.”

Jumbo disagrees.

“They share the IDFA with Foursquare, which means it’s not anonymous,” said Jumbo Privacy CEO Pierre Valade. “It’s a unique ID tied to your phone.” 

North Dakota is one of a few states, including South Dakota and Utah, that have built their own contact-tracing apps.

Foursquare said in a statement that while it receives Care19 data, it does not use it in any way and promptly discards it. ProudCrowd did not immediately return a request for comment.

White House to issue guidance on church reopenings after dispute with CDC caused delay

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration will release guidelines for reopening places of worship by Friday after they were delayed by a disagreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over what the recommendations should entail.

Trump said he told the CDC on Thursday to put out the guidelines, which have been revised by White House officials in recent days to make them less stringent than the ones the agency initially recommended.

“The CDC is going to put something out very soon,” Trump said during an event in Michigan. “We’re going to get our churches open.”

“They’re so important to the psyche of our country,” the president said.

According to a senior administration official, the guidelines for places of worship that have been cleared by the White House Counsel’s Office include recommendations such as wearing gloves while distributing Holy Communion, social distancing and holding virtual services as a last resort.

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Live Coronavirus News – The New York Times

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Even as countries move to reopen, the pandemic is growing at a faster pace.

The coronavirus pandemic’s pace is quickening worldwide, with nearly 700,000 new known infections reported in the last week after the pathogen found greater footholds in Latin America and the Gulf states.

The virus has infected almost 5.7 million people around the world and killed at least 355,000, according to data compiled by The New York Times. It was only last Thursday that the world crossed the dispiriting threshold of 5 million cases, after it took nearly two weeks for a million more infections to become known.

But each day is bringing more grim tallies. Through May 20, there had been just one day when the world learned of at least 100,000 new cases. Since then, six-figure case increases have been reported four times, a signal of the virus’s still-devastating reach even as more of the world’s most powerful economies sputter into reopenings.

The increases in some countries can be attributed to improved testing programs. In others, though, it appears that the virus has only now arrived with wide scope and fatal force.

Outbreaks have accelerated especially sharply in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, with caseloads doubling in some countries about every two weeks. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said it considered the Americas to be the new epicenter of the pandemic.

And although much of the Middle East seemed to avert early catastrophe even as the virus ravaged Iran, case counts have lately been swelling in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Many of the world’s wealthiest countries have slowed their outbreaks, if only marginally in some instances. In the United States, which has recorded more than 100,000 deaths, more than any other country, the growth rate has stabilized. But experts believe that its cases are still being undercounted, despite there being at least 1.7 million known infections, and fear that premature reopenings in some states could lead to new outbreaks.

New cases are decreasing in France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom after outbreaks that left them with some of the world’s highest death tolls, with a total of more than 126,000 fatalities.

Viewed together, the studies show herd immunity protection is unlikely to be reached “any time soon,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“We don’t have a good way to safely build it up, to be honest, not in the short term,” Dr. Mina said. “Unless we’re going to let the virus run rampant again — but I think society has decided that is not an approach available to us.”

The push for large-scale coronavirus testing and contact tracing has been at the core of the World Health Organization’s guidance for stopping the coronavirus. And as some nations bring in new track-and-trace systems designed to prevent a second major wave of infections, others’ experiences offer case studies — and cautionary tales.

The latest such effort, in Britain, is being rolled out on Thursday. People with potential Covid-19 symptoms will be tested and, if positive, be asked to list everyone they have recently been in close contact with for at least 15 minutes. Those people will, in turn, be contacted and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.

The country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said this week that the program aimed to replace a nationwide lockdown with individual isolation or smaller localized restrictions if new cases emerge.

At a news briefing on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that groups of up to six people will be able to meet outside in England starting on Monday, provided they stay more than six feet apart. Currently, only two people from different households are allowed to meet.

The testing and contact tracing program comes a day after France’s Parliament approved the deployment of a contact tracing app that has set off an intense debate in the country. Critics question how the gathered data will be used and worry about setting a precedent for state-run monitoring. But France’s data privacy watchdog ruled that the app has sufficient safeguards.

In Japan, where the government limited tests to the most severe cases and instead focused on contact tracing, medical experts worried that the approach would allow cases to explode. But Japan continues to have a relatively low Covid-19 death rate.

And in Wuhan, the Chinese city that was once at the center of the pandemic, a large-scale program has tested nearly 6.5 million people in the last two weeks.

Annoyed at their government, the French have taken to the streets brandishing drinks.

With bars still closed despite the loosening of France’s coronavirus lockdown, the pre-dinner drinking tradition of the apéro has given way to the apérue: clusters of revelers on the streets, or rues, of Paris, outside establishments that are allowed to offer takeout.

“They’re forcing us to do infantile things all the time,” said Frédérick Cassea, who was having drinks with two friends in front of Le Syndicat, a bar in the 10th arrondissement.

“We’re all adults, we’re all responsible, we’re all aware of what’s going on,’’ Mr. Cassea added, describing the apérue and other acts of “civil disobedience” as a reaction to the government’s “catastrophic” handling of the epidemic. “Treating us like kids doesn’t work for long.”

Travel is restricted to a radius of 100 km, or 62 miles, around one’s home, but people find countless ways to breach it. People are allowed on “dynamic beaches,” meaning that they can’t sit, much less lie down. Newspapers publish photos of beachgoers running from police officers, in the kind of transgression that might draw censure in another country but elicits a collective cheer in France.

On Thursday, the French government said it would allow restaurants and cafes to reopen next week with some restrictions. In some areas where the epidemic is more active, such as the Paris region, only outdoor terraces will be open.

Establishments everywhere will have to follow certain rules, including no more than 10 people per table, and employees and unseated patrons will be required to wear masks.

Public parks and gardens will be allowed to open nationwide this weekend, and starting on Tuesday, travel within the country will no longer be limited.

“Even if we must remain cautions, even if we cannot risk being nonchalant, the news is rather good,” Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, said.

South Korea, which had eased restrictions in recent weeks as the virus had appeared to be in check, raced on Thursday to rein in a new outbreak, saying it would close museums and parks in the Seoul metropolitan area, and urging some prep schools, internet cafes and karaoke parlors to shut down.

The country reported 79 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily count since April 5, as an outbreak hit a home-delivery logistics center in Bucheon, southwest of Seoul. The center has reported 82 patients among its workers and their contacts in the past five days.

In late February and early March, South Korea reported hundreds of new cases per day, in one of the largest outbreaks outside China at the time. But through an aggressive testing and isolating campaign, it reduced the daily caseload down to around 10 in late April and early May. It has since eased social distancing restrictions and started to reopen schools.

“If we cannot contain this spread, we will have no option but to return to the social distancing,” Park Neung-hoo, South Korea’s health minister, said.

Several other countries have experienced a similar up-and-down pattern: restrictive measures appear to bring the virus under control, then as the rules are eased, new outbreaks appear, forcing officials to take swift action again.

Sri Lanka said Thursday it would impose a partial lockdown to curtail large gatherings on certain days starting on Sunday after seeing a surge in cases, mostly from people returning to the country from Kuwait, Agence France-Presse reported. The move came after the country had been lifting lockdowns in recent weeks, including in the capital this week.

This month, after allowing some businesses to reopen and easing a nighttime curfew, Lebanon imposed a four-day nationwide lockdown to try smother a new spike in coronavirus cases. The measures have since been relaxed.

Years of neglect had hobbled Mexico’s health care system, leaving it dangerously short of doctors, nurses and equipment to fight a virus that has overwhelmed far richer nations.

Now, the pandemic is making matters even worse, sickening more than 11,300 health workers in the country — one of the highest rates in the world — and further depleting the thin ranks in hospitals. Some hospitals have lost half their workers to illness and absenteeism. Others are running low on basic equipment.

The shortages have had devastating consequences for patients, health workers across Mexico say. Doctors and nurses recounted dozens of preventable deaths in hospitals — the result of neglect or mistakes that never should have happened.

“We have had many of what we call ‘dumb deaths,’” said Pablo Villaseñor, a doctor at the General Hospital in Tijuana, the center of an outbreak. “It’s not the virus that is killing them. It’s the lack of proper care.”

Patients die because they are given the wrong medications or the wrong dose, health workers said. Protective gloves at some hospitals are so old that they crack the moment they’re slipped on, nurses said.

Mexico’s government spends less on health care as a percent of its economy than most countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presided over spending cuts even after acknowledging that his country had 200,000 fewer health care workers than it needed.

“You hear of one patient dying because he didn’t get the proper care — and then another one and another one — and you try not to become paralyzed,” said Dr. Villaseñor, a rheumatologist who said he had to learn how to suit up to treat coronavirus patients by watching a video on YouTube.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, breached Britain’s lockdown rules during a nearly 60-mile roundtrip drive from the house where he had isolated himself while ill with the coronavirus, according to the police in Durham, England.

But they said he had not broken the rules two weeks earlier on a longer drive from London to Durham when he feared that he was about to get sick.

The report is probably enough to save Mr. Cummings’s job, despite an outcry that has consumed the British news media for nearly a week and prompted calls for his dismissal by more than 40 lawmakers from Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Mr. Johnson has defended Mr. Cummings, insisting that as a father concerned about the welfare of his 4-year-old child, he acted reasonably in driving to his parents’ home in Durham. But analysts said that if the police had considered the aide’s actions to be a more flagrant violation, he would probably have had to resign.

The police found that “there might have been a minor breach” of lockdown rules in a trip by Mr. Cummings on April 12 from Durham to the nearby town of Castle Barnard as a test run to see whether his eyesight, which was impaired during his illness, had recovered enough to drive home to London.

The police said they planned no further action.

A reporter’s journey across an oddly changed Europe.

Our Berlin-based reporter Patrick Kingsley and Laetitia Vancon, a Times photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles around Europe to document changes on a continent emerging from coronavirus lockdowns. Here is his first dispatch from their trip.

“Can you please,” said the police officer at the Czech-German border, “step out of the car?”

He and a colleague rummaged through our vehicle, muttering to each other about the possibility of a secret compartment. By the time they finished 11 minutes later, they had strewn the contents of my suitcase, backpack and medical bag across the passenger seats.

I was now free to enter Germany, they said.

It was only a mildly inconvenient episode, but nevertheless illustrative — an encapsulation of how haphazard and disorientating life in Europe has become since the start of the pandemic.

Three months ago, I could have driven from the Czech Republic into Germany without even noticing where exactly the border was, thanks to an agreement that allows free movement among most countries in the European Union.

Now, there’s a checkpoint on the Czech side, and another one just inside Germany. And initially, not even a letter from The New York Times, a diplomatic note from the British Embassy (I’m a British citizen), a German press card and a certificate confirming I was virus-free were enough to persuade the Germans that I had legitimate reason to be traveling this way.

It’s exactly this kind of odd encounter that I’m trying to document as I drive through a Europe in the process of waking up after lockdown.

Accompanied by Laetitia Vancon, a Times photojournalist, I am in the middle of what will probably end up as a 3,700-mile journey through as many as six countries in various stages of emerging from a virus-induced slumber.

Over the next few days, we will be publishing our dispatches and photographs from this changed world — from an eccentric drive-in theater in Prague to a dystopically long line at a food bank in Geneva, one of the world’s richest cities.

Cyprus will assume the cost of lodging, food, drinks and medication for tourists who test positive for the coronavirus as a result of visiting the country, government officials said this week, as part of an effort to attract travelers back to the nation.

As travel to Cyprus resumes in the coming weeks, the measures are intended to lessen the financial risks for those contemplating a vacation to the country — where tourism is vital to the economy — while taking into account the potential risk of infection.

“Ultimately, we want visitors to feel safe during their trip, but also to enjoy their stay and experience normalcy when visiting our beautiful beaches, points of interest and infrastructure,” a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport and tourism said.

Tourism accounts for around 15 percent of the economic output of Cyprus, which has reported fewer than 1,000 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths. And the government is keen to reopen safely to tourists and avoid imposing quarantine restrictions on incoming visitors.

Hotels in the country will open on June 1, with international flights resuming a week later. Incoming travelers will be required to show proof that they have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of traveling. If testing is not available to them in their home country, they will be required to pay 60 euros (about $66) to be tested at the airport in Cyprus.

From June 20, travelers from countries like Germany, Greece, Israel and Malta that are considered lower-risk will face no restrictions, but the rules will remain in place for people traveling from countries with larger virus caseloads.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, offers both a cautionary tale for how dithering leadership can thwart public health and a medical puzzle for why an unprepared nation’s hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

With thousands of islands straddling a section of the Equator wider than the continental United States, Indonesia has counted on its sprawling archipelago and youthful population to slow the contagion. And the government has said that national coronavirus restrictions, already a scattershot effort, must be relaxed to save the economy.

But Indonesia’s caseload is rising quickly — in populated and far-flung areas alike — and experts worry that the country’s health care system will break down if the virus spreads as intensely as it did in Europe and the United States.

In early May, Indonesia had recorded fewer than 12,000 coronavirus cases, with about 865 deaths. By Thursday, the number had increased to 23,851 confirmed cases and 1,473 deaths, and health experts say even this near doubling of cases reflects the limits of testing rather than the true caseload.

In a glimpse of what could be runaway transmission, a sampling of 11,555 people in Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, found last week that 10 percent of those tested had antibodies for the coronavirus. Yet the entire province of East Java, which includes Surabaya, had just 4,142 officially confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

“Massive infection has already happened,” said Dono Widiatmoko, a member of Indonesia’s Public Health Association. “This means it’s too late.”

The authorities on the Canary Islands are struggling to cope with new arrivals of hundreds of migrants as a coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish archipelago prevents them from being transported to the mainland as is typical.

In the more than two months since Spain restricted travel because of the pandemic, almost 900 African migrants have arrived by boat to the Canary Islands, which are off the coast of West Africa. This week alone, two boats with 80 people aboard, including several children, reached the archipelago.

On the largest island, Gran Canaria, the authorities turned a port warehouse into a makeshift shelter for the new arrivals because the official migrant centers were full.

Three of those who landed this week tested positive for the coronavirus and had to be isolated, said Veronica Martín, a spokeswoman for the Canary Islands’ regional health ministry.

“The people who arrive here want to go on to Europe, but that is clearly not possible now, nor can they be sent home,” she said.

Migration to the Canary Islands, often a risky journey made in unseaworthy vessels by people fleeing poverty and conflict, is up significantly this year compared with a year ago. The increase contrasts with an overall drop in illegal migration to mainland Spain, and officials and experts suggest that stricter policing across the Mediterranean is pushing more African migrants to use alternative routes, including to the Canary Islands.

Since mid-March, about 1,300 migrants reached Spanish territory, down from 3,250 migrants in the same period last year, according to Spain’s interior ministry.

Myanmar’s government is abusing regulations aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus by routinely sentencing people to prison for violating curfew, quarantine and social distancing requirements, human rights activists say.

In the last two months, at least 500 people have received prison sentences ranging from two weeks to a year over violations of the public health measures, according to Human Rights Watch and the Myanmar-based rights group Athan.

Some found guilty of breaking the virus rules have been fined up to $35 and then jailed because they couldn’t afford to pay. Myanmar’s prisons are notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary.

“Throwing hundreds behind bars in crowded, unhygienic prisons defeats the purpose of containing the spread of Covid-19,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Myanmar, one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, has reported only 206 coronavirus cases and six deaths. But it has conducted fewer than 22,000 tests for a nation of 54 million people, and health experts believe that many cases have gone undetected.

To encourage the public to take precautions, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has posted videos of herself washing her hands and sewing a face mask.

In addition to those sentenced to prison for violating the public health rules, at least 500 others face charges, including many who are in jail awaiting trial, said Athan’s co-founder and research manager, Ko Ye Wai Phyo Aung.

He said the rules were often applied unevenly. In one case, he said, a violator was fined the equivalent of 4 cents while another was sentenced to a month in jail for a similar offense. Meanwhile, he said, officials who break the rules are not charged at all.

One mask depicts a middle finger, stuck defiantly upward, silk-screened in black ink on a blue background. Others feature sunflower seeds, a surveillance camera or creatures from ancient Chinese mythology.

An assortment of Mr. Ai’s masks, made of nonsurgical cloth, will be sold on eBay for Charity, from Thursday until June 27, to raise money for humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Ai — who has been working across time zones, with a team in Wuhan, on a documentary about Covid-19 — said that the idea for the masks had come to him late one night. While making carvings with his son, he printed a middle finger on a mask and posted it to Instagram. (He has used this image before, including in a “Study of Perspective” series that had backdrops of different monuments.)

People wanted to know where they could get one. “I wanted to do something,” he said. “I didn’t want to just be sitting there and waiting for the time to pass.”

Just over four months after the government confirmed the first known case, more than 100,000 people who had the coronavirus have died in the United States, according to a New York Times tally.

The death toll — far higher than that of any other nation — is on track to be the country’s deadliest public health disaster since the 1918 flu pandemic in which about 675,000 Americans died.

President Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., have outlined two very different strategies for moving forward. Mr. Biden, who laid out his plan in a Medium post, said he would set up testing through the federal government, with a public-private board to oversee test manufacturing and distribution, federal safety regulators enforcing testing at work and at least 100,000 contact tracers tracking down people exposed to the virus.

The Trump administration released its new testing strategy over the weekend, as it was required to do under the Paycheck Protection Program and Heath Care Enhancement Act. The plan, detailed in an 81-page document, would hold states responsible for carrying out all coronavirus testing, although the federal government would provide some supplies.

More than 1.6 million people in the country have been infected, and while hard-hit northeastern states have reported decreases in new cases in recent days and the pace of deaths nationwide has fallen, health experts warn of a possible resurgence as lockdowns are lifted.

And most statisticians and public health experts, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, say the death toll is probably far higher than official counts indicate.

The English Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, plans to resume play on June 17 after a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a senior English soccer executive.

The resumption of play, confirmed by an official with knowledge of the plan who spoke on condition of anonymity while an announcement was prepared, follows Germany’s Bundesliga, which began play last week. It adds momentum to a comeback of sports, with several North American leagues also making plans to find a way back to play.

The league’s return would come after weeks of uncertainty amid disagreement among teams over whether a return could be possible. Germany’s successful return to action this month, with the league completing two rounds of action without incident, helped build a consensus among executives of England’s leading teams who would have faced huge losses should the season be called off.

The return date was agreed upon at a meeting of representatives from the league’s 20 teams on Thursday, though a final clearance from British authorities as well as confirmation of the dates from the television companies that own the domestic rights will also be required, according to the person briefed on the plans.

But in the United States, officials announced on Thursday that the Boston Marathon would not be held in 2020. The race — the most prominent marathon in the United States — has been held annually since 1897, even amid world wars, periods of domestic tension, and in snow and rain storms

The race, originally scheduled for April, was to be held in September because of the pandemic. On Thursday, Mayor Martin Walsh said officials and organizers had ultimately concluded it was “not feasible” to hold the marathon this year.

Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Choe Sang-Hun, Norimitsu Onishi, Constant Méheut, Mihir Zaveri, Yonette Joseph, Patrick Kingsley, Ian Austen, Hannah Beech, Aurelien Breeden, Stephen Castle, Choe Sang-Hun, Ben Dooley, Jack Ewing, Sophie Haigney, Mike Ives, Natalie Kitroeff, Stephen Kurczy, Mark Landler, Iliana Magra, Victor Mather, Raphael Minder, Talya Minsberg, Saw Nang, Richard C. Paddock, Tariq Panja, Nadja Popovich, Amy Qin, Margot Sanger-Katz, John Schwartz, Megan Specia, Muktita Suhartono, Paulina Villegas, Sameer Yasir, Raymond Zhong and Carl Zimmer.

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Coronavirus Live: Global Updates – The New York Times

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As mass testing and contact tracing are rolled out in some nations, others are way ahead.

The push for large-scale coronavirus testing and contact tracing has been at the core of the World Health Organization’s guidance for stopping the coronavirus. And as some nations bring in new track-and-trace systems designed to prevent a second major wave of infections, others’ experiences offer case studies — and cautionary tales.

The latest such effort, in Britain, is being rolled out on Thursday. People with potential Covid-19 symptoms will be tested and, if positive, be asked to list everyone they have recently been in close contact with for at least 15 minutes. Those people will, in turn, be contacted and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.

The country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said this week that the program aimed to replace a nationwide lockdown with individual isolation or smaller localized restrictions if new cases emerge.

The move comes a day after France’s Parliament approved the deployment of a contact tracing app that has set off an intense debate in the country. Critics question how the gathered data will be used and worry about setting a precedent for state-run monitoring. But France’s data privacy watchdog ruled that the app has sufficient safeguards.

In Japan, where the government limited tests to the most severe cases and instead focused on contact tracing, medical experts worried that the approach would allow cases to explode. But Japan continues to have a relatively low Covid-19 death rate.

And in Wuhan, the Chinese city that was once at the center of the pandemic, a large-scale program has tested nearly 6.5 million people in the last two weeks.

Years of neglect had hobbled Mexico’s health care system, leaving it dangerously short of doctors, nurses and equipment to fight a virus that has overwhelmed far richer nations.

Now, the pandemic is making matters even worse, sickening more than 11,300 health workers in the country — one of the highest rates in the world — and further depleting the thin ranks in hospitals. Some hospitals have lost half their workers to illness and absenteeism. Others are running low on basic equipment.

The shortages have had devastating consequences for patients, health workers across Mexico say. Doctors and nurses recounted dozens of preventable deaths in hospitals — the result of neglect or mistakes that never should have happened.

“We have had many of what we call ‘dumb deaths,’” said Pablo Villaseñor, a doctor at the General Hospital in Tijuana, the center of an outbreak. “It’s not the virus that is killing them. It’s the lack of proper care.”

Patients die because they are given the wrong medications or the wrong dose, health workers said. Protective gloves at some hospitals are so old that they crack the moment they’re slipped on, nurses said.

Mexico’s government spends less on health care as a percent of its economy than most countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presided over spending cuts even after acknowledging that his country had 200,000 fewer health care workers than it needed.

“You hear of one patient dying because he didn’t get the proper care — and then another one and another one — and you try not to become paralyzed,” said Dr. Villaseñor, a rheumatologist who said he had to learn how to suit up to treat coronavirus patients by watching a video on YouTube.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, breached Britain’s lockdown rules during a nearly 60-mile roundtrip drive from the house where he had isolated himself while ill with the coronavirus, according to the police in Durham, England.

But they said he had not broken the rules two weeks earlier on a longer drive from London to Durham when he feared that he was about to get sick.

The report is probably enough to save Mr. Cummings’s job, despite an outcry that has consumed the British news media for nearly a week and prompted calls for his dismissal by more than 40 lawmakers from Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party.

Mr. Johnson has defended Mr. Cummings, insisting that as a father concerned about the welfare of his 4-year-old child, he acted reasonably in driving to his parents’ home in Durham. But analysts said that if the police had considered the aide’s actions to be a more flagrant violation, he would probably have had to resign.

The police found that “there might have been a minor breach” of lockdown rules in a trip by Mr. Cummings on April 12 from Durham to the nearby town of Castle Barnard as a test run to see whether his eyesight, which was impaired during his illness, had recovered enough to drive home to London.

The police said they planned no further action.

Cyprus will pay the vacation cost for tourists who contract coronavirus.

Cyprus will assume the cost of lodging, food, drinks and medication for tourists who test positive for the coronavirus as a result of visiting the country, government officials said this week, as part of an effort to attract travelers back to the nation.

As travel to Cyprus resumes in the coming weeks, the measures are intended to lessen the financial risks for those contemplating a vacation to the country — where tourism is vital to the economy — while taking into account the potential risk of infection.

“Ultimately, we want visitors to feel safe during their trip, but also to enjoy their stay and experience normalcy when visiting our beautiful beaches, points of interest and infrastructure,” a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport and tourism said.

Tourism accounts for around 15 percent of the economic output of Cyprus, which has reported fewer than 1,000 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths. And the government is keen to reopen safely to tourists and avoid imposing quarantine restrictions on incoming visitors.

Hotels in the country will open on June 1, with international flights resuming a week later. Incoming travelers will be required to show proof that they have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of traveling. If testing is not available to them in their home country, they will be required to pay 60 euros (about $66) to be tested at the airport in Cyprus.

From June 20, travelers from countries like Germany, Greece, Israel and Malta that are considered lower-risk will face no restrictions, but the rules will remain in place for people traveling from countries with larger virus caseloads.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, offers both a cautionary tale for how dithering leadership can thwart public health and a medical puzzle for why an unprepared nation’s hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

With thousands of islands straddling a section of the Equator wider than the continental United States, Indonesia has counted on its sprawling archipelago and youthful population to slow the contagion. And the government has said that national coronavirus restrictions, already a scattershot effort, must be relaxed to save the economy.

But Indonesia’s caseload is rising quickly — in populated and far-flung areas alike — and experts worry that the country’s health care system will break down if the virus spreads as intensely as it did in Europe and the United States.

In early May, Indonesia had recorded fewer than 12,000 coronavirus cases, with about 865 deaths. By Thursday, the number had increased to 23,851 confirmed cases and 1,473 deaths, and health experts say even this near doubling of cases reflects the limits of testing rather than the true caseload.

In a glimpse of what could be runaway transmission, a sampling of 11,555 people in Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, found last week that 10 percent of those tested had antibodies for the coronavirus. Yet the entire province of East Java, which includes Surabaya, had just 4,142 officially confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

“Massive infection has already happened,” said Dono Widiatmoko, a member of Indonesia’s Public Health Association. “This means it’s too late.”

The fire ravaged a makeshift Covid-19 isolation unit that had been built outside United Hospital in Dhaka, the capital. Hospital officials said that three of the patients were confirmed coronavirus patients,and that the victims’ ages ranged from 45 to 75.

Muneer-ul-Islam, who runs a grocery shop in the neighborhood, said people in other parts of hospital, one of the biggest in Dhaka, started running out of the building after the makeshift compound caught fire.

“People feared the entire building would catch the fire,” he said.

The fire, in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan area, was brought under control around 10 p.m., officials said. Hospital officials said in a statement that the cause appeared to be an electrical short circuit.

Debashis Bardan, a fire department official, said the government had set up a four-member committee to investigate the cause of the fire.

Bangladesh has a poor record on fire safety. Most buildings rely on cheap and often compromised designs, and risks are often compounded by poor enforcement and unscrupulous management.

Bangladesh has reported 544 coronavirus deaths and more than 38,000 cases, but some health experts say the actual number of cases could be far higher because testing is scant. Many hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients.

The authorities on the Canary Islands are struggling to cope with new arrivals of hundreds of migrants as a coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish archipelago prevents them from being transported to the mainland as is typical.

In the more than two months since Spain restricted travel because of the pandemic, almost 900 African migrants have arrived by boat to the Canary Islands, which are off the coast of West Africa. This week alone, two boats with 80 people aboard, including several children, reached the archipelago.

On the largest island, Gran Canaria, the authorities turned a port warehouse into a makeshift shelter for the new arrivals because the official migrant centers were full.

Three of those who landed this week tested positive for the coronavirus and had to be isolated, said Veronica Martín, a spokeswoman for the Canary Islands’ regional health ministry.

“The people who arrive here want to go on to Europe, but that is clearly not possible now, nor can they be sent home,” she said.

Migration to the Canary Islands, often a risky journey made in unseaworthy vessels by people fleeing poverty and conflict, is up significantly this year compared with a year ago. The increase contrasts with an overall drop in illegal migration to mainland Spain, and officials and experts suggest that stricter policing across the Mediterranean is pushing more African migrants to use alternative routes, including to the Canary Islands.

Since mid-March, about 1,300 migrants reached Spanish territory, down from 3,250 migrants in the same period last year, according to Spain’s interior ministry.

The latest claims may not only be a result of fresh layoffs, but also evidence that states are working their way through a backlog. And overcounting in some places and undercounting in others makes it difficult to measure the layoffs precisely.

Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Congress approved an expanded palette of jobless benefits for people including freelancers, self-employed, gig workers and others who would not usually qualify under state rules. But many states, flooded with applicants, were slow to put the program into effect, and those eligible may not yet be fully reflected.

“When we think about what to do when benefits expire, it would be helpful to know how many people are actually getting them,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, a research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Labor Department reports may be the best source of information, she said, but they offer an “incomplete picture.”

Myanmar’s government is abusing regulations aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus by routinely sentencing people to prison for violating curfew, quarantine and social distancing requirements, human rights activists say.

In the last two months, at least 500 people have received prison sentences ranging from two weeks to a year over violations of the public health measures, according to Human Rights Watch and the Myanmar-based rights group Athan.

Some found guilty of breaking the virus rules have been fined up to $35 and then jailed because they couldn’t afford to pay. Myanmar’s prisons are notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary.

“Throwing hundreds behind bars in crowded, unhygienic prisons defeats the purpose of containing the spread of Covid-19,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Myanmar, one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, has reported only 206 coronavirus cases and six deaths. But it has conducted fewer than 22,000 tests for a nation of 54 million people, and health experts believe that many cases have gone undetected.

To encourage the public to take precautions, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has posted videos of herself washing her hands and sewing a face mask.

In addition to those sentenced to prison for violating the public health rules, at least 500 others face charges, including many who are in jail awaiting trial, said Athan’s co-founder and research manager, Ko Ye Wai Phyo Aung.

He said the rules were often applied unevenly. In one case, he said, a violator was fined the equivalent of 4 cents while another was sentenced to a month in jail for a similar offense. Meanwhile, he said, officials who break the rules are not charged at all.

One mask depicts a middle finger, stuck defiantly upward, silk-screened in black ink on a blue background. Others feature sunflower seeds, a surveillance camera or creatures from ancient Chinese mythology.

An assortment of Mr. Ai’s masks, made of nonsurgical cloth, will be sold on eBay for Charity, from Thursday until June 27, to raise money for humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Ai — who has been working across time zones, with a team in Wuhan, on a documentary about Covid-19 — said that the idea for the masks had come to him late one night. While making carvings with his son, he printed a middle finger on a mask and posted it to Instagram. (He has used this image before, including in a “Study of Perspective” series that had backdrops of different monuments.)

People wanted to know where they could get one. “I wanted to do something,” he said. “I didn’t want to just be sitting there and waiting for the time to pass.”

Just over four months after the government confirmed the first known case, more than 100,000 people who had the coronavirus have died in the United States, according to a New York Times tally.

The death toll — far higher than that of any other nation — is on track to be the country’s deadliest public health disaster since the 1918 flu pandemic in which about 675,000 Americans died.

President Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., have outlined two very different strategies for moving forward. Mr. Biden, who laid out his plan in a Medium post, said he would set up testing through the federal government, with a public-private board to oversee test manufacturing and distribution, federal safety regulators enforcing testing at work and at least 100,000 contact tracers tracking down people exposed to the virus.

The Trump administration released its new testing strategy over the weekend, as it was required to do under the Paycheck Protection Program and Heath Care Enhancement Act. The plan, detailed in an 81-page document, would hold states responsible for carrying out all coronavirus testing, although the federal government would provide some supplies.

More than 1.6 million people in the country have been infected, and while hard-hit northeastern states have reported decreases in new cases in recent days and the pace of deaths nationwide has fallen, health experts warn of a possible resurgence as lockdowns are lifted.

And most statisticians and public health experts, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, say the death toll is probably far higher than official counts indicate.

Three big men lock arms. Three from the other team do the same. At the referee’s signal, they lunge toward each other, their faces inches apart.

Often there is a rule violation of some kind, and they have to get up and do it again. And maybe again.

Scrums would not be barred outright, but World Rugby is advising that they not be reset repeatedly by the referee. Tacklers will have to come in low, not upright, another situation with the potential for close face-to-face contact.

The group also recommended barring huddles and spitting. And it is advising that at halftime the ball be washed and players don new uniforms.

The World Health Organization says that risks of transmission are greatest when people are close to each other for 15 minutes or more. The rugby players who are most often in scrums are in close contact with the opposition for about 13 and a half total minutes per game, World Rugby said.

Remembering those we’ve lost.

José María Galante relentlessly gathered evidence of torture and other abuses committed during the Franco dictatorship in Spain. He did so for decades, despite an amnesty law passed two years after Franco’s death in 1975 that was designed to help smooth Spain’s return to democracy.

Mr. Galante died on March 29 in a Madrid hospital. He was 71. His partner, Justa Montero, said the cause was Covid-19.

Here are some of the others we’ve lost to Covid-19 complications:

  • Yu Lihua, 90, whose nuanced portraits of overseas Chinese students and intellectuals in America captured the cultural displacement and identity crisis felt by many in the Chinese diaspora.

  • Tendol Gyalzur, who fled Tibet during the 1959 uprising and returned after more than three decades to start the region’s first private orphanages. She was believed to be 69.

  • John Houghton, 88, a Welsh climate scientist and influential figure in the U.N. panel that brought the threat of climate change to the world’s attention.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Hannah Beech, Aurelien Breeden, Stephen Castle, Choe Sang-Hun, Ben Dooley, Jack Ewing, Sophie Haigney, Mike Ives, Natalie Kitroeff, Stephen Kurczy, Mark Landler, Iliana Magra, Victor Mather, Raphael Minder, Saw Nang, Richard C. Paddock, Amy Qin, John Schwartz, Megan Specia, Muktita Suhartono, Paulina Villegas, Sameer Yasir, Raymond Zhong and Carl Zimmer.

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Britain will start mass testing and contact tracing, but other countries are way ahead.

As the British government prepares to roll out a large-scale track and trace system designed to prevent a second major wave of coronavirus infections, other countries’ experiences offer case studies — and cautionary tales.

Starting on Thursday, people in Britain who have potential symptoms of Covid-19 will be tested and, if positive, be asked to list everyone they have recently been in close contact with for at least 15 minutes. Those people will, in turn, be contacted and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.

Britain’s program is the latest such campaign around the world to gauge how testing and contact tracing can affect transmission of the virus. The results have been mixed.

In the United States, where the virus death toll has surpassed 100,000, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen as the virus spread with ferocity from late January to early March. The result was a lost month, when the world’s richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus’s spread.

But even countries that have provided ample testing have not escaped second-wave infections. Notably, Singapore meticulously traced the close contacts of every infected patient from the start and shut its borders to populations likely to carry the contagion. But a few months later, caseloads began to soar within crowded dormitories where migrant laborers live unnoticed by many of the country’s richer residents — and, as it turned out, the government itself.

South Korea reduced what had been one of the largest outbreaks outside China to a trickle through widespread testing and contact tracing. But recently dozens of new cases have raised fears that another wave of infections is imminent.

South Korea reported 79 new cases on Thursday, the country’s highest daily caseload since April 5. The uptick was due largely to an outbreak in a home delivery logistics center south of Seoul that has reported 69 patients among its workers.

Other countries have prioritized tracing over testing, or vice versa. In Japan, the government limited tests to the most severe cases and instead focused on contact tracing.

Medical experts worried that Japan’s approach would blind the country to the spread of infection and allow cases to explode, but that has not happened. Japan has one of the lowest mortality rates from Covid-19 among major nations. Its medical system has not been overwhelmed, and its government never forced businesses to close, although many did by choice.

Years of neglect had hobbled Mexico’s health care system, leaving it dangerously short of doctors, nurses and equipment to fight a virus that has overwhelmed far richer nations.

Now, the pandemic is making matters even worse, sickening more than 11,300 health workers in the country — one of the highest rates in the world — and further depleting the thin ranks in hospitals. Some hospitals have lost half their workers to illness and absenteeism. Others are running low on basic equipment.

The shortages have had devastating consequences for patients, health workers across Mexico say. Doctors and nurses recounted dozens of preventable deaths in hospitals — the result of neglect or mistakes that never should have happened.

“We have had many of what we call ‘dumb deaths,’” said Pablo Villaseñor, a doctor at the General Hospital in Tijuana, the center of an outbreak. “It’s not the virus that is killing them. It’s the lack of proper care.”

Patients die because they are given the wrong medications or the wrong dose, health workers said. Protective gloves at some hospitals are so old that they crack the moment they’re slipped on, nurses said.

Mexico’s government spends less on health care as a percent of its economy than most countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presided over spending cuts even after acknowledging that his country had 200,000 fewer health care workers than it needed.

“You hear of one patient dying because he didn’t get the proper care — and then another one and another one — and you try not to become paralyzed,” said Dr. Villaseñor, a rheumatologist who said he had to learn how to suit up to treat coronavirus patients by watching a video on YouTube.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, offers both a cautionary tale for how dithering leadership can thwart public health and a medical puzzle for why an unprepared nation’s hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

With thousands of islands straddling a section of the Equator wider than the continental United States, Indonesia has counted on its sprawling archipelago and youthful population to slow the contagion. And the government has said that national coronavirus restrictions, already a scattershot effort, must be relaxed to save the economy.

But Indonesia’s caseload is rising quickly — in populated and far-flung areas alike — and experts worry that the country’s health care system will break down if the virus spreads as intensely as it did in Europe and the United States.

In early May, Indonesia had recorded fewer than 12,000 coronavirus cases, with about 865 deaths. By Thursday, the number had increased to 23,851 confirmed cases and 1,473 deaths, and health experts say even this near doubling of cases reflects the limits of testing rather than the true caseload.

In a glimpse of what could be runaway transmission, a sampling of 11,555 people in Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, found last week that 10 percent of those tested had antibodies for the coronavirus. Yet the entire province of East Java, which includes Surabaya, had just 4,142 officially confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

“Massive infection has already happened,” said Dono Widiatmoko, a member of Indonesia’s Public Health Association. “This means it’s too late.”

A fire on Wednesday ripped through a coronavirus ward of a Bangladeshi hospital, killing at least five patients, officials said.

The fire ravaged a makeshift Covid-19 isolation unit that had been built outside United Hospital in Dhaka, the capital. Hospital officials said that three of the patients were confirmed coronavirus patients,and that the victims’ ages ranged from 45 to 75.

Muneer-ul-Islam, who runs a grocery shop in the neighborhood, said people in other parts of hospital, one of the biggest in Dhaka, started running out of the building after the makeshift compound caught fire.

“People feared the entire building would catch the fire,” he said.

The fire, in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan area, was brought under control around 10 p.m., officials said. Hospital officials said in a statement that the cause appeared to be an electrical short circuit.

Debashis Bardan, a fire department official, said the government had set up a four-member committee to investigate the cause of the fire.

Bangladesh has a poor record on fire safety. Most buildings rely on cheap and often compromised designs, and risks are often compounded by poor enforcement and unscrupulous management.

Bangladesh has reported 544 coronavirus deaths and more than 38,000 cases, but some health experts say the actual number of cases could be far higher because testing is scant. Many hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients.

The first confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States, discovered in January, did not ignite the epidemics that followed, according to a close analysis of hundreds of viral genomes.

Those outbreaks began weeks later, the study concluded. The revised timeline may clarify nagging ambiguities about the arrival of the pandemic, The Times writer Carl Zimmer reports.

Although President Trump has frequently claimed that a ban on travelers from China prevented the outbreak from becoming much worse, the new data suggest that the virus that started Washington State’s epidemic arrived about two weeks after the ban was imposed on Feb. 2.

And the authors say that the outbreak’s relatively late emergence means that more lives could have been saved by early action, such as testing and contact tracing.

The new analysis is not the last word. Scientific understanding of the virus is evolving almost daily, and this type of research yields a range of possible results, not complete certainty.

Many infections in Washington State appear to have occurred earlier in February, and other models suggested that the epidemic there began before the middle of the month. But a number of virus experts said the new report convincingly ruled out a connection between the first confirmed cases and the later outbreaks.

“This paper clearly shows this didn’t happen,” said Kristian Andersen, a computational biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego who was not involved in the research.

Forecasters expect the weekly U.S. Labor Department report on unemployment claims released on Thursday morning to show an additional 2.1 million filings last week, according to MarketWatch. That would push the total past 40 million since the pandemic began devastating the country’s economy in March.

The latest claims may not only be a result of fresh layoffs, but also evidence that states are working their way through a backlog. And overcounting in some places and undercounting in others makes it difficult to measure the layoffs precisely.

Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Congress approved an expanded palette of jobless benefits for people including freelancers, self-employed, gig workers and others who would not usually qualify under state rules. But many states, flooded with applicants, were slow to put the program into effect, and those eligible may not yet be fully reflected.

“When we think about what to do when benefits expire, it would be helpful to know how many people are actually getting them,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, a research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Labor Department reports may be the best source of information, she said, but they offer an “incomplete picture.”

Myanmar’s government is abusing regulations aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus by routinely sentencing people to prison for violating curfew, quarantine and social distancing requirements, human rights activists say.

In the last two months, at least 500 people have received prison sentences ranging from two weeks to a year over violations of the public health measures, according to Human Rights Watch and the Myanmar-based rights group Athan.

Some found guilty of breaking the virus rules have been fined up to $35 and then jailed because they couldn’t afford to pay. Myanmar’s prisons are notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary.

“Throwing hundreds behind bars in crowded, unhygienic prisons defeats the purpose of containing the spread of Covid-19,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Myanmar, one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, has reported only 206 coronavirus cases and six deaths. But it has conducted fewer than 22,000 tests for a nation of 54 million people, and health experts believe that many cases have gone undetected.

To encourage the public to take precautions, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has posted videos of herself washing her hands and sewing a face mask.

In addition to those sentenced to prison for violating the public health rules, at least 500 others face charges, including many who are in jail awaiting trial, said Athan’s co-founder and research manager, Ko Ye Wai Phyo Aung.

He said the rules were often applied unevenly. In one case, he said, a violator was fined the equivalent of 4 cents while another was sentenced to a month in jail for a similar offense. Meanwhile, he said, officials who break the rules are not charged at all.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has big dreams for his country’s soccer future. “My biggest hope for Chinese soccer is that its teams become among the world’s best,” he said in 2015.

This won’t be the year for that. Even before professional play has had a chance to begin in 2020, China’s top leagues have lost more than a fifth of their teams, the result of longstanding financial woes compounded by the coronavirus shutdown.

The Chinese Football Association said on Saturday that 11 clubs had been disqualified because they owed wages to players, coaches and staff members. Five other teams — including Tianjin Tianhai, from the top-division Chinese Super League — withdrew on their own. Tianjin Tianhai said its financial situation had reached “desperate straits.”

The Super League will have 16 teams this year, the association said, with Shenzhen Football Club replacing Tianjin Tianhai in the league’s ranks. A start date to its season has not been announced.

Some of the Chinese clubs that are out this year began folding months ago, before the epidemic led to the suspension of professional play and ticket sales.

China has no shortage of passionate soccer fans. Emboldened by Mr. Xi’s support for the game, investors have piled into Chinese clubs, helping them spend on expensive foreign talent, including the Brazilian forward known as Hulk. But the three leagues’ popularity has fallen short of owners’ lofty dreams, particularly for lower-division clubs.

For some clubs that have not been kicked out of their leagues, there is another problem. A third of foreign players and coaches are trapped outside of China because of the country’s tight pandemic-related entry restrictions, the soccer association’s president told a state-run broadcaster this month.

One mask depicts a middle finger, stuck defiantly upward, silk-screened in black ink on a blue background. Others feature sunflower seeds, a surveillance camera or creatures from ancient Chinese mythology.

An assortment of Mr. Ai’s masks, made of nonsurgical cloth, will be sold on eBay for Charity, from Thursday until June 27, to raise money for humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Ai — who has been working across time zones, with a team in Wuhan, on a documentary about Covid-19 — said that the idea for the masks had come to him late one night. While making carvings with his son, he printed a middle finger on a mask and posted it to Instagram. (He has used this image before, including in a “Study of Perspective” series that had backdrops of different monuments.)

People wanted to know where they could get one. “I wanted to do something,” he said. “I didn’t want to just be sitting there and waiting for the time to pass.”

Just over four months after the government confirmed the first known case, more than 100,000 people who had the coronavirus have died in the United States, according to a New York Times tally.

The death toll is far higher than in any other nation, and on track to be the country’s deadliest public health disaster since the 1918 flu pandemic in which about 675,000 Americans died.

By then, the death toll will have inched higher still. More than 1.6 million people in the country have been infected, and while hard-hit northeastern states have reported decreases in new cases in recent days and the pace of deaths nationwide has fallen, health experts warn of a possible resurgence as lockdowns are lifted.

Even now, most statisticians and public health experts, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, say the death toll is probably far higher than official counts.

Here’s what else is happening in the U.S.:

Can rugby do social distancing? Um, have you ever seen a scrum?

Three big men lock arms. Three from the other team do the same. At the referee’s signal, they lunge toward each other, their faces inches apart.

Often there is a rule violation of some kind, and they have to get up and do it again. And maybe again.

Scrums would not be barred outright, but World Rugby is advising that they not be reset repeatedly by the referee. Tacklers will have to come in low, not upright, another situation with the potential for close face-to-face contact.

The group also recommended barring huddles and spitting. And it is advising that at halftime the ball be washed and players don new uniforms.

The World Health Organization says that risks of transmission are greatest when people are close to each other for 15 minutes or more. The rugby players who are most often in scrums are in close contact with the opposition for about 13 and a half total minutes per game, World Rugby said.

Remembering those we’ve lost.

José María Galante relentlessly gathered evidence of torture and other abuses committed during the Franco dictatorship in Spain. He did so for decades, despite an amnesty law passed two years after Franco’s death in 1975 that was designed to help smooth Spain’s return to democracy.

Mr. Galante died on March 29 in a Madrid hospital. He was 71. His partner, Justa Montero, said the cause was Covid-19.

Here are some of the others we’ve lost to Covid-19 complications:

  • Yu Lihua, 90, whose nuanced portraits of overseas Chinese students and intellectuals in America captured the cultural displacement and identity crisis felt by many in the Chinese diaspora.

  • Tendol Gyalzur, who fled Tibet during the 1959 uprising and returned after more than three decades to start the region’s first private orphanages. She was believed to be 69.

  • John Houghton, 88, a Welsh climate scientist and influential figure in the U.N. panel that brought the threat of climate change to the world’s attention.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Hannah Beech, Stephen Castle, Choe Sang-Hun, Ben Dooley, Jack Ewing, Sophie Haigney, Mike Ives, Natalie Kitroeff, Stephen Kurczy, Mark Landler, Victor Mather, Raphael Minder, Saw Nang, Richard C. Paddock, Amy Qin, John Schwartz, Muktita Suhartono, Paulina Villegas, Sameer Yasir, Raymond Zhong and Carl Zimmer.

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