Some Americans face economic ruin with government aid set to end. Masks become a flash point for businesses, and the C.D.C. proposes changes that would remake the workplace.
Published May 28, 2020Updated May 29, 2020
Here’s what you need to know:
- As new hot spots emerge, the pandemic may be entering another phase.
- The C.D.C. is suggesting changes that would radically alter how America goes to work.
- The G.O.P. is pressuring North Carolina’s governor to approve a safety plan for its convention.
- Relief programs are set to run out, severing an economic lifeline.
- Masks become a flash point for businesses, with many requiring them, and a few banning them.
- Washington State says it has reclaimed $300 million in fraudulent unemployment claims.
- What is the real risk of catching the virus from a surface or object?
ImageDowntown Los Angeles earlier this month.Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times
The simplest way to track the progress of any outbreak is by seeing how many new cases and deaths are reported in a given area each day. And in the United States, falling numbers in some of the hardest-hit places have offered glimmers of hope. Totals for the country have been on a downward curve, and in former hot spots like New York and New Jersey, the counts appear to have peaked.
But infections and deaths are rising in more than a dozen states, as they are in countries around the world, an ominous sign that the pandemic may be entering a new phase.
Wisconsin saw its highest single-day increase in confirmed cases and deaths this week, two weeks after the state’s highest court overturned a stay-at-home order. Cases are also on the rise in Alabama, Arkansas, California and North Carolina, which on Thursday reported some of the state’s highest numbers of hospitalizations and reported deaths since the crisis began.
In metropolitan areas like Fayetteville, Ark.; Yuma, Ariz.; and Roanoke and Charlottesville, Va., data show new highs may be only days or weeks away.
The pace is quickening worldwide, too. According to data compiled by The New York Times, nearly 700,000 new known infections have been reported just in the last week.
Outbreaks have accelerated especially sharply in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, leading the World Health Organization to say on Tuesday that it considered the Americas to be the new center of the pandemic.
And although much of the Middle East seemed to avert early catastrophe even as the virus ravaged Iran, case counts have been swelling in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Reported cases are not perfect measures to chart the spread of the virus because they depend on how much testing is done. Death counts are less dependent on testing, though official numbers are typically undercounts. Both counts, though, can indicate how the outbreak is evolving, especially in places where lockdown rules are easing or where governments have been ineffective at slowing the spread, and offer early clues about new hot spots.
That is why Wisconsin is being closely monitored. Two weeks ago, the conservative majority on the State Supreme Court overturned that state’s stay-at-home order, effectively removing the most serious restrictions on residents.
It can take several weeks after changes in behavior — like the increased movement and interactions associated with the end of a stay-at-home order — for the effect on transmissions to be reflected in the data. In Wisconsin, there were indications that the virus was still spreading before the order was lifted. But in the weeks since restrictions were overturned, the case numbers have continued to grow.
“It worries us,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, the medical director for infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. “We wonder if this is a trend in an unfavorable direction.”
The Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station in Queens. New C.D.C. workplace rules discourage workers from taking mass transportation.Credit…Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times
Upon arriving at work, employees should get a temperature and symptom check.
Inside the office, desks should be six feet apart. If that is not possible, employers should consider erecting plastic shields around them.
Seating should be barred in common areas. And face coverings should be worn at all times.
These are among sweeping new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the safest way for American employers to reopen their offices and, at the same time, prevent the spread of the coronavirus among their employees.
If followed, the guidelines would lead to a far-reaching remaking of the corporate work experience. They even upend years of advice on commuting, urging people to drive to work by themselves, instead of taking mass transportation or car-pooling, to avoid potential exposure to the virus.
The recommendations run from technical advice on ventilation systems (more open windows are most desirable) to a suggested abolition of communal perks like latte makers and snack bins. And some border on the impractical, if not near impossible: “Limit use and occupancy of elevators to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.”
Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, has urged caution as the Republican National Committee weighs how to hold the party’s convention amid the threat of the coronavirus.Credit…Robert Willett/The News & Observer, via Associated Press
Republicans planning their party’s convention on Thursday gave North Carolina’s governor a deadline of June 3 to approve safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the event, planned for Charlotte in August. The move came as President Trump pressures Democratic leaders in the state to allow him to hold the kind of convention he wants, and as they cite public health concerns and say it is too soon to make a determination.
The Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, and the president of the convention committee, Marcia Lee Kelly, laid out the deadline in a joint letter to Gov. Roy Cooper.
The president has tried to force Mr. Cooper and Vi Lyles, the mayor of Charlotte, to commit quickly to a Republican plan for a party celebration in the biggest city in a state that Mr. Trump won in 2016.
But the letter also appeared to be an effort to put the onus on Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lyles, both of whom are Democrats, if Republicans end up trying to stage their convention in another state.
“We still do not have solid guidelines from the state and cannot in good faith, ask thousands of visitors to begin paying deposits and making travel plans without knowing the full commitment of the governor, elected officials and other stakeholders in supporting the convention,” Ms. McDaniel and Ms. Kelly wrote.
Food distribution in East Elmhurst, Queens, on Saturday.Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times
For millions of Americans left out of work by the pandemic, government assistance has been a lifeline preventing a plunge into poverty, hunger and financial ruin.
This summer, that lifeline could snap, reports Ben Casselman.
The $1,200 checks sent to most households are long gone, at least for those who needed them most, with little imminent prospect for a second round. The lending program that helped millions of small businesses keep workers on the payroll will wind down if Congress does not extend it. Eviction moratoriums that kept people in their homes are expiring in many cities.
And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that have allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July.
The latest sign of the economic strain and the government’s role in easing it came Thursday, when the Labor Department reported that 2.1 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. More than 40 million people have filed for benefits since the crisis began, and some 30 million are receiving them.
The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state programs has not kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks, but it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that individuals — and the broader economy — are hurtling toward.
“The CARES Act was massive, but it was a very short-term offset to what is likely to be a long-term problem,” said Aneta Markowska, the chief financial economist for the investment bank Jefferies, referring to the legislative centerpiece of the federal rescue. “This economy is clearly going to need more support.”
Even the possibility that the programs will be allowed to expire could have economic consequences, Ms. Markowska said, as consumers and businesses brace for the loss of federal assistance.
President Trump and other Republicans have played down the need for more spending, saying the solution is for states to reopen businesses and allow companies to bring people back to work. So despite pleas from economists across the political spectrum — including Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman — any federal action is likely to be limited.
Wade Ogle, the owner of Block Street Records in Fayetteville, Ark., roped off the front door and instituted rules for entering the store.Credit…Beth Hall for The New York Times
The C.D.C. recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. It also continues to emphasize how critical social distancing is.
But masks have unexpectedly crossed over from public health measures to politically charged symbols, with many shops and restaurants banning customers who do not wear them — and a few others moving to ban customers who do.
In Kentucky, a gas station told customers that no one was allowed inside its convenience store if they had their face covered. In California, a flooring store near Los Angeles has encouraged hugs and handshakes but does not permit face masks. And a bar in Texas taped a poster to its front door this week that said “sorry, no masks allowed.”
In New York, the nation’s hardest-hit state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Thursday that he would issue an executive order authorizing businesses to deny entry to people who were not wearing face coverings.
“That store owner has a right to protect themselves,” Mr. Cuomo said. “That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store.”
‘A Conflict Waiting to Erupt’: Cuomo Makes New Push for Wearing Masks
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York warned that residents who aren’t wearing masks in public could amplify tensions. The comedian Chris Rock joined the governor at his daily news briefing.
“New York is 19 million people who start with the premise we can all live together in a very close area, right? Part of that acknowledgment is we’re going to respect one another. And we’re going to respect each other’s space and add, we’re going to respect each other’s air — to respecting each other’s space, right? We’re going to respect each other’s air, wear a mask. Look, it’s one thing if you don’t wear a mask and you’re walking down the sidewalk. That’s one situation. You don’t wear a mask and you walk into a small retail store, and now you’re exposing people to you without a mask. And they’re surprised by this and they’re in a smaller confined space. That is a conflict waiting to erupt, right?” “Well, in Brooklyn, I’m seeing probably 40 percent, people wear a mask — you know just, it’s the kids really aren’t wearing a mask and you know, it’s sad. It’s sad that it’s become, that our health has become, you know, sort of a political issue. You know, it’s almost you know, it’s a status symbol almost to not wear a mask.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York warned that residents who aren’t wearing masks in public could amplify tensions. The comedian Chris Rock joined the governor at his daily news briefing.CreditCredit…Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mask-wearing has even come up on the presidential campaign trail, where President Trump has eschewed masks and this week retweeted a post that mocked his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., for wearing one. Mr. Biden responded by calling Mr. Trump an “absolute fool” for not wearing one and argued that people in power should lead by example.
Dennis Townsend, a Republican supervisor in California’s rural Tulare County, said that as his conservative district reopened for business, masks had become a continuing point of contention.
“People tell me, ‘OK, I’ll go to the stores, but they better be wearing masks in there.’ And then other people tell me, ‘OK, I’ll go to the stores, but they better not make me wear a mask,’” he said.
Mr. Townsend said he was “not real big on wearing masks” himself but had done so when shopping.
“What I tell people is that with every freedom we have comes additional responsibility,” he said. “We’ve had one freedom suppressed for a little while, but now it’s back, and that’s going to require additional personal responsibility on our parts.”
Washington State, which has been battling a deluge of fraudulent unemployment claims, has managed to claw back some $300 million in payments that went out to fraudsters, officials said Thursday.
Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of Washington State’s Employment Security Department, said the recovery came from coordination among law enforcement agencies and financial institutions. She did not reveal exact numbers on recoveries or the total number of fraudulent claims and said that the state was continuing to work on additional collections while blocking more false claims.
“The criminals have not gone away because we continue to see significant highly suspicious traffic,” Ms. LeVine said.
Federal officials have warned that an international fraud ring appears to be targeting state unemployment systems, with Washington State as a particular focus, as those agencies rush to respond to the greatest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance said in a statement that it had also seen fraudsters trying to file large numbers of illegitimate claims, while the cybersecurity firm Agari said it had seen evidence of the fraudulent claims targeting states all over the country.
Blood samples at a lab in Brooklyn are being used to study the virus.Credit…Misha Friedman for The New York Times
Fears about contracting the virus from contaminated surfaces have prompted many to wipe down groceries, leave packages unopened and stress about elevator buttons.
But what is the real risk? The C.D.C. recently tried to clarify its guidance: “It may be possible that a person can get Covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
So does this mean we can get the virus from touching a doorknob, catching a Frisbee or sharing a casserole dish? The Times asked the experts, who said the best way we can protect ourselves from the virus — whether it is surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing our hands, not touching our faces and wearing masks.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said that starting Friday, sports fans could attend games at outdoor venues in most counties in Texas, so long as occupancy was limited to 25 percent. Fans cannot attend indoor sporting events.
The moves to lift restrictions on businesses and entertainment events comes as political and economic pressures weigh on governors, even as epidemiologists have warned of rising case numbers.
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia said amusement parks, traveling carnivals and water parks could open June 12. And in California, more than a dozen Indian casinos, asserting sovereignty, defied Gov. Gavin Newsom and reopened last week. The Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, Calif., vowed to impose strict limits on the number of people gambling at once. A majority of Indian casinos in the state have chosen to stay closed and are coordinating their reopening with the governor’s office, which has proposed a date in early June.
One in 10 diabetic patients with Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, died within a week of being hospitalized, according to a study published on Thursday by French researchers in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
Another 20 percent were put on ventilators to assist with breathing by the end of their first week in the hospital. Only 18 percent were discharged within a week.
“I don’t want to scare people, but what is true is we did not expect to see such high mortality, with 10 percent of people admitted dying in the first seven days,” said Dr. Samy Hadjadj, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Nantes in France and one of the authors of the study.
A majority of patients in the study had Type 2 diabetes. Many people with diabetes also have cardiovascular disease, which raises the risk of death in Covid-19 patients.
Diabetes is common in the United States: 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5 percent of the population, had diabetes in 2018, according to the American Diabetes Association.
But the new study, which included 1,317 patients at 53 French hospitals, found that microvascular injuries — involving tiny blood vessels supplying the eyes, kidneys and peripheral nerves — were also linked to a higher risk of death.
Obstructive sleep apnea also raised the risk of early death in these patients, while obesity and advanced age were linked to a greater likelihood of severe disease, the study found.
“This is serious,” Dr. Hadjadj said. “If you have diabetes and are elderly or have complications, be very careful. Keep away from the virus. Go on with social distancing, wash your hands carefully, keep people away who can bring you the virus.”
Dr. Hadjadj added, “You are not the kind of person who can afford to disregard these rules.”
A quiet street in Seattle this month.Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
People under 40 make up an increasing share of those who have tested positive for the virus in Washington State. Researchers in Seattle said that policymakers might need to focus on younger people to limit the spread.
In a new analysis, the researchers said about half of new identified cases were among people under 40, up from one-third of infections earlier in the outbreak.
Younger people may be more likely to work or participate in social activities, especially as restrictions are eased. While they do not face as high a risk of serious complications from infections, they can expose other people they encounter who may be older or who have hazardous underlying conditions, the researchers said.
“Our findings indicate a justifiable concern regarding the phased reopening plan for Washington State in late May in light of the shift in Covid-19 incidence from older to younger age,” the researchers wrote in their report, posted on the preprint server medRvix.
What’s the best material for a mask?
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
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.
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.)
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 researchers said government leaders may need to pursue specific advisories for children, teenagers and young adults to warn them of the risks of social interaction.
President Trump arriving to the White House on Wednesday. The Trump administration has scrambled to rewrite the rules of the program on the fly as the public backlash intensified .Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
Democrats are mobilizing to turn the $2 trillion effort that President Trump is overseeing into a political liability going into his re-election campaign.
The attention has focused on a small business loan program that has been marred by glitches, changing rules and cases of large, publicly traded companies receiving funds while smaller shops are left waiting.
Top Democrats have seized on examples of rich executives’ getting money through the Paycheck Protection Program as indicative of corporate cronyism.
The Democratic National Committee and Democratic state parties in swing states held conference calls last week with reporters and other events highlighting stories of small business owners who did not get approved for loans.
Pacronym, a progressive super PAC that focuses on digital advertising, began running a $1.5 million ad campaign in five swing states — Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that focused on struggling small businesses.
Some Republicans are embracing the program. Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican facing a tough re-election battle, has spent nearly $500,000 on ads that promote her role in “co-authoring” the program, according to data from Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm. And Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, spent $175,000 on an ad featuring small business owners and employees describing jobs and businesses that were “rescued” by Mr. McConnell’s efforts on the stimulus package.
The Trump administration has scrambled to rewrite the rules of the program on the fly as public backlash intensified. The Treasury on Thursday carved out $10 billion of money to be used for loans to underserved communities.
Democrats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives on Thursday accused Republicans of keeping a lawmaker’s positive virus test a secret to avoid political embarrassment, even at the risk of exposing fellow legislators.
A Republican House member, Andrew Lewis, confirmed on Wednesday that he received a positive test on May 20 and self-isolated. Mr. Lewis said that every lawmaker or staff member he was in contact with who “met the criteria for exposure” was notified.
But Democrats disputed that, saying none of their own members were alerted even though some were near Mr. Lewis in committee meetings.
The House Democratic campaign arm accused Republicans of hiding Mr. Lewis’s positive test “to protect their public talking points against science and facts.” Another Republican representative, Russ Diamond, who said he was notified of possible exposure through contact with Mr. Lewis, had previously spoken at a shutdown protest outside the Capitol and boasted on social media of not wearing a mask while shopping.
In an emotional Facebook video recorded in his office at the Capitol, Representative Brian K. Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, said Mr. Diamond had “apparently been quarantining himself for weeks” but “didn’t explain that to any of us when he was in committee, talking with us or walking up and down the aisles or bumping into us or letting us hold the door open for him.”
Mr. Lewis said he had kept his positive diagnosis private “out of respect for my family and those who I may have exposed.”
Representative Ryan Bizzarro, a Democrat, disputed that Mr. Lewis had quarantined himself after his diagnosis. “We have footage of him being here,” he said.
Cars lined up in front of a food bank in Pittsburgh last week.Credit…Andrew Rush/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Associated Press
The Trump administration will not issue a midyear update to its economic forecasts this summer, breaking decades of tradition during the uncertainty of a pandemic recession, administration officials confirmed on Thursday.
The decision will spare the administration from having to announce its internal projections for how deeply the recession will damage economic growth and how long the pain of high unemployment will persist.
When the administration last published official projections in February, it forecast economic growth of 3.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2021, and growth rates at or around 3 percent for the ensuing decade. It forecast an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent for the year.
The virus has rendered those projections obsolete. Unemployment could hit 20 percent in June, the White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told CNN this week. The Congressional Budget Office said in April that it expects the economy will contract by 5.6 percent this year and end with unemployment above 11 percent.
The White House is required by law to issue both an annual budget and a midyear update to it, called a “mid-session review.” Updating economic projections in the mid-session review is optional, but it is a practice that administrations — including Mr. Trump’s — have widely followed since the review was mandated by Congress in 1970.
The review is required by law to give at least a partial window into how the administration expects the economy to perform this year and in the future.
Eating and drinking outside in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday.Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times
The New York City Council introduced legislation on Thursday, backed by the restaurant industry, to require Mayor Bill de Blasio to find a way to open streets, sidewalks and public plazas to outdoor dining.
“The restaurant and the food industry has been struggling just as much as any other businesses in our city,” Councilman Antonio Reynoso of Brooklyn said at the Council’s hearing, adding that the process would be “something that can be done very quickly and in a timely fashion.”
The executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, Andrew Rigie, said the idea was to require the mayor to establish a framework to identify appropriate places for restaurants to sell food and beverages outside and create a mechanism by which businesses and community boards could submit suggestions.
“Our hope is there may be areas where entire streets could be shut down for restaurant service,” Mr. Rigie said in an interview. “We really need to be creative.”
Last week, 24 Council members sent a public letter to the mayor urging him to create more space for outdoor dining, citing similar efforts in Tampa, Fla., and Cincinnati.
At the mayor’s daily briefing on Thursday, he noted that restaurants and bars were not among the businesses included in the state-permitted first phase of reopening. He said the city hoped to start reopening in early June, but had yet to meet state benchmarks on hospital beds and contact tracing.
When the city begins reopening, the mayor said that between 200,000 and 400,000 unemployed New Yorkers could head back to work, representing over 20 percent of the 885,000 private-sector jobs the city lost during the pandemic.
On Thursday, the state reported 74 more deaths, unchanged from the number reported the previous day.
Senator Tim Kaine, pictured above at the Capitol this month, is the second known senator to have a confirmed case of Covid-19.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, disclosed on Thursday that he had tested positive for virus antibodies.
Mr. Kaine is the second senator known to have had a confirmed case of Covid-19. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, tested positive for the virus in late March, even as he continued to appear in person at the Senate facilities.
Mr. Kaine said in a statement on Thursday that he and his wife started experiencing flulike symptoms around that time, after the Senate had begun a prolonged recess. The senator’s doctor thought it could be the virus, but the couple did not get tested at the time because of scarcity, and their symptoms never became severe enough to seek additional treatment.
A recent antibody test came back positive. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be reinfected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide,” said Mr. Kaine, who has returned to work on Capitol Hill. “So we will keep following C.D.C. guidelines — hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well.”
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would relax the terms of a federal loan program to help small businesses weather the pandemic, allowing companies more time and flexibility to use the money.
The measure would alter the Paycheck Protection Program to allow small businesses 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend the loan funds and extend the period of eligibility to apply for a loan under the program from June 30 to Dec. 31. Without congressional action, that eight-week period is set to begin expiring within a few days.
But the bill’s fate is uncertain in the Senate, where a bipartisan group last week unveiled their own revisions that have some differences, including a shorter, 16-week time period for spending the loan money.
The bill’s near-unanimous passage in the House was a rare bit of bipartisanship in a debate that has turned bitterly partisan over what the next round of federal relief should look like, pitting Democrats pressing for quick action to provide trillions more in spending against Republicans who want to wait and consider a far leaner package.
A testing center near London.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times
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.
Rest and fluids are essential, but so is knowing when to call a doctor. Give yourself plenty of time to feel better.
Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Scott Cacciola, Ben Casselman, Emily Cochrane, Patricia Cohen, Michael Cooper, Catie Edmondson, Nicholas Fandos, Thomas Fuller, Trip Gabriel, David Gelles, Erica L. Green, Jenny Gross, Apoorva Mandavilli, Jennifer Medina, Sarah Mervosh, Talya Minsberg, Andy Newman, Nadja Popovich, Roni Caryn Rabin, Alan Rappeport, Dana Rubinstein, Margot Sanger-Katz, Anna Schaverien, Kaly Soto, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Vanessa Swales, Jim Tankersley and Katie Van Syckle.