Thursday, July 9News That Matters

Coronavirus Live News and Updates – The New York Times

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C.D.C. releases guidance that the White House had rejected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released more detailed guidance for schools, businesses, transit systems and other industries hoping to reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic after fear that the White House had shelved the guidelines.

The 60-page document, which a C.D.C. spokesman said was uploaded over the weekend, but which received little notice, adds great detail to six charts that the C.D.C. had released last week. The guidance provides specific instructions for different sectors to detect and trace the virus based on exposure and risk after the pandemic. Here are some key elements.

  • If a person in a school building tests positive for the virus, schools should evaluate the risk and consider a brief dismissal of about 2-5 days, to clean and disinfect the building, coordinate with local health officials and contact trace. The C.D.C. offers different measures based on the level of community spread.

  • As restrictions across the country on restaurants and bars ease, the C.D.C. recommends owners give workers at a higher risk of getting sick a job that limits the person’s interaction with customers. The agency also suggests opening with limited seating initially to allow for social distancing. Once fully reopened, the C.D.C. recommends having a clear policy about when employees should stay home if sick and rules on hygiene, including at times wearing face coverings.

  • When mass transit resumes its full service, the agency recommends being prepared to adjust routes based on the different levels of virus spread and to coordinate with local health officials about prevention strategies, such as wearing a face covering.

  • For businesses that provide child care during the pandemic, the C.D.C. recommends having plans in place, for example, to have substitute workers if staff members are sick, and requiring staff and children older than two to wear face coverings.

The guidance describes the balance of slowing the virus’s spread with the economic threat of shuttering most businesses, and largely mirrors a draft version that was previously shelved by the White House, but with some changes.

The document omits a section on “communities of faith” that had troubled Trump administration officials and also tones down the guidance in several instances. For example, language that initially directed schools to “ensure social distancing” became “promote social distancing,” and the phrase “if possible” was added in several sentences.

Trump threatens to withhold funding from Michigan for expanding mail voting, as floods threaten the state.

Credit…Jake May/The Flint Journal, via Associated Press

President Trump on Wednesday morning threatened to withhold federal funds to Michigan and Nevada if the states proceed in expanding vote by mail efforts, an escalation in his often fact-challenged assault against mail voting.

Posting on Twitter, the president falsely accused Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, of mailing ballots to all of the state’s registered voters. Ms. Benson had announced Tuesday that she would send absentee ballot applications to the state’s voters, not ballots themselves, replicating an effort that elections officials across the country have made during the pandemic.

Ms. Benson said on Twitter on Wednesday that the state had “sent applications, not ballots. Just like my G.O.P. colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia.”

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state and municipal officials in Milwaukee have also said they will send vote-by-mail applications to registered voters in hopes of easing stress on in-person voting locations.

Mr. Trump’s threat came as severe flooding struck central Michigan on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents and raising fears of virus risks in shelters after two dams were breached and days of heavy rainfall.

The failures on Tuesday of the Edenville Dam and the Sanford Dam, about 140 miles northwest of Detroit, led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for areas near the Tittabawassee River. Residents in nearby towns, including Edenville, Sanford and Midland, were evacuated.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at a news conference on Tuesday that downtown Midland, with a population of more than 41,000, could be under nine feet of water by Wednesday morning.

While imploring residents to take the threat seriously and evacuate immediately, Ms. Whitmer said they should continue to observe precautions related to the coronavirus, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. She acknowledged that distancing would be difficult in shelters that had been set up in the area.

There have been at least 52,337 cases of coronavirus in Michigan, and at least 5,017 people have died.

“To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable,” she said. “But we are here, and to the best of our ability we are going to navigate this together.”

Some states are fully open, but others are moving more slowly.

Credit…Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

With changes taking effect on Wednesday, all 50 states have begun to reopen in at least some way, more than two months after the coronavirus thrust the country into lockdown. But there remain vast discrepancies in how states are deciding to open up, with some forging far ahead of others.

Connecticut will be among the last states to take a plunge back to business on Wednesday, when its stay-at-home order lifts and stores, museums and offices are allowed to reopen. But not far away in New Jersey, the reopening has been more limited, with only curbside pickup at retail stores and allowances for certain industries.

The contrast illustrates a dynamic playing out across the country, as governors grapple with how to handle a pandemic that comes with no political playbook.

States in the Northeast and on the West Coast, as well as Democratic-led states in the Midwest, have moved the most slowly toward reopening, with several governors taking a county-by-county approach. (In Washington, D.C., a stay-at-home order remains in effect until June.) By contrast, a number of states in the South opened earlier and more fully. Though social-distancing requirements were put in place, restaurants, salons, gyms and other businesses have been open in Georgia for several weeks.

Alaska went even further. On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said that he would lift restrictions on businesses by the end of the week, allowing restaurants, bars, gyms and others to return to full capacity. Sports and recreational activities will be allowed.

“It will all be open, just like it was prior to the virus,” Mr. Dunleavy said. Social-distancing strategies, including the wearing of masks in public, would be recommended but not required, he said.

‘It’s like someone turned off the hose’: New York hospitals adapt to life beyond the viral peak.

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Elmhurst Hospital in Queens had been inundated by patients. The Times went back to see how the staff was recovering, and planning for the the possibility of another wave.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Across New York City, hospitals have moved into a new phase in their battle against the coronavirus.

In the city that was hit hardest by the pandemic in the United States, the number of new patients and the daily death toll have dropped sharply. Many of the refrigerated trucks filled with bodies are gone. Doctors no longer routinely plead for help in makeshift protective gear. The emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, once overwhelmed, treats barely a third of the visitors it did before the outbreak.

“It’s like someone turned off the hose,” said Dr. Eric Wei, an emergency medicine physician and senior vice president of quality for NYC Health & Hospitals, the public health care system, referring to patient numbers in recent weeks.

Hospital executives and doctors, wary about what comes next as the city looks to ease out of its near lockdown, are asking whether this is a lull before a new wave of cases or a less chaotic slog. At hospitals, staff members are preparing for both possibilities.

Elmhurst is decontaminating rooms as managers try to persuade residents to come in for emergencies now and elective surgery as soon Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lifts a ban imposed in March. Brooklyn Hospital Center, an independent institution where the daily E.R. volume last week was less than half of what it saw before the pandemic, is nervously waiting for those numbers to rise again.

“It’s almost this eerie silence,” said Dr. Sylvie de Souza, the chair of Brooklyn’s emergency department. “None of us are at peace. We’re sort of bracing for it to come back. All of us are wondering, can we go through this again?”

The uproar over hydroxychloroquine is hurting real studies of the drug, researchers say.

Credit…Yuri Cortez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that he now says he takes daily — and the resulting uproar in the news media — appears to be interfering with legitimate scientific research into whether the medicine might work to prevent coronavirus infection or treat the disease in its early stages.

The drug, which is also widely used to treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases, has shown no real benefit for hospitalized coronavirus patients, and may have contributed to some deaths, recent studies show.

Specialists — including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert — say the jury is still out on whether the drug might help prevent infection or help patients avoid hospitalization. Mr. Trump’s frequent pronouncements and misstatements — he has praised the drug as a “game changer” and a “miracle” — are only complicating matters, politicizing the drug and creating a frenzy in the news media that is impeding research.

“The virus is not Democrat or Republican, and hydroxychloroquine is not Democrat or Republican, and I’m just hopeful that people would allow us to finish our scientific work,” said Dr. William O’Neill, an interventional cardiologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who is studying hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic in health care workers.

“The worst thing in the world that would happen,” he added, “is that at the end of this epidemic, in late September, we don’t have a cure or a preventive because we let politics interfere with the scientific process.”

More than 900 children have been deported under a pandemic border policy.

Credit…Luis Echeverria/Reuters

Hundreds of migrant children and teenagers have been swiftly deported by American authorities during the coronavirus pandemic without the opportunity to speak to a social worker or plea for asylum from the violence in their home countries — a reversal of years of established practice for dealing with young foreigners who arrive in the United States.

The Trump administration is justifying the new practices under a 1944 law that grants the president broad power to block foreigners from entering the country to prevent the “serious threat” of a dangerous disease. And on Tuesday, it extended the stepped-up border security that allows for young migrants to be expelled at the border, saying the policy would remain in place indefinitely and be reviewed every 30 days.

But immigration officials in recent weeks have also been abruptly expelling migrant children and teenagers who were already in the United States when the pandemic-related order came down in late March.

In March and April, 915 young migrants were expelled shortly after reaching the American border, and 60 were shipped home from the interior of the country.

During the same period, at least 166 young migrants were allowed into the United States and afforded the safeguards that were once customary. Customs and Border Protection has refused to disclose how the government was determining which legal standards to apply to which children.

“The fact that nobody knows who these kids are and there are hundreds of them is really terrifying,” said Jennifer Nagda, policy director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. “There’s no telling if they’ve been returned to smugglers or into harm’s way.”

Correction officers in New York City live in fear of bringing the virus home to families.

Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on New York City’s 9,680 correction officers and their supervisors, who, like the police and firefighters, are considered essential workers. So far, 1,259 have caught the virus and six have died, along with five other jail employees and two correctional health workers. The officers’ union contends that the death of one other guard is also the result of Covid-19.

The virus has sickened more correction officers in New York, the center of the pandemic in the United States, than in most other large American cities, including Chicago, Houston, Miami and Los Angeles combined, according to data collected by The New York Times.

A majority of the officers in New York City are black and Hispanic and come from neighborhoods with high rates of Covid-19. They have been even more deeply affected than inmates, who also have been hit hard. At least three inmates have died in custody, and two succumbed within hours of being released. Among about 3,900 inmates left in the city’s jails, 363 currently have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The New York Times interviewed several correction officers, their spouses and union officials who provided a glimpse of what it has been like to work in the city’s jails in the midst of a pandemic. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from management.

“I’m looking at the person I care most about possibly dying from this thing I brought home,” one officer said, choking back tears. “That to me is the scariest thing I ever faced.”

Nurses say they’re still short of protective equipment and testing.

Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times

A new survey of nearly 23,000 nurses across the country shows continued concern over inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment like masks and respirators as well as a lack of widespread testing among health care workers.

Even as most states are beginning the process of reopening and hospitals are starting to offer elective procedures like hip replacements and colonoscopies, many nurses remain fearful of becoming ill with Covid-19 because they do not have the equipment they need to remain safe, according to the union that conducted the survey, National Nurses United, which has more than 150,000 members in the United States.

The survey, conducted from April 15 through May 10, includes responses from both union members and nonunion nurses in all 50 states.

“We still can’t get testing,” said Deborah Burger, one of the union’s presidents, in an interview. “We still can’t get the P.P.E. that we need.”

“Almost four months into this, we are still having the same issues,” she said.

The survey found the vast majority of nurses, 87 percent, reported having to re-use personal protective equipment, including respirators, a practice that the nurses say would not have been allowed before the pandemic.

More than 100 nurses have died of the disease, according to the union, and at least 500 of those surveyed said they have already tested positive for the virus. Most nurses, 84 percent of those who participated in the survey, reported they had not yet been tested for a possible infection.

Some survivors are emerging into a world not ready to accept them.

Credit…Michelle Gustafson for The New York Times

As those who have been stricken with the coronavirus emerge from hospitals or home quarantine, some are finding a world that is not yet ready to welcome them back.

After Elizabeth Martucci and her 11-year-old son Marcus, who goes by M.J., were deemed to have recovered from the coronavirus, they emerged from their home on the Jersey Shore with some sidewalk chalk to sketch a message in the driveway.

“We are Covid survivors,” they wrote.

“I thought I’m going to tell everybody, ‘I had this, and I’m OK,’ just to show people it’s not a death sentence,” Ms. Martucci said.

She also bought T-shirts that said “Covid-19 Survivor,” anticipating that some of the neighbors on her cul-de-sac in Cape May Court House might have some lingering discomfort.

Ms. Martucci, a 41-year-old real estate investor, soon learned that she had drastically underestimated the anxiety she and her son would encounter. Even now, a month into their recovery, some neighbors see them and run.

Feeling stigmatized is not what many survivors said they expected after their tough bouts of illness. It carries a particular sting given the worldwide discussions about how reopening society will hinge in part on people with antibodies being able to return to work, and about how those who have recovered can donate convalescent plasma for experimental treatments for those who are still sick.

“There is a dichotomy between feeling like you can go give your plasma to save other people’s lives, but feeling like you’re an untouchable,” said Sheryl Kraft, a health journalist in Fairfield, Conn., who has written about surviving Covid-19, and how it affected her physical and mental health.

“We’re like the chosen ones,” she added. “We can go back into society, we can donate plasma, we are very valuable. But to people who are afraid of catching it, we are like pariahs.”

Ms. Martucci said: “It didn’t even occur to me — being shunned. You’re looked at as a contagion, versus as a survivor.” She said she had put the “Covid Survivor” T-shirts away.

Annie Glenn, a champion of those with speech disorders, dies at 100.

Credit…Associated Press

Annie Glenn, who in a high-profile life as the wife of John Glenn, the astronaut and senator, became an inspiration to many who, like her, stuttered severely, died on Tuesday at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minn. She was 100.

Hank Wilson, the director of communications at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University, said the cause was complications of the Covid-19 virus.

Mrs. Glenn was thrust into the spotlight in 1962, when Mr. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. At the time, though, speaking or even using the telephone was an agony for her because of her stutter.

“I could never get through a whole sentence,” she told The New York Times in 1980. “Sometimes I would open my mouth and nothing would come out.”

But in 1973, in her 50s, she decided to address her stuttering by participating in a fluency-shaping program, and she later became a champion for people with speech disorders and an adjunct professor in the speech pathology department at Ohio State University’s department of speech and hearing science.

In 1987, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association created an award in her honor, known as the Annie, presented annually to someone who demonstrates, as the organization puts it, her “invincible spirit in building awareness on behalf of those with communication disorders.”

Her husband died in 2016 at 95.

Global updates

A cyclone was bearing down on India and Bangladesh, disrupting responses to the virus. Taiwan’s president began a new term with high approval ratings for her handling of the pandemic.

Aching neck? Sore back? We can help.

If you have been working from home for many weeks now, your body may be feeling the impact of a not-so-ideal setup. Craning your neck and cramping wrists are doing some damage to your body. The good news? It doesn’t take much to fix your situation. Here are some stretches and simple work-from-home tricks that can help.

Reporting was contributed by Eileen Sullivan, Alan Blinder, Reed Abelson, Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Jan Ransom, Reid J. Epstein, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Caitlin Dickerson, Sheri Fink, Neil Genzlinger, Shawn Hubler, Sarah Mervosh, Daniel Victor, Sarah Maslin Nir, Anna Schaverien, Kaly Soto, Chris Stanford and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

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