Amid surging cases, California imposes a sweeping rollback of its reopening plans.
With cases surging in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced one of the most sweeping rollbacks of any state’s reopening plans, saying Monday that he would move to close indoor operations statewide for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos and card rooms, and bars would be force to close all operations.
And the governor said that in at least 30 of the hardest counties, business would be forced to close indoor operations for fitness centers, places of worship, non-critical offices, hair salons and barbershops and malls.
In neighboring Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said Monday that she would ban indoor gatherings of more than 10 people for things like birthday parties, potlucks, book clubs and dinner gatherings. She said the new ban would not apply to the operations of businesses or churches “at this time.”
Mr. Newsom made the announcement after California’s two largest public school districts said Monday that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers.
The Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts, which together enroll some 825,000 students, are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August.
More than a third of California’s coronavirus cases are in Los Angeles County and San Diego County has had 18 community outbreaks over the past week, more than double the state’s acceptable threshold.
“There’s a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petri dish,” said Austin Beutner, the school superintendent in Los Angeles.
The joint announcement came as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continued to press the Trump administration’s case to quickly reopen public schools, not only for students’ social and emotional development, but so that parents can return to work fully.
The recommendations from the president and Ms. DeVos have been disputed by many public health officials and teachers. On Friday, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and AASA, the School Superintendents Association issued a statement saying that reopening recommendations should be “based on evidence, not politics.”
The groups added that “we should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings, and listen to educators and administrators to shape how we do it.”
With virus case counts differing greatly across the country, there is no single approach to how major urban systems, like those in Los Angeles and San Diego, will operate this fall.
New York City, the nation’s largest school district, hopes to provide one to three days of in-person learning each week, with students working online from home the rest of the time. Seattle has similar plans. That hybrid model is emerging as popular nationwide, among both large and small districts.
Chicago, the nation’s third-biggest district, has not yet announced its plan.
In the Los Angeles and San Diego districts’ joint statement, they noted that while much has been learned about the virus, many recommendations and findings are vague and contradictory.
But “one fact is clear,” the statement said. “Those countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. California has neither. The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control.”
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Monday, seeking to block a new rule that would revoke the visas of foreign students who take classes entirely online in the fall.
The rule, issued a week ago, would upend months of careful planning by colleges and universities, the lawsuit says, and could force many students to return to their home countries during the pandemic, where their ability to study would be severely compromised.
“The Trump administration didn’t even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses,” Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, said in a statement announcing the suit, which accuses the administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act.
The action, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, is the latest legal effort to contest the federal edict, which has been described by states and universities in court filings as a politically motivated attempt by the Trump administration to force universities to hold in-person classes this fall, even as many have announced they will remain largely online because of health concerns.
California filed its own lawsuit last week, after Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had already gone to court seeking to block the new rule. Arguments in the Harvard and M.I.T. case are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, also in the district court in Boston.
The federal guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which says foreign students earning their degrees entirely online cannot stay in the United States, has sent students scrambling to enroll in in-person classes that are difficult to find. Many universities are planning to offer a mix of online and in-person classes to protect the health of faculty, students and their surrounding communities during the pandemic.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, defended the administration’s actions at a news conference early last week.
“You don’t get a visa for taking online classes from, let’s say, University of Phoenix. So why would you if you were just taking online classes, generally?” she told reporters, adding, “Perhaps the better lawsuit would be coming from students who have to pay full tuition with no access to in-person classes to attend.”
The area represented by the 17 states and the District of Columbia contains 1,124 colleges and universities that had a combined 373,000 international students enrolled in 2019, who contributed an estimated $14 billion to the economy that year, according to the complaint.
About 40 higher education institutions filed declarations in support of the lawsuit, including Yale, DePaul, the University of Chicago, Tufts, Rutgers and state universities in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
More than 100,000 new coronavirus cases were identified. Seven states set daily case records. Florida added more cases in a day than any state had previously known to, and on Monday reported more than 12,600 additional cases, its second-highest total recorded for a single day in the pandemic.
And that was just over the past few days.
The U.S. outbreak — once centered in the densely packed northeastern hubs of New York and New Jersey — is now growing across 39 states, from the worsening hot spots in the South and West to those emerging in the Midwest. Restrictions on business operations and mass gatherings, along with mask wearing, have become debate fodder in an increasingly polarized election year.
As a new week begins, the country’s outlook is exceptionally grim. Case numbers are rising in all but a handful of states. Hospitals are running out of beds. And some of the country’s biggest urban centers — Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla. — have seen out-of-control growth with few concrete signs of progress.
“Put politics aside and wear a mask,” Mayor Lenny Curry of Jacksonville, a Republican, said on Twitter.
As new cases continue to mount in the Southeast and West, troublesome signs are emerging elsewhere in the country. The county that includes Oklahoma City has been averaging twice as many cases as it was just two weeks ago. Case numbers have started increasing again around Minneapolis after weeks of progress. And Wisconsin and Ohio are averaging more new infections than at any previous point in the pandemic.
In Miami-Dade County, Fla., six hospitals have reached capacity as virus cases spike. The increase in cases caused the mayor there to roll back reopening plans by imposing a curfew and closing restaurants for indoor dining.
As Fauci becomes more vocal, Trump aides are moving to undercut him.
President Trump’s advisers undercut the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, over the weekend, anonymously providing details to various news outlets about statements he had made early in the outbreak that they said were inaccurate.
The move to treat Dr. Fauci as if he were a warring political rival comes as he has grown increasingly vocal in his concerns about the national surge in cases. He has also noted his lack of access to Mr. Trump.
Aides to Mr. Trump released to The Washington Post and other news outlets a list of remarks Dr. Fauci made about the virus when it was in its early stages. It featured several comments White House aides had privately complained about for months.
“There is no opposition research being dumped to reporters,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday. “We provided a direct response to a direct question and that’s about it.”
She added that the pair “always had a very good working relationship.”
An official told The Post that several other officials were concerned about how often Dr. Fauci had been wrong.
For example, White House officials pointed to a statement he made in a Feb. 29 interview that “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”
But they omitted a warning Dr. Fauci delivered right after.
“Right now the risk is still low, but this could change,” he said in the interview, conducted by NBC News. “When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.”
Dr. Fauci works for the Trump administration, but the list of his statements was laid out in the style of a campaign’s opposition research document.
A poll conducted for The New York Times by Siena College last month showed that 67 percent of Americans trusted Dr. Fauci when it came to the virus; only 26 percent trusted the president.
In an interview with FiveThirtyEight.com last week, Dr. Fauci said that a few states had the virus under control but that “as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”
Last week, Mr. Trump told Fox News that Dr. Fauci had been wrong about many aspects of the pandemic. Dr. Fauci “is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” the president said.
A Los Angeles Apparel factory that made masks is shut after 300 workers test positive.
In mid-March, as the crisis in personal protection equipment shortages grew, Los Angeles Apparel was one of the first clothing retailers to step into the void.
The company’s chief executive, Dov Charney, had been ousted as chief executive of American Apparel in 2014 amid allegations of misuse of funds and knowingly allowing sexual harassment. In reopening his Los Angeles factory to produce face masks through his new company, he was transformed from industry pariah to champion — and Los Angeles Apparel was deemed an essential business.
But on July 10, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health ordered Mr. Charney’s manufacturing facility to close: An investigation found over 300 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the garment workers, and four deaths.
The health department cited “flagrant violations of mandatory public health infection control orders” and failure “to cooperate with DPH’s investigation of a reported COVID-19 outbreak.”
This is one of the first forced closures of a factory in Los Angeles because of virus-related outbreaks, according to Jan King, the regional health officer for South and West Los Angeles. Though the health department conducts numerous investigations, they are usually resolved with the companies involved.
According to Ms. King, the violations discovered included cardboard barriers between worker stations, a lack of training, and information about the virus that had not been translated into Spanish (the first language of most of the employees).
“Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment that adheres to all of the health officer directives,” said Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in a statement about the closure.
In a phone call, Mr. Charney called the announcement “media theatrics.”
Hong Kong, a city that weeks ago seemed like one of the most successful places in controlling the virus, announced Monday evening that it would close gyms and cinemas and ban public gatherings of more than four people in response to a new wave of locally transmitted infections.
Carrie Lam, the territory’s chief executive, announced a series of measures to take effect on Wednesday. Also included were a prohibition on all dining inside restaurants every evening from 6 p.m., and a requirement that everyone taking public transportation wear a mask.
Health officials said that the territory’s new spate of cases, including another 52 announced on Monday, was mainly connected to taxi drivers, restaurants and nursing homes.
The prohibition on public gatherings of four or more people could make it even harder for the pro-democracy opposition to organize any protests against a stringent national security law imposed on June 30 by Beijing. The ban could also interfere with an election campaign now underway to choose a new legislature on Sept. 6.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, has a robust contact-tracing system that helped the authorities contain an initial outbreak last winter. The city won praise from international health experts in the pandemic’s early days. In response to a second wave of infections imported in March from Europe and the United States, Hong Kong closed its borders to nonresidents and mandated quarantine for returning residents.
Under the new regulations issued on Monday, travelers to Hong Kong will be required to provide proof that they tested negative for the coronavirus before boarding flights to the city.
The 52 new cases on Monday continued a weeklong spike, labeled a third wave by health officials, after months in which few or no new daily infections were detected. The authorities said they were unable to trace the infection pattern in 20 of the new cases disclosed on Monday. That raises the prospect that the virus is circulating silently in the community, after months in which local transmission appeared to have been at a standstill.
The W.H.O. head says ‘mixed messages’ from leaders are undermining trust, and discusses world hunger.
The World Health Organization admonished governments on Monday that it says are sending mixed messages to citizens, and for failing to invest the hard work necessary to combat the pandemic.
“Let me be blunt,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general. “Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy No. 1, but the actions of many governments and people don’t reflect this.”
He added, “Mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response: trust.”
Without naming countries, Dr. Tedros said many nations were sliding backward as the disease continues to spread out of control in some places, particularly in the Americas, which Dr. Tedros noted is the epicenter of the outbreak.
In the United States, which formally notified the United Nations last week that it was withdrawing from the W.H.O., 27 states and the District of Columbia now have face-covering orders in effect, according to a tally by The New York Times. And President Trump wore a mask in public on Saturday for the first time since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the practice in early April.
To be sure, the W.H.O. has also been accused of sending mixed messages. It initially did not encourage people to wear masks to prevent transmission of the virus, only to recommend them weeks later. It said that people without symptoms only rarely transmit the virus, only to acknowledge the next day that it may happen more often. And it initially downplayed the role of aerosols in spreading the virus until it recently supported the conclusions of scientists who said airborne transmission may be important in crowded, indoor spaces.
Dr. Tedros also addressed a new report from the United Nations that said almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, up 10 million from the previous year. That number could rise significantly in 2020 as the pandemic continues to cause economic hardship and disrupt food and medical supplies.
“While it’s too soon to assess the full impact of Covid-19, the report estimates that 130 million more people may face chronic hunger by the end of this year,” he said.
New York ROUNDUP
Travelers from 19 states to N.Y., required to quarantine, will be asked at airports to provide contact information.
New York is tightening its restrictions on travelers from designated states with high infection rates. Those travelers, who were already required to quarantine for 14 days, will now have to provide contact information and details on their planned whereabouts to local authorities upon their arrival at airports across the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday.
The stepped-up enforcement measures are being done in an attempt to keep the outbreaks raging in other states from seeding new infections in New York. The quarantine requirement in New York applies to travelers arriving from 19 states, including Florida, Texas and California. Almost 40 states are seeing cases rise across the country.
Mr. Cuomo, who announced the new rule at a briefing Monday, said that forms to collect information from travelers would be distributed on airplanes and could also be filled out electronically. If travelers do not fill them out before leaving the airport, they can be given a summons and fined up to $2,000, he said. They can also be taken before a hearing and ordered to complete the quarantine.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is to enforce the new requirements in downstate areas of the state, the governor said, while airports will handle enforcement in upstate areas.
Mr. Cuomo said a recent outbreak in Rensselaer County originated with three residents who traveled to Georgia and back and who did not report their arrival in New York. Two of those people worked in nursing homes, he said.
“We can’t be in a situation where people are coming from other states in the country and bringing the virus again,” he said.
Elsewhere in New York:
New York will use a formula to determine whether schools in different regions of the state can open come September, the governor said Monday. Schools will be allowed to reopen if a region of the state has a daily infection rate below 5 percent over a two-week average, and if that region has reached the least restrictive reopening phase. Schools will not reopen, or will be closed, if a region has an infection rate over 9 percent over a one-week average. The state would make a decision about whether schools can reopen during the first week of August.
New York City’s mayor has already announced that city schools will reopen in September using staggered schedules. If the governor determines in August that is not yet safe to reopen, that plan will not go into effect. On Monday, the state Education Department released broad guidelines for how schools should reopen safely.
New York City’s mayor said on Monday that the infection rate was rising for younger adults, especially those between 20 and 29 years of age. Across the country, younger people have been driving surges in new cases in recent weeks, prompting alarmed public officials to call for masks and social distancing. “We see a problem and we need to address it,” the mayor said, adding that the city would ramp up its outreach to young adults.
Since many New Yorkers in wealthy neighborhoods fled the city amid the pandemic, city officials fear that their populations will be severely undercounted in the current census — potentially costing the city federal aid and political clout. Officials hope that the virus evacuees will return by the end of October, the new extended deadline for final responses to the census.
Mexico, surpassing Italy, now has the fourth-highest death toll.
Mexico surpassed Italy in virus deaths on Sunday, becoming the country with the fourth-highest number of fatalities from the virus after the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
More than 35,000 Mexicans have died in the pandemic, and the country has nearly 300,000 confirmed cases, according to a New York Times database. And the death toll in Latin America’s second-most-populous nation is probably much worse than official statistics suggest.
The bleak milestone underscored government missteps in containing a pandemic that has overwhelmed hospitals, with basic supplies running low and medical professionals falling ill at alarming rates.
Just a few months ago, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was gathering crowds of supporters, kissing babies and urging people to hug each other because “nothing’s going to happen.”
The country was slow to impose social-distancing measures and temporarily close businesses, and the government has repeatedly changed its projection of when the virus might peak. It now says infections will continue at least through the fall.
Despite this, many parts of the country have moved forward with plans to reopen businesses, including factories, restaurants and hotels.
Hugo López-Gatell, the health official who has become the public face of the country’s response to the pandemic, said last week that “the epidemic is decelerating.” He said that new cases have been growing at a slower rate and that the return to public life across the country has not resulted in an uptick in outbreaks.
U.S. governors are getting tested for a virus that is testing them.
Governors have always been judged on their disaster responses, but the virus wreaking havoc across the U.S. does not recede like floodwaters and cannot be tamed by calling in the National Guard.
Now, the states’ chief executives are being tested for the very virus that keeps testing them — politically, personally, logistically.
Tate Reeves, a Republican who became governor of Mississippi six months ago, was tested for the virus, along with his wife and three daughters. The tests came back negative. But many of his colleagues at the Mississippi State Capitol were not as lucky — the virus has infected 26 lawmakers, including the lieutenant governor and the House speaker. Cases have surged across the state and intensive care units at many of the state’s largest hospitals are near capacity.
“I have taken to replacing sleeping with praying,” Mr. Reeves, an accountant before he got into politics, told reporters.
Previously, he said he was eager to lift restrictions and reopen his state’s economy. Now, he is warning residents of a “slow-moving disaster” and has made masks mandatory in 13 of the state’s hardest-hit counties.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, insisted for weeks that government could not mandate the wearing of masks. As the number of infections rose, he reversed course just before July 4, mandating the wearing of masks in most situations.
The seven governors whose crisis moments were reviewed by The Times — Mr. Reeves of Mississippi; Mr. Abbott of Texas; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State; Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida; Gov. Gavin Newsom of California; Gov. Laura Kelly of Kansas; and Gov. David Ige of Hawaii — have been scrambling in ways seen and unseen by the public. Here’s what else was happening around the country:
Officials in Kansas announced more than 880 new cases on Monday, the highest single-day total in that state. Because Kansas’ health department only updates statewide data three times weekly, the most infrequent reporting schedule in the country, its daily totals vary widely.
As the U.S. works to control the virus, it keeps running into problems caused by its fragmented health system. Health departments track the virus’s spread with a distinctly American patchwork: a reporting system in which some test results arrive via smooth data feeds but others come by phone, email, physical mail or even fax machines.
In February, Hamala Diop, a 25-year-old medical assistant, said the directors of the nursing home where he worked in Milan kept him from wearing a mask, fearing it would scare patients and their families. In March, he became infected with the virus and spoke out about it spreading through the home. In May, he was fired amid claims that he had “damaged the company’s image.”
Mr. Diop challenged the decision in a lawsuit that will be heard in court on Monday. The proceedings raise the issue of whether whistle-blowers have paid a price for voicing concerns about dangerous conditions at medical facilities.
In a statement, the lawyers for the nursing home, the Palazzolo Institute of the Don Gnocchi Foundation, said the home had followed the instructions of the Italian National Institute of Health on the use of masks, and that communications about the infections among workers took place according to privacy laws.
“Nobody protected us from catching the virus,” Mr. Diop said, “and nobody protected us from getting fired.”
In other developments around the world:
Amnesty International has called for an inquiry into the British government after Britain recorded one of the largest numbers of coronavirus-related deaths among health care workers, according to a report published by the organization on Monday. More than 3,000 health workers around the world have died after contracting the virus, Amnesty International said. Of those, 540 have been in Britain, which was second only to Russia, where 545 health workers have died. The figure is 507 in the United States.
Australian citizens and residents returning from overseas to New South Wales, which includes the city of Sydney, will be charged for their mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine starting Saturday, the state premier said. Mandatory hotel quarantines at a similar cost are already in effect in Queensland and the Northern Territory, and other parts of the country are likely to begin charging travelers as well amid a new outbreak in Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city. The border has been closed to nonresidents since March.
The leader of Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia, Quim Torra, said on Monday that his government would proceed with a regional lockdown, a day after a judge ruled that such a measure was only valid if approved by the country’s central government.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa reinstated a ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol in an effort to alleviate pressure on the health care system. The government also reintroduced an overnight curfew. South Africa has seen a surge in cases as the country enters its coldest month, with more than 264,000 known cases, and nearly 4,000 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Xu Zhangrun, a law professor in Beijing who had criticized the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, was released from detention on Sunday, a week after the police took him away.
On Monday, an organization in France comprising doctors and virus victims has appealed to the country’s highest administrative court to impose the wearing of masks, adding that it was “urgent to take all possible measures to prevent the second wave” of infections. Prime Minister Jean Castex said that he was considering the compulsory wearing of masks to prevent a resurgence of the epidemic and called on people to stay vigilant.
As Florida set new records for virus cases, two of Walt Disney World’s major parks that had closed in March, the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, welcomed back a limited number of temperature-checked visitors over the weekend, with some attractions and character interactions unavailable as safety precautions.
Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios were set to reopen on Wednesday.
“I’m so overwhelmed with emotion,” said a weeping Sonya Little, who flew to Orlando, Fla., from Birmingham, Ala., with two friends. “The last few months have been so hard. We have just felt so defeated. Being here gives me the strength to go on.”
The reopening comes as the virus continued its rampage through Florida, with officials reporting more than 15,000 new infections on Sunday, a daily record for any state.
Even as they moved to reopen in Florida, the Walt Disney Company said on Monday that Hong Kong Disneyland would reclose on Wednesday to comply with a government-directed rollback of public activities in the region following an increase in infections.
Reporting was contributed by Brooks Barnes, Pam Belluck, Emma Bubola, Keith Bradsher, Chris Buckley, Troy Closson, Michael Cooper, Sheri Fink, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Vanessa Friedman, Hailey Fuchs, Dana Goldstein, Maggie Haberman, Anemona Hartocollis, Hikari Hida, Shawn Hubler, Makiko Inoue, Natalie Kitroeff, Sarah Kliff, Tiffany May, Patricia Mazzei, Raphael Minder, Zach Montague, Aimee Ortiz, Kate Phillips, Motoko Rich, Katie Rogers, Rick Rojas, Dana Rubinstein, Margot Sanger-Katz, Eliza Shapiro, Mitch Smith, Eileen Sullivan, Mariel Wamsley and Mihir Zaveri.