Warnings of further restrictions in Texas and Georgia as U.S. cases continue record climbs.
As coronavirus cases reach new highs and outbreaks continue to grow steeply in the U.S. South and West, officials in two battered states are warning that they may need to reverse reopenings that had followed a national lull in confirmed infections.
The United States on Friday reached 60,000 new cases for the first time, and the number ultimately soared to more than 68,000 — setting a single-day record for the seventh time in 11 days, according to a New York Times database. At least six states reported single-day records for new cases: Georgia, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Utah.
In Texas, which reported record numbers of daily cases four times this week, Gov. Greg Abbott signaled the possibility of a new economic “lockdown” if the state cannot curtail the caseloads and hospitalizations that have made it one of the country’s worst hot spots in the pandemic.
Mr. Abbott, a Republican, predicted in a televised interview that “things will get worse” and said that he might take steps even more drastic than a statewide face-mask requirement that has angered members of his party.
“I made clear that I made this tough decision for one reason: It was our last best effort to slow the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
In Georgia, which reported more than 4,000 new cases on Friday, Atlanta officials said they were preparing to shift back to “Phase 1” guidelines, which call for residents to largely stay at home. Most of Georgia’s cases have been concentrated in the counties making up the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, who said she had tested positive for the coronavirus this week, issued a mask mandate in the city on Wednesday and added further limits on large gatherings.
Georgia’s growing concerns were also underscored when Gov. Brian Kemp said that the state was again transforming a convention center in Atlanta into a makeshift medical center as hospitals were filling with patients.
A new global record for daily infections was also reached Friday, as the World Health Organization reported that 228,102 new cases had surfaced. The other nations showing the largest daily increases in cases were Brazil, Mexico, India and South Africa.
Many of the United States’ 3.5 million teachers found themselves feeling under siege this week, facing intensifying pressure from the White House, pediatricians and some parents to return physically to classrooms — even as the pandemic rages across much of the country.
On Friday, the teachers’ union in Los Angeles demanded full-time remote learning when the academic year begins on Aug. 18 and called President Trump’s push to reopen schools part of a “dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students and our families at risk.” And the superintendent of Atlanta’s public schools recommended that classes be held virtually when they resume next month.
Teachers say crucial questions about how schools will stay clean, keep students physically distanced and prevent further spread of the coronavirus have not been answered.
“I want to serve the students, but it’s hard to say you’re going to sacrifice all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and bus drivers,” said Hannah Wysong, a teacher at the Esperanza Community School in Tempe, Ariz.
On social media, teachers across the country have promoted the hashtag #14daysnonewcases, with some pledging not to enter classrooms until the transmission rate in their counties falls, essentially, to zero.
In some districts, though, surveys suggest that more than half of parents want their children back in classrooms. Big districts like San Diego and smaller ones like Marietta, Ga., plan to open schools five days a week. Many others hope to offer at least a few days per week of in-person instruction.
India, which four months ago brought in the world’s largest coronavirus lockdown, is reimposing restrictions in many parts of the country as medical facilities are being pushed to the brink amid a surge of new infections since the initial measures were lifted.
In Pune, officials plan to shut the city down next week after a string of days with record high new infections. In Aurangabad, an industrial town, an extended curfew has cleared streets and shut factories. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous, almost all businesses were ordered closed this weekend.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March, halting industry and ordering all 1.3 billion Indians to stay home, the hope was that the country might escape the worst. But in recent weeks, as officials began lifting restrictions to save a badly wounded economy, infections spread quickly.
Now, hospitals are reporting shortages of ventilators and other medical supplies. Doctors in New Delhi are making life-or-death choices as empty beds dwindle and patients are turned away, sometimes to their deaths. Recently, India’s caseload rose to the world’s third highest, with about 800,000 confirmed infections and more than 22,000 deaths.
Mahendra Purohit, who runs a dry goods store in Pune, one of the hardest-hit Indian cities, said that everyone he knew was wearing a mask and staying home as much as possible, but still, “The cases keep rising and rising.”
“Nobody knows when this will end,” he said. “Corona has changed everything for us.”
Other developments around the world:
In Hong Kong, a Department of Health spokeswoman said on Saturday that the latest outbreak in the semiautonomous Chinese territory was worse than an earlier peak in March due to a growing number of cases with unknown origins and growing clusters linked to housing estates, homes for older people and restaurants. Hong Kong recorded 29 new infections and 33 preliminary positive cases on Saturday, after a spike this week.
As the pandemic worsens hunger in New York City, many are stepping in to help.
The number of food-insecure New York City residents has doubled to about two million since the onset of the pandemic. But just as quickly as the need escalated, so, too, did new solutions.
Those who help feed the hungry are up early, clipboards in hand, checking on deliveries. They work the phones, begging for donations. They direct employees and a growing army of volunteers. And they try to keep their wits about them, despite the long hours, the long to-do lists and the long lines that are becoming all too common.
Red Rabbit, a Harlem-based company that was founded in 2005 by the Wall Street equities trader Rhys Powell to provide meals for schoolchildren, was serving 22,000 meals and snacks a day when schools were shut down in March.
Since then, Red Rabbit has started making meals for adults for the first time, with meals distributed to emergency workers, their children and others in the community. Now, 90,000 meals are prepared weekly.
And in late March, the Rev. Andrew Marko, the pastor of Evangel Church in Queens, converted the 100,000-square-foot building that houses the church and shuttered school into a mammoth operation to feed those in need.
Pastor Marko is constantly on the phone to chase down donations. “I’m the food crier,” he said, marveling at how the effort has taken on a life of its own. “I feel like I’m on the back of a speedboat and not sure who’s driving.”
Yet the results are profound.
“We’ve moved almost three million pounds of food since the crisis started,” Pastor Marko said.
A Scottish pilot in Vietnam who spent more than two months on life support after contracting Covid-19 and became the subject of nationwide public interest was released from the hospital on Saturday and headed to the airport for his return home.
The case of the pilot, Stephen Cameron, 43, has come to exemplify Vietnam’s all-out effort to beat the coronavirus, with the state news media in the Communist country covering his treatment extensively. Mr. Cameron was so seriously ill at one point that doctors contemplated a double lung transplant.
“I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Vietnamese people, the dedication and professionalism of the doctors,” Mr. Cameron said before his departure, in a video released by Cho Ray Hospital, where he was treated. “The odds say that I shouldn’t be here, and so I can only thank everybody here for doing what they have done.”
Vietnam has been among the most successful countries in tackling the virus. It is the largest country not to have reported a single Covid-19 death. No cases of local transmission have been reported since mid-April. And just 369 cases in total have been confirmed in the country of more than 97 million people.
Known as Patient 91, Mr. Cameron arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in February to take a job with Vietnam Airlines. He tested positive for the virus in March after visiting a bar that emerged as the center of Vietnam’s biggest coronavirus cluster.
Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital, in Ho Chi Minh City, said he was now free of the virus. But he faces a long recovery period after spending two months in a medically induced coma.
A Facebook video posted by the hospital on July 3 showed him lying in bed surrounded by doctors and other workers, who applauded his progress as he answered simple questions and tested the strength in his legs.
Protests in Serbia over a lockdown spread to broader grievances.
Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside Serbia’s Parliament for the fourth consecutive night on Friday, ignoring a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
The rallies — set off by a government announcement on Tuesday of since-aborted plans to reinstate a total lockdown in Belgrade, the capital — quickly evolved into protests over democratic backsliding in recent years under President Aleksandar Vucic, his approach to Kosovo, and the inconsistent and politicized ways in which his government has imposed social restrictions during the pandemic.
The demonstrations included members of the country’s liberal and leftist opposition, who are frustrated at Mr. Vucic’s strongman approach both before and during the crisis. But the rallies were also attended by members of the nationalist right, who chanted against Mr. Vucic for engaging in negotiations this week over the future of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that broke away from Belgrade in 1999, and whose sovereignty Serbia has never recognized.
On some nights, the police responded violently to protesters, beating them with batons. Some analysts said it was most brutal police violence since the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, who governed the country during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.
The government said the harsh response was justified because some protesters had also attacked the police. On Tuesday, a group briefly entered the Parliament building before being forced out.
Even as infections were rising, the government went ahead with a controversial general election last month, which most of the opposition boycotted.
The government began reinstating strict social distancing measures only after the vote, once Mr. Vucic’s party had cemented its power by winning most seats in Parliament. That led critics to argue that Mr. Vucic had used the pandemic to suit his political needs.
Because of the pandemic, the Treasury Department postponed the traditional April 15 federal tax filing deadline until July 15 — and this time there is no wiggle room. Last month, the Internal Revenue Service said there would not be another blanket filing delay.
So for anyone who has not yet filed a return — or filed but not yet paid the taxes owed for 2019 — the deadline is Wednesday.
“It’s just like April 15, but in July,” said Cindy Hockenberry, the director of tax research and government relations for the National Association of Tax Professionals, a trade group.
How to experience cultural institutions from home.
Museums and production companies are offering many online options.
Reporting was contributed by Tara Siegel Bernard, John Branch, Jenny Carolina González, Erica L. Green, Dana Goldstein, Patrick Kingsley, Ron Lieber, Jane Margolies, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Richard C. Paddock, Federico Rios, Kai Schultz, Eliza Shapiro, Mitch Smith, Farah Stockman, Alix Strauss, Julie Turkewitz and Sofía Villamil.