September 23, 2020

Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Daily Deaths Exceed 1,000

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageA drive-through coronavirus testing site in El Paso on Tuesday.
Credit…Cengiz Yar for The New York Times

For the first time, Trump urges Americans to wear masks.

The daily death total in the United States exceeded 1,000 for the first time in weeks on Tuesday, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were likely far more infections than have been reported.

The news came as President Trump abandoned his consistently rosy forecasts and told reporters during his first coronavirus briefing since April that the outbreak would probably “get worse before it gets better.”

Having previously described recent outbreaks around the country as just “embers” of the virus, Mr. Trump conceded that there were now “big fires,” particularly in Florida and elsewhere across the South and West.

He also reversed his past resistance to masks, for the first time imploring Americans to wear them and acknowledging that “they have an impact.”

His comments came as one of his primary arguments for optimism — what had been a descending death toll, even as overall cases sharply rose — showed more signs of crumbling. The 1,120 deaths reported on Tuesday were the highest total since May 29, excepting two days in late June when large numbers of deaths were reported from unknown dates, according to a New York Times database.

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Trump: Pandemic ‘Will Get Worse before It Gets Better’

President Trump resumed his daily virus briefings on Tuesday and admitted that the coronavirus pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better.

Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better — something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is. It’s the way, it’s what we have. You look over the world. It’s all over the world. America’s youth will act responsibly, and we’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they’ll have an effect. And we need everything we can get.

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President Trump resumed his daily virus briefings on Tuesday and admitted that the coronavirus pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The seven-day average of deaths in the United States reached 810 on Tuesday, up from an average of about 475 in early July, though still far below the country’s April peak of 2,232. Public health experts have warned for weeks that deaths would trail new cases by about a month and case counts have risen substantially since mid-June, when states began lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening businesses.

There were 65,449 new cases on Tuesday. But the number of people infected with the coronavirus in different parts of the United States has been anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the reported rates for those regions, according to data released Tuesday by the C.D.C.

“These data continue to show that the number of people who have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far exceeds the number of reported cases,” Dr. Fiona Havers, the C.D.C. researcher who led the study, said in an email. “Many of these people likely had no symptoms or mild illness and may have had no idea that they were infected.”

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Where cases are rising fastest

Republicans squabble over what to include in the next round of pandemic relief.

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McConnell Lays Out Proposal for Next Stimulus Bill

Republicans are looking into the next round of virus relief, which could include money for schools, funding for the federal loan program for small businesses and direct payments to families.

If you’re looking for a theme, I won’t put a bill on the floor that doesn’t have liability protection in it. Don’t mischaracterize what this is about. This is not just for businesses. For hospitals, doctors, nurses — yes, businesses — but also colleges, universities, K through 12. In fact, everybody trying to grapple with this new disease that we didn’t fully understand. Yeah, we’ll lay out the specifics. I’m going to introduce a bill in the next few days that is a starting place that enjoys fairly significant support among Republican senators — probably not everyone — and at that point, we’ll be more specific about how to allocate, but we do envision direct checks again.

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Republicans are looking into the next round of virus relief, which could include money for schools, funding for the federal loan program for small businesses and direct payments to families.

When millions of Americans began losing their jobs in March, the federal government stepped in with a life preserver: $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits. That life preserver will disappear within days if Congress does not act to extend it.

Republican leaders labored on Tuesday to avert a party revolt over the next round of coronavirus aid, announcing that they planned to provide $105 billion for schools, direct payments to American families and more aid for struggling small businesses.

Even as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, divulged details of his emerging plan, which is expected to be worth roughly $1 trillion, President Trump had yet to sign on and Republicans remained deeply divided over several key elements.

Ahead of what are expected to be difficult negotiations with Democrats, Senate Republicans and White House officials were fighting over how much money to devote to testing and to the federal health agencies on the front lines of the virus response; whether to include a payroll tax cut that Mr. Trump has demanded; and how to address the expiration of the enhanced unemployment benefits at the end of the month.

Top Republican officials privately cautioned that the coming negotiation was likely to stretch into August, leaving tens of millions of unemployed Americans without extra help, potentially prompting a wave of evictions and further damaging the economy.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump offered a positive assessment of the economy: “We are in a pandemic, and yet we are producing tremendous numbers of jobs,” he said during his virus-focused news conference.

While it is true that nearly five million positions were brought back in June, over all the United States is still down about 14.7 million jobs since February.

Global roundup

The banquet to celebrate this year’s Nobel Prize winners has been canceled.

Credit…Pool photo by Anders Wiklund

The Nobel Prizes will still be awarded in early October, but the annual banquet in Stockholm to celebrate the winners has been canceled because of the pandemic, the Nobel Foundation announced Tuesday.

The event on Dec. 10 is usually attended by Sweden’s royal family and features an elaborate menu.

Prize winners and their guests and families usually gather in Stockholm and Oslo in December for a week of events, but the celebrations this year will “take on new forms” to account for social distancing, the foundation said.

“We will pay different attention to the prize winners, their discoveries and works,” Lars Heikensten, the chief executive of the Nobel Foundation, said in a statement.

The banquet was last canceled in 1956, in a protest over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary. It was also canceled during the two world wars.

In other news from around the world:

  • The United States ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday, dealing another blow to the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries. Consulates principally process visas for travelers visiting China, but travel between the two countries has been severely limited in any case because of the pandemic.

  • Hong Kong will require travelers from the United States and Kazakhstan to show proof that they have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of boarding a flight to the city. The government had already introduced this regulation for travelers from seven other countries it deemed high-risk, including Bangladesh, India, South Africa and the Philippines.

  • After four months of lockdown, Nepal is lifting most restrictions and will soon open schools, restaurants, international flights and mountain trekking. The government said the number of new coronavirus infections was decreasing, from a daily high of 700 a few weeks ago to 150 now or lower. The country of 30 million people has reported 17,994 infections and 40 deaths.

A fatal crash on a New York bay highlights concerns about a boating boom during the pandemic.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

A deadly crash of two jet skis on a bay off the Bronx underscored widespread concerns about boating safety as the pandemic has led to a boom of perilous activity on the water in New York City and across the country.

The crash occurred sometime after nightfall on Monday, a New York Police Department spokesman said on Tuesday, leading to the deaths of two men who were thrown into Eastchester Bay. The operator of a private boat pulled both men from the water and rushed them to shore, the spokesman said, and they were taken to a medical center, where they were pronounced dead.

Recreational boating accidents, including those involving personal watercraft, rose nationwide in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2019, according to the Coast Guard’s office for boating safety.

Nationwide, fatal boating accidents were up 19 percent in the first six months of the year, the Coast Guard said. In the Northeast region, which includes New York and the New England states, deadly boating incidents were up 400 percent.

The increases in recreational boating accidents around the country follow several years of steady declines.

Mariana O’Leary, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said the service’s personnel started to notice a jump in recreational boating accidents this year as the weather warmed up and people who had been stuck inside could finally venture out.

“What could be a factor is the fact that people are trying to get out of their houses and their apartments, going a little stir crazy, and perhaps they don’t have the experience they need,” Ms. O’Leary said.

It’s time to put an end to doomscrolling.

Bingeing on doom-and-gloom news can feel irresistible to those stuck at home with little else to do. Here are some ways to break the habit.

Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Luke Broadwater, Emily Cochrane, Gillian Friedman, Michael Gold, Apoorva Mandavilli, Tiffany May, Claire Moses, Steven Lee Myers, Derek M. Norman, Bhadra Sharma and Daniel Victor.