Trump defends sharing video on discredited drug and falsely claims much of U.S. is ‘corona free.’
President Trump returned to defending a discredited drug at a White House briefing Tuesday evening in which he also made claims about the trajectory of the virus that clash with his own administration’s assessments and bemoaned his low approval ratings.
The president defended sharing a version of a video promoting the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine that was deleted Monday night by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which all said that the video had violated their policies on sharing misinformation about the virus.
He claimed that “You can look at large portions of our country — it’s corona-free,” even as federal officials distributed a new report which found that 21 states had outbreaks so severe that they were in the “red zone,” 28 states were in the “yellow zone,” and only one state, Vermont, had low enough cases to be in the “green zone.”
And he lamented that health officials in his administration, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, were more popular than he is. “He’s got this high approval rating,” Mr. Trump said. “Why don’t I have a high approval rating — and the administration — with respect to the virus?”
“They’re highly thought of but nobody likes me,” he said. “It can only be my personality.”
Mr. Trump continued to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, which several major studies have concluded is not effective in treating the virus, saying “I happen to think it works in the early stages” and claiming that “from a safety standpoint it’s safe,” though federal health officials have cited dangers.
In June the Food and Drug Administration revoked an emergency use authorization for the use of hydroxychloroquine and another malaria drug, chloroquine, in the treatment of Covid-19. In a July 1 update, the F.D.A. said there were reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries and liver problems and failure.
In revoking the emergency use authorization, the F.D.A. said, “We made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery.”
Asked on “Good Morning America” about the president’s sharing of claims about hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Fauci said that the “prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”
A new federal report found that the number of states with outbreaks serious enough to place them in the “red zone” had grown to 21, and urged officials in them to impose more restrictions.
The 21 states now in the “red zone” — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin — were designated as such because they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week. Three more states were added to the most serious category since a similar report dated July 14: Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
The findings in the new report, which contained profiles of each state, were sent to state officials by the White House’s coronavirus task force and obtained by The New York Times.
The report, which was dated July 26, recommended that more restrictions be put in place in “red zone” states. But on Monday, a day later, President Trump called for more states to reopen.
“A lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening, and we’ll see what happens with them,” Mr. Trump said during a visit to North Carolina — one of the states in the red zone.
The report recommended that North Carolina “close establishments where social distancing and mask use cannot occur, such as bars” and “limit indoor dining to less than 25% of normal capacity.” It made similar recommendations for other hard-hit states, calling for reducing the occupancy of other businesses, closing gyms, and urging people to scale back their public interactions and activities to a quarter of what they normally are.
Mask mandates were consistently recommended for states and cities where the virus is spreading. Noting that Arizona, included in the red zone, had seen cases level off in recent days, the report credited its “aggressive mitigation efforts of mask wearing, social distancing and closing bars.”
But some governors continue to be resistant. When Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, visited Tennessee on Monday, she spoke with Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, about mask mandates, but he was loath to issue a statewide order. “We talked about statewide mandates; we also talked about alternative approaches,” he said afterward.
The report put it more bluntly: “Statewide mask mandate is critical to stop the spread.”
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said in an interview Tuesday on “Good Morning America” that he was concerned about rising positivity rates in several states, and that officials should heed federal guidelines when deciding whether to open up. “I think we can prevent the surges that we’ve seen in the Southern states, because we just can’t afford, yet again, another surge,” he said.
Currently, Vermont is the only state in the “green zone” category for cases, with less than 10 cases a week per 100,000 people. The remaining 28 states and the District of Columbia were placed in the “yellow zone.” The report considers some hard-hit local areas in those states to be in the “red zone” as well.
The second-largest teachers’ union in the United States announced on Tuesday that it would support its 1.7 million members if they choose to strike in districts and states that move to reopen classrooms without adequate health and safety measures.
The union, the American Federation of Teachers, said strikes should be a “last resort.” But the resolution approved by the organization’s executive council gives educators and their union representatives additional muscle in negotiations over what would constitute adequate protection for teachers and school employees.
The union is pushing for schools to wait to reopen classrooms until coronavirus transmission rates in a community fall below 1 percent and average daily test positivity rates stay below 5 percent — something that very few places have achieved. A recent New York Times analysis found that only two of the nation’s 10 largest school districts could reopen under the latter threshold.
The union also wants effective contact tracing in place in regions that reopen schools, mask requirements for students and teachers, updated ventilation systems in school buildings and procedures to maintain six feet of distance between individuals.
Randi Weingarten, the union’s president, said that if the federal government can support the cruise industry and hedge funds during the crisis, “they sure as hell can help working families, and can help educators ensure our kids get the education they need.”
Education leaders have said they need hundreds of billions of dollars for measures that would allow schools to reopen safely.
On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a stimulus package that fell far short of what Democrats and organized labor have proposed. The measure would provide $70 billion for K-12 education, but condition two-thirds of that money on schools’ reopening at least partially in person, a priority for Mr. Trump, who sees it as critical to reviving the nation’s economy by allowing parents to work.
The A.F.T.’s authorization vote leaves it up to local chapters to make the decision on whether to plan a strike. The Florida Education Association has already sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials to prevent school buildings from reopening in that state, where virus cases are surging. On Tuesday, Florida again broke its daily record for deaths, reporting 186 fatalities. It also reported 9,230 new cases.
The top Senate Republican, under fire for bowing to the White House and embracing an obsession of Mr. Trump’s, said he favored dropping a provision from his party’s emergency pandemic aid proposal to provide $1.75 billion for the construction of a new F.B.I. headquarters in downtown Washington.
A day after he rolled out a measure that included the money, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said he supported getting rid of it, along with other provisions unrelated to the virus. He did not say whether that applied to more than $1 billion for military projects included in the plan for projects that Mr. Trump defunded earlier this year to pay for a wall on the southern border, his signature 2016 campaign promise.
Both proposals drew outrage from Democrats, who said the president and his Republican allies were using the economic stabilization package — meant to help struggling Americans weather a pandemic and a recession — to further Mr. Trump’s personal and political agenda.
Democrats have long accused Mr. Trump of intervening to make sure the F.B.I. scuttled plans to erect a new headquarters in suburban Washington and instead refurbish its existing building. That would prevent the site from being redeveloped with a project that might compete with his company’s luxury hotel across the street. The Justice Department’s top investigator last year launched an inquiry into the decision.
“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the F.B.I. headquarters that benefits Trump hotel, and they say they have no money for food assistance?” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said on Monday. “What the heck is going on?”
Some leading Senate Republicans, who included the F.B.I. building money in the $1 trillion recovery package they rolled out on Monday, appeared not to know themselves.
Mr. McConnell at first said he did not believe the funding had been included in the measure, and then told reporters to ask the administration “why they insisted on that provision.”
Asked about how the construction of a new F.B.I. building related to the pandemic, Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said, “Good question,” and stressed that it was “an administration proposal.”
The package also includes funding for the construction of military ships and aircraft, which the Trump administration effectively canceled earlier this year by redirecting the aid toward the border wall. That includes money to build an amphibious ship and to procure and build more aircraft for the Air Force.
Less than a week into its long-delayed season, Major League Baseball’s schedule fell into turmoil Tuesday as the number of positive tests within the Miami Marlins continued to grow.
The Marlins now have 17 cases within their traveling party — 15 involving players — and will not play again until Monday at the earliest. The Philadelphia Phillies, who hosted the Marlins for three games last weekend, will not play again until Friday.
The Marlins were scheduled to play four games against the Baltimore Orioles this week, and the Phillies were slated to play four against the Yankees. Instead, the Yankees will play the Orioles in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday. The Washington Nationals, who were scheduled to play in Miami this weekend, will now be off.
The Marlins played the Phillies on Sunday after learning that four players had tested positive. Nine more members of their traveling party were found to have tested positive on Monday, and four more cases were confirmed on Tuesday. The Phillies have not registered any new positives, but were undergoing more tests on Tuesday.
The league still hopes to have all teams play 60 games this season. The Phillies and the Marlins could conceivably reach that number by playing doubleheaders or playing on mutual off days.
Across the United States, the number of known infections among state prison inmates and correctional officers has surged by 45 percent since July 1, to more than 80,000, despite limited testing in correctional institutions, according to a New York Times database. Prison deaths related to the coronavirus have risen by nearly 25 percent in that time.
The 13 largest known clusters of the virus in the United States, and 87 of the top 100, can be found inside correctional institutions, according to a New York Times database.
“They have been checking our temps every day, and the staff are now wearing the white hazmat suits, gloves and masks,” Kayle Smith, an inmate at Wakulla Correctional Institution in Florida, wrote in an email Monday. The number of infected inmates at Wakulla has shot up to 263, from just 15 two weeks ago.
It is not just inmates and guards who have been affected.
The director of the Ohio state prison system, Annette Chambers-Smith, has tested positive for the virus, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced Monday. Ms. Chambers-Smith has been confronted by one of the nation’s earliest and deadliest prison outbreaks, which has taken the lives of at least 80 inmates.
Public health officials believe the virus is introduced into prisons by correctional officers and other prison employees, and sometimes through inmate transfers from other facilities. Prison outbreaks often correspond with increases in infection in the surrounding communities, according to data collected by The Times.
A recent surge of infections at San Quentin State Prison in California, for instance, has occurred along with a sharp rise in surrounding Marin County, where daily infection counts have soared more than 800 percent since June. Nearly three-quarters of the prison’s 3,300 inmates have now tested positive; a month ago, the prison had no known infections.
Many of the recent outbreaks have occurred not in major state prisons but in jails in midsize cities, suburbs and rural towns. The Benton County Jail in Arkansas has gone from one case to 229 in recent weeks; the Comanche County Jail in Oklahoma from zero to 179; and the jails in Fresno, Calif., from a handful of cases to more than 640. Elsewhere in the United States:
With virus cases rising steeply in southeastern Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a rollback of the reopening there. The region includes Virginia Beach, the naval bases around Norfolk and Hampton Roads, and tourist attractions like Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. The governor’s order, effective at midnight Thursday, prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol after 10 p.m., and requires restaurants to close by midnight. It also limits indoor dining to 50 percent of capacity and social gatherings to 50 people, down from 250.
In Montana, officials announced four deaths on Tuesday. The sparsely populated state, where daily case reports have risen recently to an average of about 100, had not previously reported more than three deaths from the virus in a single day. Officials in Arkansas announced 20 new deaths on Tuesday and Oregon announced more than 15 new deaths, both single-day records for those states.
Child care providers in Ohio will be allowed to return to full capacity starting Aug. 9, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday, though they would forego a state subsidy if they do. Providers who choose to stay at reduced capacity would receive the subsidy, he said. Either way, child care centers would have to keep on performing temperature and symptom checks and comply with other health requirements.
The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would extend a $765 million loan to the Eastman Kodak Company to make critical pharmaceutical components, in an effort to reduce American dependence on foreign countries for essential medicines. The arrangement leverages the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law that gives the government vast powers and resources to direct certain kinds of production in the interest of national security.
Ten residents at a state-run veterans home in Oklahoma died after becoming infected in an outbreak, the executive director of the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday. Since July 1, 52 residents and 21 employees at the Claremore Veterans Center outside Tulsa have tested positive, according to the state, which reported that 36 residents were hospitalized. The outbreak was most likely caused by an asymptomatic employee who unknowingly spread the virus, officials said.
Hajj during the pandemic: Sterilized pebbles, bottled holy water and no kissing the sacred stone.
In any other year, Muslims undertaking the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that observant Muslims are obligated to perform at least once, would drink from a holy well. They would kiss the Kaaba’s sacred black stone as they thronged the Grand Mosque. Before they left Mecca, they would collect pebbles to ritually stone the devil.
During the virus edition of the hajj that begins on Wednesday, the black stone is off limits. Authorities in Saudi Arabia are issuing bottled water from the Zamzam well instead of letting pilgrims drink from cups at the source. Also in the pilgrim packages: sterilized pebbles to hurl at the devil, personal prayer rugs and other items intended to prevent an outbreak from marring the hajj.
But the chief public health measure the Saudi government has taken is to limit attendance, shrinking one of the world’s most famous crowds to a select few. About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world performed the hajj last year; this year, Saudi Arabia said it would allow just 1,000 pilgrims, all of them from within the kingdom, though it has not released the final number.
Across the Middle East, celebrations for Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice that marks the end of the hajj this weekend, will likewise be paler this year.
In Oman and Bahrain, where the unchecked spread of the virus among low-paid foreign laborers living in crowded conditions has contributed to two of the world’s worst outbreaks, officials have urged residents to forgo the large celebrations that usually mark Eid, and Oman has reinstituted a domestic travel ban and curfew. In Egypt, new cases have fallen as the country resumes normal life, but a live broadcast will replace communal Eid prayers.
In the United Arab Emirates, where it is common for residents to buy sheep or other livestock to sacrifice and donate during Eid, the authorities were encouraging people to use apps to reduce crowding at slaughterhouses and markets.
Countries across the region are reopening despite lingering hot spots. While Persian Gulf countries including Oman and Bahrain continue to struggle with large outbreaks, smaller ones in Yemen and Syria — where years of war have decimated health care systems and mired the population in deepening poverty — are rapidly metastasizing.
Here are other developments from around the globe:
Spain’s prime minister said that Britain had made “an error” by imposing a quarantine on everyone arriving from his country, a decision that blindsided British vacationers and dealt another blow to Spain’s tourism industry. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, in an interview with the news outlet Telecinco on Monday, said that Britain should have taken into account the regional divergences in Spain’s coronavirus cases and not issued a blanket order.
Data released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization on Tuesday showed that leisure travel fell by 98 percent during the first five months of the year, compared with 2019. The group said that globally 300 million fewer people traveled, representing a loss of $320 billion for the tourism industry.
Vietnam suspended domestic flights into and out of the tourist destination of Danang for 15 days after discovering at least 14 coronavirus cases, according to Reuters. International travel was halted months ago, but domestic tourists still traveled to Danang, a coastal city. About 80,000 people, mostly tourists, were ordered to evacuate on Monday after the discovery of the country’s first local transmissions in 100 days.
China recorded 68 new virus infections on Monday, its National Health Commission said on Tuesday, including six in Liaoning Province and 57 in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where a flare-up since mid-July has shown little sign of abating. As China battles the surge, the authorities in the northeastern port city of Dalian, in Liaoning, have said they will test all 6 million residents after an outbreak. Samples have been collected from about 1.68 million Dalian residents as of Sunday night, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, closed all bars and banned the sale of alcoholic drinks in restaurants for 30 days to try to curb the spread of the virus. In a speech Monday, Mr. Kenyatta said recent reopening measures had given “some Kenyans false comfort that this is not a serious health risk to them and their families.”
The Venice Film Festival announced the lineup on Tuesday for its 77th edition, setting out precautions including temperature checks and new outdoor screening sites for one of the first large international festivals held since the pandemic began. It will run from Sept. 2 to Sept. 12, with a reduced schedule; 55 to 60 films will be screened, compared with last year’s 80.
Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, who is facing an election next month and has been criticized for allowing the coronavirus to spread in his country while he denied and downplayed the danger, said Tuesday at a gathering of security services officers that he had contracted the virus but showed no symptoms.
Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, says it will now provide all passengers with free insurance covering medical expenses up to 150,000 euros (about $175,000), and €100 daily for a 14-day quarantine period, should a passenger be found to have the virus within 31 days of traveling on one of its flights. Should a passenger die from Covid-19, the airline will provide €1,500 toward funeral costs. To qualify, customers must book a ticket before the end of October.
New York Roundup
A concert in the Hamptons is being criticized for a lack of social distancing.
A charity concert Saturday night in the Hamptons that featured performances from the chief executive of Goldman Sachs and the D.J. duo the Chainsmokers drew outrage and a state investigation after video footage showed attendees appearing to ignore health precautions.
The concert, called Safe & Sound, was supposed to involve guests sitting outside near their vehicles in spaced-out areas to watch the performances, including one from Jay Schneiderman, the supervisor of the Town of Southampton, where the concert was held.
The event generated angry social media posts, and on Monday and Tuesday, criticism from state officials. In a letter on Monday to Mr. Schneiderman, New York’s health commissioner wrote that he was “greatly disturbed” by reports of thousands of people standing close and “generally not adhering to social-distancing guidance.”
“We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a tweet on Monday night.
At a news conference in Southampton on Tuesday, Mr. Schneiderman said that when his band was performing, nobody was crowded in front of the stage. But he said people were allowed to gather there later, which violated the permit for the event.
Elsewhere in the New York area:
New York will now require travelers from Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 34 states to quarantine for 14 days, Mr. Cuomo said Tuesday. The new states added to the list are Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota. Failure to do so could result in fines up to $10,000.
Connecticut and New Jersey also said travelers from those 36 places were subject to a 14-day quarantine, though compliance is voluntary in New Jersey. In Connecticut, travelers can avoid quarantining if they show documentation that they tested negative within 72 hours of arrival. Otherwise, violators are subject to a $1,000 fine. Many states have added traveler restrictions.
In New Jersey, 35 lifeguards from two boroughs on Long Beach Island, a popular summertime destination, recently tested positive, the island’s health department said Monday. Half had mild symptoms and the rest had none, public health officials said; none were hospitalized.
The German federal agency in charge of disease control sounded an alarm on Tuesday over a rising number of cases across the nation.
Lothar Wieler, the leader of the agency, the Robert Koch Institute, urged Germans for the first time to wear masks outdoors if a distance of 1.5 meters, or about 5 feet, cannot be maintained.
Germany reported 633 new cases on Monday, and four deaths. Though Germany’s daily death count has been in the single digits for most of this month, it has seen more than 3,000 new cases over the past week.
“The new developments in Germany make me very worried,” Mr. Wieler said, adding, “The rise has to do with the fact that we have become negligent.”
When the virus began spreading in March, Germany imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. It was seen as a model for other countries. Since it began reopening, there have been flare-ups that have spurred local lockdowns, including one in June.
But on Tuesday, Mr. Wieler said he wondered if this latest uptick was a harbinger of something more.
“We don’t know if this is the beginning of a second wave, but of course it could be,” he said. He added, “I am still optimistic that we can prevent this.”
The pandemic takes an extra toll on families with special needs.
Missing social contacts and altered routines can be particularly intense for children with developmental challenges. Disturbed sleep and eating habits, too, can make life more challenging for the children and their families. Here are some strategies to cope better.
Reporting was contributed by Geneva Abdul, Davey Alba, Ian Austen, Julia Calderone, Kenneth Chang, Cooper, Michael Crowley, Sheera Frenkel, Dana Goldstein, Andrew E. Kramer, Tyler Kepner, Raphael Minder, Claire Moses, Amanda Rosa, Edgar Sandoval, Anna Schaverien, Kaly Soto, Eleanor Stanford, Eileen Sullivan, Daniel Victor, Neil Vigdor, James Wagner, Vivian Yee, Elaine Yu and Mihir Zaveri.