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The coronavirus has infected at least 450,000 heath-care workers worldwide, according to a report issued Wednesday by an international nursing federation, a new insight into the toll of the pandemic and against those fighting it. Overall, more than 6.4 million cases of covid-19 have been confirmed, including at least 381,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent healthy people exposed to covid-19 from getting the disease caused by the coronavirus. The study is the first randomized clinical trial that tested the antimalarial drug, which President Trump touted, as a preventive measure.

In the United States, more than 1.8 million coronavirus cases have been reported, with recent increases seen in states such as Arizona, Florida and Mississippi. The return to economic and social activities, as well as widespread protests of police brutality, continue to raise concern among some health officials of further spread.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Wall Street wrapped up a remarkable 50-day run, posting a 40 percent advance that signals optimism against the downward pull of disease, civil unrest and economic deterioration.
  • George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked widespread protests around the world, tested positive for the coronavirus in April, according to the full autopsy report released Wednesday by the Hennepin County (Minn.) Medical Examiner. The autopsy found Floyd likely had “asymptomatic but persistent … positivity” from that past infection, the report states.
  • Brazil reported a record 1,262 new coronavirus-related deaths to raise its total to at least 31,199, third-most in the world. It now has at least 550,000 confirmed cases, behind only the United States. “We lament all deaths, but it’s everyone’s destiny,” President Jair Bolsonaro told supporters.
  • U.S. companies shed 2.76 million jobs from April to May, according to management services company ADP’s private payroll report, a figure that came in well below analyst estimates but still exposed the devastation of the coronavirus recession. Large businesses, which employ 500 people or more, bore the brunt of those losses at 1.6 million.
  • The architect of Sweden’s unique anti-lockdown approach to fighting the coronavirus said that in light of the large numbers of dead, he should have advised more restrictions on society to protect lives. Sweden has reported upward of 38,000 coronavirus cases and 4,468 deaths, giving it a far higher per capita death rate than its Nordic neighbors, which all introduced mandatory lockdowns.

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June 3, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT

Trump administration will ban flights by Chinese airlines

In a move likely to further inflame tensions between the United States and China, the Trump administration said Wednesday it will ban all commercial passenger flights by Chinese carriers beginning later this month.

The change, announced by the Department of Transportation and beginning June 16, is in response to China’s refusal to allow U.S. carriers to resume service to China.

The rule would impact operations of seven carriers, including Air China and China Eastern Airlines. The department noted in its rule filing that the ban could take effect sooner at President Trump’s discretion. Still, the June 16 date does give the two sides some time to iron out their differences and avert a ban.

Read more here.

By Michael Laris and Lori Aratani
June 3, 2020 at 10:54 PM EDT

MLB formally rejects union proposal, leaving 2020 season in doubt

Major League Baseball on Wednesday formally rejected the proposal of its players union for a 114-game regular season in 2020 and has no plans to offer a counterproposal, leaving the sport in a tenuous position as it attempts to salvage a season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Internally, MLB’s focus has been on building consensus among owners for implementing a season of roughly 50 games with players paid prorated shares of their salaries, according to a person with knowledge of the league’s deliberations — an idea the league floated Monday but did not formally propose.

That stance reflects MLB’s belief that the March agreement between the sides governing the terms of the sport’s shutdown gives Commissioner Rob Manfred the power to dictate the length of the 2020 season in the absence of a second agreement. The union, however, would almost certainly challenge such a unilateral move.

Read more here.

By Dave Sheinin
June 3, 2020 at 10:22 PM EDT

George Floyd had coronavirus, full autopsy reveals, and died with numerous blunt-force injuries

George Floyd died with numerous blunt-force injuries and bruises that seemed to be from handcuffs, according to a full autopsy report released Wednesday by the Hennepin County (Minn.) medical examiner.

Floyd had also tested positive for the coronavirus in April, the report reveals. The autopsy found Floyd likely had “asymptomatic but persistent … positivity” from that past infection, the report states.

Officials had previously announced, in a shift from the initial finding, that their autopsy found Floyd’s death to be a homicide — agreeing in broad strokes with an independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family, who had said they did not trust authorities’ findings. But the reports disagree about whether Floyd died of asphyxia.

The Hennepin County medical examiner released a report Monday saying that Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” It noted that Floyd also suffered from heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.

In contrast, the independent autopsy — also released Monday, and conducted by former New York City medical examiner Michael Baden and the University of Michigan’s Allecia Wilson — determined that Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” after being pinned down by his neck and back.

The full autopsy released Wednesday by the county medical examiner found no hemorrhaging or leaking blood vessels beneath the skin in various parts of Floyd’s neck, his shoulders or his back, according to the report. The thyroid cartilage as well as the hyoid bone — a bone in the neck often damaged by strangulation — were “intact,” the report states.

The autopsy details “blunt force injuries” to Floyd’s forehead, face, upper lip, shoulders, hands, elbows and legs.

It describes “patterned contusions” on his wrists consistent with those left by the handcuffs he wore as then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Tarkor Zehn and Brady Dennis contributed to this report.

By Hannah Knowles
June 3, 2020 at 10:13 PM EDT

Senate passes bill to increase flexibility for small-business loan program

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday to provide more flexibility to small businesses that have received forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, giving them more time to use the money just ahead of a deadline to forgive the first round of payments.

The legislation passed by unanimous consent and now goes to President Trump’s desk, following House passage of the bill last week. The White House has not said whether Trump will sign the bill, but the president has indicated support for its goals.

The central aim of the legislation is to allow businesses 24 weeks — instead of eight — to spend money they receive under the Paycheck Protection Program and have the loans forgiven. The restaurant industry and other business groups had pushed for the change, saying that eight weeks was not enough time, given that the coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to stay shut longer than anticipated when the Paycheck Protection Program was created in late March as part of the $2 trillion Cares Act.

Read more here.

By Erica Werner
June 3, 2020 at 9:32 PM EDT

Columbus protester tests positive for covid-19

Last Thursday, about 400 people took to the downtown Columbus, Ohio, streets to express collective anger over police brutality and the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Now, it has been revealed that one of those protesters was carrying the novel coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Columbus Public Health announced that an individual within the protest group had tested positive for the virus. Although the department did not reveal when testing took place, the individual had exhibited symptoms before attending the protest.

“If you attended the protests, please monitor for symptoms and get a free COVID-19 test if you become sick,” Columbus Public Health shared on its Twitter account.

According to several accounts of the May 28 protest near the Ohio Statehouse, protesters, in close contact with one another, had a standoff against police. Later in the evening, the scene grew violent, with reports of vandalism as some in the crowd shattered windows of the Capitol and breached the building. Columbus police released pepper spray to break up the crowd.

By Candace Buckner
June 3, 2020 at 8:49 PM EDT

NBA’s return-to-play plan takes shape before Thursday vote

The National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors is poised to vote Thursday on a plan to resume the 2019-2020 season and playoffs in July with 22 teams playing and living at a single-site campus near Orlando.

The plan, which has taken shape nearly three months after the novel coronavirus pandemic shut down play on March 11, would use the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World and take place without fans in attendance.

The 16 playoff teams, plus the Washington Wizards in the East and the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns in the West, would play eight regular-season games to determine seeding, with the possibility of play-in games for the final seeds, before proceeding to the playoffs, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Read more here.

By Ben Golliver
June 3, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT

Texas to enter third phase of reopening, despite rise in cases

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted another stage of restrictions and business closures on Wednesday, even as the state’s daily new cases of the novel coronavirus continued to spike.

Under Abbott’s Open Texas plan, the state enters its third phase, which provides the opportunity for businesses currently operating at 25 percent capacity to move to 50 percent, with certain protocols still in place. Similarly, bars can move to 50 percent capacity, as long as people are seated, and restaurants can now sit 10 people to a table. The third phase also allows amusement parks and carnivals in counties with fewer than a 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

The third phase includes other target dates for more expansions. On June 12, restaurants can increase to 75 percent capacity, while on June 19 amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed cases are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Also, events like Fourth of July celebrations can be held if safe standards have been created.

“The people of Texas continue to prove that we can safely and responsibly open our state for business while containing COVID-19 and keeping our state safe,” Abbott said in a statement. “As anticipated, the new positive cases that we are seeing are largely the result of isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants.”

According to a news release, those three hot spots account for more than 45 percent of new cases from May 26 to June 2. On Wednesday, Texas remained in an upward trend as the state had more than 1,500 new confirmed cases.

Other states also showed a rise in confirmed infections, with Utah reporting 295 new cases Wednesday for a 31 percent increase over Tuesday’s numbers, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. Also, days after experiencing its highest number of cases (27) since the start of the pandemic, Alaska had 18 new cases on Wednesday.

By Candace Buckner
June 3, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT

The global race for a coronavirus vaccine could be this generation’s Sputnik moment

The same day in mid-March that the United States launched human testing of its first experimental coronavirus vaccine, scientists in China announced their own trial would begin. Days after a company unveiled the partial data from the first human U.S. tests in May, a complete report of the Chinese trial was published in a medical journal. Both countries are also taking huge financial risks to scale up production of possible vaccines before they know any are safe and effective — a gambit to ensure their citizens won’t have to wait.

The nation that produces the first safe and effective vaccine will gain not only the bragging rights but also a fast track to put its people back to work, a powerful public health tool to protect its citizens and a precious resource to reward allies. In an election year in the United States, the prospect of a successful vaccine by year’s end could also be a potent campaign tool.

With 10 experimental vaccines in human tests — five in China, four in the United States and one in Britain — the science is moving forward with unprecedented speed and collaboration. But with the world increasingly jigsawed along nationalistic lines, the race has taken on political dimensions that echo the jockeying for technological dominance during the Cold War, including the space race after the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the early U.S. fears of a “missile gap” with the Soviet Union.

Read more here.

By Carolyn Y. Johnson and Eva Dou
June 3, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT

MLS and players reach deal on revised contract, clearing the way for return this summer

MLS players voted Wednesday to approve a revised collective bargaining agreement, providing economic relief to a league hit hard by the coronavirus shutdowns and clearing the way for a return to competition this summer.

All 26 teams will report to the Orlando area later this month and play in a tournament starting in July without spectators at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the same Disney-owned complex where the NBA is planning to resume its season.

The league will announce tournament details soon, but plans call for each team to play three preliminary-round matches that will count toward the regular season standings. Sixteen teams would advance to the knockout stage, which would not apply toward the regular season.

Read more here.

By Steven Goff
June 3, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT

AMC expresses ‘substantial doubt’ about its future in light of the pandemic

In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said it expects to lose more than $2 billion in revenue in the first quarter of the year.

AMC, a movie theater chain with more than 40,000 employees, has been closed in many parts of the country because of restrictions intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus. With stay-at-home orders in place, and movie studios sending new releases to streaming platforms, AMC disclosed in the public findings that it expects to see net losses between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion for the three-month quarter that ended March 31.

The company said it has taken steps to preserve cash with several actions that include furloughs for all employees within the corporate office as well all domestic theater crew members and management. Though AMC anticipates reopening theaters this summer or later, the company cited reasons to justify grave concerns for its future.

“Due to these factors, substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” the company said in one of the several filings.

With the novel coronavirus still impacting businesses, the movie box office may not have a happy ending. In a best-case scenario, theaters returning at the end of June will still experience a 30 percent drop in receipts, according to Forbes.

By Candace Buckner
June 3, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT

Rebel threats, secret burials and shuttered hospitals mask spread of Yemen’s epidemic

CAIRO — As the coronavirus epidemic sweeps through Yemen, rebels who control the north of the country have been threatening medical workers to remain silent, part of an effort to cover up the true toll of the outbreak, humanitarian officials say. In southern Yemen, ill-equipped hospitals are turning away patients with coronavirus symptoms, leaving them uncounted and often to die at home, say international aid workers, local health officials and postings on social media.

The result is an outbreak health experts say is dramatically larger than the 323 cases and 80 related deaths reported by official sources as of Monday.

Doctors and aid workers say they believe thousands of Yemenis are getting infected every week and hundreds are dying. Yemenis have been flooding Facebook and other social media with death condolences in recent weeks, filling their pages with “electronic obituaries,” said one United Nations worker.

Read more here.

By Sudarsan Raghavan
June 3, 2020 at 5:22 PM EDT

Poll finds 7 in 10 Texans think businesses will probably close again in another wave

Close to 7 in 10 of Texans registered to vote think that another coronavirus wave is likely or somewhat likely to lead to the re-closure of businesses in the state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The public opinion polling center based in Connecticut conducted the survey between May 28 and June 1 and focused on people who said they were registered to vote in Texas. Many questions asked people their views on the presidential election in November, and the poll found it was “too tight to tell in Texas” between President Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said.

Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) respondents said the state should allow vote by mail amid the pandemic, compared with 4 in 10 who disagreed. Respondents were largely divided along partisan lines on this issue: Ninety-one percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans supported the idea of mail-in voting.

The poll found that while overall 60 percent of voters felt comfortable going in person to polls, compared with 38 percent who did not, that gap also grew when viewed through party identification: Eighty-four percent of Republicans reported feeling comfortable voting in person during the pandemic, compared with 60 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats.

Over a third, or 35 percent, of Texas voters surveyed said they personally knew someone who has had covid-19. That number rose to 47 percent for black voters.

Fifty-one percent of voters reported being very or somewhat worried that they would become seriously ill from the novel coronavirus. Again, partisan divides heightened contrasting views: Thirty-nine percent of Democrats who responded said they were very worried, compared with 16 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.

Responses on this issue also differed among racial lines: While 13 percent of white voters reported such a fear, that rate rose to 28 percent for Hispanic voters and 31 percent for black voters.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 4:53 PM EDT

Registered voters in California given three days to vote ahead of Nov. 3 election to limit spread of virus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order Wednesday allowing counties to provide three days of early voting ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, if they are to consolidate in-person sites to limit mass gatherings during the pandemic.

With the order, registered voters in California can begin casting ballots the Saturday before the general election. Drop-box locations will be accessible from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3.

“We are committed to protecting the hard-fought right for Californians to make their voices heard this November, even in the face of a pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “As the demonstrations across the country remind us, civic participation is critical to our democracy. If we are to address the racial inequities that exist in our institutions, policies and representation, we must ensure that all eligible Californians have an opportunity to safely cast their ballot.”

Last month, Newsom directed an executive order requiring county election officials to send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters. The option to vote in person remained, but with the latest order, the state seeks to give officials more avenues to maintain social distancing to stop the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

By Candace Buckner
June 3, 2020 at 4:26 PM EDT

As Dow rises 500 points, U.S. stocks now up 40 percent off pandemic lows

Wall Street just wrapped up one of the most remarkable 50-day runs in history, posting a 40 percent advance that telegraphs optimism against the three-pronged downward pull of disease, civil unrest and economic deterioration.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed Wednesday at 3,122.87, a 42-point or 1.4 percent gain. The broad market has roared back from its March 23 low for its best 50-day performance since 1933, according to Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The Dow Jones industrial average swelled more than 527 points, a 2 percent advance that places the blue chips at 26,269.89. The Nasdaq composite rose 75 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 9,682.91.

All three indexes are 40 percent above their pandemic lows after chalking up two straight months of gains despite Depression-era unemployment numbers, a stubbornly intense pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and a week of upheaval in American cities following the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.

Read more here.

By Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford
June 3, 2020 at 4:01 PM EDT

Pennsylvania schools can reopen as soon as July 1 with proper protocols, state says

The Pennsylvania Department of Education said Wednesday that K-12 schools in the state’s “yellow and green phases” of reopening could resume in-person classes as soon as July 1, provided they meet certain health safety conditions.

Before reopening, schools must develop plans based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Health Department “outlining strategies for safe operations,” the Education Department said in a statement.

The state also has said its universities can resume in-person classes as soon as Friday if approved health and safety protocols are in place. Pennsylvania’s schools, like most education centers in the United States, have been closed since mid-March to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, offering virtual learning instead.

The state has recently taken steps to ease virus-related shutdowns in certain counties, with stay-at-home orders lifted and certain retailers open for business. While many parts of the country are scrambling to open schools by the fall, Pennsylvania’s July 1 date is one of the earlier time frames presented by state officials.

“Educators, students and caregivers have done a remarkable job as we all navigate through this pandemic,” Pennsylvania’s secretary of education, Pedro A. Rivera, said in a statement. “Now we need to direct our energy to focus on how to resume instruction in the 2020-21 school year. We fully expect students to return to classrooms in some capacity and are confident that schools will use this guidance to build a framework that best meets the unique needs of their students and communities.”

By Ruby Mellen
June 3, 2020 at 3:41 PM EDT

Medical journals cast doubt on their studies about coronavirus drugs

Two high-profile medical journals expressed concern this week that their studies about drugs used to treat the coronavirus may have relied on faulty data.

The New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday published an “expression of concern” about a study that suggested that two drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure — angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers — did not increase covid-19 patients’ risk of death.

“Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database,” the journal’s statement said. “We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable.”

The Lancet released a similar warning Wednesday indicating that “important scientific questions have been raised about data” used in a study the journal published last month about the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. That study, which included nearly 100,000 patients, concluded that the drugs were correlated with a lower survival rate in covid-19 patients.

There has already been controversy around hydroxychloroquine. President Trump has encouraged its use and said that he has taken it himself, although there is no reliable evidence that the drug effectively prevents or treats the coronavirus. The World Health Organization paused its hydroxychloroquine trial after the Lancet article was published but announced Wednesday that it would resume.

Both studies relied on de-identified data from Surgisphere, an international registry that includes information from 169 hospitals in 11 countries. In a statement on its website, the company defended its data and said its observational studies are limited by their inability to be controlled for complicating factors.

The Lancet said the authors of its study who are not affiliated with Surgisphere have commissioned an independent audit of the data.

By Marisa Iati
June 3, 2020 at 3:09 PM EDT

While cases rise, Florida prepares to move into Phase 2 of reopening

Most of Florida is on track to move into the second phase of reopening on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Wednesday — the same day that the state reported its second-highest daily jump in coronavirus infections, with 1,317 new cases.

Speaking to reporters at Universal Parks and Resorts, DeSantis announced that bars, theme parks, bowling alleys and other recreational venues with approved social distancing measures in place will be allowed to open in 64 of Florida’s 67 counties.

“Amusement parks — we’re here right now — we wanted them to work with their local governments to submit plans,” DeSantis said, the Associated Press reported. “Universal did a great job, had a great plan, and I think as you’ve seen, they’re taking safety very seriously to keep their guests safe.”

DeSantis has pushed to reopen the state and argued that the economic benefits outweigh the health risks, a calculus many public health officials reject.

The governor initially allowed restaurants and retail shops to open in early May at 25 percent capacity, granting more leeway as the month went on. Under the guidelines set to be implemented Friday, retail establishments can open at normal capacity and restaurants can seat patrons at bars. Entertainment businesses and bars will be allowed to reopen for the first time, though only at 50 percent capacity.

Florida’s three counties hit hardest by the virus — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — have yet to meet the state’s bar for reopening.

The state had reported 58,764 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,566 covid-19-related deaths as of Wednesday.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 2:59 PM EDT

Member of security force assigned to Texas Capitol during unrest tests positive for coronavirus

A member of the security force dispatched to guard the Texas Capitol in Austin during protests over the in-custody killing of George Floyd has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

State Preservation Board spokesman Christopher Currens told the newspaper that the “case involves the DPS/National Guard security contingent temporarily assigned to the Capitol.” The preservation board was told about the positive test overnight, the American-Statesman reported.

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the American-Statesman, the paper reported, nor to a separate request from The Washington Post.

The statehouse in Austin has been closed to the public since March, when much of the nation shut down gathering spaces and implemented social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the weeks leading up to Floyd’s death, Americans had begun to slowly venture from their homes, many still wearing masks and proceeding with caution as the coronavirus continued to infect communities nationwide, hitting black and Latino people especially hard.

Then Floyd was killed in police custody, and mass protests swept the nation. Many wore masks, but maintaining social distancing has been nearly impossible. Health officials have said they are concerned that communities will see spikes in cases in the weeks to come.

By Katie Mettler
June 3, 2020 at 2:55 PM EDT

Tyson returns to pre-pandemic policy of penalizing absentee workers

Tyson Food, whose meat processing plant employees have reported more than 7,000 coronavirus cases, is reinstituting its policy penalizing workers absent because of illness, Bloomberg News reported.

The policy excludes coronavirus cases, Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told Bloomberg in an email that confirmed the company’s return to its original policy, which it amended in mid-March as the pandemic hit.

“Workers who have symptoms of the virus or have tested positive will continue to be asked to stay home and will not be penalized,” Mickelson wrote. “They will also continue to qualify for short-term disability pay so they can continue to be paid while they’re sick.”

Nonetheless, the move by Tyson, the United States’ largest meat processor, poses a challenge to worker advocates, who have hoped to cement long-term expansions in health care and other employee benefits necessitated by the pandemic.

In mid-March, Tyson announced that it was “relaxing attendance policies in our plants by eliminating any punitive effect for missing work due to illness,” Bloomberg reported. That is now the case only for illnesses directly related to the coronavirus.

As The Washington Post reported in late May, despite Tyson implementing virus-related preventive measures in its factories, cases among employees exploded from 1,600 at the end of April to 7,000 a month later.

“What has happened at Tyson — and in the meat industry overall — shows how difficult it is to get the nation back to normal, even in essential fields such as food processing,” The Post reported.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 2:20 PM EDT

Roughly 24 percent more people have died this year in Spain than during the same period last year

MADRID — Nearly 44,000 more people have died since the beginning of 2020 than in the same period last year — an increase of 24 percent — Spain’s National Statistics Institute reported Wednesday.

The institute reported a 155 percent spike in mortality between March 30 and April 5, which coincided with the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. At least 20,575 people died that week, compared with 8,081 during the same week in 2019.

The country’s health ministry said the institute’s number is higher than the country’s official death toll of the pandemic — 28,128 people — because the ministry only includes those who died in a hospital after testing positive for covid-19. Officials said that including people who died without being tested or due to other causes offers a fuller picture of the pandemic’s toll.

Spain is now updating its covid-19 death toll once a week, as opposed to every day. On Wednesday, it raised its most recent seven-day death toll from 34 to 63, citing delays in reporting by regional authorities. The next update is expected by Friday.

The health ministry also reported 219 new infections in the past 24 hours, compared to Tuesday’s 137 new cases. Spain has reported 240,326 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

By Pamela Rolfe
June 3, 2020 at 2:08 PM EDT

Americans divided on Trump’s coronavirus response, poll finds

A Monmouth University survey shows that Americans are divided in their assessments of how President Trump has handled the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, with views splitting sharply along partisan lines.

Fifty-two percent of voters said they either do not have much confidence or have no confidence at all in Trump's ability to handle the recovery, while 47 percent said they have a great deal or some confidence. Among Republicans, 93 percent said they have a great deal or some confidence in Trump to handle the post-pandemic response, while only 10 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents said the same.

By contrast, 54 percent of voters said they have a great deal or some confidence in presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to handle the post-pandemic recovery, while 45 percent said they don't have much confidence or have no confidence at all.

Most voters — 59 percent — also said it doesn’t matter to them that the pandemic means there will be fewer in-person campaign events during this election season. Slightly more Republicans (23 percent) than Democrats (17 percent) said they view the decrease in in-person political events as a bad thing.

The poll was conducted by phone from May 28 to June 1 among 742 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

By Felicia Sonmez
June 3, 2020 at 1:39 PM EDT

Cases rise in Arizona weeks after stay-at-home order is lifted

Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in Arizona just two weeks after the state lifted its stay-at-home measure.

The state health department reported 973 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 40 related deaths on Wednesday, a day after it registered a record rise in infections: 1,127 in 24 hours. In total, the state has confirmed 22,223 coronavirus cases and 981 deaths.

While bars and nightclubs remain closed, salons, gyms and restaurants, among other businesses, are can now operate if they implement preventive measures.

The return to economic and social activities, however, probably will come at a cost to public health, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Wednesday.

“A state like Arizona is concerning,” he said. “The scope of the rise and the velocity of it is concerning. I think its going to be vary hard, though, for a lot of these governors to hear a suggestion to go backward and start implementing the mitigation again.”

States and other countries have struggled to contain new coronavirus outbreaks amid pressure to reopen businesses and reduce restrictions on movement. That, said Gottlieb, could mean officials in Arizona and other states accept a higher rate of new cases going forward than they did at the height of the virus’s first wave.

“And that just sets up more risk — that a state like Arizona can have a very large outbreak and end up reseeding parts of the country,” he said.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 1:02 PM EDT

Florida’s largest majority-black city was doing well. Then came coronavirus.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Betty Ferguson has spent decades trying to make sure her community does not suffer the same kind of economic and environmental discrimination she’s seen in too many places.

Ferguson, 75, has led successful fights against a garbage dump and a detention center. She rallied neighbors to fight for an independent county commission seat and then to vote for incorporation as the city of Miami Gardens, arguing that things would improve if residents had more control over how their tax dollars were spent.

Parks were cleaned up, businesses moved in and the city thrived. Now, Miami Gardens — the largest majority-black city in the state — is waging a fight against the coronavirus. The virus has disproportionately attacked black Americans regardless of where they live, how much money they make or how well they have galvanized their communities. For Ferguson, it is the first foe she cannot organize around.

Read more here.

By Cleve Wootson
June 3, 2020 at 12:34 PM EDT

Study finds at least 600 nurses have died from covid-19, half in the past month

More than 600 nurses worldwide have died of covid-19 — a toll that has doubled in the past month, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Geneva-based International Council of Nurses.

The virus has infected at least 450,000 health-care workers, the federation of nurse associations reported. The group also cautioned that, as with the fatalities count, the real rate of health-care workers affected is presumed to be far higher than is known.

“ICN implores governments to collect accurate data on nurse infections and deaths and act to protect their health and save lives,” the group said in a statement, adding, “Worldwide, there is no systematic and standardised record of the number of nurses and healthcare workers (HCWs) who have contracted the disease or died of it.”

Based on the available data, ICN has recorded at least 600 deaths related to covid-19 in over 30 countries — a startling jump from the 260 the organization registered as of May 6.

“These are numbers that keep going up,” Howard Catton, chief executive of ICN, told Reuters.

The group’s findings indicate that, on average, 7 percent of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide are among health-care professionals. However, the rates of infection have also varied widely by country — another area that ICN implored governments and public health officials to address.

“Why do the rates of deaths among nurses appear higher in some Latin American countries? Why are some countries reporting disproportionate deaths among black, Asian and minority ethnic HCWs?” ICN asked as examples of questions to investigate.

The former situation has been documented in Latin America, which the World Health Organization has labeled the pandemic’s latest epicenter, while the latter has been the subject of a government inquiry in the United Kingdom.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 11:54 AM EDT

More than 200 employees of Kansas City paper-product factory are infected

Over 200 employees of a Kansas City paper-product manufacturer have tested positive for the coronavirus in the two weeks since the first case was reported, according to local health officials.

The Kansas City Health Department confirmed the first coronavirus-infected employee of Aspen Paper Products in mid-May, and health officials knew of around 24 cases at the plant as of last week. That number rose dramatically after the factory conducted mass testing on Friday and Saturday, the health department said Tuesday in a news release.

“The health department is providing the company with detailed recommendations to help mitigate the outbreak, including sanitization measures, personal protection equipment and physical distancing instructions, temperature checks before shifts, and a testing schedule to identify those who unknowingly have the virus and are passing it to others at the business,” the health department said.

The plant employs about 850 people, 500 of whom are full-time employees and the rest of whom are on temporary contracts. Before the factory’s news, the city had confirmed 1,183 people infected with the virus that causes covid-19, including 50 new cases on Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reported.

Aspen Paper Products was classified as an essential business and continued operating during the city’s shutdown, which is gradually being lifted, the Kansas City Star also reported.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 11:15 AM EDT

Vietnam, with no covid-19 deaths, sees improvement in most grave case

Vietnam’s most severely sick coronavirus patient is on the mend, state media reported Wednesday, as the government continues to channel all resources toward preventing its first covid-19-related death.

The 43-year-old British pilot for Vietnam Airlines, known as Patient 91, may no longer need a lung transplant, Reuters reported. He has begun smiling, shaking hands and responding to hospital staff, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency. VNA reported that the man remains on a ventilator, but his reliance on the lifesaving machine has lessened.

The Vietnamese government has spent over $215,000 to treat him, and VNA reported that more than 50 people have offered a lung to help save him. Vietnam’s second most gravely ill patient, known as Patient 19, has also recovered and was discharged from the hospital Wednesday.

Only 328 people in the country have had confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and nearly all have reportedly recovered. Vietnam has reported no covid-19-related fatalities.

The country has mostly contained its coronavirus outbreak through intensive testing and contact tracing, as well as a centralized quarantine system. It has also been relatively transparent about cases, despite the government’s documented suppression of free speech.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 10:48 AM EDT

Dow opens up more than 200 points as Wall Street focuses on recovery

Stocks traded higher Wednesday as investors continued to home in on positive economic signals and largely dismissed the social unrest that has roiled cities across the country for more than a week.

Wall Street focused on recovery as economies around the world continued to ease restrictions meant to blunt the spread of the coronavirus. New data showed that private payrolls shrank far less than expected in May, while hopes grew for more government stimulus in Europe. But storm clouds remain amid a recent flare-up in U.S.-China tensions and widespread protests in the United States over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped nearly 230 points, or 0.9 percent, at the opening bell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.7 percent, while the tech-centric Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 percent. The gains come after the broad-based S&P 500 clocked its highest close in three months and pulled within 10 percent of its all-time high.

Private payrolls shed 2.76 million jobs in May, according to an ADP report released Wednesday. Though substantial, the losses are significantly less than the nearly 8.8 million analysts had forecast. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 14.7 percent in April — the worst since the Great Depression — and is expected to push toward 20 percent when the Labor Department releases May data Friday.

Oil markets retreated after Bloomberg News reported that an upcoming OPEC meeting might be stalled over a production cuts dispute. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell nearly 1 percent to $39.20 a barrel.

By Taylor Telford
June 3, 2020 at 10:33 AM EDT

Severe cyclone bears down on Mumbai, India’s coronavirus hot spot

NEW DELHI — A severe cyclone slammed into India’s western coast on Wednesday, menacing the mega-city of Mumbai for the first time in decades. Packing winds of up to 75 mph and heavy rainfall, Cyclone Nisarga made landfall 60 miles south of Mumbai at a time when the city is struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Mumbai, home to 20 million people, has emerged as India’s coronavirus hot spot, with more than 40,000 cases and 1,300 deaths, straining its creaky health-care system. Among those evacuated to safety in the city from the approaching cyclone were coronavirus patients. The state raced to add reinforcements to some of the temporary health facilities built in the past month on open ground, structures that may not be strong enough to withstand the high wind speeds. Hospitals have been provided with generators.

“Let us fight this danger like we are standing up to the Corona pandemic and are on our way to defeat it,” the state’s chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, wrote in a tweet, asking residents to stay indoors for two days. Flight operations were suspended at Mumbai’s international airport for a few hours. The city was supposed to see a gradual lifting of the coronavirus lockdown this week.

Read more here.

By Niha Masih
June 3, 2020 at 9:46 AM EDT

Private payrolls shed another 2.76 million jobs in May, ADP data show

Companies shed 2.76 million jobs from April to May, according to ADP’s private payroll report, a figure that came in well below analyst estimates but still exposed the devastation of the coronavirus recession.

Large businesses, which employ 500 people or more, bore the brunt of those losses at 1.6 million. Manufacturing and trade sectors were hit especially hard.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected a drop of 8.75 million. It’s unclear why there’s such a large gap.

Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade, said that even while the May figures defied expectations, “there still remain a lot of question marks.”

“The world of work has structurally changed and it’s unclear if recent job losses are permanent or if there is hope of them returning,” Loewengart said. “Further, as the hunt for a vaccine continues, this could have downstream effects on the economy and job market should a second wave of infections arise.”

The ADP report, which covers data from mid-April through mid-May, is the latest snapshot of U.S. employment.

Some 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, propelling the U.S. unemployment rate to 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression, according to Labor Department data. The Labor Department’s May rate, due Friday, is expected to go even higher as millions more Americans have filed jobless claims since.

By Rachel Siegel
June 3, 2020 at 9:04 AM EDT

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says death is ‘everyone’s destiny,’ as 1,262 reported dead in one day

Brazil reported a record 1,262 new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday evening, raising the country’s fatality total to at least 31,199. New confirmed cases grew to more than 550,000, a staggering figure that made Brazil’s case count second only to that of the United States.

Brazil ranks third behind the United States and Spain in coronavirus-related deaths, although it is on track to surpass Spain’s official count of about 33,500 fatalities.

Despite the intensifying calamity, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the severity of the pandemic. He told supporters Tuesday, “We lament all deaths, but it’s everyone’s destiny,” Reuters reported.

Bolsonaro has urged state and city leaders to reopen or keep open businesses to lessen the economic fallout, arguing that a financial crisis would be worse than the human toll of the pandemic.

By Miriam Berger
June 3, 2020 at 8:33 AM EDT

Virginia moves to next phase of reopening. Here’s what that means.

Most of Virginia will move to the next phase of reopening on Friday, in which, among other things, restaurants will be allowed indoor dining at half capacity and gyms and fitness centers can open at 30 percent capacity, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Tuesday.

But Northern Virginia and the city of Richmond, which have been hit harder by the novel coronavirus, will remain in Phase 1 of Northam’s plan to return to normalcy.

Among other things, the looser restrictions in most parts of the state mean that the limit on groups expands to 50 or fewer people, instead of the 10 or fewer under Phase 1, which allows some entertainment venues to reopen, while pools, museums and zoos can reopen with restrictions, officials said.

Recreational sports will also be allowed with proper distancing and no sharing of equipment.

Read more here.

By Antonio Olivo
June 3, 2020 at 7:40 AM EDT

Oklahoma State linebacker who participated in a George Floyd protest says he has tested positive for the coronavirus

An Oklahoma State linebacker who participated in a protest over the death of George Floyd while in police custody said he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Amen Ogbongbemiga tweeted that he had tested positive and had been “well protective” of himself during marches that began over the weekend in Tulsa. He urged others who plan to protest to “take care of yourself and stay safe.” Tulsa police said more than 1,000 people protested Sunday, and protests continued Monday and Tuesday.

Ogbongbemiga and 29 other players returned to the Stillwater, Okla., campus on Monday in the first phase of reopening. He and the other players, along with coaches and staff members, were tested for the virus, ESPN reported.

University protocol calls for Ogbongbemiga, an incoming senior, to be quarantined in on-campus housing. He will be retested Friday and again at a later date. Protocol calls for the school to begin contact tracing with his “cohort/workout group,” and he will be monitored by the team physician and the training staff.

The Big 12 Conference has announced that football teams can begin voluntary workouts on June 15. Earlier Tuesday, the school said it would bring football players back in phases, with testing, quarantining and tracing.

Cowboys Coach Mike Gundy was criticized in April for saying that he hoped to have his players back on May 1.

“In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them,” he said then. “They’re all in good shape. They’re all 18-, 19-, 20-, 21- and 22-year-olds. They’re healthy.”

“A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and the build that they have. There’s some people that are asymptomatic. If that’s true, then we sequester them. And people say that’s crazy. No, it’s not crazy because we need to continue and budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma.”

By Cindy Boren
June 3, 2020 at 7:10 AM EDT

World Economic Forum in Davos still set to take place next January

The organizers of the World Economic Forum said Wednesday that they are planning to hold their annual meeting as scheduled next January, both virtually and in-person in Davos, Switzerland.

Officials have confirmed more than 30,000 coronavirus cases in Switzerland, a country of about 8.5 million people. Switzerland was the scene of some of the first major cancellations of key European events during the pandemic. In February, the Geneva International Motor Show was canceled, as authorities imposed some of the first restrictions in Europe on mass gatherings.

The 2020 forum took place at the end of January, only weeks before the pandemic fully arrived in Europe. But next year’s event could still face major disruptions, amid uncertainty over a potential second wave of infections in the winter.

The meeting is set to take place under the motto “The Great Reset,” Klaus Schwab, the WEF executive chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. He added that thousands of young participants and everyone else who is interested would be invited to join the debate.

“A Great Reset is necessary to build a new social contract that honours the dignity of every human being,” Schwab said in a release. “The global health crisis has laid bare the unsustainability of our old system in terms of social cohesion, the lack of equal opportunities and inclusiveness. Nor can we turn our backs on the evils of racism and discrimination.

“This global pandemic has also demonstrated again how interconnected we are. We have to restore a functioning system of smart global cooperation structured to address the challenges of the next 50 years,” Schwab said.

By Rick Noack
June 3, 2020 at 6:52 AM EDT

How to protest safely in a pandemic

The United States, still navigating a pandemic that has killed nearly 107,000 Americans, is reeling from protests over the death of George Floyd. These have been followed by riots, looting and a militarized police response.

The confluence of events means protesters must try to avoid causing a surge in covid-19 cases as they prepare for the possibility of being caught up in violence or facing crowd-dispersal tactics that include rubber bullets, tear gas and smoke or flash grenades.

If you’re set on protesting, how can you protect yourself from these dangers?

Read more here.

By Tal Abbady
June 3, 2020 at 6:22 AM EDT

Germany and the Netherlands lift some coronavirus travel warnings

The German government announced Wednesday it will ease a global travel warning starting June 15, with cautions set to be lifted for most European countries.

Other countries, including the Netherlands, have prepared similar steps this week.

In both Germany and the Netherlands, authorities continue to advise against nonessential travel to Britain, which has announced a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the country.

The lifting of travel warnings does not automatically result in a return to borderless travel in the 26 European states that make up the Schengen area, which was restricted in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some countries, including Spain, are expected to keep travel restrictions on tourists in place until July. In Norway, most restrictions could even remain in place until August.

The decisions by several European Union member states this week to lift or ease travel warnings is still important, however, as some insurance won’t cover trips to places affected by government warnings.

Governmental travel warnings usually indicate that travelers’ safety and health could be at risk.

By Rick Noack
June 3, 2020 at 6:09 AM EDT

With lockdown easing in Britain, coastal areas worry about second surge of infections

LONDON — With Britain’s easing of lockdown coinciding with a long spell of warm weather, many have flocked to beaches across the country in recent weeks, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last month that travel would no longer be restricted.

During the nationwide lockdown that was implemented on March 23, people were encouraged to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and only travel if it was essential.

Photos and videos from social media during the weekend showed crowds congregating at tourist hotspots across the country as thousands soaked up the sun close to each other, seemingly ignoring social distancing measures — much to the despair of locals who say they have worked hard to honor health and safety regulations and keep the virus out.

Spencer Flower, the leader of Dorset Council, penned a letter to the prime minister pleading with him to reconsider his rule of “unrestricted travel.” Last weekend saw hundreds of people flock to Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast, leaving behind litter, charred remains of illegal campfires and lingering anxiety among residents that an influx of visitors from across the country could trigger a second surge in covid-19 cases.

Flower said the lifting of travel restrictions has a “disproportionately negative effect” on popular coastal areas like Dorset which “do not have the infrastructure to cope.”

“I am worried that we will see a second wave of infection here as a result of the high number of visitors to the area over recent days. I’m asking the government to act now to save the lives of Dorset residents,” he wrote.

By Jennifer Hassan
June 3, 2020 at 5:40 AM EDT

Portugal’s foreign minister says British tourists ‘most welcome’

LONDON — As the world begins to reopen following the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Wednesday British tourists are “most welcome” in the country this summer.

Speaking to BBC Radio, Silva expressed hope that Britain and Portugal could come up with an agreement that would allow those visiting to avoid the two-week quarantine rule coming into place in Britain on Monday. Although he respected new health measures, he said the quarantine rule “was an enemy of tourism.”

Those visiting Portugal will not have to face quarantine but will probably be subjected to temperature checks at airports. It is mandatory to wear face masks on public transport and in enclosed places such as supermarkets. Those visiting the archipelagoes of Madeira and the Azores will have to quarantine for two weeks, though that rule might be scrapped by July 1.

The Algarve Tourism board is keen to welcome tourists back and says Britain is its main market. Around 2.5 million British nationals visited Portugal last year.

Britain’s junior health minister, Edward Argar, said while he hoped Britons would be able to take a vacation this year, travel would be dependent on the coronavirus risk rate.

Beaches in Portugal will fully reopen to locals this week as the country prepares to rebuild its economy after weeks of lockdown restrictions. Social-distancing measures will be enforced and group sports will be banned. Those hoping to visit beaches will be able to download an app which will provide an update on how crowded they are.

As hotels in the country also begin reopening, measures are being introduced to help contain the spread of the virus, including longer time periods to allow for more thorough cleaning between check-in and checkout.

With almost 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus, the Britain is the worst hit country in Europe. Portugal responded quickly to the threat of the infection and has a relatively low death toll of 1,436.

By Jennifer Hassan
June 3, 2020 at 5:18 AM EDT

Alaska’s plan to make coronavirus testing mandatory for travelers runs into backlash

Alaska’s plan to test all travelers for coronavirus is facing backlash as tourists cancel their summer vacation plans, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced Friday that out-of-state visitors would no longer be subject to a 14-day quarantine period as long as they tested negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of their flight, or upon arriving at the airport. But officials have yet to clarify what tourists are supposed to do if they’re unable to get tested where they live, or if they test positive once they arrive in Alaska.

Some tourists are simply opting to rethink their summer plans. At the Denali Lakeview Inn in Healy, Alaska, 85 percent of bookings already had been canceled before Dunleavy’s announcement. “The 15 percent left were kind of hanging on to see what the governor was going to say,” co-owner Daryl Frisbie told the paper. On Saturday morning, he said, the lodge got “nothing but cancellations.”

Sheri Woodbeck, who had planned to travel to Alaska for a halibut-fishing excursion next week, told the Daily News she had canceled her flight after realizing she wouldn’t be able to get results until she was already on the plane. “What happens if I did test positive?” she asked. “I would be in trouble.”

Many Alaska communities rely heavily on tourism, particularly from cruise ships. Meanwhile, the state’s geographic isolation and mandatory quarantine period has helped prevent a major coronavirus outbreak. Only 10 Alaskans have died of covid-19, and the state has one of the lowest infection rates in the country.

No other state has instituted mandatory coronavirus testing for outsiders, though Hawaii is weighing the possibility.

By Antonia Farzan
June 3, 2020 at 4:57 AM EDT

With buses inadequate, Filipinos go back to work on bikes — and make their own lanes

MANILA — The end of a 2½ month lockdown in Manila has been accompanied by crippling traffic jams with restrictions on public transportation, so many people can’t get to work.

As hundreds of thousands are stranded from the lack of seats on public transport, cycling has become an increasingly popular alternative. Bike sales have surged under the lockdown. One initiative, Life Cycles, distributed hundreds of bikes to front line health-care workers to get them to their jobs.

Biking on traffic choked streets of Manila is not easy, so when Philippine traffic officials did not put up a protected bike lane, one group took matters into their own hands. Bikers United Marshals set up makeshift markers along a major avenue, then deployed volunteers to ensure road safety.

But the Metro Manila Development Authority on Wednesday announced it would levy the volunteers a $20 fine each, local reports said. The traffic monitoring body also said it would look into the possibility of filing charges.

“We believe we have done our bikers (mostly without protective gear) our humble service,” Bikers United Marshals said in a statement. “If the MMDA sees otherwise, then we have to be ready for the consequences of the incompetence of our leaders.”

Ahead of relaxing the lockdown, a biking group had official permission to conduct a trial run for a protected bike lane along a main thoroughfare. So many bikers used it, however, that authorities shut it down at noon, reportedly due to “underestimated demand.”

An MMDA spokesperson said the new makeshift lane endangers cyclists. But government critics and frustrated commuters say civilians are practically doing government officials’ jobs for them.

“The benefits of popup bike lanes are well-documented,” transport planner Anton Siy tweeted. Echoing Bikers United Marshalls, he added, “Doing nothing is more fatal.”

By Regine Cabato
June 3, 2020 at 4:36 AM EDT

Didn’t get your stimulus payment? Here’s how to find it.

I never fully appreciated the skill of writing instructions until I tried to help people figure out what has become of their stimulus payments.

The IRS — stymied by the lack of staff and old technology — delivered more than 140 million economic impact payments (EIP) worth $239 billion by mid-May under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act.

But getting the money out has been anything but smooth. The online tools built to facilitate payments have had a number of issues, often related to instructions on how to use them. Stimulus payment delivery dates came and went, leaving people frustrated and worried. Taxpayers have received notices that payments have been deposited in their bank accounts, but the money isn’t there. Parents received their stimulus payments minus the promised $500 per dependent child.

Read more here.

By Michelle Singletary
June 3, 2020 at 4:09 AM EDT

Top Swedish epidemiologist acknowledges that country should have done more to stop coronavirus

The architect of Sweden’s controversial coronavirus strategy has acknowledged the country should have done more to control the spread of the virus.

In a Wednesday interview with Sveriges Radio, Anders Tegnell, the country’s top epidemiologist, said too many people had died and more aggressive measures were clearly needed. But he stopped short of saying Sweden should have implemented a strict lockdown, saying it was not yet clear what responses to the pandemic had paid off in other countries.

“If we were to encounter the same disease again, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would settle on doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell said, according to the Local Sweden.

Sweden has reported upward of 38,000 coronavirus cases and 4,468 deaths, giving it a far higher per capita death rate than its Nordic neighbors, which all introduced mandatory lockdowns. While Sweden’s health officials banned group gatherings of more than 50 people and encouraged social distancing, they also took a more laissez-faire approach by allowing bars, restaurants, gyms and schools for children under 16 to remain open.

Criticism of Sweden’s model grew last week when Annika Linde, the country’s former head epidemiologist, publicly changed her stance on the anti-lockdown policy and said it had proved to be unsuccessful. Even a month of lockdown would have bought authorities time to find ways to protect Sweden’s most vulnerable residents, such as elderly people in nursing homes, she said.

Tegnell, typically a staunch defender of the Swedish model, has argued a more lenient approach will be more sustainable in the long run. But he acknowledged Wednesday that there was “clearly room for improvement” in Sweden’s response to the pandemic.

By Antonia Farzan
June 3, 2020 at 3:44 AM EDT

As Dubai beaches open, 100 people are fined for not wearing masks, socially distancing

DUBAI — The covid enforcers at Dubai’s Beaches Security Section have drawn a line in the sand. And it’s two meters. About 100 people were fined for violating rules meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus when they hit the reopened beaches in the wealthy Gulf emirate of Dubai, police reported Wednesday.

According to signs posted on Dubai’s beaches, those not engaging in social distancing or wearing a mask risk fines of around $800. Beaches have been closed since the end of March and residents flocked to the sand on Friday when they were reopened.

“At the beginning of the reopening, people weren’t following the precautionary measures. But after issuing the fines, people started complying with the precautionary measures,” Lt. Ahmad Al Marzouqi from the police’s Beaches Security Section told Arabian Business. “The most important thing now is social distancing for at least two meters and wearing masks after coming out of the sea.”

New guidelines on masks issued this week stipulated that they do not need to be worn while swimming but otherwise should be used on the beach.

After a strict lockdown through April that was eased in May, restrictions in Dubai have been almost entirely lifted, with malls and business allowed to operate at full capacity starting Wednesday.

Dubai, which lacks the oil wealth of neighboring Abu Dhabi, depends heavily on the service sector and tourism, all of which have been severely affected by the coronavirus.

In survey in April by the local chamber of commerce, 70 percent of respondents said they expected their businesses to go bankrupt within six months.

In the past two weeks, the number of new cases announced each day has slowly declined with just under 600 on Tuesday. The United Arab Emirates has had more than 35,000 cases of covid-19 in total.

The capital Abu Dhabi on Tuesday was sealed off from the rest of the country for a week as it carried out intensive testing to discover asymptomatic cases.

By Paul Schemm
June 3, 2020 at 3:21 AM EDT

More than 50 percent of people in Ireland report drinking more during pandemic

More than 50 percent of people in Ireland say they have been drinking alcohol more often since coronavirus restrictions were introduced, according to a study from TheJournal.ie and the Global Drug Survey.

Out of 2,200 people who took the online survey, 54 percent said their drinking had increased. Thirty-two percent said it had increased only a little, while 22 percent said it had increased significantly.

Those findings placed Ireland ahead of other countries, but not necessarily in a good way. Globally, 44 percent of people said their alcohol consumption had gone up since February, when coronavirus-related lockdowns were not yet in place for most of the world. Ireland also had a higher number of people who said that they had been doing more binge drinking — consuming five or more drinks at a time — since February.

While roughly a quarter of the people surveyed said they were drinking more as a way to cope with anxiety about the pandemic, 43 percent said they simply had more time on their hands.

Of those who reported their drinking had decreased, roughly two-thirds attributed the change to not being able to meet up with people they would usually drink with.

By Antonia Farzan
June 3, 2020 at 2:43 AM EDT

Video: What happens after you recover from covid-19

Francis Wilson survived a severe case of the coronavirus after 10 days on a ventilator, but the 29-year-old’s recovery has been slow. Doctors are still beginning to understand the long-term effects of the virus.

See more here.

By Monica Rodman
June 3, 2020 at 2:20 AM EDT

Italy reopens to European tourists

Italy is reopening to European tourists on Wednesday, though it is not yet clear if visitors will be flocking to one of the earliest, and deadliest, epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak.

Although the number of new infections has significantly dropped off since the peak in March, Italy is still reporting dozens of new cases a day. In neighboring Switzerland, authorities have said that it is still too early to lift restrictions on people coming from Italy and that Swiss nationals who cross the border should expect to undergo “health measures” when they return. Many other countries, including Britain, are still warning residents against traveling abroad.

Italy hosted 63 million overseas visitors last year, and the country’s minister for culture and tourism, Dario Franceschini, has said that he doesn’t expect the industry to fully recover until 2023. Meanwhile, Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister, has announced plans to travel to Greece, Slovenia and Germany on a mission to convince them that Italy is a safe travel destination.

Major attractions such as the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa have already reopened for domestic tourists, with new safety measures in place. At Florence’s Duomo, visitors are given social distancing necklaces that vibrate and light up when visitors get too close to one another.

By Antonia Farzan
June 3, 2020 at 1:49 AM EDT

A massive Raphael exhibit reopens in Rome. Six people can enter every five minutes.

ROME — The once-in-a-lifetime exhibit took three years to come together. Organizers arranged for the careful transport of Raphael masterpieces lent from London, Washington, Florence, Madrid. The insurance bill was 4 billion euros, or nearly $4.5 billion.

One 1510 painting, “The Alba Madonna,” had belonged over the centuries to Spanish nobility, the emperor of Russia and American banker Andrew Mellon, who acquired it in a secret Soviet art sell-off.

At last, it was back in Italy for the first time since the 17th century.

Just in time for the pandemic.

The exhibit marking the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death coincided with Italy’s coronavirus lockdown and was halted in early March after all of three days.

Even as Italy now moves to reopen its famed cultural sites, including the Raphael exhibit, the lasting restrictions of the pandemic have dramatically changed how widely they can be seen.

Read more here.

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli
June 3, 2020 at 1:11 AM EDT

University of Southern California will resume in-person classes in August

The University of Southern California will resume in-person classes when the fall semester begins in August, President Carol L. Folt said Tuesday.

The announcement comes at a time when many colleges and universities are grappling with whether they can offer a safe environment for students, and recognizing that few are willing to pay full tuition for online instruction. At USC, undergraduates who return to campus will likely be spending a lot more time watching online lectures and eating takeout food from dining halls in their dorm rooms — and they’ll have fewer roommates, or possibly none at all.

Classes will begin a week earlier than previously planned and wrap up by Thanksgiving so students are back home by the time flu season ramps up, Folt said in her letter to the campus community. Most in-person classes will also be offered online, giving faculty and students the option of not returning to campus. Masks and physical distancing will be mandatory at all times, while dorms and dining halls “will be modified to reduce density and contact,” Folt wrote.

Los Angeles County is still under a stay-at-home order, and Folt said it was highly possible that plans could change as guidance from health officials evolves.

By Antonia Farzan
June 3, 2020 at 12:50 AM EDT

Maduro, Guaidó pause feud to address coronavirus in Venezuela

CARACAS — After years of being on extreme opposite sides, the government of Nicolás Maduro and the opposition led by Juan Guaidó decided to pause their feud and collaborate on a strategy to combat the novel coronavirus in Venezuela.

The deal was announced Tuesday by the country’s minster of communication, Jorge Rodríguez, and confirmed by the National Assembly in a statement.

“We want to report good news to Venezuela,” Rodríguez said during a televised announcement, in which he assured both sides left “politics aside” to work for the same cause.

The collaboration agreement was signed by Maduro’s health minister and by Julio Castro, an infectious-disease expert tapped by Guaidó in March to lead a coronavirus response task force. The Pan American Health Organization’s representative in Venezuela, Gerardo de Cosio, was a witness and part of the agreement, Rodríguez confirmed.

The National Assembly released a statement on Twitter saying that Maduro’s government agreed to let the PAHO receive funds from the Venezuelan opposition for humanitarian aid.

Venezuela has reported 1,819 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, but experts believe the actual numbers are much higher. With a collapsing health system and difficulties in receiving aid due to the U.S. blockade, the deal is intended to help control the escalating situation.

By Ana Vanessa Herrero
June 3, 2020 at 12:20 AM EDT

U.N. economic body calls for greater action on debt

A growing number of countries are or may soon be facing staggering debt crises due to the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the United Nations’s top economic body warned on Tuesday.

Mona Juul, Norway’s U.N. ambassador and president of the 54-nation U.N. Economic and Social Council, called for stronger measures to fight the devastating economic consequences of the global health crisis, according to the Associated Press.

Member nations in the Group of 20, which include the world’s 20 major economies, have frozen debt service payments for some of the world’s poorest nations through the end of 2020.

That will freeze up an estimated $11 billion in debt for eligible countries, but governments that qualify for the moratorium will still have an additional $20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt due this year. More needs to be done, Juul said during a meeting on coronavirus recovery financing.

“Many countries will have to make difficult choices between servicing their debt, fighting the pandemic, and investing in recovery,” she said, the AP reported, even if the suspension on debt payments is extended for another year.

Amina J. Mohammed, the U.N.’s second-in-command, said the financing necessary to close fiscal gaps would have to be tailored to individual countries.

As industrial sectors come to a screeching halt, supply chains have collapsed and put government officials — already scrambling to address health needs — under the additional burden of addressing rising unemployment.

“By all measures, we are in a recession of unparalleled proportions,” Mohammed said Tuesday. “Financing on an unprecedented scale is essential to an effective response.”

By Teo Armus
June 3, 2020 at 12:15 AM EDT

Trump says GOP will look to move convention out of North Carolina

President Trump said Tuesday that the Republican Party would seek to pull its August nominating convention out of North Carolina, after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper refused to heed a party demand that he pre-authorize a gathering of at least 19,000 people.

The announcement, nearly two years after Republicans began planning the event in Charlotte, marks the latest political confrontation over how to handle the coronavirus pandemic. North Carolina Democrats say the scale of any convention has to depend on health conditions in the state, where coronavirus-related hospitalizations peaked in late May.

Read more here.

By Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey