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The medical journal Lancet published a statement from the authors of a study showing that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous for hospitalized covid-19 patients, saying they were unable to complete an independent audit of the hospital data underpinning their analysis. As a result, they concluded they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

The study, purportedly based on the health records of almost 100,000 patients around the world, found that hospitalized covid-19 patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine — a drug repeatedly touted by President Trump — had a sharply higher risk of death and heart-rhythm problems compared to those who did not receive the drug.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a House panel Thursday that demonstrators protesting racial injustice need to get tested for the coronavirus.
  • Two countries on Thursday reported alarming increases in coronavirus cases. Brazil confirmed a record number of deaths on consecutive days, more than 2,600 in that time, and now has at least 584,000 confirmed cases of covid-19. And Iran, which was hard hit earlier this year but began lifting lockdown restrictions April 11, reported a record 3,574 new confirmed cases over the past 24 hours, raising concerns of a second wave of infections.
  • The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased to 1.9 million for the last week of May, the fewest since the novel coronavirus started spreading widely in March but more than analysts forecast. Though it is a sign the economy may no longer be in free fall, recovery could be long and difficult.
  • Iran released U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, a California native who had contracted the coronavirus and had been held for nearly two years. Due to several complicating health conditions, White’s family feared for his life in Iran’s notoriously cramped and unsanitary prison system.

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June 4, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT

Spain mourns for covid victims while celebrating a return to normal life

Spain has been engaged in 10 days of national mourning, dedicated to the more than 27,000 lives lost here to the coronavirus. The mourning period — the longest in Spain’s modern history — is largely symbolic. King Philip VI presided over a minute of silence. More than 14,000 flags on government buildings and naval vessels have been lowered to half-staff. Local authorities have draped black ribbons on public monuments, and people have hung flags adorned with black ribbons from their balconies.

But these symbols of shared grief are somewhat discordant at a moment Spain is emerging from Europe’s strictest lockdown and many Spaniards are eager to resume normal life. The symbols have also become politicized. Just two weeks ago, the far-right Vox party led a 6,000-car caravan of protesters through Plaza Colón, waving Spanish flags to chastise the government for its coronavirus response.

By Pamela Rolfe
June 4, 2020 at 10:59 PM EDT

‘People are looking at me’: For many who lost jobs in the coronavirus epidemic, hunger comes with shame

The Robert Garcia that Robert Garcia always saw in the mirror was the Marine who jumped out of helicopters, the guy who built houses, rode a Harley and had plenty of buddies. Now, thanks to the virus, his reflection shows a man alone in a single room in Santa Fe, out of work, looking outside and wondering what the neighbors are thinking when the food bank delivers his meals.

“People see them coming and I feel this anxiety that they look at me in a different way,” Garcia said. “Like, ‘What’s wrong with this dude that he’s getting food like that?’ ”

Until March, Fran Bednarek, a nurse in Santa Fe, traveled to the homes of people in need and helped them figure out how to keep it together. Now, she’s lost all her income, is stuck inside, and depends on a charity’s weekly boxes of frozen dinners.

Read more here.

By Marc Fisher, Arelis Hernández and Frances Stead Sellers
June 4, 2020 at 10:17 PM EDT

Tennessee judge orders greater access to voting by mail

A Tennessee judge ruled Thursday that the state must allow any registered voter to cast a ballot by mail, an issue that has moved to the forefront during the coronavirus pandemic and drawn unsubstantiated claims of fraud by President Trump.

“In this time of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and its contagion in gatherings of people, almost all states — both Republican and Democrat — are providing their citizens the health protection of a voting by mail option,” Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle wrote, according to the Tennessean. “The governors, state officials and legislators in [Southern] states have spearheaded efforts to expand access to voting by mail to protect the health of their citizens during the pandemic.”

In Tennessee, absentee ballots and mail-in voting are currently available only to those who are sick, disabled, traveling or elderly. Lyle ruled that eligible voters should not have to have an excuse to request a ballot by mail.

Forty-six states offer access to mail-in voting to all registered voters, though some require a reason. Experts estimate that up to 70 percent of all ballots cast in November could be done by mail, NPR reported. In 2018, it was 23.1 percent.

Voting by mail would be “substantially fraudulent,” said Trump, who has voted by mail several times.

By Steven Goff
June 4, 2020 at 9:31 PM EDT

Amazon reverses ban on book critical of coronavirus lockdown after decision is blasted by many, including Elon Musk

SEATTLE — Amazon on Thursday backed away from a decision to block the sale of a self-published e-book about the coronavirus after critics, including Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, blasted the ban.

Thursday morning, Alex Berenson, a conservative-media favorite, tweeted to his more than 118,000 followers that Amazon banned his 6,400-word booklet. The booklet, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates,” argues that the mainstream media is overstating the threat from the virus. Berenson dubbed them “Team Apocalypse.”

The tweet ricocheted around social media, and Musk, with his 35.6 million followers, called Amazon’s decision “insane.”

Read more here.

By Jay Greene
June 4, 2020 at 8:46 PM EDT

Dutch authorities will cull minks at nine farms after virus outbreak

The Dutch government has ordered mink at several farms in the Netherlands to be culled, after a growing number of cases in which the animals contracted the coronavirus. In a Wednesday letter to parliament, Dutch Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said owners of the nine farms where the animals will be culled will be paid for their losses during the mass cull, which is set to begin Friday.

“Clearing the infected farms is in the interest of both human health and animal health,” she wrote. “The Animal Welfare Commission has been informed and will see to it that the animals are treated in a responsible manner and killed.”

Dutch authorities launched an investigation into two mink farms in April after several animals exhibited coronavirus symptoms and tested positive. As a precaution, the government urged pedestrians and cyclists to avoid the area around the farms and banned animals and manure from being moved off the farms.

Since then, cases have been reported on several other mink farms, which breed the animals to sell their fur. The Dutch government has said they believe the mink initially caught the virus from workers on the farms but last month Dutch authorities said that in at least two cases, infected mink may have transmitted the virus to humans.

There are more than 100 mink farms in the Netherlands, and, under a 2013 law, they are required to shut down by 2023. The Dutch government, concerned by infections at farms holding thousands of mink, may try to buy the remaining farms and cull the animals sooner, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, researchers are still seeking to understand how animals contract coronavirus and whether certain species can pass the virus to humans. Infections have already been confirmed in a handful of domestic dogs and cats. In April, several big cats at the Bronx Zoo also tested positive for the virus.

By Siobhán O'Grady
June 4, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT

Ohio, Michigan, Oregon and Louisiana among jurisdictions moving forward through phases of reopening

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the next step in the state’s reopening on Thursday by addressing entertainment venues. Starting June 10, aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, movie theaters, museums, playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks and zoos are permitted to open.

“As I’ve said, Ohioans are able to do two things at once,” DeWine said on Twitter. “We can continue to limit the spread of #COVID19 while we safely reopen our economy.”

Ohio has a detailed list of mandatory practices for employees, customers and guests, physical spaces and those with confirmed cases. Those practices apply to all consumer, retail, services and entertainment businesses.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order on Monday that lifted all stay-at-home orders and moved the entire state into Phase 4, allowing all retailers to open Thursday and restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity June 8.

In Chicago, the Navy Pier tourist attraction announced that it will begin Phase 1 of its reopening on June 10. That will include parks, certain outdoor restaurants, kiosks and retailers, tour boats and select free programs.

The state of Washington had six counties apply for the third phase of a four-stage reopening plan, according to the Associated Press. Columbia, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahkiakum counties have been in Phase 2 for three weeks and are now eligible to apply to move forward. The third phase allows for gatherings of 50 people or less, restaurants to open to 75 percent capacity and gyms and movies to open at 50 percent capacity.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Thursday that 26 counties have been approved to move forward to Phase 2 on June 5, 6 and 8. Phase 2 increases the number of people permitted to gather together in addition to allowing bars and restaurants to stay open to midnight. Movie theaters, swimming pools and bowling alleys can now do business under outlined safety guidelines.

Louisiana has also moved to Phase 2, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced Thursday. The major changes allow places of worship and more businesses to open at 50 percent capacity with distancing, face masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitation. The state is also asking businesses to offer temperature checks before entering buildings, though it is not required.

By Kareem Copeland
June 4, 2020 at 7:54 PM EDT

CDC director says protesters should consider getting tested for covid-19

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a House panel Thursday that demonstrators protesting racial injustice need to get tested for the coronavirus, and that crowds at a Missouri tourist hot spot and the SpaceX launch showed that public health messages about masks and social distancing are not resonating with the public.

Referring to mass protests against police violence that have taken place throughout the country, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said demonstrators in regions that have not yet controlled the outbreak should “highly consider” getting tested. He noted that Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., are two metropolitan areas where significant transmission of the virus is still taking place.

The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man whose neck was pinned to the ground by a police officer.

Redfield was testifying at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on his agency’s response to covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Health experts are concerned about any large gatherings in a close space that can make it easier to spread covid-19.

Read more here.

By Lena H. Sun
June 4, 2020 at 7:13 PM EDT

Race, ethnicity and other data to be required when labs report coronavirus test results

Federal health officials announced Thursday that they will require laboratories to report race, ethnic and other information about each person tested for the novel coronavirus, following months of criticism that the Trump administration has been insensitive to the pandemic’s profound demographic disparities.

The new guidance compels all labs running tests to diagnose the coronavirus or determine whether someone might have antibodies to the virus to collect and submit information on people’s age, sex, location and test result, as well as on race and ethnicity. There are 18 required pieces of information in all. The rules take effect Aug. 1.

Labs must submit that data within 24 hours to a state or local health department, which must, in turn, forward it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stripping off the person’s identity when sending to the government.

Read more here.

By Amy Goldstein
June 4, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT

Authors retract Lancet study on dangers of hydroxychloroquine

Three of the authors of a study that found the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine was dangerous for hospitalized covid-19 patients retracted it Thursday, saying they could “no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

The retraction notice was posted by the medical journal Lancet, which had published the study on May 22.

The study, purportedly based on the health records of almost 100,000 patients around the world, found that hospitalized covid-19 patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine — a drug repeatedly touted by President Trump — had a sharply higher risk of death and heart problems compared to those who did not receive the drug. It also showed the drug didn’t provide a benefit. The study was “observational,” which is less rigorous that a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Read more here.

By Laurie McGinley
June 4, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT

The biggest challenge for a virus vaccine could be getting countries to share

Global leaders came together Thursday to raise at least $2 billion toward providing a future vaccine for the novel coronavirus to people throughout the world — a precarious diplomatic endeavor and one of the biggest unresolved problems in using a vaccine to combat the pandemic.

The virtual summit was convened by a public-private partnership called Gavi, which aims to increase vaccination rates in lower-income countries. At the summit, Gavi unveiled a proposal to ensure poor- and middle-income countries have access to the vaccine. The proposal the group sketched out also includes a way wealthy countries can get access to the same vaccines while supporting equitable global distribution.

The twists and turns of the scientific race to develop and mass produce a vaccine are being closely followed, with mere hints of progress sending the stock market surging. But an even more important challenge looms, because any vaccine will have to be distributed globally to stamp out the pandemic as quickly as possible and avoid a humanitarian disaster in which rich countries restart their economies while people in poorer countries continue to die.

Read more here.

By William Wan and Carolyn Y. Johnson
June 4, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT

Milwaukee to ease restrictions on restaurants and bars

Starting Friday afternoon, Milwaukee bars and restaurants will be allowed to resume in-person service, though indoor dining must be capped at 25 percent capacity, Mayor Tom Barrett (D) announced Thursday.

Those businesses had been limited to takeout and delivery service.

The announcement came the same week several bar and restaurant owners declared plans to reopen Monday for a few hours if Barrett did not share a plan soon about restoring service, OnMilwaukee.com reported.

Bars and restaurants in surrounding counties were cleared two weeks ago to resume in-person service with limited capacity.

As of Wednesday, the city had reported 6,589 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 194 deaths. The state of Wisconsin reported 10 deaths Thursday, increasing the total to 626.

By Steven Goff
June 4, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT

Stocks turn in mixed-bag session after June rally loses steam

Wall Street went into a cool-down Thursday, as jobs and trade data took some of the steam out of June’s stock rally.

The Dow Jones industrial average bounced around before tipping green for its fourth straight positive session. The blue chip index added nearly 12 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 26,281.82, after the Labor Department reported that nearly 1.9 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits last week. Although this was the fewest weekly claims since the pandemic started, it’s more than analysts expected and more than twice the pre-pandemic record set in 1982.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.3 percent, to 3,112.35, for its first losing session in five days. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.6 percent to 9,615.81.

“In many ways, the claims numbers provide the closest thing to real-time insight into the status of the badly damaged job market,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said in an email to The Washington Post. “No matter how you crunch the variety of statistics, the job market story is devastating and heartbreaking unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. That’s among a series of coinciding storms we’re currently experiencing.”

Investors will get another employment reading on Friday, when the U.S. Labor Department releases its May report. Unemployment hit 14.7 percent in April — the highest level since the Great Depression — and is expected to push toward 20 percent in the next round.

The U.S. trade deficit grew to nearly $50 billion in April amid widespread business slowdowns and closures related to the pandemic, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The deficit with China swelled by $9 billion, to $26 billion, in the same period, as China’s businesses moved toward normalcy while the coronavirus’s grip on the United States tightened. Recent weeks have seen a flare-up in U.S.-China tensions that is imperiling the hard-fought trade agreement.

By Taylor Telford
June 4, 2020 at 4:00 PM EDT

Pandemic claims another victim: Medical research for deadly rare diseases

Anissa Merriam was a vibrant teenager, a talented artist who loved anime and excelled in difficult classes. But at 14, she started dropping her pencil and her hairbrush, and struggled with her studies. Something wasn’t right, she told her parents.

Eventually, Anissa was diagnosed with a rare, neurodegenerative form of epilepsy that strikes in early adolescence, causing intractable seizures and dementia. Most patients die before 30. Today, Anissa, at 22, likes to dress up like 1930s child star Shirley Temple, watch Disney movies and tap dance.

Not long ago, her mother, Jenifer Merriam, had reason to hope, as scientists pursued three or four different approaches they were confident would lead to a treatment, perhaps even a cure, for the disorder called Lafora disease. Some researchers were planning clinical trials for early next year. But those efforts have been imperiled by the coronavirus pandemic, as many labs remain shuttered or are operating at low capacity. For the Merriam family, it’s an especially cruel turn.

Since March, medical research on diseases other than covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has taken a huge hit, with countless experiments abandoned and clinical trials suspended or postponed. This singular focus will inevitably delay much-needed advances for other life-threatening ailments, including cancer, stroke and heart disease, experts say.

Read more here.

By Laurie McGinley
June 4, 2020 at 3:38 PM EDT

Germany’s $145 billion stimulus package: $340 per child, electric car rebates

The German government coalition on Wednesday approved a sweeping €130 billion ($145 billion) stimulus package to kickstart the economy after the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Among the measures are family subsidies for €300 ($340) for each child, doubling existing rebates to €6,000 ($6,800) for the purchase of electric cars, as well as cutting value added tax (VAT) until the end of the year.

Germany had previously agreed a €1.1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) rescue package in March. The new spending would be in addition to those measures, which included loan guarantees and subsidies.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the new measures were a reflection of the deep economic difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus, with economic data showing the country went into a recession in the first quarter of 2020.

“It’s clear that all of this requires a bold response,” Merkel said. “It’s about securing jobs, keeping the economy running or getting it going again.”

Germany began to lift coronavirus restrictions on April 20 following about a month of lockdown. The country has more than 180,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 8,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.

By Adam Taylor
June 4, 2020 at 3:13 PM EDT

NBA to resume in late July, playing games in Florida a few months after pandemic shutdown

Nearly three months after the novel coronavirus pandemic brought the NBA to a screeching halt, professional basketball has officially set the framework for its return to the court.

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted Thursday to approve a plan that will see 22 teams continue the 2019-20 regular season in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, near Orlando, according to people with knowledge of the decision who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The plan, which required a three-quarter majority and passed by a 29-1 margin, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the lone dissenting vote, will include the top nine teams from the Eastern Conference, including the Washington Wizards, and the top 13 teams from the Western Conference. The eight remaining teams will not participate, given that they were well outside the playoff picture when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver indefinitely suspended the season on March 11.

Read more here.

By Ben Golliver
June 4, 2020 at 2:37 PM EDT

Wearing a mask can irritate your face or make it break out. Here’s what to do about ‘maskne.’

Wearing a mask helps keep you and others healthy when it comes to covid-19. But it can have a harmful effect on your face, leading to skin irritations or acne. In fact, breakouts caused by masks have become so prominent that the word “maskne” has even been added to the Urban Dictionary.

“Virtually all skin types will see some form of irritation from wearing a face mask if they are wearing them for extended amounts of time each day,” said Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon in New York. “Many people will see irritation from the physical friction and/or pressure of the material on their skin, while others will see acne pop up.”

Read more here, on why masks cause irritation and what you can do about it.

By Danielle Braff
June 4, 2020 at 2:03 PM EDT

Iran releases U.S. Navy veteran held for two years

Iran on Thursday released Navy veteran Michael White, a California native who had been held for nearly two years in the country and recently contracted the novel coronavirus, said his family and a U.S. official.

White, a cancer survivor who had traveled to Iran to meet a woman he had met on the Internet, was arrested by Iranian authorities in July 2018.

Given his several complicating health conditions, White’s family feared for his life in Iran’s notoriously cramped and unsanitary prison system. Several weeks ago, he was placed on medical furlough as the coronavirus outbreak spread rapidly through Iran’s prisons, and U.S. and Swiss diplomats renewed efforts to secure his release.

Read more here.

By John Hudson
June 4, 2020 at 1:13 PM EDT

With live concerts on hold, Nashville students perform for music lovers over video

It took only a few gentle bars of violin before Jodi Richfield started feeling the tears well up behind her closed eyes. If the music — the first movement of Henri Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor — hadn’t taken a sudden turn into jagged shards of dissonance, she might have lost it on the spot. Instead, she suddenly opened her watery eyes and focused on the performer, transfixed.

Richfield hadn’t been expecting much from the strangest concert she had ever attended — she and her mother seated next to each other in the kitchen of her Nashville home, the music filtered thinly through the internal speaker of her computer, violinist Abby Reed standing alone in her bedroom at her own house across town. But somewhere among the beauty of the performance, Richfield, a symphony patron during normal times, felt something she hadn’t in what seemed like ages: the transportive power of live music.

“I was about to break into tears,” Richfield said into her computer to the smiling image of Reed at the end of the latter’s three-piece, 15-minute performance — one of the half-dozen personalized, virtual concerts that students from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music have been conducting every week for music lovers who have lost their connection to the music. “It was so moving to me.”

By Dave Sheinin
June 4, 2020 at 12:08 PM EDT

British Parliament workers union warns against reopening as business minister self-isolates after appearing ill during speech

A union representing more than 800 people who work in British Parliament, including maintenance, cleaning and security staff, wrote a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that Parliament “opened too soon” in a move that now puts workers’ lives at risks.

“Staff believe they are now at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 and this, in turn, is impacting on the mental well-being of our members working on the Estate,” wrote Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union. “We believe Parliament has opened too soon and the lives of PCS members, and those of our sister unions, are being put at risk unnecessarily.”

The letter was released as concerns mounted that business minister Alok Sharma had shown signs of illness during a Wednesday speech. He is now self-isolating and was tested for the novel coronavirus.

Sharma, 52, repeatedly wiped a sweating brow and running nose with a tissue while speaking about a proposed bill to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Several other lawmakers sat in the chamber, separated by empty seats, but without masks.

Members of parliament returned to work on Downing Street on Tuesday after the government ended an option for legislators to vote remotely, the Reuters news agency reported. Many lawmakers oppose the new in-person voting requirements, arguing that the return to Downing Street will put lives at risk.

The House of Commons chamber was temporarily closed for a deep cleaning after the incident, BBC News reported.

Sharma may have had contact with several lawmakers and aides Tuesday and Wednesday as he cast votes, attended meetings and debated policy, the Guardian reported. Some of those people may be asked to self-isolate for two weeks if Sharma’s coronavirus test comes back positive.

By Katie Shepherd and Siobhán O'Grady
June 4, 2020 at 12:04 PM EDT

Las Vegas casinos begin cautiously reopening

Casinos in Las Vegas began reopening on Thursday following 78 days of closures due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The first to open were hotel-casinos in suburban parts of the city, which began operation shortly after midnight, as well as some casinos in downtown Las Vegas. Local TV crews filmed large crowds entering the D Casino Hotel downtown at 12:01 a.m.

Some of the major resorts on Sunset Strip were due to reopen by midmorning, with landmarks like Caesars Palace, the MGM Grand, Wynn Las Vegas and the Venetian all slated to be open by 9 a.m. local time. Wynn Resorts also restricted its opening plan to daylight hours due to protests over the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

City tourism officials also pulled a planned advertising campaign celebrating the grand reopenings because of the civil unrest.

Hotels can reopen to full capacity, though capacity on gaming room floors is capped at 50 percent with social distancing precautions in place. Patrons are required to submit to temperature checks. Venues must have medical staff on-site round-the-clock, and maintain a separate area for those who have been tested for the novel coronavirus and are awaiting results.

Gaming industry analysts said consumer demand for a reopened Las Vegas was high, even with the restrictions in place, but could dampen amid protests.

“As a destination,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Marketing Vice President H. Fletch Brunelle said in a statement, “we are always monitoring current events, locally, nationally and abroad, and thus, will pivot our plans when necessary.”

Nevada had a total of 8,935 confirmed coronavirus cases as of early Thursday, including 429 fatalities.

By Adam Taylor and Jacob Bogage
June 4, 2020 at 11:31 AM EDT

Brazil records highest daily death toll as crisis in Latin America grows

Brazil confirmed 1,349 deaths on Wednesday, marking the highest number of deaths in a 24-hour period since the country’s outbreak began and overtaking the record 1,262 deaths confirmed Tuesday. An additional 28,633 cases also were confirmed Wednesday, bringing Brazil’s total number of confirmed cases to more than 584,000. The country now has more confirmed cases than any other besides the United States, which has recorded more than 1.8 million cases.

The virus is also spreading in Brazil’s indigenous population, with as much as a fivefold increase in cases in the past month, Reuters reported.

President Jair Bolsonaro has resisted lockdown efforts and clashed with health officials in his administration over official guidance to treat and prevent the virus. Meanwhile, the country’s hospital system has been overwhelmed by patients, and the Pan American Health Organization has warned that without drastic containment measures, up to 88,000 people could die in Brazil by August. Others contend the toll could be higher.

By Siobhán O'Grady
June 4, 2020 at 10:56 AM EDT

Fact Checker: How specific were Biden’s recommendations on the coronavirus?

In various venues, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has cited a preliminary Columbia University study that estimated that tens of thousands fewer people would have died of covid-19 if social distancing measures had been put in place earlier than mid-March. Specifically, the study estimated that orders in effect March 8 would have resulted in nearly 36,000 fewer deaths (through May 3), and orders as soon as March 1 would have resulted in nearly 54,000 fewer deaths.

We are interested in his claim that President Trump “did not listen to guys like me back in January saying we have a problem, a pandemic is on the way.” In the May 22 interview, Biden said that if “he had listened to me and others” and acted sooner, lives would have been saved.

So what did Biden say?

Read more here.

By Glenn Kessler
June 4, 2020 at 10:16 AM EDT

Stocks turn negative after three-day rally when jobless claims jump more than expected

U.S. stocks opened lower Thursday after waffling in premarket trading, as investors took in fresh jobless claims and trade data ahead of Friday’s jobs report.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 90 points, or 0.3 percent, following a three-day rally and after the Labor Department reported nearly 1.9 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits last week. Although this marked the fewest weekly claims since the pandemic started, it was more than analysts expected and double the pre-coronavirus record of 695,000 set in October 1982.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes also dipped in early trading.

“In many ways, the claims numbers provide the closest thing to real-time insight into the status of the badly damaged job market,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said in comments emailed to The Post. “No matter how you crunch the variety of statistics, the job market story is devastating and heartbreaking unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. That’s among a series of coinciding storms we’re currently experiencing.”

Investors are looking to Friday for the full picture of May unemployment. The three major U.S. indexes are 40 percent above their pandemic lows after chalking up two straight months of gains, despite Depression-era unemployment numbers, a pandemic that has killed more than 105,000 Americans, and a week of upheaval in American cities following the death of another black man in police custody.

The U.S. trade deficit grew to nearly $50 billion in April amid widespread business slowdowns and closures due to the pandemic, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The deficit with China swelled by $9 billion to $26 billion in the same period, as China’s businesses moved toward normalcy while the coronavirus’s grip on the United States tightened. Recent weeks have seen a flare-up in U.S.-China tensions that is imperiling a hard-fought trade agreement — tensions that could deal another blow to the global economy at a moment of extreme precariousness.

Casino stocks soared in early trading as Las Vegas reopened for the first time in over a month, despite waves of protest. Wynn Resorts rose 1.8 percent, while MGM climbed 5 percent.

By Taylor Telford
June 4, 2020 at 9:45 AM EDT

Iran announces record surge of new cases

Iran reported Thursday a record 3,574 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 164,270, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

An additional 59 people died, bringing Iran’s death toll to 8,071, Kianush Jahanpur, a Health Ministry spokesman, said in a briefing. Iran, one of the first countries apart from China to see a large-scale outbreak, began lifting lockdown restrictions April 11.

The number of new cases announced Thursday was higher than an earlier peak at the start of April, leading many observers to warn that the country may be about to experience a second wave in its outbreak.

Iran’s president said Wednesday that restrictions may have to be reimposed if the public does not follow more relaxed guidelines designed to avoid a second wave.

“The reemergence of coronavirus, beyond any economic damage, will threaten the health of our dear people, and it is not appropriate now that the achievements be lost due to negligence,” President Hassan Rouhani said in remarks published on his website.

By Adam Taylor
June 4, 2020 at 8:47 AM EDT

U.S. unemployment claims eased slightly at end of May

Unemployment claims for the last week of May were 1.9 million, the lowest since the coronavirus started spreading widely back in March, a sign that the economy may no longer be in free fall.

That doesn’t mean the United States has any less deep of a hole to dig itself out of. The weekly numbers on Thursday are still more than double the pre-coronavirus record of 695,000 set in October 1982, as they have been every week since mid-March this year.

More than 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits during the pandemic, with roughly 21.5 million continuing to receive them, previously unimaginable figures that wiped out a job market that saw unemployment at historic lows as recently as February.

That number grew slightly the last week of May after dipping the week before, indicating more people claimed unemployment for the first time than those who went back to work or stopped claiming for other reasons.

Read more here.

By Eli Rosenberg and Heather Long
June 4, 2020 at 8:10 AM EDT

New rules for visiting a pool this summer with coronavirus in mind

You may have little concern over jumping into a public pool during a normal summer. This summer, however, our minds are on pressing health and wellness concerns, like contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus.

But the weather’s getting hotter, and a swim can offer much-needed relief. So can you safely visit a public pool?

The good news is, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of recreational waters.” Those waters include lakes, oceans, and properly chemically treated public pools and water parks.

Read more here.

By Natalie Compton
June 4, 2020 at 7:48 AM EDT

Prominent Bastille Day military parade replaced in Paris

The prominent Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Élysées avenue has been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement Thursday.

The parade was supposed to take place on July 14 and usually attracts large crowds of spectators.

Instead, officials will host an adapted ceremony at the Place de la Concorde with up to 4,500 guests and participants, who will observe social distancing rules. The traditional flyover is still set to take place but will be used to honor the fight against covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The cancellation of the parade comes as the country is gradually reopening. In Paris, however, the easing of restrictions on cafes or restaurants has proceeded more slowly than elsewhere in the country because the capital and its surrounding areas remain disproportionately impacted by the outbreak.

France’s Bastille Day parade goes back to the 19th century and has been held most years since. It is deeply rooted in history and seen by many French as a celebration of the country’s values. Bastille Day was originally established to celebrate a major turning point of the French Revolution.

The subsequently introduced parade survived two world wars and the Nazi occupation of France.

Other countries have proceeded with military parades or are planning to do so in the coming months, despite the virus threat. In April, Iranian military personnel paraded disinfection vehicles on the country’s Army Day, as Iran’s outbreak was spreading quickly.

In May, Russia delayed a military parade planned to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. In Belarus, however, an elaborate parade went ahead. The country has since emerged as a coronavirus hot spot.

Russia is set to proceed with its own parade on June 24 but will partially rely on service personnel who have recovered from the coronavirus and are believed to be immune to it, according to the Moscow Times.

By Rick Noack
June 4, 2020 at 7:19 AM EDT

What the 50 richest Americans have given for covid-19 relief

A Washington Post survey of the nation’s 50 wealthiest people and families, who have a collective net worth of nearly $1.6 trillion, found that their publicly announced donations amount to about $1 billion, which sounds like a lot of money but adds up to less than 0.1 percent of their combined wealth.

More than half of these billionaires have publicly donated cash, and a few say they have given something — money or in-kind contributions — but declined to specify how much. But almost a third — 15 of them — have not announced any donations and declined to comment or did not reply to requests for comment.

Read more here.

By Will Hobson and Roxanne Roberts
June 4, 2020 at 6:53 AM EDT

Nearly two-thirds of Britons struggling to sleep during lockdown, study reveals

LONDON — Nearly two-thirds of the British population has been battling with sleep problems since the nationwide lockdown was implemented on March 23, according to a study conducted by IPSOs Mori and researchers from King’s College London.

Vivid dreams, restless nights and disturbed sleeping patterns are just some of the experiences reported by participants in the study — consequences of the stress sparked by the global health crisis that has claimed more than 386,000 lives worldwide.

Researchers say that overall, 63 percent had suffered worse sleep since the lockdown and that those stressed over the coronavirus pandemic are more than twice as likely to report disturbed sleep in comparison to those who don’t.

“Nearly two-thirds of the UK public report some negative impact on their sleep from the covid-19 crisis,” Professor Bobby Duffy from King’s College London said, adding that the lockdown restrictions had unsettled a “very large proportion” of the population.

The survey, which was based on 2,254 Brits between the ages of 16 and 75 and carried out in May, showed that men are sleeping slightly better than women, with 46 percent of males reporting disturbed sleep compared to 52 percent of women.

At least 62 percent of people facing financial hardship said they were sleeping less than they were before the pandemic hit, while 29 percent of others interviewed reported sleeping for longer periods of time but not feeling rested afterward. Younger people are much more likely to report this, according to the data.

By Jennifer Hassan
June 4, 2020 at 6:38 AM EDT

Norwegian prime minister rare European leader to criticize Trump over termination of WHO relationship

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday offered one of the strongest public responses to President Trump’s announcement last Friday that he will terminate the U.S. “relationship with the World Health Organization.”

In an interview with Politico, Solberg said his move is “the wrong answer,” adding that she hoped “that we can get the U.S. back.”

Trump’s announcement elicited a mostly muted reaction in world capitals, with no signs of other countries willing to follow the United States out of the U.N. agency. Some cautiously noted that Trump’s wording left open the possibility of a U.S. move that would disengage the country but stop short of a full withdrawal. Skepticism over whether Trump even has the legal powers to unilaterally withdraw the country from the organization on a short notice has also mounted.

Solberg’s comments — in which she urged that “we should continue to work with the institutions we have” — echoed a sentiment widely expressed by other European members of the WHO over the past days.

In April, the Trump administration had already temporarily suspended payments to the U.N. agency amid U.S. criticism that the organization is too closely aligned with China.

U.S. allies, including many European nations, share concerns over whether China provided the WHO with accurate data over its outbreak, but they have stood by the agency, arguing it fulfills a critical mission and has adapted to new challenges over the last years.

WHO members last month passed a resolution calling for a review of the pandemic response, which is also expected to examine the WHO’s role.

A U.S. withdrawal from the agency would result in a funding gap, as Washington contributes a significant share.

By Rick Noack
June 4, 2020 at 6:08 AM EDT

‘I don’t even know how the dominoes fell’: Gripped by recession, some businesses evolve — but struggle to see a path to full recovery

In the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic emptied her calendar of weddings, fundraisers and corporate events, Anita Ellis still rises at 6 a.m. to make her customary triple espresso, then climbs back into bed and refreshes her email. She checks in with fellow event planners, all of whom are eager for any word from longtime clients, and scans the Web for hints as to the future of her small business, Avalon Caterers, based in Alexandria, Va.

But as the Washington region begins to reopen, Ellis is left with far more questions than answers: When, or whether, bookings will return. How to balance the safety of her waitstaff against their need for paychecks. The capacity of her suppliers, and by extension, Avalon, to hold on long enough to keep their delicate ecosystem intact.

Read more here.

By Rachel Siegel
June 4, 2020 at 5:39 AM EDT

As coronavirus took jobs or workers fell ill, teen children have toiled full time, becoming lifelines

DENVER — A customer turned to Jael Marquez when she couldn’t find an item on the shelves of the Save A Lot, but Marquez knew it was in stock back in the warehouse, so he went and got it. It was weeks ago, sometime around the day he turned 17. He remembers it because it was the one time this spring when a customer looked him in the eyes and said “thank you.”

"I appreciate you still working," the African American woman in her 50s said through a mask after taking the box. "Because there's a lot of risk."

Marquez was stunned at this commonplace courtesy that had become so rare in these distanced times. Few people spoke. Few people acknowledged him. Few people came close enough to say anything: “I really appreciated that. It feels good to know you’re appreciated.”

Read more here.

By Robert Klemko
June 4, 2020 at 5:06 AM EDT

Najavo Nation ends two months of weekend curfews

The Navajo Nation will end its two months of 57-hour weekend curfews starting this Friday, officials said Wednesday.

Weekend curfews have been in place for the past two months as the tribe attempts to combat a coronavirus outbreak that made it one of the hardest-hit hot spots in the United States. All businesses on the sprawling reservation closed while the curfews were in effect and residents were warned they should only leave their homes for emergencies.

Last week, the tribe’s president, Jonathan Nez, said demand on health care facilities had peaked in the last week of April and the Navajo Nation appeared to be “flattening the curve.” Lifting weekend curfews marks the first step in reopening the reservation and easing restrictions, though nightly curfews between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. will remain in place.

The reservation still has a high number of infections, meaning now is not the time to let up on social distancing and other health measures, Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said Wednesday, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “Let’s keep up our vigilance in this fight,” he said.

By Antonia Farzan
June 4, 2020 at 4:43 AM EDT

Prince Charles says he ‘got away lightly’ with coronavirus

LONDON — Prince Charles said Thursday that he was “lucky” that he “got away quite lightly” with the novel coronavirus and said his experience has made him even more determined to work on ways to fix the planet so we can avoid future pandemics.

The 71-year-old prince tested positive for the disease in March and suffered from mild symptoms. He went into isolation at his home in Scotland with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative for the infection.

In a video call with Sky News, the prince, who is next in line to the British throne, expressed sympathy for people who had lost loved ones during the global health crisis that has claimed almost 40,000 lives in Britain.

“I feel particularly for those who have lost their loved ones and have been unable to be with them at the time. That, to me, is the most ghastly thing,” he said.

In the interview, the prince spoke about the loss of biodiversity and the need to combat climate change to prevent other global health crises.

“We should have been treating the planet as if it was a patient long ago,” he said.

The prince’s positive test result sparked widespread concern for reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, over fears she may have been exposed to the virus.

The queen and her husband, 98-year-old Prince Philip, were driven out of London to Windsor Castle on March 19, where they have been isolated since. Earlier this week she was photographed for the first time — smiling and riding a black pony.

By Jennifer Hassan
June 4, 2020 at 4:23 AM EDT

Confidence in Swedish government’s response to pandemic slips as death toll grows

Swedes are beginning to express doubt about their government’s ability to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 4,500 lives in the country, polls show.

The Scandinavian nation, which made a bold gamble by eschewing lockdowns, now has a mortality rate many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors.

On Wednesday, Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the architect of the policy, told Swedish Radio the country could have done more to stop the virus and, armed with the information he has today, he would have hewed more closely to the approach adopted by other countries.

Swedes have also expressed growing doubts about the strategy, as the polling data suggests. According to Reuters, the number of people with high or reasonably high trust in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic fell from 63 percent in April to 45 percent in June. Confidence in Sweden’s public health agency fell from 73 to 65 percent during that same period, a Novus survey for SVT public-service television found.

Daily newspaper Aftonbladet, which conducted its own survey with pollster Demoskop, found the share of people reporting high or reasonably high confidence in authorities’ coronavirus response had fallen 10 percentage points since April.

By Antonia Farzan
June 4, 2020 at 3:54 AM EDT

Australians are lining up for flights to New Zealand, but it’s not clear when travel will resume

Australia’s Canberra Airport has started a rapidly expanding registry of travelers hoping to fly to New Zealand on July 1, though it’s not yet clear travel between the two nations will resume that soon.

Australia and New Zealand have discussed plans for a “trans-Tasman air bubble” that would allow the two countries to open their borders to one another while continuing to bar travel from other parts of the world. Both have successfully managed to control the spread of the coronavirus, but are suffering financially from the loss of tourism.

The proposed plan would exempt travelers from a 14-day quarantine period, and require them to undergo coronavirus testing before they board the plane. While Australia and New Zealand have yet to approve the agreement, top officials in both countries have expressed support for the idea.

The first flight between Canberra and Wellington will be a “test run” with politicians, journalists and business leaders on board. But there appears to be much broader interest in traveling between the two countries: 140 people signed up for the registry of interest in the first hour it was open, Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron told the Associated Press.

What isn’t clear is whether flights can actually begin on July 1. New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Wednesday the date was “too early,” while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said September is a more realistic target.

By Antonia Farzan
June 4, 2020 at 3:33 AM EDT

Scientist behind Sweden’s covid-19 strategy suggests it allowed too many deaths

BRUSSELS — For months, the world has watched Sweden's light-touch approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, wondering whether it was genius or misguided. On Wednesday, the architect of the strategy said that, in retrospect, he might have pushed something closer to other countries' restrictions.

Swedish authorities have consistently denied that they were aiming to achieve full-population immunity by keeping much of their public life humming as usual. They said that if they protected the elderly and other vulnerable groups while allowing others to carry on, the country might be more resilient in the face of a second wave of infections and avoid the economic chaos of a total shutdown.

Deaths in Sweden, though, have been eight times higher than in Denmark and 19 times higher than in Norway, even though Sweden is only double each neighbors’ size.

Read more here.

By Michael Birnbaum
June 4, 2020 at 3:11 AM EDT

Fewer spectators, mandatory tests: Japan considers a ‘simplified’ Olympics

TOKYO — Japan is exploring options to host a “simplified” version of the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, including having fewer spectators and mandating coronavirus tests, if that’s the only way to avoid an outright cancellation, Japanese media reported Thursday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants the Games to go ahead in a “complete” form, but John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Commission’s coordination body with Tokyo, has said organizers needed to start planning for what could be a “very different” Olympics if the threat from covid-19 has not been eradicated.

Read more here.

By Simon Denyer
June 4, 2020 at 2:56 AM EDT

Mexico issues highest daily tally of coronavirus deaths, more than 1,000

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities on Wednesday issued their highest daily tally of deaths yet from coronavirus, saying more than 1,000 people had perished, a sign of how the pandemic has proved far more vicious than the government had anticipated.

The 1,092 deaths did not occur in one day. Rather, many of the death reports were delayed — a common event as records make their way to the central government. A graph displayed at a Health Ministry news conference on Wednesday evening showed the total deaths on any individual day had not exceeded 350, so far.

But the figure was a startling sign of how the pandemic has suddenly intensified.

Read more here.

By Mary Beth Sheridan
June 4, 2020 at 2:46 AM EDT

How restaurants around the world are adapting to the coronavirus

Masks. Gloves. Partitions. Socially distanced lines. Hand sanitizer.

As countries around the world begin to emerge from the lockdowns that marked the initial wave of the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants — at least the ones that have survived — are taking steps to lure customers back.

On Tuesday, cafes in Paris opened their outdoor terraces, after nearly three months closed, with tables a meter apart. In the rest of the country, restaurants reopened fully. In many countries that put in place strict measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, similar steps are underway. But in some cases, a return to business does not look like a return to the way things were.

Read more here.

By Miriam Berger
June 4, 2020 at 2:16 AM EDT

‘Bit of a reach’ to assume schools should stay closed in fall, Fauci says

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Wednesday that it was “a bit of a reach” to assume schools should remain closed in the fall.

Though children can contract the coronavirus, they generally tend to have mild or no symptoms, Fauci told CNN on Wednesday. What scientists haven’t yet determined is if they are as likely to become infected as adults, and if they frequently spread the virus to others.

“I hesitate to make any broad statements about whether it is or is not quote ‘safe’ for kids to come back to school,” Fauci said, noting the calculus would depend on the level of viral activity in a given area. While caution was necessary to ensure children didn’t spread the coronavirus, he said, “to make an extrapolation that you shouldn’t open schools, I think is a bit of a reach.”

Some schools may have “no problem” welcoming back students in the fall, while others may have to reduce class sizes or introduce alternate schedules to avoid classroom crowding, Fauci said. Teachers may have to be creative about how they space out students, using empty desks to maintain social distancing.

By Antonia Farzan
June 4, 2020 at 1:54 AM EDT

Emergency room visits fall by 42 percent, leading to fears that people are avoiding treatment

Visits to emergency rooms have fallen sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to fears that people with serious conditions like heart attacks are avoiding treatment, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s analysis found emergency room visits were down 42 percent between March 29 and April 25, compared with the same four-week period in 2019. The largest declines were seen in the Northeast, where many states were hit hard by the coronavirus early on, and among women and children under the age of 15.

Though emergency room visits appear to be on the upswing as lockdowns end and many hospitals resume elective procedures, the last week of May saw 26 percent fewer emergency room visits than in 2019.

While people appeared to be less likely to head to the emergency room with sprains or strains that could be treated by a primary care doctor or urgent care center, the CDC also found an alarming decrease in people seeking care for chest pain that could point to a heart attack. Children suffering asthma attacks were also less likely to come in for treatment.

The “striking decline” suggests the pandemic significantly altered the public’s use of emergency departments, the CDC researchers said. That could mean people who rely on emergency rooms as a safety net because they lack reliable access to other forms of health care were disproportionately affected, and more likely to avoid medical help. But it’s not clear if the decline in visits was entirely due to fears of infection, or if the dramatic lifestyle changes prompted by the coronavirus outbreak also led to a reduction in injuries and illness.

By Antonia Farzan
June 4, 2020 at 1:51 AM EDT

Hydroxychloroquine, a drug promoted by Trump, failed to prevent healthy people from getting covid-19 in trial

Hydroxychloroquine did not prevent healthy people exposed to someone with covid-19 from getting the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a study being published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study is the first randomized clinical trial that tested the antimalarial drug as a preventive measure, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School who conducted the trial. It showed hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted by President Trump, was no more effective than a placebo — in this case, a vitamin — in protecting people exposed to covid-19.

“As we say in Tennessee, ‘that dog won’t hunt’ — it didn’t work,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Read more here.

By Laurie McGinley and Ariana Eunjung Cha
June 4, 2020 at 1:48 AM EDT

An EKG technician with a smile ‘more infectious than the virus that took her out of here’

Kim King-Smith of Piscataway worked 14 years at the hospital that would become the pandemic’s epicenter in northern New Jersey. She was an electrocardiogram technician on the overnight shift who became the first health-care worker there to die of covid-19. In the aftermath, two details were repeated again and again.

That “we lost a great one,” as University Hospital President Shereef Elnahal tweeted.

And that “her smile was more infectious than the virus that took her out of here,” in the words of her cousin, Hassana Salaam-Rivers.

Read more here.

By Karen Weintraub
June 4, 2020 at 1:00 AM EDT

Latin America had time to prepare for the coronavirus. It couldn’t stop the inevitable.

RIO DE JANEIRO — For a time, early in the pandemic, when Latin America was mostly a spectator watching outbreaks in China, then Europe, then the United States, there was hope that when the coronavirus arrived here, things would be different. The climate was warmer. The people were younger. The governments had more time to study the mistakes made elsewhere, and to prepare.

Weeks later, more than a million people have been infected, tens of thousands are dead, and those hopes are gone. The warmer weather did little to slow the disease as it devastated tropical metropolises in Ecuador and Brazil. Youth has not protected Mexico or Peru. Despite early and aggressive government action in many cases, Latin America has been unable to avert what appears to have always been inevitable.

The disease has been a disaster in Brazil, now second only to the United States in reported cases, with more than 31,000 dead, but it isn’t the only country in the region in the full grip of the coronavirus. Peru has confirmed twice as many infections as China. Mexico has suffered more than 10,000 deaths. Officials in Chile, now in the throes of one of the world’s most explosive outbreaks, warn that the hospital system in Santiago is teetering at capacity. The World Health Organization has declared Latin America the new epicenter of the global pandemic.

Read more here.

By Terrence McCoy
June 4, 2020 at 12:39 AM EDT

Perspective: Four ways to streamline your life in quarantine

The pandemic has altered our lives in so many ways. But perhaps the biggest adjustment for many of us was the immediate change from spending just a few hours at home each day to spending all day, every day at home.

Quarantine has required that rooms be reconfigured to accommodate exercise, working from home and distance learning. It has also made us reckon with our possessions and mull the value of the stuff surrounding us. Indeed, many of us feel like we have been hit over the head with what we already knew: Most of the items in our homes do not “spark joy.” And, in fact, they overwhelm us.

So, while everything else in our lives has been turned upside down, why not go all in and think about how to streamline our homes and lives? What would you change about the stuff in your home to make you feel happier and more in control? And which lifestyle changes that you’ve made during quarantine do you hope to carry forward, post-pandemic?

Read more here.

By Nicole Anzia
June 4, 2020 at 12:35 AM EDT

A blind therapy dog brings joy to assisted-living residents with visits through the window

As Pat Ward drifts from one window to another, she holds a sign to the glass, hoping the residents will notice her arrival rather than startling them with a knock. The poster features a red heart with a smiling face and closed eyes, an homage to the four-legged star of these visits.

Baby, an 8-year-old therapy dog, is blind and had her eyes removed long ago. She doesn’t hear well, either. She has heart issues and survived cancer. But her gentleness offers warmth. Baby has become a beloved guest at Island City Assisted Living in Eaton Rapids, Mich., a small town about 20 miles from Lansing. After six years of weekly visits, she is a familiar face, even if residents can only peer through the glass. Sometimes they’re already waiting.

Read more here.

By Emily Giambalvo
June 4, 2020 at 12:22 AM EDT

How airport screenings have changed during the pandemic

If airport screenings had changed because of the pandemic, Gene SirLouis hadn’t noticed, and he’d flown several times since the coronavirus outbreak. There were “no health questions, no thermal scans — nothing,” says SirLouis, a manufacturer’s representative from Washington, D.C.

That, at least, was the case until he landed in Austin recently. There, passengers whose final destination was in Texas had to fill out a form for self-quarantining, he recalls. The rest were free to go.

The Transportation Security Administration “also asked to see the inside of my mask,” he says. “That was a first.”

If you don’t pay attention, you might miss the screening changes. The TSA made several significant adjustments after the outbreak. Other changes were in progress before the pandemic. But the biggest transformation may lie ahead.

Read more here.

By Christopher Elliott
June 4, 2020 at 12:20 AM EDT

Scores of testing sites forced to close because of vandalism in civil unrest

At 1:30 a.m., Michael and Joan Kim were jolted awake by an alarm. Lying in bed, they grabbed their iPhones and watched what a security camera had captured moments before: the back of a U-Haul van ramming through the glass side wall of the Grubb’s pharmacy they own in Southeast Washington, cold medicine, allergy pills and bandages flying as wooden shelves splintered and crashed to the floor.

The Anacostia drugstore is one of four the Kims own in the District, and each has suffered damage during the past nights of unrest. It is not just structural harm left behind. The Anacostia store, targeted early Monday by the battering U-Haul, and the Kims’ pharmacies in Georgetown and on Capitol Hill also have been part of a federal program of free tests for the coronavirus.

Read more here.

By Amy Goldstein