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The United States surpassed 2 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. The grim milestone, by far the highest reported total in the world, was reached less than five months after the first reports that the virus had reached American soil.

New cases have declined in places such as Illinois, Michigan, New York and Washington — states that recorded higher infection rates in the first wave of the U.S. outbreak. But a new wave has emerged, largely in states that previously had lower rates of infection. Cases in states such as Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah have been on the rise since just before Memorial Day, when many states started to ease stay-at-home restrictions. The same states have also had a rise in hospitalizations at the same time.

More than 7.4 million cases and 416,000 deaths have been reported worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Here are some significant developments:

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3:42 a.m.
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Jersey City psychiatrist beloved by coworkers, as well as patients, succumbs to covid-19

Leo Dela Cruz couldn’t walk into a room unnoticed. He had a penchant for bright colors and a personality to match. Chatty and quick to laugh, he seemed to have a way of bringing down the walls people put up around themselves.

As a geriatric psychiatrist at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, he helped the elderly through ailments that could feel overwhelmingly frightening — Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, strokes.

Even as the novel coronavirus began cutting across the East Coast, Dela Cruz was loath to stop seeing patients. His sister, a nurse in Texas, told him to stop going to the hospital, which by late March would be swamped with dozens of covid-19 patients. But he thought his patients, at high risk for both the virus and shutdown-related loneliness, probably needed him more than ever.

Read more here.

3:13 a.m.
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Wanted: Servers who can lift 100 pounds. Working life in the coronavirus economy is changing.

As states reopened after coronavirus lockdowns, millions of Americans returned to work in May. Many found their hours were cut, their pay was reduced, and their job descriptions had changed — sometimes beyond all recognition.

Read more here.

2:27 a.m.
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Republicans announce Trump convention events will move to Jacksonville

The Republican National Committee announced Thursday that President Trump’s renomination speech and other convention festivities will move to Jacksonville, Fla., from Charlotte, after the original site refused to go along with Trump’s demands for a crowded large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday night that the RNC has tentatively decided on Jacksonville for the event. Thursday’s official announcement caps off an extraordinary search for a last-minute convention site after Trump tweeted on Memorial Day that he wanted to move the convention to a city that would allow him speak in a fully filled arena. The RNC also indicated it did not want to require masks for Trump’s speech.

Some lower-profile events will remain in Charlotte because of signed contracts requiring some activities there. The RNC voted Wednesday night to radically pare down the official business of the convention, clearing the way to move the parties and ceremonial aspects of the convention to another place.

Read more here.

2:13 a.m.
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Hedge fund manager stands to profit on ‘flip’ of taxpayer-funded coronavirus drug

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics had no laboratories, no manufacturing facility of its own and a minimal track record when it struck a deal in March with Emory University to license an experimental coronavirus pill invented by university researchers with $16 million in grants from U.S. taxpayers.

But what the tiny Miami company did have was a willingness from its wealthy owners — hedge fund manager Wayne Holman and his wife, Wendy — to place a bet on the treatment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. That wager paid off with extraordinary speed in May when, just two months after acquiring the antiviral therapy called EIDD-2801 from Emory, Ridgeback sold exclusive worldwide rights to drug giant Merck.

The rapid turnaround of rights to a publicly financed drug highlights the frenzy of financial speculation that has accompanied the spread of the coronavirus around the world. Congress and the Trump administration have authorized more than $7 billion for research and industry subsidies in a desperate hunt for therapies and vaccines.

Read more here.

1:26 a.m.
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Houston area causes concern as new cases spike in Texas, 10 other states

Texas on Thursday reported its highest seven-day rolling average of new covid-19 cases and had 1,826 new infections, its fifth-highest daily total so far, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Its highest single-day total of reported new cases came Wednesday with 2,504.

Harris County, which includes Houston, has the highest number of cases in the state. The county also reported its highest covid-19 hospital population since the outbreak began.

“I want the reopening to be successful,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Thursday at a news conference. “I want the economy to be resilient. But I am growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice of a disaster. And If we get to that precipice of a disaster, we will not be in a position to reopen successfully.” Hidalgo is director of the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Oregon, California, Nevada and Florida have all reached new seven-day rolling average highs for new coronavirus cases.

Harris County introduced a rating system Thursday to measure the danger of the pandemic, and its first day showed a rating one step below “severe.” Level 2 warns of a “significant and uncontrolled level of covid-19” in the county. Residents are asked to minimize contact with others, avoid medium or large gatherings and attend only permissible businesses that follow public health guidance.

Texas launched one of the more aggressive reopening plans in the nation, and the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia warned last month that Houston and Dallas were in danger of a second wave of coronavirus infections over the ensuing four weeks. That warning was issued three weeks ago.

“I’ve always been concerned about reopening too quickly,” Hidalgo said. “Us moving too fast and we’re seeing the impacts of that now. You can see the hospital population started climbing two weeks around after the Phase 1 reopening. … If the trends we’re seeing right now get worse or continue to rise, we’re at a very high risk to getting to the point where the threat to our hospital system is severe and we have to backtrack.”

1:10 a.m.
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NYC public schools eyeing mix of classrooms and remote learning this fall

In a step toward New York City public schools opening their doors to students in the fall, the president of the teachers’ union on Thursday described a “hybrid model of learning” in which students split time between school facilities and remote learning.

In a letter to members, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the city’s Department of Education, in consultation with the union and other groups, is “moving forward with a tentative plan to reopen school buildings in September with an abundance of safety measures in place.”

Earlier this week, Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza told school principals in a letter that “even when we return to a traditional school day, we can prepare for a restart in the fall by leveraging approaches of both in-person and remote instruction — what I refer to as blended learning — to support our transition and maximize both face-to-face and remote instruction.”

With 1.1 million students in the school system, Mulgrew wrote, “no one-size-fits-all model will work for all schools. … Each school community will be tasked with designing the program plan that works best for its staff, students and families.” The plan has not been finalized, a union spokeswoman said, but a process is underway because “so many logistical decisions have to be made.”

The organization has recommended all students and staff be tested for the coronavirus before the first day of school.

With social-distancing guidelines expected to remain in place, Mulgrew wrote, the number of students and staff in each school will have to be “significantly lower,” and policies will be necessary to prevent large groups from gathering.

“No plan will be perfect,” Mulgrew wrote. “We will all need to be flexible.”

12:30 a.m.
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Amid pandemics and protests, is Britain facing its worst economy since the Great Frost of 1709?

The economic chaos wrought by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has brought comparison to the financial hardships of World War II and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But when Britain reviews the latest economic data, expected to be released Friday, many will be looking for comparison to a far more distant milestone: the Great Frost of 1709.

In that winter three centuries ago, temperatures were so consistently low that crops withered, wine barrels burst and people froze to death in their homes. The economy was devastated — historians think the country’s gross domestic product declined 13 percent over the year.

Read more here.

11:43 p.m.
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Georgia continues easing guidelines, in spite of spike in confirmed cases

Despite a spike in his state’s confirmed cases, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Thursday continued loosening restrictions that had helped combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Effective immediately, people 65 and older are no longer required to stay home, unless they live in a nursing home or long-term care facility or have health issues that leave them vulnerable to the illness.

Kemp’s order will allow gatherings of 50 people, starting Tuesday, if they remain six feet apart. Restaurants no longer have to restrict the number of people who can sit together, and limits of the number of patrons per square feet have been lifted.

Bars may now welcome 50 people — twice as many as before — or 35 percent of total listed capacity, whichever is greater. As of July 1, live-performance venues may reopen if they comply with specific criteria.

Georgia reported 993 cases Thursday, the most since May 1 and a 37 percent increase over the previous seven-day average. In the past three days, 167 deaths have been attributed to covid-19.

In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson (R) said the state would fully reopen Tuesday after hitting enough benchmarks, such as expanded testing and a larger stockpile of personal protective equipment.

However, local officials retain the right to maintain restrictions. Social distancing recommendations remain in place statewide, Parson said.

“We must remember that covid-19 is not gone,” Parson said. Missouri has averaged about 200 new cases over the past week.

In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that stay-at-home orders will expire Monday and that groups of 10 or more will be allowed to gather. Gyms and libraries will reopen, with modifications. He has targeted June 29 to reopen movie theaters and amusement parks, with restrictions.

On Thursday, the state reported 31 new cases and seven deaths.

10:52 p.m.
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These people have been sick with coronavirus for more than 60 days. Doctors aren’t sure why.

It started for Melanie Montano with a tightness in her chest, almost like someone was sitting on top of her. It was March 15, and she was sweating but freezing cold. And she had a strange “pins-and-needles” sensation on the back of her legs.

Over the following weeks, Montano, 32, developed a fever, cough, stomach problems and lost her sense of taste and smell like other sufferers of the novel coronavirus. Unlike most of them, though, her symptoms never went away. They kept coming and going in waves like a roller coaster that has kept her bed-bound for 89 days straight — through school shutdowns, shelter-in-place orders, protests over those restrictions, and now, state reopenings.

Those infected with the coronavirus are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days, partly based on the idea that symptoms usually last about that long. While the majority of people with mild illness recover completely in that time, doctors say they’re seeing a small percentage like Montano who remain sick for many weeks, or even months.

But with so little known about the virus, they’re unsure whether those symptoms suggest it is still alive in the body and creating continued havoc, or whether it has come and gone, leaving a lingering immune or inflammatory response that makes people continue to feel sick.

Read more here.

10:14 p.m.
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Florida announces recommendations for schools to reopen despite high number of new cases

On the same day Florida reported a high for new cases of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced recommendations to local communities for schools to reopen. The health and safety plans include $475 million in state funds going to education financial assistance and, in total, more than $2 billion in education-related aid from the Cares Act.

The state reported 1,698 new cases Thursday to surpass the previous high of 1,419 new cases June 4.

The kindergarten through 12th grade recommendation comes in three steps. Campuses open in June for youth activities and summer camps in Step 1. Step 2 includes expanding campus capacities for summer recovery instruction in July. The final step features fully open campuses in August for a normal start of the school year.

The details of the reopening strategies are largely left to local decision-makers. There are other recommendations pertaining to the school day, graduations, sports, arts, other extracurriculars, and drop-off and pickup.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a diagram tool to guide administrators through the reopening process. The recommendations cover state and local orders, protecting high-risk students and employees, initial screening, heath and safety actions for opened schools and then ongoing monitoring.

Anthony S. Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, said last week that opening schools “depends on the level of viral activity” in a particular area and that schools may have to be “creative” with classroom design to maintain some distancing. He also told CNN that keeping schools closed in the fall is “a bit of a reach.”

“In some situations, there will be no problem for children to go back to school,” Fauci said. “In others, you may need to do some modifications. You know, modifications could be breaking up the class so you don’t have a crowded classroom, maybe half in the morning, half in the afternoon, having children doing alternate schedules. There’s a whole bunch of things that one can do.”

9:30 p.m.
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Alabama sets record for confirmed cases, alarming government officials

Alabama on Thursday announced a record for confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, a substantial increase that has alarmed, among others, the mayor of the state’s capital city

Although the number of deaths related to covid-19 — 11 — was less than the previous seven-day average, the case total was 848 — a 93 percent increase over the previous seven-day average and more than 160 more than the previous high during the pandemic.

The jump comes a little more than two weeks after the Memorial Day weekend, when many Americans took advantage of the unofficial start to summer by visiting beaches and attending social events. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) began easing stay-at-home orders in late April.

On CNN’s “New Day,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed (D) said the spike in cases has occurred “because we opened up too soon. I think that we have covid fatigue right now, and people are trying to fast-forward this process in order to get things back to the way they were before the covid-19 pandemic really changed everything in the country, if not the world.”

“We’re trying to keep people patient, and I understand we’ve been in this since March and people are ready to get back as they see other communities in other parts of the nation open up, but we aren’t there yet,” he said.

Reed said only 2 percent of intensive care unit beds in Montgomery hospitals remain available.

Alabama has reported 22,474 cases and 750 deaths.

8:58 p.m.
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Trump, economic team launch quick counter narrative amid market dive, grim Fed outlook

President Trump and senior White House officials sought to calm fears about the nation’s economy on Thursday as the stock market fell sharply and investors tried to digest the Federal Reserve’s view that high unemployment would persist for the rest of the year.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday dismissed the possibility of another economic shutdown, telling CNBC that “we can’t shut down the economy again” despite fears of rising coronavirus cases in many parts of the country.

Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, went a step further, criticizing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell’s speaking style. Kudlow also tried to emphasize what he viewed as positive trends in the economy, alleging the coronavirus has “completely flattened out.”

And on Twitter, President Trump attacked the Fed following its projection on Wednesday that unemployment would remain at 9.3 percent by the end of 2020.

Read more here.

8:29 p.m.
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Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus resurgence, more economic pain

The loud noise coming out of Wall Street on Thursday marked investors’ collective exhale after a spike in coronavirus cases, coupled with a gloomy outlook from the Federal Reserve, popped giddiness that a quick recovery was at hand.

The Dow Jones industrial average skidded 1,861.82 points, or 6.9 percent, to close at 25,128.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index sank 188.04 points, or 5.9 percent, to settle at 3,002.10. The Nasdaq composite fell 527.62 points, or 5.3 percent, to end the day at 9,492.73. It was their worst session in three months and marked a sharp break from the optimism earlier this week that had propelled the Nasdaq above 10,000 for the first time and pushed the S&P 500 into positive territory for the year.

All 11 S&P stock sectors and every Dow component were in the red. Nervous investors unloaded shares in airlines, cruise lines, energy and hotels — businesses closely tied to a resurgent economy. The stocks had spiked in recent weeks, helping indexes rebound from March lows on the hope that the coronavirus dislocations were abating.

Read more here.

7:58 p.m.
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Nashville to delay moving to next stage of reopening after slight uptick in new cases

Citing a rise in the average number of new covid-19 cases, Nashville’s mayor said the city will delay moving into “Phase Three” of its reopening plan.

“As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory. But our 14-day new case average remains slightly elevated, prompting us to stay in Phase Two of our road map for Reopening Nashville,” Mayor John Cooper said in a statement Thursday.

Cooper (D) said the Metro Public Health Department will focus efforts on southeast Nashville in particular. According to Alex Jahangir, who heads Nashville’s coronavirus task force, roughly half of the metro area’s new cases in the past month were detected in southeast Nashville.

More than three weeks ago, Nashville moved into the second phase of its reopening plan, with salons, restaurants and retail shops welcoming guests back at half or even sometimes three-quarters their normal capacity. A move into Phase Three would include grade schools reopening, services such as salons and tattoo parlors returning to full capacity and “socially-driven” businesses like bars and clubs open to half-capacity.

Addressing the pause in moving to the next phase, Jahangir told residents the city’s numbers weren’t indicative of a backslide. “It just means that we’re staying at status quo a little longer and watching a few more data points,” he said.

On Thursday, the city reported 56 new cases in the past 24 hours, adding to Nashville’s overall case total of 6,627 confirmed cases; 80 people citywide have died.