Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

Coronavirus infections are taking a lasting toll on people, even among those who had cases that were not severe enough to seek hospital care. Many people with milder covid-19 symptoms continue to report health issues two to three weeks after testing, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study found that 35 percent of people who had covid-19 and were able to self-treat were not at their usual level of health two to three weeks after testing. For people ages 18 to 34 with no underlying health issues, 1 in 5 were still feeling ill weeks later.

The United States reported more than 1,100 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, the fourth day in a row that reported deaths have been above 1,000. It’s the first time since late May that there have been four consecutive days of coronavirus-related deaths above 1,000.

Here are some significant developments:

July 24, 2020 at 9:58 PM EDT

Entire Michigan State football team to quarantine after three positive coronavirus tests

By Jake Russell

Michigan State will have its entire football team quarantine after a second staff member and one athlete tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday, the university announced Friday.

The program paused football workouts Wednesday after one staff member tested positive.

The university announced on July 17 that since early June it had administered 402 tests on athletes with seven positive results. Since June 15, it received one positive case among 104 tests taken by staff members.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 9:57 PM EDT

Some big retailers won’t deny entry to people who flout their mask rules

By Hannah Knowles

Many of the biggest retailers in the country are now requiring shoppers to wear masks in their stores — but that doesn’t mean barefaced customers can’t enter.

Walgreens, CVS Health and Home Depot, three of the top 10 retailers by worldwide sales, told The Washington Post that they generally do not plan to bar or remove people who flout their new policies, saying they do not want to push staff into risky confrontations. Businesses have reported instances of employees facing vitriol and even physical aggression for trying to enforce mask mandates.

Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said stores are giving reminders but not refusing service over face coverings. CVS Health spokesman Joe Goode said staff are told to help mask-less customers “complete their purchases as quickly as possible” and share information about options such as drive-through window service.

Home Depot has “social distancing captains” and mask handouts, spokeswoman Sara Gorman said, but believes it’s “too dangerous to forcibly or physically deny entry.”

“That said, if a customer becomes combative or habitually refuses to comply, we could take further action to prevent them from entering our stores,” Gorman said.

Walmart — the world’s largest retailer — did not directly answer whether people could enter without masks, but said in a statement: “Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation situation … and also work with customers who show up without a face covering to try and find a solution.” “Health ambassadors” at store entrances will broadcast the new rules, the company says.

Other major chains that require customers to wear masks, including Lowe’s, Kroger, Costco and Target, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday. Lowe’s told CNN it would also avoid confronting people about masks.

While most states have mandated face coverings in many public settings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there is no nationwide mandate.

July 24, 2020 at 9:44 PM EDT

CDC director concedes schools in ‘hot spots’ face tougher call on reopening

By Laura Meckler and Rachel Weiner

The leader of the nation’s premier public health agency Friday amplified President Trump’s call for schools to reopen, releasing new documents edited by the White House that gloss over risks and extol the benefits of in-person learning.

Still, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there should be exceptions for “hot spots,” and he used a metric that would include parts of at least 33 states.

The mixed messaging was another indication of how public health officials at the CDC have been squeezed between Trump’s demand for a normal school year and an out-of-control virus. The new CDC guidelines, released late Thursday under pressure from the White House, detail at length the academic and other benefits to children of in-person learning, as well as the economic impact of allowing parents to work. They say little about the risks of reopening.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 9:35 PM EDT

Coronavirus has made college students even more anxious and depressed, study finds

By Lauren Lumpkin

During spring break, when college students’ stress levels typically fall and sleep levels increase, rates of depression and anxiety soared, researchers said after monitoring behaviors among young people during the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

After tracking the moods and movements of about 200 Dartmouth College students for more than two years, the researchers noted that the public health crisis had spurred higher-than-normal stress levels and bouts of sedentary behavior — an average of 21 hours per day — suggesting students followed social distancing orders and avoided traveling during the initial outbreak of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 9:22 PM EDT

Supreme Court denies plea from Nevada church that it is hurt while casinos reopen

By Robert Barnes

The Supreme Court Friday night denied a Nevada church’s plea that the state’s coronavirus-related restrictions on houses of worship unlawfullly treats them worse than the state’s famous casinos.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s liberals in the majority. They did not give a reason for rejecting the emergency plea from Calvery Chapel Dayton Valley, a church in Dayton, Nev. That is not unusual in the court’s treatement of such petitions and in line with what the Supreme Court did in rejecting a challenge to California’s restrictions in May.

But the court’s four most consistent conservatives made their objections clear in three lengthy dissents.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 8:47 PM EDT

Doctors once volunteered to help NYC. Now physicians there are heading to new hot spots.

By Hannah Knowles

Physician Yomaris Peña had gotten just one day off since New York City turned into a coronavirus hot spot. She was volunteering seven days a week at a testing site on top of telemedicine appointments for her own practice.

Then she got a call for help at 9 p.m. on a Monday this month. By 8 a.m. the next day, the internal medicine specialist was on a plane to Texas.

I get paid by God,” Peña said of her work in New York and now Texas with Somos Community Care, a network of volunteer doctors who treat immigrants. “I just couldn’t stay at home. I could not stay at home.”

Early in the pandemic, health-care workers volunteered in droves to go to New York City, where the virus was overwhelming hospitals. Now some New York doctors are heading to the crisis’s new hot spots — Southern and Western states where cases and hospitalizations have spiked.

Working with the governor’s office in New York, Somos’s providers have gone to cities in Texas, Florida and Georgia in recent days. Peña has spent the past two weeks helping to provide free coronavirus testing to about 3,000 people at two pop-up sites in Houston. She and her colleagues — many of whom speak Spanish — opened shop in churches and tried to publicize their efforts in English and Spanish media, seeking to reach immigrant communities they worry are underserved.

Many people were waiting three or four weeks for testing appointments, Peña said. Harris County, home to Houston, advertises free testing for residents regardless of their insurance or citizenship, but Peña says she saw patient after patient who believed they’d have to pay elsewhere.

On Friday, Peña said she was preparing to leave — the testing sites were just temporary. But Ramon Tallaj, Somos’s founder and chairman, said the network hopes to do more and is talking with officials in several other places who want their help.

With the pandemic only intensifying, he said, “we don’t intend to stop.”

July 24, 2020 at 8:28 PM EDT

Trump signs executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices in largely symbolic move

By Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey

President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices on Friday in an effort to shore up support among seniors ahead of the November election where he has been losing support in part because of his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Trump has regularly complained to advisers that drug prices are too high, and some of his political advisers see health care as a key vulnerability in 2020. Several polls have shown that voters trust Democrats more on health care. The executive orders are variations of drug pricing proposals the administration rolled out last year.

However, the moves are largely symbolic because the orders are unlikely to take effect anytime soon, if they do so at all, since the power to implement drug pricing policy through executive order is limited. Voters will not see an impact before the November elections, and the drug industry is sure to challenge them in court.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 8:26 PM EDT

Fauci responds to scrutiny of baseball game photo showing his mask pulled down

By Hannah Knowles

Anthony S. Fauci’s dismal ceremonial pitch at Thursday’s MLB season opener wasn’t the only part of his appearance that drew attention online.

“Dr. Fauci should be setting a better example,” freelance journalist Yashar Ali tweeted as people scrutinized an Associated Press photo of the country’s top infectious-diseases expert — and strong advocate of face coverings — grinning, his masked pulled down, toward a man sitting right next to him and his wife.

Fauci defended the moment as a quick attempt to hydrate.

“I wear a mask all the time,” he said Friday on Fox News, “when I’m outside, to pull it down to take some sips of water and put it back up again. I guess if people want to make something about that they can, but to me, that’s just mischievous.”

The man he’s turned toward in the photo is a “very close friend,” Fauci said. The AP photo shows Fauci, his wife and the friend in a sea of otherwise empty seats.

Fauci said he was “totally dehydrated” and had tested negative for the coronavirus the day before the game, in which the New York Yankees beat the Washington Nationals in a stadium without fans.

In his interview on Fox, host John Roberts also asked Fauci if he played a role in President Trump’s decision to scrap plans for a large, in-person Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Fla. Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that he had not suggested canceling directly to the president but added that “it’s not a secret around the White House how I and my fellow task force members feel about the issue of congregating in crowds.”

He praised the move to cancel and noted that Trump had recently changed his tune on the value of masks.

“As you can see, the president has come around now … and has actually been recommending it,” Fauci said.

July 24, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT

Nationwide death toll surpasses 1,000 for fourth straight day

By Meryl Kornfield and Jacqueline Dupree

The United States tallied more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths for the fourth day in a row on Friday, after last crossing that threshold in late May.

The daily death toll, 1,149, puts the nationwide total at 142,416 since the start of the pandemic.

Coronavirus deaths reached single-day highs in California and Oregon and tied the record in Montana. California, Texas and Florida — the three most populous states — had the highest daily death tolls, with more than 100 dead in each.

The seven-day averages for deaths set records in Georgia, Texas, California and Florida, while Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah tied with their previous peaks.

July 24, 2020 at 6:56 PM EDT

With American tourists banned from Italy, Amalfi Coast workers are sliding into poverty

By Chico Harlan

AMALFI, Italy — For 15 years, he’d worked in the kitchen of a luxury resort, overseeing the dishwashers, keeping ingredients stocked, making sure the guests in 1,200-euro-a-night rooms could order seafood spaghetti at any hour.

But this summer has brought only a trickle of guests. The hotel is operating with a skeleton staff. At his home five miles inland, Ninfo Falcone, 43, is contending with unemployment however he can — by dipping into his savings, building a small greenhouse, buying pigs and rabbits to raise and occasionally taking a load of vegetables to sell in town.

“I went from five-star-hotel work to cultivating a patch of land,” Falcone said.

Once operating behind the scenes of near-paradise, cooking the meals and washing the sheets, the workers of the Amalfi Coast now stand as a painful example of what can happen when borders are tightened, international travel collapses and tourists from hot-spot countries — particularly Americans — are frozen out.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT

People with milder covid-19 symptoms report problems weeks after testing, according to CDC

By Hannah Knowles

Many people with milder covid-19 symptoms continue to report decreased health two to three weeks after testing positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a report that sheds light on how the virus’s effects can linger, even in young adults without chronic medical issues.

The study, based on phone surveys of American adults conducted between April and June, focused on patients who were symptomatic but got outpatient testing, suggesting that their cases were less severe. Follow-up interviews with 274 patients two to three weeks after testing found that 35 percent “reported not having returned to their usual state of health,” the CDC report states.

That figure includes 26 percent of patients ages 18 to 34, 32 percent of those ages 35 to 49, and 47 percent of those 50 or older, the report says.

“Prolonged symptom duration and disability are common in adults hospitalized with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19),” the report notes, while less is known “about the clinical course of covid-19 and return to baseline health for people with milder, outpatient illness.”

According to the report, 43 percent of people who reported a cough when tested reported the symptom again during their follow-up interview. That share dropped to 35 percent for fatigue and 29 percent for shortness of breath.

July 24, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT

Calculations show U.S. is likely to reach 5 million cases in August, mathematician says

By Kim Bellware and Meryl Kornfield

The United States surpassed 4 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday as the hot spot states of Florida, California and Texas accounted for one-third of the new infections reported nationwide.

Almost as concerning as the staggering number of total cases was the speed at which the country reached that milestone, said Martin Magid, professor emeritus of mathematics at Wellesley College.

Roughly 45 days passed between the 1 million and 2 million cases mark, which Magid said suggests that twice that amount of time, or 90 days, should have passed before the total rose by another 2 million. Instead, the number of infections reached that mark in 42 days — increasing from 2 to 3 million between June 11 and July 8, and from 3 to 4 million between July 8 and Thursday, according to The Washington Post’s tracking.

Based on data published by The Post and the Covid Tracking Project, Magid said he devised a formula showing that if the number of infections continues unfettered, the United States will reach 5 million cases between 14 and 18 days after hitting 4 million cases — 20 days at most. That estimate would place the 5 million mark between Aug. 6 and 12.

Magid’s projections are consistent with other calculations. The Covid-19 Pandemic Navigator, run by the New York-based management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, predicted that the U.S. case total will hit 5 million in August and 6 million by September.

Magid added that his calculation is an extrapolation and could be affected by human behavior, like mask wearing and social distancing, as well as lags in testing and reporting results.

A universal mask mandate, for example, would cause the number of daily infections to decline, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which projects the pandemic’s trajectory. The institute predicts that health officials will report 114,152 daily cases on Aug. 1 if mask usage continues as is, but 68,926 cases if everyone in the country is required to wear face coverings in public.

July 24, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT

Every time MLB solves one problem (Blue Jays), another (Braves) pops up

By Dave Sheinin

There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball, which, in the age of the coronavirus, means 30 opportunities for calamity. Hardly a day goes by without a flare-up somewhere, a complication somewhere else. On Friday — the day 26 of those teams were set to play their first regular season games of 2020 — no sooner had MLB solved its Toronto Blue Jays problem than it developed an Atlanta Braves problem.

Effectively booted out of Toronto by the Canadian government and blocked from sharing the stadiums of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays settled on Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, home of their Class AAA affiliate, as their base in 2020.

The Blue Jays’ first two home games, however, will come at Nationals Park, July 29 and 30 — immediately following two previously scheduled games there against the Nationals on Monday and Tuesday — to accommodate infrastructure upgrades in Buffalo. The Blue Jays will serve as the home team at Nationals Park for the latter two games.

Read more here.

July 24, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT

Ohio’s businesses were all for mask mandates. Then politics got in the way.

By Olivera Perkins

CLEVELAND — When Chinese state media reported the first known deaths from the novel coronavirus, Jodi Berg, the president and chief executive of premium blender maker Vitamix, realized she faced simultaneous threats thousands of miles apart: disruption to the global supply chain in China and infection of workers at her suburban plant.

In mid-March, Berg joined other manufacturers in lobbying Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine (R), to keep factories open, arguing that industry had come up with ways to prevent the spread of the virus. And in April, an advisory board of business leaders recommended that Ohio adopt a statewide mask mandate. DeWine briefly ordered Ohioans to mask up in public before reversing the mandate in the face of protests.

This week, the governor renewed his mandate for face coverings in public. But political and business leaders say the early intervention helped Ohio contain the coronavirus and keep factories operating without the widespread outbreaks in industrial facilities that have occurred in the meatpacking and other industries.

Read more here.