Coronavirus Live Updates: Global News Tracker


U.S. lawmakers work toward a new relief package.

With coronavirus cases soaring across the United States, the debate in Washington over a new relief package to help people and businesses weather the crisis is set to take center stage in the coming week, and negotiators were meeting over the weekend in hopes of making progress on a deal.

Trump administration officials and top congressional Democrats met on Capitol Hill on Saturday amid an impasse over new aid, hours after unemployment benefits lapsed for tens of millions of people.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who hosted the meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, said that staff members would meet on Sunday and that the main negotiators would convene again on Monday. They called the discussion on Saturday productive but said that the sides remained far apart on several matters.

At issue is the gap between the latest relief packages put forward by Democrats and Republicans.

A $1 trillion proposal issued by Senate Republicans and administration officials last week includes cutting by two-thirds the $600-per-week unemployment payments that workers had received since April and providing tax cuts and liability protections for businesses.

A $3 trillion relief package approved by House Democrats in May includes an extension of the jobless aid, nearly $200 billion for rental assistance and mortgage relief, $3.6 billion to bolster election security and additional aid for food assistance.

Ms. Pelosi has said that she plans to fight for more funding, particularly for schools. But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has warned against letting the cost go above $1 trillion.

Battered by the virus, Florida hunkers down for Isaias.

The crowded grocery stores, empty shelves and barren streets of South Florida in the early days of the pandemic resembled the rush of preparations preceding a hurricane.

Maybe a state used to dealing with unpredictable forces of nature would have an edge in handling the coronavirus.

“It’s just kind of been the way 2020’s gone so far,” said Howard Tipton, the administrator for St. Lucie County, on Florida’s Treasure Coast. “But we roll with it, right? We don’t get to determine the cards that we’re dealt.”

Tropical Storm Isaias threatens the entire East Coast, but it is the South that has seen a recent spike in new coronavirus cases. Health officials in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have warned that hospitals could be strained beyond capacity.

To avoid virus exposure in shelters, the first choice is for coastal residents in homes vulnerable to flooding to stay with relatives or friends farther inland, being careful to wear masks and remain socially distant.

“Because of Covid, we feel that you are safer at home,” said Bill Johnson, the emergency management director for Palm Beach County. “Shelters should be considered your last resort.”

Victoria has had 11,557 confirmed cases, almost all of them in metropolitan Melbourne, and 123 deaths.

The U.S. reels as July cases more than double the total of any other month.

New daily infections in Japan, a country with a long tradition of wearing face masks, rose more than 50 percent in July. Australia, which can cut itself off from the rest of the world more easily than most, is battling a wave of infections in and around Melbourne. Hong Kong, Israel and Spain are also fighting second waves.

As the pandemic ravages nations around the world, many Ethiopians who found work in other parts of Africa or in the Persian Gulf before the coronavirus arrived are heading home unemployed.

The wave of migrant workers returning by the thousands, some of whom may have been infected on the way, now represents a major strain on Ethiopia’s fragile health system.

More than 30,000 laborers have re-entered Ethiopia since mid-March. Of those, at least 927 had the virus when they returned, according to the government, though that figure has not been updated in over a month and is almost certainly an undercount.

Workers in many Gulf countries have been confined to crowded jails before being expelled, and faced harrowing conditions on the journey home. Some said they were chased out and shot at on the way, or paid smugglers to help them cross waterways en route back to Africa.

Health officials in Ethiopia are reporting spikes in the number of migrant workers seeking treatment for the coronavirus. And many fear that workers who already faced stigmatization and oppression abroad are slipping into the country unseen, possibly infecting others, and suffering all the more at the hands of the virus.

Even upon return, many are met with poor job prospects, and those who have contracted the virus face severely limited treatment options in medical facilities already short on equipment and staff.

Five months after the coronavirus engulfed New York City, subway ridership is 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels, even as the city has largely contained the virus and reopened some businesses.

But a picture emerging in major cities across the world suggests that public transportation may not be as risky as New Yorkers believe.

In countries where the pandemic has ebbed, ridership has rebounded in far greater numbers than it has in New York City — yet there has been no notable superspreader event linked to mass transit, according to a survey of transportation agencies conducted by The New York Times.

In Paris, public health authorities conducting contact tracing found that none of the 386 infection clusters identified from early May to mid-July were linked to the city’s public transportation.

A study of coronavirus clusters in April and May in Austria did not tie any to public transit. And in Tokyo, where public health authorities have aggressively traced virus clusters, none have been linked to the city’s famously crowded rail lines.

Still, public health experts warn that the evidence should be considered with caution. They note that ridership in other major cities is still well below pre-pandemic levels, that tracing clusters directly to public transit is difficult and that the level of threat depends largely on how well a city has reduced its overall infection rate.

Among the range of urban activities, some of the experts say, riding in a subway car is probably riskier than walking outdoors but safer than indoor dining — as long as the car is not packed with people and most riders wear face coverings.

Could humans pass the coronavirus to wildlife, specifically North American bats?

It may seem like a minor worry — far down the list from concerns like getting sick, losing a loved one or staying employed. But as the pandemic has made clear, the more careful people are about viruses passing among species, the better.

In Russia’s capital, anxieties over the pandemic appear to have slipped away, at least judging from the unmasked crowds flocking to restaurants and bars.

Despite laws requiring gloves and masks in public spaces, many people appear to have grown blasé about the dangers of the coronavirus, packing into small spaces to eat and drink. Yet casual attitudes about personal protection do not appear to have led to a public health crisis so far, according to official statistics.

According to government data, Russia has not had a surge of infections, and the daily infection rate nationwide has hovered around 5,000 to 6,000 cases ever since President Vladimir V. Putin declared victory over the pandemic last month.

Some amount of data manipulation may be responsible. The mayor of Norilsk, an industrial city in the Arctic, resigned recently after accusing regional officials of underreporting coronavirus figures. He said the real number of cases was more than twice the official count.

But while masks have not become as politicized as they have in the United States, they have quickly fallen out of favor with older men, and younger people who have labeled them unfashionable. Some hip restaurants popular with youth have even started banning them.

“It is better to get out and live normally and perhaps even get sick than to stay at home forever doing nothing,” said Polina Fedotova, 27, a patron at a cocktail bar in Moscow.

“We are people, not robots, and want to have a life,” said her companion, a 28-year-old doctor who works at a large Moscow hospital and who previously contracted the virus.

Mexico’s love affair with melodrama appeared to be over. Now, thanks partly to the pandemic, the telenovela is roaring back.

Confined to their homes, millions of Mexicans have devoted their evenings to the traditional melodramas and other kitschy classics, finding in the familiar faces and happy endings a balm for anxieties raised by a health crisis that has left at least 43,000 dead and millions unemployed in the country.

The resurgence has been a boon to Televisa, a onetime media monopoly that had taken a beating from streaming services. During the second quarter, 6.6 million people watched Televisa’s flagship channel during prime time each evening, when telenovelas and other melodramas air. Viewership was around five million in that period last year, according to the network.

Miguel Ángel Herros, the executive producer of the melodrama “La Rosa de Guadalupe,” has been filming for shorter periods, in locations that leave ample space for his crew. Actors have their temperatures taken when they arrive on set, and rehearse with masks and face shields.

It is unclear whether the success will last through a pandemic that has forced physical displays of affection out of telenovelas.

“There are no kisses, no hugs, no caresses, no scenes in bed,” Mr. Herros said.

Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Tess Felder, Christina Goldbaum, James Gorman, Andrew Higgins, Jennifer Jett, Natalie Kitroeff, Simon Marks and Patricia Mazzei.



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