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Recognition…Joel Angel Juarez for the New York Times
With daily reports of coronavirus cases in the United States averaging more than 75,000 a day for the past week, the country passed the nine million known infections mark since the pandemic began on Thursday.
More cases were identified in the United States than in any other country, although some nations had more cases relative to their population.
"There is no way to gloss it over: we are facing an urgent crisis and there is an immediate risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors," said Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
More than 200 coronavirus deaths were announced in Wisconsin last week, and as the number of cases skyrocketed, hospitals were under increasing strain.
Home to eight of the 15 metro areas in the country with the highest rates of recent cases, Wisconsin was one of the first states to lose control of the virus in the fall. But the surge that began in the upper Midwest and rural west has now spread far beyond, driving infection rates soaring in locations as diverse as El Paso, Chicago and Rexburg, Idaho.
Brad Little, the governor of Idaho, this week placed new restrictions on businesses and gatherings. "Hospitals across the state are filling up quickly or already full of Covid-19 patients and other patients, and far too many health care workers are sick with Covid-19," Little said.
Twenty-one states added more cases in the seven-day period ending Wednesday than any other seven-day period in the pandemic amid fierce presidential competition.
President Trump, In the final days of his election campaign, he has reassured voters that the virus is going away, brushing aside and even mocking the havoc it has wreaked People who take precautions – including measures recommended by their own health advisors – to help slow the spread of the disease.
Daily reports of deaths from the virus remain well below their spring peaks, averaging 780 per day. But even these have started to tick upwards.
The latest data doesn't contain many hopeful signs.
Reports of new cases are increasing in 42 states. In northeastern states, including New Jersey and Rhode Island, the number of infections is increasing after months of stability. And in North Dakota, where more than 5 percent of the population have now tested positive – the largest share of a state – as reports of new cases keep increasing.
Recognition…Erin Schaff / The New York Times
As the nation embarks on what some public health experts warn that it could be a "dark winter" of coronavirus disease and death, a growing cadre is merging around Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s demand a "national mask mandate," even if they are. Admitting such an effort would require much more than the stroke of a presidential pen.
Over the past week, a number of prominent public health experts – notably Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government's foremost infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner for Food and Drugs under President Trump – said it was time to think seriously about a national mandate to contain the spread of the virus.
Overseas, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin this week, as the youngest foreign head of state, imposed a national mandate on citizens to wear masks. Mr Trump is against a mandate, and Mr Biden has admitted that an order from the President that all Americans must wear masks would almost certainly face a legal challenge – and would likely be subject to a legal challenge.
Mr Biden, who reiterated warnings of a “dark winter” during the final presidential debate, is already using his bullying pulpit to promote and strengthen a mask-wearing culture. If he's elected, he'll almost certainly do more.
Mr Biden has previously said that as President he would make masks mandatory for all federal property, an executive order that could have a wide reach. He could use his powers under federal traffic law to require masks for public transport. He could also get governors who oppose mask mandates to at least require masks in public buildings in their states.
But that's delicate political terrain in the United States, where Mr Trump has turned wearing a mask – or not wearing a mask – into a political statement. Public health and law experts say it would be far better for Mr Biden – or Mr Trump – to use his powers of persuasion to convince Americans that covering your face to protect against disease is a patriotic or civic act .
"Rather than addressing the presidential coercion by law, it should be about whether the president can support a norm that supports public health, which is in people's best interests," said Harold Koh, a law professor at Yale University and an expert in national security and human rights.
Experts say the scientific evidence is growing that face masks can significantly reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses such as the one that causes Covid-19. Even if wearing a mask doesn't prevent infection, it can reduce the severity of the condition by reducing the intensity of a person's exposure to the virus. Research also shows that states that have passed mask mandates had lower growth rates of Covid-19 starting on the day the mandate was passed.
Even so, any reference to a comprehensive federal requirement would "pass like a lead balloon" and "divide and harden areas of the country in opposition," said Joel White, a Republican strategist with experience in health care policy. Mr White said the Trump administration's policy of letting state and local leaders decide on masks is "a far better way".
However, this has not resulted in the type of compliance public health experts believe is required to reduce the spread of the virus. Last week, 33 states and the District of Columbia were forced to wear masks in public, according to a list compiled by AARP. But in certain parts of the country, particularly in heavily Republican states, resistance is low – even as cases skyrocket.
Recognition…Petr David Josek / Associated Press
In Belgium, all non-essential hospital work has been postponed to cope with the influx of new Covid-19 patients, the number of which has nearly doubled in the past week and is in line with the first wave of pandemics in the spring.
Croatia has asked former doctors to come out of retirement to help out in hospitals, while National Guard troops have flown from the US to the Czech Republic to help over-challenged healthcare professionals.
In the Netherlands, new coronavirus patients had to be brought to Germany by helicopter to relieve Dutch intensive care units.
Hospitals across Europe are filling at an alarming rate that dates back to the darkest hours of the spring's first wave of the pandemic. Authorities are trying to slow the spread of a virus that is threatening to bring ailing health systems to the brink of collapse.
More than 500,000 cases were counted worldwide on Wednesday, a record since the pandemic began. All 20 countries with the highest rate of new cases in the past week are in Europe. The UK, France, Italy and Spain were among the countries with the highest number of fatalities in months.
Announcing a new nationwide lockdown in France on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron predicted that the second wave of the virus would be more deadly than the first.
An estimated 1 million people are currently infected with the coronavirus in France and 2,000 new patients are being hospitalized every day, according to government figures. This is the highest number in the country since mid-April. Doctors have warned that hospitals will not hold in winter if the virus cannot be stopped, and Mr Macron said bluntly on Wednesday that if France cannot curb the pandemic, doctors would soon have to decide which Covid-19 patients to save .
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced new lockdown measures on Wednesday, as hospital stays have doubled in the last 10 days and almost 1,500 patients are in intensive care to “avoid situations that are extremely difficult”.
Exhausted health care workers and other epidemics like the flu that hit winter have warned authorities that the worst is yet to come. While in Western Europe the fear of overburdened hospitals evoked a feeling of déjà vu from the first wave in the spring, the Central and Eastern European countries, which had escaped the first wave relatively unscathed, were faced with a frighteningly new situation.
Countries like the Czech Republic and Poland imposed severe restrictions and recorded lower infection rates in the spring, but rising cases this fall highlighted a critical shortage of nurses, doctors and intensive care beds. Large numbers of healthcare professionals are contracting the virus in Bulgaria and a recognized doctor was the 19th medical professional to die from the virus earlier this month. In the Czech Republic, where cases are increasing in one of the fastest paces in Europe, Prime Minister Andrej Babis has warned that the country's health system could collapse before mid-November.
"What happened was somehow predicted, but nobody expected its scope," Babis said after declaring a second national lockdown.
Recognition…Thom Bridge / Independent Record, via Associated Press
The virus is spreading rapidly in Montana, a state of Great Plains and Mountain West which has seen a surge in new virus cases. The state ranks fourth nationwide in terms of the number of new cases relative to its population – about 70 cases per 100,000 people – based on an average of seven days, compared to about 23 per 100,000 across the country, according to a Times database .
Residents in some parts of Montana oppose a state mask mandate in the name of individual rights. Hospital admissions have increased significantly, according to the Covid Tracking Project, which saw a nearly 100 percent increase between October 3 and October 28. With the rise in cases, health officials across the state have been preparing for a strain on the system.
Montana has a moment, but not the kind of #MontanaMoment the state tourism bureau was promoting in 2018. The government website for tourism and business development has the new slogan "Montana Aware".
In a sense, the state offers a snapshot of America less than a week after election day: it is politically divided and struggling to contain the daily caseload, higher than it has ever been since the pandemic began.
Although the state is heavily Republican, it has competitive races for the governor and for the Senate this year. And President Trump, who won the state by 20 points in 2016, has seen in recent polls that his lead over his opponent Joseph R. Biden Jr. has fallen to single digits.
A Montana State University poll released earlier this month found that Democratic and independent voters are more concerned about health issues and support preventive measures like wearing masks in public.
"If you combine that with dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, I would argue that it will benefit Democratic candidates – especially in an electoral environment with higher turnout," said David C. W. Parker, one of the university professors who conducted the survey.
Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat now running for the Senate, has called for people in public spaces across the state to wear face covers to help slow the spread of the virus. But some local officials have defied the order and created a patchwork of precautionary measures – sometimes within a single block.
Mike Cooney, the Democratic nominee for governor, is a pro-masked mandate and is most commonly seen wearing a mask in public, while Republican nominee Greg Gianforte was recently criticized for hugging supporters without wearing a mask after he attended a concert that has taken place since then has been linked to new virus cases.
A recent report for the White House called for further precautionary measures for the state, which the federal government has classified in the "red zone" for cases.
"Given the scale of the broadcast, Montana should limit bar and gym hours and urgently enforce face masks, occupancy restrictions and social distancing guidelines in all counties," the October 25 report said.
Elsewhere in the United States:
Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston said Thursday city workers would be given an hour off every two weeks during normal work shifts to be tested for the virus. The move is part of a new campaign called Get the Test Boston, which aims to encourage testing. The percentage of coronavirus tests positive in Boston rose from 6.2 percent the week before to 7.8 percent.
For one month from November, United Airlines will test passengers over 2 years for the coronavirus before taking certain flights at Newark Liberty International Airport towards Heathrow Airport in London. The testing program is designed to convince government officials that testing could be a critical part of reopening international travel. Passengers must test negative to board the flights. Anyone who tests positive will be isolated and asked to contact their doctor, and the airline will help them rebook a flight for a later date.
Pelosi "Very Confident" Biden will win
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she had already made preparations for the Democratic candidate's presidency.
I am very confident that Joe Biden will be elected president on Tuesday regardless of the final count. But he will be elected in Tuesday's election. On January 20, he is named President of the United States. So while we don't want to be too confident or accept something, we have to be willing to take a different path. When it comes to the coronavirus, we've come to a fork in the road. The President put us on a deadly path. The Heroes Act takes us on a scientific path to save the lives, livelihoods, and lives of the American people. This weekend should be very interesting to see how many people will vote in advance. I hope people don't have to rely on the post because they did everything they could to tear down the postal system. But I salute our postal workers, our postmen, and those who are making the best of the situation. But even the postal service says it's too late to send anything now. Well, I want, I want a bill for two reasons. First and foremost, Americans need help, they need real help. Second, we're very busy in Joe Biden's administration. We will build America's infrastructure in an environmentally friendly way.
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she had already made preparations for the Democratic candidate's presidency.recognitionRecognition…Anna Moneymaker for the New York Times
Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she wanted to reach an agreement on an economic relief bill to clear the decks for a presidency of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the post-election Lame Duck session of Congress, and showed optimistic that an agreement could be reached despite the agreement. Months of stalled negotiations.
"I want a bill for two reasons," said Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, at her final press conference ahead of the election on Tuesday. “First and foremost, Americans need help, they need real help. Second, we have a lot to do in a Joe Biden administration. "
Hours earlier, she had written to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for an answer on key differences in the stumbling relief talks as small businesses continue to struggle and millions of Americans remain jobless due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Your answers are crucial to the continuation of our negotiations," Ms Pelosi told Mr Mnuchin.
On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Mnuchin shot back with a letter of his own to Ms. Pelosi, accusing her of a "political stunt".
"I woke up this morning and read your letter to me in the press," Mnuchin wrote. "Since you sent it to my office at midnight and at the same time made it available to the press, I can unfortunately conclude that it is a political stunt."
Mr. Mnuchin noted that he had spoken to Ms. Pelosi almost every day for the past 45 days and accused her of misrepresenting the status of their negotiations.
The list of unresolved issues includes Democrats' calls for help to state and local governments, the amount of funding for schools and childcare, and the terms of a national coronavirus testing plan that Ms. Pelosi has long requested.
Despite Ms. Pelosi's wishes, lawmakers and administration are unlikely to be able to reconcile their differences quickly, especially given widespread Conservatives concern on Capitol Hill about the scope and size of the package.
However, Ms. Pelosi has continued to insist that Mr. Mnuchin, the White House negotiator, agree to the final language on a number of issues and respond to democratic demands.
Ms. Pelosi said Mr. Mnuchin has not yet approved the final test language, despite saying this month that "we will generally agree to your test language".
In her letter, Ms. Pelosi said, “The President's words that after the election we will have the best stimulus package you have ever seen will only matter if he can get Mitch McConnell to take his hand off the pause button and to get Republican Senate chairmen seek an agreement with their counterparts. "
It was referring to the public objections of Senate Republicans to the nearly $ 2 trillion framework. Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, has privately advised the White House not to reach an agreement until after the election.
Mr Mnuchin said the Trump administration had made sensible compromises on several fronts and that Ms. Pelosi had passed laws that would allow the government to support airlines and small businesses and offer additional stimulus payments with unused funds from the latest aid package.
"Your ALL OR NONE approach hurts hardworking Americans who need help now," Mnuchin wrote.
A ninth grade student who received a false negative result for a required coronavirus test sparked a widespread event that infected three-quarters of the 152 students, counselors, and staff who attended a summer retreat in Wisconsin attended August.
The illnesses were mild and no one had to be hospitalized. This emerges from a description of the outbreak in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Thursday. The report did not identify the religious organization that sponsored the retreat or where it took place in Wisconsin.
The people participating in the boys' retreat came from 21 states and territories and two other countries. They either had to document a positive test result for antibodies to the coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, within the past three months, or prove a negative result for a diagnostic test carried out within a week of leaving for the retreat. They have also been asked to quarantine their homes a week before travel and have been told to wear masks when traveling.
However, when they were on the retreat, only the teachers observed social distancing and wore masks during class. The students and counselors were not required to do so and mixed freely.
Classes were outside, but students sat less than six feet apart and slept in dormitories, four to six in one room, and yurts, with up to eight in one room. The counselors were also housed in dormitories and yurts. Only the teachers lived in separate units.
The ninth grader, who was the index patient who tested negative, developed a sore throat, cough, and chills two days after arriving and soon discovered that a family member had just tested positive. Although he was quickly isolated and 11 of his close contacts were briefly quarantined, the virus spread. Ultimately, at least 116 people tested positive for the virus on the retreat.
Among those who tested negative for the virus were 24 participants who had previously been exposed to the virus and had antibodies before coming to the retreat. The C.D.C. The report notes that "the evidence so far is insufficient to determine whether the presence of detectable antibodies indicates protective immunity or how long that immunity might persist."
The four employees also tested negative, although one developed symptoms of the disease and was classified as a likely case.
Recognition…Callaghan O & # 39; Hare / Reuters
In April, the coronavirus killed more than 10,000 people in New York City. By early May, nearly 50,000 care home residents and their caregivers in the United States had died.
But as the virus continued to rage through the summer and fall, infecting nearly 8.5 million Americans, survival rates appeared to improve even in critically ill patients. In a New York hospital system where 30 percent of coronavirus patients died in March, the death rate had dropped to 3 percent by the end of June.
Doctors in England observed a similar trend. "At the end of March, four out of ten people died in the intensive care unit." said John M. Dennis, a researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School. "At the end of June, survival was over 80 percent."
Although the virus has slowly changed as it has spread, most scientists say there is no solid evidence that it has either become less virulent or more virulent.
As the elderly took greater precautions to avoid infection, more of the hospitalized patients were younger adults, who are generally healthier and more resilient. At the end of August, the average patient was under 40 years old.
Were the lower death rates simply a function of demographic change or a reflection of advances in treatment that mitigated the effects of the new pathogen?
NYU Langone Health researchers focused on this question, analyzing the results of more than 5,000 patients admitted to the system's three hospitals from March to August. They concluded the improvement was real, not just the result of a younger pool of patients.
Even when they checked for differences in age, gender, race, underlying health problems, and severity of Covid symptoms – such as blood oxygen levels at ingestion – they found the death rate to be significant from 25.6 percent to 7.6 percent in August was sunk in March.
A combination of factors contributed to improved outcomes for hospital patients, experts said. As clinicians became more experienced with the disease, they became better able to treat it using steroid medications and non-drug interventions.
Researchers have also attributed increased community awareness. Patients seek care earlier in the course of their illness. Outcomes may also have improved as the burden on hospitals decreased and medical staff was less pressured.
"We don't have a magic bullet, but we have many, many little things that add up," said Dr. Leora Horwitz, Director of the NYU Langone Center for Healthcare Innovation & Delivery Science. "We better understand when people need ventilation and when not and which complications such as blood clots and kidney failure have to be looked out for."
Once doctors became aware of the risk of clotting, they began quickly providing patients with blood thinners if needed.
Another problem in the spring was that when hospitals in hard-hit areas like New York City became overwhelmed, doctors who hadn't worked in intensive care for many years were called in to care for critically ill patients. The nursing departments, meanwhile, were understaffed and equipment was scarce.
Medical experts fear the rising cases across the country could reverse the improvement in death rates. The number of hospitalized Covid patients has increased by 40 percent in the last month, and more than 41,000 patients are now hospitalized in the United States.
Recognition…Raphael Satter / Reuters
Hunderte von amerikanischen Krankenhäusern werden bei Cyberangriffen von denselben russischen Hackern angegriffen, von denen amerikanische Beamte und Forscher befürchten, dass sie bei den Wahlen in der nächsten Woche Chaos anrichten könnten.
Die Angriffe auf amerikanische Krankenhäuser, Kliniken und medizinische Komplexe sollen diese Einrichtungen offline schalten und ihre Daten als Geisel nehmen, um Lösegeldzahlungen in Höhe von mehreren Millionen Dollar zu erhalten, genau wie Coronavirus-Fälle in den Vereinigten Staaten zunehmen.
"Wir erwarten Panik", sagte ein an den Angriffen beteiligter Hacker auf Russisch während eines privaten Austauschs am Montag, der von Hold Security, einem Sicherheitsunternehmen, das Online-Kriminelle aufspürt, gefangen genommen wurde.
Einige Krankenhäuser im Bundesstaat New York und an der Westküste meldeten in den letzten Tagen Cyberangriffe, obwohl nicht klar war, ob sie Teil der Angriffe waren, und Krankenhausbeamte betonten, dass die kritische Patientenversorgung nicht betroffen sei.
Laut Alex Holden, dem Gründer von Hold Security, der die Informationen mit der F.B.I geteilt hat, haben die russischen Hacker, von denen angenommen wird, dass sie in Moskau und St. Petersburg ansässig sind, eine Liste von mehr als 400 Krankenhäusern gehandelt, auf die sie abzielen wollen. Herr Holden sagte, die Hacker hätten bereits mehr als 30 von ihnen infiziert.
Am Mittwoch warnten drei Regierungsbehörden – das FBI, das Ministerium für Gesundheit und menschliche Dienste und die Agentur für Cybersicherheit und Infrastruktursicherheit des Heimatschutzministeriums – Krankenhausverwalter und Sicherheitsforscher vor einer „glaubwürdigen Bedrohung“ durch Cyberangriffe auf amerikanische Krankenhäuser Sicherheitsbeauftragter, der dem Briefing zuhörte.
Beamte und Forscher nannten die betroffenen Krankenhäuser nicht, aber das Sonoma Valley Hospital in Kalifornien sagte, es habe nach einem Eingriff in der vergangenen Woche immer noch versucht, seine Computersysteme wiederherzustellen. Das St. Lawrence Health System in New York bestätigte, dass zwei seiner Krankenhäuser, Canton-Potsdam und Gouverneur, am Dienstag von Ransomware-Angriffen betroffen waren, die dazu führten, dass Computersysteme heruntergefahren und Krankenwagen umgeleitet wurden. Das Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon wurde am Dienstag durch einen Ransomware-Angriff verkrüppelt, der elektronische Patientenakten einfrierte und Operationen verzögerte, sagte ein Vertreter des Krankenhauses.
Es war unklar, ob diese Angriffe mit der laufenden Hacking-Kampagne zusammenhängen. Die jüngsten Verstöße waren jedoch auf dieselben russischen Hacker zurückzuführen, die Universal Health Services, ein riesiges Netzwerk von mehr als 400 Krankenhäusern, im vergangenen Monat mit Ransomware als Geiseln genommen hatten, was damals als der größte medizinische Cyberangriff seiner Art galt.
Recognition…Alessandro Crinari/Keystone, via Associated Press
A day after France and Germany opted for severe coronavirus restrictions, Switzerland on Thursday took steps to try to control its own growing outbreak, imposing tighter controls on social gatherings, closing nightclubs and imposing an 11 p.m. closing time for bars.
For the moment, restaurants, shops and businesses will be allowed to remain open in a strategy that the home minister, Alain Berset, described as “a middle path” designed to limit the economic impact of the pandemic.
The new measures came as Switzerland recorded its highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic. The nation of eight million has reported an average of 6,271 new daily cases over the past week and has reported 1,985 total deaths.
The high rates of new cases in Switzerland led the authorities to reduce the number of countries from which arriving travelers must quarantine. The list, which includes countries with a higher per capita rate of infection than Switzerland’s, featured more than 60 countries earlier this month. The list released on Wednesday included only four European countries — Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, and the Czech Republic — and three regions of France, including Paris.
The Swiss authorities also limited public gatherings to 50 people, sports and cultural activities to 15 people, and private family gatherings to 10.
“If it’s not possible to get the virus under control, then other measures are possible,” Mr. Berset told a news conference in the capital, Bern.
In Greece, after a new spike in cases, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that he would announce a one-month action of “targeted restrictions” on Friday aimed at averting a second nationwide lockdown.
Three more regions will be locked down, Mr. Mitsotakis said: the country’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki as well as Rhodope, also in the north, and Larissa in central Greece. They will join four northern regions that have been locked down this month. Schools and retail stores will remain open, Mr. Mitsotakis said.
Greece initially did well in controlling the spread of the virus, but daily cases have been rising recently, entering four digits this week. By Wednesday, the country had recorded 34,299 cases and 603 deaths.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday explained the necessity and details of the country’s monthlong partial lockdown. “The measures we are now taking are appropriate, necessary and proportionate,” she told lawmakers in a 25-minute speech that was repeatedly interrupted by heckling by members of the far-right party Alternative for Germany, or AfD.
“Lies and disinformation, conspiracy and hatred damage not only the democratic debate but also the fight against the virus,” she said.
The parliamentary head of the AfD called the new rules a “corona dictatorship” and said: “We consider the paralysis of the cultural sector, the gastronomy, and practically the entire leisure life of the citizens, as announced by Ms. Merkel, to be excessive and inappropriate.”
Germany has been averaging about 12,700 cases a day in the past week.
In Spain, ahead of a long holiday weekend, most regions announced travel restrictions that would prevent about 80 percent of the country’s 47 million residents from visiting other parts of the country.
In another sign that Europe is going back into crisis mode, Pope Francis will return to holding his weekly general audiences virtually from the library of his Apostolic Palace, the Holy See announced on Thursday.
The decision came after a participant in last week’s audience tested positive for the coronavirus, and was “aimed at avoiding any possible future risk for the health of the participants,” the statement read.
Worshipers only recently began participating in the audiences, which over the summer took place in a Vatican courtyard with a more limited number of attendants as compared to St. Peter’s Square, its traditional venue before the pandemic. But through the beginning of fall, the audiences were held indoors, in a large auditorium inside the Vatican.
The Vatican and its few residents were not spared during the first wave of the pandemic last spring, and the virus is circulating there again, like in the rest of Europe. Earlier this month, a person living in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope’s residence, tested positive for the virus and left the guesthouse. Three other citizens of the Vatican had already been quarantined, as well as 13 Swiss Guards.
Italy hit a record number of daily cases on Wednesday: nearly 25,000, according to a Times database. Deaths are once again climbing after falling to low numbers over the summer, with 205 recorded on Wednesday.
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Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation
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U.S. economic output grew at the fastest pace on record last quarter as businesses began to reopen and customers returned to stores. But the economy has climbed only partway out of its pandemic-induced hole, and progress is slowing.
Gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The gain, the equivalent of 33.1 percent on an annualized basis, was by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II; the previous record was a 3.9 percent quarterly increase in 1950.
Still, the economy in the third quarter remained 3.5 percent smaller than at the end of 2019, before the pandemic began. By comparison, G.D.P. shrank 4 percent over the entire year and a half of the Great Recession a decade ago.
The report was the last major piece of economic data before the presidential election on Tuesday. President Trump hailed the big gain as evidence that the economy had roared back to life after the spring’s pandemic-induced shutdowns.
But economists said the third-quarter figures revealed less about the strength of the recovery than about the severity of the collapse that preceded it. G.D.P. fell 1.3 percent in the first quarter and 9 percent in the second as the pandemic forced widespread business closures. A big rebound was inevitable once the economy began to reopen. The challenge is what comes next.
“The reason we had such a big bounce is that the economy went from closed to partially open,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. “The easy growth was exhausted, and now the hard work has to be done in terms of fully healing.”
Already, there are signs that the recovery is losing steam. Industrial production fell in September and job growth has cooled, even as a growing list of major corporations have announced new rounds of large-scale layoffs and furloughs. Most economists expect the slowdown to worsen in the final three months of the year as virus cases rise and federal aid to households and businesses fades.
“We’re having a record recovery, but it comes after an even more record collapse, and it looks like economic momentum is fading in the fourth quarter,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. macro strategist for TD Securities.
In Amsterdam this month. Many people in the Netherlands had returned to bars, restaurants and beaches after a nationwide lockdown was lifted this summer.
Recognition…Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times
The Netherlands, one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, is renowned for its efficient and organized government in most circumstances — but not, apparently, in the pandemic.
As a second wave of the coronavirus surfaces across Europe, the Netherlands stands out with Belgium and the Czech Republic as among the hardest hit. It currently ranks sixth among European Union countries when it comes to the rate of new infections, with 56 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — its highest total ever.
The infection numbers keep rising, to a record 10,346 new cases on Monday in a country of 17 million people — one-19th the size of the United States, which is reporting in the neighborhood of 75,000 new cases a day. And it is hard to keep track of the true toll, with the country’s official data incomplete because of technical errors.
Last week, new coronavirus patients had to be transferred by helicopter to Germany to relieve Dutch intensive-care units.
After weeks of taking incremental steps to curb the spread of the virus, the government announced on Oct. 14 that, in addition to the new rules on face masks, all bars and restaurants would close for at least four weeks. With infections still rising, the authorities are considering establishing an evening curfew to keep people indoors, or even a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown.
For the Dutch, who generally regard their country as one of the best run in the world — with at times an undertone of superiority — the level of institutional chaos has been a hard reckoning.
“It’s shocking really. I always thought we were one of the best countries in the world, best organized,” said Rob Elgersma, 18, an agriculture student. “But now, they have the ability to fix things but can’t get their act together. What happened to us?”
That’s a question a lot of Dutch people are asking right now.
Recognition…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
For a month, beginning in November, United Airlines will test passengers over the age of 2 for the coronavirus on select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow Airport in London, in a trial intended to help convince government officials that testing could be a crucial part of reopening international travel.
United will administer the rapid molecular Abbott ID Now virus test to people flying between Nov. 11 and Dec. 11 on Flight 14, departing at 7:15 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Newark. Everyone hoping to be on those flights will have to test negative for the coronavirus to board the plane. Those who test positive will be isolated and asked to get in touch with their health care provider, and the airline will help them book a flight for a later date. People who do not want to take the test will be moved to another flight.
“We believe the ability to provide fast, same-day Covid-19 testing will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world and navigating quarantines and travel restrictions, particularly to key international destinations like London,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. In September, international air arrivals to New York’s five regional airports were down 82 percent compared with September 2019, according to data from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
People on the flights will have to make appointments to get tested, and the airline is advising them to plan to arrive at least three hours before a flight. The testing site at Newark will be in the United Club near Gate C93.
The pilot program is intended to make passengers feel comfortable traveling again, but it won’t replace practices like mask wearing, social distancing and protocols for boarding and deplaning that have become mandatory in recent months. Passengers will still have to follow quarantine rules when they arrive in London.
The test comes on the heels of United and other airlines offering coronavirus testing to people traveling from mainland states to Hawaii, where those with a negative test can skip the state’s 14-day quarantine. Travel industry experts believe that testing will make it possible for people to bypass quarantines and make it easier for international travel to begin again, and United’s leadership team hopes that the trial will lead to more testing at airports.
On Thursday in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio again cautioned residents against holiday travel, noting particular concern on Thursday about gatherings over the upcoming Halloween weekend. He reported that the citywide seven-day average rate of positive test results was 1.92 percent, “the first time that number has taken a meaningful jump.”
“That alone is not a number that would overwhelm us but the growth is what worries me,” the mayor said.
Dr. Jay Varma, a senior health adviser, also noted a “steady rise” in positive test results across the five boroughs. “The rise has been relatively slow but it hasn’t abated and that’s really what our concern is right now,” he said.
Recognition…Ore Huiying for The New York Times
Singapore is easing restrictions on hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have largely been confined to their dormitories since last spring.
Under the new policy, which has been in trials for the past two months, workers who test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to visit designated recreation centers on their days off starting Saturday. There must also be no active cases in their dorms.
The eight recreation centers across Singapore are central to the lives of the workers, who go there to buy groceries, get haircuts, wire money to their families back home and socialize with friends.
By means of a government smartphone app, workers who wish to leave their dorms will have to apply for permission and choose one of five three-hour slots between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. There are a limited number of exit passes for each time slot.
The economy of Singapore, a country of almost six million people, is heavily dependent on more than 300,000 migrant workers, who hail largely from South Asian countries, including India and Bangladesh. They work in construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing and other sectors, earning about $400 or $500 a month. The pandemic has renewed longstanding questions in Singapore about inequality and how foreign workers are treated.
Early in the year, Singapore appeared to have largely brought the virus under control, thanks to extensive contact tracing and a partial national lockdown. But in April, after a surge in cases in the crowded dorms, the government imposed a much stricter lockdown that lasted until June 1. New infections began to be reported as separate tallies, one for foreign workers and one for “the local community.”
But even as stay-at-home orders were eased for Singapore’s other residents, migrant workers were barred from leaving their dorms and sometimes even their rooms except for work and essential errands. The confinement and the financial stress of job uncertainty have taken a heavy mental toll on the workers, with reports of suicides and attempted suicides. Government officials said keeping the dorms sealed off was necessary to reopen the economy.
All dorms were declared clear of the virus on Aug. 11, but new clusters emerged within weeks, delaying the easing of restrictions until now. Migrant workers account for about 95 percent of Singapore’s 58,000 total cases.
Kirsten Han, a Singaporean journalist and activist, said on Twitter in April that the country’s experience showed “that even if you do most things right, if you’re not considering or proactively looking out for the most vulnerable and marginalized in your society, you’re not going to effectively fight Covid-19.”
In other global developments:
After months of restrictions, international travelers from any country will be allowed into Costa Rica starting Nov. 1, as long as they are not displaying symptoms and have insurance to cover costs of any virus treatment or quarantine lodging during their stay. The move comes days after the country lifted a rule requiring a negative Covid-19 test for incoming air travelers. More than 15 percent of Costa Rica’s 160,000 coronavirus cases came from foreigners, according to its Department of Health. Initially, all Americans were blocked, and then only people from 23 states and the District of Columbia were allowed in.
Officials in Indien confirmed that the country had surpassed eight million cases of the coronavirus. The Ministry of Health reported 49,881 infections and 517 fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 120,527. India is the second country to break the eight-million mark after the United States.
Health officials in the Chinese region of Xinjiang on Thursday said 23 new cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed, which were all previously classified as asymptomatic cases. China does not include those who display no symptoms in its tally of confirmed infections, and this is the second consecutive day where all newly confirmed infections were linked to such known cases. The outbreak in Xinjiang began on Saturday, when a 17-year-old girl in a rural area outside Kashgar was found in regular testing to be an asymptomatic carrier, triggering widespread testing and travel restrictions.
The Marshall Islands reported its first coronavirus cases after two people who flew to a U.S. military base from Hawaii tested positive. The Pacific nation was among the last places in the world to have no reported cases.
Taiwan has gone 200 days without a locally transmitted case of the coronavirus, far longer than anywhere else in the world. The self-governing island of 23 million people last recorded a local case on April 12, with experts crediting tight border control, extensive contact tracing, strict quarantines and the widespread use of masks. Taiwan has had a total of 550 cases, the vast majority of them detected among people in quarantine after arriving from overseas, and seven deaths. A handful of countries, including New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam, have come close to or surpassed 100 days without any local cases, only to experience new outbreaks.
– – Jennifer Jett and